The Starfish Poem

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THE STARFISH POEM
Once upon a time there was a wise man
who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore.
As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.

He smiled to himself to think of someone who would
dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man
and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore,
picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”

“The wise man then asked, “Why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”

“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish
and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said-
“It made a difference for that one.”

MAPP Class #5

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So we are down 5 classes with only 6 more hours of MAPP to go! I am really starting to feel like we are making progress towards getting our certification.

Tonight we learned about how to help kids manage their behaviors and we watched a video on adult and child CPR. The info was very good, even if it was often read from a power point spreadsheet. (I prefer the discussions where a lot of people’s personal experiences are shared. To me, that’s the real life training that’s valuable.) But I did gain what I think will be some valuable knowledge.

We learned the different ways to discipline a child. There were some good tips brought up. Like for time outs, if the child will not sit still in time out for the allotted time, don’t keep putting them into time out if they are running crazy. Just let them run out of steam and ignore the behavior until they are calmer. Then start the time out. (I love that tip, because I would be the parent that gets frustrated with trying to keep a jumpy kid still in time out.) I also liked the tip of how long time out should be for a child’s age (a minute for each year they are old plus one -so a 2 year old will have a 3 minute time out). Other discipline tips were to chose battles and use a reward system. One idea was to give tickets (like the ones you buy for fairs) when a good behavior is shown. Put the tickets into a reward jar that the child can earn an age appropriate reward, like a later bed-time or a toy, etc.. There were a lot of great ideas that I hope I can remember to put into practice when I have an active wiggly child in my home testing me and kicking my dog. That’ll be the true test.

We also had our first “home study” tonight. We are supposed to have 3 total home studies but with only THREE Home Development workers for the Greater New Orleans area—People, that is a HUGE area that covers multiple parishes. These workers may have to be in court in Baton Rouge 2 hours away in the morning and drive to Grand Isle 3 hours from there to visit a home at night. It takes a lot of careful planning on their part to make each regional visit count. Thanks to our government cutting the budget, we only have 3 of these wonderful ladies instead of the 5 we had a couple of years ago. A way around this stipulation is to have us do our first home study in class. Our actual visit will be in a few weeks.

I was/am worried about our home study since we live in a very old house. We have a renovated shotgun double. A shotgun style house is called just that because you can shoot a shotgun through the front door and the bullet will travel through every room without hitting a wall. We have a hallway now, so we have more privacy and each room except for the living and dining room have 4 walls and a door. However our child’s room won’t have a window since the hallway is on the outside and the bedrooms are on the inside of the double. Here’s an article and video of a shotgun house: http://www.gonola.com/2013/05/14/iconic-new-orleans-architecture-shotgun-101.html I love ours, but alas, no window in child’s room. I learned tonight that it shouldn’t be a problem and we can sign a waiver. Whew! That’s a huge relief. Now my other concern is that I use that room’s closet for my clothes. Another downside to older homes is teeny tiny closets. I may have to work something out. Especially if we get an older placement with some behavior issues.

All in all, I am feeling super psyched and excited tonight.

In an update to my Facebook support group: things are going well and New Orleans is a small town after all. I only have 8 members right now, but we are all supportive of each other and have varying degrees of knowledge. I am learning so much from them and now have access to lawyers and judges through another member’s connections. I’m sure that will come in handy in the future.

 

Foster Families Needed

Rising Out

Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to become a foster parent?   As National Foster Care Month comes to an end, there is still a huge need for foster parents.  See if you “qualify” as a foster family.

  • Do you have a willing and loving heart for helping a child in need?
  • Do you have skills and abilities that help you to understand what children need to overcome trauma, grow through it and develop strength and faith to endure?
  • Do you feel that God is calling you to use the home he gave you, the gifts he’s bequeathed you and the talents he’s developed in you for the benefit of these wounded children?
  • Do you find yourself with extra time…perhaps you don’t already have children or you will soon have an empty-nest?
  • Do you have past experience as a foster child or foster family?
  • Do you…

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Who cleans the toilets in your house? (and other intrusive questions)

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Form F-3, Applicant.

This one is a doozy. So far, it has taken 3 attempts to finish the 13 pages of questions ranging from who were your childhood friends to how the chores are divided at home, but I managed to wade through the double spaced run-on sentences.

As I was filling out page after horribly worded page, I wondered how some of these questions are even relevant. Is there some poor over-stressed Home Development worker who has to read each of these? (Yes.) How does “how I handled the loss of my grandparents” translate to a good foster mom? Why does “which sibling I am closest to” matter? Why do you need to know my full job history back to age EIGHTEEN!? Thanks for making me feel older than dirt, DCF. I may need a an extra page for that one.

There are questions that I believe are relevant. Questions about how your parents disciplined you as a child, and would you discipline your children the same way? Or “What are your expectations of a child in school today?” How would you celebrate the culture of your foster child, how will fostering affect your employment? Those matter. Those questions make sense. Who cleans the toilets (me) and who mops the floor (the hubs), and who was your favorite Paw-Paw growing up have no place on these forms. As Foster Parents, our lives are open books as it is. Division of labor, sibling rivalry questions and employment history back to the stone age are not needed.

When leaving our last MAPP class, our instructor, the wonderful Miss Ernestine (I hope heaven has a special place for this amazing woman) mentioned that all these questions were important. She said something that stuck with me, “What if your child was going to another person’s home? Wouldn’t you want to know as much about them as possible?” That rang true and has made these paper cuts a little less painful.

What were some of the questions on your form F-3, Applicant that made absolutely no sense to you? I’m sure these are different from state to state. (I am in Louisiana)I would love to hear some of the questions from other states.

*Photo by Kevin Dean http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevindean/

MAPP class #2

Tonight we heard that it will take longer than 3 months to get certified. It will take longer than 6 months and it will possibly probably take as long as a year. DCF is so short staffed here in Louisiana.

I am at the point of tears. I am discouraged. I didn’t expect it to be fast nor easy, but a YEAR?!

I downed a glass of wine and now I am off to bed. I hope I can sleep.

Welcome to the system…

 

 

Paper Cut Survivor

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I stopped birth control right after my honeymoon (I just needed those Caipirinhas after all the wedding planning). I had been on birth control pills for about 3 years.  No problems there. Once married, my husband and I decided to try right away to conceive since I’m past that dreaded medical term, “Advanced Maternal Age”. I stopped drinking wine at dinner and we started trying to conceive, convinced that it would only be a few months before the + would appear on the pregnancy tests.  After a couple months, I decided to get an ovulation kit and track cycles on a phone app. Nothing seemed to work.

I began having hot flashes. Not just toss off the covers cutesy hot flashes, I mean raging burning from the inside out, I am on fire, please let me run outside in the snow naked kind of hot flashes. I was miserable and now, I was scared. I’m not old enough for menopause. I’m only 36.  A few lab tests later, I was diagnosed with POF or Premature Ovarian Failure. There was only a very slim chance that I could conceive.

I was/am crushed. And still reeling from the news. It rocked my newlywed foundation. But I’m dealing pretty well. My husband and I talked (cried) and talked (and cried) and came to the conclusion that neither of us wanted to try an egg donor or IVF. It was just not the right choice for us. We want to adopt. From foster care. Are we NUTS?

I am bummed that I will miss out on the baby shower, the feel of being pregnant and what our child might look like and setting up a nursery for our child, as well as just unbridled excitement. Now I am setting up a nursery to pamper and love someone else’s child and my excitement is peppered with trepidation and nervousness. It’s hard to voice those feelings to friends and relatives that have not experienced these feelings first hand.

I am taking this time to get ready. I am starting a baby registry (because why not?) and I am starting to set up a nursery. I am even starting to allow myself to be excited.

I am sleeping through the night and going out drinking. I am taking long solitary bubble baths, reading (and finishing) 700 page books. I am looking forward to the future of diapers, spit ups and bad hair days while enjoying each day to it’s fullest until I get placement with a foster child.

And I have begun to get paper cuts, filling out form after redundant form….