I’m not quite sure if I’ll be able to get back to regular blogging this week but I’m gonna try. I’m still between computers so I don’t have any photos to post yet. Last weekend turned out to be quite interesting. Here are the bullet points:
• Friday afternoon we got our second placement call…for a 17 year old boy. I said no. (Our age cut off is 12 years old for now.) Our first placement call came on Tuesday evening for a 2.5 year old boy. We said yes to him but less than an hour later the placement worker called back to say they were able to locate a family member to take him. Based on what I was told about his situation I am happy for him—sounds like it would most likely be very short term and I’m glad he can stay connected with people he knows. Also, I was a bit relieved because that’s so close to Ali’s age!
• After that phone call, I left work early Friday afternoon to pick up an 11 year old girl from her middle school after school program. I’m gonna call her “Sunshine” on here. She’s been living with another foster mom we know for most of a year and we had offered to do respite for the weekend since we’ve had a bedroom just sitting empty.
• We got back to our house and gave her a tour. The girls watched Curious George for a few minutes (Ali’s new favorite) until the notary from a title company came over so we could close the loan on our new house. We had been in a construction loan since June and finally got it converted into a permanent loan (regular mortgage). We’ve closed many loans in our 8 years as home owners but that was the first time someone had ever met us at our house on a Friday night. How awesome is that!
• After that we went out for pizza, kind of late, so it was bedtime when we got back home. Sunshine helped me give Ali a bath and then took a shower and while I read Ali books and put her to bed. We let Sunshine stay up a little later and watch one episode of Storage Wars with us since she could sleep in the next day.
• Saturday morning I woke Ali up at the crack of dawn for our second swimming class. We had massive downpours all weekend. Saturday was the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, which happened to go up and down the streets on either side of the community center where our class is. We had to park a block away and walk through the monsoon to get there so that was fun. Class was great though. Ali is so brave and is learning a lot. That deserves it’s own blog post. I’ll get around to it.
• We got home just as Jason and Sunshine were waking up. She helped me make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Jason gave her a lesson on flipping them with the spatula since she was having trouble. It was sweet. She loves to cook and do anything helpful in general. We finished the game of Sorry we had started the night before—she won. Our plans for the zoo were thwarted by the rain so instead we went to the mall.
• Bass Pro Shop turned out to be a zoo. Sunshine enthusiastically pushed Ali around in her stroller from display to display. We saw a bobcat, geese, ducks, raccoons, a skunk, turkeys, boars, a fox and lots of deer—all dead and stuffed, of course. They had some kids activities going on outside and Sunshine was excited to learn how to cast a fishing pole and shoot arrows at a giant target. We walked around inside the mall for a while and gave in to a Carousel ride that was expensive and kind of lame but I think both girls enjoyed it.
• While Ali was taking her afternoon nap Jason went to the grocery store to get supplies for the spaghetti and garlic bread dinner Sunshine wanted to make for us. While he was out, she and I watched the most bizarre Pinocchio movie. After dinner, the girls and I played with barbies and baby dolls for a while. After we put Ali to bed, we had a movie night with popcorn and root beer floats and some 1960s Godzilla movie. Sunshine was really into it but Jason and I kept kicking each other to keep from falling asleep.
• Sunday was church and we had to be there early since Jason was playing in the worship band. I felt bad waking up both tired girls so early but they both kept good attitudes. Thankfully, it seems that everyone at our church remembered that we’re foster parents and no one asked any intrusive questions. I didn’t need to explain much. I just introduced Sunshine as a friend that was staying with us for the weekend and she was only asked about her age and grade. She’s very polite and always finds something to compliment someone on immediately after meeting them.
• We had lunch at home and Sunshine chilled in front of the TV watching Dumbo while Jason milled around outside and Ali napped. I really wanted to be outside since the rain had finally let up and I’m not used to watching so much TV but I could tell Sunshine wanted to be near us. At one point Jason and I were outside looking up at our chimney (trying to analyze why water was coming into the living room side after our torrential rainstorms) and she came outside and said, “What are you doing? I want to be involved!” That pretty much sums up the whole weekend. She asked a lot of questions about everything and wanted to help do whatever we were doing…or watch TV, which I’m pretty sure was a treat for her. If she were going to be with us longer than 2 days, we’d definitely have to put some caps on the TV time and junk food but since it was just a weekend we didn’t fuss too much.
• Sunday evening we went out to dinner at Logan’s Steakhouse to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was much enjoyed by all. We went back to our house for presents and cake and then Sunshine’s foster mom arrived to pick her up.
I feel like I have so much more to process about this weekend and I may end up writing more about it—or not. It was definitely a good learning experience for us. I hope it was a fun getaway for her and a restful weekend for her foster mom. Ali did really well sharing our parental attention and seems to enjoy having another kid around. After a few short months as foster parents and then a really long break, one weekend was a big adjustment. I had a few “What the heck are we doing? Is this our life?” moments. We also had some good discussions—me and Sunshine, me and Jason, Jason and Sunshine. Spending time with an 11 year old cemented my decision to cut off our fostering at age 12 for now. I just don’t feel like I’m ready to jump into parenting a kid any older than that yet as a 20-something who only has experience parenting toddlers.
I mentioned that we got our first call on Tuesday evening. I didn’t mention, though, that it was just a few hours after I had talked to our case worker about some documents and mentioned that I was surprised we hadn’t gotten any calls in almost 2 months since we’d been approved. She said they’ve been getting mostly large sibling groups and older kids but I can’t help suspecting that after we got off the phone she said “Oh crap! Are they on the list?” Getting our first call a few hours later just seems too coincidental to me. And then getting Call #2 three days later. I guess we’ll see where it goes from here. It might be another interesting week!