So much has happened since the last post 2 weeks ago, it doesn’t even seem real. Between realizing we are anywhere from 1-2 weeks away from being full time parents, to actually getting to experience parenthood for a full 48 hours, to trying to savor any time we have left as just a family of 2, it’s safe to say the past 14 days have been a wild ride.
First and foremost, let me fill you in on our timeline for officially becoming licensed. On Wednesday, January 6 we had our final home study where our Family Support Worker came and finished her interviews, health inspection, and had us sign about 20 documents. By Friday, she had sent us our 30 page home study to proofread before sending it off for one last look over to her supervisor. Let me tell you, reading about your entire life in a 30 page document is more than weird, but welcome to the life of being foster parents, where privacy does not exist. Tuesday of this past week our file was submitted to ChildNet (the organization that licenses all foster homes in the state of Florida) and was marked as “under review” by Thursday. It usually takes awhile for ChildNet to review the file and ask for certain changes to be made so it’s looking like this upcoming week we should hear back from them. At that time our Support Worker will make the applicable changes/ask for more information from us and resubmit our file. Once that’s done they hopefully should approve it and we will be able to take our first placement. All of that leads me to where we’re at for getting our first kiddo…..
It’s still looking like we’re going to be getting E for placement number one. Unless any unforeseen circumstances come up (the trial taking an unexpected turn, a relative coming out of the woodwork, etc.) we will transition him from his current foster home to our home shortly after the 25th (the day of E’s trial). As we’ve already seen in the short time we’ve been going through this entire process, foster care can take a million unexpected turns at the last minute, so although we’re planning on him being our first, we’re also not unaware of the fact that we may get a totally different placement.
Since it’s been looking like E will be our first placement we have been trying to spend time with him so that if/when he transitions it will be a little easier on everyone. Last weekend we decided to take the plunge and take him for the entire weekend. Going into the weekend I was pretty nervous, but also knew that I needed to acclimate myself to this new life of being a momma and this was the best way.
The weekend started out pretty great but I could already tell it was going to be exhausting. We made the big mistake of throwing off his schedule the first night and we paid for it the next 48 hours (You live and learn right?). Saturday proved to be one of the hardest days of my life. Falling asleep on the couch Friday night and finally moving to the bed at 4 AM only to pretty much toss and turn for the next 3 hours really didn’t seem to help the enduring day ahead either. Sleep deprived (as I’m sure most parents are) E was fed, changed, and diapered by 7:30 AM. Things were wonderful for the first hour and a half, so much so that I got a full 45 minutes of relaxation on the couch without a disruption while E played.
But at about 9:00 AM things took a turn for the worst and the non-stop blood curdling screaming started. Of course the only thing that seemed to help was if you picked him up and stayed standing. The second you sat down or put him down it was right back to screaming. Trying to take a shower or do anything for that matter was pretty much impossible. Praise the Lord Josh woke up and agreed to take him for a bit while I took the quickest shower of my life. Unfortunately Josh had to take Nessie to the groomer so I was back on baby duty and still had to get ready for the day. I resorted to wearing E in the carrier while trying to fix my hair and makeup. It worked part of the time but putting a hot straightener near a baby’s face definitely didn’t sound like a good idea so I had to sit him on the floor for a bit while I finished getting ready. That’s when all hell seemed to break lose.
The blood curdling screams turned up about 5 levels in volume and the arching of the back and thrashing of his body back and forth began. At this point I was about ready to be done with motherhood. My patience was pretty much gone and I didn’t know how much longer I could handle the constant screaming (This is a normal mom thought right?). I managed to finish my hair in record time and put E back in the carrier which seemed to calm the crying. Josh finally arrived home from the groomers and the 3 of us ended up going to the mall to run a few errands. Luckily E loves the stroller and is quite the people watcher so walking the mall was a great idea. That was until we managed to stay out past nap time and he fell asleep in the car and then refused to go back to sleep for nap time meaning he only got a 45 minute nap instead of his usual 2 hours. Hello cranky baby and more crying.
The rest of Saturday was super tough, since he missed most of nap time he was pretty cranky and he was teething which only added another layer of anguish. I already have generalized anxiety, much of which I’ve been able to learn how to tame throughout the years, but let me tell you, there’s something about a baby screaming that just brings anxiety levels to an all time high. Everyone says babies pick up on how the adults around them are feeling, and if that’s the case I definitely wasn’t helping E’s mood. Between my insane level of anxiety and E’s teething pain and lack of sleep we were pretty much set up for disaster.
Josh was an all star husband through all of this, offering to let me nap while he tried to get E to calm down, playing with him to distract him from the teething pain, and doing bath and dinner duty while I tried to get my anxiety levels down. I fell in love with Josh ten times over seeing him be so loving and caring towards the 2 of us and managing to keep calm when no one else was. I clearly found a keeper of a husband!
By Saturday evening, once E was in bed, I was pretty much done. I had fully decided that motherhood wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t do it. It was too hard. And if I couldn’t do motherhood how in the world was I going to be able to be a FOSTER mom? That night Josh held me in his arms as I wept uncontrollably. I kept repeating over and over, “I can’t do this.” Not only had fear taken over my entire body but my anxiety was probably the worst it had ever been, throwing me into a full blown anxiety attack. For those of you that don’t know what that is, imagine someone throws you underwater with a full layer of winter clothing and every time you feel like you have enough strength to swim to the surface you sink a little more, all the while not being able to breathe in any air at all. It sounds graphic, but that’s what it feels like. And that’s exactly how I felt for a good hour while every tear I had poured out of my burning, stinging eyes onto Josh’s soaking wet shirt sleeve. With my head pounding, my heart racing, and my lungs gasping for more air in between sobs I just wanted Saturday to end and Sunday’s new day to come.
To be continued…..