Archive for October, 2010

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first day of the rest of our lives

October 31, 2010

We picked Mara up at her foster family’s house at 4 this afternoon. We’ve been aiming for a bedtime between 8 and 8:30 eventually, but tonight’s 9:15 slide into snoozing was better than we’d hoped and several hours earlier than she’s used to.

What I’m basically saying is that she adapted to what we wanted way, way better than we’d ever even hoped. There was minimal clinginess once we got to our house and instead she explored and played. She really does seem to thrive on adult attention and we were willing to play along with her when she was singing, showing us various pieces from her set of plastic dinnerware, and so forth.

I gave her a little set of finger puppets and she said, “OH, THANK YOU!” in the most adorable and amazed voice. Although we’ve gone out of our way not to be overwhelming with birthday gifts, I imagine she’ll be pretty impressed with that celebration. And she’s still very particular about things; no one is allowed to put their fingers into her finger puppets, though scooping them out of a bowl with a spoon is fair game!

I imagine she’ll wake up scared and disoriented tomorrow (or tonight) but for today she was incredibly well-adjusted. I think that the transition plan did a very good job of helping her get comfortable with us and accept that her foster family trusted us too.

We haven’t yet gone through the things the foster family sent with her. I’m disappointed though not surprised that they never did anything toward making her a lifebook, though the foster mom offered to email me the photos she has with Mara in them so that I can make a lifebook myself. And it’s a good thing we bought some adorable little socks since she didn’t bring any except the ones she was wearing. But we’ll pull it all together and make things work, I know. I just can’t believe we’re off on such a strong first step. As she was snuggled in between Lee and me on the couch while I gently rocked her and Lee watched the football game, it was funny to see how complete we felt.

We’re working on introducing the dog, and Mara is comfortable petting her but not being licked. She’s very happy with the other two pets. Tomorrow we go to church (so she can see other little black girls) though we can leave if she’s uncomfortable, and the same holds true for trick-or-treat in the afternoon. We have a little ladybug costume for her if she’s interested, but we can also hang out here. We’re trying to build in a few things that will keep her engaged with the outside world but also bonding to us, but we’re mostly going to be making decisions based on what she seems to need.

This really does feel right, getting sleepy myself as a snoozy little girl snuggles up against me. I’m looking forward to my little stint at stay-at-home parenting and I’m interested to see how she responds and how she grows. I fully expect things to change any minute, but right now they’re absolutely perfect.

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more name messiness

October 29, 2010

Lee and I had been sort of laughing about how we don’t even know Mara’s last name. Unfortunately, we need that to be able to get her pre-registered for day care, so Lee wrote to our worker and asked. The worker wrote back with Mara’s last name, but there’s more to it than that.

We’d known that Mara’s foster family used a nickname rather than her given name to avoid what they considered “ghetto” elements, which I’d immediately thought of as being a take on a strong Biblical name that’s been changed to be more euphonious for standard English speakers. (And hey, if it’s good enough for Oprah….) I hadn’t known if that was actually going on, but that was my suspicion. And I thought that once I got to see Mara’s siblings’ names I’d be able to make an even better guess about her birthmom’s mindset even if we never get to meet and hear from her birthmom.

Now, though, we know that I was on the right track but was also wrong. Our worker took a look at her birth certificate and it turns out that Mara’s name is in fact the Biblical name itself and the person who entered her information into the social services computer system is the one who introduced the error to make things sound the way they do in what we were told was her name. And now we have no idea whether her name is pronounced the way we were told it was or if it’s like the standard pronunciation of her actual given naem, much more common than the variant we’d thought was hers.

So, basically, if we stick with her blog name, we’d known her name was Maryam with a short A and a lilting rhythm. Let’s say the foster family called her Ari, then. And yet it turns out her name is Mary Anna, quite different from what any of us thought.

In some sense, none of this matters in terms of how we’ll raise Mara. And yet here we are sitting in the living room and calling her “what’s her name” because we don’t know what to say right now. The version of her name we’d been told was hers has really grown on us and I actually have some qualms about the more standard version of her name, though I can’t say more about it without giving the name away. We’ve been pretty well committed to making sure we don’t change a child’s given name from what she’s given by her birth family, but unless we’re allowed to contact Mara’s birth family, we may not be able to figure out what the original intent was and what the pronunciation should be.

This is not something I expected to be difficult. On the other hand, and relevant to what Andy asked in comments tot he last post, I would have expected the prospect of having a two-year-old girl with a weeka nd a half’s notice would be a lot more stressful than it actually has been. Lee is completely impressing me with her commitment and maturity. We’re working well as a team. Tomorrow we’ll finish our preparations, have a dinner together, and then make an early night of it. Saturday Mara comes home with us. I know I end every post this way, but wow.

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countdown mode

October 27, 2010

I’m hoping Mara will come home to us this Saturday, though it may be Sunday. We’ll know for sure when we go to visit her in her foster home tonight. I realize this is a very quick transition (since it’s been, um, eight days since we first heard she existed?) but given her attachment issues and the stuff that’s putting extra stress on her foster family, we do believe it’s the right decision.

She came to our house Monday and it went well in a different way from when she’d been there Saturday for hair time. This time, she fell asleep in the car and then was out cold for another two hours once I got her inside and onto the couch. When we eventually woke her, she was tired and maybe a little disoriented. She didn’t want to have dinner and insisted on being held. The good thing about this and something that makes me immensely grateful is that Mara is very willing to explain what she wants when she’s feeling sad. I’m sure this will be difficult when we’re not able to give her what she wants, but when she could show me exactly how to hold her so I could rock her gently and she didn’t have to self-soothe by kicking her legs in the air, that was great.

Since the last visit to our house seemed so frustrating for her and since we are pretty sure she has some sense she’s moving to be with us, we decided not to focus on any more back-and-forth visits. Instead, tonight we’ll play with her and her foster siblings at her foster home, perhaps the last time we’ll all be there together. I hope it will give all of them something to remember, something that reminds them we’re committed to letting the kids stay in contact if that’s what seems to be best for them. The kids in the foster family will know that she’s going with people they know and Mara will get to see that we’re fond of the little ones she loves. It’s not clear what the visitation situation will be, but we want to lay a strong foundation for the kids to have faith in the adults making these decisions and be able to trust that both families are providing appropriate care.

The slight hitch in all of this is that we were told today by the foster mom that she’d told at least her two young ones that Mara would be leaving, though we’re not sure what Mara has been told directly. The trouble (from our perspective, not hers) is that she decided that it would be too troubling to tell them that they were just Mara’s foster home and now she’s moving to an adoptive family even though they were both in foster care before their own adoptions and even though they don’t think of Mara as family exactly thanks to the race differences and think she belongs somewhere she matches. So to that end, their mom told them that Lee is Mara’s birthmom and that she’d been sick for a while and couldn’t take care of Mara but now she’s back and so she’ll take Mara home. We had told her all along that we weren’t going to lie to Mara and don’t think it’s a good idea to lie to kids, but obviously she’s free to do whatever she wants. My worry is that Mara has heard the things the family has said about her birthmom already (I’ve witnessed this) and I don’t know how she’ll synthesize that with what she knows of us. It’s just weird and wrong, and apparently has left the kids very upset, which doesn’t surprise me.

What Lee does in response will be her own decision, but we’re not planning to undermine the way the foster mom parents her children. I imagine we’ll get questions from the little boy in particular, and I suggested Lee just tell him that she doesn’t want to talk about that and wants to focus on playing. I’ve already diverted him a couple of times when he’s tried to figure out our relationship; since Lee told him that I’m not her mom (again!) he’s decided we must be sisters. Because I don’t know what kind of terminology his family uses, I just say, “My sister? Oh, you must mean Lee!” and leave it at that. With other kids, I’ve explained that we live together as a family. I don’t want to make parenting harder on anyone else. I realize it’s a difficult job! But I’m also realizing some of my strong opinions as we rub up against this other family. I think we’ll be a good fit for Mara for several reasons, but I specifically hope the ideals that we have will serve her well.

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happy tired

October 25, 2010

I’d meant to write a bigger post, but instead I’ve been putting together furniture and getting the house ready for a little one. We’ve decided we’re sure enough about things that it’s worth sinking a bit of money into the belief that Mara will be moving in with us within the week.

The plan was for us to hang out with her for a couple of hours at the park with her foster family. Just before we were about to leave, her foster mom called with a slight change of plans. She still wanted us to come to the park but she wanted us to then take Mara back with us to our house, undo her braids and cornrows, wash her hair, and then restyle it. I’ll write more about this when I’m not so sleepy, but the upshot is that we got to spend some one-on-one time with her on our turf and while we got to see some of the difficulties she has for ourselves, we also got to see just how sweet and smart she is. We spent seven hours with Mara and can’t wait to have her back. And she’s learning to like and trust us, too.

I’m not sure whether or not we’ll have her with us Monday, though I’m guessing we’ll have her here Monday and Wednesday evenings and then transition Friday night or something like that. I realize this is fast, but it’s what her workers are recommending and we really do want her with us. The idea is that a longer transition period might make her feel insecure about both us and her current foster family, and so since we’re ready for her to be here, she’s going to just be here and we’ll deal with the fallout as she gets to recognize this as her home.

I keep writing and then erasing how to finish this. I don’t want to talk about the difficult or worrisome parts, though they’re also not as worrisome or difficult as they could be in the scheme of things. But I also don’t really want to brag about Mara and have people think I’m all starry-eyed and missing out on reality. The trouble is, it’s all reality. The little girl who shows amazing resilience in a variety of settings and who still has a big, bright smile when someone or something has deserved it is the same one who doesn’t talk much if at all unless she feels comfortable, who’s been let down by probably everyone who’s ever taken care of her and who gives her heart anyway but knows enough to hold a bit back. Seven hours with her let us know a little of her complexity and let us know for sure why we think she’s such a good fit for us and why we’re ready to pledge our lives to her. Mara is really something special and I’m incredibly excited about what the three of us have done together and what we’re going to do. Lee teased me about how I can never again complain that other people get what they want but I don’t, and she’s so right. Mara is everything fantastic and I do believe she’s going to be our child. I couldn’t possibly deserve that, but I think it will be good for all of us.

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Ahhhh!

October 23, 2010

She’s darling! We spent almost an hour tonight with Mara and her foster family. All three of the little ones were very sweet and very interested in us, and it was nice to have our first interaction with Mara be so relaxing for her.

She does have some trouble talking, for sure. She also will do a lot to keep from having to talk, which is an easier task when there are other little ones around to talk for her. She has good receptive language, and she did speak to me several times in multiword sentences, which apparently is hard for her.

Lee wants to make it clear that things happen for a reason and the reason is that Mara needs us now. Lee also wants to point out both that Mara looks like her (true) and that Mara is absolutely adorable. I agree. Mara has bright eyes and a gorgeous smile. Her hair kind of is a hot mess, but it does seem to be similar in curl type to Lee’s, which is good in terms of my ability to keep up with it.

Yes, we’re both smitten, which I realize is how we need to get sucked in so we can handle the parts that will be hard. So far, though, so good.

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first contact

October 22, 2010

I finally got in touch with Mara’s foster mother yesterday. It turns out that because of the family crisis, she’s been overwhelmed and screening calls by just not turning on the answering machine and assuming people will call back if it’s important enough. So I got to hear a little bit about Mara and a lot about her other kids.

Although I don’t want to talk about the specifics here yet, talking to her made me really believe that Mara is not getting all she needs in that home and will do better with us. For one thing, she thrives on one-on-one attention, which is not something she can get in a house where there are two other kids within a year of her age and just one parent much of the time. I also strongly believe she needs to be in a home that will value and discuss her identity as a black girl rather than erase it out of an insistence on “colorblindness,” which is definitely going on there.

Okay, I’m trending into talking about the specifics, aren’t I? One more, then. In the foster home, she’s called by an abbreviated version of her name because the foster mom hates her name. (Foster mom also was saying all this while she was in earshot, as were the other kids when she was sharing their private histories. Argh, I’m so judgmental and also again saying more than I meant to!) So for the last six months, she’s been going to speech therapy and learning about herself under the nickname exclusively. And while Lee and I are fans of keeping names from birth families as a connection to the past, we’re not really interested in keeping a nickname that seems to have been chosen in part to devalue any birth family impact on Mara. The foster mom has asked that we call Mara by the nickname when talking to her family, but says we can call Mara whatever we like. I think we’ll just gently add back the extra syllable and see where it goes. She’s going to be having enough huge adjustments and I’m conflicted about taking her name away from her (even though/especially because that’s what the current foster family did), but they’re close enough that I think it won’t be a problem.

And the most important part of this is hidden at the bottom of the post. Tonight we’ll visit Mara for half an hour or so, just drop by the foster family’s house as if we’re friends, talk to the parents, see her in her own environment so that we’ll be a bit familiar when she sees us next. Then on Saturday or Sunday, we’ll get together with Mara and one of her foster parents somewhere for a few house. Next week, we’re supposed to choose one evening that she’ll spend with us at our house. And then the transition happens next weekend. She’ll move in with us permanently and turn three. I’ll start my parental leave and spend all my days with a little girl who’s going to be scared and disoriented and reminded of all the other losses she’s had in her little life. We’re officially at the start of a new adventure. And tonight we get to see her face.

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today’s Mara updates

October 20, 2010

We got answers to a lot of our questions based on what’s in Mara’s file, not just what her caseworker could remember off the top of his head while eating lunch and talking to me on the phone.

The first and biggest piece is that she’s not actually three. She’s two yet for another few weeks! So I guess the plan would be to transition her before her birthday, which we’d definitely want to keep low-key as she’ll already have a lot going on with moving to a new home. And related to that point, there’s no time when the social workers can line up their schedules to make the meeting we’re supposed to have happen. (I don’t want to go into details, but part of the recent budget cuts mean there are huge restrictions on what they’re allowed to do with their time.) So what we’re going to do is set up a meeting directly between us and Mara’s foster parents, which should be less disruptive for Mara anyway. Then we’ll relay information from that back to the workers. It’s not actually clear who’s going to make the decisions about how the transition will work, but most of that rests with the foster family anyway at this point.

We also learned more about Mara’s family situation. She does have some siblings who are already being cared for by relatives and a family friend, which is why permanent placement with people in those groups (a better option for a child than adoption and something her worker is obligated to explore) hasn’t happened. However, we weren’t able to get good information on whether she’s having sibling visits. Since she’ll be at most 10 minutes away from where they live when she’s with us, as opposed to as much as 40+ where she is now, it shouldn’t be hard for us to structure things so she can still have a connection with her family. I recognize that we’re pushing for something that may garner us disapproval from the family if they’re not supportive of same-sex and/or interracial couples, but I think she has a right to know her family regardless of whether that gets in the way of our adopting, and so we did want to make that clear to the worker from the start.

So far, everything that we’ve learned has been positive, even the bad stuff. I’m not sure if that makes sense, really, but what I mean is that I keep feeling reassured that we know what’s going on (as much as possible) and her worker knows what’s going on and everyone’s on the same page about getting her what she needs. We’re really looking forward to meeting this little girl, though we’ve agreed not to buy anything until we know what’s coming with her and what she’s used to. (And surely it’s not cheating that I just ordered some cute little hair beads and snaps and barrettes, right? Because if things don’t work out, I can use those as rewards for the little girls I tutor at church.)

Now we’re just waiting to get in touch with the foster family and see what our next steps are going to be. This is all feeling incredibly real but also very, very good. We know Mara’s going to have some challenges ahead of her and we’re doing what we can to expect those and have plans in place to deal with them. I can take up to four weeks of parental leave to care for her, which should be plenty of time to get her stable in our home. We’re going to make sure she and Lee have lots of one-on-one time when Lee’s home so that we’re helping her get used to both of us and not just me as the primary parent because I’m the one around most of the time. After that, the plan remains for Lee to get her enrolled in the daycare at her college. That means Lee and Mara would commute in together in the mornings, eat lunch together every day, and come home in the afternoons. Our worker just suggested that we look into getting her speech therapy (the program she’s in now expires when she turns three) at the giant children’s hospital that’s not far from Lee’s school. That would be perfect, because Lee has a lot of flexibility in how she sets her schedule and it wouldn’t be hard for her to carve out time where they go together to the appointment. Anything that saves us a trip in terms of going home and then leaving again is generally a good thing.

Beyond that, though, we’re waiting to hear more details about things like whether the foster family has succeeded in getting her toilet trained or whether they’ve just been working on it. (And I’m really not hung up on toilet training. If she and I are together all day every day, we’ll be able to make it work. And we appreciate that she may regress in several areas once she’s placed with us, and that would be an obvious one. We just want to make sure that if we’re able to have her out of diapers so she can go to daycare, that would be preferable by far to finding some workarounds.) We want to know more about her likes and dislikes beyond that she loves to wear shoes at all times. We’re ready to start getting to know her, and we’re at a point where that’s probably going to mean actual contact rather than the mediated information we’ve been getting. This is totally new to us, but also very exciting. A little girl!

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a little Mara update

October 19, 2010

We’re officially in our state’s system as accepting placement of Mara. The workers are still setting up exact timing, but we’ll have a meeting next Monday (we think) with our worker, her worker (who’s a man), and her foster parents. We’ll make sure that Lee and I are still willing to proceed at that point, which I think we will be based on all we know, and then we’ll all jointly make a plan to transition her from the current foster home to ours. I don’t know (and wouldn’t share online) what the personal problems in the foster home are, but I do know they love and care about this little girl and they want the transition to go as smoothly as it can.

This does not mean we’ve made the decision that we want to adopt her. We really don’t want her to have to make more than one more move, but we’re also not going to keep her in our family if it’s not what’s best for her. That decision will come far down the line, not until after her parents’ rights have been terminated.

So nothing is happening immediately and I don’t have to panic and go out and buy a car seat today. But because we’re dealing with a foster care placement and not the full adoptive process, this will be much faster than what we’re used to. The decision has already been made and now we just have to make the reality work. And wow!

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I think we have a child

October 19, 2010

We’re waiting to hear back more from the social workers, but there’s a three-year-old girl in our region (more rural than where we are, but that her worker is in our county makes me think she’s from our area) who is on the adoption track and needs to be moved out of her foster home for reasons unrelated to her.

We know about some of the problems she has and they’re problems characteristic of a child who’s had a lot of caregivers, things where stability would help. I talked to her worker directly and he was very honest, telling me what he knew, what he suspected, what he didn’t know. I don’t think we’re being snookered into anything. We got a lot of details and they’re willing to give us a lot more before she’s placed with us.

I’m waiting to hear back from Lee, who’s talking to our worker, but the family has given two-week notice to close their home, but she thinks they’d actually be flexible on that. If we are selected — and right now we’re the only people they’ve asked — we’d work with our worker and the girl’s worker and the foster family to try to figure out what transition strategy would be best.

Her parents’ rights have not been terminated, which means she could return to them if they started doing what they’re supposed to be doing. We understand that and our goal is to be the home this little girl needs when she needs it, and we’d support it if she could go back home.

Having a girl in our house would mean we wouldn’t have space for Rowan, which is a concern. We could probably get a waiver to let him sleep on a fold-out couch for the weekend if he needed respite. But we’d have to make big decisions about living elsewhere if we wanted to have space for him. We are thinking about that. But what’s also happened in the last 24 hours is that it’s seemed more likely that Lee’s biodad’s other daughter, Shasta, is probably going to see her daughter go into foster care in the state where they live. We’re working very hard to prevent that (the girl lives with Shasta’s mom, and that’s the home that’s not adequate, but Shasta does not have full rights at this time for complicated and stupid legal reasons) but we realize that one option might be to ship that girl out to us while things get straightened out, which would also make us ineligible to have Rowan around. It’s very, very unlikely that she’d end up with us based on all we know, but we have to keep that possibility in the back of our minds.

So Lee has checked on the availability of daycare at the college where she teaches and they’re fine with a three-year-old as long as she’s toilet trained. We’re not totally sure she is yet, but I guess that’s what my parental leave could be for, that and helping make her transition into our home as smooth and supportive as it can be.

We did not go into this looking for a three-year-old black girl with what might be an Arabic name (okay, that’s a lie; that’s exactly what I wanted and Lee was hung up on having a boy who’s biracial but three was her perfect age) and we’d really gotten used to the idea of a teenager, but this little girl needs a home too. And at this rate, we’re willing to try. We’ll have to figure out a lot and learn a lot before anything is final, but

I’ll update more on this as we know more. I’m trying to be deliberately vague, but please trust that we’re being thoughtful and cautious and trying to make sure as much as we can that we actually are the right family for her before she has to make yet another move. But I’ll go ahead and say that her blog name is Mara, short for Maryam, which was always the secret name I wanted to give a little girl who would be mine. That doesn’t mean my heart is already gone to her or I think this was “meant to be” or whatever. But if this is my one chance at a girl, you can bet I’m going to use the name I want! And so I will. And I’ll let you know as we know more about Mara.

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progressing

October 13, 2010

This would have been the week or weekend Colton would have moved in with us, though we’d known for quite a while that either the timeline would shift or he wouldn’t be coming to us at all. That didn’t really have much impact on me emotionally, but I thought of it last night. One quarter of the school year in our local district ends this week and we’ve been childless that entire time.

I believe Lee is still having our file sent out through Adopt America Network, though she hasn’t spoken to me about any particular children lately. We’re looking at other options, too. On Monday, our social worker put us back on the list of open foster homes. On Tuesday afternoon, she called me about a 13-year-old boy who’s currently in a respite home in another part of the state and needs to get moved back to our area and enrolled in school.

Obviously he didn’t need a home last night or I wouldn’t be telling the story this way, but he does need to move quickly. And, you know, with a new school quarter starting next week, this would be a good time for him to start here. So despite saying on Monday night that I didn’t think I was emotionally ready for another placement, when we were actually asked I didn’t feel any need to decline on those grounds. I did, though, want more information on a couple of things to make sure (as much as I can, at least!) we can keep him safe and keep ourselves safe if he is in fact placed with us.

Our worker was going to call his worker first thing in the morning and then get back to us, and she totally understood and was on board with the clarifications I wanted. All our previous calls for teen boys have happened when we were out of town, so this time we actually got to deal with the real thing in a way that might be practical. Since we haven’t heard any more from her, that could mean that she hasn’t been able to get through to his worker thanks to the shortened hours all state workers have been forced to navigate or it could mean they’ve found a home for him.

Lee and I talked about how at this point we’re going to treat fostering the same way we treated adoption at first — that when we’re offered a child in a situation that’s not an emergency or short-term or respite context, our default is to think “no” and look for reasons to say yes rather than to think “yes” unless there are reasons to say no. We are different from a lot of other foster homes in our area not just because we’re a same-sex interracial couple but because we have no other children in the home, because we both work, because of our particular interests. It’s worth making ourselves a resource for a kid who will benefit from those specifics, I think. This outlook may change over time, but for now it’s what we’re looking at.

So for this particular child, it would be good to get him back to the region he’s from. On the other hand, we live at the north end of the region and his family is at the far south end, 45 minutes away. That would make visits more of a (minor) hardship for us than if they could get him into a family nearer to his hometown, especially since the plan is for him to move back home once things are stabilized. He’s also white and a teenager, so it does sort of matter how he feels about being in a multiracial home and having lesbian foster parents. And while in his case it would be a real bonus to get him in a spot where he could be the only child and get all the attention, we also need to believe we can handle his known behaviors, because he’s going to be dealing with a lot of loss and anger and frustration. So if there’s a family like us in some ways but not like us in others, they might be better. We’d be better than where he is now. These are the kinds of things the workers are trying to balance and we can only balance a tiny part of it ourselves.

As I was finishing that last paragraph, our worker called with the information we’d asked for. I asked what his other options were in terms of homes and what the timing is. Apparently we’re the only family that had been asked, but there’s one other home that specializes in teen boys (two are there now) and is closer to his hometown than we are. I talked to Lee and we were very much in agreement (though also in some ways very muddled) and I just called the worker back with our decision.

Right now we’re sort of saying no. We think we could handle this boy and his difficulties, but we’re also still reeling emotionally. We’d like it if they could call the other family and ask them if they think he’d be a good fit there. However, if they’re not able or willing to fit him into their mix now, we’d like them to come back to us and we’ll say yes. The alternatives would be to take him into a private agency or to move him to another part of the state, and we know the social workers would rather find a home for him here and we’re cool with that. I don’t know what our worker will think of this plan or whether they’re allowed to do a no-for-now thing, but Lee and I both feel very comfortable with that answer despite not having felt fully comfortable just saying yes.

Our worker has made it clear that we’re supposed to make the decisions that feel right for us and that she’ll support us in that. Now, it’s always possible that we’ll get blackballed for not being more helpful, though I don’t totally see that happening since we’re on the call list for teen boys and not a lot of other people are. We’re only able to do any good if we’re stable and able to do so ourselves, though, so it’s very important to us that we make good decisions. Each child we’ve dealt with has helped us push our boundaries a bit, understand more clearly what we can handle, and yet in the scheme of things we don’t have a ton of practice and we do want to be careful and underestimate what we can handle rather than get in way over our heads and risk underserving a child or needing to have a child leave our home, which of course adds trauma to an already traumatic situation.

So that’s where we are right now, still not entirely sure what’s going on and yet going. That sounds about like what we’re used to!

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