If only it worked that way. . .

22 Sep

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When you decide to become a foster parent, your life changes.  That’s about the most blunt way to phrase it. . . There are some obvious ways that you expect it to change. . . you expect to have kids in and out of your house, you expect upheaval. . . during the application process, you come to understand that you will lose pretty much all sense of privacy.  Seriously, one of the application questions involved listing all past romantic relationships and explaining why they ended.  So, there’s an expectation of a loss of privacy.  You know that you will have caseworkers and, hopefully, a CASA volunteer visiting your house on a regular basis.  Sometimes there are other therapists traipsing in and out.  What I didn’t realize when we started was exactly HOW much I would wish that I could see, just once, what the inside of our caseworker’s house looks like.  She visits every month, and has been for the past year and a half.  We don’t go insane cleaning every time, like we did at the beginning.  But as she left this month, I looked around and wondered if she had a pile of clutter on her kitchen counter. . . or a mountainous stack of clean dishes in the drainboard.  I’m not ashamed of how our house looks.  I mean, we live there.  When you only get a few hours notice, and you have to work all day, there’s not much that you could do anyway. . . but if I saw the piles of laundry on the floor near her washing machine or the leftover breakfast dishes in the sink, just once, I wouldn’t be nearly as self conscious about our clutter.

Not Exactly Maine or Canada

19 Sep

I spent the last week, longing to live in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine. . . or Canada. . . I’m not picky. . . in some old farmhouse, with a clothesline in the yard, tons of huge trees, fresh bread in the oven, and pies cooling on the counter.  Realistically, that’s never going to happen unless the entire Miller clan decides to move north with us?  I’m relieved to say that a weekend full of casseroles, homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh bread, smothered okra, and loads of clean laundry has made everything okay.  That trip to New Orleans didn’t hurt either. . .

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Maw Maw’s Peach Cobbler

15 Sep

So. . . what does fishing have to do with peach cobbler?  Nothing except that my Maw Maw had the best recipe for peach cobbler in the world. . . and she loved to fish.  So there.  Honestly, I can’t ever remember eating peach cobbler at her house?  But when my elementary school published a cookbook a few decades back, her recipe for cobbler was included.  It’s REALLY easy, and REALLY yummy, so I made it a lot growing up.  Last night, I came across a can of peaches in the pantry and decided it was time to share my love of Maw Maw’s cobbler with my little guy and with the world!  (Or at least the five people who read this blog.)

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Maw Maw’s Peach Cobbler (borrowed from p. 130 of the St. Francis School Cookbook)

1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. butter
1 large can sliced peaches (side note. . . what is large? I did this with a 16 oz. can last night and remembered that it probably was a bigger can that we usually use)

Melt butter in cobbler dish. Blend together first 5 ingredients. Add to butter in dish without stirring. Pour peaches (and juice) on top. Bake at 350º until center is set and lightly browned (about 45 minutes).
Mrs. Jules Fontenot (grandmother of Eric, Shelly and Jared)

That gives you a clue as to how hold the cookbook is. . . my little brother and sister aren’t even included because they weren’t in school yet.  And now THEY have kids in school.

And then there were two. . .

1 Sep

As a part of life in the foster care system, each case has an FTC or FTM (Family Team Conference / Family Team Meeting) every six months.  According to our local Department of Children and Family Services website:

“Family Team Meetings bring together a family and interested people, like friends, neighbors and community members, with resources from child welfare, mental health, schools, and other helping agencies. These interested parties work together to learn what the family hopes to accomplish, set realistic and important goals, recognize and encourage the family’s strengths, identify what the family needs, find solutions that build on the family’s strengths and lead to necessary changes, make a plan for who will do what and when it will be done, and agree on the next steps. The purpose of Family Team Meetings is to keep children safe, promote children’s well-being and support families.”

As a foster parent, I’ve been invited to, and attended all of these meetings for our son. They never quite worked as intended.  His birth family, either parent, never showed.  However, the meetings have been a great opportunity for me to get an update on the progress of the case and to meet some of the key players.  At the beginning, the room was full of people.  His caseworker was there, her supervisor, his CASA volunteer and her supervisor, social workers, the investigation worker who determined that he needed to be removed from his home. . . I think a lawyer or two even showed up at the first meeting.  However, as the case has progressed, the crowd in the room has dwindled.  18 Months in, at yesterday’s meeting, the only people to show were me and his caseworker.  I get that, from a practical standpoint.  Rights for both parents have been terminated, but the case hasn’t been moved to the adoption unit yet.  A lot of those people who were there before no longer have any connection to the case.  It was just a little sad to walk into a room, where in theory we were going to have this great discussion about a little boy’s needs, and it was only the two of us. . . and we chatted about Facebook.  Yep.  The good news, though, is that rights have been terminated for both parents, and we are going to be transferred to the adoption unit!  And we have been fortunate to have the same amazing caseworker through all 18 months of his time in foster care (which for those of you not in the know is crazy rare)!  And his CASA volunteer is awesome and supportive and is in touch frequently!  It may not have looked like it on Wednesday, but this kid does have an amazing support team and a whole boatload of people who love him.  And, eventually, I’ll start posting pictures on this dang blog again.  Out of every 100 pictures I take, there are probably two that don’t have our little man in them. . .

I’m linking up to this amazing blogroll of other foster / adoptive parents who are talking about whatever the heck that they want to talk about this time around.  If fostering is something that you’re considering, you should check some of these out.  It’s always great to get a perspective from someone who’s been through it.

 

No Bohns About It

Time for Myself

28 Jun

Every once in a while, I decide that I need to carve some time out of my day for myself.  Yesterday, I realized that I could do something while my two men entertained themselves with Chu Chu TV in that half hour before bedtime.  I considered hauling some fabric out of the closet and working on my next sewing project – a quilt for my stinker – but then I did this instead. . . dishes.  I’m so glad that I made time for myself. . .

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