For obvious reasons I won't be able to share much about the girls who have joined our family. We signed confidentiality agreements since they aren't our children, but even if they were (or become) ours, we certainly want to respect their privacy. Their background is their story to tell, not ours. I will share what I can about the general fostering process and our daily life. I just want to be careful not to overstep my boundaries. So if it seems like they aren't present in a lot of what I post here, that's why :)
I won't be sharing identifying pictures or their real names. A few days before they got here, our kids were guessing what their names were going to be. Harper said she wanted them to be two girls and their names to be Flower & Flower. She obviously loves flowers and is also clearly very original. Harrison went on to offer more detail and said that if they have to be girls and they have to have flower names then they should be Lily & Violet. So this is what I'll refer to them by on here.
Lily & Violet joined our home almost 2 weeks ago. We got a call around 9pm asking if we would take them and then they were here a couple of hours later. They are sweet & precious & that is an understatement. The first week was tough for them. Lots and lots of tears as they adjusted to living without the people they know best and with the people they know least. The kids have been a great buffer for them. It is a lot easier to trust a child than it is an adult. They attached to me fairly quickly and I'm thankful for that. It has been challenging at times that I can't leave their sight without inflicting panic but I am glad that they trust me and are allowing me to comfort them. It has taken them longer to warm up to Rick but they are definitely getting there.
It has been a learning process. Lots of trial and error. I feel like I was very prepared for handling more of the expected behavioral issues but there have been essentially zero issues there. What I wish I had researched more was the grief aspect of it all. For instance, H&H had a sleepover with my mom that was already on the calendar before the girls got here. I didn't think twice about canceling it and instead thought it would be a great opportunity to give them extra attention while our kids had a fun time at their grandparents. WRONG. As soon as we dropped them off it was nothing but uncontrollable sobbing and asking for them. From their perspective, the kids they had just bonded with were now gone. It is all so confusing to them. Even the slightest change affects them in such a huge way. So we are focusing on establishing routines and reminding them constantly that we aren't leaving them (they ask us this frequently). I also prepare them anytime someone is coming over or if we are about to go somewhere. They get very overwhelmed and scared around new people and in new places.
It's been a bit like the newborn phase. Everybody is trying to adjust to our new normal and we have even spent a few nights driving everybody around until they fall asleep. But we are settling into a routine now and honestly, it's all gone much more smoothly than I anticipated. It is exhausting taking care of 4 preschoolers but it is also very rewarding and fulfilling. Our house is louder and crazier than ever but is also full of more love.
In other news, what made the first week even more chaotic was....
wait for it....
a trip to the ER.
(Yep, it gets better)
a fender bender on the way to the hospital.
In our own driveway.
Friday night's sleepover got cut short when Harrison spiked a fever. He then started with the barking cough that so many of us moms dread the sound of. I medicated him and put him to bed, but when I went in to check on him his breathing was labored and he had a very noticeable crackling sound in his lungs. I gave him a breathing treatment but even after that his oxygen sats wouldn't get up above 91% (we have a pulse oximeter because of Harper's asthma). I called the nurse but I already knew what she was going to say before she said it since I've heard it all before with Harper. Get him to the ER asap.
It was 1am at this point and I was running on fumes. Hadn't been to bed that night and had only gotten 3 hours of sleep the previous two nights. Can you see what I'm leading up to? I quickly loaded him up in the van and then quickly threw it into reverse...right into Rick's truck. It was a completely awesome moment in case you are wondering. I got out to survey the damage and saw the smashed up bumper of the van that still has paper plates laying on my driveway. I had to get Rick to come out and hammer it back on so I could get my baby to the hospital. I mean, really??? Are you kidding me??? I have NEVER been in an accident and THIS is the time I get in one? In my own driveway?? On the way to take my kid to the ER?? With two new little people inside our house who would freak if they knew I was leaving?? Let's just say that the Ugly Cry made an appearance that night. Anyway, thankfully a chest x-ray showed we caught Harrison's bronchitis before it turned into pneumonia and after more breathing treatments and oxygen his levels came back up and they sent us home with some antibiotics.
And if that wasn't enough, our refrigerator went out the following weekend. Really glad I stocked up our fridge and made a bunch of freezer meals that had to get thrown out. Sweet! It's also really fun for 6 people to live out of an ice chest for 4 days. Opposite Day! Our new one gets delivered tomorrow. It's a beauty, too. I guess that's the silver lining of having your refrigerator die.
What else could I incoherently ramble about?
I guess since I just spent the last 2 paragraphs grumbling and complaining, I'll end on a positive note. I got the courage to take all 4 kids to the store by myself last week. It was quite empowering. Going out in public solo was probably one of my biggest worries about adding 2 kids to our family. I figured we would be home bound a LOT and that made me kind of nervous. But it went great! And we were even at Walmart! For over an hour! With a 4, 3 and two 2 year olds! The twins are very laid back and calm which actually helped tone down the energy level of my Dynamic Duo. At least this time. :)
And of course I can't leave without posting a picture of the Dynamic Duo. I love these two so much it's scary.