Angel arrived last night at 8:00PM. Her foster mommy is very sick and was nearly admitted to the hospital yesterday. The doctors said it would not be safe for Foster Mom to care for her children right now because she is quite contagious. (Silly me...I never did ask if I needed to be worried about the cherub passing something on to me because of my suppressed immune system.) Angel is 22 months old and doesn't speak much. She's such a beautiful little thing! (With short hair!! I'm so excited to not have to spend extra time on long hair. Yippee. Thank God for small miracles.)
I was warned by Rainbow that Angel is very attached to her foster mommy and would most likely cry a lot. I was prepared for the worst and was pleasantly surprised last night. Angel barely cried at all. And this morning, she is all smiles.
But, in true respite fashion, I didn't get all I need to care for this beautiful child. All of my per diem that I'll receive has already been spent on a new car seat.
I told Rainbow that I HAD TO HAVE an appropriate car seat. The foster parents gave Rainbow the one they use for her. Now, I'm no car seat nazi, but I do have standards. The car seat that was sent to me is over 10 years old (it doesn't have LATCH straps on the seat...LATCH straps became standard in 2002 on all car seats produced), they didn't even provide a locking clip to buckle it in safely as is, the padding is ripped and the foam is very worn, the straps were permanently folded in half, and – from what I could tell – it seems they bought it used because it still has a garage sale sticker on it.
Needless to say, I went out to WalMart this morning and dropped $40 on a new car seat so that I can safely travel where I need to for the next few days. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the car seat when Angel leaves. I don't think I'm going to donate it to her foster family. I think her foster family needs to be responsible for buying an appropriate car seat themselves. Rainbow told me to let her know what I thought of the car seat today after I had a chance to really look at it. (She doesn't have kids and admitted her own ignorance on overall car seat safety.) I think I will use it for Dude when we travel to Iowa. Then, depending on what happens in January, I'll probably donate the car seat to our licensing agency as I will not have a need for a toddler/preschool sized five-point harness seat.
Thankfully appropriate clothing was packed. There was no toothbrush but I can forgive that. They did send diapers and wipes. This respite stuff is always a trip though. I have yet to have many kids come to our home with all they need for even a weekend. I'm not trying to dig on the foster parents down here, but we haven't had good luck doing respite very many times. Most often I have to go out and purchase items to get through the stay. I even had parents leave the children an entire day longer than what I agreed to without so much as an apology.
TT LOVES babies so I figured we'd sail through this without issue. He's super excited to have Angel here but unfortunately, he's struggling to keep things together. He sat down this morning to start school and got immediately dysregulated. I ended up sending him upstairs to play with Dolly and Angel. School can wait I guess.
Dude and Dolly don't quite know what to think. It's obvious they need a TON of reassurance. We've done a lot of talking about how we are just babysitting for Angel because her mommy is sick. (I'm leaving out the whole concept of "foster" on purpose. They wouldn't understand.) We prayed for Angel's mommy to get better. I've reminded Dude and Dolly that they are staying with me right now and that they won't be leaving me. (Better to skip what may or may not happen in four weeks and just focus on the fact they are here for now.) And I'm using phrases like, "Dude and Dolly are going to be such good friends to Angel," so they won't start thinking she is their new sister or anything complicated like that.
Dolly is upstairs playing with Angel right now. I'm trying to get Bart to stay focused on school. And eventually I'll get TT back downstairs to where we do school and I'll sit with him most of the day. He is so easily triggered by change. But how could I say no to this? We've got the room and a family was in desperate need. There are so few homes down here that Angel's sisters had to go somewhere else. It totally stinks having to separate siblings like this!! I can do it though...so I do.