Friday, April 18, 2014

The birthday party dilemma

Daisy is turning one year old in two weeks. I've had several people ask me if we're going to throw her a birthday party. Here's my answer...
  1. I never want to treat my foster kids differently from my forever kids!
  2. Birthday parties for my forever kids typically just involve family. I've thrown bigger parties before. When Herman turned one I invited a bunch of people that I worked with, some friends and all my family. Our tiny little house was jam packed. When TT turned one it coincided with his adoption as well. We literally invited our entire church and had a pot-luck one Sunday after service. But when Bart turned one there was much less fanfare. As my cherubs get older they have requested bigger parties. But I'm not the "bouncy-house, gift bags, tons of kids I don't know" party throwing kind of a mom.
  3. In general birthdays involve the child getting to pick out their favorite food for dinner. I bake and decorate a cake. And they open presents from family members. We've also had other small traditions like the child getting their own bottle of flavored milk from the store. (Strange - but my kids loved that tradition and it stuck around for several years.)
  4. I always want to meet my foster kids where they are at developmentally.
  5. Daisy doesn't have a favorite food. She can't eat cake. And my entire extended family lives over 1200 miles away. I've got a few friends in my neighborhood. And I suppose I could invite her therapists and social workers. But it would be over-stimulating and probably even scary to Daisy to have a bunch of people over to the house.
  6. Also, Daisy needs nothing right now. Every time I think of a toy or piece of equipment that might help with her development, I buy it right away. I honestly struggled giving my sister birthday present ideas yesterday when she asked me.
  7. And for what it's worth, Daisy couldn't open presents. She wouldn't even get anything out of hand-over-hand pulling on bows and ripping off paper. Once we got in to the present, Daisy couldn't see it anyway so the excitement would be lost on her entirely.
So I'm really not sure what we are going to do for Daisy's birthday.

I want everyone to know that I love and adore Daisy and that she is special to our family. But I don't have to throw a party for a bunch of other people to prove that. If I throw a party, it would simply be to have pictures so I could prove I threw a party. It wouldn't mean much to Daisy.

I also realize that her own biological family can acknowledge her birthday and take pictures if remembering the event that way is important to them. Bio Mom is high functioning. She can throw a party for Daisy during a visit if she feels it's necessary to have those kinds of pictures.

I don't mean to sound callous. I do want to celebrate Daisy's life!! But I think it's going to look a lot like us singing to Daisy "Happy Birthday" all day long. I'll be sure to take pictures of her with the presents she will be receiving. And that will be about it.

If Daisy is still in my life when she's older, and if she's more aware of thing things going on around her, future parties and celebrations will look different. But for now, I think I'm going to meet Daisy where SHE is at.


Jennifer Meyer said...

Your position is truly honoring what you feel is best for Daisy, and I applaud that! An event that is scary, frustrating and confusing does not sound fun at all :) Props to you for sticking with your heart. FWIW, it just occurred to me that is might be nice to put her in a nice/favorite outfit, let her play/snuggle with a favorite toy & grab a couple of photos, just to have a picture of her "on the day" she turned 1... But seriously, whatever works for your family is usually best :)

Cherub Mamma said...

Oh - I will definitely be taking pictures that day! (I snap a lot of pictures all the time anyway.)

And now that she can sit, I'm thinking getting her portrait done within the next month is in order as well. I had been avoiding that because I just couldn't see how they could get any flattering pictures of Daisy. A large baby, lying flat on the ground, not smiling - isn't super attractive.

Smiles are hard enough to capture out of most babies. But visually impaired cherubs are even harder to catch smiling because they don't respond to the same stimuli. I usually grab my phone and start snapping when she is choosing to smile as opposed to trying to "get" her to smile.

But now that she can sit...I think we'll be able to get a much nicer picture even if she doesn't smile.

And one more side note: Minimum Standards require that I have a studio picture done of Ricky as well. He wasn't with me during school pictures and I just found out that means I'm required to take him somewhere to get his picture taken.

I think it's a good minimum standard. But the interesting thing is - no one makes sure the cherubs get to keep these pictures that are taken. I just have to submit one to my licensing agency that will stay with them forever. When the cherubs leave Care, I believe the info in their file, including the picture, is destroyed. < ugh >

EDS Warrior said...

Wow! I can't believe that information in their file is destroyed after they leave care! Here in Aus, documentation of any sort has to be securely store for so many years before it can be destroyed - I think the minimum amount is 10 years but others are 25!

I think you're doing the right thing re: Daisy's birthday. Just spent the day as a family, celebrating her. No need for a crowd of people, a mountain of presents & a bouncy house (we call those jumping castles here) for Daisy to pick up the "I am loved" vibes!!

Cherub Mamma said...

Don't quote me on things being destroyed. But I do know that the case books are dismantled at my licensing agency. And I know that NO ONE made sure to send any pictures with Dude & Dolly. In fact, NO ONE asked about Life Books or anything like that when they left my care.

I don't know if CPS keeps a copy of their photos or not.

All I do know is that Daisy will have a memory book and Ricky will have any photos that he wants.

kate said...

Pictures sound great. :>

I think a cake is in order. I know that Daisy won't have any part of it. But, it is also a way for your other cherubs to tell her, "We're glad you were born!" THEY know the celebration traditions your family has. It might be important to them to love on her in that way.

JMHO. :>

LOL about the flavored milk! My dd gets (her only) box of "chocolate ball cereal" every birthday. Oh, the joy of annual processed food indulgence!