Turning 36 is not a big deal. I’m now closer to 40 than 30. Deep breath. I should be dismayed. But I’m not. In my lifetime I’ve accomplished some impressive things. For five years I’ve been a foster parent. I bought a house…..a huge gift from God. I adopted two brilliant little girls – fighting the system when their social worker decided another family would be best even though they’d been with me over a year and were doing amazingly. Before a panel of three seasoned women I pleaded my case. Without legal representation I won against Children’s Aid’s experienced lawyer. Months before my victory the Ontario government introduced a subsidy for people adopting foster children over the age of 10 or sibling groups of any age. This provision allows me to remain an at home mom – currently with two foster children and two adopted children. And in November 2012 I launched a coffee & tea business which is reaching the business goals I had in mind – giving my kids work experience and providing opportunities for people to shine. A friend and her daughter recently manned my booth at the Niagara Home Show. The young lady put on her confidence and rocked the show. “The best part was having mommy and me time,” she said after the nine hour stint. When God told me I had an anointing for family, I thought that meant building my own. So glad it goes beyond that.
The big picture is really good.
However, my birthday marks the start of my 5yr on meds. Before fostering I was completely against behaviour meds for kids. Sloan* has made incredible strides in the two years I’ve had her. During that time she settled into my home, built a relationship with me, was reunited with her sister after 3mths apart, had a farewell visit with her birth mom whom she hadn’t seen in over a year, found out she and her sister were going to be adopted, found out that might mean leaving me. Sloan fought to stay. She started calling me mom. Two weeks before starting Junior Kindergarten, the review board’s decision came through in my favour. The day after her first day at school, Sloan stayed home to sign the initial adoption papers. Her last name changed. She stopped being a foster child. To a rational adult that’s amazing. For a then 4yr old it was terrifying. Who would she be if not a foster child? Wrestling with that she began grieving the loss of her birth family. Then there are five full days of school when all she wants is to be home with me. The adoption had to be processed by the courts. The social worker, who didn’t want me having the children in the first place, was still very much involved. Sloan had to go to school. Her response has been to stop using the toilet. It’s April. This began in September. I’ve tried everything imaginable. Just after getting the court documents in January, I set up a meeting for Sloan with her birth mother (more on that to follow in a later blog). She said goodbye with a better understanding of what that means. We visited my sister in Winnipeg. Sloan’s getting used to using titles like grandma and aunt for my family who she’s known from a distance. It’s been an eventful two years.
Initially, the pediatrician was reluctant to prescribe medication. The questionnaires she gave me and the teacher clearly indicate attention deficit. I said all the right things at our second appointment, leaving with a prescription. This is how I will mark my birthday: beginning my 5yr old on behaviour meds. I’m trying not to judge myself too harshly. Two years of incredible challenges and amazing gains with Sloan. I can’t recall anything about last year’s birthday but this one is certainly memorable.
Happy Birthday to Me!