Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There is a difference

I was asked by a friend to write this out as a blog post. I was telling her about this meetup group that I just started going to for families of adoption. It's a mixed group of people who have adopted domestically, internationally, through foster care, etc and also those who are in the process of adopting.

In our last meetup, one of the women was asking why we keep talking about how hard it is at first. She said she has friends and family who have biological children, and she never hears about this struggle that adoptive parents seem to talk about. This is not to say that it's not hard for all new parents. However, there is definitely a different struggle adoptive/foster parents are dealing with.

After hearing a few people in the group miss the point of her question, I decided to speak up.

I have a friend who loves to point out the similarities we had preparing for baby. There was about 9-12 months of preparation for us to become foster parents...similar to the 9 months of gestation in pregnancy, I would have these crazy dreams of inadequacy as a parent...similar to a pregnant mother, etc. Then there is the waiting and not quite knowing when there will be a baby in your arms. There were other examples she would come up with, I just can't remember and really it's not important.

When you are pregnant with your baby, you spend that time bonding with and getting to know your baby. They learn your voices. They learn the feel of your movement. The baby is encircled and protected by mom. You are their protection, safety and comfort. That is all they have known for 9 months.

When the baby is born, that bond continues. Plus, you know what to expect. A mushy newborn. Now you get to know this baby in person and you get to see them stretch and kick at 10pm like they did when they were in your belly.

Our entry into parenthood was a rambunctious toddler dropped off at our house at 6pm on a Friday. Here are his things, I'll check in with you later. That was it. It was like a bomb went off in our lives. We didn't know what he liked to eat. We didn't know his bedtime routine or even what time he went to bed. We didn't know what scared him or what made him laugh. We had a miniature stranger in our house.

The hardest part and the real struggle that we all talk about is knowing we are strangers to him. We weren't that comfort or safety for him. We weren't that familiar smell or soothing voice. We can't just hold him and feel him relax in our arms. Luckily this comes with time.

Let me tell you, Mario and I took turns those first few weeks waking up in pure anxiety wondering what we had done. Was it worth it? would would it get better?

Before you become a parent, you absolutely know how you are going to parent and what rules you'll have...and then you have this toddler in your home screaming at the top of his lungs because you told him "no". This is when you realize that you know absolutely nothing of parenting.

Another new thing you have to learn is how to communicate with your spouse as parents...you've never communicated to them like this before. Also, as similar as you thought your parenting styles were, they are now very different when faced with a tantruming toddler.

No matter how soon after birth you have that baby placed in your arms, that baby experiences the trauma. The trauma of loosing or being removed the safety of that familiar smell and sound of the birth parent that they have known as they formed in uterus. No matter how unsafe that situation was, It's a jolt in their world. No matter how much you wish or think it won't matter...it does. You are now parenting a child who has experienced trauma and loss. This will always be there.

Luckily we all adapt to change. We learn to sooth and your baby learns to feel safe in your arms and comforted by you. You learn what the cries mean and sometimes you even enjoy those sweet moments in the middle of the night when you have to rock them back to sleep. You create a schedule and learn their favorite foods. That anxiety that woke you up making you question your decision to foster or adopt, slowly fades. Soon enough you have a new normal.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rolling up on 40 years

I'm not sure when it happened...but I'm almost 40 years old. I don't feel 40. I don't think I look 40. I sure as shit don't act 40. How does that just happen?I think I'm actually handling it better than I did turning 30. However, I've made plans to ensure that I have a good birthday and don't spend my time crying.

First, I decided I wanted to do something with my family. After much searching online for unusual things to do like camp in yurts, stay in kitchy mobile home and rent a cabin somewhere...it was finally decided to just take the drunk cruise with the fam. I wasn't particularly excited to go on the same cruise for the third year in a row, however, I haven't been with my mom and sister. I went with my sister about 10 years ago. I haven't gone with my mother or brother in law...and I certainly haven't gone with a toddler in tow. So hopefully this will make it new and exciting. I wasn't excited to go on this cruise as a memorable 40th birthday, but I love how excited my mom is and I'm really starting to get into the idea.

I've also decided to go with a birthday party. And I mean all out. I love sharks, so I'm planning a shark themed birthday party. I've already picked out all the decor. Mario decided we should cater this great mexican restaurant. Then we'll throw a movie up on the wall of the house and watch some seriously cheesy shark movie. I'm more than excited about this! I'm also very close to hiring a mariachi band to play for a bit. It all works with the theme of the shark movie.

The movie is supposedly set in Mexico. However to save money, it was filmed in Czechoslovakia or some place like that. They threw some mexican flags up and called it a day. So I'm going with it...mexican flags and all!

I might be a little more excited about the party than the cruise...but I'm so happy! It's the best way to bring on the big 40! My sister already told me that she wants to bail on the cruise and just hit the party...I don't blame her.

I think just to round out the month, I might plan something else...we'll just have to see!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Oh the Wait

Today Mario and I left Joy with the babysitter and headed to family court for the first time since becoming foster parents. We wanted to show our faces to the judge, so she would know that we are serious about our want to adopt this kiddo.

We packed for a long wait. Books, snack, phones charged. We got there just when we were supposed to. Of course I was pulled out at security because I had scissors in my purse and my pokey self defense key chain. While I walked my contraband back to the car, Mario checked in.

When I got back, I found out we were waiting for the list of hearings to find out where we needed to go. After about 45 minutes, the list came out and Mario got in line. After what seemed like a very long time, I got up to see where he was and found him just walking up to the desk. Long story short, She was listed under a incorrect last name. After a long search and lots of double checking birthdays and hearing numbers...we were on our way upstairs. The whole time Mario kept saying "I hope we didn't miss the hearing. We were stuck down there for so long"

Upstairs we got off the elevator to the holding pen. It was a huge room with tons of families waiting around for their time in the court room. Some seemed to know the drill well and brought games and activities for the kids. Some families were quiet. Some families were just enjoying the visit with their kids. It was nice and strange all at the same time.

Around this big "L" shaped room on outside part of the L were a bunch of smaller rooms where the trials were held. There were layer types walking in and out of rooms and into other rooms. Randomly a bailiff would walk out and call a name. Some of the lawyers would call out names and others were just hanging out waiting for their time in the courtroom.

We waited around awkwardly not sure what to be doing. We were told to check in with the bailiff, however, we didn't see our bailiff for a long time. After the name mix up downstairs, I was texting with Joy's social worker, trying to make sure we had the correct name and also throwing in a last minute request to take Joy on a cruise in June for my birthday.

Now I needed to find her attorney among the waves of people coming in and out of the court rooms. I asked a few people to no avail. Finally, finally! Around 11am I saw our bailiff come out. I ran up to him to check in...and found out that her trial had been first thing in the morning. Mario had been right...we missed it. I was so bummed!!

I really wanted to be able to show the judge that we were there and serious. This court hearing was for TPR. Termination of Parental Rights. If they granted the request for TPR, this will open up Joy for adoption. After a year of fostering, we are skeptical and hesitant about things. This is a big step for Joy and us. We wanted everything to go well...missing the hearing was not part of the plan!

Luckily the bailiff was just so nice. First he asked where the heck we had been...we explained sitting out there waiting to see him and also stuck downstairs with a name mix up. He went back in the court to find out the outcome of the hearing and to hopefully find Joy's attorney. The attorney was gone already. However, he kindly told us (after asking us if we were wanting to adopt Joy) that TPR had been granted and that meant that she was now free for adoption.

Cue the crying! I cried walking to the elevator, I cried walking to the car, I cried driving to our celebratory lunch, I cried texting my family and calling our social worker to find out what is next.

We came home and spent the rest of the day enjoying Joy. Excited about the prospect of adopting the awesome little girl and a little sad for her family. This is a learning process and journey I hadn't thought we'd be going on...but I love it and know it's what we are supposed to be doing.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Space

It all starts with a garden. My sister in law has talked about putting in a veggie garden for a while...like when she bought her house 4 years ago. I know I've mentioned this before. Where she is a dreamer, I am more of a do-er. We discuss veggie garden and I go out and buy the plants. She keeps thinking about it, until someone else takes the lead.

A month ago we talked out the logistics. Two 4ft x 6 ft beds. No you don't need 2 foot high beds...that's a LOT of dirt to come up with. I know what veggies I would want to put in...all my usual stuff. Tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, onions, herbs, all the good stuff! However, being this is my SIL's backyard, I asked what she would want planted. I secretly was very curious because...well, my SIL doesn't really eat vegetables. So, I can only imagine whatever she plants would just be for looks.

I thought we were all figured out. I was just waiting for her to get started on her raised bed project. I mean she has been talking about this for years, now you have help...lets do this! But there was no action.

She's definitely one of those people that will come up with lots of ideas...but there's no follow through. Though she would never admit it, she's the type of person who wants someone with her holding her hand to get things done. Just moving in, we had to push her to get stuff moved, hidden, garage sale-d, donated, etc. We moved in a month later than planed because of lack of motivation. Like I said raised beds have been talked about since she bought this house.

Cut to last week, I had a baby sitter for Friday and no shoots on the books. And as much as I am completely against being an enabler, I had decided to get those beds in! I had planned all week to finally buy the makings. Thursday, I'd buy the lumber. Friday, I'd build and start getting the dirt in. I was excited. I'm dying to get a garden going! There's space and it'd be great for the kid to help...and veggies!

However, I had decided I wasn't going to tell the SIL. I was just going to do it and make it my little project and then she could see it on the weekend when she went outside. I think this was my way of not being an enabler, if it's my project then I'm not doing it for her. Plus, I would be going with what she had planned about as far as size and placement went, so I wouldn't be over stepping any lines.

Just before I headed over to buy the lumber, I decided to ask the mister one last time if he was ok with this. All week, he had seemed cool with it. So, I'm not really sure why I asked. However, now he really seemed hesitant. He thought we should tell her. So, I told him to send her a quick message letting her know that I was buying the stuff.

That's when it all went sideways. Mario was really busy and knew this would start a long line of questioning...and boy did it! I am irritated because I know this is the only way these beds will get in. And the SIL is asking a million questions about types of wood, size and locations and a million other questions. I told him to tell her never mind. That's when I completely lost my mind for an hour.

I'm tired of being in someone else's home, using there stuff, asking for permission, following other people's rules. The only space that is mostly ours is our bedroom and it's hard for two grown adults to live in one small space and work out of that space. So, I know it all boils down to needing my own little space. I need a spot that I can make my own decisions about. I don't want to have to ask what type of plants I can put in. I don't want to be looked at and silently judged on how I am doing something. I just want to put in some goddamn veggies without any problems. I feel so trapped right now.

So, I'm looking for a community garden spot. Of course there are waiting lists for any local gardens. However, the thought of having that spot for myself...is amazing! The thought makes me happy and hopeful. We might be out of here before I get that little plot of land, but I'll still give it a shot! Here's to a little freedom!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Life has been pretty quiet lately. My work has been quiet the last two or three weeks. I think that's due to spring break. This week is definitely picking up...thankfully! Shoots are on the books, so I can relax a bit.

Mario has been working hard...a few late nights. Which is fine when it's sushi night! There was a week or two in there that we didn't see him much.

This kidlet is just doing her thing...being cute. She's also learning a lot of new things lately. She's been signing some words that she can't quite say yet, like please and "all done". It's pretty cute to see her getting excited to use communication that we all know. A lot less frustration for all of us. She's just been taking off with her learning!

Of course true to toddler form, she's also pushing limits and being a sass pants...but she's good at it! I see her lean back on the couch and put her feet up on the coffee table and I see a teenager! the thought scares me, but I'm glad she's so relaxed with us and feeling comfortable.

Her next court date is in a few weeks and we should get a better idea of how long she'll be with us. No one wants to see her go and her social worker and adoption worker would love to see us adopt. However, we've been in this fostering long enough to know nothing is set in stone. It's completely up to the judge. They will always place with family first. So, while we'd love to adopt her one day...we'll get excited when we are signing the papers! You know...expect the worst, hope for the best.

That's mostly it for us. Mario and I have taken on a new little project, that's under wraps for now. We're having fun though. No not baby making...we are happy with our fostering journey. This is fun stuff. One day we'll tell people...for now, under wraps. I know...vague and annoying.

Other than that...it's work and some relaxing. I'm ok with that. That means we are getting to spend our time enjoying the kid!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Venting and a Reward

Last week Mario's sister gave Mario and the baby the greatest gift of all...a nasty cold. I was a bit mad. I told her to steer clear of the baby. If you are sick, do everyone a favor and stay in quarantine. It's not fair to pass the crap to everyone else because you feel the need to be in the living room and don't cover your mouth when ya cough...you old enough to know how colds are spread.

Mario came home from work at lunch one day last week and collapsed into bed. Then the baby started coughing. Mama was not happy at all. It fully hit the baby just after bedtime. She spent an hour crying. I felt so bad for her. She was so uncomfortable and achy. Needless to say, Mario was irritated when his sister came out of her room at midnight to ask if the baby was crying because she was teething. Uhh no, you gave her the nasty cooties. So there was a trip to the pharmacy at midnight for a humidifier (a miracle worker!) 

Mario was out 2 days from work. The baby was down most of the weekend. She was a top notch grouch...rightfully so! It was trying to say the least. Single mother of two sick whiny babies! haha.

We made it through the weekend though and then Mario's sister left town for work a few days ago. I have to admit it's a great to have the house to ourselves. I really really appreciate that my SIL has given us this opportunity to live here, however, even after 6 months of living here...it still is her house and her space. 

I feel like there is this constant reminder any time I move something...my stuff, my house. It's strange cooking in someone else's pots and using someone else's utensils and not knowing if it's really ok or it's merely being tolerated. There is a stack of laundry on the dryer that I don't know where to put, because it's not my place to go through dressers to find where things go. So it's just accumulates. 

As I've stated before, we are much more active with the cleaning. Dishes included. There was a pot in the sink for 3 weeks because she didn't want to put the effort in to cleaning the burned on cheese from her work party...or maybe she thinks this is something we owe her for living here? Mario finally gave in...I wasn't happy that he did it, but it was disgusting.

There's a leak on the faucet in the front yard. It's only gotten worse in the last few weeks. We are in a drought...we are wasting so much water! She's tried putting a sealant on it, but it's a cracked pipe...sorry, you need a plumber now. No we needed a plumber 2 weeks ago!

It's frustrating to say the least. It's been made painfully clear that it's her house and her decision on how things go. I've gotten good at keeping my mouth shut. It's just been hard going from being a family that really takes action when a problem arises or when things just need to be taken care of...to living under the roof of someone who likes to sit on decisions for months at a time.

So, I might have been a little excited to hear we would have the house to ourselves...I mean besides not having to worry about being heard during sexy time. It's nice to make meals without worrying if she's making dinner, made plans that somehow include us, or feeling a bit of judgement for ordering pizza two Friday's in a row. Washing clothes without feeling like I'm being timed. It's nice to watch a little tv in the living room without it being changed to something she wants to watch. It's just nice not to worry about what I'm doing that might be upsetting her. It's very freeing and I haven't been this level of happy in a while. I mean I am a happy person...but this is singing on the hilltops happy!

It's a nice to have a little extra freedom and happiness after all the sickness last week. I hope I don't sound too ungrateful! I really do appreciate being able to live here and save money for a house. I know that I will appreciate our house even more for it. I know we are giving up a bit of freedom now and a lot of space for a few years. The return will be our own home. It's well worth it...I just need to vent sometimes. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Back to Reality

Today was back to reality. Mario went back to work after a 5 week hiatus. This happens once a year, or so, between seasons of the television show he's working on. The writers need to get a jump on the next season before the animators start work on it. Usually he works through hiatus, either on extra stuff for the show or at another studio. This time the hiatus was fairly short and he really felt like he needed that vacation.

This was all perfect timing because we got our current foster placement, Joy, the week before hiatus started. So, I had the first week getting to know her myself, figuring out her schedule and feeding. Then Mario was off for the next month...and that was wonderful!

I love being able to tag team parenting. I loved being able to book all my shoots without having to think about lining up child care. It all works quite well between us. When I needed to get out and run around, he was with her or when he needed out, I was with her. He was able to spend time catching up with friends, working on personal art, and doing daddy duty. We were also able to really take her out to parks, the zoo and aquarium, and even have a nice family lunch or dinner. I think it was a great time for bonding with the little turd.

The countdown to his going back to work started 2 weeks ago...more for me than him probably. So, today while he was back at work...we were missing him. I didn't have any shoots or any pressing work, so that was nice. Man what a day though! Joy was having one of those bi-polar toddler days. Laughing one minute...crying the next. I was going between frustrated and laughing at how fast it all changed. It was all I could do really. She ate and slept well, ran around, played...but Monday was just too much for her.

I'm sure we both just missed having dad around. Luckily he worked it out that he can get home at a normal time. So we were able to cook dinner together and took turns hitting repeat on her favorite cd...anything to keep her on the happier side. By the time Aunt Angela came home, she was a pretty happy camper...of course it was then off to bed.

The one thing about Joy, and reason I've decided to call her Joy in my blog, is that even when she's in a crappy mood like today...she's still fun to be around. She wakes up happy and really is a Joy to be around! Tomorrow I hope we are on more of an even keel! The housekeeper/babysitter will be here cleaning. So during nap time, I'll run off to a shoot and hopefully be back before she's up. There really isn't anything better than seeing her little smiling happy face when she wakes up in the morning or from a nap. We really love this little girl!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Things that are making my head explode today

I know these are small things, but over the last few weeks, they've been making me crazy.

1. Why all the Christmas stuff can't go in one place. 90% of it's in the garage. Then there are things in this closet, some things in a drawer, and two boxes of ornaments that are sitting in the middle of a bedroom. The organizer in me thinks this is ridiculous. What's the point? It was pointed out that I was raised to appreciate logic...this is not logical.

2. People who are passive aggressive. Come on people, talk to each other. You are all human beings, communicate! Drop the power trip you are getting from being passive aggressive...it's not communicating anything. There is far more power in just talking your issue out with someone. I know it can be scary to say what needs to be said and the other person might not like it, but it goes so much farther than these stupid mind games where people are supposed to know why you are acting mad but saying everything is ok. Here's the other part of communicating...listening to what the other person has to say. And I'm not talking about you just telling someone why they are wrong and a bad person...I'm saying work through problems together. Imagine what could be accomplished if we use communication!

3. This is a little business complaint...people who don't pay their bill. I have one client who has two invoices due since September. There have been lots of promises and it's in the mail...and I've seen nothing. And now communication has stopped. I've even sent messages saying that I don't want our professional relationship to end or be hurt, I just want the issue resolved(see communication!). However, I think I have to take this up the line. It's time to speak with someone higher up at the company. Unfortunately, if that doesn't work, I have to take it to small claims court. I feel like it's such a simple solution to pay the bill. Even if it was a money issue, I would take payments. Oh the excitement of owning your own business! After 10 years, I'm still learning!

4. People who don't understand how loud they are. One of the things taught to us by my father was to be aware of how loud we were walking. His apartment was on the second story. We were taught to be very aware of how loud it might be for her below us. This definitely came full circle when I lived on the bottom floor of a two story building. Now with a baby, I'm fully aware of how loud people are. On the one hand, I don't think a child should be raised in an absolutely quiet house. I think they need to learn to sleep with noise around. However, we have a light sleeper and a loud adult in the house. I know most of the time adult doesn't hear how loud she is. However, there are times when it's deliberate. I don't see any reason for someone to stand outside a napping baby's door and yell for Mario. Also, slamming the front door in irritation, knowing that the baby is sleeping, is really rude. Not to me, go ahead and slam the door. However, you are being rude to that baby you love. They are affected. This is where I use my communication as much as possible...who am I kidding, it's irritating as hell.

I know these are all things that are really a small part of the big picture. I know they will be gone soon enough and I will have forgotten about them...the Christmas stuff is already mostly forgotten. However, these are the things I feel like I'm complaining about most lately. Poor Mario and Colleen have heard enough about my trying to collect payment and how loud someone stomps down the hall. I also know that if I vent now, it keeps it from building up. Already better!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Goals for the New Year?

This year I'm concentrating on balancing my personal life and business life better. So, the idea would be to come up with goals or ways to make sure that balance happens. hah! I spent January ignoring the goal thing and just generally denying the fact that it's really a new year. Today I finally decided to stop trying so hard...in other words I decided to give up and just go with what I have.

1st goal -you already know, more writing on this blog! I'm already happy that this is happening. It's my mini therapy session. I like the documentation, working through a situation in my head and then getting it written down. Sometimes, the result is way different than what the original idea started as. It's an interesting process to me.

2nd goal- Read more. This is one of the things that has really taken a hit in my life. When business is crazy and life is busy, I seem to forget to read. However, this is the one thing that really lets me turn it all off for a bit and get lost. What could be better to help me balance life and turn off work after hours! Read some damn books woman! One of the things I made an effort to do when we moved, was bring in all my books from the garage. I purged the books I didn't want and kept the stuff that seemed interesting. Now they are in my room on a book shelf ready to grab and go.

3rd goal - No more phones at the dinner table. This is purely a rule for me. However, it's funny to see how people turn off their phone when they notice that you are sitting there staring at them while they browse facebook. The other trick is to keep talking until they can't concentrate on their phone. I figure, if we are going out to dinner, we should be talking and enjoying each other company. There are the odd times when this rule can be broken...when I have to look up a bit of information that has to do with the conversation or educational purposes. This really hasn't been as hard to keep up as I thought originally.

4th goal - and probably the more embarrassing goals I absolutely needed to set...no more phones in the bathroom! If I really need entertainment in the bathroom, I can read a damn book...then that helps cover goal #2!

These goals are aimed at making time to do things that I enjoy in life. This is also a way for me to get my life back from facebook. It's not enjoyable for me, yet it takes up so much of my spare time. I'm not sure when facebook became my go-to for when I'm bored...but it also became my go-to for when I'm not bored also. I feel like it became a habit to pick up my phone and look at what people are doing. I mean when I have to make a rule not to bring my phone into the bathroom with me...that means I'm spending too much time on facebook! This is precious time that could be spent playing with our little girl or reading a book to her.

I have to say, I don't feel like I'm making any big leaps or commitments here, but I'm pretty content with the little changes I'm making.  I feel like I am trying to be more conscious of where my time is spent and investing my time in something that I consider to have more quality than political bullshit or drama. When I started writing this blog, I thought they might be half ass goals, but really they are all about enjoyment...what could be a better goals to meet!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On Fostering

I was talking to Mario the other night and mentioned that in May it will be two years from when we started this fostering adventure. However, we've technically only been parents for four of those months.

It's been totally different than what I thought it would be like. It took nearly a year to get our first placement. Between getting home studies, taking classes, preparations and our social worker going on emergency leave, we didn't get a placement until April. Almost a year after we started the process. We really thought we'd have had a placement much earlier. However, life reared it's head.

Our first placement was a toddler. He was our first big test. Going from no kids to a toddler was hard. However, he was smart beyond his years and because of that we had to keep an eye on him. That cute booger was into everything and loved being outdoors. He was with us until mid July.

 He was our first good bye. I still miss him every day. I have a hard time looking through photos of him and not getting emotional. He was our first baby and taught us so much. More importantly, how to love unconditionally.

Then because of our move and trying to get my sister-in-law's home ready for inspection, it took until November to get us licensed again.

We got our second call for a newborn foster placement the week before Christmas. We were supposed to pick her up on Friday, but because of her situation, we didn't get to pick her up until Monday before Christmas. We visited her every day at the hospital. Got to know her and her schedule, fed her and cuddled her. When we did take her home, it was interesting because it was top secret. The hospital took the situation very seriously. They were very careful to make sure we never ran into the parents or the family. The nurses actually wheeled me out in a wheelchair, so I'd look like I was just a normal mother leaving with my baby.

That was a minute by minute situation. Things changed so quickly, even her social worker was baffled. We had her for two nights and then she was ordered to go with a family member. The judge thought she should be with family for Christmas. I totally agreed, but had to say good bye to our Christmas baby. We learned a lot in those few days with her. She was sweet and content. She never cried. I was also able to get over my small fear of newborns. I was having those same dreams pregnant moms have, where you dream you forget the baby somewhere or don't change them. Those dreams are the worst! However, this sweet girl got me over that!

A few weeks later and we are with our third placement. A 1 year old little girl. Tomorrow is court. So, hopefully tomorrow night, we'll find out how long we'll have this sweet girl with us. Depending on court, this is the only placement that looks semi long term and they have even mentioned adoption. I have to be realistic though and keep in mind that like all foster placements, things can change so fast. I have to expect the worst and hope for the best. Until then, we'll enjoy our time with her!

I think the one thing we've learned is to never assume you know how it will go. Every placement has been different. Well, different on the outside. On the inside, it's about loving these babies for as long as we have them. Foster care is an adventure and a complete mystery!