Friday, March 29, 2013

Our First Safe Families Child is Here!

And then there were four!

As you may have guessed by my absence here, this week we started hosting our first child through the Safe Families for Children program.  If you missed my first post on Safe Families, it is here. So far it has been quite a ride, but mostly in a good way.

Our house is in the middle of a painting-carpeting event, that includes highlights like exposed tack strips, bed frames in the living room and carpet on back-order.  Fun times.  If you know me, you can imagine how crazy this makes me.  In fact, in the spirit of honesty, let me give you a peek at my house this week:
One bedroom completely out of commission until the carpet comes in (but do you like the new curtains?!)

The living room is not fit for much living in
But the piece-de-resistance is really the office.  Yikes.
So when Safe Families called on Wednesday, hours after I was telling a friend that we were in NO way ready to take a child, of course we said YES!  Because really, what else do you say when there is a homeless child who needs a place to stay in February.  Inconvenient does not equal impossible.

I won't share any specific information about our little guy, other than he is two and a half, and cuter than a dickens.  It is a shame I can't share pictures, because I promise you his dimples would melt your heart.  He is settling in, finding his place in the pecking order (precariously placed between a one and a half year old, and a three and a half year old), and endearing himself to all five of us.

Obviously this is early days yet, and we have SO much to learn, but here are a few thoughts for the moment:

1) Sleepytime is hard.  As you'd expect, when naptime and bedtime roll around, our little guy starts missing his mama and expressing his grief over everything that is happening.  We have spent hours rocking, snuggling, laying on the floor next to and just holding him while he cries himself to sleep.  Bedtime is a two-person job- one to attend to our kids, and one to attend to him.  I tried solo naptime yesterday, and it was not exactly a success.  But hey- there are worse things that giving out cuddles.  And we are making progress.  Each night we have cut the bedtime upset down by about half...tonight it was only 45 minutes.

2) Adding an extra child adds one extra meal, one extra set of dishes, one extra pair of boots, one extra carseat to buckle...but five extra relationships.  Each of us is reacting in a different way.  Our other children are in need of extra love and reassurance from us right now.  Their grandparents have been super awesome...showering them with extra attention while we are busy.  Little Bee is in a mine-mine-mine screaming stage, and is used to her brother and sister giving in to her.  Our new little guy is less inclined to do that...which makes for a lot of refereeing on my part.  Note to self...clip the fingernails of both kiddos.

3) Advocating.  In two days I've already had several nice conversations with his mother, our local pharmacist, his pediatrician, insurance company, social worker, and our SFFC coach.  This is not hard, and I am more than happy to track down what our guy needs, but it takes time- both face time and phone time- which can be hard to come by with four kids running around.

4) We have been really proud of our kids...they have showed a lot of patience and compassion to the new child.  Lego came with me to pick him up and was awesome...he brought some toy cars to share, introduced himself to the child and his mother, and broke the ice for everyone.  He rubbed Little Man's back when he was crying on the way home, and picked up his cup for him about twelve times.  They have been very patient with the crying (and they are ALL sleeping in a room together at the moment, so they have heard all of it), they have snuggled him, shared toys and overlooked some hitting/pushing/toy stealing.  He is a very sweet, well-behaved child, but he is still a two year old after all.

5) People are awesome.  A million thanks to all our family and friends who are supporting us- we totally feel the love.  Offers of diapers, clothes, car seats, playdates, babysitting, hair-care advice...all so kind (and we are totally taking you up on it!)  They say that God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called...and you have all been equipping us with what we need.  Thanks!!

So...that's the story so far.  I'm sure we will look back on this post some day and laugh.

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