Monday, November 29, 2010

kiwi Thanksgiving

We've just followed our new tradition of giving thanks for the children's birthparents on thanksgiving, and we also remembered the families of all the children we've fostered this year.
We were able to have a bigger do than usual as Beth and James are here from Sydney (this is instead of at Christmas) and some of James family came too.
We had twelve for lunch plus Isaac and 8 week old baby Malachi (James's nephew) and had turkey, ham and all the trimmings - including sweet potato and marshmallows (I used kumera which I think is the same as sweet potato - but perhaps I should have used orange kumera rather than white, and white marshmallows rather than pink which bled pink dye into it!)
James's mum Brenda had made pies for dessert, making a pumpkin pie with her American friend. The friend said that pumpkin pie is usually made by putting a tin of pumpkin pie filling into a ready made pastry case, but they weren't available in NZ so the pie had to be made from scratch.
It was a lovely time, all being together and encouraged us to clean the house too!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happier times

Rachel sent these lovely photos of her engagement party.

Sorry not to have blogged for so long following such a negative post!
Things have become much more manageable here now. Isaac is going to kindy every morning now in preparation for school next year and with Heidi gone this means I get a little time for myself some mornings!
My plan is to try studying again by doing some psychology papers next year at Massey (our local university) and I'm meant to be reading about psychology during these quiet times but actually I found myself addicted to the old TV series "West Wing" (I don't know how we missed it when it was on TV - it is probably even better than Boston Legal - so high praise from me indeed). I have now finished watching 7 seasons of 22 episodes each (I don't want to work out how much time that is!!) so can return to blogging and the general upkeep of the house (Joke!) and preparations for Christmas.
Beth and James are visiting next weekend when we hope to have a Thanksgiving/Christmas lunch with James' family.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What a week!

Packed week really - daughter Rachel got engaged, foster daughter moved on, my optician appointment said I might have early glaucoma, Lily's that she needs a cataract operation, Paul went for a busy few days and got food poisoning so badly he had to cancel his clinic and lie on his own examination couch all day, then give a very important lecture (with 30 people flying in from all over NZ) sitting down having eaten nothing for 24 hours.
We had a good relaxing weekend though, but this morning has started with 3 emails from trade me saying I (or could it possibly be the boy who played on the computer yesterday?) have pressed 'buy now' for three dvds and blue rays of Noah's favourite movie "How to train your dragon" (we don't even have blue-ray!). Lucky I have such a good sense of humour!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Goodbye Heidi

Heidi's goodbye went as planned. She spent all day yesterday with her new caregiver and this actually worked out well for me as Noah had an eye appointment at the hospital which I was able to take him too without any little children - just as well as they ran an hour late - we were there from 10.30 till 12.30 - he had drops put in to dilate his pupils and while we waited 30 minutes for them to work Paul came down and had coffee with us . Noah doesn't need glasses yet, but will be reviewed in four months.

When Heidi returned around 5 pm she was exhausted and grouchy and even vomited a small amount twice (behaviour we haven;t seen since she first came to us) we went through the usual bath routine which calmed her a little and put her favourite mainly music dancing songs on for her to dance to. She was really hungry downing two bottles and then falling deeply asleep by 6.30. I guess she was quite disturbed by the change in routine and people and hadn't been able to eat or sleep much.

This morning we dressed her in the new dress I'd bought her while we were in Sydney and all took her to the holiday park where her caregiver was staying. I managed not to cry until then but it was sad letting her go knowing what she'd been through before she came to us and hoping she'll be safe now.

This evening we're all going to go out to Pompeii Pizza together to celebrate being our usual smaller family again - I'm trying to make this a family ritual for the day foster children leave. The plan is for it to be positive but Hannah says "When people die you don't celebrate being a new smaller family" I argue that fostering is a bit different to bereavement - this loss marks the completion of our role so is a cause for celebration.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rachel is engaged

Rachel and Adam two years ago on her 21st birthday
Another celebration in the family as Rachel phoned this weekend to say that on Thursday - their fifth anniversary of being together - her boyfriend Adam proposed to her.
The proposal sounds so romantic and to make it even more special when Sky City hotel (where they were planning a celebration weekend) heard, they were upgraded to a suite for free, with rose petals over the floor!
It was lovely to hear Rachel so excited and happy on the phone and she was able to give the good news to my dad in the UK on his 79th birthday as a special birthday present.

Rachel is now 23 and came to us when she was four and a half was adopted when she was eight and lived with us until she was 16. She had a very tough start to life with us being the seventh primary caregivers she'd had by age four and a half. I was told by one social worker that Rachel's family history was the worst the social worker had ever dealt with. Understandably Rachel was very reluctant to trust us (we had never heard of attachment disorder in 1992 as naive foster parents but Rachel was described to us as an unbonded child) and we had plenty of upset and difficult behaviour over the years.

I can remember first hearing of Adam five years ago when Rachel was in the middle of some really difficult circumstances and unable to hold down a job. He helped her out and has been a real stabilising influence on her since, quietly showing her how he patiently stayed with his job even when he didn't enjoy it, had a licence to drive his car and so on.

They now own a house together which they spend a lot of time decorating and Rachel has been in the same job for over two years.

I feel as though we were able to just about hold Rachel together for the eleven and a half years she lived with us, but now with Adam's help she has learnt to be part of a loving relationship and blossomed into the adult woman she deserves to be.

Congratulations Rachel and Adam!