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Michelle Conde

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About Michelle Conde

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    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

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  1. Dd11's academic writing has taken off and she has really put the foundational pieces together into a very strong writing process. Dd9 has improved on her reading stamina and attention focus to where she can now take a test and have it actually show roughly her real level of understanding. The charter school was so impressed by her improvement, and I was kind of going, um, yes, this is what I was telling you all along. Ds8 has made great improvement in his area of weakness (writing down his ideas) and has made wild progress in his area of strength. All my kids are mathy, but I admit to being overwhelmed when I look ahead at the apparent trajectory of these boys. Ds6 has made good progress in his area of weakness (learning to read) and is a complete math addict. As in, "You've been doing Beast Academy for four hours. You aren't allowed to do any more until you go play outside for a while" with ensuing tears. He's my most lopsided one. Dd3 has made about a year and a half of developmental progress in 10 months, and learned safety and trust and love.
  2. I have been so impressed with my kids' growth in compassion, patience, and generosity this year. There have been some other successes to celebrate, too, but these are the ones that really jump out. If I had known how hard the first six months of fostering was going to be on all of us, I don't know that I would have been brave enough to do it--but the character growth I have seen in my bio kids as a direct result has been amazing. They have willingly chosen to give of their home, peace, rooms, family, and attention, and if they didn't know what they were choosing the first time, they knew the second time, and chose it again. I am so proud of them.
  3. Yes!!! I know I will have my two boys home with me. If they are the only two and my little’s special ed preschool reopens for her twice a week, then I want to do lots of fun, messy projects and build in time for individualized rabbit trails, the way we homeschooled when I was just teaching my oldest two. But that’s not going to work if I have a whole bunch at home. My oldest two girls decided they wanted to try public school before all of this happened with quarantine shut downs. If schools are open in the Fall, they will be going, but they are not doing public school distance learning or some kind of hybrid. If they’re home, they’re homeschooling. We are still waiting on news from the school district before I can plan for them. My foster dd8 will be attending her same public school if it is open, but I have put in a request to homeschool her through my kids’ homeschool charter if they are doing distance learning. We could do way better for her academically, combine some subjects with other kids to save me teaching time, and not have to deal with trying to do things on the school’s timetable. This would apparently require permission from a judge, and who knows how open he/she would be, or how long permission might take to get. But we can’t ask until the school gives a solid plan. And, to top it off, my foster girls’ sisters (7 & 10) might come to us in August, right before the school year starts. If so and their school is closed, I will make the same request as for dfd8, but there will be little time to try to get a request through. I normally spend all summer doing very light school and using my extra time to plan and prep everything, but I feel paralyzed. I have some rough ideas for some curriculum choices at least for my four I’ve already been teaching, but that’s about it. Part of me keeps trying to worry about questions of how I can manage if I have all eight at home, would foster dds be offended if I combined them in subjects with younger bio kids they are at a level with, etc.—But generally I’m trying to just leave all that alone until the school district tells us what is going on. I hope it is soon.
  4. Thank you for your voice of caution and for being so open. I need to think on this more. My first thought is that I already have the one with the most severe issues, but then of course you never really know that, do you? You never know what DHS isn’t telling, or what will crop up later on. Dd3 regressed and had severe behavior issues following dd8 coming to live here—you know about some of that. But after dealing with a very rough period, she is doing so well now, and has benefited from being reunited with one sister. (Her nightmares that used to wake her screaming 8-10 times a night have steadily declined since her sister came, to where she now sleeps through the night more often than not for one thing). But I guess you never know. I suppose if you foster kids for a time without talking about it being permanent, you can see how reunifying siblings goes for them. But you probably wouldn’t see RAD issues until you were talking permanency, right?
  5. I do not think that what happened to these girls was meant to happen. I think their parents were allowed their free agency and used it for evil. But going forward from this point, I feel that God is asking us if we will care for care for these children of his—that this is what he means to happen in the future, if we are willing.
  6. Yes, we’re in the US. We would prefer adoption, but the case worker asked about guardianship specifically because she thought bio mom might agree to give us guardianship (she has been very happy with youngest dd’s progress since she came to us, and mentioned sever times to the cw how happy she is with the care they’re getting here). My guess is that guardianship might be a step on a longer road to adoption, maybe. The home the other girls are in is not a long term option. Their foster parents are not interested in adoption. I am frankly shocked that they managed to pass a home study.
  7. Maybe I could talk to you guys. . . I’ve had some big decisions on my mind, and no one irl with any experience in foster/adoption to discuss it with. The case worker spoke to dh recently, saying that we are coming up on a year here (in 2 months) since foster dds were removed and that neither parent is taking steps they should, and asking if we would consider a permanent guardianship. We would certainly, but we also strongly feel that our two girls and their sisters need to be together. There are two more girls who have been over to stay with us a number of times. And the more we talk and pray about it, the more we come to feel that they belong with our family. I don’t know how this could work. We already have six kids in a three bedroom house, with the four girls in one room together. We don’t have room in the car. I actually always wanted a large family, but I pictured them rather more spread out. (Eight kids in 7 1/2 years—or seven kids in 5 years plus littlest dd 2 1/2 years later). The idea of managing that many, that close together, for years, is daunting—and adding in the therapies and youngest dd’s delays and behavior issues makes my logical brain hesitant. Not to mention long-term questions about giving financial help when launching that many young adults that close together, and the still-unknown of whether youngest dd will be able to catch up completely in time or whether she will be permanently disabled, and will they always feel like two separate batches or will they have true sibling relationships in time? But somehow, the more I wonder and worry and pray and question, the more my heart feels at peace with this. Many months before dd8 came to us, we felt she was meant to come here. We were prepared in advance well before it seemed there was a cause—even the car that allowed us to seat another kid fell into our laps, as it were. And then we thought we had been mistaken as months continued to pass and word was that she was doing very well where she was. Until the day we got a call asking if we could take her right then, and we were ready. Even as my mind continues to worry and question, my heart becomes more and more convinced that if this is meant to happen, a way will be provided. But oh my goodness, it’s a bunch—this school year they were in 5th, 4th, 3rd, two in 2nd, 1st, K, and preschool. A year ago we were considering fostering one baby/toddler.
  8. Oh, me too! I would love to get in on that.
  9. I don’t think that what we want is relevant. Covid is pretty certainly going to be endemic, just like the flu. Any vaccine they eventually create has a higher likelihood of being about as effective as the yearly flu vaccines than as a measles vaccine.
  10. I wear a mask when a business I am going to requests it or if for some reason I will need to be in closer proximity to others who's feelings on the matter I don't know, out of courtesy to them. But otherwise, I am not bothering now. The point was to flatten the curve to avoid overwhelming the medical system--I have no illusions that we will avoid all catching it eventually. And in my area, now would be a really good time to catch it if one is assuming that it has to happen sometime. There are still low numbers of cases here, and the hospitals are below normal numbers as people who can wait on going are still doing so. So if my case does turn out to be a bad one, now is the perfect time. We aren't going to church or sports, so we aren't likely to cause a great deal of community spread. Also for my family personally, now during the summer when there's plenty of Vitamin D going around and the kids are out of school would be the perfect time to deal with it. If cases jump up here we will return to masking as needed in order to maintain the original goal of not overwhelming the medical system.
  11. Even if your area doesn't have a foster care closet, you can probably drop them off at the local DHS office and they can give them to foster families who need them. Our area doesn't have a foster closet or a clothing stipend.
  12. A relative once berated me for using the term “Hispanic”, claiming that it is a racist dog whistle and the proper term is “Latinx”. (She lives in a super woke area, and loves to tell others why things like this mean they are actually bigots). Um, my husband and children are Hispanic (and not Latino)—but apparently they don’t count. Because they don’t look Hispanic to her. Just calling people whatever they call themselves and generally trying to be considerate seems to be the way to go.
  13. My foster daughters have a sister who is turning seven today. We were all invited to her birthday party this evening—but late last night I got a call from her foster mother saying that they had changed their minds about inviting us. Apparently it is a joint party for their niece and my girls’ sister, and when a relative expressed concern over the number of guests invited, they decided to uninvite sister’s guests. I asked her to reconsider at least letting dfd8 come, and they thought about it for a while and responded that she could come. I would understand not wanting to get together a large group right now, or not wanting to invite our whole crew since there are so many of us, but I am completely incensed that they would just cancel on sister like that. Why not just hold two parties? She shouldn’t have to go without her family on her birthday because foster cousin’s grandpa doesn’t want them there! And if they would just make their foster kid play second fiddle at her own birthday party like that, then they have no business being foster parents.
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