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T-minus Kiddo

When you find yourself willing to share many aspects of your life online, there is an expected amount of attention that you know is going to come your way.  We learned this during Charlotte's illness.  Roger or I would post a Caring Bridge blog. Within days (or sometimes hours) of the post, we would see folks out in the community and they would already be "up to date" on our news.  Instead of, "What's new with Charlotte?" we got "I just read your update and...".  It did sometimes save time and effort in retelling stories. Plus, we always felt that the community knew what we needed when we needed it.

As I have continued the blog after Charlotte's death, not much has changed.  Going through times of challenge and grief, the community continues to walk beside us, crying empathic tears and shouting with joy when the moments presented themselves.  I know that this type of self-expression isn't for everyone, but it works for us.

Now we are on the Kiddo journey and everywhere I go, I get questions such as, "Any updates yet?" "What's new with Kiddo?" "Any news?"  This process has been a little more touchy since we don't have rights or abilities to share everything we might know.  

Here is what we know now (that we can share).  We have a timeline.  Kiddo has been doing a great job in her current placement and our visits and phone calls have been positive.  We are enjoying getting to know her, learning a little something more about her personality and challenges each time we meet.

This past Saturday, we had our very first day pass where we got to take Kiddo off-campus by ourselves.  We only had about 4 hours so the trip included lunch at McDonalds, a shopping trip at Target to buy some things for her room, and a little bit of play time.  Everything went very well but we definitely had our A-game going.  Kiddo likes to ask us lots of questions like, "Why do you want to adopt me?" and "Are you going to keep me forever when I come to live in your house?"  We try to answer these questions honestly, yet carefully, as this first period in our home is still considered part of the foster process and we never want to over-promise anything.  

The other piece that required a lot of care was shopping.  We have been super careful not to bring a present every time we see Kiddo as this sets up contingencies down the road that can be tough to manage.  Also, she often asks for lots of things. This is not uncommon in kids who have been through foster care as it's a way to build trust; to see if her requests will be addressed and acknowledged. 

Our strategy for yesterday's trip was to make a shopping list of the things we were going to buy. We got some of her input on the list and let HER pick out many of the items (sheets for her new bed, the brand of shampoo she wanted, etc.) but we had to stick to the list. [My behavior analyst friends can completely appreciate the phenomenal power of choice! This is a case study in action!] As she started to ask for other items or saw things in the store she liked, we decided to create a "future shopping list".  Anything we couldn't buy today could go on the list for another time.  I have to say that this worked really well with her, although I think there are three full aisles of toys in Target that are currently on our future list.  (Oy vey!)

Next week, we will have our first overnight visit with Kiddo. Then, we will have the whole next weekend (Friday night to Sunday morning) to spend time with her.  The following Monday (3/31), she will come home with us.  Then we begin a flurry of appointments and plans, including enrollment in school, doctor's appointments, etc.  Let the craziness commence! We are ready and excited.  

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