Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baby Gear

Preparing to foster parent an infant makes the purchase of baby gear quite the adventure. We had to really think about what we would need for a baby from birth through toddlerhood. These were the essentials that we decided on and have served us well so far!

1) Carseat:
We chose to go with convertible car seats for a few reasons. First, as foster parents an infant seat limits us to about 25 lbs. and rear facing. Secondly, we found a great deal on these and they fit children from 5-40 lbs. Thirdly, I'm cheap and the thought of buying 2 carseats over a few years seemed wasteful. Oh, and I think it's weird to add 10 pounds to the already heavy baby by carrying an infant carrier. (though, I've not used one, so some may argue that the extra weight is worth it for the convenience, etc.).

After much online shopping and review reading we chose the Maxi Cosi Priori. We purchased two so that for now, we can have one in each car, or if we accept two children, we can use both in one car. There are a lot of great convertible options out there- our final deciding factor was that I found this one on sale (glorious, glorious!) Already reasonably priced at $199, I found the 2008 model for a great price here.

2. Crib: Craigslist find that matched our vintage furniture. I love the lines!

3. Pack n Play: these come in a multitude of colors and are easy to find used. We bought new, but only because I couldn't find anything that was both gender neutral and not plaid on Craigslist. We use ours daily for the time because our home is two story. Lil dude uses it for naps, diaper changes, and playtime when we're downstairs. We also travel a reasonable amount to see my grandparents in San Antonio, so we'll pack it up with us as a travel bed then. Pack n' plays also come with a variety of gadgets; i.e. changing tables, bassinets, vibration, music, etc. We chose the most basic model.

4. Babywearing gear. We use the Sleepywrap, Kelty Wallaby Carrier, and Beco Butterfly. Wearing your baby promotes attachment, frees your hands to do other things (i.e. dishes!), and makes going out and about so easy.

5. Clothes and diapers. CPS provides us with quarterly vouchers for Target to buy clothes- we also love the Carter's outlet and Old Navy for good prices. We've tried many different diapers- Nature Babycare have been our best bet for both disposable and as environmentally responsible as possible.

6. Bottles. We landed on Dr. Brown's, but try several and stick with whatever works. We tried to get away with cheap evenflo glass bottles, but alas. . .he prefers the Dr. Brown's and they really decreased his discomfort while feeding, so the expense was worth it.

That's about all we started with...and really, we've added very little. We have an exersaucer, diaper disposal system, and a great jogging stroller, but I wouldn't list any of those as must haves. They've been nice, but certainly not essential.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Visit with Mom

Today was our first time to meet Aaron's birthmom. I wasn't sure what to expect and was a little anxious, but so far have learned just to keep walking and things will get figured out along the way. Eric and I had a good conversation last night to remember our purpose and hope for being foster parents. It's easy to lose focus and just want to keep him for myself in the day to day love and work of mothering. It's important to keep talking - to each other, to our families, and to our friends about why we are here and why he is here and . . .anyway . . .back to the birthmom meeting.

Our appointment was at 10:00 a.m. across town at the CPS office- not the CPS office we went to last time, but a new one, with a new caseworker. We arrived about 15 minutes early, signed in, and sat down in the waiting room. I knew his birthmom as soon as she walked in the door- young, jeans and a t-shirt, and the requisite J's * of urban high school fashion. She and I sat awkwardly on opposite sides of the waiting room for a time. At first, I worried about what I was supposed to do- was she supposed to see me? what if she was unkind? does she hate seeing me hold her baby? what if her mom cussed at me in spanish (like I heard she did at an earlier meeting)? Finally, I just did what I would do if I were at work- I spoke to her- like a person and invited her to come sit with us. I knew I couldn't just give him to her without CPS supervision, so she just sat next to us and touched his face, held his hand, spoke quietly and sweetly to this baby that she carried to term but had scarcely seen since birth. After just a couple of minutes, his caseworker came down and took them back to a visitation room. I spent a good part of the next hour wandering the local Wal-Mart ** and returned just before 11:00. With kisses and tears Aaron was returned to my arms. It was a sweet moment, and now I know. It's not about us and our family-- it's about him.

* Nike Air Jordan's
** I hate Wal-Mart. Just so you know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Court, Caseworkers, and Clinicians- Oh My!

So far this morning, I've received two calls. One from my clinician and one from Aaron's CPS Caseworker. My clinician was a welcomed call-- apparently there's a check waiting for us at DePelchin to buy the lil dude clothes and such. We love, love clothes shopping- he got his first sweater vest and cords last night - I'm hoping he can wear them for Thanksgiving.

The second call was from the CPS caseworker. His second caseworker in 2 1/2 weeks. His birthmom has court ordered weekly visits and she'd like to see him tomorrow. I'm already a little skeptical as she didn't show to the last visit that she scheduled. And secretly we're getting pretty attached and I don't want to share him. I do, however, want what's best for him and I know that his birthmom will always be an important piece of who he is and who he becomes. Sometimes your head has to remind your heart. . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

1:06 a.m.

I've been trying to figure out where to start our story. There's so many things I'd like to tell you- so many details, so many people, so many thoughts, so many stories. . .but it's 1:06- nay, 1:07 a.m. and all I can tell you tonight is where we are now.

I've just laid our baby boy down- for about the 5th time tonight. He's having gas/growing/only want to be held issues. I waver between begging him to fall asleep and wanting to hold him in my arms forever. He's beautiful- seriously. He's happy (mostly) and easy (mostly). He's strong and clever and silly. He loves to be loved and he's happiest when he's sleeping close to heart. He's not ours biologically- and only our foster son legally. But he is ours today- and that's all that matters.