A quick, minimally edited, update to say that our latest little one ("N") is still here.
He's actually 10 months (not 9 months), which is close enough for foster care.
There's a medical issue that requires some follow up, but not much in the way of ongoing care. Just a few extra appointments. Oh, and a surgery. Which we've already done. It required an overnight stay in the hospital, so, of course, he is fine and I am still recovering from the night of regularly interrupted sleep.
He's the happiest, smiley-est baby I've ever met. His laugh is a delighted cackle that makes anyone within hearing distance grin. He sleeps all night long and still takes a long afternoon nap. He eats everything I've ever offered him.
He came to us from another foster placement. I was told on the initial call that it was just that the other family had taken in some relative kids and had to let him go. I've since had it hinted -- by multiple sources involved in the case -- that there were other issues with the previous foster family as well....my first brush with a "bad" foster home. (I don't think there were concerns of actual abuse -- he wasn't yanked out of there fast enough for that. Just a vague feeling that there wasn't enough interaction, maybe? I'm hoping to learn more when I finally get a chance for a private conversation with his county caseworker.) His bio-mom has commented that he seems much happier and relaxed with me than he did with the former foster mom.
He came with a small suitcase of clothes, some formula, some baby food, about 12 diapers and one bottle. And no instructions. Nothing about how often he was used to eating or sleeping. Nothing about how much he would eat at a feeding. Nothing about what soothing techniques were helpful or whether he was used to being rocked to sleep. Nothing about what he was and was not capable of doing developmentally.
It's a reunification case and he's been in care for about 3 months already.
He cries when anyone except his bio-family, Mr D or Peter try to take him from me. He does not cry when his bio-family give him back to me at the end of a visit. I am immensely grateful/relieved to find that the bio-family sees this behavior as reassuring, rather than threatening. (I think they see it as a sign that I must be caring for him well since he trusts me so much. I would have completely understood, however, if it broke his mama's heart to see him reach for me from her lap. Maybe it does, and she's just self-sacrificing enough to swallow that heartbreak for his greater good.)
Unfortunately, I do not speak his native language and his bio-mom does not speak mine. (Bio-dad speaks some English, and the caseworker and CASA are both bilingual.) I'm learning a few key words and phrases in their language ("food", "milk", "more", etc) and doing some signing with him, in hopes that it will translate back more smoothly than only teaching him English.
It looks like he has an excellent CASA.
I don't know how long he'll stay. I do know there was an injury, the cause of which is being investigated, so I think it's safe to assume he will stay until that investigation is complete.I don't know what the case plans look like. I do know that both mom and dad have one and they are working them. I think mom and dad are together and I know there are 3 older siblings, who are not currently in a foster home. (I'm not clear on whether they are in a relative placement or not in care at all.)
So much to learn over the next few months.....