Lessons Learned: Tales from a Pre-Adoptive Foster Mom’s Road Trip

We made it safe and sound! I would seriously suggest investing in a car DVD system. Ours kept 3 kids occupied for 6 hours!!! There was only minor arguing about the movie choice but then Dad just picked. We were all filled to the brim with extra energy so when we got here so we unpacked and headed right to the pool! The pool was awesome, only as deep as 3 feet so both S and C could touch the whole way and P could touch almost the whole way. There were slides and floats and a shower thing. It was a kid’s dream. S pouted for a bit as the hot tub was broken and it was a “baby pool” but soon began to enjoy it.

Some awesome family members met us at the pool and introduced themselves in the non-threatening pool environment. We then did presents in the hotel room (it was a bit cramped) and ate dinner (got there late) in time for more swimming before bed.

Ok, so hear comes the lesson! This being our first big family trip I thought I had planned for every contingency. We had enough clothes to clothe a munchkin army, snacks, juice, DVD player, DVDs, tons of toys and a swimming pool waiting for us. All I can say about that is that everyone knows what happens to best laid plans right? Well, this story will be no different. I had briefly considered bringing a first aid kit, only to brush off the thought as paranoid and obsessive and leave the kit behind. It never crossed my mind to bring the health care power of attorney the social worker had given us. As I sit here typing this at past midnight on the first day of the trip I can tell you I wish that I would have packed both of those things.

I forget how the rest of the world sees me, legally. I am not their mom to the lawyers and doctors, I am a foster parent with no right to authorize treatment. I am not even their next of kin. It is so frustrating as I do not see my children that way and forget that other people do. They are my kids, fully and completely no matter what the courts say. One day that will be different and the courts will agree with my view, but for now I am a “pre-adoptive foster parent”.

First off, kids get boo boos. That is just what happens so bring a first aid kit wherever you go. Sometimes obsessive and paranoid thoughts are helpful thoughts! Secondly, I think I need a copy of the health care power of attorney in my purse so I just always have it. It is SUPPOSED to be on google drive but my computer hasn’t been updating my online google drive info, so unhelpful! So today I sat in an ER in NE with C waiting to be discharged until they could get ahold of someone in our county MN on a Friday night after hours. You can imagine how that went.

Let me back up a bit. On the trip all 3 kids have been clingy to varying degrees. I love it as it tells me what they need so I can offer more support and encouragement. So when C asked me to go down the water slide with her and I had seen other parents do it I thought nothing of fulfilling that request. Oh how that changed our day! S, C, and I all went down the slide but when C came out from under the water she was screaming bloody murder. Quit literally. I took her out of the water and saw that she had somehow scrapped her leg on the bottom of the pool and had a palm sized abrasion that was bloody. S was right next to me trying to figure out what was going on. I rather abruptly told S to help get P out of the water and ready to go upstairs. And to get me a towel. I wrapped the towel around the bloody C and looked up and S and P were gone. I was quite thankful that they didn’t throw a fit about leaving the pool and I tried to reassure myself that they went up to the hotel room but here I was 6 hours from home with one bloody child and 2 missing children. I decided to go with my gut and figured that S had taken P to the hotel room (where Dad was) and took C there as well to get her dried off and figure out what to do. When I got to the hotel room thankfully S and P were there. I (once again abruptly) told them to go in the bathroom so dad and I could figure out what to do about C. We made the quick and necessary decision to take her to the local ER as it had been 15 mins and she was still screaming like she was in terrible pain and her foot was swelling. Dad was going to stay at the hotel with S and P as it was almost bedtime and I was going to the ER with C. As it had been nearly 10 years since I have lived in NE and didn’t trust my ability to find an ER and comfort an inconsolable C, dad called my dad to drive. By the time that pappa got here C was not screaming but we still had to take her in. 3+ hours later and we were leaving the ER with instructions on the kind of bandages to buy and an ankle brace. Thankfully C only sprained her ankle and got a big rug burn looking thing but C was terrified the whole time there. To the point where I stayed with her during the X-ray. We tried to make it as fun as possible and even got stickers, tattoos, gloves and a mask to bring home. We had to wait a LONG time since I didn’t have the health care power of attorney and therefore had no right to authorize care and it wasn’t an “emergency”. I finally found the emergency on call social worker phone number and gave it to the nurse so she could call and get authorizations to treat.

In hindsight I would not have gone down the slide with them if that is what caused this. I would have brought the healthcare power of attorney. Most of the time it is awesome to consider the children as completely mine, not even realize that this is my consideration it is just how it is. But other times it is not great when I forget the legal hops that I still have to jump through. So, overall lessons learned and some super tired kids that went to bed near midnight because they were too anxious about their sister and/or we were at the hospital. We got ice cream on the way to the hotel. I think overall this experience will be ok. It showed the kids that if something happens we will make sure hat ALL of them are safe and the hurt one is taken care of. TONS of anxiety in all kids tonight and got to bed HOURS past their bedtime. Also no more swimming or the planned ice skating for C the rest of the trip so new plans are zoo and cool movie theater. Hoping we can sell that to the other two…

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4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned: Tales from a Pre-Adoptive Foster Mom’s Road Trip

  1. Ahhhh…kids will get hurt…even if you bubble wrap them. I kept the authorization to make medical decisions on my iPhone. I took picts of each page and could show or email as needed. Merry Christmas!

  2. I feel for you I did something similar and got caught up in the ER at my parents house. Oh well lesson learned it does happen and now of course we all know better. Sounds like the pool was a ton of fun though!!

  3. Thanks for this advice! I’ll be sure to have the PDF saved on my phone! Hadn’t even thought of it, despite I’m still carrying around the paperwork that gave me permission while Hope was hear for a visit a few weeks ago.

  4. I no longer need any of that paperwork (woohoo!!!) but I still think about grabbing it/ if it is saved on my phone every time we go somewhere! It takes a while to lose the habit once you get in the habit!

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