Chronicles of a Foster Family: A Fun Appointment

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April 4, 2014 by greenhouse04

This morning Baby M. had an appointment.

He got to lay on the floor and look at toys, lay on his tummy and look in a mirror, talk to a nice lady . . . no, this was not your typical “appointment!” It was a “developmental screening.”

In our area of the country, if a child starts life with a “special beginning,” that child is referred to a developmental specialist for screening. Both Eddie and Emma were referred for screening, and since Baby M. started life with several illegal substances in his little body, he definitely also qualified as a child with special beginnings.

Baby M.’s first visit with a development specialist was actually several weeks ago – I just never got around to writing about it. Birth Mom and the case worker were there for that appointment, but I was the one the specialist talked to, since I care for Baby M. on a daily basis. It was a little awkward, as all shared appointments inevitably are, but this morning’s screening was quite laid back… no birth parent was in attendance.

Baby M. has been assigned regular time with Val, an extremely nice, smart, stylish lady who looks a lot like Helen Hunt, and who is totally dedicated to helping the special kids in our county. Val is even coming to spend time with him in our home next month!

I was excited when I heard that Val would be his specialist. She had been Eddie’s specialist, too! I brought Eddie along to the appointment this morning, just so Val could see him again and he could meet someone who knew him as a baby.

She loved seeing Eddie. She told us that he had been a very good, laid-back, sociable baby (very like Baby M. is now). She said he’d moved right along developmentally until he was older, when she had to work with him more intensely. I knew that she had been involved in his being put into foster care, and I could see the joy on her face as she watched him now, over three years later, and see what a lively, stable boy he’s become. It’s always good to hear the words, “I’m so glad… he’s fortunate to be with you” from the lips of someone who knew him before he was with us.

But back to Baby M… he “passed” his screening with flying colors. He’s ahead of schedule socially (Emma was, too… perhaps it’s all the talking that goes on at our house?). The main concern was the difficulty he has in moving his head to the left. He prefers looking to the right so much, he’s flattened the right side of the back of his head! She gave me things to do to strengthen his left neck muscles.

She also mentioned his startle reflex, which seems to be a little more sensitive than in most babies. This is common with babies whose brains were affected by drugs, and when severe it can manifest as attention disorders later on.

These developmental screenings are another reason I love doing foster care – they bring me in contact with amazing people who have a passion for God’s children, people like Val. I left the appointment armed with more information on how to help Baby M. grow as best he can, but most of all, I left full of renewed gratitude for my son Eddie and the people who have been in his life.


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