Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's been quite a while since I posted

I think my last post sufficiently explains my feelings after our FD left our home. It's been two years, and I still miss her. But I've healed, and she has moved on and done very well. She still has a long way to go, but she's thriving, and back living with her twin. I am very excited for both of them.

In February of this year, we decided to close our foster license. Our Jack was adopted in April of last year, and we didn't feel that foster care was something we could continue. The hurt was too much. We had SO much loss, in such a short amount of time. We had 3 deaths in the same week that R moved out. It was too much for us to process.

So we thought we closed our license for good. But we knew that opening it back up would be easy. And it was a possibility in our minds- only for our niece. She came into care while we had the twins, and my FIL ended up taking custody. He became a licensed foster parent and has had her for the last two years. Her mother lost her parental rights in September, and then tragically died less than a week later. We had already considered adoption for this sweet girl, because we are in state, and we have a relationship with her. And we opened our hearts to fostering again, because of her.

In a bittersweet turn, she will not be coming to our home, but instead will be adopted by my dear SIL who lives out of state. And suddenly we realized that we still wanted more. And we decided that God had used this situation to open our hearts to foster care once again. Slowly, over time, we have decided to go on this journey again.

So as of the new year, we will be accepting new placements! We have enough room in our home for several more- but have decided that we don't have room for more than 2 more in my car (Although a full size van IS on the table sometime next year lol)

I am so excited, and nervous about starting another chapter. But I know that God has lead us here- and that we have learned SO much from our experiences before. We are just following God's plan, which always leads us to the very best place.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Mourning in foster care

Mourning in foster care is everywhere. Children are ripped from their homes, and have to mourn that. Their parents have to mourn what could have been, and deal with their choices.
Foster parents have to mourn with the children, and when they leave- there is a special kind of mourning that isn't talked about much.

I read all sorts of blogs, and I have lots of Mom friends. Something that I have come across is the lack of compassion when a Mother loses her child to miscarriage. It's a quiet loss. It's a significant loss. And it's something that has been Taboo. Many women feel lost. Their friends and family don't know how to respond, and sometimes end up saying the wrong thing. And I have read all of these blogs, and taken all of it to heart. I never want to seem insensitive to another Mommy who is grieving.

And today I sit here, mourning my own loss. I lost two amazing kids. They were twins. They took my heart and shook it up. We were on the path to adoption. And now they are no longer in my home.

They have not died. They are in other homes. They had to leave my home because of their own choices, and I had to make that decision to protect my family.

But for 6 months (4 for one of the twins, who left before his sister) I considered them MY CHILDREN. I made plans for them. We painted their rooms. We planned for vacations for next year. I purchased a new car based on what their wants and needs were, not just my younger children.

And November, when R left- I was broken. It was the worst month of my life. Not only because of that, but because of the pain she inflicted (we were investigated due to allegations she had made) and then because of the passing of my Mother in Law.

And because of all the pain she caused me and my family, no one wants to talk about how much I miss her. No one wants to talk about the mourning I am going through. I am still a Mom. I have 3 amazing kids. I go through with my day, and admittedly it's a lot easier without her here.

But SHE WAS MY KID. I loved her (and still do) with ALL OF MY HEART. When she left my home she took a piece of my heart with her. I worry about her daily. I have chosen to distance myself and limit contact for a variety of reasons, but I think daily of something I want to tell her, or show her. Something that might make her laugh, or reminds me of our time together.

I know that she is 12, and she made some VERY serious allegations. I know that she could not stay in my home, and I don't regret the choices we made. But I MISS HER. I miss being her Mom. I miss embarrassing her and watching her be a cheerleader. I miss cheering her on and trying to prove to her that SHE IS WORTH IT.

And no matter how much people remind me that this is for the best, I still feel like a part of me is missing.
Please stop pretending like this is no big deal. Stop pretending like I should just expect it because "I knew what I was getting into." I love a child. I was her parent. I am not anymore. That hurts. Just let me deal with it. Stop ignoring it. Stop pretending like she was never here. She was here. She was a part of this family. She is a part of me, and always will be.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

God has a plan- and his plan is ME

On more days than I would like to admit- I wonder what God could POSSIBLY be thinking. That I am not cut out for this Fostering thing.

Let me confess something to you.

I am flawed. DEEPLY flawed. I have a serious disdain for all things housekeeping, and I'm lazy a lot more than I'd like to admit. I've come a long way since having kids- but let me tell you that I am NOT June Cleaver. I'm lucky to get the kids out the door before the bus honks at us- and if they all happen to have lunches- I'm THRILLED. I'm a freaking mess. But I take it one day at a time, and I'm learning as I go.

And sometimes, my flaws can cause a lot of distress and strife around this house- because our 12 yr old does NOT handle change, or not getting things her way.

So today- when I was tired and laid in bed more than I should have (why yes, my kids did watch an insane amount of TV today) she didn't handle it well.
When I had to change dinner plans after telling her I was making her favorite dish, she outright refused to eat the other thing I made.

When I forget to wash her clothes in a timely manner and she has very little clean- she flat out loses it.

When I don't clean very much that day- but still request her to do her nightly chore- I get an hour long lecture on how I'm disgusting.

I think to myself on these days- that maybe if she had a Mom who could handle this housework and laundry and 4 kids thing- that MAYBE she would do better. Maybe she would be able to handle the small chores because the rest of the house would be clean.

And sometimes- on days like today- when I get down because she has a bad moment, I start to think that maybe I'm not the right Mom for her.

But then I hear this still small voice. This voice that tells me that GOD HAS A PLAN. And that he handpicked my children for me. Each and every one of my kids has a story that started before me. And each one God picked to be my child. And the same goes with R. She may not handle change now, or mess- or God forbid- my ability to sometimes forget that her cheerleading uniform should have been washed last night- BUT just maybe, she will grow up and be able to tolerate other peoples flaws.

Because despite all my flaws, I love her FIERCELY. On my good days- I stand in front of her while she screams at me and I tell her OVER AND OVER, " I LOVE YOU. THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE. SO BRING.IT.ON."

And maybe, she will grow up to see that everyone has flaws. And that I make mistakes. But I acknowledge my flaws, and I work to change them. And I keep going. And keep Loving. Because that is what God created me to do.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Story- part one

I love being a foster parent- and it's been something that has defined who I am- and what my purpose is in this life. I'm so glad to have gotten to this point- but it's been a rocky road to get here.

I met my wonderful husband in 2005, and we were engaged rather quickly. We married in 2007. By the beginning of 2009 we decided to start trying to get pregnant. After a few months, it was clear to me that it wasn't going to work. If you want the full rundown of our TTC history- you can check out my blog from that time HERE. The quick rundown is that I have PCOS and I do not ovulate on my own. I was unable to get pregnant on Clomid, and we decided that we weren't going to pursue more advanced fertility treatments.

We decided to pursue foster care in the spring of 2010, and finally submitted our application in January of 2011. We were licensed in August of 2011 and by the end of September our first two children moved in with us.

Anthony and Georgia were my first kids, and I thought they were perfect. They certainly are my angels, and they are amazing- but they had hidden issues. They both have a diagnosis of RAD- however two years later- Georgia shows more issues than Anthony does.

We finalized their adoption in April of 2012. And we were a family of 4. We were deliriously happy. These kids were amazing, and I love them so deeply. But something inside of me knew that we weren't finished yet.

In July 2012 we got a call for a 13 month old baby boy. We picked him up that same afternoon and for the first several months I was sure that he would be going home to his mother.

Unfortunately she was unable to make the necessary changes, and in May 2013 she signed away her rights rather than go through a lengthy termination trial. I worry about her, as I have suspicions that she has returned to her old lifestyle without the motivation of her son to stop her.

Although that was a sad day for her, I am glad to say that we will be adopting "Jack" in the near future. He is now 2 years old and a TOUGH kid. He was drug exposed at birth and while I have no proof, I believe that is the cause for his sleep problems for the first 8 months he lived here, and also for his hyperactivity at this point. He is so insanely adorable, and also stronger and more determined than any 2 year old that I have ever met.

The most difficult placement for me was our twins. B/G 12 year olds who had my heart from the very first moment.

To be continued....

Sometimes this SUCKS

It's hard for me- to write about the bad things about being a foster parent.

I WANT to be able to say- "This is awesome!! Everyone should do it!"

But in the midst of my worst days- I didn't want to read about how awesome things are for others. Or how EASY everyone has it. The LAST thing I wanted was to feel like there was something I was MISSING.

What I wanted and needed to know was that I WAS NOT ALONE. Because in that moment, when my family and all those around me were throwing opinions at me like the wind- I needed to know that I was not insane. That I had not cursed my family by making this choice- and that somehow it would eventually get better.

So my goal for this blog is to tell you how much I LOVE being a foster parent. I love it. I have found my identity in this. I have found my calling and my purpose in life.

But man it SUCKS sometimes. And it's hard. And you shouldn't do it if you aren't willing to accept these facts. Because there will be moments when people try to tell you that this is a mistake. And you may start to believe them.

There are moments when you are so emotionally, and physically tired that you can't even imagine things getting better. And they may not get better for a long time. Or it may force you into a truly difficult choice. This was my path. And it sucked for a while. It still sucks sometimes. But I still love it because I love my kids. And I love what I do.

Friday, June 28, 2013

One of "those" days

As a foster parent, or any type of parent really- you have one of "THOSE" days. 

One of those days where you are completely emotionally spent. 

One of those days where you were convinced you did EVERYTHING wrong. 

One of those days wherein, one or more of your children expressed their hatred of you.

One of those days where you- at multiple times during the day- were convinced that bedtime would never come. 

And for me, it was one of those days where the collision of traumatized children was a definite problem. 

I will admit- my twins currently have complete control over this roost. I'm very desperately trying to regain control, and so are they- so it's a battleground daily. 

They moved in on May 11th, the day before Mother's Day. The honeymoon has been over for quite some time, and I keep hoping it will get better. I have three separate counseling appointments next week. One for each of the twins, and then one for my daughter, who seems to have dredged up some trauma memories due to their arrival. 

And I'm standing here wondering why the state doesn't pay for foster PARENT therapy..... Because this Momma could really use it. 

God has given me the confidence that this is HIS will, so I know we are on the right path, and I know that I would not have gotten through this day without HIS strength, but tonight I'm overwhelmed and tired. And I feel emotionally raw. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Blog

If you have found me from Praying For a Family, Welcome! I needed a new blog for a new chapter in life. 

If you are coming from somewhere else, allow me to introduce myself. 

My name is Stephanie, and I'm a Mom of 5. Some foster, some adopted, all Loved. 

I am passionate about Foster Care and I love this crazy journey God has called us to. Not a lot of people get me, or why I do this. Thankfully my wonderful husband gets it.