Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

29 Things I’ve Learned in 29 Years – XP

In honor of the impending 3-0 next month, a little of what I’ve learned so far…

1. Soulmates are real. I’ve spent 13 years with mine. Happy anniversary love!

2. On a related note, marry your best friend. Even if it’s a girl.  Hey, it worked for me!

3. Being a woman in the 21st century means you get to be powerful and beautiful. That’s the good news. 

4. The bad news is that you are expected to be powerful and beautiful.

5. Envy is a useless emotion.  Energy is better spent on admire.

6. Anything can be delicious if cooked the right way.  I’m still learning the latter.

7. No works best when not overused.  Same with yes.

8.  It’s okay to be proud of yourself. It’s not braggy or AW-ish or conceited.  Real friends want to know about your accomplishments.

9.  While we are on the topic of real friends, you can meet legitimate friends online.  You can also meet a bunch of creeps.

10.  Do not schedule sexy time.  There is nothing that will kill the mood worse than a to-do list.

11. People, children especially, can hear you a lot better when you whisper than when you yell.

12. Running is all mental. I can be a runner if I want to be.

13. Procrastination does nothing more than bite me in the ass.  Maybe in the next decade I’ll learn to actually stop doing it.

14.  We still have a long way to go before we can call ourselves a civilized country.

15.  You know those times pre-kid when you saw a mom check her baby for a poopy diaper by sticking her finger in it or holding the baby’s bum up to her nose and you thought, “Nasty.  I will never do that”?  Liar. You absolutely will. 

16.  Food feeds many things – the hard part is making sure you only feed the good stuff.

17.  When blogging, never follow a sentence about poop with a sentence about food. It tends to turn people off. 

18. Embrace chaos.  It’s where the fun lives.

19.  Everyone else is just as self-conscious as I am.  Seriously, people aren’t staring at me, they are looking around to make sure no one is staring at them.

20.  Sometimes God’s plan doesn’t match my plan. His plan is better.

21. If you want to lose weight and get fit, you have to actually DO something.  Watching Biggest Loser with a bowl of frozen yogurt (you know, vs the ice cream), isn’t going to cut it.

22.  Teach your children about forgiveness and forgive them easily.  Because one day you will be asking them to forgive you.

23.  Time does not heal all wounds.  But, it helps.

24.  Do not try to pet the neighborhood kitty after dark.  It might be a skunk.  And then your weekend will be ruined

25.  Some babies never sleep.  But whatever you do, don’t tell anyone, unless of course you like getting advice from EVERY person you EVER encounter. 

26.  Denying girls the opportunity to wear pink and dress like princesses is just as bad as denying them blue and baseball.

27. You can love someone and hate them at the same time.  Actually, no you can’t. Love will be stronger every time.  

28.  Everyone is equal.  We are all the same deep down.  We all deserve the same rights because what’s fair is fair. Inequality just doesn’t make sense. Every 5-year-old you ask would agree.

29.  It’s no coincidence that many of these have to do with children…all the best things I’ve learned have come from mine. 

 

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August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

 

 Wordless because I’m sobbing right now.  SOBBING.  Where in the world did my babies go??

August 20, 2012

Carnival Adoption Party!!!

Quite literally, a dream come true!

Remember the before? Well, here’s the after…

How beautiful is little Miss E?

Oh yes, there were ponies!

Check out the homemade photo booth! LOVE.

Arts and Crafts “Booth” 

Bounces for bigs and littles!

Who doesn’t love food from a truck?!

Time for the magic show!

and all in celebration of

Love, Family, FOREVER.

August 15, 2012

Can I just say,

getting emails like this: 

Hi,
I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and I have to let you know that you’ve become a friend in my head. Reading about you and your family’s journey has inspired me so much; and has reassured me that I’m in the right line waiting to get on the crazy adventures of fostering to adopt. We are about to have our last homestudy before the state comes for the final visit to see if we pass for our license. I just want to say thank you for posting your stories it has made a big impact on my perspective about fostering.
 

makes it all SO worth it. 

Thank you so much K – you’ve got some fantastic timing lady!

 

August 14, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:

– So yes, we’ve been having a lovely time getting to know Blossom and her family.  It is so crazy how life works out!  The dads are great and the kids all get along fabulously – their two older children are the same.exact.ages as Sprout and Rosebud. Was this whole thing scripted or what?? 

– We had an amazing Cape Cod vacation. It was the first trip where I was feeling like I could have stayed longer and done more.  The kids are at such fantastic ages right now, I want to bottle it up.  I just love those bugs.

Meegs and I have been running! She’s the best running buddy ever. We’ve made it to week 6/7 of C25K and it actually feels good! In 2 months I’ll be turning 30 and have decided that I’m going to run a 5k to celebrate.  I’m feeling good physically, mentally, and spiritually which is exactly the way I want to ring in my 30’s.  I’ve got plenty of work left to do on my health (as you can see since I just posted a picture of myself in a swim suit ON THE INTERNET, who the hell am I??) but feeling like I’m finally on my way is the best.

– I’ve found a nice rhythm and balance to my life (at the moment).  Having climbed off the emotional rollercoaster and court calendar, I can focus on things like running, home improvement projects, and new blogging endeavors. Good stuff.

The Bad:

– Its been more than 6 months since we’ve seen bio mom.  We’ve exchanged a few emails and she’s expressed interest in a visit, but it just hasn’t come together.  This is by far the longest Sprout has ever gone without seeing her and it shows.

– On a related note, Sprout’s behavior over the past couple weeks has been a nightmare.  I mean, really bad ya’ll.  I’m getting pretty tired of him taking his anger with her out on me, but I suppose that’s the gig.   

The Ugly:

– 2 years 8 months of parenting Sprout and we’ve had a new behavior emerge.  Clearly trauma related and very unsettling – both the behavior itself, and the fact that we are still coming across new things.  Back to the professionals we go.  Also, this is the reason we haven’t taken more placements…

 

August 13, 2012

Foster Care Q&A – XP

[Not news to any of you, but I figured I’d share it here anyway…]

Let me tell you, being a foster parent, you get a lot of interesting questions and comments.  Of course there are always the crazies that ask the most inappropriate things in front of the kids (why yes, they do speak English and can HEAR YOU RIGHT NOW), but most of the time I welcome the questions because the more we talk about it and dispel inaccuracies, the better.

Here’s a bit of Q&A on the most common questions I’ve gotten over the past few years…

Q. “Where are they from?”

A.  Foster care is generally managed state to state and in the majority of cases, CT children are placed in CT foster homes.  This is important for funding and administrative purposes, but also to keep the children close to their homes and biological families.  Proximity is important to manage the trauma and facilitates contact with family of origin.  

Q. “What did you do to get licensed?”

A.  We filled out an application, had a few home visits and interviews with social workers, took a class, filled out some paperwork including physician statements and references, and did a lot of waiting.  From start to finish it took nearly a year and cost nothing.

Q. “Do they pay you?”

A.  No. Being a foster parent is not something you do to get rich or support yourself. That being said, the state does do a good job of providing financial support for the children in your care.  They provide a monthly stipend to cover clothing, food, activities and other kid expenses.  They also provide childcare assistance, full medical and dental care, and respite (babysitting) coverage.

Q. “Do you have any say in the kids they put in your home?”

A.  Yes! Of course! As an initial step foster parents complete a questionnaire about the types of matches they are prepared to take.  You can specify anything including: age, number of children, race, gender, types of special needs (behavioral/medical/ect), level of legal risk (meaning how likely a child is to be available for adoption vs. being reunified with his biological family), and more.  On top of those initial questions, every time the phone call comes in for a potential placement, the worker will tell you what they know about the child and you can decide yes or no based on those specific facts.  I have turned down placements.  It’s a terribly hard thing to do but no one benefits from a foster parent getting in over their head.

Q. Okay, this isn’t so much a question but a comment.  Its one I get all the time: “Awww, you’re doing such a wonderful thing. Those kids are lucky to have you.”

A. I appreciate and understand that comment, but it tends to give me the deer-in-the-headlights look because, honestly, it’s missing the mark all together. 

Foster children? Lucky? No.

Many are foster children before they are even old enough to know what that means. They have little permanency, no control, and they are at risk for severe attachment issues.  They’ve been distanced by all the family they’ve ever known, including the woman that birthed them.  They are literally just dropped at a doorstep and asked to put away their fears and open their hearts to complete strangers – survival depending on it.  Not to mention whatever reason for which the state is intervening in the first place.  These children are very unlucky. 

It’s my spouse and I that are the lucky ones.  We are privileged beyond explanation to have the opportunity to parent and love our children.  They are amazing.  They are resilient and powerful.  A tiny three-year old taught me more about bravery, faith, and love than I had ever known.  I am so lucky; they made my dreams come true.  Contrary to popular belief, foster parenting is not a selfless act – you get so much in return.

Q. “Isn’t it hard to give them back? How do you not fall in love with them?”

A.  I feel like this is one of those things people tell themselves as reasoning for not becoming foster parents.  Here’s the thing…foster parenting is not right for everyone.  Maybe it’s not for you. We all contribute to this world in different ways and that’s okay.  But falling in love is not the reason.

The truth is, I actually haven’t yet said good-bye to a foster child, but we did come awfully close.  Would it have been hard to give them back?  Had I fallen in love with them? Oh my goodness yes.  I mean, love is why we’ve moved away from the orphanage model and focused on foster homes. Love is the whole point. My heart was on the verge of shattering.

But the thing is, I love those children so much that I can’t imagine not being there for them when they need someone the most.  I pray that being foster children is the hardest thing they ever need to endure and I love them so deeply that I would have broken my heart for the honor of being the soft place for them to land.

We’ve all had our hearts broken, healed and moved on, and probably for much lesser reasons.  These are beautiful, innocent children…what’s more worthy of heartbreak than that?

What did I miss?  What questions are on your mind? Leave them here and I’ll be happy to answer if I can!  Any other foster mama readers?  How do you answer?

August 8, 2012

On Picking Your Battles – XP

Confession: My son has worn his Halloween costume to the grocery store (I’m not talking during the month of October).  Also, my daughter regularly wears her shoes on the wrong feet. And sometimes, the baby goes out of the house with her hair un-brushed (quite a sight, I promise you) because it wasn’t worth the fight.

But here’s something else you should know: Picking my battles doesn’t mean my kids are spoiled or that I’m a pushover.  It doesn’t mean we don’t have rules or boundaries in our house and it certainly doesn’t mean my children aren’t held to appropriate standards.

 Then what does it mean? 

  • It means I’m teaching my children, though modeling, to be flexible and to be comfortable giving up control. Sometimes.
  • To prioritize and know how to figure out what is worth fighting for, and what simply isn’t.
  • That they are the boss of their own bodies and I trust them with that power.
  • That their opinions, feelings, and ideas count and are worth sharing.
  • That there is room for other people’s thoughts among your own and you can negotiation between those respectfully.

So, the next time you see a mom with a kid wearing his pajamas at Target, don’t think that she’s given up.  Instead, think of how much she is teaching her child.  The world will teach him that he probably shouldn’t wear his pjs to the grocery…that mom has plenty of other more important things to focus on.

August 4, 2012

I’ve been holding out on you…

You know Blossom?

I’ve held her, snuggled her, kissed her and fallen totally in love with her and her whole family.  In fact, we are just back from spending an amazing week with them.  I’m pinching myself.  Yes, a made-for-TV movie waiting to happen.  

When I titled the blog and came up with a tagline years ago I never knew how perfectly they would describe this journey.

Our growing family…

(Can you even stand those three baby girls in a row??)