A Chat with my Papaws 

 

What do a suit, a wooden donkey, and an old ash try all have in common?  To anyone else most likely nothing, to me they hold memories of two of my favorite men God placed in my life….my grandfathers better known as my Papaws.  
When I was younger both of my parents worked so my brother and I spent most of our days after school and over summer break at my dad’s parents house.  We lived in walking distance to my grandparents so if I was not at home you could lay money on it that I was at my grandparents house. We spent our days exploring the outdoors, playing card games such as Canasta and Rummy, helping papaw Luster in his garden, helping  mamaw with supper,and riding in the back of his old pickup truck.  They are some of my fondest memories. My childhood was pretty awesome. 

The summer I turned fourteen my beloved mamaw passed away. I’ve talked about her before, we named our youngest daughter after her.  Up until that point I had never seen my Papaw Luster cry.  That is a imagine that will forever be in my heart.  The day we laid my mamaw to rest my Papaw became sick.  We all assumed it was fatigue from the week he had endured but quickly found out it was cancer.  I can remember my mamaw always saying she could not live without my Papaw.  I would like to think she knew he was sick and and went before him to get things ready. 

That’s where the ash tray and the wooden donkey come in.  He had smoked most of his life, I recall him telling us a story once and I beleive he said he was 14 when he picked up the habit.   Every morning his alarm clock would go off at 7am and by 7:10 he was having his first cigarette.  We even helped him roll his own cigarettes when money was tight. He would put a wrapper in the top of the donkey fill it with Bugler tobacco,close the lid, push down on the donkeys ear and just like that a cigarette would pop out the donkeys butt (looking back that should have been a sign that smoking was bad who wants to smoke anything that comes from a donkeys butt??)  We didn’t think much of it until the doctors told him to quite or the cigarettes would kill him.  He did stop smoking for us, but the damage was already done.  One of his most powerful life lessons to me was to never start the habit, and to this day I have kept my promise to him.   I miss him just as much today as I did in my teen years, more so most days.  He never got to see me finish school, get married, or meet my kids.  I hope somehow I am making him proud today.

Yesterday marked the four year anniversary of my Papaw Wilbur’s passing.  It’s still hard to beleive it’s been four years.  Having a grandparent around in your thirties is a blessing.  As kids we would go up on Saturday nights so we could see all of our cousins.  We would play The Dukes of Hazzard, or go swimming in the river, run wild and free in the fields, or play hide-and-seek around the chicken coops from sun up till sun down.  We would gather at their house one week out of the summer so we all could go to vacation bible school.  As I got older papaw and mamaw moved to town. I spent many days with my cousins walking down to the 7/11 to buy candy bars and Dr Pepper (yes we were THAT cool)  Papaw was at my wedding, and saw my older kids kids grow up to be fine young adults.  He even got to to meet a few of our Littles. As he got older he excepted Jesus into his life and we could spend hours talking about the Bible.  He always wore his Sunday best to church, which is were the suit comes in.   

When we were thinking about becoming foster parents I asked him what he thought.  His words to me “Some people are put on this earth to be doctors or lawyers and some are put here to be moms.  You young lady were meant to be a mom, a great mom”   With his blessing and his promise to accept any and all our foster kids as his great grandkids we started off on a life changing journey.

He loved to hunt and I am thankful my oldest son and dad shared that love with him.  Every hunting season for as long as I can remember the men folk of my family load up and drive up to their hunting camp.  Male bonding at its finest.   I never dreamt four years ago would be papaws last trip.  My son, my dad, my uncle, and papaw were all doing what they loved when out of nowhere papaw had a heart attack/stroke and was gone. The only comfort, besides Jesus, I found was knowing he was doing what he loved with the ones he loved. And I am thankful for that.   

My dad, son, my brother and nephew are at hunting camp right now and I like to think papaw Wilbur and my uncle are in heaven looking over them, laughing with them and still enjoying their guy time as they have always done.

All of this brings me to this morning. I find myself in my closet hugging an old suit and holding an ash tray and and laughing at a wooden donkey.  Tears run down my face as I share my day with these two wonderful men.  I talk with them and tell them how I miss them and tell them about my day. I ask them if I’m doing this parenting thing ok, or if they think I’m in over my head.  I tell them I miss home and miss my family there. I ask them to guide me and to watch over my children. I smile at wonderful memories and laugh as I replay hunting stories from them both. I sigh because I would give anything to have them hug me one more time and hear them say Crissy your doing just fine.   Just another morning chat with my Papaws to make this day of mine just fine. I LOVE OUR TALKS.  I may not have them here with me physically but I know they are always me. And when I surround myself with the few things I have of theirs I feel their presents even stronger. Thank you both for visiting me in my dreams. You always know when to come.
From our beautiful chaos to yours take time to remember those loved ones that have gone ahead of us. Talk with them, laugh with them and share a joyful tear for they are still alive in our hearts. 

Thanksgiving Came Early this Year

Many will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this coming Thursday. If we were still back in our home state we would be rushing around trying to make time to get to all the family dinners, or at least to get some of us to most of them.  This year was different, as I know many of the holidays will be from now on.
There was no Macy’s Day Parade on the television as I prepared the turkey and the ham. There was no football game in the afternoon.  There were no store ads out on the table for my mom, my oldest daughter, and I to look though to see what “deals” we could score early on Black Friday. No, instead it looked as if it was a typical Saturday morning at our new home.   You see, with my husband’s new job he will only have Thursday off for Thanksgiving. So traveling with the five Littles to make it to everyone’s dinners and then back so he can go to work on Friday will not happen.  We decided to have dinner early here with the hopes that family and friends could come down and celebrate with us.   Plans we make don’t always workout the way you want them to however.
We had planned on our oldest son being here, my brother and his kids, our parents, a dear friend and her kids, and our daughter along with her boyfriend. As time got closer one by one they had things come up.  People got sick, the snow and wind where heading their way so they were afraid to travel, and other personal things came up all of which caused our dinner to shrink in size.  I started to realize being out of state now meant starting new traditions. I was upset and felt alone that everyone was cancelling but completely understood life happens and somethings you just can’t help.  As for my family if we were going to have dinner with my husband Saturday was still the day so plans continued.

On Friday our oldest daughter and her boyfriend showed up late in the evening. She decided to come after class instead of waiting till Saturday morning to drive down. She somehow always senses when I need her the most.  Just having her here made my weekend.  We spent a few minutes catching up and then we all called it a night.  Saturday I was awakened my excited little loves who were eager to see thier sissy.  I went downstairs and started preparing our dinner.  We spent to morning making pecan pie, Turkey, ham, mashpotatos, mamaw Smiths classic noodles, and all the fixings for a traditional family Thanksgiving. Sis and her boyfriend jumped right in to help. It was nice having them help. Seeing them together, young and in love, made me happy. I am happy she has found someone to make her smile again.  We cooked and then Lissa led us in prayer as we sat down to eat.  Looking around our table I could not help but be thankful.  The Littles were so happy their sissy was home and the made up with her boyfriend nicely. (Still not sure he knows what to think of our whole crew lol)  
There was no pro football Saturday only college games that we skipped through until my husband found a NASCAR race on the TV.  We enjoyed a relaxing evening at home in front of the fireplace.  Sunday we got up and headed to church where we were blessed with a service on Love.  We headed home and had lunch then my husband surprised me.  He knows I always put up our Christmas tree Thanksgiving day evening, we celebrate one holiday at a time here. And he knew that Sis would not be with us on Thursday.  He asked me to ask her to watch the kids for a few minutes. She agreed and we went into town.  Our Christmas tree that we have had for years did not survive last Christmas.  Our three little boys, love their hearts, thought they could climb it (in their minds it was a tree therefore it could be climbed……it could not)  My husband explained he knew I was bummed that our plans did not workout like we had hoped and he knew something that would cheer me up.  He wanted me to pick out our new Christmas tree.  He had been out a few days earlier and thought about getting one, but wanted me to find the perfect one for our new home.  We looked at many different ones.  Some with white lights, some with multi-colored lights, some round and full, some thin, some really tall and some really some.   We decided on a 7 and a half foot full tree with white lights.   I was happy.  The very idea my husband bought something Christmas related before December 1st is nothing short of a miracle. 

When we got home he done the unthinkable.  He told me we could go ahead and put the tree up.  He said seeing we had already had our Thanksgiving dinner and he knows our tree goes up Thanksgiving evening it was time.  Husband of the year award right there.   Sis got the ornaments ready while we put the tree together.  Then just as in years past our kids (with a little help from their sissy and mommy) decorated the tree.  Their faces were priceless.  The excitement in the house was delightful.  Having our daughter here to help out one more year was priceless. Not going to lie I shed a few happy tears. My heart was full. 
So this year, though different in many ways, was definitely wonderful.  We may not have had the parade on TV, or the football game, or everyone here, but thanks to my husband we where able to keep the tradition of decorating our tree and start a new tradition. We now have a book we all wrote in. The idea is simple all I asked was for everyone to write something they are thankful for.  Years down the road it will be fun to look back at the pages and revisit the things we are thankful for now.   Change is not always easy, more times than not we have to move past the pain and embrace the memories of what was and continue to move forward.  I was not sure how our first Thanksgiving would go being away from everyone.  I am truly thankful for our daughter and my husband for going above and beyond make sure we (especially me) had a great holiday.  I am so thankful for all they do for our family.  Did I miss my family and friends not being here, yes yes I did. I miss them daily.  Family is everything to me. However I know that the world does not revolve around me and that life happens and plans change.  New traditions are God’s way of saying life goes on.  Embrace the new and cherish the memories from years past.  We all have so much to be thankful for don’t waste time being miserable about things that are out of your control.  
From our beautiful chaos to yours embrace your family traditions both old and new.  Be thankful for the time giving to us to share these memories with our loved ones. Change is not always easy but it can be beautiful.

      

Just Hold Me

This past week has been crazy.  Not one but four of our Littles had the stomach bug…ugh.   I have been puked on and pooped on more than I care to admit.  And to make things worse my husband was working 14 hour shifts.  It was a long week for all of us.

I hate when any of my kids are sick.  I try my best to be super mom but with that may sick at once it’s hard to do. I make sure they stay hydrated, make sure they get their medicine on time, read them their favorite stories, you know all the typical mom stuff. Sometimes I wish I had more hands.  By far their favorite (and mine) is the cuddle time.  That time when they climb up on my lap and I kiss their forhead and we just sit and rock. They love it when I sing them songs and hug them tight. In that moment that mommy kiss fixes everything from fevers to boo-boo’s. They feel better just by being in mommy’s arms.  Most of our Littles have out grown me rocking them to sleep, but when they feel bad that’s the first thing they want…and I’m okay with that. 

Over the weekend three of my little loves started feeling better. Baby girl however  is still feeling blah this morning. She’s not running a fever or throwing up anymore (thank goodness) but she just isn’t feeling back to normal yet. With all the kids sick last week my house was in need of some tlc this morning.  After I got two off to school and feed the other three their breakfast I started working on the mess.  Laundry in the washer, dishes in the dishwasher, swept and mopped the floors and then I started working on the kitchen.  Baby girl came walking in.  She looked up at me and started whimpering.  I made her a sippy cup of her favorite juice and handed it to her.  She took one drink and threw it down the hallway and started to cry.  I looked over at her and asked what was wrong, she of course could not answer being that she is only one.  I asked her if she wanted snacks, or if she wanted a bottle instead.  Nothing seemed to make her happy.  She started crying even harder. And in that moment in her eyes I could see what she was saying “Mommy just hold me”  I stopped what I was doing and picked her up, she immediately laid her head down on my shoulder and sighed really loud. We sat in the middle of my kitchen floor for over 30 minutes.  We rocked and I sang to her. She snuggled and and held on tight.  All she needed was for her mom to hold her and all her “feel bads” left.   House work will just have to wait another day.  Baby girl needs her mommy.

As I was holding her in that moment I could not help but think “I’ve been exactly where she is”  There have been  days I just could not find the strength to go one step further. Last week, for example, was one of those times. In the mist of all the sick kids and the husband out of town all I wanted to do was stand there and cry and have someone hold me.  And you know what? I got just that.  Just as baby girl cried out to me, I cried out to Jesus. I told him I was tired, that I was struggling, that I missed been around my family, and that I just needed to be held.  He answered, He always answers.  Just as I held baby girl and told her I was here for her, the peace of Jesus came over me.  I know I am never alone for He is always with me.  As I heard her cries, Jesus hears my cries. He sees my struggles, He knows what I am going through, He knows where my heart is, He knows my weakness and knows my failures and He Loves me anyway. And just as I stopped everything to hold my baby girl, Jesus took time to let me know He was still holding on to me. Thank you Jesus. As I stood there with tears running down my face on the radio the song “Just Breathe” came on and I knew God was telling me to calm down that He has everything under control even if I can’t see it.  

I am thankful for our little sit down in the kitchen floor this morning. It was a good reminder that just as parents hold their kids when they need it most, so does our heavenly Father. We may not be able to crawl upon His lap but His loving arms are always around us. Holding us, protecting us, and letting us know we will be okay for He will always be with us.  How beautifully amazing is that.
From our beautiful chaos to yours it’s important to take time to hold one another.  Some days we just need a hug to let us know we are not alone.

My Son’s Magical  Pajamas 

Most kids have a favorite toy or blanket they use to comfort them when they are upset or hurt. Stuffed animals and soft silky blankets can make all the wrongs of this world right again in the eyes of a child.  For my son it’s not a favorite toy or a blanket, it’s a pair of Disney’s Lightning McQueen pajamas. 

A few months before we moved one of his former preschool teachers, a friend of mine, stopped by my house for a visit with our wild man as she did from time to time.  She came baring gifts: toy trucks, balls, airplanes, shirts, and a few pairs of pajamas that had belonged to her boys but they had decided my boys could use them more.  My boys were in heaven.   

Up until that point wild man  never wore pajamas to bed.  He has many sensory issues and most days clothing and him don’t get along well. His wardrobe is limited very limited.  His teachers and I worked together to find clothes he could tolerate long enough for school. Usually his shoes and socks and even his shirt was off before we walk in the door of our home after school.  Weekends and evenings you could find him running around the house in a pull up only.  That is until he discovered his “magical pajamas” 

When Mrs Julie brought the boys their new treasures the boys were of course excited for the toys, my boys never get excited over clothes.  It wasn’t until later that evening when I was going through the clothes that wild man picked up the Disney Cars pj’s.  He held them up and looked at them and motioned for me to put them on him.  So I did.  He sat there feeling them, smelling them and hugging himself in them. And for the first time ever he went to bed and slept in pajamas.  The next day he came in from school ran to the dirty clothes and grabbed the pajamas out and put them on.  He has worn them everyday since.   As soon as he gets in from school his school clothes come off and his magical oh so comforting pajamas go on. 

The problem with wearing the same pajamas everyday is trying to keep them from wearing out.  Thankfully they were a little big for him when he got them so he has been able to wear then for a while. But a little while back I started to worry.  What happens if he out grows the pajamas?  What happens if they tear while he plays?  What happens if they simply wearout from being washed so often?   So I started looking for an extra pair or two in different sizes so he could have them as he grew.  That’s even I ran into a problem a big problem.  The pajamas had belonged to Mrs Julie’s son when he was small so they are about 8 years old.  They are no longer carried in stores.  So I started buying similar pj’s hoping they would work.  I’ve bought ones made from the same material, ones with Disney Cars characters,and ones that are the same color green……Nothing worked. Bad news for wild man but at least our younger boys are hooked up in the pajama department for years to come.  I don’t know what it is about these pajamas but they are the only ones he will wear.  So after a few months (and a few hundred dollars) of buying new pajamas I took to Facebook to enlisted the help of my friends on the search. Within a few hours I had several people looking for these pajamas.  I even sent an email to Disney asking if they had any that I was not looking for a hand out but that I was willing to pay for them if they had them.  They replied back with ” We are sorry but we no longer make these please follow the link to check out our new design”  I own the new design, it’s not what he needs.   I’ve looked in fabric shops for the material, I have a friend that said she could make him more if we could find it, no luck.  I checked Amazon and Esty no luck. Then I searched Ebay. And there I found….. one pair size 6.  So I bought them. I figure he could grow into them next year.  The real test would be would he wear them?  The day they came in I quickly washed them and took them to his room.  When he came in he ran up saw them and….. put them on!!!!  These are not from Mrs Julie but they are the same in every other way.  Why has he choose this particular pattern? This particular color? Who knows. But it’s what he likes. These pajamas give him a sense of security and comfort I can not explain. I am grateful that he has found that in something. I am grateful Mrs Julie gave them to him. I am thankful Ebay had one pair.  What will we do in a year or two when neither pair fit him? I honestly have no idea.  For now we will just wait and see what happens.  We adjust to what works for him. And for now it’s 8 year old Disney Cars  pajamas.

From our beautiful chaos to yours find and take comfort in the small things: an old shirt, the smell of a favorite perfume, wrap up in a blanket from a dear friend, or cuddle on the couch in your magical pajamas and just take in the joys of life. 

November 30 Things I am Thankful For

1. I am thankful for my children God has blessed me with

2. I am thankful for a hard working, God fearing husband that goes above and beyond to provide for his family

3. I am thankful for my parents who love me as I am and raised me to chase my dreams

4. I am thankful for my in laws who love me as their own

5. I am thankful my God gives us second, third and fourth chances in life

6. I am thankful for my brother and my amazing neice and nephew 

7. I am thankful for foster care, even though the system is broken sometimes

8. I am thankful for all the children who were placed in our home along our foster care to adoption journey. Everyone one of you ( 20 plus placements) have a forever piece of my heart.

9. I am thankful for adoption.  Our family has grown by five through this beautiful gift

10. I am thankful for great friends who understand our beautiful chaos 

11. I am thankful for our new home 

12. I am thankful for the simple but necessary things in life : water, food, shelter

13. I am thankful for my ever so large extended family: uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents 

14. I am thankful for early bedtimes and goodnight stories

15. I am thankful for the gift of today

16. I am thankful for growing up in the 80’s 

17. I am thankful for God’s promises to me 

18. I am thankful for our new church

19. I am thankful for those who accept our son (autism and all)

20. I am thankful for all of things that make us unique 

21. I am thankful for sunshine and rainbows

22. I am thankful for forhead kisses after a long day

23.  I am thankful for giggles and the occasional cry

24. I am thankful for phone calls and unexpected texts

25. I am thankful mountain air and ocean  breezes 

26. I am thankful I call pray whenever and wherever 

27. I am thankful for Sunday afternoon  football (GO PACK GO)

28. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers when I need another hand at the store to open the door

29. I am thankful to be an American 

30. I am thankful truly thankful for the life God has given to me.
What are you thankful for? 

It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows 

 Last night as I was feeding my baby girl I could not help but think of my oldest daughter when she was younger. As baby girl sat in her high chair discovering her new found favorite food (spaghetti) she was all smiles.  The spaghetti was covering everything from her face to her shirt. She was a hot mess but she was loving it and so was I.  When did I become that mom? 


When my oldest was her age that never would have happened.  She was my first child and I was young (19) and in my mind I had to prove I could be a great mom to all those that judged me.  Her hair was always in place and never would I have let her play with her food making such mess, after all no respectable mother would do that.  If she did happen to get food on her face and hands she was quickly cleaned up and her clothes changed. So why am I not that mom now?

I will tell you why.  Now I know that these moments will pass by all to quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was bringing our oldest home from the hospital when in fact she is now 21 and a senior in college. Life goes by so fast we need to enjoy the little things and that includes dirty spaghetti faces.  No one ever said life would be prefect or that it would not get messy.  It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows some days are going to be stormy and messy. But that’s OK it’s part of life. I was a good mom then and I’m a good mom now, I’m just different.
One thing that annoys me about social media sites such as Facebook is all the fake illusions.  If you take time to look at other people’s pages you will see that   “life is alway prefect”  Meaning that every photo they post their kids are posed perfectly, their jobs are going great, they love their spouse, their kids love each other more than anything, ect. It’s enough to make some of us feel less than adequate.  I mean most days I’m over here cleaning dirt of of my son’s face, wanting to kill my husband for working over for the third night this week,  cleaning up bathrooms where my sons have “tried” to hit the toilet, dealing with my daughter who wants to argue her point on why the sky should be purple instead of blue,  and breaking up the latest of the sibling fist fights.  My life is far from perfect and seeing others lives so grand did at one time make me feel like a failure.  Don’t get me wrong I have been known to post the ever so sappy “I love my husband more than anything” post but I also show the not so get moments of life.  Like when one of my potty training three year olds told me he “had went number 2” all by himself and I got excited ran to the bathroom only to find his “gift” in my hallway floor.   Why?  Because my life is not perfect.  I don’t want other struggling moms to think they are alone.  Like I use to after reading my timeline.  We are all moms (and dads) trying our best. I don’t understand why we compare our situation with others but we do we always do.  I don’t want others to to see a fake me. What they see if what they get.  Twenty years ago I worried how others seen me and how they thought I was doing as a mom.  Now I don’t care. I know I’m a good mom. And thanks to my older two children I know that I will miss cleaning up dirty faces and messy handprints off the walls all to soon.  Thank you Sie and Bub. Thank you.

I am blessed God gave me a second chance to enjoy all the little things being a mom means.  I am more relaxed with my parenting style this go around (maybe because I am seriously out numbered lol). I love seeing my kids be kids.  Jumping in mud holes, food on their faces, and dirt on their hands. They are enjoying their lives and that makes me happy.  Our family photos do not have us all looking at the camera with big smiles instead my beautiful chaos is well…. chaos.  Kids are running around, someone is always crying, and the only person looking at the camera is normally me.  That to me is prefect.   


At church last Sunday our pastor talked about Faith and how our plan is not always God’s plan.  We may have our life planned out stage by stage but if it’s not part of God’s plan for us it will not workout the way we think it should.  I never planned on being a mom to seven kids but God did.  I never planned on having kids so far apart in age but God did.  I never planned on adopting five little loves or moving out of state but God did.  His plan for us is so much more than we could ever plan for ourselves. We must have faith and follow Him even if it seems life will get a little messy in our eyes.  He does not promise us sunshine everyday but He does promise to carry us through the storms.   

From our beautiful chaos to yours it’s okay if life gets messy from time to time. We are not perfect. Our happiness will come from how we handle all of life’s little messes.

Foster Care : Every Child Needs a Hero 

Parenting is not an easy job. It is hard protecting our kids from all the dangers that surround them in today’s society. We live in a world overflowing with drugs, gun violence, school shootings, sex trafficking, bullying and countless other horrible things.  The world is not a safe place for anyone especially children. And if you’re a foster parent not only do you have to fight off the world you also have to work with a system that in many ways is broken.

We became foster parents to bridge the gap the kids get stuck in while their mom and dad try to figure things out.  So many kids are thrown into the system without any wrong doing of their own. One of my biggest pet peeves is when we have a child say under two years of age and someone finds out they are in foster care. Normally the first question out of that person’s mouth is “What did he(or she) do to get themselves placed in state care?”  Seriously ???  Like a child that young could do something that bad. Most of the children in care, including the older kids and teens, are there because of the bad choices their parents have made NOT because of what they have done.   

Kids in foster care have seen more, been through more, and lived with more than many adults. They need someone to let them be kids, someone who will love them as they are, who will fight for them and who will protect them at all costs. That’s a pretty big responsibility for a foster parent, but one we are were willing to take.

The system does not always make it easy. If you wanted to be heard then your best bet was to be at the MDT’s  (and we will pretend you get notified about all of these). These meetings are the one place foster parents can openly express their concerns for the child and where you will hear from the caseworker, lawyer’s, birth parent’s and GAL’s.  Every state and every county are different when it comes to allowing foster parents inside the court room. For example where we use to live foster parents were not allowed inside courtrooms during the case.  So I sat in the hallway at every hearing for every child so that the lawyers and judge knew I was there for my kids.  Because while they are with me in my house they are my kids. Correction even after they leave they are still forever mine in my heart.

The caseworkers are overworked so it is not always easy to get ahold of them and even if you do it may take  awhile for them to help you out. The red tape they have to go through to get what should be simple things done is unreal. So you learn to be patient with them.  We were blessed to have amazing caseworkers on most of our cases. In fact, I have become good friends with a few of them.  It is important to remember that while you have a question that you feel is “top priority” they have 30 other cases that have someone thinking the same thing. Email, text, call and leave a message whatever works best for them, keeping open communication is vital, just dont over do it, they will get back to you. Now I know not all caseworkers are good and that some kids get lost in the cracks of the system. It’s sad but true. Happens every day. There are way to many kids and to few good workers to care for their needs. 

As a foster parent our top priority is always reunification of the child and the parent. In many cases I did not want to agree with this.  It is the job of the worker, the judge, the lawyers and the system to figure out  what  is best for the child.  Many times as foster parents it feels as if our voices are unheard and our thoughts don’t matter.  But we fight for what’s right anyway. We fight to make sure the kids are taken care of, we fight for a stable home life, warm meals, therapy, and a loving home. We fight because its what’s best for that precious child looking up at us asking “Do I really have to go back there? I like it here. I have a bed and food everyday”  We fight so that they have a voice, even if it is a small one. We fight because we care.  We will always be the “bad guys” in the eyes of the birth parents. I have had many yell at me I was stealing their child away from them, when all I am trying to do is help them. I blame TV and movies for making  foster parents look like the bad guys all the time. Only on a rare occasion do you hear something good about foster parents. 

The truth is foster parenting is stressful however it’s one of the best decisions we ever made.  And if I were asked I would do it all over again.  It’s a long hard road, but if you can hold your own the outcome is beautiful. We have been blessed to adopt our five Littles out of foster care.  All of the court dates, the delays, the different caseworkers, the home inspections, the monthly visits, and the unknowns were all worth it.  On any given day in the U.S. there are an average of 650,000 children in foster care.  And of that around 7% are in care longer than five years.  It took 2 1/2 years from the time we first held our little guy until we were able to adopt him and his big sister. Our second adoption took 2 years. Thankfully in both cases we were the only foster home they were in, many kids are not as lucky.  With the goal being reunification the parents normally get chance after chance to improve their situation. If they are truly trying I am all for it. In many cases however it’s just a stall tactic and the ones that suffer are the children.  Give them a second chance yes, a third maybe, but a fourth, fifth, or tenth……no.  Many foster parents grow impatient and end up giving up as the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years, they decide the system is failing the kids and then the kids get moved from foster home to foster home. The kids deserve better. 

November is National adoption month. Foster care is a wonderful way to make adoption a reality.  In our six years  and over 20 long term placements we only had  one child go back to their birth parents one. All the other precious little lives were moved to their new forever home or we adopted them.  If you feel God is calling you to adopt, pray about foster care. There are so many kids in group homes right now that need someone like you. Why not take a leap of faith and open your heart to a child in need? It might just change your life. It did mine.

From our beautiful chaos to yours remember everyone needs a super hero in their life, someone willing to come in and safe the day. After all even Superman was adopted.  Are you willing to be that hero?