I’m a Kid too… A Foster Child’s Point of View

I am more than a foster child.  I’m a kid too.

I could be a newborn, a toddler, or a teen or maybe somewhere in between.

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I may arrive at noon or in the middle of the night.

My clothes might be to small or not fit me just right. 

I’m full of emotions. I could be shy, angry, frightened, or scared. I could be crying, withdrawn, and may even avoid eye contact.

I may be hungry I may be cold. 

School could be hard for me.  New place, new faces, new friends, and new rules.

Don’t judge me because I am in foster care…

                                                          I’M A KID TOO!!!

I laugh 

I sing 

I play 

I dance

I like sports.

I like music.

I like hanging out with friends.

I like watching cartoons.

I like to eat ice cream 

I like to play video games

I like going to the movies 

I need to feel safe

I need food in my tummy

I need to feel wanted

I need a warm place to sleep

I need to feel excepted

I need to know I am not alone

Above all, I need to be loved.  After all I am a kid too.

There are over 700,000 children in foster care across the United States, over 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.  These children are dealing with things that most adults could not handle and yet they are expected to “deal with it”  They don’t want to be seen as ‘”the foster child”, they want to be seen as a kid.  Don’t assume that because he or she is in foster care they are a bad kid.  Most children in foster care are in the system because of what their parents or caregivers done NOT because of their own actions. All they want is to feel safe and know that someone is looking out for them.  They want a normal life just like every other child does.  Let them have that life.  Let them be little.  Let them live a life without labels.  Let them be a KID ❤

 

 

 

I can’t live a “What If” life

The last few weeks have been full of questions. Will we foster again? Will we stop? Will she come back? Being a foster parent is emotionally draining.

I ran into someone today while taking our new little guy to the doctor. We made small talk and then she asked “Well what if baby Peaches comes back into state custody? What will you do then?”

What if? Such a small question with a huge meaning. We can’t live in a what if world. Do we miss Peaches? Yes, we miss her terribly. Do I wish she would come back to us for a third time? Yes. But that’s not how foster care works. My wants are just that mine, they are not part of the big picture. My part in this is to love them while they are here. To protect them, feed them, hold them, sing with them, and pray with them. If I lived in a what if world then I would not have my Wild Man. Without him we would not have his half siblings. What if we would have waited to see if Sweet Syd, or Fanni, or Chasers, or Princess E or Princess N were coming back? Did part of me wish they would come back? Yes, when you love someone you never want to see them leave and you catch yourself thinking what if they were still here? What would our lives be like? What if they do come back into State care? Will the worker call me like they promised? Or was that just a lie? We would not have meet half of the children we have and our family would not be who we are today if we focused on all the what if’s.

And for the record; We are not replacing any of them in our hearts. I know we can’t save them all, but just like the little boy on the beach throwing the starfish back on the ocean we can safe one more. Choosing to reopen our home after a child is reunified with family or moved to their forever home is one of the hardest decisions we have to make, it does not mean we are heartless. In fact it’s quite the opposite. As much as our hearts ache for those little ones we know we were just a small part of God’s big plan for them. We also know that there are other children that need us. With children coming into the system every single day the need will never go away. We miss the ones that have been in our home we miss their smiles, their giggles, their snuggles, and their presence in our home. But God had a different plan for all of us.

If we focus on all the What if’s we will never be able to move forward. Do I worry what this is doing to my children? Yes, all the time. I pray that they will see we are only doing our part in helping Gods plan unfold for these precious children. I pray that one day they look back and remember how much Love was in our home. I pray they grow up and find their place is Gods Story. I pray they learn to love others and hope they serve others when they are older. I pray we not only shape their lives but also he lives that come through our home.

If we would have focused on the what if I would not be here rocking this little guy to sleep tonight. His time with us will be short but while he is here he will be loved. He will receive my whole heart just as she did. He will know he is safe. And that is how it is meant to be.

Beautiful Chaos is now AVAILABLE!!!

Hello everyone,

For those of you who have been following the release of my first book Beautiful Chaos Our Story about Foster Care, Adoption, Faith and Love, the wait is over!! It is now available.

I want to thank all of you who have supported this project in some way. For those that helped me fund the project THANK YOU!! For those that have prayed for the book and for me Thank you!! For those that gave me the encouragement to get it started and then to get it completed Thank you!! I am truly humbled by what is taking place.

Thank you to my beautiful family for allowing me to share a glimpse of our life with the world. Thank you to my wonderful husband who not only lives this crazy life with me but also has had to listen to me over the last few months give him play by play details as our story became a book reality. Mostly I want to thank God for allowing us to be a small part in His beautiful masterpiece. He has allowed us to be part of some many lives on this foster care adventure. He has been my comfort when a child is placed back with a birth parent or relative, He has been my guide when I did not know what to do, He has been my protector when situations have become unsafe, but above all He has been my friend that has walked with me every step of the way. To You oh Lord, be ALL the glory.

This book is for you!

If you have ever thought about becoming a foster parent or have ever wondered what it takes to foster a child, if you have ever thought about adopting, or if you have ever questioned your plan in Gods story I encourage you to read our story. My hope is that it inspires at least one person/one family to open their heart to the idea of becoming foster parents. If one child gains a safe place to lay his or her head at night then everything struggle and every worry in making this book a reality was worth it. It’s all about the kids. Always

You can find the book at the following websites:

WestBowPress.com

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Check it out and let me know what you think

From our beautiful chaos to yours, may you find a way to make your mark In this great big world. One act of kindness at a time

Grieving a Foster Child

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I looked over at the empty crib and tears ran down my face. I need to take it down but my heart is just not ready. Being a foster mom hurts sometimes.

We loaded up the van this morning and headed off to church, daddy T and I both had this empty feeling we were forgetting something. But we were not, you are no longer here. Being foster parents brings sadness sometimes.

As I washed up last weeks laundry I ran across your favorite outfit and I lost it. Tears ran down my face and all daddy T could do was hold me and tell me everything would be alright. But he too had tears in his eyes. Being a foster parents is painful sometimes.

The kids have looked for you since you left, Wild Man does not understand why you are not here and keeps saying Momma go get Baby P bring her home please. I force a smile and tell him you are so happy at your new home and that I’m sure you are doing just fine. But my mind races and wonders if you are ok and if you are safe. Being a foster mom makes one worry sometimes.

I found myself wide awake at 2 am, that was our one on one time. I wonder if you were awake and thinking to yourself where is she? Why is she not singing to me? Why is she not holding me? Again I find the tears rolling down my face. I grab your favorite blanket, I’ve not washed it yet so it still smells like you, and I cry myself to sleep. Foster care is not easy sometimes.

In all our years of fostering we have had to say goodbye to many little loved. You my little love have been to hardest to let go. God blesses us not once but twice to be part of your story. We know that reunification or placement with a family member is always the priority, but when you came back to us we could not help but dream. I allowed myself to see you as part of our forever family. I allowed my mind to dream of first days of school and dances and family outings. I allowed myself to go where no foster parent mind should ever go. I saw our future and you were in it. This journey can be cruel sometimes.

So I didn’t see it coming. As I sat there in the courtroom listening to the judge I heard words I did not want to hear. I was not prepared for the change of events. I went in thinking you would be here forever and left with an hour to pack all your things for you to leave. Being a foster parent is heart wrenching sometimes.

But that’s how this goes. The system is not perfect and I pray those that do not know you those that have never held you those that do not love you like I do I hope they have made the decision God would have made. I pray He looks after you and keeps you safe. I pray He gives you comfort and that you feel Him near you. I pray you will always know how much we love you.

If we would not have stepped out in faith and followed Gods plan for us we would have never met you. We would have never seen your smiling face. We would have never held you or seen you crawl. We would have never falling in love with you. Being a foster parent is beautiful sometimes.

We will grieve for you and we will miss you. We will find things through the house over the next few weeks (maybe months) that will remind us of you. It will be painful but also such a blessing. For these things will remind us of YOU. A smile will cross my face and I will get to dream of you again. And that will make me happy. Foster parenting can be a blessing sometimes.

If we open our home again to the next little one who needs us, we are not replacing you. You could never be replaced. We are just answering Gods call to help one more. But that decision has not been made; for now we will just take time to heal from losing you.

Fostering is not for the weak but in our weak moments God gives us comfort and strength to carry us through. Thank you Jesus for allowing us to be part of her life over the last six months. Thank you for allowing us to see her smile and hear her laugh. But mostly thank you God for being You. Thank you for allowing us to be your hands and feet. To You oh Lord be the glory.

The Worry of the Unknown

I lay here in bed and I can hear her stir in the crib. She whimpers for just a moment then she finds her bottle. My mind takes me to the day I picked her up from the hospital. Where has the time gone?

I could never do what you do, I would love them and not want to give them back. Why put yourself through the pain of losing them? You’ve done your part let someone else do it now. You are such a blessing/saint to do what you do. You must be nuts to take in another kid. Aren’t you afraid you will become to attached? I have heard these questions or variations of them for the last eight years. My reason I do what I do is sound asleep in her crib. Her tummy is full, her clothes fit her and they have been freshly washed. She giggles at the sound of my voice and she is already saying da da. She squeals with delight as our children play around her. She is safe and she is loved; oh so loved. This is normal for her, we are all she knows. Here she is surrounded by love from our children and love from us. The idea that it could all change with the next meeting hangs over us. But that’s foster care.

No one said it would be easy, if it were there would be more people willing to step up. I’m not heartless I feel pain. Over the years as children have come and gone from our home my heart as felt the sting of a broken system. We don’t just love the child while they are in our home, they become a piece of our hearts. And once they are gone that piece never quite heals. They will forever be part of us, part of God’s masterpiece for our lives for He allowed us to love them for a season.

Baby girl does not know what my worries are about things coming up. She does not understand that her fate will be decided by someone who has never met her, or held her, or seen her smile. Her life is in the hands of people that see her as a case number. They are not the ones who have rocked her to sleep, or kissed a boo-boo, or heard her laugh. But God knows her and He loves her.

She may never remember any of the things that led up to her coming to us. She may be here one day and gone the next. Will it hurt, YES it will, but God has a plan for her. I don’t know what her future holds but I know who holds it. And it is His Will, not ours, that we must follow.

I would not trade my time with any of our fosters for anything. I grew as a person with each placement. I can only hope they remember the love we have for them as they go on with their new lives.

As for this sweet little one we will take it day by day. The months have passed so quickly but these next few days will drag by as we wait. Foster care as taught me so many things one is a huge lesson on patients. Lord help me, guide me and protect her this week.

Until then I will hold her, I will protect her and love her as my own. I am a foster mom

Then Jesus moments

Hello my friends. I hope the New Year is treating you all kind. So far it’s been good to me.

I was excited to get to back to church as the new year unfolded. I had surgery on my back in November and between the recovery and holidays I had not been able to go. (No worries the kids and I still got our Jesus on with songs and praise here at the house. They love “Jesus music”) I hate missing church and was thrilled to be back surrounded by fellow believers.

The message was out of John. A message that I have heard many times over the years. Short version: Jesus is away teaching when He receives word that his friend Lazarus had fallen ill. By the time Jesus made it back to his friend, Lazarus was died. Then Jesus spoke “Lazarus come out” and Lazarus did. (You can read John 11 1-44 for the full scripture text)

That’s the power of Jesus. That’s the beauty of miracles.

What are your Then Jesus moments? This was the question our Pastor asked. And I have pondered the answer to this question for over a week. Have I even had a Then Jesus moment? The answer is yes. Many actually. They might not be as big as Lazarus rising from the dead, but they have saved my life in more ways than one.

The night my husband (now ex-husband) tried to end my life comes to mind. In the mist of the attack I begged for my life, he laughed and said he could throw me over the banister and everyone would assume I had fallen down the steps. I dangled over the staircase with thoughts of my children and family racing through my head Then Jesus spoke to me and said “You are not alone I have you.” As I felt Gods presence I found myself back on the floor. He had changed his mind about throwing me over.

After my divorce I focused on my two children. I had no interest in finding someone. I would not put myself or my kids in a position to be hurt again. Then Jesus brought Todd into my life. He made me smile again, laugh again, and love again. Things I thought I would never do again. For the first time in years I felt safe, loved and wanted.

Then Jesus placed us on the journey of foster care. Our world has changed in so many ways not only by the children we have been blessed to adopt but also with the children that were with us for just a season. Our eyes and hearts have been opened to things I did not expect. My older children have grown in the process as well. They take their roles as Big Sissy and Big Bubby very serious, it warms my heart just thinking about it.

With our children we have experienced Then Jesus moments countless times. From car accidents to illnesses, college acceptances letters to working IEP’s, from autism diagnosis to RAD diagnosis, and everything in between. The fact is Then Jesus moments happen all the time, we just need to recognize them. They may be moments were you decide what job to take, or how many kids to adopt. They may be moments where you get to make an unplanned trip back home to see your mamaw. You get to sing with her and she asks about all the kids. The following week you get the call she’s gone. They may be moments of healing from illness, or cancer, or pain. They may be moments your autistic son says I love mom. They may be moments of all your kids get along. Then Jesus moments happen everyday everywhere. We have to open our eyes and see more of what is going on around us.

We may not all of moments like Lazarus, and that’s okay. Our moments make us who we are who God wants us to be. Take a few minutes (or days) and think about all the Then Jesus moments in your life. I’m sure it will bring a smile to your face.

Thank you Jesus for all of my Then Jesus moments. You have been with me through my darkest nights and brightest days. Your unending love brings me comfort when I can’t make sense of this world. Thank you for believing in me and providing me comfort when I need it the most. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next.

Love and prayers always

20 Things about our Large Family

With six under the age of seven and two young adults (who are still my babies) you tend to have lists. This is one of those lists:

20. Your once spotless house is now well lived in. Very well lived in.

19. Alone time with your husband is classified as…. ha ha jokes on you there is no alone time.

18. The amount of homework in the evenings is ridiculous (I will never survive when they all hit middle school)

17. Even though you have a toy room you somehow have toys in every room in the house.

16. Getting anywhere,such as school or church, on time is considered a victory.

15. If your phone is missing look to see which child is no longer the playing with the others and go to their room. There you will find both child and phone.

14. Bedtime snuggles and “mommy I’s love you’s” are the best.

13. You will hear “This is the worst day ever” by at least one of the little loves daily.

12. You find food in the strangest places such as toy boxes or in the clean towels.

11. Someone will always complain about what’s for dinner and refuse to eat. FYI keep cereal in the pantry.

10. Bath time equals floor will be mopped due to the insane about of water splashed around.

9. You watch the clock in the evenings until your adult child(ren) call to let you know they have made it home from work/college.

8. The TV is always on Disney or Sprout…ALWAYS.

7. Someone is always crying because someone else is not sharing.

6. Words such as fart, poopyhead, and stupid are bad bad words and the little loves race to tell you who said it (so they can say it and giggle)

5. You think to yourself “Was it THIS crazy with my old ones?”

4. You are convinced that you’re a horrible mom at least a hundred times a day and worry if you are doing a good job.

3. You give good behavior stars if they go potty (extra stars if the actually hit the toilet)

2. They can pick on each other and fight with each other all day long, but no one else can. Mess with one you mess with them all.

1. You remind yourself they are only this small for a short while and sigh. Then you Thank God that He picked you to love this beautiful chaos.

Hello Again Beautiful

Have you ever thought how different things may be if Joseph would have said no when the angel told him about Mary? What if instead of him stepping up and becoming a father to Mary’s child he walked away? What if he would have told the angel “Find someone else. I’m not ready for this.”

What if… that question has crossed my mind more than once as a foster parent. I have spent many nights crying about those what if questions. Every time we had to turn away a child or sibling group because we did not have the room or because we were not equipped to handle their medical needs. I questioned what would happen to him or her. I questioned what their life would be like.

Even with the children that have came into our home I have questioned myself. What if we can’t connect with them? What if she never opens up to us? What if he never talks? What if I can’t give them what they need? We try our best to make the situation as comfortable as possible and we love them as our own for the week, month, or year they are with us. And as the time begins to pass you question what if they need a permanent home? What if the department asks us to adopt? What if a family member comes out of nowhere and wants them? And while your mind races with these questions somewhere a judge and a team a people who are not emotionally tied to this child are making decisions that will ultimately change the life for him or her.

Many times there is but one hello and one goodbye. We get the call we say yes and we say hello to a scared little one hours later. We love them, comfort them, pray with them, and cry with them only to have them removed and placed in their new forever homes. We are just a gateway to their new life. Most of these goodbyes are permanent. And that leaves you to question what if they miss us? What if it does not work out? What if they think we never loved them or wanted them? What if they never know just how much we truly did love them? What if their new home is worse than the one they came from? What if questions that never get answered.

We have been blessed to get a second chance with one of our little loves. A second hello if you want to call it that. Something I never thought would be possible. She became part of us the moment we saw her but we knew the plan is always to reunify with the parents. While she was here we loved her, prayed over her, and enjoyed our time with her. The day we had to say goodbye was hard. So so hard. I knew we would never see she again. But you see God had other plans.

Some time passed and we had calls come in, but none of them fit what we could take in. We questioned if we were really suppose to be do this here? We questioned if our time as foster parents was over. I decided to go on and have surgery on my back that I had been putting off. Then the call came in. She was coming back to us if we would take her.

What if we would have said no? Where would she be today?

Maybe God knew I needed to get my back fixed and He know I would not as long as she was here. Maybe He knew she would be loved at the other house so we made a way for it to happen. Maybe she is meant to be with us a little while longer. Things I may never know and the one thing I do know is none of these would be possible is we would have never stepped out in faith and said “God what if you used us in your plan?” What if we could take in one more?

God has a plan for all of us. For Mary it was to become the mother of our Savior. For Joseph it was to become the earthly father of our Lord and King. For others it’s to become a doctor or a lawyer, a cook or a bus driver. For some it’s to become a teacher to share their wisdom with young minds. Still others it’s to be a world renowned blogger sharing their personal stories of overcoming life struggles and being triumphant. And still others it’s about becoming caregivers or foster parents for those that God places in ours paths. We are not here by accident. The people we cross paths with are placed before us for a reason. We may not know all of the what if’s in life. But we know the one who does.

As for us we don’t know if we will have to say goodbye again. And while that is scary and in someways heartbreaking we are grateful for more time with her. We will treasure it and make more memories with her. We will love her and comfort her as if she is ours because in our hearts she is ours (just as every child that has been in our home has been) Whatever happens she will always be part of our hearts.

Thank you God for second hello’s. Thank you for your perfect timing. Thank you for trusting us once more.

And to you little love….. hello again beautiful we are so glad you are home. We have missed you so. ❤️

My Twins…My Boys

My boys. My cute little oh so rotten boys. My four year old boys. My world.

Baby Elmo
Baby Big Al

When I was growing up I dreamt of having twins.  When I did have children I had one daughter and then three years later one son.  Twins did not happen for me naturally.   Instead God gave me “twins” in a different way.

Big Al came to us when he was two days old.  Elmo made his grand appearance when he was three weeks old.  The two of them bonded like nothing I’ve ever seen.  They were raised as brothers and seeing that they are only eight days apart they were raised as twins.  They sat up days apart, they crawled hours apart, they even walked days apart.  They formed a special language that only they understood. In every aspect of the word they were twins. When they were babies people would stop us and ask if they were twins even though they look nothing alike.  Nowadays they have each other’s backs in everything they do.  It’s truly a special bond they have.


Over the weekend all of our boys received hair cuts.  Elmo and Wild Man always do a buzz cut while Big Al goes with just a trim to keep his curls.  This weekend however that all changed.  After Elmo was finished Big Al insisted he wanted his hair cut just like his brothers.  I love his curls and when he begged me the last time I told him no.  He has beautiful hair.  I could not bring myself to just cut it all off.  He received his usual trim and was fine with the end result.  This past weekend he begged again.  And again I said no.  Then he said he just wanted to look like his brothers. He crossed his little hands and looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said Please momma I look like Elmo please?  I looked and my husband and sighed.  It’s only hair right?   He was so excited as the clippers cut away at his long locks.  When he was finished he raced to the bathroom mirror to see what he looked like.  In his sweet little voice he said I look like Elmo, we can play tricks now.   

Before the hair cut
After the hair cut

They were so excited to trick their teacher this morning. As I pulled up to drop them off I rolled my window down to give their teacher the heads up about the boys plan.  When she opened the door she pretended not to know who was who. The boys just laughed and giggled.  Elmo finally said it’s me see I got’s glasses on.   They walked into class feeling confident in their clever plan.


Pure innocence of a child.  They do not see their differences. They do not see their eyes are not the same, nor their skin color, nor their hair color or that one wears glasses while the other one does not.  When they look at each other all they see it their brother not their differences.  Nothing but Love.   

We all could learn a thing or two from them.  Love is greater than blood. 

Adoption is beautiful. It brings together boys meant to be brothers.   

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