What would I say to a Younger Me? 

On the way to school this morning the kids and I were jamming out to our local Christian radio station.  The song Dear Younger Me came on and it got me to thinking about what I would say to my past self if there was a way.  Would I tell myself to do things different? Would I tell myself to stay away from certain people? What would I say if given the chance?  My answer surprised me.  

Earlier this month my ex husband turned 40.  I remember back when I was in high school and thinking 40 was sooooo old. (I turned 41 this year) Man time flies. Anyways, on that day I was standing in my kitchen making some lunch for my little ones and for some reason I walked by the calendar and it hit me. He turns 40 today.   I don’t think of him often but there are a few things that always remind me of him.  And if you have read my post Domestic Violence a Survivors story, My Story, you know we did not separate on good terms, but for a split second my old teenage heart sighed.  

When I was thinking about what I would say to my younger self, my first thoughts were Don’t fall for him. Don’t let him hurt you. Don’t believe him when he says it will never happen again. Don’t stay it will only get worse….get out now!!  Our marriage was nowhere near perfect. But if I had not fallen for him I would not have my oldest two children, my beautiful daughter or my amazing son.  If I were somehow able to change the past they would not be here. And they are my world.  The pain and hurt  I went through was numbing and I pray nobody ever has to go through it, however because of that hurt I now know what it truly means to be loved by someone not just used by someone. God has a plan for everything and His timing is always on time.  If I would have left my marriage earlier, weeks, or months, or even years earlier I would not be where I am today.  Todd teases me all the time if we would have met a few years earlier I would not have liked him much and likewise I am sure he would not have given me a second mind.  I am not saying God planned on me being in an abuse relationship for any amount of time, that’s not how He works. He does however take our darkest points in our lives and finds ways for His love and light to shine through. When He saw I needed someone He sent me my hero, my soulmate, my wonderful husband Todd (nine years and counting, love you sweetie) 

The truth is I am who I am because of my past.  My love for family comes from countless nights and weekends spent at both of my grandparents homes as a child.  My joy of helping others comes from watching my mom make a difference daily as she worked in the medical field for years. My love for the Green Bay Packers comes from watching games (both the good and the bad) over the years with my dad and cheering them on regardless of the outcome.  My love of food, even though I am not a good cook, comes from the many family reunions and family get togethers where love was spread one buttered roll at a time. 

We all have moments were we wish we could change something we did or something we said. And even though it would be nice to erase the bad we become stronger with each storm we face and with each valley we walk through. 

If I could change anything I would tell my younger self, life turns out alright.  I would say spend more time listening to Papaw W. tell his fishing and hunting stories, and watch one more scary movie with Mamaw S. even though you won’t sleep for a week.  I would tell me to let my brother and mamaw win one more game of Canasta against me and Papaw L because you will treasure those game stories forever.  I would tell me to fall in love with my ex even though there will be hurt because two of your greatest blessings come from that love. I would tell me to follow closer to God because you can’t even imagine how He blesses and grows your family later in life. I would say you will make some amazing friendships.  Embrace them while they are in their season and make memories to carry you through long after they are gone. Life happens and people drift apart. I would tell me there is so much more to you than you realize, believe in yourself, always have hope and never lose faith. Gods got this. 

I doubt my ex thinks of me much this days.  And I am perfectly okay with that. But I am sure I’m not the only person who hears a song or smells a certain food or even looks at what day it is and stops and reminisces of a time long ago, before life took a different direction. I have moved on and so has he. We are both remarried and as far as I know we are both happy now.  In order for me to heal from the past I forgave him I long time ago. Not for him but for me. Fear and hate will consume you if you allow it.  I will not live in fear and my heart has no room for hate.  I love life now. I love my kids, my husband, my family and myself. 

Dear younger me, you turn out pretty alright. Enjoy your life it’s an amazing ride. 

The Faces of Foster Care

via Daily Prompt: Bitter

 

May is foster care awareness month.  And while foster care receives mostly negative attention I want to share some positive moments from our foster care journey. With the permission of their mom’s I would like to put a face (or two) to what foster care has meant to us.  At one time they have all been in my home and they will forever hold a place in Momma C’s heart.

A little dark before the light:

The statistics are alarming and on the rise. There are over 600,000 children in the foster care system in the United States.  The drug busts, the neglect charges, and the overdoses that you hear about on the news all have one thing in common, children that did not ask to be placed in the situation.  They are removed from their home and placed, in many cases, with a foster family they know nothing about.  Thanks to all the negative stories the news and TV shows share about foster care, they are terrified what the foster family may do to them. Will it be worse than what was going on in their home?  Will they feed us? Will they hurt us? All questions as a foster mom I have dealt with in those very critical first hours after a new placement arrived in our home. You have to prepare yourself not only for the mental abuse but also the physical abuse ( which may be visible) they have faced.  It’s not easy. In fact sometimes it’s down right hard.  But if we don’t open our hearts and our homes for these precious children who will? God wants us to be His hands and feet what better way than to help His children when they need us the most.

It takes time. It takes patience. It takes love. It takes Jesus. It takes smiles and giggles. It takes funny voices to get them to eat. It takes prayer. It takes support from your family. It takes a team of people; their caseworkers, a judge, a GAL, a visitation supervisor, the birth parents, and yes the foster parents all working together for what’s best for the child.  The trauma they have witnessed and or suffered will not go away over night if it goes away at all. Every case will be different so what worked for “Billy” may not work for “Zac” it will take everyone working together to help them overcome and start moving forward.

Sie and Devin holding the girls on one of our vacations

We didn’t plan on adopting when we became fosters back in 2010, that’s what I tell myself. It would be great if God made a way for it to happen, if that was His plan.  Deep in my heart I longed for more children and I wanted my new husband to experience more than just the teenage years he had been thrown into when he became dad to my children (at the time 13 and 10). Fostering was one way to share that with him.  If adoption was meant to be God would find a way.

The feeling of just wanting to foster changed when I fell in love with our second placement, a set of sisters.  They had my heart the moment I laid eyes on them. For close to nine months I was their momma.  I took them to their doctor appointments, I took them to church, on vacations, but most of all I loved them. The day I found out that an aunt from out of state had been located and wanted them my heart sank. I had this bitter feeling inside me that I could not shake.  I had raised these babies how could the court decide to just give them to someone they didn’t know? That’s when God stepped in and took my hand.  “That’s exactly how you had got them” He reminded me. He removed the bitterness the moment I met her.  She was a kind, loving soul. Their family was much like ours. The way she held the youngest in her arms reminded me of myself. The way she talked about her kids, her son was in band like mine, and the way she gushed about her daughter all reminded me of me.  They were active in the church, even went on mission trips, something we have always talked about doing, as bad as I wanted to not like her I felt drawn to her.

Our family Photo with the girls

 

I’m not going to lie the day the girls were transferred was one of the hardest days in my life.  But I am grateful. Their forever mom (their aunt and uncle were able to adopt them 😊) and I are now friends.  And thanks to the wonderful world of social media I get to see the girls. And they are growing up to be beautiful young ladies.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t pass this picture in our hallway and smile.  Maybe one day when they are old enough to understand we will get to see them in person. What I would give to hold them one more time and tell them I love them.  I did not understand it then but God did not intended for them to be ours forever but just for a season.  I am thankful, for it was a beautiful season.

The next two little ladies brought me much laughter and introduced me to one of my very best friends.  Just thinking about them makes me smile. Man were they spunky.  I have never seen two sisters so different from each other.  One quiet and backward, the other the exact opposite.   In a broken system sometimes things happen and for these two girls we were told their case looked to be moving towards adoption. We were in the process of adopting Elissa and JR and at the time thought we were done. I think God used that “thought” to get them to my  friend.   The transition from our house to their house went smooth and we kept in contact after that.  When she found out the girls were going  to their father’s she called me.   These girls have been prayed over more than they will ever know.  I am thankful their step mom has a good relationship with my friend.  I love getting the updates on how they are doing in school and how they are adjusting to the new little ones in the house.  Friendships and families can grow out of ashes.  

The last little girl will forever hold a special place in my heart, well they all do, but she was the only placement we saw go back to her home.  The only one.  Her mom was young and in some ways reminded me of my oldest daughter, I couldn’t help but want to be her biggest cheerleader.  She was around the same age I was when I had Sie, the big difference I had a support system she did not.  The one thing she did have was an awesome aunt.  The aunt brought her to the visits, helped her with the baby, and did all the things a mother is suppose to do for her daughter. She was lucky to have her.  We worked on basic parenting skills and life skills and when it was time for her to go home, I was the one who got to drop baby girl off.  The tears in both the mother’s and aunts eyes is an image I will forever remember. Simply beautiful. The words “Is this really happening? Is she really coming back to me?” repeated themselves over and over as I got baby girls things out of my car.  After a few long hugs I wiped happy tears off my cheeks and climbed back into my car.  I told them all that I would always be just a phone away.

And I meant it.  I still talk to them, again through social media. Parenting turned out to be to much for the young mom, it happens, but the aunt stepped up and is now baby girls forever momma. She is so lucky to have such a strong woman in her life.  She is getting so big and learning to do so many new things.  Our JR still asks about her all the time.  Foster care changes the lives of all involved.

We have had several other girls and many boys in care over the years. Over 25 little loves have been part of our home and hearts since we started fostering in 2010.  They were loved just as much but for now their families are not ready to share their stories.  And that’s ok.  I still get to see them and I know that even in the darkest of times God makes all things beautiful.  Foster care is not about stealing someone’s kid away or taking in kids to make a quick buck.  For those of us that foster we know what it’s really about.  It’s about opening your heart to a child knowing it could get broken.  It’s about working together with people we may not like for what’s best for the child. It’s about loving that child with all you have and possibly not getting any love back. It’s about comforting them after a nightmare and then cleaning up pee or poop from the floor or bed because the fear scared them to the core. It’s about being there for them in every possible way.  It’s about loving them just as God loves us.   Foster care is selflessness love.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours do you have room to open your heart to a child in need? I promise you it may not be the easiest but it will be the best decision you ever make.

Grab your copy of our story Beautiful Chaos Our Story about Foster Care, Adoption, Faith, And Love over on my website beautifulchaosmomma.com  or on Amazon

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Who am I?

In the beginning I was just a dream of my mother’s. Then I became a daughter, first born child, to my parent’s.They are truly like no other’s.

As a child I was a granddaughter, apple of their eyes, stay and play with me awhile, card playing, garden helper, and slumber night at grandpa and grandmas kind of gal. 

I am a big sister, though sometimes not the best but siblings argue from time to time I guess.

I am an aunt of two spunky teens, they make me smile oh how I miss seeing them it’s been quite awhile.

For awhile I was Dave’s wife, mother of two, then I became his ex-wife if people really only knew.

 I am a survivor of domestic violence. It took years to escape, I had it search within to figure out this was not my fate. 

But who am I?

I am a Christian. I love my Jesus, the hallelujah host, I am not perfect not even close, so thankful for the times God love me most.

I am a friend, been both a good one and a bad. I have been there for some at their weakest moments, yet lost some because I was to consumed with life events. 

I am now Todd’s wife, mother of seven. I really miss living in WV “almost heaven”

There I was wife, mom, foster mom, adoptive mom, and so much more. Here I feel a loneliness  like nothing before. 

I miss my foster group meetings and dinners with the family. I miss my best friend’s girls night outs and and surprised bags of peanut M&M candies.

Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, our new house and state, I just wish I was adjusting faster and could have an occasional husband date.

Here I am only mom and wife, and half the time I don’t feel I am even getting that right.

I am now a Tennessean, Mountaineer at heart, Packers are my Pro team after all I am smart. 

I still hate frogs and stormy nights, but love to held around bonfire lights.

I am a kisser of boo-boo’s, a taxi, and a toilet bowl cleaner, sometimes life maked me just a little meaner. 

I am who I am, I’m lucky and blessed sometimes though I wish I knew who “just me” was I guess.