Tuesday, January 30, 2018

They are my sons...even if just for a moment

They are my sons...even if just for a moment...

Oh how I wish these moments could last forever! From the second these little bundles of love were brought to our home, they were my sons.

I loved them from the moment I saw them. They were so helpless, in such a state of neediness. Every waking moment was spent with my husband and kids and I doing round the clock rockings and feedings...even if just an ounce at a time stayed down or it all came up and we had to start all over again. 

So many sleepless nights, so many doctor appointments trying to figure out digestive issues, bowel issues, formula swaps, and endless amounts of diapers changes. Oh my! The diaper changes...I feel as if I have changed enough to last a lifetime - or more. 

And somehow, somewhere along the way, little personalities started to bloom. What were screaming little balls of hurt and frustration and blank stares turned into little baby boys who cooed and smiled and babbled and took in their surroundings and studied these strangers loving them.

We were there for the first smiles, first laughs, first crawls, first words, first steps, first hugs and kisses...Oh, the hugs and kisses are the best!

Yes, these are my sons. I love them just as much and no different than the precious son and daughter I gave birth to. 

...but there is One who loves them more.

I don't know what the future holds for any of these children, but God does. Some will stay and some will leave...I don't want any of them to ever leave, but God holds their futures.

They were His children first and He loves them so much more than I ever could.  So when the fear and the worry of the unknown begins to creep in, I must trust in God because they were His sons before they were ever mine.

Friday, January 12, 2018

God knows...and that's enough...

For foster parents, some days are hard. Some days it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Some days you can't get the thoughts or the worry or the uncertainty out of your mind. 

What then of these children and youth? How unbearable is all of this for them? How do their little (or big) minds comprehend what is going on? How do they cope with all the uncertainty or instability? This isn't something they can opt out of or say no to. This is their life. They didn't choose this. 

The least we can do as Christians and adults is come along side them and let them know they aren't alone and that they are loved. Surely the reality of some of these children never knowing love or what family truly means outweighs our comfort and our desires and the fear we may have of having to let them go...surely... 

So, I sit here listening to this song, watching 2 sweet little boys laugh and play and splash around in the bathtub, and I cry because I have no idea what their future holds...but God does...and that is enough to get me through the hard days...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Appreciation...

Sometimes, I think I can watch these little guys sleep all night long.

I've been down this road before...rocking babies and chasing toddlers. My bio kids are 13 and 14, yet starting over with these boys, it all feels new. 

Fostering has given me a deeper appreciation of my job as a mom and the little lives entrusted to us.

Getting up for what seems like the 50th time in the night somehow isn't as horrible as I remember it being because my eyes have been opened. I know there are children whose cries in the night go unanswered, children who are sick or scared with no one to comfort them, children whose parents are too strung out or hung over to even care. 

But not these boys...not tonight.

Tonight, these boys are safe and warm and loved.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Unthinkable...

It's been a while since I've written (even if I'm ever the only one to read it). Life was just too chaotic to try to concentrate on putting my thoughts down. I also want to be careful not to overshare. It's not just MY life, but OUR life and I want to be careful to protect THEIR privacy.

So....we were on our way to go camping when the unthinkable happens...

The boys, our precious twins, we coming back into care and would we be willing to have them placed back with us. Um! Hello? You didn't even have to ask...when and where; we will be there!

It had only been about a month and a half, but it felt like and eternity to me. So many emotions! Happiness that I would get to hold them again, but sadness over the events that brought them back.

It has been a rollercoaster ever since with 3 little ones and 2 teens in the house, but we have loved every second of it...well, almost...I was NOT fond of Poopageddon, but that's another story for another time...maybe ;) 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Can My Heart Handle This?

About a month after the twins went back home, we decided to do a little respite care again. After all, the twins had been with us for almost a year and even tho things were settling into a new normal, my heart still hurt. I needed to know if I could handle this again. 

A family requested respite for their foster son. A little thing called Hurricane Harvey had turned their lives upside down and they needed a break. In comes 2 year old G-man with loads of energy to spare. 

Ready or not, here he comes!

The first week that G-man was with us, we took down and stored away one of the baby beds. We boxed up all the toys and other items that were too baby-ish for him. The last little remnants of the twins were being neatly packed away. G-man kept us busy and the week ticked by.

At the end of that week, we were asked if we would make his stay with us permanent and become his new foster parents. His other foster family was still dealing with the aftermath of Harvey and would be for sometime to come and this mischevous little guy was a lot to handle right now. 

We said yes, and just like that, we had jumped back into the rollercoaster of foster care.

His former foster family sent over tons of things with him when he was moved to our home. All of his clothes now hung in the closet or were neatly packed into his cubbies. All of his toys were now scattered about the living room and his bedroom floor. A new forward facing carseat was now taking up a spot in our van 
.........and life ticked on.

It had been a while since we had gone anywhere or done anything outside of our normal routine, so we made plans to go camping at a Jellystone park. There was lots to do for both big and little kids so it was a good mix for everyone.

About 2 weeks after G-man was officially placed with us, we were off for our trip. We were looking forward to getting away and really taking our minds off of everything that had happened over the past few months, relaxing, and having a little fun.

Then, about 1 hour into our drive, the unthinkable happened....

Friday, August 25, 2017

The End of 'The First'

To be sure, foster care is a CRAZY roller coaster of emotions. 

It feels like yesterday that the boys were placed with us, and just like that, 10 months later, they are gone. Did we give good enough goodbyes? Did we say 'I love you' one last time? Did we remember to send everything? Do they know how much they are loved? Do they wonder where we are? Do they wonder what is happening? Are they scared? There's a storm brewing...do they need comforting from all the noise? Do they miss us? Do they need extra hugs and cuddles today? What is going through their little minds? 

I really can't adequately describe how I am feeling. I cry...a lot...at any given moment in time. My big kids don't even think my bursts of crazy crying are even weird anymore. It's normal to them now. My heart hurts. I look around my house and still see them everywhere. 

All the alphabet refrigerator magnets have been put back on the fridge when just the day before 2 mischievous little boys had knocked them all off because it was more fun to slide them all over the kitchen floor instead. The toys that we kept behind that were scattered all over the house are now neatly stacked in their baskets. That favorite monkey toy they adored (that we bought an extra of so they could take one home) now sits silent on a box in the corner of the room. Excersaucers they no longer wanted to be in since they learned to walk sit motionless stored away in their room. Their room...those empty baby beds filled with memories of sleepy happy baby faces that greeted us every morning. High chair trays still sitting on the kitchen table needing to be cleaned from the shenanigans that went on the day before at dinner time. And my heart...my empty yet full hurting heart...

So, here I sit...in a silent house, with a near empty box of tissues, in front of a tear drenched keyboard, trying desperately to believe that 'it is well with my soul'. 

A Knife Through the Heart

Our very first foster loves went back home after having been with us from the age of 2 months to 13 months. 

We have tried hard to maintain a good relationship between the bio parents. We've been told we could come to special things in the future like birthday parties, sending Christmas gifts, etc (but I'm uncertain if that will actually ever happen). At the last visit with mom, she said, "dad and I don't want the boys to ever know they were in foster care...so..." 

I felt like I was stabbed in the heart with a knife. The last 10 months flashed thru my mind...round the clock feedings, numerous doctor visits, sleepless nights rocking babies to sleep, first words, first smiles, first steps, wiping tears, all those hugs and cuddles...erased in an instant. I'm sure mom didn't mean it this way, but her words cut deep. I was speechless and for those of you who know me, you KNOW I'm never at a lack for words. The man who oversees the visits could tell I was about to bust out crying and jumped in and said, "just say she is a family friend".

 ...A family friend...it's a hard transition to make going from foster mom to 'family friend'. It's a hard thing giving your babies on loan back. So, this morning, I prayed for all of the foster families. 

Know that you are loved and treasured and that what you are doing matters and makes a difference for the better in the lives of these precious children even if we are the only ones that remember.