Letting Your First Foster Child Go

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As vividly as I remember my first two arriving, I remember just as clearly the day the first one left.

The first of many, not to be the last, or forgotten.

This one went with joy!

I had sworn of course that I was not going back to diapers but, there I was with twins, and double diapers.  As usual the call came late in the afternoon, and this time he was a baby, eleven weeks old.  Not sure, I needed or wanted that, but there was no-where else for him to go.

He had an older sister and a a brother who were going to a young childless couple not far from where we lived.  But they had never had a baby, and this tiny one needed a little extra help, or that was the story.

I can tell you he needed MORE than a little extra help.

He arrived with a Child Protective Services worker as it was after hours.  He had dark hair that seemed to be oiled, a thin face, with large brown eyes that darted here and there.  His mouth seemed too big for his little face and he seemed very underweight.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I had here, but my instincts were, “something is not right”!

He seemed so fragile as I undressed him for a much needed bath.  His little body had hardly any fat on it, no chubby cheeks or rolls that are usual with a baby of this age.  He was agitated and I tried to soothe him, sing to him as I bathed him.  The bath water turned from clear to very dirty and after drying him off,  he was fair with blonde hair!

Comfort and snuggles were needed.  Amazing hubby took care of the twins and the older two at home got dinner together as I rocked this little one and tried to feed him his bottle.  The crying and agitation went on all night.  If I fed him he cried and cried.  I tried every position to hold him, he still cried.

By morning I was at the pediatrician.  By midday I was at the children’s hospital.  His ribs had been broken, he had been severely shaken.  He had gastric reflux, easier to fix that maybe the permanent damage that had been done to his body, and his brain.

I prayed over him, and for him again and again as I waited, just as we had done for him the night before.  This was my first experience of physical abuse, and in a child not even three months old, my heart was breaking for him.

Well, the story became a miraculous one.  After a full body scan to determine extent of injury and if there were any more breaks in his body, I was told they could not believe that his brain was intact.  Perfectly normal, but his ribs would wear large callouses where they had been broken.

He should have been permanently brain injured, but through prayer and the belief in healing, he was going to be fine.

I said goodbye to our little one three months later.  He was chubby, smiling, laughing, cooing, in fact a delight.  He went to be with the couple who had his older siblings.  I was so full of happiness because they told us they could not have their own baby and never thought they would be able to experience that wonderful joy!

He grew up to be amazing, and the young couple?  Well, they ended up getting pregnant against all odds, not once, but twice.  They gave not expecting and received and reaped the fruits of their love and labor.

Today, many of us are too busy to notice the growing number of children that stay in the foster system, some with no hope of a forever home, and some who cannot be found homes because they maybe a little “scary”.

If this tugs at your heart and you want to know more, or you have a child that you need to talk with someone about, please contact me.  I always offer a free mini session to see whether coaching is for you.

Until next time, next story, have a wonderful day and remember, “It’s better to build a child, than try to fix an adult” (Dave Thomas).

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IGNITE YOUR PASSION_FIND YOUR PURPOSE

The other side of adoption

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I fostered some fifty plus children, yet did not always meet their birth parents.  Some visited, some did not.  Each child was special and for the “token” subsidy per day, well I was not making money here.  I didn’t do it for that reason.  I did it because I walked into a case workers office one Friday afternoon and saw two little boys in desperate need of care, love, and a home.

Some of the kids that came across my path were etched upon my mind forever.  The baby who came into care, with dark brown hair, and olive skin, but upon bathing was blonde and fair.  A product of a  mom who had issues and oiled this baby so much he was unrecognizable.  But, that was the least of it.  He had been shaken, had the residue of broken bones on his ribs, and only through prayer, was normal.

Then there was the baby whose father had swung her around the room, he was intolerant of her crying.  Her femur was broken, she was in a body cast.  She was four months old, on the breast, arrived at my home at one in the morning and did not understand what a bottle was.  An angry, frightened, baby who wanted her mother.  She did go back, after much counseling that I think that father reneged on.

The little boy who came that was deaf.  The case worker had said (on a Friday afternoon of course at after 3p.m.) “Well he is hearing impaired,”.  I said “How much?”.  The week end did not go well other than I knew where this neglected child should go, but his older sister? And the baby who the five year old sister was a mother to?  Oh, so many issues and not enough parents or resources to deal with.

My adorable, lovable darling red haired child who arrived when she was about 23 months of age, and was a virtual triplet to my boys, the one I fell in love with but knew she need more than I could give.  I gave her to the adoptive parent of my choice, because that was what was best for my darling little child who had suffered more than I could give back to  her.  I love her to this day and am glad to say we are still in contact.  That is the power of adoption without judgment or remorse.

My twin boys seemed like a dream compared to most of this, but my turn was coming.  After so many children, the ones God sent to me to keep were complicated.  Autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, bi-polar, OCD, ADHD, the list goes on.  I call it the Alphabet syndrome.  But, while all  of that was part of who I adopted, it was also, or partly,  amongst my own birth children.

DO NOT EVER BE AFRAID OF SPECIAL NEEDS!  IF YOU ARE CALLED YOU WILL BE GIVE EVERY SKILL TO COPE WITH THIS.

Some of you out there have special needs kids that you did not adopt, they are yours.  Well, I’ll tell you a secret.  My bio kids are all special needs, that’s why I fostered, that’s why I adopted.  Do not ever be afraid.  If fostering or adopting is on your mind, it is for a reason.   You are privileged, you are called, you are about to be blessed in so many ways you cannot imagine.  And if you are reading this needing the help for your own birth children, then I am there also.  Please sign up on my email, let me know how I can help and I am there for you with a 15 minute free life coaching session.

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BELIEVE IN

The kill your reality series syndrome

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I am sad to read about the recent events of a real life reality series about a family of a lot of children.  But, did I ever believe that with that many children the house was always immaculate, and the children so ordered, no toys anywhere visible, and everyone so polite?  Ah…..NO!!

I live with eight children at home, twelve in all, and nine grandchildren.  On any given day the laundry can be out there.  I mean at least four loads, and if they forget to bring it down?  Ok, maybe ten.  But can I tell you we are real in our house, not pretending for a “reality” series.

I am the only real morning person.  My amazing hubby pretends to be, then goes back to bed, and has oh, at least two naps during the day.  Just saying.  It is like pulling teeth to get any of mine out of bed.  I get, “just ten minutes more, please!”.  I have, and am trying to make them make their own lunches.  Six of them.  Two are working for amazing hubby.  That’s a story on it’s own.

But, even amazing hubby, (cause he is ultra successful) knows how to make a well oiled machine work.  It works like this.  I yell sometimes, he yells others, but mostly we have a, “you wanna do that cause If you do,  I got your cell phone”.  That works every time.

Once upon a time, in fairyland, or the eighties, it worked differently because there was no electronics, no internet, no smart phones.  My first four were birthed and brought up here.  Threats were way more  threatening, and behavior from peers mostly not intrusive.

Now, we have this world wide internet that is so informative, and so invasive.  I am learning to parent teenagers in a whole new world.

I am learning to start a business with excessive amounts of laundry, the remains of last nights snacks in more than one room, another child who is a late, (night) potty trainer, and continual guests, who I love and cherish, that drop in often for overnight stays.

Can I say I like it when they go to bed. That can be late, midnight, hopefully eleven, but we (amazing hubby and I) are the only ones up at the crack of dawn.

Can I say I love our incredible family days, when the wine, the food, the laughter, the jokes (really bad), and the noise is over the top with not just the adults, but the grandkids screaming around having a riotous time.   Oh, and “bundy o”clock” arrives.  That is a rum, from Australia.  For all of the so called boys, or legal boys,  in the family this is a tradition.  A toast to the homeland so to speak.

I did rescue a child from a family who I think thought they might be a reality series.  If they didn’t they came more than close to the one that just “failed”.  The fallout was spectacular.  Not only for him but his older sister.  I was there for the moments they needed me.

This world of fostering or adopting is not for the feint of heart.  It is for the strong, the ones who know who is their God, because without that you will fail.  But, the “lost children” need you, need me, need our community, and our faith that they can find forever homes. It is better to build a child, than to try to fix an adult.

My heart has adopted eight of the most beautiful, wonderful, talented, amazing kids.  They are mine, as much as I have birthed, from my womb,  any of my biological four.  And those four, have adopted everyone of those kids as their own brothers and sisters.  We do not speak of half brothers or sisters, step brothers or sisters, or adopted brothers or sisters.  We are one.  A family who loves each other and looks out for each other.  Do we fight?  Hell yeah!  Do we get in each others business?  Hell yeah!  But do we have the most enviable family get togethers where we invite all and sundry to?  Hell yeah!

Our extended family is something I cherish.  I totally acknowledge that they are the reason we chose to foster and adopt many children.  Everyone of those teenagers, that are now adults and you know who you are, are part of the reason we chose to speak into the lives of so many children.

If you are out there, reading this, and wondering, I can tell you a few things that are real.  Fostering, being a foster parent is the most amazing rewarding thing you can ever do.  You will wonder about your heart, whether it can stand it if they leave, their hearts are already broken into so many pieces.  If you can put some of them back together you have done something miraculous.

And adoption?  Oh my.  There is no difference between a child birthed from your womb and one from your heart.  In fact, as a mother of both, my children birthed from my heart have never felt any different at all.  Sometimes in fact, I felt way more protective because of the circumstances of their births.  I didn’t do drugs, or alcohol when I was pregnant, but my adopted children suffered all of that in pregnancy.

So, if I put a camera in my kitchen?  Oh wow.  It would not look like any of the reality shows out there.  But is it life abundant?  Oh hell yeah!

If this tugs at your heart and you would like a 15 minute mini session about this topic, please contact me on this page.  There are so many children awaiting you, yes, you, to help them out of being part of a “system” forever, instead of a forever family.

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Your first foster child

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I remember that first call.  It was a Friday afternoon about 3.00p.m.  My caseworker said there were two little boys, twins, in her office that needed a home for the week end.  First reaction?  We’re not approved yet.  We have plans to adopt a couple of kids from the My Turn Now program.  The answer?  You will be approved in an hour, can you take them?

Amazing hubby was on a plane coming home from Colorado.  Mother in Law who was not happy was holed up in her room thinking I was the enemy (that is another story).  Two teenagers had places to go and I was THE driver.  But, out of my mouth came “of course, yes”.  It was the twin thing that got me.  I had lost a twin on my second pregnancy and had always hoped I would conceive another set.  I had one amazing boy, but the twin thing was in my heart, my head, my spirit.

Of course, I said yes.  And then in an hour, we were approved as a foster home (we had done all the work, just waiting for approval) and I was about to pick these precious babies up from our local DCS. My amazing hubby was not there, but motivated MIL was.

I walked into her room and explained what was happening.  I have never seen an eighty two year old move so fast.  She now had a purpose, and we now had a bond.  She truly was my kindred spirit.  A woman in her own time who listened to her own inner voice.

We walked into that office to find two little boys, confused, with blank faces, in too tight clothes, clutching dirty bottles, the only thing they had from their twenty month existence.  My heart melted. It wasn’t supposed to, I had learned that, but it did anyway.  My tiger mother instinct kicked in and I was away.  I might add here MIL was away too.

Car seats were provided, not anything else.  First call was to #3 child.  I need some hot dogs and mashed (familiar food or so I thought).  Please get that together.  Followed by, a Mum I need to be here at this time and #4 child needs to be here at that time.  And of course amazing hubby is coming in at the airport around 10p.m.

The whirlwind began.  Well the older kids got where they were supposed to go, MIL and I got to the local Kmart and purchased clothes, strollers, and new bottles that were clean.  A small step forward.

Can I say here that the energy, the smile, the purpose in my Mother In Law’s life changed that day.  She became useful again, and I needed her, the little ones needed her, the whole family needed her,  she gained a new lease on life.

Your first foster child may not stay.  You may not even want that, you may be looking to be just that.  A foster parent.  That is precious.  The most sacrificial thing you can do in this life.  But, some stick.  They are meant to stay, they are meant to be part of you, birthed in your heart, and become part of your family.

I said good-bye to a lot of kids, but I knew I made a difference in their lives and that was enough.  I trusted God for the ones who were meant to stay.  There have been more that came for a moment, a haven, a place to renew, but , never one that was not meant to be in my life, or in my home.

Please go to my music page and listen to Broken Hearts And Broken Wings, a song dedicated to my amazing, wonderful, sweet identical twin boys who are now twenty.  I am blessed they are in my life, part of my incredible family of kids, grandkids, and extras who are always welcome.

If this relates to you, you are thinking about being a foster parent, or wanting to adopt, please contact me for a free 15 minute session.  I would love to connect.

IGNITE YOUR PASSION_FIND YOUR PURPOSE

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