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.

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My Sweet Autistic Child

 

 

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I so remember when my sweet, big bouncing daughter came into my life.  I had fostered a number of kids at this point in my journey, and was on the path to adopting our very first arrivals, identical twin boys who were nearly three.

I stumbled on this path, or should I say pushed onto the path of fostering by someone a lot bigger than I.  God.  Not my intent, but I am so happy it was His.  By the time the boys were nearly three, and I had of course vowed never to go back to nappies (that’s diapers for most of you) I was well entrenched in several changes a day.  I decided I would bite the bullet so to speak, and put my hand up for a newborn if there was a need.

Well, there is always a need because newborns cannot go to care for the fist six weeks, and I was a stay at home mum.  The call came pretty quickly and I was on my way to the store to buy a bassinet, the first in nearly twenty years, and all that went with the precious little girl I was to pick up from the hospital the next day.

She was beautiful! Eight plus pounds, chubby and so sweet, until.  Forget what they tell you about the baby being not positive for drugs.  If Mom uses, then baby is unhappy for about three weeks.  Nights of sleeping with her upright on my chest, swapping off with amazing hubby.

About a week after she came home, there was an instinct, maternal or probably spiritual, that just knew there was something I couldn’t put my finger on, but the sense of knowing was intense.

She grew, and as she did, it was almost like she was diagnosed with what I call the Alphabet Syndrome.  ADHD, Dyslexia (Visual), and then came the ticks.  Tourrette’s I was told.  We got therapy, group, individual, but there was still that knowing underneath that there was the “biggie”, the part we didn’t have, maybe the part that ruled everything else.

She was seven when we took all of them to Australia (there were now eight, including three sets of twins).  She loved the flights, and hated the airports.  The meltdowns were massive.  We found corners to rest, or should I say hide, and it was becoming obvious we needed to find the place where this inability to change feet, or mindset, was coming from.  And, how do we make life better for her?

This little voice inside me whispered  “Aspergers”.  I knew it was on the Autistic scale but had little knowledge of what it was.  While we were still on our trip  one of my long term friends, who was now teaching children with this diagnosis, asked did my daughter have Aspergers.

Years have gone by since then and some of the other things that trouble my precious one become magnified by the high functioning Autism.  It is not just a diagnosis, it is a lifestyle, one all of us have had to come to understand.

As a teenager, she struggles with peers and relationships, rules and consequences, and the fact that her mind doesn’t think like most other people.  She hates therapy, but knows it is necessary.  You see, therapy is about words, lots of them, and words are not her friends.  Yelling to her can be just a smidgen above normal speech, discerning expressions can lead her into relationship failure.

It took becoming certified as a Life Coach, and then continuing my studies in this field to learn to “allow” my sweet, autistic child to be who she is, understand and lead her into better choices.  It is a process that doesn’t have an expiry date, but as we learn together, life becomes easier.

If some of this sounds familiar and you would like a free fifteen minute coaching session please feel free to contact me at, kate@theaodptionthing.org.   I would love to help you.