Category Archives: Foster Parenting

When Your Life Is In A Trash Bag (And You Think You Are Just Plain Garbage)

I chose a drama piece for my theatre group the other day.

It was about foster kids.

Foster kids who didn’t stay in one place.

The ones that are troublesome.

The ones that think their life doesn’t count.

The ones looking for love from someone who sees through their disguise.

The ones that carry their life in a “trash bag.”

If you have enough its a black large one.

If you don’t its a white one meant for the kitchen size trash can.

I know this is real.  You see I fostered kids who came with a trash bag.

The saddest thing is one of my new drama kids, was that kid.

The one with the trash bag.

At three.

Her mom did drugs, and so did her dad.

She was a trash bag kid at three.

She thought she was garbage at three.

Cause, garbage comes in trash bags, not your life.

Your possessions.

Your jeans, your make up (to cover the bruises), your basketball, your hairbrush, your teddy bear (if you are lucky), your toothbrush, and maybe your deodorant.

Yup, not made up.  True.  To this day.  Sad….pathetic.

Not the kids.

The adults who tip them out with the same trash bag.

So why do the adults tip them out?

Because they cannot cope with the pain either.  Sometimes it is really hard to dig for coping skills in our own lives.

Sometimes they get thrown away like the part that no-one can deal with;  or can explain, can heal, can help, because the pain is deep, it wounds, and the wounds dig into the adults trying to help.

It exposes parts of the very people trying to help, to the point where it is so painful, they give up.  They send them away, with a trash bag, because, the pain is part of them.  It is something that brings up memories, or hurt, the very things that made them become foster parents in the first place.  The hidden things training did not address.

You see I have learned that as a foster parent you need to know why you want to do this very important duty.  What issues in your life, or what desires in your life,  caused you to want to help this foster child carrying the trash bag.  Your issues and desires need to come to the light and you need to understand them to be able to deal.

Well how do I know this?  Gosh I fostered over fifty kids, and yes, sad to say, there were some that brought up my issues.  I wish I had known then what I know now.  I needed to deal with rejection, sexual abuse, and controlling issues because I was a victim of these things, myself.

If you are a foster parent reading this, I urge you to dig deep into the reasons you want to do this amazing, rewarding, fulfilling  adventure.  If you do, and understand those issues in your own life that have lead you to this, then you will have total fulfillment and also be the best foster/adoptive parent you are capable of being.

I have a task.  It is to enlighten and educate with the experience I have as a long term foster/adoptive parent.  Even if that precious, hard to understand child comes with a trash bag, let’s not let them leave the same way.  Let’s help them see their life is valuable, worthy and that God loves them regardless.

I have a task.  To love on my new drama student.  A trash bag kid at the age of three.  To make sure she never has to feel like she is garbage.

If you know of any foster kids in your area, donate a back pack, please!  Lets use trash bags for the purpose they were designed for.

If you would like to talk to me I offer a free coaching session to help you on your journey in this difficult, but rewarding call.

Click here to contact!

When Adoption Seems Impossible.

Did your road to adoption start out with energy and hope?

Has it got a little jaded and anxious on the way?

Well, you are not alone.

We have adopted eight kids and not one of those paths were easy.

We only really went through three adoption processes because we were blessed with three sets of twins, but every journey provided it’s own difficulties to overcome.

We also fostered a child from a broken adoption.  His journey was arduous.  It was often filled with negativity, legal battles, and even the long silences where we were terrified that he would be subjected to living in primitive housing in the middle of the Interior in West Africa.

But, I never gave up hope, and I always believed that God has sent these children to us.

And, I never worried about money, or where it would come from. I trusted God would provide and he did.

Adoption can be expensive, especially if it is private or an overseas adoption, and keeping your faith on the journey can sometimes be difficult.

I have for a long time now, helped and encouraged others to foster children, or foster to adopt, or adopt a child if fostering is not for you.

If you are struggling, I would love to help you.

I have been there and walked in your shoes many times, and yes, even to disappointment when it didn’t work out.

The loss is hard.

The waiting is worse and consumes every thought.

I studied and certified to be a Life Coach because I want to help YOU.

If you want to talk, ask me questions about anything, I am offering you a free one hour coaching call.

Just click HERE sign up and I will contact you to make a time to chat.

Sometimes we have to sail through the storms!

Want to Adopt? Where from……………….

 

So, you want to adopt?

Where from?

How?

How old?

When?

All of these questions arise when the thought, adoption, comes into your mind and won’t let go.

You live it, dream it, google it, it never leaves.

I remember the very first time that thought came to my head.

I remember the importance of the moment, and the impatience that came along with it.

I wanted to get going NOW!!!!!

But where from, how, when, like how long does this take?

It all fell into perfect place for me and I found my feet through all of the trainings and paperwork, but it isn’t always that easy.

Our first choices for adoption did not work out.  I didn’t fully understand that until much later on, but, they simply were not meant to be my children.  God had another plan.

I have fostered, not my first choice either, but one I will never regret. How could I?  That is where my adopted eight came from.  Foster Care.

There were many times in my journey through fostering, adopting and raising the children I was entrusted with, that I really felt alone.

Although exciting when your child arrives, it comes with all of the usual, and some not so usual, behaviors and issues.

Quite frankly, I wished I had a shoulder to lean on more than once.  I paid for non-refundable counseling for a whole year which was valuable, but didn’t ever give me a game plan for the future.

I also ended up involved in an overseas adoption and brought a very sad, but angry, child back to the USA from Liberia, after his first adoption fell apart.

I wished I had someone to lean on then as well.  Someone who knew some of the obstacles I would face.

Today, I am that person I wished I had back then.

Are you in that place right now where you would love someone to lean on?  Where you have a future plan and know where you are going?

Are you looking at choices of where to adopt from and it has become overwhelming?

Whether you are a foster to adopt, or seeking to adopt, I have answers for you.

After fostering fifty or so children, adopting eight, custody of two more, and raising twelve, I have walked in your shoes.

This adoption journey has been the most life changing event that ever happened to me.  Amazing, full of love, laughter, tears, and a lot of growing to love unconditionally those things I could not, and cannot change.

I am now a certified Life Coach and am offering a free coaching session.  You can click the link below and experience how an hour of coaching can change your life.

Here is the link.

p.s. Never become an island

p.p.s. Help is at hand.

When The Honeymoon is over……what next?

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This morning I needed a plumber.

This morning my plumber needed me.

Why?

My plumber had been together with his partner for nineteen years with no children.

Three months ago, he took home his niece and nephew with guardianship, because their drug addicted mother could no longer care for them.

One month ago, being compassionate, caring and trying to do the right thing, he tried to  “help” their mother.

All chaos broke out.

He does not understand why his efforts to be kind and caring are backfiring.

A few questions and he answered all his own questions.

You see, you cannot change anyone, including a 32 year old addict.

All of your best efforts to do so will fall on deaf ears.

Change can only come from within.

But, children, can be changed and guided by love, understanding, and building trust with them.

The change still comes from within them, but is guided by parents, guardians, foster parents, those that are sent to guide them, lead them, and love them.

Children are still forming their minds and patterns even in the midst of chaos.

They are looking for a hero, someone who will love them regardless.

They will push every boundary, and test you to the limit.

They may have seen too much, but, given the right guidance, counsel, and wise counsel, they will survive and overcome.

In my personal experience, I cannot change the addict, they can only change themselves, with professional help.

Again, in my personal experience, I can help the child to embrace a different life by providing the right counsel, opportunities, understanding and love.  Tough love at times, but love.

Love alone does not work.  Prayer, followed by hard work and dedication do have an effect.

Just as in marriages, honeymoons end, and, real life begins.  When the honeymoon ends, that’s when we see the real picture, and know just where to go, what to adjust, and if we do have the stamina and tolerance to ride this relationship to it’s fruition.

I could have left my marriage many times when things did not go my way.  I could have walked from relationships with my children when times got tough, and I could have walked from my relationship with my elderly mother when times got to be outrageous.

But, a relationship, has two sides.  Yours and theirs.  I choose to sculpt my side of any relationship in the form I want and need it to be.  It rubs off if it is done with the right attitude and the right heart.

So, in the case of my plumber, he wants to talk with me a whole lot more because his mind gained a new clarity after our “conversation” or impromptu coaching session.  He went from being the victim, to understanding the real victim, the child.

He went from feeling hurt, to understanding the hurt from the child.  He left not feeling hurt from words said from a thirteen year old child, but empowered knowing he can stand on the other side and help the child without getting his feelings hurt.

I leave you with this.  No child needs to be left behind if our thoughts are captured, looked at really hard, and understand that we will survive, but if we take offense from a child who has been abused and neglected, we are not helping anyone, including ourselves.
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So You Want To Foster To Adopt

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You are frustrated. You want to adopt a child, here, not overseas.

The system is difficult, long suffering, and impossible.

You decide to foster to adopt.

You expect your first child is going to be the one that stays, he/she doesn’t.

Then the second, the third, the group of three, none stay.  You are disillusioned.

You want to give up.

Why?

Maybe those children were not meant to be yours long term?

Maybe God just meant them to be there for you to nurture in the transition back to family who could parent?

What if you were their Angel unaware in their time of need?

What if you were the person who gave them their first hug, their first bedtime story, their first regular schedule, their first smile.

Does that change the way you are feeling?

Think about it.  Because God has the right child, or children in the right time.  Sometimes we just give up before the moment of miracles.

Our heart breaks with longing for the child we want to hold.  Their heart is breaking with longing for the mother or father they want to love them.

It’s sort of a catch 22.  We long for a baby, or child, they long for a family, and yet we are stuck in our own thoughts, and not allowing for the child’s.  What if you did that?  Stood in the child’s shoes?

Think of the fear they feel.  Think of the confusion; the rejection, thinking their parents have left.  Think of the lack of affection, the toys, bedtimes stories, hugs, home cooked food, pajamas, a bed of their own, all of these they do not have.

If you can give this for a week, a month, and in my case once, a year, then you have done your part of this amazing journey.  You have changed a child’s life.  You are truly a foster to adopt parent.

Your forever child will come.  At the right time, in the right circumstance, the right age (whether you asked for this or not) and the right sex.  Boy or girl doesn’t matter you know.  You get what you get when you birth them biologically.

I have two children specifically in my mind that I thought I wanted to be my forever children, but it was not to be.  In hindsight, I was right. The system was right in one case;  I painfully chose another family for the other,  but, it worked out.

Big news.  I am still in contact with them to this day because I did the job of the Foster Parent.  I so wanted them to be mine forever, but, that was not the plan, the ultimate Almighty plan.  I am blessed because I went with the plan.

Oh, and did I tell you this?  I ended up with eight adopted children, including three sets of twins.  Those that God meant to stay did, and to those children that I was meant to be their Angel unaware, I was.  To fifty or so of them.

Don’t look at the prize guys, look at the journey, and the joy on the way.  The prize is not your forever kids, it is the love, comfort and joy you give to those that are put upon your path in the journey of the Foster to Adopt parent.  Your forever kids are more than the prize, they are the virtual love of God given to you, for being able to give of your heart to “the lost children” who needed you, needed you in every hour.  Those children become “Invisible.”  They feel that way, until you pick them up, in your arms, love them, nurture them, read to them, and sometimes give them back to family who love them too.

If you want a free mini session (life coaching) go here.

If you want to list to a song that will minister about this go here.

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Somedays It Sucks!

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In everyone’s world some days just suck.  As a parent of both biological and adopted children all of them have issues on one day or another, but it sucks when more than one of them decide today is the day to just let it all out.

Now we adopted because we had four kids between us that had things like, ADHD, OCD, Epilepsy, Asthma, and mild dyslexia.  Mild stuff compared to some of the kids who came along via the foster system and even the babies we adopted who have grown up now.

I remember such a day when we had taken in a three year old, who turned out to be so damaged by his biological family, he had to go to special care.  He could not exist safely in a normal family.  Those days made me feel inadequate to say the least, and I often wondered, why, how, this could happen to a child so young.  I learned a lot along the way.  One thing being, children, all of them, need homes with loving parents and need to be nurtured and understood even if they have what I call “The Alphabet Disorder”.  A lot of capital letters associated with stuff that messes with their brains.

Now as a parent with four married with children, and eight others, including twenty-one year old twins and another six teenagers (including two other sets of twins), I understand that a parent, even one who is a Life Coach and can put up the best of arguments, can have a day that truly SUCKS!

Teenagers are a different breed!  I only had two at a time the first round, but this time it has been six at a time (and really twenty-one year old twin boys?  Doh, they are still teenagers.)  Then throw in some Bi-Polar disorder, all eight ADHD, or ADD, some OCD, a spatter of high functioning Autism, a dash of learning disorders, some physical issues like Cerebral Palsy and speech apraxia, and it really is a recipe for the occasionally day, where sometimes you’re the bug, and other times you are the windshield wiper.

Recently there have been more than the occasional day where I definitely felt like a bug on the windshield of my car.  Autism coupled with Bi-Polar was a pretty powerful windshield wiper that tried to wipe me off, like in one of those car washes where the big brushes come down to get you.  But, in all of my difficulty in staying calm, understanding talking to a disorder is just that, and will not be a rational conversation.  We, child and parent have survived.  Not through anything but hard parenting, being consistent, sobbing my heart out when nobody could hear, and coaching myself crazy.

I cannot say I was successful in every episode, but overall?  Without the training as a Life Coach, and coaching from my colleagues, I would not have made it out the other side.

I do not regret one child that came through our home, or one adoption, all were meant to be.  All have been shaped, and have shaped me.  Nothing has gone wrong at all, in fact a lot has gone right.  Some of the best years of my life, some twenty of them, have been given to children who I did not birth, but were birthed in my heart.  Some did not stay, some moved on, some have re-connected, and some I call my child.  The titles do not matter, it is what is in your heart.  I am lucky and blessed to have older kids who felt the same and have joined our journey through this horrible system that children have to endure because their parents make bad choices.

I don’t know who is reading this, but if you are a foster parent, or a parent who has adopted and has a child or children born of your heart not your womb, and you are going through stuff, contact me.

I understand, I have been there fostering, I am there as an adoptive parent, I get it.  I get there is a fight sometimes between nature and nurture.  I believe nurture and God wins.

I would love to give you a free coaching session and help you on your journey or your decision making process in this journey.  Just sign up on my email list (on the right)  and I will contact you.  You can leave a message, but unfortunately, there is so much spam these days I might miss you and mistake you for being just that.

So, if you are being more of the bug and not the windscreen wipers, and there are too many days that are sucking, you know who to contact.

Go here to get your free mini-session!

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Help! Turn Up The Volume!

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I was out on my usual hike with amazing hubby this morning.

I could hear a voice calling out in the distance.

It seemed to be calling for help, but I wasn’t quite sure.

We stopped for a minute and listened carefully.

Yup, sounded something like “help!”

Some hikers passed us at that point, and I turned and asked them, “Can you year that?  Does it sound like someone calling for help?”

They looked at us and replied, “Yes, it sounds like that.”

Then they turned back to their conversation and walked on!

We were shocked to say the least, at how casual someone could ignore what really sounded like a cry for help.

Well, our hike took a slightly different turn and we followed the voice until we came upon a gentleman, who was not needing help, but trying to find his dog!  His dog’s name sure sounded like “help.”

We took a different path back, still wondering why no-one else on the trail went to find out if he needed assistance.  It stuck with me.

Different thoughts rolled around in my mind, and came back to the realization that most people just don’t like to get involved.  In fact, they prefer to pretend they didn’t see, or hear that someone might need help.

My thoughts immediately took me back to all of the “lost” children out there.  Some in group homes, some in orphanages, some around the corner, and some across the world.  All with a very small voice that is trying to be heard.  “I want a family;  I want a mom and dad.”

The statistics are shocking.  There are so many children, our next and future generations that do not have any home, let alone a stable, loving family.

So, maybe it’s time to shake it up.  Grow awareness.  If you relate, know about this issue and are involved, I would love to hear your thoughts.

So I don’t only think, but I know I need to “Turn Up The Volume!”  

Be heard!

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Miracles Do HAPPEN!!!!!

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I believe in miracles go here and  listen to this amazing song about ordinary miracles.

In my family ordinary, everyday miracles happen, because I believe.

I don’t even think about it, I just believe.

I could not have done that some seventeen years ago, but my life changed.

I had, HAD to, believe in ordinary, everyday miracles.  For my kids.

I am in Nashville right now.  I have a child, that is legally mine, who is a walking miracle.

I read up on google, who is your friend, today about his diagnosis.

He should not be alive, let alone, be walking or talking or being anything other than maybe in a vegetative state, or a slow, long, painful recovery of a very severely traumatized brain.

What I read.  An aneurism, a blood clot, a stroke, a trauma to his grey/white matter in his brain.  Top that off with a spleen trauma, deep lacerations to his left face, ear, hand, arm, and five different fractures to his back.

This is a walking miracle.  Four weeks later, he is talking, standing, walking, still a little scrambled in his memories vs his aspirations, but heck, even the hospital staff and doctors don’t get this.  He is God’s Miracle.

This child, or young man really, I just think of him as a child, came to me seven years ago because of another miracle in his life.

You see, he was adopted, but the adoption went sour, and south, in a very bad way.  The end result was he was the kid who escaped the authorities in both countries, Liberia and USA, and ended up in the interior of Rivercess.  He was westernized.  He couldn’t catch fish with his bare hands, or climb a coconut tree.  He suffered beyond what a child should.  He thought he deserved this.

I didn’t.  My amazing hubby didn’t either.  And we found him and brought him back. An amazing miracle.  How do you find a kid in the jungle in less than a day?  God.    This is the young man who has yet again suffered physically, and mentally.

When I heard the news, I never doubted he would be healed, fully, back to total mental and physical health.  I am watching that happen.

He will survive.  He will be full restored cognitively and physically.  He will have all of his memories, and full capacity of his abilities.

You see, our God reigns.  Supremely, undoubtedly, truthfully, justly, righteously, kindly, and knows everything.  Yup, everything.  He guides us, forgives us, loves us, and heals.  Mind, body, soul and spirit.  He is our creator of everything including life and death.  He decides, we don’t.  We only think we do.

Challenges are God breathed.  They are there for us to meet, rise up and move forward.a must place to visit while you're on-2
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When You Never Give Up

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I never give up.

When I know deep inside that I am supposed to do something, I do it.

My child Friday is like that.

He has a long story that no child should have to ever endure.

But he did, and he never gave up.  Neither did I.

Short synopsis.  He was adopted from a Liberian orphanage at around eight years of age.

He was sent back by his adoptive parents to Liberia five years later.

Illegal by anyone’s standards.

Lots of red tape, custody papers, a flight to get him and he came back.  Became a part of our family.  He is third from the left, in the front row, in the photo above.

Tough few years getting him educated, helping him through his fear, anger, resentment, abandonment issues, rejection and trying to teach him to love.

Still fighting the rules and the systems, he did get graduated and got his drivers license.  He was free!

He has “lived” his life over the last couple of years experiencing failure, tough times, hard decisions and finding his place.

He has kept in touch, especially in the moments where, he was living in his car in California and needing to get home, when he just needed to know I was there, the occasional comment on social media, but I knew where he was, and most importantly, he knew where I was.

Then shocking news.  He was in a serious car accident, barely hanging on to life for several days.  A “miracle” he was alive.  I had to choke back tears when I saw him.  On a breathing machine, his left ear swollen from being stitched back to his head, the intubation, the distortion from swelling, the tubes everywhere including the top of his head to relieve the fluid.

But, he is a fighter, and he has a purpose in this world.  I knew from the moment I heard that I would start fighting in the spiritual world for his total recovery.

I experienced his fight in the spiritual, and I knew he would not give up.  I had a peace, a peace that passes all understanding that he would be not just ok, but totally himself.

Brain trauma is a scary thing, he has a road ahead, but not one he will not conquer.

He is one state away from me, so I drive every week to see him.  Tomorrow I drive and I get to see him awake, just three weeks after this terrible accident.

If you would like to know his story you can buy my book, “Finding Friday”  here.

You can find his song, “Run To”  on my cd “Broken Hearts And Broken Wings” here.  These are songs related to fostering and adoption.

Sign up for my emails and you can follow his amazing progress!

And, p.s.  Please like my FB page “Finding Friday” here and “The Adoption Thing” FB page here.

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Is Your Desire Enough?

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Ok, am diving in deep fast.

I totally believe in God and all that goes with it.

I have faith, sometimes smaller than a mustard seed.

I have trust, trust that God loves me, and lives inside of me.

Spirit.  Totally know about that.  Feel it, know it, love it.

Soul.  Understand that as well.  (will explain if you don’t)

But where is my belief that miracles happen?

Where is my faith that my desires will come true?

Where do they all connect and what impact does that have?

Ok, I’m gonna explain something here that sort of doesn’t get explained.  We all have desires of the heart.  Ok, another word for dreams, dreams we have in our earthly world that we really hope will come true.

We all believe to some extent.  What is that extent?  All in, half in, maybe in?  What are we believing in?  Great question.

God says he will grant the desires of our heart, but those desires have been planted by him.  So, being a foster adoptive parent, the desire to do this has been planted by God.

Faith.  The faith to do this.  Smaller than even you can see, feel or believe, but there is faith and God honors faith.  Unless you don’t take action.  You see faith is nothing without action.

Example.  Our child Isaiah, not the child we asked for, or even saw fitting in our family, but one God asked us to rescue and embrace.  Only thing we had here to cling onto was faith.  Faith that God would provide answers, protection for our kids, and provision for Isaiah.  Well He, God, did all of that, but not without our action.

Belief.  The biggie guys.  It is so hard to believe in what seems impossible, but I can testify about healed hearts, healed speech, healed legs to walk and more than that right now with Isaiah being healed from certain death.

So, the three things that we need are desire to do, faith to believe, and Belief to really believe.  But the fourth, is the necessity.  Take action on all of these. Faith, Belief,  and Desire.

How do we get it?  Ok, we are taught faith, and we are taught to believe, but what is the desire factor and how does it impact us?

Simple.  We can talk all sorts of things in our heads, we can even believe we are meant to do something, but, whether it is adoption, or fostering, or a personal issue, like weight,  you need your desire to be the same level as your belief and your faith.  Then, nothing is impossible, unless you choose to never take action.

Yup, I know this is radical, but it is true.  Your mind is the bearer of all bad thoughts, your heart tries to overcome and intervene, and your faith is struggling between the two.

Faith + belief + desire + action, the recipe for overcoming all odds.  So how do you find it?  I  found it.  It took a lot of time and years, but, I found it.

I learned to believe above all odds, have faith in that, and combine my desire for any situation with both belief and faith.  And then?  Take Action!!!!!  Magic combination.

If you need to know more please contact me.  I will always be there to answer your questions.

I am a foster/adoptive parent of special needs children, and rescued overseas children in danger.  I believe, have faith, have desire and I always take action.

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