Category Archives: Special Needs Children

The Struggle Is Real!

When you are a Foster Parent the struggle is REAL!

There are days when you feel immensely alone.

When you think you should give up.

When you think nothing is working with this particular child.

The thoughts of failure and wondering where to turn next, are real.

I remember when my first foster children came.  Twin boys, for the weekend.

They had clothes on that were too small, and held on tightly to their bottles, which looked grimy.

The stared almost vacantly at me as I pasted a smile on my face through the tears I was trying to hide.

They screamed every time I put them in a car seat, every time I put them in a bath, every time I went to change their diaper.

It was exhausting, and frustrating for all of us.

But even though it was hard work, those boys turned twenty-two last week.  Handsome young men.  It sure was a long week-end.

As a foster parent, or a foster to adopt parent, there will be struggles, but there will also be immense rewards.

I had a conversation with a client the other day, a foster parent, who was really doubting herself, but she had no need to do so.

Did she have a difficult child!  Yes, the struggle here was real!

Was she doing all the right things even though the child was protesting?

Absolutely!  She needed to be re-assured.  She needed to hear affirmation that “going with her gut” and being consistent in her parenting, really was working.

There are so many stories that are heartbreaking, yet end up be a joyful testimony to yet another young life turned around.

When children remain in the foster care system for years, or get bounced around from home to home, the statistics of failure for these children is very high.

Dave Thomas said, “it is better to build a child, than fix an adult.”

He was right.

Cycles of abuse and neglect can be broken.

Love can be restored, and build a child up instead of tearing that same child down.

Are you a foster parent?

Or are you thinking you might like to know more about foster parenting or foster to adopt a child?

I would love to give you a complimentary coaching session and answer some of your questions.  Go here!

Let’s continue to seek out and find the “lost children” in our world.

See you next blog!

When Fear Overcomes Your Desire To Foster/Adopt

This photo is of me on my front porch.

I’ve been on that front porch with more than one therapist.

Someone who is helping me and my child.

You see, there is help.  Help in all situations when you foster/adopt.

But there is also fear.

Fear that there will be no help, nobody to support you.

Fear that overcomes you to the point that the desire you have to foster/adopt is overcome by it.

I have heard so many stories where foster parents give up.

Why?  Their heart is broken or their expectation is not met.

Yet, there are still children out there needing foster parents.

Their hearts are already broken, sometimes even shattered.

Our hearts mend.  We are adults.  We can overcome.

But, can they?  Overcome?  Live without a parent?

There are 700,000 children that pass through the foster system in this country every year.

400,000 end up in a foster situation where there are not enough homes, or families to step up.

In any county on any day, at least in Georgia, there are 500 kids in foster care with only 100 foster families.

What happens to the others?

Go back in time, to when you were a kid.  What if you were put in foster care?

What would that have felt like?

Who would you have wanted to be there for you?

You see, I had four biological kids, all who had some sort of issue.

So, what if amazing hubby and I had died in an accident, who would have taken them?

That’s the thought that led me to be a foster/adoptive parent.

Do you have fears around the desire to be a foster/adoptive parent?

Do you want to overcome that and maybe have the most rewarding experience in your life?

Then go here.  I would love to talk to YOU!

My Amazing Family through birth, adoption, rescue, and foster.


The Joys and Challenges of The Foster/Adoptive Parent

Adopting eight kids is a joy!

Adopting eight kids is a challenge!

One set of twins is a joyful surprise!

Three sets of twins is a challenge!

But, do not get me wrong, all children bring joy!

All children bring challenges.

Adopted, fostered or biological.

My journey brought much joy and restoration to my life.

You see I lost an identical twin with my second pregnancy.

I was blessed with one of them, but was sad that I never conceived another set of twins.

I knew I was a twin mum.   So did God!  He sent three sets!

Often when there is an adoption through a private agency that turns out to be twins, it becomes a little unstable.

It is much harder to make the decision to adopt out two babies, over one, but, that is not always the case.

You see, my extended adopted family, was in exactly that position.

I did not know them at the time of the adoption, but, they were about to adopt twins from the same birth mother that two sets of my twins came from.  Whew, complicated.

What birth mum has three sets of twins!  Well, this one did.  Her first two sets came into foster care, where I became first their foster parent, and then their adoptive parent.  The second set are two and a half years younger than their older sisters, but, came to us because in the Foster system, they really do try to keep siblings together.

We were and are totally blessed.  Of course they are all now teenagers, and that, is another challenge, and story for another day.

The third set came along about eight years after my youngest.  By a miracle, and I do believe in miracles, we were connected with the new adoptive parents of these amazing little ones.  Birth mum had gone through an agency, and the parents were in an open adoption with her.

We all had this immediate extended family connection.  I will never forget our first adoptive mum to mom conversation.  It lasted for hours.  Today, we all keep in contact, have visited, and are overdue for a visit.  Hoping to correct that in the very near future.

Fostering is not for the feint of heart, but the joy is so rewarding.  And, if I had not fostered, I would not have my two singletons, and my three sets of twins.  All came through foster care, as infants.

All were new borns except my eldest boys who were twenty months old.

Don’t be afraid of fostering, your heart will mend, theirs will not; unless they find YOU, the home and mother they are meant to go to.

And last thing, do not put limits on God’s gifts to you.  You may want two children like I did, and He may call you to more.

Please accept my complimentary gift of a free coaching session here.

And please accept this gift of our Ten Layers Of Swiss Cheese orTen Tools For Foster/Adoptive Parents here.

You may have questions.  Please go here for my story in the book “Is Eight Enough.”

See you on the call!

My child I fostered from a broken adoption that put him on the streets of Liberia with no family, no home, no love and no comfort.  If you want to read his story go here.

ps.  He had the most horrific accident just about a year ago.

pps.  He fully recovered miraculously.

ppps.  God saved him twice from the jungle of Africa, He didn’t give up.  He saved him again.  Go here for his story.

My family!  Blessed!

 

When you are burned and want to give up……..

You finally got a child, a foster child.

You’ve never had a child of your own, or, your passion to have one is intense.

It’s a small, helpless child.

You got all the information and your head is reeling.

This child needs a home and ours has been chosen.

You love unconditionally.

You let down all your barriers.

Your heart is ruling your head.

And, bam.  There comes a relative, mom or dad.  From nowhere.  One who you think is not fit.

In your heart, this child is yours.

You cannot think of any good qualities this relative may have.

You can only see what you can give.

Familiar?

There are so many more scenarios of this same outcome, but all end in the same way.  The child goes to a relative that you, in YOUR heart, deem to be less than what you can give.

In my case, it was another home that was willing to take four children who I deemed not yet ready to be re-united.  Was I right?  Was I wrong?  I don’t know.  I do know that child contacted me years later and I am still in contact.  Should I have raised her?  The jury is out on that one, because, if she had stayed I would not have the kids I do have.

But, I know of, have known, and do know, foster parents who wanted to adopt and gave up because their hearts were “broken”.”

If this relates to you, I have a word of wisdom for you.

If you truly want to be a parent, and adoptive parent, and want to foster to adopt, the road is rocky at least.

But IT IS WORTH IT!

I would like to encourage you to not give up.  I am blessed beyond measure, but it was not an easy, smooth road without obstacles, worries or doubts.  It was a rocky road.  A rocky road that lead to  blessing for all of us.

We came so close to not having our wonderful sixteen year old twins, but we believed beyond measure, and they stayed.  They brought their half twin sister and brother.  Unmeasurable joy, but not without the fight, the prayers, the belief, and the staying power.

I wish I had someone back then who could have helped me, understood, listened, encouraged, and led me to make better decisions for myself, and my family.

If this tugs at your heart, then I have another alternative.

Once upon a time we all went back in time, but, if you want to go forward, are ready to go forward, leave behind the stuff and are truly ready to explore your options about adopting from being a foster parent, or just leaping out to foster a child, then I have a great offer for you.

You see, I was you once.  But now, I am a double certified life coach, a foster mum of about fifty odd kids, and an adoptive mum of eight, including three sets of twin, with all eight being special needs.

I want to be your HELP in times of doubt, struggle and trouble.

If you need to talk, well you can for free.  I will give you as much time as you need to see if we are a fit, a match, and if I can help help you in your journey.

Just go here, click, sign up on your email and I will respond.  No questions, no commitments.  Just a free talk with someone who has been in your shoes, and has weathered the system.

I so look forward to helping you on this amazing journey, one I know is worth the rocks and hard places to get where you belong.  With your child.

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!

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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