Tag Archives: Parenting skills

What do YOU want to know about Fostering, or Adoption?

Somehow, over the last day or so, I was reminded of what I needed as a new, or even seasoned, foster parent.

I guess it was the training at my church.

Brought back so many memories but so many questions as well.

I knew nothing back then.

I just had a big desire in my heart to help a child in need.

My desire overcame my fear.

I’m sure you relate.

It’s pretty scary to take that first step.

But, when that desire to be a foster, or a foster to adopt parent is in your heart, your desire dial is about a ten.

Being truthful, my fear was so nearly greater than my desire to help a child.

I deliberated, or contemplated adopting, never fostering, for some six or seven years.

Fear dial vs desire dial.

Ok dial?

Like fear 1-10.  Desire 1-10.

Your desire will  overcome your fear if you let it.

So many let fear rule.

I nearly did.  In fact right up to the day I fostered my first two kids, I let fear rule.

Why did I change my mind?

Well, it came down to what was in my heart..

I wanted to help “lost” children.

Those nobody even knew about, let alone cared about.

I thought I was in this for the ethnic kids who had trouble being placed or adopted.

God changed my mind.

It’s not about ethnicity, it’s about the child, or in my case children.

I was so caught up in no-one wanted the ethnic kids, I could have missed the children God ordained for me.

Funny thing?  I have kids of all ethenticities.

I just didn’t focus on that.

I focused on the need.

I ended up with three sets of twins.

Well, that was a need not able to be fulfilled by many.

If you continue to have fear over so many issues regarding fostering, or foster to adopt, your fear dial  is overwhelming your desire dial.

Your fear is dialing on a scale of 1-10 more than your desire is dialing on a scale of 1-10.

Where do you want to be?

Fear comes from the unknown.

I can help you with that.

Do you need to talk to someone who has been here done that?

Well, I can help you with that,

Go here, if you would like to talk.

Catch you next time!

 

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

This past week-end we had a Foster Parent training at our church.

As I was setting up snacks etc, those first words that were part of my training were hanging in the air again.

Each time I came back into the room to check all was well, there would be more familiar words that I recalled, word for word.

Fostering is not easy.

It can be complicated.

You have to have patience, along with love and kindness.

Tolerance doesn’t hurt either.

After twenty years you would think that the original training I had was nearly forgotten.

But, when I thought about it, it was remembered because every aspect of it was needed.

Every training I went to over the years was beneficial and informative.

Every foster parent had a question, a situation, a need that was put out on the table and given attention.

We hear a lot of “bad” reports on fostering, but, there are so many good reports that get lost.

Sometimes the question of whether to be a foster parent and what that looks like, simmers in our thoughts for a long time before we take any action at all.

I always thought we made a quick decision, when in fact, the thought of adoption, or fostering to adopt, was in my thoughts for about seven years before, it seemed like, suddenly, overnight, we were doing our foster parent training.

Is that you?

Do you think about being a foster parent?

Is something holding you back?

Go here and I would love to help you through your thoughts.

If you would like to read my new book before it is released go here.

It is titled “Ten Slices of Swiss Cheese or Ten Tools For Foster Adoptive Parents.”

Remember, “It is always better to build a child, than fix an adult,” Dave Thomas.

A Seizure in the middle of nowhere?

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So, I have a couple of kids who have epileptic seizures.

Scary, but I know who, maybe when, never where.

I have a birth mom to four who is epileptic.

Needs meds to this day.

I have two out of four that I know are epileptic.

I know they have an older sibling who is also.

So, driving down the road, when I hear ” she’s having a seizure”

I expect it to be the known two, not the unknown.

My miracle child who has beaten all odds, like not walking, not talking, not learning, a brain bleed, a leg brace supposed to be forever, is having her first seizure in the back of our airport shuttle in the middle of nowhere and I don’t know why?

I am shocked!

I have forgotten everything I know about seizures because she doesn’t do this!!

I am in full on A type personality mode of “you will come out of this” and now!!

I am not patient!  I am not thinking!  I am in panic mode!

I forget the positioning.  I forget that this is temporary, she will come out.

I forget to soothe.  I forget everything, because I am panicked.

I forget, because the overwhelming love and need to be her everything is not what she needs right now.

I forget because she hasn’t done this before.  She is sixteen.  Although she has a history, she hasn’t presented these symptoms.

I forget because I want to.  I hope and believe all the past issues have gone before me and I don’t have to deal anymore.  But, because of this, I do, and I will.

That same “A” type personality will find out why, what, when and where this could happen.  I will find out what meds are needed, and I will be there when and where every time.

I am reminded of when she was so little, so needing, so unable to even let me know what she wanted, and that is what a seizure is like. In the midst, they don’t know, they can’t tell, can’t express anything that is happening or what they are feeling.

We have more happening here than a seizure or epilepsy history, we have diagnosed Cerebral Palsy, and a brain bleed.  I don’t for one minute think we will not overcome this because knowledge is power and we sure have than on our side.

So, I am encouraging you to see the light through the darkness when all seems like it is crashing to something unexpected

I know my fighter, daughter, teenager is an overcomer.  She has proved this already, she will prove this again.  I have no doubts.

It’s me that struggles through these valleys only to see God on the mountain top, calling me, and telling me I can climb to any heights he calls me to.

If you are struggling, know, that all things are possible through God who strengthens me.

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Parenting vs Cyberspace

 

 

 

 

This week we have been on Fall break.

Four kids home from school, one at college, two working, one sleeping.

Eight at home is hard.

Two is easy,  four a bit harder.

Anything over that?

You need your radar to be very accurate.

We live in a culture that would like to think we don’t have responsibility for kids after they turn eighteen.

That is exactly how it is in the foster system.

That is how we are programmed in this country.

Why?

Because all kids go to college at eighteen don’t they?

I hate to disillusion  you but that is just not quite correct.

Not only in the foster child system, but in many families.

What happens to the learning disabled child who doesn’t get through the education requirements?

What happens to the kid with a mental disease that has trouble coping in those teenage years?

What happens to just a normal kid who doesn’t make the grade?

I have seen cyber space interfere with my kids in this generation.

Social media reigns.

Celebrity reality shows are influential and quite frankly not reality.

Snap Chat and Instagram need your parental watch at all time.

FaceBook?  Wow!  Dang!  Watch who is asking to friend your sweet teenager, girl or boy.

Get a grip.  Know their passwords.  Insist on their phones being checked randomly if they have them. Um…… yes I succumbed to the phone pressure, but am happy now to take that phone, tablet, whatever and hide it.

We hear all of this on the news programs and think it will not be my child.  Wrong!

How do I know?

It happened to my child.  My sweet slightly disabled child who thought all of these “friend requests” were innocent and pure.

Not.

I am lucky because I am vigilant.  More than my kids want me to be.  But guess what?

Suck it up kids!  I’m the parent here no matter what age you are living in my house.

If you live in my house, you live by my rules.

Trust me, it works.

This is an age of entitlement and our kids are being taught this through social media, and social contacts at school.

Disney isn’t Disney anymore.  At least not on Television.

Watch what your children watch.  Listen to what your children listen to.

You decide.  You are the parent after all.

If you struggle with this and would like to talk about it go here.  My gift to you.

I am not only a foster parent to about fifty children, I have adopted eight.  I also am actively involved with a foster parent agency in my church.

What do you struggle with?  Want to talk?  Just click here.

Keep parenting, keep fostering, keep adopting.

 

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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