Thursday, December 30, 2010


I sent out Sabrina's Christmas gifts to her yesterday (late) and I also sent her mom and gma a photo ornament of Sabrina.  I sent them each their own.

Ever since the girls have gotten here, especially Tina, I have been feeling like it is time to let go of Sabrina. I have talked to her mom 3 times and without asking or her saying anything I think it is obvious that she wants Sabrina to forget that "foster care" ever happened.  I understand that.  I think that trying to accomplish that by cutting people she loves completely out of her life is the wrong way to do it, but at the same time, I see adoptive families doing this as well to help their kids "attach" and what makes her wrong and them right?  I honestly think that acting as if it never happened or these people never existed is ridiculous and in the long run (and short term) will only be confusing and emotionally hurtful to the kids.  That is just my opinion.  Plus, in order to have a relationship with Sabrina I would have to really build a relationship with her mom, which would be fine if I didn't know that all she would do would be use me to get whatever she could from me.

Ever since these girls walked into our house I have obviously been very busy, that busy-ness has made me realize that there isn't going to be a lot of time in my life to play games and kiss feet in order to be used so that I can perhaps see Sabrina - apparently I don't even have time to get her Christmas gifts to the post office on time.  I feel ready to move on and let go.  Not that I have much choice, but I do think there is some choice involved.  As soon as I felt the tug that it was time there was part of me that said "Not yet, I need to hold on to this just a little longer..." but, I don't need to.

If her mom calls I will pick up the phone, and if she doesn't we will all live our lives.  Life moves on regardless if we are ready for it or not.  If you would have told me that last Christmas that neither one of our foster kids would still be with us THIS Christmas I would have been heart broken, but if you would have added in that we would have FOUR new beautiful little faces to celebrate with I would have been thrilled.  I will always miss my kids who leave, and I will always look forward to my babies that haven't made it to our home yet.  Seeing God take them away and give us back double what He took...well, if that doesn't show you the goodness of God I don't know what will.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Well, between everything that is going on with my three girls poor little Joseph hasn't been brought up much has he?

I think that is because he is just so easy.  I love his foster mom and we work together great so there is no drama there and when he was here he was the easiest out of all the kids.  He just hangs out, cuddles and plays.  There were NO fits, barely any tears, he really is just that easy.

I was so glad that he treated me like "the mom" and preferred me over other people, even my hubby.  He is a little behind and I can see it more when I have him for long periods of time.  One thing that was very sad to me is that he "self soothes" at night and at naptime by banging his head on the side of his crib.  His foster mom knows about this and has other kids that do this and it is almost "normal" at her house, but it just makes me sad.  To me, self soothing equals having to soothe yourself because no one else did it.  At night I would stand over his crib and stroke his hair as he settled down to go to sleep.  Sometimes it helped and he wouldn't bang his head and sometimes he would bang his head anyway.

It was also interesting to me that he didn't play with toys much, but that may have been because I let him just sit with me and I have found that all my kids just CRAVE being touched, talked to, loved on, played with and having our attention.  That is something my new little girls are soaking up and you can tell they need it.  It is a neat thing to be the one God trusts to "heal" these kids.  It is amazing the amount of healing that goes on just when you treat them the way you treat your own kids.  When they haven't had it before you can see their eyes light up when they see that you care enough to pay attention.

When it was time for Joseph to go back home his foster mom met me part of the way so all we did was move him from one car to the other.  He was fine.  I talked to his foster mom today and she said he did great, he didn't act all clingy or anything and that he seems to be doing really good going in between our two homes.  This makes me very happy because, of course, I want him to like us, but I also want him to be happy where he is since there is nothing I can do about it.

Everything went very well during our visit, we are now going to do every other weekend all weekend.

It will be neat when he finally doesn't have to leave.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I hate to be this way - but both of Lizzy's parents canceled their visits for this week.


Monday, December 27, 2010


I love the blog

She mentioned that her intent was to only foster one child (she has had 2 very short placements and has one long term one currently that she calls "jacket" on her blog.  She has had her for quite a while and, as foster care does, things are getting a little hairy.)

Anyway, she mentioned that she would love to see a generation of "normal" people who decide to take on one foster child instead of a few people taking on LOTS of kids.

I find this very interesting and it got me thinking.

So many people say to me "I could never do it, I couldn't give them back, I couldn't stand the pain."

What if we "normal" people all stepped out and decided that one time in our life we would risk getting hurt to benefit someone else?

What if ONE TIME we did something that was solely for the benefit of someone else - something that was written in stone that would hurt us, but make a world of difference to someone else?

Just Once.

Just Once.

I am glad Jesus decided to do it just once.  What a difference it made for all of us.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Lizzy's mom called me on Christmas Eve to ask me if I could "pack her some black tights and black dress shoes because her aunt bought her a Christmas dress".

Lizzy's mom called me half an hour before I was meeting her to give her Lizzy for Christmas to ask if she could use my car seat because "she don't have one".

Lizzy's mom called me an hour early on Christmas to see if I could meet them early because they "wanted to get home, they had had it for the day".

I love being a personal servant.

Oh, and she came home with 2 giant long bruises on her right hip that look like someone hit it.  I don't think they did, but thank you for that because now I get to "explain" that to the social worker.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Tonight I gave my 2nd son a bath, cuddled with him before bed, and giggled with him as I grabbed his hand while he tried to pull his away before I could get him.

It was perfect.

This Christmas is JUST as it should.  God has given me a joy that is wiping away a lot of the harshness of what has happened this year.  He is in the process of restoring it all.  Not by giving us kids we can keep forever (even though we certainly hope that happens), but by giving us exactly what we need when we needed it.

I needed a house full of kids this Christmas.  I needed to see that there is a lot of joy in our future.  I needed it and HE gave it to me.

It is perfect.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Joseph is finally here.  It has been a while since I saw him (2 weeks?), I love that he smiled when he saw me and didn't cry at all.

I was worried that today was going to be a nightmare...but it wasn't.  Today was actually easier than yesterday was and I had a child today that I didn't have yesterday.  He is so easy and happy.  He snuggled up to me regularly and God gave me plenty of moments to get to know him even though I am knee high in kids.  I was so thankful for that.

We are making progress on all fronts.  I'm learning, they are learning, I am starting to see a tiny light that looks like normal-ness coming.  That will be nice.

Happy Day before Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I should be cleaning...oh, how I should be cleaning.  These kids are running circles around me.

Tomorrow I pick up Joseph...another child that will be running circles around me.  That should be interesting, I almost feel bad dragging him into all of this, but I suppose he will live.  When he is adopted it isn't like this might now happen anyway.  He actually is probably more used to it than any of us, all he knows is foster care - kids in and out.

I don't know where to start about the new was living in a shelter with them and I guess is using drugs.  Dad lives in a neighboring state that mom ran from to here.  They aren't going to have any visits until after the holidays their worker said because my agency isn't open much for the next couple weeks.

You can tell that in this sibling group the older ones take care of the younger ones, makes you wonder what mom does all day...Tina (the 2 yr old) is always trying to feed the baby and is always stealing the baby's bottle.  She is kinda driving me nuts with that.

The baby has figured out that if she needs or wants anything all she has to do is make a noise and I actually will give it to her.  She has decided that she likes being held by mom a lot.

And I have been loving every second of that.

Monday, December 20, 2010


I wish you could see the whole picture, she really is just too beautiful.  (Our new foster baby Tina)

Today was our Lizzy's hearing.  Everything went well, everything stayed the same with the legal dad (Praise God!) and mom now gets once a week unsupervised visits...which the court said she could have her first one on Christmas, IF I was willing to do it, because she can't spend the night.

These crazy people wanted me to meet up with Lizzy's mom to give her to her ON CHRISTMAS day and then 3 HOURS LATER come pick her up.

Friends, that wasn't going to happen.  I told her worker that they had to pick her up at 8 AM if they wanted her and drop her off that evening because that was the only time I was willing to do any of this.  When I talked to her lawyer he said that if I wasn't willing to do it then they couldn't see her on Christmas.  So, the ball was in my court.

If I believed at all she would not be safe I would, of course, have said I wouldn't do it, but there were a few reason I said I would.

1.  Lizzy has a brother, by her biological dad, that she hasn't seen in ages.  When she got taken it turned him into an only child and I have seen several times where he has been very hurt by Lizzy not remembering him or wanting anything to do with him.  He is 10 years old.  When her mom showed Lizzy a picture of this brother she, very excitedly, squealed out MY son's name.  Also, one time my son and their son were both in the waiting room and her mom said "Come say hi to your brother!" and she ran to MY son not theirs.  I don't even refer to him as her brother in a way I ever dreamed she would notice, but that is what happened.

2.  Lizzy's bio dad is a decent guy.  Now, in "my circle" he would be considered very...rough, but he has shown me time and time again that he loves this little girl.  We have a very good relationship and HE WILL BE WITH HER THE WHOLE TIME DURING THIS VISIT.  As an example, he asked me just tonight on the phone if I wanted to keep her for the morning so that we could have Christmas with her too.  That is how I know he loves her.

So, with that being said, I decided that Lizzy needed to be with her bio family for Christmas.  We usually do our little family Christmas (not so little this year!) on Christmas Eve so Lizzy won't miss that.  Plus, we will have Joseph for Christmas and the thought of THREE 2 yr. olds for Christmas....makes my head spin I guess.

This year's Christmas situation ended up so much easier than last year, the fact that I could have said no makes me feel better too.  I am doing the best I can with what I have been given and I just know that Lizzy going there wasn't going to hurt our Christmas but it would mean the WORLD to them.


Me:  "I don't understand why they aren't able to find homes for these kids in their county."

Seasoned Foster Mom:  "I'll tell you why, but it will make you mad."

Me:  "Go ahead and tell me..."

Seasoned Foster Mom:  "It is because they are part african american."

Me:  *stunned silence*


Me:  "Ben, do you know what my friend said?  She said that they probably couldn't place the girls in their county because they are part african american!"

Ben:  "Honey, I could have told you that."


Apparently I forgot how this world is.

Well, they can stay that way because their loss is my gain.

They are really missing out on some beautiful, amazing gifts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


in case any of you wondered...

no, i had no time to sit down at all today.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Our two little beauties are finally here...and they are quite beautiful.  The little one is SUPER little and the two year old is a stinker (not quite a match for Lizzy but we will see).

As I felt slightly overwhelmed today a thought entered my head.  When I stand before the Lord, out of all the statements HE will make to me I know there is one that will never be said:

"I wish you would have helped less kids."

I know this to be the blood covered truth and when my days get hairy I will know that I am doing what I was CALLED to do.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


So, I think I will be picking up two little girls tomorrow at 10 am.

One is 2 years old and the other is one year old.

I think I might be crazy, but I can't help it...

...because I love them already.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I got a call today.

You know, the kind where they ask you if you are willing to take another child - or two - or three.

If anything comes of it I'll let you know.

*insert evil smile here because of the lack of details*

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Lizzy was LOVING the sparking apple juice "pop" at the wedding.  She's a little obsessed but everything is more fun in a pretty glass.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Have I ever told you that my Lizzy is a maniac?

Well, she is.  When she first got here she was a Tasmanian Devil maniac, now she has been down graded to a two year old maniac.  She is so much better than she was and I am so proud of her.  She still has her moments though.

I photographed my aunt's wedding this Saturday and took both kids with me because my hubby had to work.  Lets just say my mom had to wrestle Lizzy all during the ceremony because I was busy and Lizzy doesn't sit still, thank goodness it was only about a 15 minute ceremony.  My bribe of candy didn't even work.  The more you tell her to be quiet the louder she got.

I was actually pretty impressed with my mom because few people are brave enough to deal with Lizzy (thus the fact that she is in foster care in the first place, her bio dad's family would even help him by taking care of her so that she wouldn't get taken by the state because they "couldn't handle her") and Lizzy actually was really sweet some of the time with my mom, would cuddle with her and hug her and pat her on the back, super cute - in between the squirming to get down and me telling her to knock it off.

I got home and took a look at the pictures and was really happy that they turned out good, especially considering I was watching two kids and sometimes holding one while shooting!  ha!

It was crazy, the whole weekend was, but it was fun...besides the fact that I had the worst cold ever during all this as well.  I was kinda happy to see Monday roll around!

Friday, December 10, 2010


It looks to me like Lizzy will have her first unsupervised visit with her mom on Christmas.  It still has to be brought up in court on the 20th in front of the judge, but I think they will allow it.

This has been a VERY hard part of our foster journey.  Last year, out of no where, Sabrina had her first overnight visit with her mom for Christmas as well.  When we went to the Christmas party for our agency I heard story after story from foster parent (relative placements as well) of kids being sent home for Christmas out of no where and everyone seemed very heart broken over it.  I know I was.  It is also hard because they don't seem to be checking the houses or anything, they just figure it will be ok.  It was very hard to be blind sided with that last year.  It almost ruined my Christmas.

Since then I had told God it was not ok if that happened again.  Unfortunately, it appears His plan is not to spare us from that BUT He has given us something that manages to be much better.  We should have Joseph for our first overnight visit with him for Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day.  Because of what WE have been through I did make sure that this was not going to bum out his foster mom for her holiday.  I told her if they would like him to stay there we understood, but she wants him to be with his family.  So, we will see what happens, but I think that Lizzy will be with her family for Christmas and the plan is for Joseph to be with HIS new EXCITED family this year.

Please pray that Lizzy's Judge does not loose her mind and grant her legal dad unsupervised time during the holidays, I am worried when Lizzy's mom's lawyer brings up her getting her that dad's lawyer will pipe up and ask for the same thing and some how this will all back fire on Lizzy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Money. again

I guess I will define what I was saying.  On my checks I have 4 categories that the total of the check I get is defined under.

I get around $300 that is defined as room and board.  That I do not have to turn in receipts for and it is for the addition costs of the children being in my home (electrical, water, ect.) also is to "cover" tooth brushes, toilet paper, diapers, wipes, food, ect.

I get around $30 a month that is strictly for clothes and I have to turn in receipts for the clothes I buy.

I get around $22 a month that is strictly for a child's allowance.  When I have children that are not old enough to choose what they want to use their allowance on I get to spend it for them on toys, special outing, ect.  I have to turn in receipts for the things I buy in this category as well.

I get around $30 that is strictly defined as special needs.  This has been explained to me as  being money for if the child needs a special kind of shampoo that no one else in the family uses, perhaps if the child is on a special diet it could be used for that, if the child is school age you would use this money to pay for school pictures, field trip, sports teams, ect.  I have to turn in receipts for this category as well.

I have to keep receipts for the last ones but as far as the $300 a month, I don't have to account for that.  That is why I am calling it "my" money-because I don't have to answer for it.

I should also mention that we are required to open up savings accounts for each child in their name.  The clothing money, special needs money and allowance goes into this account.  Obviously you take it out if you spend it.   After a child is returned to their family or if they move to another foster or adoptive home the money that is left over in their account is supposed to go with them.  When Sabrina went home I gave the agency several hundred dollars that was left over from her "special needs" category that I hadn't spent.  I checked with her mom and she did receive ALL of the money I gave the agency.

I haven't seen too many foster moms break it down like this and it is obvious that every where does it differently.  I was just talking to Joseph's foster mom about this today and being that she works directly with DHS it is slightly different that for me working with a private agency.  It sounds like we get the same amount but that they don't categorize her check like they do mine.  At least that is the impression I was under.


Today Lizzy mom stayed for ALL 3 hours of her visit.

That was nice.

She also came out of the visit eating the food I sent in for Lizzy.

I guess we can't win them all.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010



Our adoption worker....well, she isn't "on the ball" to put it mildly.
Everything is taking forever because of her and our supposedly "lost" finger prints.

Joseph has an adoption monitor who I got a call from today.  There is a meeting tomorrow at which they will be telling my adoption worker to get moving!  She has been hunting down our fingerprints all day and I had to call and track them on my end as well.

Is it nice have someone else do your work for you Ms. Adoption Worker?  I hope so, I am just glad someone is doing their job.


In early September, back when Sabrina was living with us, her worker told me that they were changing her status from a level one to a level two because she was now in counseling.  I almost cried as I signed the papers because to me that meant that she was now considered more "damaged" and I was just so sad to see it even if it was just on paper.

When a child goes from level one to level two you are supposed to get more money for taking care of them.  I didn't know how much, I had never had more than a level one child.  Well, Sabrina was here and left and I never saw an extra penny, but I decided not to worry about it because it didn't really matter to me.

One and a half months AFTER she has left I get a check in the mail for 50 days worth of the addition level two payment.  When I saw her name on the check it just, yet again, made me sad.  And annoyed that the money didn't come until after she was already gone.

On another note, I was surprised to see that it was a bigger "jump" money wise than I thought it would be. I get $300 per month per child for level one that is "my" money.  If you have a level two child you get $450 per month per child that is "your" money.  I found this very interesting because it didn't really take me any more money to take care of her besides the gas money for her weekly counseling.

I have ALWAYS been curious how anyone could live off of foster care but I guess if you are willing to go into the higher levels and have 5 kids I guess it would be doable.

Sad sad sad.

Monday, December 6, 2010


We had Joseph all day on Sunday, from 8 am - 6 pm.  My hubby drove the 2 hour trip twice yesterday himself to pick him up and drop him off.

He is so sweet.  We took him to church and he did perfectly.  He sat with me during singing and then wanted to run around so I took him in to the nursery where Lizzy was and they played for the rest of church.  I stayed because, well, we didn't pick him up to have someone else get to spend time with him - it's just too precious.

He did wonderfully, he didn't fuss at all unless he thought we were leaving him (which we never were) so it was nice to see him prefer us to strangers.

Lizzy and Joseph are 16 days apart and I keep just looking at them thinking "twin toddlers - oh my."  Of course, Lizzy may not be here by the time he comes to live here but she might.  We hope she is for her sake AND because we know our little wild girl would push our little meek and timid Joseph to a few new milestones that he hasn't hit quite yet.

He just loves my hubby which makes me melt.  He would come and cuddle up to me too which also made me melt.  I was just a huge puddle the whole time we got him.  He fit right in.  When it was time to go my hubby said, "He will be just fine when he finally gets to stay.  He is just fine right now."  And he is but that doesn't mean he won't miss his old life too.  I am so sad he has to loose everything to gain a family but one day it won't feel like that at all.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Dear Lizzy's Mom,

This past week you were finally given a three hour visit with your daughter who has not lived with you since March.  

I know you are not used to taking care of a toddler anymore and that they are a lot of work AND that the rooms that the visits are held in are small and you don't like them BUT-

Ending your first 3 hour visit after only an 1 hour and a half because you want to go home and lay in bed leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Lately you have been doing all sorts of things that I don't appreciate and you obvious lack of caring is sad.  And, no, she does NOT need to be eating marshmallows and halloween candy at 9 am.

I am rooting for you so much and I am just short of dragging you to the finish line because Lizzy does not deserve to have to go live with Mr. Legal Dad just because you are lazy and I am pretty sure don't mind her living with me.  Please Please Please get it together before you screw things up really bad for her.

-Mama Foster

"Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother." - Oprah

Thursday, December 2, 2010


A lady whose heart I love very much left me this comment:

Now, so this isn't taken out of context,  I NEED you to know that this lady is an awesome adoptive mom who ALREADY has answered God's call to the orphan.  Even if she was never to foster she has already taken on the call to care for the least of these in the way God asked her to.  My comments after this are not for just her, they are for me and all of you too.  Because this is exactly what I was afraid of.

I think I have mentioned before that I started blogging about my journey in foster care in hopes that I would show other people what a need there was for us REGULAR people to start standing with these kids and walk with them through the hardest days of their lives.

I wanted to show people how awesome the kids were, how loving them comes easily and how they change you.  If you have ever seen The Blind Side you have heard the quote, "You are changing that boy's life" to which she says, "No, he's changing mine."  And it is true, you go into this to "change their lives", but really, they end up changing yours.  They give you a look into the eyes of Jesus - you see the very heart of what we as a church are meant to do.

I also wanted to show you that it was doable.  That God would spare us the pain because we had done what HE called us to do.  What I didn't know is that that was not the lesson God planned on teaching me.  I truly did think that God would spare us.  I thought that He, at the least, would let us keep the first one because, you know, He kinda owed us.  We had inconvenienced our lives to help others so that is the least HE could do for us, right?

Does all that sound as horrible to you as it does to me?  The embarrassing thing is I was the one thinking it and, quite frankly, banking on it.

Well, if you know our story, it did not happen that way.  The VERY thing we were scared to death would happen happened.  

And it hurt.

And I still cry.

And I still ask God why.

But, and this is a very important BUT - God did not do this to hurt me.  He did not give me more than I could handle, and He didn't forget to take care of us.

God has taught us all so much through each one of our kids.  Our kids are bright shiny spots in our memories that I would never change.  I thank God that we ever got take care of these children and I would do it all over again.  I don't want you to miss that.  I WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.  See, that is coming from the woman that got hurt when she did what God asked her to do.  And, I mean it.  

And, God did not leave me with nothing.  He did quite the opposite.  God made sure that I had another little girl that needed me very badly.  And I needed her VERY badly too.  Lizzy didn't know how to trust a mom because she didn't trust her biological mom.  We didn't connect right away because I was a woman and she liked men because her daddy had always been the one to take care of her.  So, as God nursed a Sabrina size hole in my heart by filling some of it with Lizzy - God also filled Lizzy's mommy size hole with me.

Lizzy and I couldn't be more different, but God knew we needed each other for this part of our lives.  I can see the healing in Lizzy when it comes to her mom.  She used to look right through her bio mom like she was a ghost that Lizzy didn't care one bit about.  Now, she hugs her mom and tells her "woves you" (love you )  because that is what we show her at home.  And Lizzy, well, when I look at her I see the little girl that God used to heal my heart.  I know if Lizzy wouldn't have already been here I would have quit.

God had a plan.  God has a plan.

And despite any heartache WE may feel, these kids still have to go through this whether we decide to or not.  We all have SO much to offer and it is tragic to have a wonderful life and not share it.  How everyone decides to do that is up to them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Today is Joseph's birthday.  He is two years old today.  I talked to his foster mom and she said when they sang to him this morning he go all shy.

It is also Kellen's 5th birthday.  His mom posted about it on facebook, but I had been thinking about it for a couple weeks now.  

To special little boys that either used to call me mom or hopefully will call me mom.  One is finally HOME and one is on his way HOME.  I am very hopeful that this will be Joseph's LAST birthday as a foster child.  I am so thrilled that this is Kellen's first birthday as an ADOPTED child.  

Today is a good day, but I have to admit that I am a little more exited about December 1, 2011.