3 years ago on this date at 9:00 p.m. an unknown car pulled into our driveway. Three social workers and two of the most beautiful babies that I had ever laid eyes on were in it. We RAN to the car to welcome them into our home and I can honestly tell you without a shadow of a doubt that my life has NEVER been the same. I don’t EVER want to go back to the person I was before meeting my angels. They changed my view on everything! Jesus used two little babies to show me my own faults, where I needed to be humbled, where I needed more patience, and what was truly important in life. 16 months flew by and then I was faced with my worst fear (losing Little Man). I had told God I could not survive it, that He would have to change the circumstances because my heart wouldn’t be able to take it. God taught me something again… that JOY comes in the morning after grief and suffering. He taught me I could survive my worst day ever because I did. Now, I just pray pray pray for the little boy, I once called my son. Our babies were and are gifts from GOD! Today, one of those babies is my forever daughter! Baby Girl fills our house with JOY! She is growing into a very independent, loving, sensitive, daughter and sister. When I am asked about what I am most thankful for this year it is HER! She is our answer to YEARS of prayer. Thank you Lord JESUS for November 13th, three years ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
“The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
I’m throwing it out! I HATE that dress! It was something I bought right before court a year and a half ago. I wore it the day I took my precious Little Man to be reunified with his birth family. The family that had made absolutely NO effort to gain custody of him, but because “blood is best” as far as courts are concerned, he was gone. My little boy! My heart! The one who clung to me and wouldn’t get out of my truck that morning. My baby who called, “Mama, no go! Mama, no go!”
Oh how I hate that dress! I wore it that day. The ugliest dress in my closet. It has hung there for a year and a half just staring at me and making me sick. I’ve kept it just in case these”feelings” went away and I could wear it again. It cost money, was my rational. It makes no sense to just throw it away. I’m being silly. The dress if fine, it is basically brand new. I’m being wasteful. BUT, TODAY I DON’T CARE! I’m tossing it! Not in the trash, but in the donation pile! Someone else can wear that dress. Someone who doesn’t know about the heartbreak. Someone who doesn’t feel the pain. Someone who doesn’t ache for the little boy who was mine. Someone who didn’t see him in the distance getting into a stranger’s car at the courthouse with all of his earthly things, as I rode away. Someone who didn’t sob and sob and sob as my friend drove me home. Someone else can wear that dress. I hate that dress!
It was hard to hear. I sat putting Baby Girl’s shoes on as we got ready to go on a family walk. She looked up at me and said, “T mad mom, mom… T mad!” I didn’t quite know where this was coming from and so I asked her, “why baby?” “He pinches me all the time mom, he pinches me.” “What?” I asked her, now I was concerned! “T pinches me all the time,” she said and she used her pointer and thumb to pinch herself on the arm, showing me what he did to her. My heart sank. My first reaction, I wanted to cry! My baby had been hurt! She is so little! Only almost three years old and T will turn eight next week. He towers over her. Why would he be pinching her?
I get it. He’s hurting. Hurt kids, hurt others. But, why my baby? Why my littlest one who cannot defend herself? My heart was broken.
We know we have to catch him in the act to be able to confront this behavior. If we ask him about it without seeing him do it, he will just deny it. We know from experience that the best way to deal with T and a negative behavior is to address it when we see it.
Mostly, this just makes me sad. I’m mad too, don’t get me wrong, but mostly sad. T has been hurt and he is still hurting, so he hurts. It’s “normal” and I get it, but it still makes me very sad!
I would be her biggest cheer leader! I would listen to her worries, talk things out with her, offer help and support, and be “on her side,” but she refuses. She refuses to do anything positive or take any steps to reunify with her boys. Foster care is so hard! I want nothing more than for these boys to go home to their mama right now! For her to be their hero! For her to come through for them! But… She isn’t. She is going on vacation to a beach resort, buying all sorts of things for herself and criticizing the very people who are trying to help her! I’m so mad some days, I could just scream! So, I keep rocking the baby, feeding him, loving him and changing him. I keep talking to T about telling the truth and helping him with his homework. I keep tucking them in at night, praying with them/ for them and treating them as if they were my own. But, the truth is they are not and they won’t be. There are four of them scattered in three foster homes and they need to be reunited. One way or another we need to get these brothers under the same roof again. I will fight for that for them because no matter what they deserve to be together!
Our fostering agency is getting more calls than ever from the state to place children. The rise in need for quality foster homes is rising faster than funding and available homes. Children are being separated into state homes, group homes, or homes in counties hours away from where they came into care.
At first, I got mad about the fact that our agency couldn’t do more. I wondered how in the world this was happening and children were suffering because adults and groups of people who were supposed to be taking care of this problem seemingly to me, weren’t. Then, one night we got a call. There were four children, did we know anyone who could take all of them together? Calls were made, foster parents from our agency were frantic to help, but in the end the siblings were separated. It broke my heart! I could NOT imagine a 4,5,7, and 8 year old being placed separately because of a shortage of funds and homes that could take all four of them together. It broke me. I wrote a long email to our agency begging for help to fix this problem! And, guess what! All of the anger and frustration I was feeling about “why nobody was doing anything about it,” turned into me asking, “can I help do something about this?” After many emails and phone calls, I was given the go ahead to spread the word! I’ve created a group of area foster parents, adoptive parents, churches and individuals who want to help! I’ve written our family’s testimony about fostering and how God has used fostering to change our lives. I’m traveling to area churches, sharing and asking for help! I can hardly express the joy it brings me to be part of the solution. Bringing more people into awareness about the crisis we are facing. After all, aren’t we all in this together!?!
Sad Eyes and T haven’t seen each other since Thanksgiving. The boys live 3 hours apart. So, today we’re meeting up, just the boys and their foster families for a Christmas visit! If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will now. Sad Eyes has the BEST foster mama! She seriously is amazing! She and I talk via text almost every single day. We share pictures of the boys and stories of what they are doing. Best of all is the support she and I can give each other as we care for boys who have been through trauma. It is overwhelming sometimes to parent children from hard places. Having her to talk to has proved to be a kind of therapy for me as I listen to and help a little boy very hurt by his first family. The boys each are so different in how they handle their emotions and feelings. T holds a lot inside and hides his feelings. Sad Eyes lets it all out and acts out his feelings. But, even though the boys react very differently to life, they have experienced life together for the past 6 years, so getting them together is of a high importance. Remaining close and sharing new positive experiences is a goal for both foster families. So, we’re off! Driving three hours to get these precious boys together!
The first person I called on Christmas Day was the mother of the children I am raising. The person I texted the most pictures to on Christmas Day is the woman with no children to hold, no smiles to see, and no giggles to hear on this happiest of days. For her, today isn’t happy. She has lost her children. They live with me and my family now. She should be working to get them back, I hope that she is! I hope she realizes how special they are and how much they are worth fighting for. They are worth it! These precious gifts that God has given her. This morning was wonderful! The entire day at our house was just plain perfect! God has been so good to us this year! But, as I video taped the squeals, the joy and all of the excitement of today, I couldn’t help but think of her, the woman without her children on Christmas Day.
It’s a totally different experience fostering a baby and fostering a seven, almost eight year old. Seven year olds can talk. And our’s talks and talks and talks. T tells of a life far different from the one he is living with us today. He tells of a past that is haunted with hurt and disappointments. And who does he tell these hurts to? Me, he tells me, his foster mom. He goes to counseling twice a month, but doesn’t talk there. He talks at home and he talks to me. I am not a counselor, I am not a professional and most of what he has experienced quite frankly scares me. But, God has put me in this place for this exact moment to be the “ears” of Jesus. All I can do is listen. Our foster son will likely go back to this life that he has led. He will go back. So, all I can do is love him today and pray for him always.
A worker from an agency contracted to help the family showed up at my house at 7:30 a.m. today. She took The Baby and T to see their mother for a two hour visit at DHR with a specialized worker there to supervise and work with their mom on proper parenting techniques. She told me that she has been doing this kind of work since 1997. I packed the boys each a bag. I included snacks for T and money in case they needed to stop at McDonald’s while on the one hour drive. I wrote a note to their mom about The Baby’s schedule and included pre-portioned formula and pre-measured bottles. And… I sent them both off with a stranger. It felt so weird to do this. I would NEVER in a million years put my children into a car with a stranger, but this woman is contracted to do this for the family and I had no choice. So, off they went and they will be back here later today. This case is so different than Little Man and Baby Girl’s case. This mother will see The Baby at least two days a week and she will see T at least twice a month until the next court date where reunification is expected to happen. We will all be very busy during these next three months working with so many people’s schedules and making sure that everyone is getting to where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. God bless this family. I really really hope and pray they can make this work. These four brothers deserve to all be together again. T deserves for his mama to be his hero. He NEEDS her to succeed.
Tucking him in and reading a book. Saying, “goodnight.” I do it every night. Nothing new. Nothing has changed. Only tonight when I said, “I love you,” T said, “I love you too.”