Foster care had it’s imprint on us both great and not so great connections with fellow families. We either liked one another or I found myself in the position of reporting other foster parents. Making enemies very quickly. But through the mostly thick and thin it was worth the connections we’ve made. We’ve made friends in trainings, groups and through doing respite care. Although we are stepping back, we are continuing to invest in these friendships.
Three years ago our youngest baby we had was adopted this month. He turned three two days after his adoption day. Now our boys get his cool toys he’s outgrown. As our boys enjoy their new toys it is our reminder of the small part of another child’s adoption journey.
As far as our journey goes, we are stepping back for a few years and working on a solid foundation before re-evaluating entering the possibility of doing foster to adopt. Our original plans have changed, but in the best way. This does not mean we have stepped back from supporting those who are doing foster care and adoption.
A heart baby is a baby an adoptive mom prays for while she waits, wanders and loves baby even before they meet. Just as a biological baby grows in their tummy, her love for baby grows.
When we choose to be parents of any sort biological or adoptive we are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position. Our hearts are on the line for as long as we step into the realm of parenthood. I have dragged my feet for fear of my heart being shattered. I know grief. But I also know love.
Beginning our adoption journey my mind has been filled with questions. What will she be like?
For us adoption is plan A. It is not us choosing it as a second resort. Regardless of having biological kids or adopting they are both a blessing. These are children and lives we are talking about, neither hold higher value because they are coming to us differently.
Even if we have biological children, adoption is still a hope for us.
Not many understand why adoption is plan A for us. But the world doesn’t have to understand. In the hurt of this world it is hard to recognize God’s love for us and why adoption is beautiful thing.
Even before Peter and I were dating he knew that I had a desire to adopt someday. So we started our marriage off with ourdream to adopt.
We did not start doing foster care to join in with the government system and support the way they house hop children. We started with intentions with a hope to adopt and get out. After doing respite for six children now we know we do not want to stay in the system very long. But we will stay as long as it takes until we get our girls.
Thank you all who are praying and supporting us on our journey.
It does not surprise me when people ask what is the story behind each baby we get in our home. But it still irritates me when they ask. Knowing their stories isn’t going to benefit them in any way and it is not ours to share to begin with.
Conversations usually start like this:
Them: “Do you know anything about the child’s background?”
Us: “Yes we do and we keep it private. Knowing it helps us meet the child’s specific needs.”
Them: “Did the mom do drugs?”
Us: “We keep all our babies story private.”
Them: “What’s the story on mom and dad?”
Us: “We are not aloud to share that.”
The questions usually stop coming after that.
Every baby we get in our home has their own story and it is theirs to share not ours.
As an adoptee I can tell you not every adoptee is comfortable with sharing their story. It’s a matter that reaches people to the core. The only one who knows my story is my husband. Over time I have shared bits on this blog and with others only if I see it as an opportunity to share Christ. But it took me about twenty years to get to that place. I would be horrified if people talked about my story as if it was a gossip session.
Because it’s not!
The matter is so private and close to the heart that even after we adopt (the hope) we will keep the story between us and our children. We do not mind curiosity from others. We see it as an opportunity to share our journey and teach people about foster care and our mission, but not their personal story.
When did it become a society where we police each other in parenting? Where we feel the need to voice our opinion on our parenting style on other moms. To think that its right or “helpful”. When in reality it’s hurtful.
The thing is I am going to make mistakes being a mom, and you have made them too.
Every mom has their own style and their own reasons for parenting the way they feel is best for their child. Peter and I have began our foster care journey and I have gotten plenty of unnecessary advice and questioning as to why we are not pregnant instead. To these women we are not doing things the way they would do it so it is considered wrong. These are the women who have the “perfect children” with the perfect picture lives.
Believe me “perfect moms” I will forget things.
I will be late.
And I will lose things too.
Not on purpose.
But because just like you I am learning and growing just as you were. Mistakes will happen and that is part of the process. I refuse to be caught up in the lies society tells us. I refuse to carry a blanket of guilt on myself for every mistake I make. Parenting is hard and takes time to adapt to as both you and the child grows.
Instead of using our lazer judging eyes lets bring the unite in motherhood meaning to life. Lets give an extra diaper to the mama who is down to their last. Lets pass the sunscreen. Bring a coffee to a friend who is just having one of those days.
Because lets face it…..
We have all forgotten.
We have all spilled.
We have all let our emotions get the best of us.
We have all made or will make mistakes on the journey of motherhood.
It’s four in the morning. You hear the little feet heading to your bedroom, or the cry for you.
Mama you are safe.
You are hero.
You are home not matter where your located.
Some dread the middle of the night cries. Very few are eager to get up. When my sister was a baby my mom said this. “I don’t mind getting up for your sister in the middle of the night. If I could I would have for all of my children who I couldn’t go to. ” Being adopted at an older age no one came for my cries.
She gave me a perspective that I wish many would have. It is a blessing to adopt, to do foster care, to give birth, and be a mom someday. Children are a blessing not a nuisance. Our lives are changed but not ruined.
Many women have “warned” me that when Peter and I start getting babies
Saying things like: “Enjoy your sleep now” or “your going to be so cranky” or “good luck because your going to hate it.”
I respond shaking my head saying ” You make it sound so bad.”
First of all shame on you. Simple fact: babies cry. They need you. The specific babies we are getting don’t know I am safe. So yes they may cry longer and harder then most. Why? Because they don’t know that I am safe, and I too can be hero and home. Snuggles are foreign to them. As I rock my bunny in our nursery I say a prayer for all the children who do not have safe arms to rock them back to sleep.
Mamas I encourage you in the lack of sleep to cherish the moments.
Without much more to say I say “Yes” We knew nothing about her.
The next day arrives. I did not know what to expect. When it comes to pick up or children I don’t have expectations. I just go with the flow of the day and stay in prayer. I pray I can be mindful of what’s going on with the child and that we can be in tune with behaviors and how we can react in a way that will benefit them the most.
I pick her up. She came with me just fine. No fear, just said hi and jumped in my car.
She was very good with Duke “Brown Bunny goes hop hop” she squeals.
I was told she was active so I took her to Ahoy Kitsap play area where she could climb and run. I saw her shut down after about ten minutes of playing. I knew it was finally sinking in for her. She is not with mommy. Although, she called me mommy through out the day children know. I gave her space. Letting her process. Asked her if she wanted to play or go back to Miss Hyla’s. Angrily she runs away. So I continued to give her space. Then I set a 10 min timer told her she can do what she wants for 10 min. and then we go. Transition went really well. She sat on a bench. Looked at me. Smiled and played some more. By the end of the night she was sitting in my lap reading stories with me.
You see with foster care it’s about their emotions and us being flexible. It’s not that she didn’t like me. It’s the reality of me not being a familiar face. Each child is different. This isn’t us impressing our parenting styles on them It is us simply showing them God’s love.
When we were in the beginning process for foster care there was a stack of paper work asking us specific questions to select what would be a good fit for us. We came across a question that made me wonder whyare people specific on what the child would look like?
The question asked:
“Do you have a preference for ethnicity?”
We looked at one another confused. Ethnicity never came across our minds. Things like behaviors, age, needs made sense to us, but ethnicity didn’t make sense. Curious, I asked our Home Study worker why some are specific on what the child will look like. She said some want their kids to look like their bio kids so people don’t ask questions. When anyone is doing foster care or adopting the crazy questions are apart of the journey. Having them look like you is a small way to avoid it which still becomes unavoidable. The child will still be different from your birth children, because they are. Being an adoptee myself I already know I’m different from parents. I know I look like my birthdad. Looking like my parents isn’t going to change the fact that I am adopted and struggled with what other adopted kids have struggled with too. Our kid isn’t going to look like us and that is ok. It doesn’t make them less our child.
I recall an old Sunday school song Jesus Loves The Little Children as I write.
“Red and Yellow Black and White they are precious in his sight” (tweet)
It says. Ethnicity doesn’t hold value. At the end of the day no matter our hair, skin, eyes, height, weight, or story Jesus loves the little Children.
Tears weld in my eyes when I think of the lives some children are born into. The children who don’t have a mommy and daddy who love each other. Who wake up and think to themselves ‘how did I even make it to today?‘ The children who don’t feel like their voice matters so they keep the hurt inside while their heart screams. This is why we believe in adoption and good foster homes. It gives a child a second chance at life. Their lives started with hurt but it doesn’t have to continue.
Hurt is what stirred our hearts to rise up.
I do fear failed adoptions and having to send children back into abusive homes because that is the law. That is possible hurt Peter and I will endure. But the part that gives me overwhelming grief is that most children don’t get a second chance of life. But what grieves my heart even more is that the church of today sleeps on it. There are children getting abused, placed in motels because there aren’t enough homes or are abused in the homes they are placed in. This happens during the Churches nap. I’m not saying every Church, I’m not saying every home should do foster care. But I am saying this find a way to care for the widows and orphans. Satan thrives off of child abuse, but we serve a God who’s love is bigger. That love is in us to give.
When we tell people we want to adopt someday and we are doing foster care I am usually not shocked at the ignorance of their comments. But this one caught me off guard. Being adopted and in an only adopted family I thought I have heard it all. But I have learned being on the other side as the adopter you get it too. According to these people children who are adopted or in foster care are seen as less because they aren’t growing in my tummy. They ask us…
“Why don’t you want your own children?”
Adopters I’m sure you’re mind is spinning and blood is boiling with righteous anger with this question. As we begin our journey I am still learning how to tackle the question when it hits. Because as an adoptee I’m hearing your life doesn’t have value. I find this kind of thinking petty for us who do not get to pick the life we are born into.
So how am I to respond in these situations? Firmly but with grace. I need to bring it back to God. So many have forgotten that when we choose Christ he is adopting us into his family.
Ephesians 1:5 In love “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
I can assure I am not in the line of David nor am I Jewish. When believers ask us the question why don’t we want our own children, they have forgotten what Christ has done for them as well. Jew or Gentile he wants us not by his blood line but through adoption.
Mama birds what is the most awkward you have been asked?