Random

I have a lot on my mind. I’m not sure what to share so here are a few random thoughts about things:

  • My foster son is African American. If you doubt racism exists, I can confirm for you that it does. Go ahead and stay in your safe little corner if you disagree. But, I’ll also tell you that it exists across all lines and cultures. I’ve been looked at with disdain by people of a few different colors, when we’re out and about. The kids in the neighborhood don’t care. His favorite friend is a little Caucasian girl that’s in the same grade. They became quick friends. It’s sad that adults are so f’d up. I wonder sometimes if our culture is beyond healing.
  • In brighter news, today I took FS6 shopping. DSS provided me with a voucher for some clothing, shoes, and personal items. On top of some summer shoes & clothes, I bought him some hair care and skin products. I read up on skin care and hair care for African American children. I still haven’t picked out a barber for him though. Anyway, the checker at the store was an older African American woman. She looked at the lotion and hair products I bought and though I’d spent some time reading about them she said, “You’re not really sure what to buy are you?” I said, “No.” Honestly, I’m not. I’m just trying to find the best things for his skin & hair. She said, “See what you do is, you find a barber near home. You take him there every two weeks and let them take care of his hair and show you what he needs. They’ll teach him how to comb it and care for it. If you like the first one you go to, ask him to be your personal barber. He’ll take care of him, for you.”
  • I was touched, to be honest. It’s one of the first times that anyone has kindly given me advice (versus looking at me with disdain). She talked a bit about her own daughter. At one point, my FS6 was acting up a little. Not much, because he’s a good kid, but he honestly didn’t listen to me. Well, she took care of that and told him to knock it off and act right. 🙂 He sure did. To be honest, one of my prayers right now is that if he’s with me long term, I will know how best to keep him connected to his African American community. I so appreciate her kindness.
  • She also told me she thought about fostering at one time. Many people have told me that. It’s not easy to step out and do it. Frankly, it’s not easy once you’re in it. But if it’s on your heart somewhere, it’s worth pursuing a little until your figure out your place in the world of fostering.
  • Maybe you’re not meant to foster. But if your heart is with those who do, maybe finding a way to support organizations or families who do, is a great place to start.

For the random people that run across my blog because of foster care, one word of advice I’d offer the single women – particularly if you’re over 40 like me. Take a long, hard look at where you stand with your own journey with having biological children. If you’re still grieving the life you don’t have, maybe hold off on fostering for a bit.

It’s not a life that is without pain and grief. My gut feeling some time back was that if I wasn’t going to be given the gift of biological children, perhaps I should adopt an infant before becoming a foster parent.

I can tell you that this is absolutely what I should have done. Being 42 and knowing that your chances to have a biological child are fairly non-existent is a grief that isn’t easy to process. And as such, foster care isn’t the right answer for that kind of grief. It doesn’t mean it’s not part of my calling. But I do know for a fact now that rushing myself through these painful feelings was not good for me.

And it makes fostering, which is complex and filled with some sad and painful moments, that much harder. Actually, if you’re a couple struggling with infertility, I’d probably offer the same advice. Make sure you’ve really processed through the complex feelings regarding having bio kids, before you jump in.

It’s not that it won’t ever be right for you. It’s that maybe you need a little time to work through what won’t be, before you’re fully ready. I was not fully ready. But here I am so . . . I keep movin’.

My FS6 is a sweet boy and for however long he needs the safety and stability here, he’ll have it. I pray in the meantime God hears my prayer for healing and…for a baby. When I’m feeling really cray cray, I ask for the opportunity to give birth. But that’s probably getting really crazy. 🙂

Mama

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I don’t know about you, but for me, there are things I know I am meant to do and be. I am a mama.

I have spent a lifetime looking forward to motherhood and to the family I prayed for, for so long.

My future family & being a mama looks a little different from where I stand now. I never dreamed I’d be here.

I have been on a long path to be a foster and {or} adoptive parent for decades {about three of them}. But I never saw myself embarking on this journey as a single woman.

But here I am.

I started foster parent training last year. I had to put the stops on that but knew it was “temporary.” I’ve kick-started this thing again with a new foster parent agency. They’re a Christian agency & I feel at home there. My training will be complete in December. The remainder of the licensing process will continue on for several months after.

As I’ve jumped in again, I’m even more convinced today than I was a year ago that God has put the pieces of my life together in such a way that I was made for this.

Did I want to do this alone? No. Did I plan it this way? Oh heck no. But here I am. I am a mama. And there are little ones {and not so little ones} who are precious in His sight who need a mama. They desperately long for a home and to be loved and cared for as we all need.

So without all the answers and uncertain about how to juggle singleness and parenting, I’m jumping into the fire again. I’ve been thinking a great deal about the babies or children that will make this their home – for a time – or forever.

I don’t know their stories. But I know that God will take the brokenness that brings them to me and will give me the gift of breathing hope, healing, and love into their lives for a season or forever.

I still have moments of grief over what isn’t or what was lost long ago. But here I am. With four bedrooms, a huge backyard, and a passion for the lives of his most precious ones, I am opening my heart and home.

The Kid’s Room

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From an Instagram post last night:

The door to the “kid’s room” has been closed quite a bit. I’ve been trying to keep Abby from adopting another bed as her own. This week has been a long week. I haven’t been feeling well for days. By the time I got through Thursday evening’s first walk-through for foster care licensing, I was spent.
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I have a list of to-do’s that seems sort of overwhelming. I have things to buy that I hadn’t quite planned on buying (rookie mistakes). And I’m trying to complete, in what feels like a rushed timeline, everything needed within the next couple weeks.
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By this afternoon, after unsuccessfully searching for a solution to the double-locking storage I need for things like medication, I was just tired. Like have an existential crisis over Christmas cookies I wanted to make for work, can’t find a locking storage cabinet (that’s not ridiculously expensive and/or ugly), “falling down into weepy tears” (name that movie), meltdown.
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Guys…it was stupid. But somehow a stupid locking cabinet and my inability to muster the desire to bake oodles of Christmas gifts for work, caused me to stop in my tracks yet again. What is all of this for? And why am I doing it? Certainly not to get a pat on the back for my beautiful furniture (that is also locking storage mind you) that fits into my dining room like it stepped off my Pinterest boards.
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“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
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So after a wake up call, and praying for peace & wisdom, here I am…planning to buy an ugly, plastic locking case because no one needs my house to be Pinterest perfect to be safe, cared for, and loved. The door to the kid’s room will stay open from now on. Because every time I see it, I’m reminded of why I’m doing this.

Foster Care Adventures – Part Two

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October 2015, a little guy hung around at work, for a week or so. On Wednesday of that week, he “helped” me work. He sat on my lap, we hung out with friends, and then he played with my calculator & drew with my pens. He feel asleep there at my desk, in my arms, and I worked around him {not so successfully}. I lost my heart. I think about him all the time. Mostly because he was part of the journey {part one anyway} that I finished tonight as my foster parent training classes came to a close.

He was a reminder of everything I’ve always known about who I am and what I was put on this earth to do. He was the happiest boy. I saw him the following week and he “talked” all about the book he had with him. I will never forget this sweet boy. And I’m grateful for how God used him to remind me of what I’ve always known.

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Throughout the last 11 weeks or so, I’ve grown more confident that though there is more work to be done, there isn’t anything I’d rather do more than provide a loving home for kids.

So with part one complete, I’m on to the next part of this crazy adventure. I don’t know who my first placement will be. I don’t know his or her age, name, or background. But God does and He’s already put me on this path to cross his or her path.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27.

Hear My Prayer

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I spent some time on Sunday reading the profiles of waiting children. These are the kids who are waiting to be adopted – their parent’s rights, now terminated. Through thirteen pages of results, I was struck at not only how simple their hopes and requests were, but by the handful of children who do not want to be adopted. They’re still hoping for and holding onto the dream that they’ll be reunited with their family. How heartbreaking.

As I looked through the profiles, I felt drawn to some of the pre-teen an teen girls – thinking of how how hard it must be to enter such a tumultuous time without a family to provide you with stability, love, consistency, boundaries, and a place to come home to someday. I have a feeling I will enjoy {and probably go crazy too} having pre-teens and teens in my house. In spite of what will surely be crazy making moments, how amazing to know you’ve provided that to a young man or young woman that would other wise “age-out” of the foster care system, without an anchor to anything that is theirs and lasting?

But event still, I dream and hope of a baby. Of more than one baby. I try to pretend it’s not there but it is. I want a baby, people. Every time someone announces they’re pregnant, the ache grows. Every time {which is a lot} that a new baby is born in my squadron, the ache grows. My home and heart is open to all ages, races, and needs. But oh how I want a baby. I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. So rather than deny it, I’m just living with the desire and hope.

Hoping God hears my prayer.

 

Restless

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I’m restless.

Fitful.

Anxious.

I’m getting closer to what I want and only part of what I planned and hoped for. Every day I get up to a reminder that I am about embark on a journey alone that I wanted to share with the man I would spend the rest of my life with.

Restless and frustrated. I’m restless and frustrated.

Flowing under the surface is the hope that all of this is pulling me up, closer and closer to exactly where I’m supposed to be.

All She Wants to do is Dance

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If it weren’t for Don Henley, my “about me” on social media and my blog would be less nerdy. He is always there, front and center, along with Jesus, my dog, pine trees, and wine (and occasionally tequila). I had a come to Jesus moment early this year when I realized that I was turning 40 with nothing not enough to show for it.

I took myself to a Food & Wine festival. I’ve started the foster care process. I’ve lost 30.6 pounds so far. And earlier this summer, after seeing that Don Henley would be performing at Wolf Trap in Virginia, I bought a ticket. To go to a concert by myself? Hell yes.

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But things have been a little complicated lately. And in the stress and worry, I called off my trip. On Wednesday, by the end of the work day, I had been convinced to go. I won’t bore you with all of the details of the conversations that led to the change. I will say this – they both said very similar things. It was enough to remind me that I only have this one chance at this life. I don’t get a do-over. I’ve already wasted too much time.

So I drove to Virginia – tired. I was in Quantico for a couple of hours before heading north to Vienna. It was a rush to get there on time. But I made it. I found a spot on the little hill. I knew I’d lost my chance to get better seats, but I didn’t care. Not even a little. I laid out my blanket and enjoyed a picnic. The great thing about a concert like this is all the…hippies. Or maybe they’re retired hippies. Whatever.

They didn’t care one bit about how anything looked. They wanted to dance? They danced. They didn’t care what they looked like, sounded like, or how freaking hot and humid it was. The crowd was great. While there were definitely youngins’ around, the majority of the crowd was my age and older (emphasis on older). The couple in front of me were adorable – the husband read a book until the music started and got excited every time he sang older hits.

Don sang songs from his forty-four career! What in the world? He was awesome. The entire concert was awesome. His last song (before the encore) was “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. The last thing I expected, but really good.  But his encore was the best part. He sang some favorites including “Hotel California.” When he started to sing “All She Wants to do is Dance” I wondered why I sat while everyone else danced. So I danced. In the dark. On a horribly humid night. Alone. It was a blast.

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I was so far away from the stage! I mean…so far away. In the photo above, the lighted area was the stage. If I stood to the right (and on my tippy toes) I could see a tiny Don Henley. And I mean tiny. But it was still a great night. I’m so grateful that there are people around me who get me. My two closest friends knew I needed to be there. And the conversations I had at work sealed the deal. I needed to do this.

I needed to go to this concert. Like there are some other things I need to do this year. Everything is changing.