One of the hardest things to decide in life is whether to foster a child. It is such a difficult decision because of the huge change it makes on the existing family dynamic. The family relationship is such a precious thing and so very fragile. When children are added to that- things change. These changes are not always good. The children that are coming into your home often have baggage that follows. This coupled with the other children (and your own) baggage can make for hard times. I believe that some of these hard times can be avoided. In order to successfully maneuver fostering a healthy dose of reality must exist. The reality is that you (as a parent) are not going to… [more]
We have lost our sunshine. All of those posts about how beautiful it was outside and how happy I was that summer had come early this year- we are supposed to get snow by the end of the week. I had to laugh at myself for how downhearted that made me feel. I should expect this type of weather but somehow every year it sideswipes me and leaves me feeling as though someone took away my birthday. Perhaps that general feeling of desperation comes from the fact that when it is cold, the kids are inside more. I know that sounds terrible but it is so true. When they are outside, they make their messes out there. They work and play outside… [more]
Have you ever tried "growing" as an attachment exercise? For some reason, when we help something grow, it helps us grow together. Let's start with bean growing. This is a great activity to do with foster kids, even ones very new to your home. Beans sprout and grow rapidly so they are as close to instant gratification as you can get with a plant.
- Put 3 dry beans (per person) in a cup. Kidney, lima, pinto and navy beans work great.
- Fill the cup with hot water and allow to soak overnight
- "Stick" the beans to the inside of a jar about halfway up.
- Pour an inch of water in the jar
- Place a damp paper towel around the inside of jar, touching the water in the
I am snuggled up on the sofa with two of my favorite people. It is just that kind of day- the snow is falling and wind blowing. It is cold. So the family is reading, blogging, watching, puzzling and cooking. Everyone is at their respective 'favorite' activity. I can't think of a better way to spend a long and lazy Sunday. It's the lazy days that get me thinking about how lucky I am to be where I am. My kids are not actually all my own, I have some on loan at this point. I am trying to work at capturing these moments in my heart because I know that some of my kids will not always be here. That is one of… [more]
I have found myself in a difficult position that greatly resembles the situation many people who are involved in foster care are in. In order to bring a child into your home that you have no history with, you either have to have the patience of a saint or the ability to take things as they come. I do not lay claim to either of those traits so I am struggling. I wish it were different. I wish that I could say that I can open my home to anyone for an extended period of time and enjoy it. This is not the case. I am not patient. I get nervous when things change. Many people involved with fostering feel the same way… [more]
One thing that is often missing from a foster child's life is the basic 'you are part of the family' stuff. By this I mean that when you are dealing with your children they have specific rights or privileges simply because they are part of your tribe. Maybe your children know that they will get whatever they want to eat for dinner on their birthday. They know that this is part of being in your family. They look to it with anticipation. The foster child who has been removed from their home loses that. All of the tribe things are gone just like that. They have to rewrite their expectations or have none at all. Often having no expectations is the easiest… [more]
I have noticed that most of my families' interaction occurs around the eight foot island that we have in our kitchen. This should come as no surprise since it is only a step away from the refrigerator and I have three teenagers and an almost 10 year old. I have to laugh though at how many times a day I wipe that counter clean. I am not sure that you would even believe me. Yesterday night, we ate around it. I laid out all of the Christmas leftovers, paper plates and yelled, "Come and get it!" They sure took me seriously. It was like a stampede of elephants thundering from their respective corners of the house. Thank heavens I had the foresight to choose my… [more]
Thanksgiving at our house was a very interesting affair. I could not help but laugh as I looked around the table. There was no rhyme or reason to the attendees. At the head of the table was my husband. He was adopted as a baby. To his right was our Chinese adopted daughter (June 2010.) Next to her was our biological son. To his right was my husband's biological mother. She spent most of the evening speaking with our Chinese exchange student. Placed strategically at the John Deere plate because of his love for farming was my husband's biological father. My husband's sister was seated across the table from him (she was adopted by his parents out of foster care as a… [more]
It is nice to sit tonight. It seems that our family is busier now than it ever was. Sometimes I think about pulling out of some of the kid's activities just to get a little free time but then I think that in four years the oldest two will grow out of their activities and move on (and perhaps out.) It is hard to believe that the boys have gone from the 'twins' to young men. When my middle child (whom I refer to as Orange Shoe Guy OSG in other blogs,) came he was a busy, fun-loving kid. He brought great joy to the family. Yet, he came with his own issues. He was a premature baby- born at 30 weeks… [more]
You may remember me writing about Puddin'. She was a 3-year-old who came to us twice, both times voluntarily placed in temporary care by her dad. Dad was a single parent who loved his daughter to pieces. He simply could not make it work. He couldn't stay employed, he couldn't hold on to housing, he didn't have reliable child care, he couldn't keep food on the table. In some ways, Puddin' had it easy. She had probably never been abused, she was loved, she had the stability of her father in her life. On the other hand, she had been passed around to family and friends, seldom seeing the same people twice, never staying more than a few days or… [more]