Unfiltered. Raw feelings.
The truth IS being a foster mama is HARD.
1. TRUTH… I HATE when people say, “I could Never do that!” I want to SCREAM out loud and say, “I CAN’T DO IT EITHER…I’M JUST SURVIVING!” It’s so true. You JUST do it because your heart guides you, and NO ONE is built to endure it and just enjoy it day in day out. Sure there’s happy times but truth be told most of it ruins you.
2. TRUTH… becoming foster parents has ruined our marriage and created a masterpiece at the same time. I remember the day we flew away from the beautiful islands of Hawaii so vividly last summer in 2017. Did I mention kid free? Yup, 8 blissful nights just the hubby and I relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Maui ALONE! We came home well rested, happy, tan and with energy to take on anything! Call it restored parents if you will! Then days later we got our first official call and placement. Total blessing and worst night mare! We took home a brand new sweet baby girl, who was drug exposed in utero. It was one of the hardest things I personally have EVER done! Goodbye sleep. Goodbye time. Goodbye Sex. Hello Social workers, Case aides, Therapy appointments, Daily doctor visits, biological parents from hell and SO much more! This is when the ruining began. At first it was slowly creeping in then BAM! One day it smacked us right in the face! She was gone. Just like that, it was all over. The masterpiece part is how much strength we have built, and are still continuting to build. It takes work!
3. TRUTH… bringing a child into your home isn’t the worst that’s the best part! The worst part is their case load. As mentioned above, the social worker visits, case aids coming to and from your home to pick the child up for visits, therapists coming in, the phone calls, the emails, all the biological parents needs and wants, the complaints from the parents that are endless. Like they have just neglected/abused them in some way shape or form, but somehow I have been a bad foster Mother because I sent the child in the same outfit as the last visit. It sometimes makes you crazy!
4. TRUTH… I have gained almost 30 pounds since becoming a foster mama! I’m not proud of that but it’s the truth. Being a parent to an instant child is hard, and stressful and beautiful all at the same time. If you don’t practice self care you won’t survive. I learned that the hard way. For me, without sleep, and caring for infants (and my other kiddos!) that would cry day and night I chose to not eat well, because it was too much work to think about myself. Yet, now with my foster toddler who finally sleeps at night (Hallelujah!) well mostly anyway, I can get sleep and make time to plan healthy meals YET again I don’t. The stress from it all (case load) literally zips up my spine, and I don’t want to do any of it. I just want to eat ice cream when I have sad days and really that’s not cool. because I have a lot of sad days. Sooo…. Time to find a gym again!
5. TRUTH… Parenting a child with trauma SUCKS! Yup, it totally sucks no other way to put that. As much as I try, it’s still just as hard. little effort=same lots of effort=same. At least that’s what tunnel vision I get. We have tried, weighted blankets, essential oils, night lights, being calm & the opposite of being calm. whoops! It always seems to be the same at the end of the day. I know I might look back and be able to see where we progressed, but while we are in the mist of it it’s too difficult to see the light.
6. TRUTH… sometimes our family and friends try not to get “attached” to our foster kiddos because “I would be too sad if they left”. Those are words I have had to digest after physically hearing that. I feel sick to my stomach remembering the feeling. I know most the time people don’t mean to be hurtful, and while I won’t get offended it’s still the TRUTH and I’m sharing it because it’s weighing on me. Here’s the real TRUTH attachment is LOVE people! Love on these babies because they haven’t been loved properly. Love on them for as long as you can, weather you are the foster mama, the aunt a friend or just a neighbor. These kids aren’t disposable, they are just like your kids at home. They want to be loved on and cared for. PS if this offends you… maybe stop reading, I’m on a roll & this is my reality.
7. TRUTH… most days I say I’m DONE being a foster parent! It’s TRUEly exhausting! Our social worker told us that we currently have the case from HELL! I would have to agree with her, but are there still blessings that come from that? Heck ya. The twist and turns never seem to end though. What started as an open co-parenting case, quickly went sour and turned into us being confidential. The worst is when your foster kiddo comes home sugared up & hands full of new toys from a visit, and quickly reverts back to being terrible and decides they can’t sleep either. 3 days later they get that trigger out of their system and BAM! They have another visit. Now it starts all over again. Trigger. Bad behavior. Can’t sleep. Doesn’t know why. so on so on. OUCH right!?
8. TRUTH… I have become my worst self and my strongest version of myself. I am mean and inpatient. Yelling at my kids, frustrated over little tiny “Small deals”. Yet, I have single handedly caused changes in the foster care system over my persistence and my annoying habit of never giving up. After a case we first had nearly ended me, I threw up a fight. A fight that landed at the top. I raised Hell. I raised Hell to make changes. truth is I HATE what these kids have to go through. The system is shit. So it takes us little people at the bottom of the pit, to make a small difference. My voice was heard loud and clear. SO while I am not proud of this Bitchy self I have become, I have slowly learned to slow down. Leave the mess (yeah right that’s a lie! I can’t handle messes!), allow myself to relax a bit and not sweat the small stuff. I haven’t found my purpose in all this yet but I’m still actively searching.
9. TRUTH… Just while typing this my foster son has gotten up from his bed 6 times! It’s midnight. No reason to be up kid! I feel myself getting mad like always. Then I stop and think was it that phone call with his biological mom we had today? Did that trigger him somehow? Or is he just being 3? Shoot, I just don’t have all the answers. I over analogize everything. Just when I tell myself to stop, and I dive in deeper. Gosh, this might be embarrassing to share.
10. TRUTH… you will fall madly in love with the children you foster, and it won’t hurt any less when they leave if you try to guard your heart. So just love them all the way! If you’re the mama, a close friend or their teacher WHOEVER you are… love on them.
11. TRUTH… I am NOT a saint. I am not a selfless kind hearted person, who just does this because I am so awesome or amazing. In fact I’m quite selfish because all I have ever wanted is a big family. So really they aren’t blessed to live with us, WE are blessed to have them. They make our family whole and fill that missing puzzle piece.
12. TRUTH… YES our kids appear to look perfect in public but let me tell you something… this sweet little sleeping baby that’s wrapped (or was!) around my chest, while I walk through the school gates to pick up the big kids is NOT perfect. She did in fact scream all night! AND yes she looks perfect now, and yes she is suffering through trauma. AND me I’m just a tired mama feeling like I’m failing every damn day. SO if we look happy and perfect… its all a facade! HA, okay its not all bad. but I feel like if I’m going to be truthful that I should be genuine about it. Not sugar coat it whatsoever. What I’m getting at is… just because you don’t see me crying on my dark days, or hear the baby screaming after I’ve done 100+ things to soothe her, hear my kids fighting, or see my dirty house (because I cleaned before you came! HA!) and I look like I have my shiz together it ISN’T THE TRUTH. Looks are so deceiving. I try to be pretty transparent but sometimes it’s harder to share the truth then it is easy to just say, “I’m great!” and be on your way!
13. TRUTH… being a foster parent isn’t for everyone! You might think it’s this glorious thing and true act of service and any child would be lucky to be in your home BUT the hard truth is NOT every person is made to endure this. Truthfully, I am not even sure If I personally am cut out for this. Some days are so LONG and hard I want to give up. Being a Mother in itself is HARD then you throw in all the extra people that come with the foster kiddos. Thankfully the rewarding days outweigh the bad. When I hear our little guy say things like, “I want to live here forever!” and, “I love you for my whole life mama!” you’re brought to your knees with thankfulness and remorse for anything and everything you may have done wrong. I think it’s God’s way of paving tender mercies & reminding us he’s in charge.
14. TRUTH… you CAN have a relationship with the biological parents! YES, you can! It can actually work, you just have to want it. After experiencing a hell on earth case, we got a new placement of a sweet baby girl. Right away I knew in my heart that this baby was here to heal us all. She was special. I could feel it. As soon as I met her mama, I told her that I wanted to help her & if she worked hard enough she would be reunited with her sweet girl. This baby was tough, don’t get me wrong but aside from the tough moments with her she was a ray of sunshine and she defied all odds against here. Her mom and I became pretty close & still are. I got the opportunity to be an example and show her what being mommy looks like. Her dedication and hard work was impressive and there came a day when she was reunited with her baby. Now she had all the tools she needed to be successful. I walked along side her rooting for her. We were on the same team after all! Right!? Although it was in deed bittersweet, I could see the light. It felt so good to help someone to that degree. The biggest lesson I will take from that experience with her mom are the words she left me with. They give me chills every time I think about them. After nearly three months of caring for our little gal, three intense months if you will including a hospital stay, we handed over this precious soul to her mama. After caring for her day in and out, sleepless nights and so much stress our job was done. But you won’t believe what her mom said to me, she said, “I’m sorry for what you had to go through loosing her and the pain you must have felt. The pain your kids went through. I’m sorry you had to feel all that.” YOU GUYS… did you digest all of what she said!? She told me SHE was SORRY. I was in shock. This woman who left a hospital without her baby she just birthed, is apologizing to me!? She felt empathy for me? I always imagined her pain was much deeper than mine. But pain is pain and she could see both sides. This is how I imagine Jesus Christ. Feeling sorrow and pain for others, yet he endured all of the pain in the world. Yet again, his mind was on the people. There’s always good, you just have to look for it.