I get asked almost daily how we are doing. My usual answer is, "I'm exhausted! But we are good". Parenting is really hard! Most days I feel like a referee more than a mommy. With 4 girls in the house under the age of 6, there is A LOT of arguing and bickering. And to be honest, it can really wear on me. I get tired of hearing the fighting and fussing. But the girls really do love each other. I always say that they act just like sister. They can love each other and play together really well, and they can also scream and hit each other really well.
Our daily schedule is getting easier. It's amazing how adaptable kids are. P and R have always had a pretty structured home. I wasn't sure how two new kiddos would be coming into our house who had probably never really had structure. But our two new bonus girls have done great! Just this weekend I had all 4 girls home alone and we were able to actually get ready and go places! I felt like I deserved a gold medal.
Emotionally, fostering is tough. There are so many emotions involved in fostering...and just parenting in general. I don't think I have the words yet to adequately explain all that I feel. It's tough having all these feelings. Some of them are feelings of anger and disappointment. Some of them are of hurt and fear. Some of them are of little joys and happiness. It's a lot of "feels" around here. And I feel like I am constantly trying to understand my feelings.When I figure them all out maybe I'll write about them.
I want to be real about our fostering journey. This isn't easy. I feel like I am a pretty terrible mommy most days. In fact, I think that has been one of my own personal struggles. I want so badly to be a great mommy. But so often I lose my patience and get angry. I struggle with being consistent and just wanting to be lazy most days. It's hard to parent and it's even harder to parent someone else's kids who have their own history. This isn't easy at all, but I don't guess I ever expected that it would be. I am genuinely praying that God can change ME through this process. I know I'm not fit to be a foster mom, but I believe that God has called us to do this. So I'm believe that he will make me fit. I'm clinging to the fact that every day is a new day and it's full of God's mercies.
September 25, 2016
September 10, 2016
Respite care is basically a long term babysitter. To become a respite family you have to go through the entire process of becoming "open" just like a foster family would. The only difference is that you don't take full time placements. You can if you ever change your mind though since you are already fully open. Usually a respite family only keep kids for about a week or two to give foster families a break. This is a HUGE need! So a lot of times when families tell me they are not in a place to do foster care, I always try to encourage them to still go through the process of getting trained and being open so they can do respite.
You will get a board payment for each kid to offset the coast of room and board. I can't speak a lot about this because we haven't seen any payments yet. You will definitely not make money by fostering, but you will be helped a little.
Won't it be sad to give the kids back?
Of course! I haven't gone through this yet so I have no idea how it will be. I'm sure it will be tough. But my goal as a foster mom is to love the kids as much as I can and show them what a good family looks like. Then I hope and pray that they go back to their family and that the parents have changed and are making great choices! I'm sure that the toughest part will be when the kids go back to a family that I don't feel is the best situation. But unfortunately that is not my place to judge. I do the best I can and just pray.
September 7, 2016
September 2, 2016
Being a parent is hard. It takes all of your time, it makes you be more patient than you ever thought possible, you have to be selfless beyond your imagination, you have to love when it's hard...and it's no different with fostering! The only different is that the two kiddos I have in my house right now were not birthed by me. But they are still children who deserve just as much love and patience as my two bio kiddos. It's not always easy. I can't say that I have felt an instant connection with our two kiddos. But I love them. And I tell them that every single day....many times a day! Because even when I don't feel it, it is true!
We also get asked a lot about "How long will you have the kids?" and the answer is we don't know. That's the thing with fostering, you really don't know a lot. We may have these kids for a week or for months. And it's hard to plan for future things not knowing. And if you know me at all then you know that I LOVE to plan things. But it's been surprisingly easy for me to accept the unknown. (God is good!) I am trusting that whatever time we have with these kids is the time that we will love them and care for them.
I always feel the need to say this in every post about fostering...WE ARE NOT PERFECT!!! Guys, some days I feel like a terrible mom. I raise my voice, I'm impatient, our house is a mess, I feed them poptarts for breakfast, I am selfish....I am not always a great mom. And I think one of my hesitations about ever signing up to foster was that I needed to figure it all out first and then I could be a good mom. But the truth is that no kid needs perfection. They just need love. And I am not always great at loving well either. But God can love through me if I let him. And I'm learning that as a foster mom that is all I'm asked to do...Love! Yes, it's hard. I'm just being honest. But in just 3 shorts week my family has changed for the better in learning to love others! (and we are still learning!)
August 28, 2016
August 19, 2016
One of my greatest fears in signing up to foster was just feeling like we would be so overwhelmed, clueless and alone. And yes, I feel overwhelmed and clueless every day. But NEVER have we felt alone in this journey. From the day we received these sweet bonus children we have gotten so many encouraging texts. We've had meals provided for us almost every single day. I've had clothes from the CALL closet as well as from random families. I've had friends make random Wal-Mart trips for me and people watch my children at the last minute. I have been so completely humbled by the amount of support and help we have received so far. It has been amazing to see the Body of Christ come together to support us.
So many people have told us that they "admire us" for what we are doing. But to be honest we are just obeying God. We are just regular (sinful!) people who heard God call us to do something so we obeyed (finally for me...I fought it for awhile. Read my story here .) So many of you have told us that you could never foster or that you've thought about it for years but just don't feel like it's possible right now. But guys, if I can do this....SO CAN YOU!!!! Believe me, I am the absolute last person in the world who ever thought I'd be a foster mom. And while I don't believe everyone can necessarily have kids in their homes, I do believe that everyone can help in some way. There is such a great need right now. It is a crisis in Arkansas. If you have ever even considered fostering....do it! Don't try to figure it all out. Don't worry about all the things that you don't understand. Just trust that God will be faithful and will be with you through the entire process. And if you don't become a foster parent, support those who are. Go buy them toilet paper, take them a meal, babysit their kids for an hour, come clean their bathroom and do their laundry....do something! You have no idea what kind of a blessing you will be to that family.