Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Sometimes it seems like there is an ocean in front of me.  Surely, someone else can relate.  It's such a beautiful scene to look at and so peaceful to stand in front of, but you can't see the end.  You can't tell which way it's coming from, where it's going, or when it will run out.

I feel like that all the time right now with the girls.  They are such a blessing and so much fun, but where is the end?  What is the answer and when will we have some direction?  On the days where they seem to be too much to handle, I feel I am drowning.  Then, at other times, the thought of them leaving makes me feel like I am under the water looking up and I can't speak or breathe.  I haven't been on this journey long, but the situation we are in seems so out of the ordinary.  There are seriously so many different directions this could take.  We have scenarios that seem completely far fetched, but there are days I start to wonder.  What is the future for these girls and their brother?  What is the best plan?  How did we even get here?

This week I have had the beach on my mind.  One of my closest friends is there enjoying a relaxing week with her family, and my sis and bro in law just moved there for a year.  They are definitely in my happy place.  My absolute favorite time at the beach is first thing in the morning when I sit on the balcony and just listen to the ocean and watch the waves crash.  Normally, the kids are still waking up and watching tv so it is quiet and calm.  This is where I long to be.  This is what I want for these siblings.  I want peace and calm and a security about their future.  I want them settled and having a reassurance that no matter what, they are loved and cared for.  I want things for these girls that most people simply take for granted knowing they will have.

I want the ocean for them.  I want the peace, security, calm, beauty, and awe that I see every time I sit on the balcony, but I just can't help but feel right now we are in the middle of a storm.  Please pray for these kids and especially as we head to court in less than a month.  Pray for the workers and the court system who will be working 'hopefully' together to decide the outcome.  They need clarity and wisdom and I don't envy the job they have before them.  One thing I do know, we are promised a hope and future and thankfully we aren't walking (or swimming) alone.

Hillsong United
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throw Back Thursday on the Blog.....

I normally don't do "TBT" because frankly I just can't keep up with all of it, but the other day I was looking back through my blog and came upon this.  Oh how my life has changed since 2009.  I am not downplaying going to Wal-Mart or anywhere with 2 young kids for that matter, but it's funny to me how stressed out this day probably really did make me.  It's a good reminder to look back and laugh and as Addison and Anna sing ALL. THE. TIME.....Let it go......

(I'm also thankful I no longer shop at Wal-Mart unless I'm desperate.....)


It seems like I always have a lot to say about Wal-Mart! Maybe it's because most of my life is spent there. I would normally never go to Wal-Mart with both of them (for big shopping trips) but today I was desperate. I usually go on Wednesdays when I only have Addison or Saturdays when they are both at home with J. O. However, today I needed things that we couldn't go without so I loaded them both up and hoped for the best. They are usually very well behaved when we get out and shop but I knew today would be much harder since it would take awhile. Even I wasn't prepared though for the way both of them would act! It started in the parking lot when a 1980s van about rammed me so he could get a parking spot that was a milliliter (don't even know if that's a real measurement) closer to the door than another one. I never saw the person but I would guess this person doesn't do too much walking. Then, when we got in the shopping cart, I wouldn't let Addison have my keys so she started throwing her head around and banging it on the metal shopping cart. By this point people were obviously looking because it's not every day you see an infant banging their head on metal and acting unfazed. She was also letting out little screams/growls to show me how mad she was. I ignored that and pressed on. Then Trey kept "accidentally" throwing things out on the floor and telling me his friend "Edgar" was doing it so I couldn't get on to him. 
After that I was letting Addison chew on an empty bottle of Tylenol because the rubber top feels good on her gums, and a woman proceeded to stop me and ask me if I knew she was chewing on it. I almost said "Yes, I'm hoping she will drink enough and pass out in the cart so I can finish." But instead I just said, "Oh, thanks for letting me know." and waited until she was out of sight and gave it back. 
We made it a little bit longer and then Trey (Edgar) kept mashing things up and Addison was pitching another fit because I wouldn't open ALL the food in the aisles and let her have some, so I picked up a few necessities and left immediately. Needless to say, it was a great time. Now I get to go back tonight and finish.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Is Motherhood So Hard.....

I read and shared an article on Facebook last week that really stuck with me.  It was a pretty long article and so I skimmed some of it, but the point of it was why is motherhood so hard.  This lady had 4 kids and home schools and just couldn't figure out why everyone seemed so shocked when she told them.  Her question was....why does it have to be so hard?

She made the point that her kids don't have to be constantly entertained or in every activity and after homeschooling and chores are done, then the afternoon is just relaxing time.  As I read through this, I realized that yes, I have allowed motherhood to be super hectic and crazy.  I have gotten to the point that a lot of the days, I make it to the end of the day with the feeling that I have simply survived.  Yes, I will be the first to admit that this year I allowed our kids to be involved in too many activities.  So much so, that we couldn't even finish Boy Scouts because we started baseball and softball and it overlapped.

The other night Trey's practice was rained out so I told him to go ahead and take a shower because after gymnastics we were done for the night.  He jumped up and down and cheered.  It made me think of my days after school growing up.  For the most part, I came home and made myself the same snack every afternoon (brownie with melted peanut butter on top...stinking high school metabolism) and then sometimes did homework (back then we really didn't have any because of study hall) but for the most part I watched tv until dinner.  I relaxed.  My sister relaxed.  It was nice.  I was involved with what I wanted to be involved with, but I was a homebody.  Now, I feel bad if my kids get left out of something that they are eligible to do.

I realized after reading this, that a lot of the time, I am the one who makes things so hard.  I am the one who sets a crazy weeknight schedule for our family and a fast pace to keep up with.  It's hard and it's not easy.

However, I don't think simply cutting out activities makes parenting easy.  I don't think simply sitting down at 3:00 every afternoon and telling your kids you are off duty until dinner makes it easy.  Does it make it more manageable?  Sure.  But easy...no.  Our society is so fast paced and we want everything convenient.  We want everything offered in a drive through and if we have to wait....well, don't get me started.  We have become a society of if it's hard, then don't do it.

Parenting is hard.  That's why there are so many parents out there who are not making it.  That's why there are so many grandparents out there who wish they had do overs.  Kids are not self sufficient little beings that are going to simply allow you to go off duty at 3:00 every afternoon.  Can they learn to be independent and give you a few minutes of rest?  Absolutely, but the reality is they depend and rely on us.  We are who they want in time of need.  Even if that time of need is to simply walk upstairs for the 50th time to pull another dress up gown down, or reach a book on the top shelf, or make them their umpteenth snack.  They need us.

Last night, Addison hit her eye on the ledge in our shower and we had to make a trip to the after hours clinic.  As they were cleaning it and gluing it back together, I was beside her in the bed and 2 nurses were holding her down while the doctor worked.  She was screaming and kept yelling, "I want mommy" over and over again.  I was right beside her the whole time holding her and hugging her but in her moment of distress she couldn't feel that.  I hugged her tighter and told her I was right there.  It was hard to watch.  I was tired and she was tired and it was a hard parenting moment.  But I was there.

I don't always "do" parenting well.  There are days when I would rather lay around all day instead of doing anything productive.  There are days our schedule is so full, I can hardly see straight and I go to bed feeling so guilty.  There are days I wonder if my children are ever going to be responsible, productive members of society.  But there is never a day that I expect it to be easy.  It's those days, that we have to fill ourselves and surround ourselves with people that will keep us going and remember those moms who never had any encouragement and simply quit.  Motherhood doesn't have to be about impossible schedules, but it's definitely about getting rid of the notion that every day should be easy.

Friday, May 9, 2014

This Mothers Day.....

Last year on Mothers Day I spoke at church about what God was doing in our life.  It was pre baby B, pre 'Anna' and pre 'Abby'.  It was pre mom #1 who didn't even realize I was a foster parent to her child because she was so mentally ill and no one cared enough to commit her.  It was pre mom #2 who desperately wanted a second chance but didn't know any other way but to lie, run, and make terrible decisions.  It was before so many new friends entered my life on this journey and so many old ones came back in my life.  It was before I got texts about kids being rocked in a hospital rocking chair waiting to be released.  It was before I attended conferences, brunches, lunches, etc with rooms full of moms that might cry if you simply ask them what's new.  It was before I went to walks with tons of people and none of the families were of the same race.  Basically it was before I thought of Mothers Day as anything other than my own personal experience.  Which, to be honest, is so far from what real life is like it's not even funny.

My mom raised me completely different than most of these kids have been raised.  However, that stems from her being raised by a mother and father in a completely different manner as well.  Like I said, Mothers Day has always been a day I recognize my mom.  My sister and I usually split a present and in the past I have cooked lunch for her and we hang out and that's about it.  It's not that I don't appreciate or recognize my mom, but I just had no other life experiences to compare it to.

The past year makes me realize that Mothers Day is also a difficult day.  It's a day where 2 little girls will call me mommy and mama and in reality, at this present time, who their mom will be is up in the air.  Yes, I am mom 'for right now'....but my role is limited.  They have a mom who has been defeated and given up and is no longer around.  On Sunday, when I am giving my mom a card and eating a good lunch, my sister is doing the same, J. O. is doing the same and most likely you are either doing the same or thinking about your mom who was amazing, think about these girls.  Think about 'Anna' who goes up to strangers and her teachers at school and pats my leg and says...."mommy" over and over until someone says "yes I know..."  At 2 she is trying to validate the fact that in her world, I am her mommy.  Think about the children in group homes or shelters who have no one to even call mom.  Think about these moms that are on the other end of the spectrum and away from their children.  Yes, it's most likely because of mistakes they have made, but you can't tell me they aren't longing for them.  On Sunday, my children will celebrate me, our church will recognize Mothers, the world in general will recognize that the world is a better place because of Moms.  And we will have 2 kids in our home who aren't sure who their forever mom will be.  Pray for all these kids this Mothers Day!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Foster Care Awareness Month....

I am terrible at math.  Seriously, it's not something I am just saying......it's the truth.  My major in college was largely decided on how many math classes were involved and it's how I quickly weeded out Psychology.  Statistics of Psychology will forever reside as the class that handed me my only C ever on a report card my whole educational career.  K-College.  That C will forever stay with me.  Ugh.  Still annoys me.

Anyway, so May is Foster Care Awareness Month and I love how there is information being passed around to help inform people about foster care.  A lot of the information shared are the statistics as well.  While, I think it is very important to know the statistics and see what these kids are facing, I am not going to lay those out there.  Mostly because statistics don't speak to me.  They speak to my husband and that's why we are a great team.  What speaks to me is the emotional side of fostering and that's what I am going to share.

When we first decided to foster there was no big party from friends or family rejoicing our decision.  Nor did we expect one.  Instead, we got a lot of questions and some hesitation.  Don't let that change nor affect your decision!  This is your decision and people just need time to warm up to the idea.  There is also a time and a place to share your decision.  I am a firm believer that you shouldn't share what you are thinking with everyone right at first.  J. O. and I made the decision to move forward in October and didn't share with anyone until end of January when we were about to attend PRIDE training.  Not out of fear or embarrassment but simply because we weren't strong enough to handle the objections yet (and they will come...trust me).  We needed to be at a place where we knew, without a doubt, we were doing what God had called our family to do and people could either support it or not.  Lucky for us our support system was huge.

Once you begin fostering, be prepared for nothing to go as planned.  I am a planner and this one is harder for me, but you have to be okay with being a part of a team.  Even if you don't care for some of the team members, you have to be open to working with them.  The hardest thing for me to remember sometimes is that I am the "middle mom".  Just because I don't like that visits are during nap time, or that they are on Tuesday (don't they know we have gymnastics and it's a late day??), or that they come home with food I would never feed them.....I am mom for the time being.  My goal is to work together with people that I might not agree with or even like (gasp!)  Don't get me wrong, I am a voice for the child, but you have to go into this knowing your role and have semi realistic expectations.

Another thing that will take some getting used to is that you may actually find yourself defending these bio moms and dads to all the people out there who will immediately start bashing them.  Your heart will break for these parents and the situations that each and every one of them will have been in.  You will find yourself hanging around outside of DHS after a staffing to talk to the mom and hand her pictures of her kids.  You will find yourself whipping out your phone in the courtroom elevator to show her the latest pic of her baby and your heart will break when someone shows you a text from her asking if that lady (me) will adopt her kids.  They have no hope and no way out.  You may also find yourself entangled and in a relationship with some members of the family as well.  We have a very entwined life right now with a family member of the girls.  Do I like it all of the time?  No!  Why??  Because she is soooo different than me and that makes me uncomfortable.  However, I firmly believe we are in her life for a very specific reason.

There is a huge need for foster parents.  The numbers will tell you that and it's just a fact.  However, it's way more than numbers.  It's the faces and stories that come along with the numbers.  It's the way our children have a different view of the world now.  Is it always easy??  NO!  Will your kids automatically adjust and be so glad they have a toddler sharing their toys?? NO!  Just ask Addison.  But just last week she asked me if I thought the baby would be here on her 2nd birthday because she wanted to see what she was like at age 2.  I told her I had no idea and Addison immediately responded....well, I'm going to pray she will be and if you pray about it, God will answer it.  Now, Addison might not get the answer she wants, but she is learning through these kids, that you pray and God will hear that prayer regardless.