Monday, April 30, 2012

Kids are GREAT for the Ego... (or Not...)

Kids are soooo great for the ego.  I remember one morning when Booger Bear was watching me get ready for work.  He was staring up at me with questioning wide eyes as I straightened my hair.  "This makes Mimi look pretty!" I say.  Booger smiled and sighed "Oh, yeah...  Pretty!  Yeah..."  He watched as I put on my makeup, and again said, "Oh, yeah...  Pretty!"  Just as I was about to declare to the world that I had the sweetest child on the planet, he proceeded to rub my leg and shouted, "PUPPY!!!"  F'real, kid?

You know, now that I think about it, I can probably name ten "F'real, kid?" moments for every one ego-boosting compliment that the children in my life have given me.  Even Little Miss who was pretty much non-verbal had her own unique way of tormenting me.  She would sit in my lap and play Connect the Dots with my freckles.  She also must have taken lessons from her predecessor as she was known to rub my in-need-of-a-shave legs and burst into hysterical laughter.

I began judging my hair coloring appointments by toddlers' reactions to my hair.  Monkey has a tendency to reach up and pluck individual gray hairs from my head.  I also recall one particular conversation with Buddy when he was about 2 years old.  I was sitting on the couch, holding his hands, and lifting him up as he tried to see how high he could jump.  Suddenly, he became very serious and exclaimed, "Uh-ohhhh..." every time he soared over my head.  I stood him on the ground in front of me, where this time, he pointed to my head and again says, "Uh-ohhhh..."  "What's an 'uh-oh?'  Are you pointing to my gray hairs?"  Buddy simply grins and whispers, "yesssss."  F'real, kid?!?

Just last week, Butterfly sat in my lap for an hour trying to remove the small mole that I have on my neck with her fingers.  She eventually stopped when Pooper became enthralled with my double chin, and practically pushed her off my lap so he could climb up and grab hold.  I think I still have his fingernail marks indented into my neck.  And all of this grief is just from the toddlers!!!

It gets even worse when they actually start conversing!!!  Now that Buddy and Ka-Diva have hit the oh-so-grown-up age of 7-years-old, there is no limit to the wonderful ego-boosting (or not) comments that come out of their mouths.  Christy told a story a little while back about a dinner conversation that she had with the big twins.  "I cooked dinner last night and told the kids it was something I used to eat all the time as a kid.   One of the ingredients is corn.   Ka-Diva asked me if I had to grow our own corn 'way back then.'  No dear, believe it or not, we did have grocery stores..." 

I'm fairly certain Buddy and Ka-Diva think that we celebrated the First Thansgiving with the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  We did, after all, regularly use "those funny telephones that spin."  Buddy seemed shocked that I used a typewriter in high school.  "Aren't typewriters in museums?!?"  F'real, kid?!?

Yep...  Kids are just great for the ego!  It's a good thing they're cute!  :-)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Whirlwind... Part Three

Part One here and Part Two here...  (No one wanted to wait for the whole thing at once. ;-)

After I hung up with the girls' GAL, I sent The Invisible One (IO) a text message thanking her again and telling her that I talked to the GAL.  She immediately called me.

IO - "Was she who you thought she was?"

Me - "Yep...  She doesn't know it though.  She was Booger Bear's daddy's attorney.  She was a tough one!  But she seemed all sweet and totally ga-ga over this baby."

IO - "So what do you think?"

I go on to tell her that it sounds like a perfect fit.  I talk about the ages of all of the babies in my family.  I tell her that I'd be open to fostering Big Sister if they really want to do that.  We talk about how awesome she thinks I am.  Blah-blah-blah...  ;-)

Then she springs on me...

IO - "I'm actually on my way out to see Monkey and his dad right now!  How is that going?"

I quickly change gears from "potential adoptive placement of Baby Girl and foster placement of Big Sister" to "Brag about my little Monkey" mode.  :-)

She was really happy to hear that things are going beautifully.  I told her that Monkey's dad has been amazing, and that Monkey seems to be his whole world.  He's been fantastic with me and my mom, and I don't think this arrangement could go any better than it is.  I gave her specifics on the routine, and stressed again that I have absolutely no concerns when it comes to Monkey and his dad.  It's not very often that you can say that (and really mean it) when your foster child returns home.

She was pulling in to their place, so she said that she would call me again next week...

...because she wants to talk to me about Scentsy!

Guess I was right about that one after all!  ;-)

Whirlwind... Part Two

Crazy, crazy day...  Part One is here...  I had to break it up because I have very excited friends.  :-)  Makes me very happy that you ladies are just as happy for me as I am!  Have I mentioned how much I love you guys lately???  :-)

Anyway...  Carrying on with the whirlwind of a day...  (Seriously, this entire day has my head spinning!)

1:20pm - Just before I hung up with The Invisible One, she mentions the GAL's name, and my heart leaped out of my chest.  "OMG.  I think I know her."  I didn't elaborate though.  I just told her I'd call back.

1:21pm - I call the GAL.  She answers the phone, and I immediately recognize her voice.  Yep.  She was Booger Bear's daddy's attorney when he was with me!  She was tough!  That woman scared the poo out of me!  She also didn't like me much.  I was pretty vocal when it came to my thoughts on everything that was going on in Booger's case.  Fortunately, she didn't seem to recognize my name, and I wasn't about to tell her who I was if she didn't remember!  :-)  She seemed much softer and nicer after I told her why I was calling.  I learned:

  • She said she was probably overstepping her bounds by approaching me, but she has a soft spot for this baby girl and wants to make sure she's in a great permanent home.

  • She really thinks highly of The Invisible One and respects her opinion.  If The Invisible One says I'm fantastic, she believes her.  (Thank you, Invisible One!!!)

  • 11-month-old baby girl in care since September (most of her life) and currently in a foster home with her almost 3-year-old half sister.

  • The foster home that the girls are currently in is a good one, but the foster parents are more of the "grandparent" type, and not in a position to adopt.

  • TPR scheduled on October 1st for the 11-month-old...  The plan is for the half sister to go to a friend of her father's grandmother, but they don't want the 11-month-old because she's not his.  :(  (So sad that they are splitting the girls up...)

  • She springs on me that the caseworker wants to move the girls together, although she is going to try to push to keep the 2-year-old in her current home so she doesn't have to move in with me, only to be moved again in a few months.  I told her that I am licensed and have the space, so if they need to move them together, I am willing to foster Big Sister too.  I certainly wasn't planning on it, but I'll make it work!

  • Baby Girl's bio dad is apparently in prison.  No mention of the girls' mother at any point.

  • There might be a hiccup if bio dad is Native American (common where they are originally from), but so far he hasn't bothered to do much of anything regarding his daughter, so they don't expect it to be a problem.

  • Baby Girl is trying to walk, babbles a lot, and says things like "poo," which the GAL was all giggly about.  You can tell she really cares about this baby.

  • GAL said that she would adopt the baby herself if she wasn't 61-years-old, and she stressed again that she just wants to make sure she's in a great home.

We end the phone call with making sure we have each other's numbers, and she gets my agency information.  She tells me she is going to contact the girls' caseworker again and push to get things moving.  She stressed that it's not a "done deal" (a fact that I am completely aware of when it comes to foster care), but said that she is going to push hard.  I believe her too!  She has a reputation for getting things her way, and from what I've experienced first hand, she does!  She said we'll touch base next week.

(And now I'll do a Part Three, so you guys can read this much anyway.  ;-)

My Whirlwind of a Day...

So I promised on FB that I would do my best to document a play-by-play reinactment of today's whirlwind of events.  To be honest, I'm still not entirely certain what is actually happening!  It's the nature of foster care...  Everything moves at a snail's pace until it suddenly increases to lightspeed ahead.  I was doing just fine with the slower than molasses, nothing exciting going on, just chillin' with Monkey and the Saturday Crew status quo.  But leave it to foster care to turn your world upside down and inside out with one little phone call...
9:00am - I get the phone call that rocked my world. 

Backing up a little...  On Tuesday, I mentioned on FB that I had missed a totally random call from The Invisible One.  I rarely ever heard from Monkey's caseworker when he was with me, so getting call from her now that he's with his dad was strange.  She didn't leave a message, and didn't return my call or answer the email that I sent the next day.  Everyone was speculating, but I said for all I knew she could just be wanting to order Scentsy.  No idea...  So I had no choice but to let it go.

Back to the 9:00am phone call - I see that it's The Invisible One and I answer, "Well, hello stranger!"  I just assumed she was finally getting around to calling me back (most likely to place a Scentsy order ;-).  I hear a lot of commotion, and she proceeds to quickly ramble on about something and I only caught the following:

     "...I'm at a show cause hearing...  GAL has a newborn in the NICU...  need adoptive home...  drug exposed...  born at home...  respiratory problems...  most likely terminating...  I told her about you."

HUH?!?  What?!?  OMG! 

I tried to process what she was saying to me, and to STOP and THINK before I jumped in and screamed "YES!"  (THANK GOODNESS I've been back on my meds for a couple of months!  Bipolar Girl will not prevail here!)  I think my jumbled response was something along the lines of, "AAHHHHHH!!!  I dont'....  Oh!!!!  I don't know...  I...  Oh...  I have Monkey...  and a NEWBORN?"  Common sense prevailed, and I moaned, "I really don't think I could take a drug-exposed newborn when I've got Monkey too."  Then I pouted.

Thankfully, my response didn't phase her because she quickly followed up with, "Oh!  Well then the GAL also has an 11-month-old baby girl with TPR scheduled for October.  She's in a foster home right now, but they aren't adoption-motivated, and her GAL really wants to get her into an adoption-motivated home.  I know you've been doing this for so long, and I know how much you want to adopt and just haven't had the chance.  I told her that you're one of the best foster parents I've ever worked with and that you'd be perfect!"

11-months-old?!?  My mind started racing with the possibilities!!!  My youngest niece and nephew are 12-months-old!  Monkey is 13-months-old!!!  Banana is 14-months-old!!!  This would be the perfect fit!!!  I told The Invisible One exactly that.  :-)

She had to get back into court, but told me that she would call me back with more details.  And I waited...  But not for long!

10:00am - The Invisible One calls back and is attempting to talk to the GAL and me at the same time.  I hear her "Ooo-ing" and "Aww-ing" over what are apparently pictures of Baby Girl, and her trying to tell the GAL more about me.  They had to get back into court (again), but she tells me that the GAL definitely wants to meet with me and that she will text me her number and give her mine.

1:00pm - Still no text, so I decide to email The Invisible One.  I told her I was so excited and thankful that she had thought of me, and asked if I needed to call the GAL, or if she was going to call me.  I off-handedly mentioned that I didn't have her number.

1:15pm - The Invisible One calls and says, "Write this down!" and gives me the name and number of the GAL.  "Tell her The Invisible One told you to call.  She'll know what's it's about.  Call her right now and call me back!!!"  (I seriously think she is bound and determined to get me a baby that I don't have to say "goodbye" to.  And I'm perfectly okay with that! :-)

So I gave her a call...

(Stay tuned for Part Two...  I have anxious friends waiting up to read this thing. ;-)

"Foster Friday" - Panel Introductions

At long last, "Foster Fridays" has returned!!!  I'm so excited to have put together another great group of women who have been touched by Foster/Adopt Land.  I hope that our thoughts, opinions, and experiences can provide a good support system to each other, help newcomers in the foster/adopt world, and maybe help others not directly affected by foster care gain a better understanding of the system and the special needs of the children who mean so much to us.

We have a few more introductions to follow, but I wanted to get this out there so you all can start getting acquainted with our panel.  If you are a foster/adopt parent and/or family member and would like to participate as a panel member, please contact me with an introductory post (A little about yourself and family. Why you decided to foster/adopt. Who you've foster/adopted. Ultimate foster/adopt goals. A link to your blog. etc. as well as a picture that I can post with each of your entries.).  The invitation is always open!  :-)

Andrea - I am Andrea.  My husband is John.  We married young and had all three of our boys by age 24.  We homeschool our boys.  Somewhere after our move I began to notice foster care more and more.  It was always on my mind.  I wanted a daughter.  We didn't want to adopt out of the country for various reasons.
So we looked into foster are.  We were approved in August 2009.  We received our first "call" 9 days later.  After insisting we would take girls only, a sweet baby boy arrived.  We were in love.  J stayed with us from 12 weeks old to 10 months old.  Five weeks later our beautiful baby girl arrived.  A stayed from 8 months to 14 months.  After a bot with anxiety, we took 6 months off of foster care.
We planned to adopt straight from the system.  I sent out 33 letters/bio with a family photo.  I stalked  Nothing.  We didn't hear a single thing.  So we opened the house back up and less than a month we received a call at 9pm for a one month old boy.  He arrived at 1am and stayed from 35 days old to the day before his first birthday.  His case was tragic.  His sister was nearly dead when they found her.  He was to go with grandparents.  He left.  We then accepted our fourth placement.  A special needs little girl.  Ladybug has been with us for about five weeks.  She's 21 months old.  After M had been gone for 2 weeks, I called his SW to check on a court hearing and she asked if he could come back.  The placement had fallen apart.  So now he's home!  We are now a family of 5 children.  4 boys and 1 girl.  I am praying earnestly that both of our loves stay and join our family forever.
I blog about my foster care and homeschool journey at
CarlyI am Carly and my husband and I have been married for over ten years. We have one bio son who is 8 years old. We struggled with infertility and after several rounds of IVF and multiple miscarriages we decided to foster and hopefully adopt. Our plan had always been to eventually adopt as both of us had been touched by adoption as kids. I have a sister who was adopted as a newborn when I was 18 years old.
We decided to foster for several different reasons, but mostly cause we knew we loved kids and wanted to make an impact. We were licensed in October 2009. Our first placement was Miss M at 5 1/2 months in January 2010. She was a "likely" adoption placement and we adopted her in August 2010 right after she turned 1. It was a whirlwind, but such a blessing. We then took a short break. I finally convinced my husband that we should foster again and he agreed after we were told it would be a long wait. On January 26th I sent a note to the SW we were ready again and on January 31st we got a call about a 3 month old baby girl. That was at 10 am on a Monday and she was in our arms at 3:00 pm. Baby Charlie's bio-mom and bio-dad relinquished to us in November 2011. We are in process of learning the ropes on open adoption. Our son loves being a big brother but has requested a boy next time. We are still undecided on whether we will continue to foster again. We are on hold with the state due to Charlie's pending adoption. Our SW really wants us to "really experience fostering", so we will see.
Follow Carly's journey at
Casey - I'm a single Mom and Foster Parent, a home make, a teacher, a fixer, a planner, a pet caretaker, a family member, and most recently, a blogger.  I'm not independently wealthy, have never been married and do not receive child support.  I have worked diligently and been faithful to God for all of our provisions.  I became a mother to Kayla at twenty and then again to Maiya at twenty-six.  I bought my first house at age 32 as a single mom and am now living in our second home.  I've worked three jobs at a time to support my children, and then I was blessed with better opportunities.  I became a district manager, and VP of sale which required doing international travel.  I am who I am today because of my past experiences, my drive, and last but certainly not the least, my God.
I always knew I had a heart for children and that somehow, in some way, I would make a difference in the lives of others. Perhaps it started with the seed of love that was planted inside my heart by my fostering mom when I was 9, and living in Dallas, Tx. Doniene and her husband taught me what a healthy family looked like, and demonstrated how people can choose to communicate in a respectful, loving way. I learned through her examples, that children are more precious than gems and how I, Casey, was more precious than all the gold in King Tut's Tomb.  My foster mom taught me through her actions, that my vision of self worth had been wrong.  She showed me consistently that I was "worth it", that I was kind and should expect to be treated kindly, and that I was loving and by birthright, I deserved to be loved.  I learned from her examples, to believe that I was a child that deserved to do more then just survive my circumstances.

I've had the privilege of fostering four children. The first three were done through an arrangement with the bio parents and myself, and did not involve an agency. The kids I took in needed help immediately and I was in a position to offer a safe, nurturing environment. Honestly, at that time, I had no idea there was an agency that assisted with these things. Each child stayed with me up to a year and made enormous progress. I knew they were better off for having been in my home and I also knew I was better off for having cared for them.
My fourth child is with me still. He’s been with me since 2 ½ months old. He’s now seven. He’s had so many struggles, more that I could have imagined when I first brought him home with me. He’s special needs and requires a lot of supports in order to remain in a home setting. He has psychological and physical issues that we work with daily.

I am now awaiting another addition to the Everly household.  We don't know who or when he/she is coming, but we will be ready.  I am worn down, and then built up.  I am exhausted, then renewed.  I am beat within an inch of survival and then completely restored.  I am a foster mom.

Follow Casey at

Cherub Mamma - I’m Cherub Mamma...a 40 year old mamma to many via marriage, biology, adoption, fostering and just plain loving those around me. I blog (somewhat) anonymously due to regulations with my licensing agency. Technically I’m not supposed to write about fostering on any social media. However, I’ve been open enough to reveal that I live in DEEP South Texas (literally ON the border of Mexico). I’m originally from the Midwest so I’m something like a fish out of water down here.

Mr. Amazing and I have been married for 18 years. He has one (grown) daughter that lives in Colorado. Together we have three more children in our core family. Our biological bookends are 15 and 7 years old. In the middle is 8 year old Cherub 2. We adopted Cherub 2 at birth through the foster care system in Iowa. It’s a unique story that you can look up on my blog ( if you’re interested.

We started fostering in Iowa for purely altruistic reasons. Our goal was not to adopt but to help families in need. When we got the call about Cherub 2 though I didn’t think twice when they said it was a foster to adopt situation. While fostering in Iowa for just over 2 years we adopted Cherub 2, took care of a beautiful 2 year old boy for six months and did respite multiple times.

After moving all over the country for 6 years due to Mr. Amazing’s job we finally settled down again. God saw fit to put us in a giant house with five bedrooms. It didn’t seem right to have so much extra space so we went about the process of getting verified in Texas. We’ve been fostering here since the fall of 2010.

I can’t say that I have any “goals” with fostering other than just loving on the cherubs when they’re with us.  We currently have three foster children. Pumpkin has been in our family for 16 months. Pumpkin is 6 years old and has severe medical needs. She is extremely delayed and functions around the age of 18-24 months. She has opened my eyes to the world of special-needs parenting to say the least! Her case is complicated but we’re praying that she will eventually be placed with a loving aunt and uncle.

The other two cherubs with us right now are biological siblings. Dude is 3 years old and Dolly is 4. They’ve been in our family since June of last year. Again, their case is complicated (as I think every single foster case ends up being). I have no idea what to expect. We would LOVE for them to become permanent members of our family (as their mom is not a candidate for reunification). But there is a paternal grandma who is somewhat interested in the children. (The key word is somewhat for sure!!) It’s all going to be up to the courts!

Fostering is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced. The rules are ridiculous. The expectations are over the top. And the job is definitely 24/7. But it’s incredibly rewarding. I am privileged to have the opportunity to love on the children that have come in our home. And even though I say, “I’m done. I’m done. I’m done.” almost daily – I wouldn’t change a thing. Being a foster family has been a wonderful blessing!

Follow Cherub Mamma at


Dani - I'm 44 years old and my partner T is 49, and we are just starting out.  We either have the SLOWEST SW in the history of SW's.. or we are being discriminated against. (I am half of a lesbian couple.)  The SW was the first one to bring that word up ("I sure hope you don't think we're discriminating against you...").  I later brought it up to her, and she denied it ("It's against the law for us to discriminate...")  It's been a year since classes finished.  Here is my timeline so far.
April 20, 2011 - ended classes
July 1 - turned in final paperwork
July 14 - first home study (were told we'd be licensed by Sept 1)
September 14 - second home study (were told we'd be done in a few days)
February 17 - verbally certified
February 24 - THIRD home study (were once again told we'd be done in a few days)
April 20, 2012 - 1 year since classes ended, still not certified
We decided to get into foster care because I always wanted a bunch of kids, so fostering is kinda something I had always thought about.  T's parents were foster parents so she knew all about it.  T also worked in group homes with FCs for years. Her whole family worked in group homes and worked with helping kids, so it was just a natural for her to keep it going once she could no longer work in group homes.  We plan on fostering younger ones for now (especially sib groups and special needs youngsters), but ultimately want to foster teens ("when we grow up").
As far as goals, right now they are pretty simple and probably unrealistic.  We really do just want to love on some kids and try to help them have a better life.  We are foster/adopt, but the adopt part is really only an added thing.  Our ultimate goal is not adoption, but if a situation came up and a child needed a forever home, we'd be willing.
Debbie - My husband and I adopted our daughter via domestic adoption in 2008 when she was 16 days old. We have an open adoption with her biological mom and family. We have also stayed in touch with the interim foster parents who cared for her for her first 16 days. That family and having an open adoption lead us to fostering. We do want to adopt when the right child is found but we will foster until that child comes.

We were licensed Oct 2011 and our first placement was in our home within 2 weeks. We had 6 yr old M and her 20 month old sister L for 20 weeks. We moved them in with their Grandpa March 9, 2012. We still have contact with them; phone calls and visits at the moment.

Follow Debbie's foster/adopt journey at:

Diane – I am a single foster and adoptive mom currently raising five children. I became a foster parent during a transitional period in my life, hoping to help a few children. Fostering became a passion and a calling. Eighteen years later, I have been mom to 18 foster children (ages 2 days to 5 years) and have provided respite for numerous others.

I have adopted three of my foster children (now ages 13, 9, and 2) and am in the process of adopting a fourth (now 3 months) who is the bio sibling of my two year old. For more than four years, I also pick up a former foster daughter (now age 9) almost every weekend and for most school breaks. She is counted as part of our family. I have been lucky to remain in contact with most of my foster children for at least several months after they left my home.
I work in softward engineering a little less than full time and will complete law school by the end of the year.  I've become an expert in juggling responsibilities, time management, efficiency, and prioritization.  I really enjoy helping new foster parents navigate the system.  What the future holds for me is uncertain, but my heart always has room for another child to love!
Heather - Hi! My name is Heather, the "Hairy Hubby" and I have been foster parents for 2.5 years. We have had 11 kids in our home and have an adoption date for our current three "Minions" the beginning of June. The Hairy Hubby and I decided we wanted to Foster prior to marriage. After a year of being married we found out we were lacking the ingredients to create children and decided it would be the perfect time to start the process of being foster parents. We fostered knowing the goal was getting the kids home but were also VERY okay with adoption being a side effect. We currently accept kids 0-18 but the Hairy Hubby has told me I am no longer allowed to take infants.
My blog can be found at I am SUPER excited to be a part of Foster Fridays!

Joy - My name is Joy and I blog at Small Town Joy. My husband, Barry, and I live in a small town in South Carolina. Our family is made up of three children, Jordan:14, Riley: 11 and our foster baby girl Sweet Potato Pie: 17 months old. Our journey into foster care began within our first year of marriage. We worked in a children's home as relief workers that gave the main house staff a weekend off. During the weekends we moved into the cottage of eight foster children and played the role of parents to eight rambunctious children. Eventually Jordan came along and we became full-time house parents to a house full of teenage girls. This part of the journey spanned over almost six years. During that time, Riley was born. We took a break and went back to work in the "real world" for a while once Riley started kindergarten.

In 2007 we opened our own home to foster care through our local county agency. We were misled as our intentions were to adopt, and the licensing worker continued to falsify information intentionally to get us licensed in order to meet her quota. Nonetheless, we were licensed. Our first placement was a sibling group placed in our home from another county. This brother and sister combo were on their third placement at the ages of 20 months and 9 months. Their arrival to our home as chaotic, but after three weeks we had all settled into a groove and had began to bond. We were told these children were not up for adoption, and of course, we still believed we were licensed to adopt. On Thursday of week four I received a call late in the afternoon from their social worker saying she would be by the next day to pick up the children. They were moving to their fourth placement. We did as much work as we could in 24 hours, but the children were removed despite our efforts. We learned the following week that our county "kicked them out" of our home because they were an out-of-county placement. These children lost yet another foster home while our home spent the next six months empty. About a week after they left I received a call from their adoption worker. She was just calling to check on them. She was unaware they had been moved to another foster home and was stunned to find out we were told that they were not up for adoption because, in fact, they were. It was then that we learned we were not actually licensed to adopt, only to foster, and that we had been fed yet another lie.
We have learned in the last two years that the children have now been adopted, and actually ended up with another sibling from their birth mom as well. Their fourth placement was their final placement, but it never had to be that way.

After they left we contacted the President of our state foster parent association about our issues. As it turned out, we were not the first to make a complaint. He met with the local and state level heads and nothing was ever resolved. Six months after the children were removed from our home, we closed our foster home. The county lost almost all of their foster parents over the next few months due to their selfish manipulation of their foster homes. They still struggle to maintain foster parents to this day.
During 2008/2009 we were approached by an individual with an opportunity to adopt a two year old girl. After months of being manipulated and misled on several occasions I did some investigative work on my own to find that most of the information we were being fed were lies. We had to make the decision to walk away. It was a difficult choice, but it was the right one.

In July 2010 we felt the urge to pursue adoption on our own. After much prayer, we were led to apply to be foster parents through a local Christian agency that serves the state foster care system. In November 2010 we received our state license and one week later our call came in. Our sweet girl had been born, and she needed a home. No placement is a guarantee for adoption, but the request for this child was to be placed with a family who would be willing to adopt her if she did come up for adoption. It was a probable case. She is now 17 months old. Her case is a mess, and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is not reasonable in the minds of any professional involved that she return to her biological  family. But God, He knows. He hears our prayers. He knows our girl and His plans for her. She has been such a blessing to us. She has brought back giggles and laughter into our lives. She filled that spot that was empty and is very much a part of our family. We continue to pray that Pie will be ours forever. We are approved to adopt. We eagerly await the day when we can make it official.
You can read about our journey in foster care and about our son Riley's journey with an eye disease on my blog.

Kylee - My exposure to foster care began at the age of seven, when my parents made the decision to become licensed foster parents. With four biological children, my parents entered into this journey in October of 2000 with no intention of adopting, but simply looking for a practical, tangible, ministry that we could be involved in as a family. Those years of having babies and toddlers come through our home, and learning to care for abused and neglected children were some of the most pivotal, challenging, and vital years of my childhood.

While my parents were not seeking adoption, God had different plans for us; by His grace, he has allowed us to be a forever family to not one child, or two, or three...but to FOUR of the worlds greatest kids! So now here I sit, 19-years-old and big sister to four incredible (often times still-hurting), kids. They are currently 11, 10, 7, and 4, and have all come from different backgrounds and pasts.

I am currently in college and am pursuing a degree in social work, with hopes of staying involved in the foster care/adoption community in some form or fashion. I am passionate about sharing my experience of growing up with foster siblings, chronicling my journey of learning how to be a big sister to children from “hard places”, as well as raising awareness about the orphan crisis. I am also addicted to blogging, and can hardly write fast enough to keep up with this crazy adventure my family is on. You can follow my thoughts on adoption, read stories of bonding and attachment, and listen to me complain about college cafeterias and community bathrooms at

MamaP - Hey, y'all! I'm MamaP, best friend and wife of 9 years to PapaP. Foster care has been a dream of mine since I was 12 and was friends with a foster-adopt family of 27. We discussed and agreed upon it before getting married, but as an "afterthought" to the 3 boys and 1 girl we would have. God has a sense of humor, however, and blessed us with infertility. One biological son, nine foster placements, and two out-of-state foster care pre-adoptive placements later, we've realized that God's plans for us are far more rich and deep than anything we could dream up ourselves.

*** Sidenote from Tammy (aka. "Mimi")  - MamaP also has quite the sense of humor as her initial bio was:  "I'm MamaP. I hate writing bios."  I wasn't going to let her get away with that though.  I'm one tough moderator!  Although I did allow the awesome "shadow person" picture. ;-)

Marie (a.k.a Mie) -  I am the primary blogger at LettingGoofMie where I writes about my journey through life as a wife, mama, foster mama, employee in corporate America, and Ph.D. student.  I've given birth to a boy, adopted a girl, and along my husband have fostered 9 other children in 2 years. Life has taught me that it can be more than I ever imagined, if I'd only learn to let go of myself and trust my Creator...

Melissa -  My husband and I started fostering about 2 1/2 years ago.  Previous to fostering we adopted domestically (3 days old) and internationally (1 yr old).  They were both boys.  We decided to foster and got our first placement rather quickly!  He was 5 months old and on March 16th, 2012 he became our "official" 3rd son! He is almost 3 yrs old now.   In Jan of 2011 we decided to open our home to another placement.  He was 3 days old and brand spankin' new straight from the hospital!  He is now 14 months old and still in our care :)
Never did we think that this would be our fostering journey!  Just 2 placements in 2+ years!?  We currently are open to doing respite and short-term placements and are praying about opening our home up again for another permanent placement.  The ones we get don't ever seem to leave (thank you God!) so we are working things out logistically.  :)  We are also a homeschooling family so that keeps things busy with an 8 yo, 6 yo, 2 yo, and 14 months!
I love sharing our journey on our foster care blog and sharing all those little things that no one ever tells you about until you are in the trenches!
And last, but not least...  ;-)

aka. Mimi - That would be me!  Single lady with an obnoxiously-spoiled cat, daughter, sister, friend, cool aunt, honorary "mom", honorary "grandma", bio mom to none, but foster mom (aka. "Mimi") to six kiddos and counting over the past 3 1/2 years...

After struggling with endometriosis for most of my adult life, I made the decision to have a hysterectomy at the age of 30.  Finally pain-free after 12 years, I knew that I had made the best decision possible even though it meant that I would never be able to carry a child of my own.  I spent the next 4 years trying to find a way to become the mom that I always wanted to be.

The idea of fostering always terrified me.  I couldn't bear thought of losing a child who I loved as my own, but this little voice kept telling me that this was something that I could do to make a difference.  I went into foster care after many, many prayerful years.  I finally began to trust that God wouldn't have planted this seed in my heart only to leave me hurting and devastated, so I threw myself into loving these kids with my whole heart.  I'm not sure if I can say that I've ever fully felt God's presence until I began this journey.  But I can feel the change within me as more and more time goes on, and I know that can only be His promise to heal the hurt as I love these kids and let them go.  With each child who comes into and out of my life, I've found that I have a stronger sense of peace, a more compassionate heart, and a faith that I had always HOPED to have, but never really knew that I could find.

One thing I do know is that God is healing my heart beyond what I had ever hoped or thought possible.  Yes, it does hurt when my children leave my home and my arms, but His promise to heal that hurt has proven true time and time again.  And after every healing, I find myself more and more excited and filled with the anticipation of loving another one of these children who so desperately need me for however long I'm blessed to have them in my life.

Most days I think "I Must Be Trippin'" when I talk about all of the craziness that is Foster/Adopt Land in one breath, and how much I LOVE MY LIFE in the next. Because I DO love my life, and I wouldn't change a thing.


OMG! OMG! OMG! I take back anything even REMOTELY negative that I've ever said about The Invisible One!!! She just called me from court with TWO, I repeat, TWO potential ADOPTION situations!!! I could only take one right now because I'm not giving up Monkey, and I can't have THREE infants/toddlers by myself. The first potential is a newborn baby girl in the NICU. The second is an 11-month-old girl currently in a foster home, but they aren't adoption motivated. They are scheduled for TPR in October for her, and they want to get her into an adoption-motivated home. :-) The Invisible One told the GAL about me, saying that she knows the PERFECT person, and the GAL wants to meet with me. GAL said that she doesn't have FINAL say, but she has a lot of pull as to where these girls will go. Next step, meet with the GAL to talk about the girls and see if either would be a good fit. I'm already thinking how cool it would be to have the 11-month-old because she's so close in age to all of the other babies in my family! :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goin' to the Dentist

Anyone involved in foster care knows that there are multiple required appointments that often times make no sense.  My personal favorite is the mandatory dental visits for all children over 6 months of age.  "Yes, Dr. Dentist, I realize my baby has no teeth and eats nothing but formula and rice and will flat out refuse to open his mouth for you, but CPS requires that I bring him to your office to pretend to have his bi-annual check-up regardless."  Because let's be honest...  That dentist most likely isn't going to get a decent look into your infant's mouth during that first visit.

My kiddos' reactions to the dentist have been all over the place.  We started with 16-year-old Angel who I don't think had ever been to the dentist before.  Poor girl was terrified, but after a bit of "happy juice," some laughing gas, and much bribing on my part, she finally made it into the chair for her x-rays.  Yep.  That was just for the x-rays!  She eventually became an old pro after lots of fillings and a root canal.  Not fun (to say the least), but she got some healthier teeth out of the deal, and finally started showing her teeth when she smiled.  I think it was well worth it.  Or course, she might not see it that way.  ;-)

Twelve-month-old Little Miss never even made it past the lobby.  We were the first appointment of the day and the only patient there at the time.  The "dentist" (and I use that term loosely) walked into the reception area, sat in a chair across from me in the waiting room, asked me if I brush her teeth (to which I replied, "of course"), told her she was pretty, and then left...  Never to be seen again.  Your tax money at work...  Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy now?

Booger Bear was a riot at the dentist.  That kid loved to brush his teeth, and he was so excited about his second bi-annual exam.  At 16 months old, Booger walked into the dentist office, marched straight up to the receptionist desk, and said, "Teeth, peace."  (Translation, "I'm here for you to brush my teeth, please." :-)  When the dental assistant called his name, he completely left his gimpy Mimi behind (I was still hobbling around in a fracture boot after having broken my leg) and ran off with her!  I slowly made my way to the back to find my toddler flirting with not one, but three dental assistants.  The dentist came and he smiled big and showed her his teeth.  He was all smiles and happy...  until she put the toothbrush in his mouth and began brushing with what was apparently the wrong kind of toothpaste.  The moment was ruined, and Booger Bear was simply a bear until we got home and I let him brush his teeth with the "right" toothpaste.

All of this rambling was actually to build up to the week before Monkey went to live with his daddy, and I took him for his first dental visit.  I felt the need to document it because, well, HO-LEE MO-LEE!!!  While it will probably come back to haunt me in my nightmares, I figured I might as well get it down in writing to allow others to experience the craziness of that one hour visit as well.  Misery loves company.  You are welcome.  :-)

It began innocently enough...  Monkey was thrilled silly that I picked him up from daycare early, and chattered away the whole way to the dentist office.  I pulled out the umbrella stroller, strapped him in, and headed inside.  I should have known it wasn't going to go well.  The second Monkey spotted a woman in scrubs, he lost it.  Trying to escape the stroller, huge tears welling up in his eyes, sobbing...  We had just had a few traumatizing visits at the doctor, so he was in the "people in those clothes hurt you" mode.  I was able to coax him out of the stroller to play in the waiting room long enough to fill out all of the paperwork (You know the forms.  The ones that ask you all about the pregnancy, birth questions, etc. that you have to answer with "Great question!  I have no idea."), and the "Scary Scrub Ladies" intentionally stayed out of sight hoping Monkey would forget they were there.  :-)

Then the dental assistant came for us, and the tears started again.  I decided to hold Monkey while we went into a windowed screening room for our "teeth cleaning lesson."  After so many little ones, I've been through that same lesson many times before.  It makes me laugh every time.  "Brush in a circular motion..."  Blah, blah, blah.  Sweetie, I know you're just doing your job by telling me this, but have you ever actually been able to "brush in a circular motion" on a teething toddler's teeth?  Trust me, I'm doing good to get the toothbrush in the mouth before he clamps down on it and I have to wiggle it back and forth, side to side in order to get it out.  That's as good as it's gonna get!

At this point, Monkey was beginning to do really well.  Scary Scrub Lady was sitting on the opposite side of the desk, and made no move to touch him.  He seemed to be making friends with the receptionist on the other side of the window as he blew her kisses, smiled, and waved.  That's when he overheard Scary Scrub Lady ask me "What kind of snacks does he eat?"  Monkey's head whipped around so fast I'm surprised he didn't get whiplash!  "Nack???  Nack???  Nack???"  Clearly a word he recognized, and suddenly Scary Scrub Lady wasn't so scary anymore.  :-)

We made our way back to the exam room with Monkey's new entourage (by then, he was eating up all of the attention from the ladies).  That's when he caught sight of what were clearly "medical type instruments," and that bottom lip went out.  The dentist came in and sat down to talk to me.  He eyed her warily, but didn't cry. That is, he didn't cry until she made the grievous error of touching him in order to look in his mouth.  There was no getting him back after that.  He freaked out to the point of hyperventilation.  No amount of gifts or bribery could convince him that everything was going to be okay.  He screamed non-stop bloody murder for the remainder of the visit.  Fortunately, they couldn't get us out of there fast enough after that.  ;-)

So that was my good deed for the year.  Taking Monkey to the dentist so his daddy wouldn't have to do it...

As crazy as I think it is having to take infants to the dentist, at least I think I've finally found one that I like!  Even if they did practically lock the door behind us when we left.  :-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Very exciting!  Gail over at Upbeats and Downbeats contacted me yesterday and asked if she could do a post featuring my latest "You Know You're a Foster Parent When..." 

It's always an honor when anyone acknowledges your writing, whether it's a deep, meaningful post, or one filled with snarky humor.  I try to keep a good balance around here.  :-)

If you haven't checked out Upbeats and Downbeats, you should run over there and look around.  Gail is a single bio, foster, and adoptive mom with fantastic advice and parenting strategies, especially when it comes to parenting children who come from hard places and have special needs.

Thank you so much, Gail, for the feature!  It is very much appreciated.  :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

You Know You're a Foster Parent When... - Part Three

After 3 1/2 years in Foster/Adopt Land, I am constantly coming across more "You Know You're a Foster Parent Whens..."  :-)   Enjoy!
You know you're a foster parent when:
  • Your first reaction to potential real estate investments is something along the lines of "OMG!  Do you know how many kids I could fit in there?!?"  

  • You have more children than available vehicle seating.

  • You feel like a rebellious teenager when you leave the Tums in your unlocked medicine cabinet (in between placements, of course ;-).

  • You are called to your child's school to meet with the principal because Little Timmy has been continuously loud, disruptive, and won't sit still in class, and you are secretly thinking, "You Go, Timmy!!!  Good for you!!!" and planning how best to praise him when you get home because last month he was throwing furniture and hitting the teacher.  

  • You're intentionally vague when questioned about your children by random strangers simply because you get a good chuckle out of watching them squirm.  "Is he your first?"  "No.  He's my 12th."  or  "Does she (your child of a very obviously different race) look like her father?"  "I don't really know.  I never saw him."  ;-)

  • You visit a new church with your five children of different ethnicities, and the church "grandmas" secretly pray for you to find Jesus because they think you're loose.  ;-)

  • You are on a first-name basis with your city's police officers, and you do your best to keep them happy (because chances are they'll be bringing one or more of your kids home late one night after getting into trouble if they haven't already.)

  • The 3-month-old boy that you were expecting turns into a 3-week-old girl by the time they get to your door.

  • You know you're going to be in the restroom longer than 30 seconds, and you bring your monthly paperwork with you so you don't waste valuable time just sitting there.

  • You know every pediatrician and specialist in your area that takes Medicaid, whether or not they are accepting new patients, their estimated waiting time for appointments, and the first names of all of their nurses and front office staff.
If you liked these, feel free to click the links to Part One and Part Two!
What about you?  Do you have any that you would add?  :-)

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    I've Got the Shakes

    Yep...  You know that fostering is definitely your calling when you are chomping at the bit and ready for a new placement immediately after your last little one leaves you.  It's been 3 1/2 weeks since Monkey was returned to his daddy, and while I am absolutely loving my life right now, I have the "MUST HELP MORE CHILDREN" shakes.

    I still haven't told my agency that I'm willing to take a new placement yet.  I'd like to be able to get into a bigger home so Monkey and the new little one (or big one(s)) will each have their own rooms.  The arrangement with Monkey and his dad is working out beautifully, so I definitely don't want to give that up.  But there's the whole, "I'm a foster parent.  There are other kiddos out there who really, really need someone like me to be there for them when their own parents can't be" thing.  I meet kids who I immediately want to take home with me and give them the kind of structure, consistency, love, and attention that they are so desperately needing.  I think of Little Miss and how badly she needed me, and it just kills me to think that there is another little one out there who is struggling.

    When I look at Booger Bear and Monkey, I see that as flawed as the system is, foster care can work.  When I think of Little Miss and the huge strides she made in the little time that she was with me, I know that what I am doing for these kids matters.  It's important.  And as much as I miss being a Mama to my kiddos when they leave me, I know that I've done everything that I can to make their lives a little bit easier while everything else seems to be crumbling around them.

    Now that Monkey is home with his daddy and is doing great in a good, loving situation, I really don't know what to do.  I think because I've only parented children from hard places, I'm not really sure how to parent any other way!  I've always had to advocate and fight for them every step of the way.  It's a very foreign feeling to not have to do that.  I feel like I should be doing something, but there's really nothing for me to do other than love on Monkey four days a week and spend time with the "Saturday Crew" as often as possible.

    I definitely see myself moving into a bigger place sooner than I'd anticipated though.  I've got the "MUST HELP MORE CHILDREN" shakes, and I fear the only cure is to once again take the crazy roller coaster ride of emotions that is "foster care."

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    "Foster Friday" - Understanding the Love

    I thought I would share this post that my mom wrote last week as this week's "Foster Friday."  Foster care affects so many people...  I am so blessed to have parents who make no distinction between biological and foster.  The children in our lives are simply their "grandchildren," and the pain of the losses are just as difficult for them as grandparents as they are for me as a mother.

    I have been blessed with an amazing group of close family and friends who love my children.  These people have been pulled into the world of foster care, not on their own accord, but indirectly through me...  They suffer the loss of these children as much as I do, but they open their hearts over and over again because they love and care about me.

    I think my mom explains the love that is involved with being a foster parent/foster family perfectly, and I hope that it helps put things into perspective for those people who might not fully understand.  In my mom's words, "...when a person becomes a foster parent they know that their lifetime with their child probably won't be 'forever.'  Yes they signed up for that.  It still doesn't make the pain of losing your child any less."

    Thank you, Mom, for loving me and my kiddos so much.  And thank you for putting into words what I want to say (but in a nice way ;-).

    "A Wish for Understanding and Compassion"
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