Thursday, January 28, 2016


This post was beautifully written by a fellow foster mom - a woman I have never met.  She's a friend of a friend, but a sister nonetheless.  She gets it.

Written by:  Alaina Beth Young Haerbig

"To the person who doesn't understand the significance of today:

You're a lot like me. I mean, it's just a Thursday, right? Except it's not. It's an anniversary.
Six months ago, my world changed completely when the phone rang, then a little one arrived, cute as the dickens. I understood my work was cut out for me when I said, "Come here, cutie, and let me change your diaper," and he replied casually, "Get out my face, MoFo!" as he walked away.  It is a wonderful anniversary of that day- a reminder of how far we've come when he says, "Momma, wanna see? Wookit dat biiig poopie I did inna potty for you!" Yes, I will gladly accept that anniversary present, little one. You have gotten so much more than your mouth under control in these six months. It may be a normal Thursday, but we will celebrate this day of little victories together.

But not all that this day marks is worthy of celebration. Today, a pastor and his wife will kiss their little one just once more, and do their best to smile and wave as a social worker takes her from the only home she has ever known, to be reunified with a near stranger who loves her but is ill equipped to parent.  They will pack a brand new box of Dora band aids- her favorite- because they know that she will literally chew the skin from her fingers in an attempt to control the terror she experiences at the hand of her older brother. (You know, the one who watches her when a John is visiting.) They have pictures. I've seen them- Blood in rivulets running down the little palm to her wrist. Because she is scared, and her one momma won't protect her, and the other momma now can't.

This date will be an anniversary for the rest of their lives, the pastor's and his wife's. They will never forget, and they will never be able to tell this precious one whom they love that they didn't want to let her go. They understand that she will think they abandoned her, and this normal Thursday will forever bear that extra sting for them. And no one will bring them a meal, or a sympathy card. "You knew this was what would happen," they will say, "I told you not to get attached."

But that's nothing compared to what this day is for another mom.

Today is one year since her son's murder. Returned to his first family, he was dead three days later, tortured for those three days at the hands of the woman who birthed him. His foster mom planned and paid for his funeral and the stone to bear witness to his short life, and still had to fight to get his surviving twin back into her care.  I can't understand how she functions, and no one is bringing her a casserole because today will be hard.

It's not a normal Thursday.

Another friend finally gets to post a picture of her son, because after years of fostering him, today he will be adopted and hers forever. She will celebrate today because HE became a part of WE. And she will mourn today because she understands that HE lost part of tHEy- the family to whom he was born and should have never had to leave. She will feel torn for rejoicing because she understands the magnitude of his missing history, and she will celebrate this Thursday with a schizophrenic split between joy and grief for this precious boy she now claims forever. She might get a card, but she didn't get a baby shower. And when he acts out because of his early trauma, even her family will say, "you asked for this. Why are you complaining?"

I'm not making this up. This is today, January 28. These are people in my sorority, an unlikely fellowship forged with rabid republicans and doting democrats, straights and gays, Christians and atheists. These are people I might never even have liked in my previously normal world...

Yet they are the ones with whom I will celebrate my poopie present. They are the ones with whom I will cry over a child I have never met as she goes (away from) home. They are those with whom I will grieve for a boy who will never be a man, and the ones with whom I will rejoice over an orphan who became a son.

Today is not a normal Thursday.

They understand.

And I hope, if you read this, that maybe you do, too.

If you know a foster family- take them a casserole, or share this with them so they know that today is no longer a normal Thursday for you, either.

It's an anniversary."

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Q & A with Monkey and Bug

A couple of days ago I did one of those questionnaire things with the boys asking them questions about Mommy.  I asked them the questions separately, and some of their answers cracked me up.  Bug is 3yrs/4mos, and Monkey is 4yrs/10mos.

1)  What is something I always say to you?
Bug - "You always say silly things."
Monkey - "When you say 'I love you bunches and bunches to the moon and back' and 'Don't let the bedbugs bite!" (part of our nightly routine)

2)  What makes Mommy happy?
Bug - "Green happy faces" (Behavior chart at school)
Monkey - "ME!"  (He must not have remembered Mommy practicing her deep breathing and calming techniques ten minutes prior when the little toot had the nerve to run screaming in the opposite direction after I told him not to throw his trains.)

3)  What makes Mommy sad?
Bug - "Red sad faces" (He's only ever had ONE, but he remembers. Lol)
Monkey - (total silence - Apparently he thinks I'm ALWAYS happy.  Again, what is this boy not remembering?!?)

4)  How does Mommy make you laugh?
Bug - "When you tickle me."
Monkey - "With tickles"

5)  What was Mommy like when she was a little girl?
Bug - "You made a fire at your house and the firemen had to come and they saved all of the presents!" (Not exactly the way it happened. It was our neighbor's house right around Christmas, and I DID NOT start the fire, but that's what he thinks. Now everyone thinks I'm pyromaniac!)
Monkey - "You were YOU!"

6)  How old am I?
Bug - "3"
Monkey - (shaking his head) "I don't know. Old."  (Gee, thanks, kid!)

7)  How tall am I?
Bug - "Higher and higher! You're growing too!" (Unfortunately, Mommy is growing OUT and not UP.)
Monkey - "Really tall."  (I think this is the one and only time anyone will think that I am tall.)

8)  What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
Bug - "Just play."
Monkey - "Make us breakfast."  (Really?!?  What Mommy are YOU talking about?!?)

9)  What does Mommy do when you're not with me?
Bug - "Go to work all by yourself."
Monkey - "Get ready for work."

10)  What is Mommy really good at?
Bug - "Driving"  (This is quite a compliment coming from the world's most vocal backseat driver.)
Monkey - "I don't know.  I'm just a little boy!" (I guess the pressure of so many questions was getting to him at this point.  Lol!)

11)  What is Mommy not so good at?
Bug - "Coloring"
Monkey - "Coloring"  (I think I'm seeing a theme here.)

12)  What does Mommy do for a job?
Bug - "Pay people monies."  (Why, YES!  I DO!!!)
Monkey - "Work" (pretty much)

13)  What is Mommy's favorite food?
Bug - "Diet Coke" (He knows me so well... :-)
Monkey - "Lunchables!  Yeah...  Those are gooooood.  They got ham and cheese and crackers...  Mmm-mmm!"  (I think you're confusing me with someone else.)

14)  What do you love to do with Mommy?
Bug - "When we go to places just you and me!  That's fun!"
Monkey - "Just hang out with you and Bug."

After I asked Monkey the questions about me, I decided to see if I could get him to answer the same questions about his dad.  I am totally going to put these together in a project of some sort and give it to Popi for Father's Day or something.  He'll be mortified by some of Monkey's answers, but I sure got a great laugh out of it!  :-)

1)  What is something Popi always says to you?
Monkey - "That he loves me and that he loves me a whole lot.  He says it ALL THE TIME! (insert dramatic rolling of the eyes and then a big smile)."

2)  What makes Popi happy?
Monkey - "When I run up to him and give him hugs and kisses."

3)  What makes Popi sad?
Monkey - "If I don't love him."

4)  How does Popi make you laugh?
Monkey - (giggle giggle) "When he toots."  (I have a feeling Popi will be mortified to hear that Monkey shared that little detail with me.)

5)  What was Popi like when he was a little boy?
Monkey - (more giggles) "He used to toot in the bathroom."

6)  How old is Popi?
Monkey - "Four and a half."

7)  How tall is Popi?
Monkey - "Really, REALLY tall." (Compared to Mommy's 'really tall'.")

8)  What is Popi's favorite thing to do?
Monkey - "Tickle me and watch TV."  (I don't doubt that one bit.  You know WAY too many commercials to suspect otherwise.)

9)  What does Popi do when you're not with him?
Monkey - "Works."

10)  What is Popi really good at?
Monkey - "Talking on the phone."  (You mean Popi actually SPEAKS?!?)

11)  What is Popi not so good at?
Monkey - "Coloring."  (Now I'm beginning to think they expect Monet or Rembrandt or Vincent van Gogh or something.)

12)  What does Popi do for a job?
Monkey - "He works on airplanes."  (Yep.)

13)  What is Popi's favorite food?
Monkey - "Hot sauce, 'cause it's for grown ups."

14)  What do you love to do with Popi?
Monkey - "Just hang out with him."

I love doing these types of things with the kids and seeing how their answers change as they get older.  Have any of you tried this with your little ones?  Any hilarious (but mostly true) results?  :-)

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Is It Enough?

I know it's been forever since I've written an actual blog post, but I started writing this on FB and it ended up being so long that I decided to post it here...  (If you haven't followed the blog on FB, you've missed a lot the past year or two.  You'll definitely want to go catch up!)

I get so frustrated with Bug's birthmother and so many of the self-destructive choices that she continues to make.  So many times I wonder if anything I say or do makes any real difference at all.  So many times I wonder if I'm living up to what God asks of me when it comes to my relationship with her.  Just when I think that there's nothing I can do or say to help her, the thought flashes through my mind that this time so many of the poor choices she's been making are for what she truly believes are the right reasons.  She is trying so hard in ways she never has before.  She is succeeding in ways she never has before, but she is still struggling so much.  Rather than taking things one day at a time, she takes things one minute at a time and stumbles through them making one self-destructive choice after another.

But then I see the small changes...  I see her carrying a mom's devotional Bible that I got her for her birthday only one month ago, but it's pages are already worn and it's filled with papers and notes and bookmarks.  I see her struggling to fight her addiction and to stay clean for this new baby.  And while she doesn't always succeed, she has been able to regroup and start clean again.  I remind myself of what I know about her pregnancy with Bug, and I have to recognize and acknowledge how hard she is trying and how far she's come.  She is comfortable enough to reach out to me when she's struggling, and while I might think I'm stumbling through advice or words of encouragement, she writes and thanks me for "being the extension of what I've only recently discovered is God's love for me..."  Those words give me comfort in knowing that Jesus is clearly taking the wheel when I don't know what I'm doing.

I don't know what I'm doing.  I don't know what's going to happen.  I've given up having "a plan" months ago because I know that MY plan and HIS plan usually don't match up.

So if you've read this far, and you have it in your heart to pray, please pray for Bug's "S," for Baby Boy on the way, and for me over the coming months.  Please pray that we can all accept God's plan for us and work together to make the best of whatever it may be.  Please pray that I will have the ability to do whatever He asks of me and am able to do it in a way that doesn't confuse or hurt Bug.  Pray that Bug's "S" continues to see His love for her - even through the hard times, because there are definitely more hard times on the way.  Please pray that we come out on the other side of this stronger and with even more faith.

I've always said that foster care (and now adoption through foster care) is the hardest thing I've ever done.  But even through the difficult times, I still maintain that it is the best, most rewarding, most life-changing thing I have ever done...  And I wouldn't change a thing.
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