Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 2017


I fixed the kids pizza from a pre-made crust, sent Witt and T off to church and ate some salmon and broccoli while B watched Veggie Tales because that was literally the only thing to eat and if I had had chips and salsa it would have been that instead. With cheese.

I had just gotten back from a walk around the neighborhood with T where we discussed what happened in school today only I was legit out of words and he mostly denied everything that happened and basically thinks everyone is out to get him.

And they probably are, because he has a target on his back that's 75% his fault and 25% being a foster teen in the school system.

I've said everything. I can't think of anything else to say, and he just looks at me and there is nothing in him that is trying to lie to me, and his brown eyes are hiding a lot and it's not lies it's pain.

Psychologically he is in survival mode-- it wasn't me. He can't see himself as the problem. That's how I'll get through this, that's how I got out of tough situations before.

That and throwing the first punch.

 When I finished my actually healthy meal, I opened instagram and saw a post from someone talking about how hard parenting is. And I put my head down on the table and cried.

It is so hard.

And it's double hard co-parenting with the State, who, when you talk about the behavioral issues your six-year-old is having, just wants to revert back to things we changed already.

And I know that his behavior is mostly stemming from trauma he endured not just at his parents hands but at his former foster home too, and I hate them,

all of them,

I hate all the people and the years that the locus destroyed.

I feel so powerless, and I love them but sometimes I don't like them or myself, and I wonder if it will always be this way.

If every day will feel like a struggle, like an uphill climb, like regression and regret and if I'll ever sit at work again not jumping every time the phone rings and I hear something from the school.

I've lost five to ten pounds since we started this journey and I'm not sure why except maybe it's the acid turning in my stomach on a daily basis or the fact that I no longer sit on the couch and read magazines with a glass of wine but I watch super hero movies or play video games, fix lunches, give baths, attempt to clean, do dishes, force teenagers to sweep the floor, go for walks because that's the best time to talk or a run or ride bikes or laundry laundry laundry.

And in the midst of that I try to install values and teach respect and break up the fights and encourage Witt to step off the ledge and write notes of encouragement and apologize when I get it wrong or yell or am too harsh.

But sometimes I don't know if it's too late. If the damage to their brains from the trauma is too much, the hurt and rejection and instability and dangerous lifestyle, has it done too much?

Am I doing enough?

Why on my way home from work do I want to steer the car in the opposite direction of the house?

And I read and repeat: I will restore the years the locus has destroyed. Job 25.

When I sit on the edge of his bed and pray with him and run my fingers through his curly hair I know God can.

When he asks if I'm going to pray or lets me know I forgot devotions I know God can.

When she hugs me and tells me I'm the sweetest mommy I know God can.

When she is helpful and sweet and outgoing I know God can.

When its' rough and the bad moods are plentiful and I feel like an entire system is against me I know God can.

I know I can't. All the love I have for these kids, all the ways they feel like mine, all the plans I have for their future, I can't do enough.

But God can.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Foster Care | Two to Four

It's been almost 3 weeks since our family went from 2 to 4. 

Three weeks since I went from taking care of myself to taking care of a 6 and 13 year old.

 Three weeks since my heart exploded and my energy level went from normal to so.tired.all.the.time. 

It's been incredible, hard, wonderful, more beautiful than I ever imagined. 


There have been moments like tonight when I cried while watching Frozen for the 4th time because I'm so overwhelmed with how a 13 year old can push your buttons one second and then the next you are staring at him wondering how you were so blessed to get such a resilient, goofy, gorgeous child who brushes your hair and complains about how "nappy" it is and makes the most hilarious voices while playing battleship. 

How kisses covering your face from a 6 year old and arms wrapped so tightly around your neck can feel so warm and amazing one moment and the next, when you are trying to walk through a crowded restaurant to the bathroom after your food just came can make you want to scream.

It's up and down, and all around, all the time. 



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But these kids. They are incredible. They've been through more than any adult should have and yet the love they have and the bitterness that is nonexistent in their precious spirits has me in awe everyday. 

I wouldn't trade them for anything. Has it been perfect? No. They aren't trusting of strangers so meeting family over the holidays was overwhelming at times for all of us.

But one minute my son is quiet and reserved around my family at the beach and then a few hours in, he's grabbing my purse and doing a duck walk through the parking lot causing everyone to die laughing. He is obedient yet pushes boundaries, hard working yet wants to play all the time. His smile can light up a room and his potential is definitely there.

And my daughter is sweet and spicy, caring and affectionate with just the right amount of sass. She cries over silly things and clings to me like no other. Yet one minute she's jumping up and down saying, "I missed you Mommy!" when I was just in the next room, and then the next day I come home from work and she's so busy playing outside she doesn't look up. 

Seeing Witt pray with her before bed makes my heart zing and hearing him speak wisdom into his life makes me proud. 

The kids fight with each other and then they take care of each other, he insisted on trimming her hair but doesn't want to help with her homework.

They are complicated and just kids all at the same time.

I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Foster Care | We Are Licensed

Written December 11th

I'm sitting here eating leftover oven fries from last night (which I may have sprinkled cheese on) while my new 9 year old friend watches Goosebumps in the sunroom. A show I find incredibly creepy but when someone is just staying for the weekend, and you are a stranger, you don't try to change them or their TV show tastes. You just want them to feel comfortable.

On Monday our foster care application worker came to the house and brought our new ongoing worker to meet us. We sat around the table in the dining room to talk about our application, that was sent off just a few weeks ago. We were fully expecting not to hear anything until January or February but our worker dropped a bomb shell when she told us, "Your license was sent back."

My heart sank. What didn't they like? Was it Witt's bees in the backyard...that we built a fence around...? Was it....what could it be??

Then she said, "Sent back approved!"

We were so surprised, as were they, that it had been processed so quickly. And on that note, she asked if we would be willing to do respite care this weekend.

During the week as we were setting up the respite care, our worker called me at work. She wanted to conference Witt in, so after I finally figured out how to add someone to a call she told us about another placement, one that could be more long term.

It seems like just a second ago I thought we were looking at February and now we were talking about maybe having kids for Christmas and New Years, and a new school year.

It could be that last weekend was our last as two people for a long time.



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As my friend at work says, who was a foster mom, this process is a roller coaster. One minute you are up and the next you are down. So things can change.

But as of now, the process has OFFICIALLY started.

The long application process is over.

We have almost survived a whole weekend of respite care. We went bowling, to a Christmas parade, made copious amounts of apple cider and popcorn and have gotten to know a really really sweet kid who I will miss when we drop him off tonight.

And the future is being planned and I am so ready- ready to fall in love, for the hurts and troubles, for the known and the unknown.

Ready.





Monday, November 21, 2016

Beach Vibes

We went to Wilmington, NC for a weekend and it was incredibly nice to get away and spend some time together. 

We've been to Wilmington several times because we really like the river walk and the beaches nearby are beautiful but we've not stayed downtown until now. 

We stayed at the Wilmingtonian and it was so worth it.

Nestled right downtown, we were able to walk out the door and get drinks and oysters before heading to dinner. In fact we walked everywhere which is one of my favorite things about cities.




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My grand idea was to get lunch at Flaming Amy's once we got to Wilmington which Witt loves and have a picnic on the beach. We were bundled up but not all prepared for the extreme winds. 

Sand was blowing in my hair, my food, it was a crazy windy day.

But it was fun to walk.

I love the beach in winter. I like how quiet it is with so few people. 
I'm not a laying out in the sun kind of person anyway, and I think the blues and silvers are even crisper in cold weather.




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Witt wanted to go to Good Hopps Brewery which we had never been to before and so while we waited for it to open we visited one of the state parks and walked along the river. 

There was a lot of brush and damage from the hurricane but Witt has a dream of visiting all the state parks in NC so we checked it out anyway.




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I'm definitely a wine girl but I am learning to appreciate the different beers out there because Witt likes to try local and artensal brews. 

All I know about beer is that I like sweeter amber ales but surprisingly my favorite beer at Good Hops that we tasted was a chocolate stout. It was deep and heavy but with notes of spice and a sweetness I enjoyed.

After that we headed to our hotel.  I thought our room at the Wilmingtonian was so cute. It was a suite with a living area, small kitchenette and bedroom that overlooked downtown. 




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We sat outside on the porch which pointed towards the beautiful catholic church. Apparently the rooms of the hotel used to be where the nuns lived and they had a beautiful little garden courtyard that the long porch faced.

 After we relaxed we walked around downtown. We went by the river, some shops and neighborhoods and then to Dockside Oysters for a drink and some fresh oysters.




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I had an oyster-tini which is like a yummy tomato-y bloody mary with a raw oyster in the bottom and the martini glass rim is dipped in old bay and IT IS AMAZING. 

We had raw and steamed oysters and this time I like the steamed oysters best, they had a wonderful creamy richness. 

 We went back to the room and got ready for a late dinner, so we watched food network, sat on the balcony with a gin and ginger and then went out. 

After dinner we sat by the fountain and as I laid my head on Witt's shoulder I thought about how different things are going to be in the coming year. Foster kids, adoption, so many changes.

A lot to think about but a lot to look forward to.




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 The next morning we slept late and then ate at our favorite diner, The Dixie Grill. The sausage and potato skillet is the perfect meal when you've stayed up late and gallivanted around the city.

Exploring downtown.




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As soon as we decided we were going to Wilmington Witt wanted to go to the Serpentarium

I think this is so funny because Witt hates snakes. 

The Serpentarium is basically a deadly snake exhibit, the snakes are either huge boa constrictors or they are incredibly venomous. It's pretty impressive that they have so many snakes that you would never encounter unless you were halfway across the world.

My favorite part, morbidly, is reading the horrible things that happen to people who are bitten and the stories of people who have survived. The only snakes native to NC that I can remember are the rattlesnakes, water moccasins and copperhead. 




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The rattlesnake was very angry with us. At first I thought it was sound effects, but we would stand in front of it and listen to the LOUD eerie rattle and when we walked away it would stop. Crazy.



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Me reading the deadly deaths from various snake bites.




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We wanted to see the beach for the last time before heading out and this ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip.

 It was a little drizzly, but we sat on the beach and drank a beer with the umbrella for a long time, just enjoying the much less breezy day and the hazy cold ocean air.




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~

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Foster Care | A Surprise


Gypsy Slow Down



One lovely, bright spot during October was the foster care surprise shower Lauren and Mom threw me!




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 Such a thoughtful, special time and I was so humbled and blessed by the effort and time they put into it. 




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Hot air balloon made by Lauren and Mom, filled with toys!



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Playing a shower game.



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The theme was adventure which is so perfect...



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This was the sweetest gift from Lauren.

For every child that comes in our home they will put a thumb print and their name on the wood...

 I can't wait to see all the names and the precious faces they belong to.




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I'm so blessed to have the support of my friends and family as we start this crazy adventure. Everyone stood around me at the shower and prayed and it was a beautiful moment.

One more home visit, one class on medicine administration and we are done with the application process!

On to the state for licensing...

This was a really good video we watched in class. 

There are is a part 2 that I haven't seen but this was so well done and illustrates hauntingly and beautifully one little girls foster care journey...








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