Redoing The Room

I can’t bring myself to redecorate The Room.

I said I wouldn’t. I said and promised my husband I would. not. touch. it. until Future Child(ren) came and made her decisions because I once decorated a Future Children’s room four times before Future Children actually came into existence. So I swore I wouldn’t redecorate this room, even though the closets are wonky and the paint colors are terrible.

But then She came in and made the decisions and things started progressing and got done and the beginnings got decorated and then She isn’t coming back here. She decided on lots of white with a little bit of gray and I was going to surprise her with twinkly lights suspended from the ceiling.

I can’t walk past that room without seeing the comforter and sheets we picked out for her in the doorway, so we keep the door closed. I can’t go in there without seeing things She tacked to the wall, so the husband finally took them down. I can’t see that room without seeing her so now I need to redecorate it, even though I promised and I swore that I wouldn’t.

But I have to redo it and strip it of it’s character so i don’t keep seeing her. It’s what must be done.

Dear Foster Momma

by Guest Writer Erin

Dear Foster Momma,

I know you’re not who you thought you’d be.

I know how you nodded your head in the foster care classes, agreeing with DCS and their system. I know how you put trust in caseworkers to do what’s best for your kids. While you knew that your babies were one case out of 30 they had to carry, you felt confident. But then the contact with their family case manager dwindled. And all of a sudden things didn’t seem to be in the best interest of the children. And you know it’s your job to support the system, but it’s becoming difficult. When surprises continue to arise, you grow weary. Very quickly you see the flaws of the system and you wonder how you could be so naive.

I know that while you waited to become licensed you read and read and read on how to advocate for birth families. You educated your family and your friends. You prepared your heart. You reached out and asked how you could help. You pleaded with the Lord to change hearts and situations. But then all of the trauma that the children in your care begins to surface. You begin to feel anger about circumstances beyond your control. It becomes harder and harder to see the good.

I know how you anxiously awaited your first placement. I know how you believed that you would love with all you had and yet hold on loosely. I know you said that while it would be hard, you would be able to say goodbye- that goodbye would be a good thing. But then you brought home a baby from the hospital and you didn’t sleep for 3 months. Those sleepless nights bonded you together. Your heart grew in ways you never imagined. All of a sudden ‘goodbye’ seems unbearable. The thought of not hearing their first words or watching them walk is unfathomable.

I know how you wonder if all of this is worth it. I know how desperate you are to change the system. I know that this is harder than you thought it would be.

I also know that you are doing the best you can. I know that you’re a good momma. I know that what you’re doing matters.

 

Mothering with Chronic Pain

by Erin

I type this as I sit with a heating pad on my abdomen, Tylenol within arms reach, a baby is in his walker and a toddler is fighting a nap in her crib. Days like this are some of the hardest days. Not because of DCS or court or toddler behavior. Days like this are hard because of me- my body.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to call the DCS office so my husband and I could start the foster parenting process. I had a whole long list of reasons not to but ultimately, there was really only one question that mattered in my mind. Will I be healthy enough?

You see, there are days where I lay in the bathtub for hours just to try and find some relief. There are days when I can barely stand upright because the pain won’t allow. There are days where I simply cry because I know next month I’ll just have to do this all over again. I’ve tried herbs and homeopathic medicine and yoga and massages. I’ve tried all of the oils and the anti-inflammatories. I’ve tried less caffeine, more caffeine, no dairy and no gluten.

I have endometriosis. And this disease is trying to steal my motherhood.

I don’t really talk a lot about it anymore, the endometriosis. And now that I’m a momma, everyone seems to think it has gone away. But the truth of the matter is- it’s never been more real. You see, now the pain days aren’t just a reminder of my infertility. The pain days now also prevent me from being a momma. But I won’t allow them to steal my motherhood.

I used to always think that endometriosis would make me an inadequate parent but I’m learning that’s not true. Does it add certain challenges? Certainly. The truth is, I am an inadequate mother- not because of chronic pain, but because I’m human. And I can be ever thankful that His grace and mercy covers my motherhood.

So I’ll say to you, momma with chronic pain, you’re not alone. You don’t have to pretend to feel better than you are. And you certainly don’t have to allow your pain to steal your motherhood.

Erin is a foster momma in small-town Indiana where she spends her days doing life with her husband of 5 years, chasing her two littles and styling hair in a local salon. She loves Jesus and enjoys all things beer, coffee, wine and kombucha. You can find her at www.thebelovedbabe.com.

 

The Hardest Stuff

photo by Shelby

photo by Shelby

by Anonymous

Today is the day that I am supposed to write an article for the Dandelion Magazine.  I put it on my calendar and everything.  I live by my calendar and I write everything down. So written on today’s calendar: fix a plumbing issue at one of our rentals, go to a baby shower for one the young unwed mothers that I help at a local ministry that I’m involved in.....and a number of other errands that fill up my day and I’m fairly certain I won’t get done, but I will try.  Oh yeah, and write that article that I also had on yesterday’s “to do” list.  While under the sink fixing a garbage disposal, I write this article in me head, “What you need to know to survive an investigation....”. 

I start thinking about our precious Khy, he was the little boy that we had that lead to our investigation. His mom blamed something ridiculous on us after she got him back.  It was so ridiculous and everyone knew it.  The mom had done it to other foster families, but regardless they still had to go through with the investigation.  I’m writing this article in my head and half laughing about it and the absurdity of all the allegations the mom made against other foster families as well as ours. Recalling that her newborn was near death the first time the kids were removed and that the kids were removed a second time this past winter and how we fought to get them without success.

And then my phone rings.  It’s my best friend and she wants to know why I didn’t call her about Khy.  I don’t know what she was talking about and it’s very odd since I was just thinking about him and his siblings.  She said she was coming over and I told her that wasn’t at home. “Just tell me, what is it?  I’ll be fine.”  Oh Dear God, how many times have I said, “I’ll be fine.”  Just let me grieve, I’ll be fine.  I can say good-bye, I’ll be fine.  I can handle ridiculous accusations, I’ll be fine.  I can take on hard stuff and hard kids, I’ll be fine.

Today, I am not fine.  I am messed up.  I want to scream, I want to cuss, I want to punch something.  I have spent the last four and a half years “being fine”, carrying other people’s burdens, fixing things for others, doing crazy hard stuff and knowing some downright terrible and disgusting things about some of our kids that would make you vomit.  Today I am feeling every single hard thing, everything I’ve tried to be fine about.  My stomach is churning and I want to quit!

Today I can’t be fine.  Tomorrow I will go to the funeral of a boy that we would have made our own in a heartbeat if given the chance.  A little boy who out of over 25+ kids that have come into our home, we still talk about him on a weekly basis. Today I have to tell my kids.  We haven’t seen him in over a year, and we may have never seen him again, but now we grieve his life.  The life we couldn’t save.

I’ll still write my article, probably tomorrow, but for this moment I will say to you, Foster Mama or Future Foster Mama:  God has called us to do hard stuff.  You are going to learn to deal with it.  You are going to feel rejected by those around you that don’t get what you are doing and why.  You are going to feel used, abused, neglected, and accused.  But know that while you will be fine, and I will be fine...it’s okay to not be fine for a moment.