Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Waiting is often the hardest thing we do. Waiting to hear "the news" can be exciting or excruciating, depending on "the news" we are waiting for.

As a foster care family we are always waiting. I hadn't thought of it until earlier today, but the continual waiting is stressful. First we wait to finish classes, home studies, physicals, background checks, and more. Then some families wait for children. We already had a child in mind, so she was actually waiting in another home for us to finish all of our waiting.

When you have a child move in there are many waits: You wait for them get used to you, feel comfortable, and to finally bond. You may wait for them to listen and sleep through the night too! The waiting may be different if they are a foster placement or a foster adopt placement - at first. Then you love them and want them to stay forever.

We are a waiting foster family. We are still waiting for our phone to ring because we are going to take a baby as soon as there is one who needs our family. We are also waiting to hear if we can adopt our two foster daughters. This is the hardest waiting we have done. We are praying that we can adopt them if it is God's plan. If going home is not the best thing for them we want them to stay in our family. We love them and can't imagine life without them.

So for now we wait. We are waiting to hear something. The next hearing date is March 10th. I'll keep you posted.


but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Miss Someone. . .

Missing their family is probably a common feeling for almost all children in foster care. Studies and experiences show that even abused children miss living with their family - wanting to go back to moms who may have beat them, abused them, or severely neglected them.

This is sometimes hard for us to understand. How can a five year old cry for a family member that neglected them so severely that they arrived in foster care malnourished with their teeth so decayed that almost all are fillings or had to be pulled? We want to run with the child to the hills, and not even attend court required visits, feeling that the parent may not deserve to see the child. I know that is the way I feel at times.

But the child may feel differently. That is the only family they have ever known. And now they are with strangers. No matter how much we care for them and love them, foster kids will often times want to return home. Sometimes "the system" has to step in to protect them and they may not ever return home. Other times the parents are sadly never able to or never want to be parents again.

I pray that if my five year old can't return to her family that she will learn to call us family. I don't just mean call me mommy. She does that on her own, wanting to belong and be like her sister who is a baby and has always called me mommy. I mean think of us as family if we adopt her. Her new family, but forever hers.

Families are not only born. Sometimes they are made - one day at a time.


There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.
The National Adoption Center

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Our phone rang. . .another baby

I have to tell you, we were all a little disappointed about not getting the baby boy we were called about yesterday. I told everyone we could be called again real soon, so be ready.

Well, about 11:oo am, I was called about a three day old baby girl in the hospital and asked if I would take her. I said, "of course!" My teen girls squealed in delight and actually jumped up and down - I kid you not. The placement worker did mention she was African American and asked if that was alright with us. I said yes as long as her family doesn't mind.

We were all so excited. A brand new baby. We praised God for his great goodness to us, not believing we were called again so soon. The four of us worked like crazy to get things ready. Then, about 3:30 pm we were called and told a grandmother had showed up who wanted the baby. I don't blame her. I just pray she will be as good a caregiver and home for the baby as we could have. And possibly better since it is her own granddaughter.

So for now we are missing baby number two. Well, we are even more ready now. The crib and bassinet are ready. The girls even got the baby swing out.

I am praying we will get a call on Tuesday for another baby. Sadly, babies are detained by CPS for many reasons, but we will love being here to love them when they need it most.


Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but when the desire comes it is the tree of life.

Provers 13:12

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New baby. . .almost

Being a mom is full of trials and tribulations, and if you are also a foster care mom you will have a whole new set of woes to live through.

Today was one of those days. . .

We are already living with our hearts ready to break any day. We know the possibility of our two foster daughters leaving is soon. We really won't know until the day they go or the day we sign adoption papers. Sometimes it is that precarious of a situation when you are dealing with "the system."

Another baby could never replace our little D who has been ours for 10 months. But still, we have agreed to take another baby if there is one who needs our home, all the while hoping and praying that D and J also stay. We have an extra crib and many extra arms around here. Our baby is quite the toddler now, and knowing she might go there is a sense of wanting a little one to need us, keep us busy, and depend on us. I can't get anything done around here and I guess I like it that way! LOL!

So, we got the call today. So soon since I upped my license so we were surprised. I'll tell you now it didn't work out. It was hard to have our day end without our new baby that our hearts had begun to attach to - if only the idea of him. He was six months old. On the way to pick him up we were called that the placement fell through. Could mean many things, but what it meant for us was sadness. We had our hearts set on him, and had already started making plans.

This is one of those times that I tried to look at this from another perspective. God's. He has plans and they are bigger and better than mine. Maybe He needed us ready for another baby that needs us. . . Maybe my family needed to remember that anyone who joins our family or leaves our family is God's child, on loan to us for how long He decides. . .

So we all prayed and agreed we must wait on God's timing.

I hope the phone rings tomorrow. . .


"What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."
Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Nice Adoption Story

I went out last night with a few other homeschool moms. It is a once a month thing that has started to be kinda regular for a few of us. I used to have a support meeting at my house, but these less formal outings are nice and I can have a piece of my favorite French Apple Pie. Shush, don't tell the kids. :-) I'm sure they think I just have a cup of coffee. Truth is, I don't even have coffee. These moms are all the healthy types and I don't want to shock them by drinking coffee at 8:00 pm!

Anyways, I met a new lady whose name has escaped me. I think it may be Shirley?? No one who knows the answer can read this blog and tell me since I haven't fessed up and told anyone about this blog. Strange that I feel okay for a stranger to read this, but it feels strange to tell people I know. . .

My new friend mentioned that she was adopted from foster care as a baby. She shared that her parents didn't tell her she was adopted. Yes, I know you are probably outraged, but we really shouldn't judge them too harshly, as times were different then.

When she found out as an adult, her father answered that he had forgotten. We all found that very sweet. There was a little more to the story of course, but I feel regardless of details, her dad probably had forgotten over the years.

It wasn't an issue to him how his daughter came to him, just that she did.


Adoption is when a child grew in its mommy's heart instead of her tummy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lock Up Your Dryer Sheets!

During the course of becoming a licensed foster care family we had to do many different things in order to get licensed. Then, when you are getting your house licensed, we also had to do many things with the house.

I have no complaints about most of the required things we had to do. Well, I did complain, but not too loudly. I understand the background checks, interviews, and classes they make you take. Keeping our knives and sharps locked up high is not an issue. Making sure all medicine is locked up is a reasonable request. Putting all cleaning products in a locked cabinet or locked in the garage was really a pain, but was understandable.

But I draw the line at dryer sheets. I just can't begin to think this is necessary. Why was I told my dryer sheets had to be locked up? They have some chemicals apparently that are toxic if ingested. I know, what are the chances we take in a child who likes to eat dryer sheets for a bedtime snack? I think we are safe.

Play dough is not required to be locked up and babies and young children find it a real tempting tasty treat. I think we should be locking up the Play dough and they should let us leave the dryer sheets where they belong - on the dryer. But no one asked me. :-)


There is nothing like staying home for real comfort.
Jane Austen

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Older Child Adoption, Our Story Part 1

I never really thought we would be able to adopt since we had three children already. Just didn't think my husband would go for it. I think we pick our battles, don't we?

And truth be told, if I thought about adopting, it was always a newborn baby. I guess that is the way I was used to children joining families. When they are new.

So, what happened to change my thoughts on the matter and make me get the guts to approach my husband on the matter? I really can't explain it other than God has other plans . . .

Here is what happened:

After church one day I was in the little kitchen with a few of the other women from church; we were cleaning up after a potluck I believe. A dear friend Penny came in to share a prayer request. (I hope Penny doesn't mind that I am using her real name. I guess I'll ask her next time we speak)

I'm paraphrasing here, but she says something like,

"I have a prayer request to share. There is a little girl in our church who needs a family to adopt her and we would really like her to be adopted by someone here."

Well, many of us were shocked to hear such a thing, and asked who this little girl was.

"*Marissa," said Penny

"Marissa!" a few of us said in unison.

And then I knew. My heart actually felt like it was in my throat. Penny shared a couple of more bits of information, so the women would know how to pray. Another friend realized I had asked a few questions and she looked at me and said,

"Susan, you want a seven year old!"

Apparently I did, since I proceeded to follow Penny out to her car.

to be continued. . .


*name has been changed

For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the Lord,"
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, January 4, 2008

Babies on Doorsteps

I have always loved being a mom. Just felt like it was what I was born to do. I was able to have three children. I almost said I was "only" able to have three children, but I know I feel that would sound insensitive to those who weren't able to have any.

I never really complained to my husband about not being able to have more children, other than occasionally casually mentioning that I would have had more if I could have. He would then say something like, "three is good."

When our kids were younger sometimes they would ask why we didn't have more kids, and I would say that God only gave me three, but they were His three best. I was telling them the truth. You should meet my kids :-)

I did bring the subject of adoption up to my husband and he wasn't against the idea, but he didn't want to pursue finding a child. He said if God wants us to have another baby He will make it clear somehow.

I said, "God doesn't drop babies on doorsteps."

He said, "He could."

I laughed.

A few weeks later a good friend had a baby dropped on her doorstep. A while later the mother also dropped off her two other babies. I told my friend thanks a lot, now Neil will say, "see I told you God could drop babies on doorsteps."

My friend's family raised the three children for about two years. it wasn't easy on them because they already had eight of their own.

But I guess you don't say no when God drops a baby on your doorstep.


Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What Ages Will You Take?

After parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder I was a little scared - and tired. I didn't want a child who could talk to me. I didn't want a child who would reject me and treat me like I was a monster. I understand RAD behaviors a little more now, but it is still not something I wanted to jump into again.

Well, how did I answer the question? I said 0-2 for now. One social worker asked me if I didn't want the bad influence of older kids on my children. That was not on my mind, but what mother actually wants the bad influence for her children!

Nine months later I have a one and five year old and may just stay in this age range for practical purposes. I homeschool my teen children, and taking a foster child back and forth to school really is disruptive to our schedule, because their hours can't be changed, so it is ours that have to be flexible.

I know there are some foster families who only want teens. The teens have many things to deal with and need you in ways the little ones don't. They also can feed and bathe themselves, so some things will be easier. Truthfully, I already have my teens to enjoy. I want little ones again. My teens are getting a great experience of helping with younger siblings in the house. They were all young together so this is new to them .

Will I never take teens? Never say never. Just the other day my husband and I talked about taking teens when our teens are married and on their own. For several reasons. We will miss teens and the good company they are, our teens won't be here for the dreaded bad influence ;-), and we may be too old to chase toddlers!

All children deserve good homes. Not just cute little ones. I just think at this time in our lives, we are a better family for the younger children.

By the way, I have read that statistically the average age of a foster child is ten years old. For some families this is a older child and for others this is a young child. It depends where you are in life. You can read some more foster care statistics at:
Administration For Children & Family Services

I know my family will change over time, and we will always look at each case as a child, not a statistic or age. Still, statistics can be interesting and everyone is always wondering what the averages are.


"A baby is born with the need to be loved, and never outgrows it."

Frank A. Clark

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Reunification in Foster Care

Reunification is something I have heard a little too many times in my relatively short stint as a foster mom. You want my definition of the word?

Reunification: returning foster children to their biological parents no matter what, if it is at all possible, no matter if this is in the best interest of the child. This is the goal of the courts and child welfare system.

So reunification with the parent is always the initial goal of the system. Because of this, many children remain in foster care for years while they wait for their parents to show the courts that they can care for their children. Despite the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997, the average child remains in foster care for over 28 months!

This is too long in my opinion. IMHO of course. . . If the parents can't show steps of being able to rehabilitate in a reasonable time period, their rights should be terminated so the children can find permanency in an adoptive home.

For a longer, and probably more unbiased definition of reunification go to a great resource called the Adoption Encyclopedia.

D's social worker has asked our family to foster, then adopt, then only foster, then adopt after failed reunification plans, and now we are back to just fostering. Now the social worker wants to return the kids and has asked us to help with reunification plans, but be ready to adopt please, since we are the contingency plan.

Yeah, I am sick of the word reunification, and I don't like being a contingency plan much either. But hey, being a backup plan is better than not being part of the plan at all.

I will take what I can get at this point. Friends ask me how I can do this, not knowing if D and J are staying or going.

I have to hope.


Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man,
all human wisdom is summed up in these two words, - 'Wait and hope.'

Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Foster Care Trials and Tribulations

Foster Care? Yes, I am a little surprised too. It just sort of happened and now I know it is us. Along the way we have found out we are all a little more capable than we thought we were.

We loved a little seven year old with severe undiagnosed Reactive Attachment Disorder. We were her 9th placement and it resulted in a disrupted adoption. If you say you would never disrupt an adoption, you don't know until you are in the situation that requires this ending. I have read many books on RAD and done a lot of research since then, and I often have a case of the "woulda, shoulda, couldas," but I'll blog on this later.

If not for M coming into our lives we would not be foster parents - so there is a reason for everything. We decided to use our license for the rest of the year, knowing that there are many children who need a home. Our first placement was a temporary placement for 3-4 weeks. That baby has been with us for almost 10 months now. Another baby who was supposed to stay forever, left after only three months. You never know.

Our home has started to seem large lately, making me feel greedy for all this space. We are in the process of freeing up another bedroom so we are available for a couple more children. This is also a thin disguise for my teen girls to move into the very large family room - complete with a wall mounted TV and its own bathroom. ;-) Hey, they are doing it for the kids! (they really are, otherwise they could each have their own spacious bedroom instead of sharing one)

One minute I am excited and asking God to prepare our hearts for the children who are to come, and a moment later I am telling myself I can't go on and wondering if this is really my life.

I will be blogging about foster care, foster to adopt, reactive attachment disorder, birth parents, reunification, social workers, home studies, inspections, foster and adoption poetry, and why I needed to lock up my dryer sheets.

These are the trials and tribulations of a foster care family.


What do we live for, if not to make the world
a less difficult place for each other.
George Eliot