The Beginning of the End

2016 was probably one of the most yo-yo years on record for me. The best thing that happened to us was definitely our sweet girls. Another highlight was all the fun parties we had at our new home. We had “just because” parties and holiday related parties, we had Bunco parties, birthday parties, anniversary parties. All kinds of fun! I can’t wait for summer so we can start planning round two. 

On the flip side, I had (have) some major struggles and hurdles to overcome. I began to see a counselor in the spring and that’s when I was diagnosed with Chronic/Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I implore you to learn more about this by clicking here. Once the diagnosis came, my counselor and I began the long haul of work ahead of me to peel back the layers of the things in my past that still haunt me every. single. day. I learned that who I thought I was, how I thought I came off to others, how I thought I was acting/reacting, the emotions I thought I was feeling, and so on, weren’t that at all. As you might be able to imagine, this was and still is very difficult for me to process. When you go about your life a certain way for 30+ years you think you know yourself. I hadn’t a clue.

I had to reevaluate everything in my life which meant my job, my friends, relationships with my peers, and most difficult, myself. I had to reevaluate something I already have a hard time with – who I can trust, so only a select few knew what was going on. For those of you that I could truly trust to see me through some of the darkest days of my life, THANK YOU for your love, space, and understanding. I’m so profoundly proud of myself for the changes I have made thus far. I can feel my heart, my mind, my temperament, and my vision changing. It may not have been easy but it was necessary and as hard as some days can be for me, I know it won’t always be like that. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. 

I gave up New Years resolutions years ago, but I replaced it with being mindful of things I’d like to personally grow from or into. I guess it’s a resolution of sorts. Maybe I just don’t care for the word “resolution” so I use something else that makes me feel less committed. These mantras are a part of my daily life and year after year, as I continue to grow, those mantras mean something different than they did the year before.

Always be moving forward. Always strive to be compassionate. Always strive to be better than you were yesterday. Always strive to find peace in all things. 

I hope that 2017 brings you joy and love in every interaction. I hope you find peace and make the conscious effort to take good care of you. I wish you prosperity and personal growth in the year to come. To all of you here on Earth and to those no longer with us, Happy New Year. May we all find what we’re looking for. 

xo,

a

Make It Stop

Okay. First of all, I’m sick right now so I’m overly sensitive. I’m not even sure if this is going to make any sense. I feel like I have a lot on my mind and I’m going to throw up the words all over this keyboard. Doesn’t that sound messy? Buckle up!

I guess I got set off today by an email I woke up to this afternoon. Remember, I’m sick, so I’ve been napping. Anyway. Without revealing too much, it said that the twins may be returning home next month. Sigh. We’ve been through this before and we thought it was resolved. We were told that the transition period wouldn’t be abrupt for a variety of imperative reasons. If they go home next month, that’s going to be way too much on all of them and that’s just not fair. They’ve been through enough, especially their mom, and it’s not fair to throw them all in the cage together to see who makes it out alive. She deserves to have them phased into her new, stable life.

Even with being protective over the kids and their mom in mind, I sunk a little deeper into the couch and hot tears rolled down my cheeks. I buried my face so I wouldn’t wake Mitch up with my sobs. My sweet, smelly, funny, dirty, adorable, chaotic family is disbanding.  We pray that once their mom needs a break she will reach out to us. She has told us multiple times that she will, but she’s not obligated to do that. If you didn’t have your family for 18-20 months, would you want to share them with anyone? Hell, I don’t want them to go home permanently and they’re not even my flesh and blood. I can’t imagine what it must be like for her. Our loss is her gain and as hard a pill as that is to swallow, it’s the truth.

I’ve been in counseling since May. I knew I needed to get my head and my heart straight before we started opening the door to kids with hard lives. It has been so good for me. It has been week after week of raw truth which has been difficult, but necessary. I am so grateful I started counseling when I did because it has helped me deal with the emotional roller coaster of this new life. Referencing back to my previous paragraph, the old me would say, “It is what it is. This is what we signed up for, so that’s just the way it is.” Regardless of whether that’s true or not, I was cutting off, slamming shut, dead bolting the door to my true emotions. Now that I’m months into the healing process, I can recognize that this is an emotional time for me, and rightfully so.

Instead of disregarding my feelings, I’m facing them head on. I’m digging deep and sinking into those deeply sad feelings. I couldn’t describe to you how uncomfortable it can be, but try it, sit there, stay awhile, you might learn something. I told my counselor that I realized I was discrediting their mom for certain things because I was jealous of her. No matter how well loved they are in my house, she still gets them back and that made me sad. So instead of just being sad I’d show anger instead and my anger turned to jealousy. It’s so easy for me or a friend to say that they belong with us, that we deserve to keep them, but that’s not fair. None of us would say that to their mom’s face. Let’s just be honest. She’s a person, too. She’s felt trauma, depression, and hopeless as many of us have. It’s not for us to judge her. It’s just not. And believe me, this entire paragraph contains some of the hardest truths I have had to admit through this entire process.

So what now? How can I make it stop? I can’t. Instead of being angry I’ll let myself be sad when I need to be and enjoy my girls the rest of the time. I’ll sink in and let myself sit in those uncomfortable feelings because I know deep down that they are teaching me lessons on trust, love, and perseverance.

xo,

a

 

Six months in…

There was all this build up to the day we finally received our first “placement” as foster parents. The call finally came on June 13, 2016. We were told there was a set of 12 month old twin girls. For months, we were preparing for a 0-3 month old drug exposed baby, but we were anxious to put the love we were holding hostage in our hearts to work, so we said yes, and on June 15, 2016, our girls came to live with us.

Since then, we have learned so many things about ourselves, each other, the twins, and the world around us. The bond the four of us have is unbelievable. We became an instant family. This has been the most difficult thing in life we have ever done. It has been excruciatingly painful to realize these sweeties are going back home soon. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been in their mom’s corner this entire time. We’ve had minimal bumps in the road with her, and for the most part, we work together pretty well for the best interest of the girls.

One of the reasons it was on my heart to become a foster (to adopt) parent was because I had gone through three miscarriages already and I couldn’t fathom putting my body and mind through further turmoil. As you can imagine, losing babies, born or unborn, is unfathomable. What I didn’t realize is that no matter how hard I fight against the injustices that these kids have faced, no matter how much I love on them, no matter what right I do for them, they’re still going home. I’m still losing babies but in a different way.

I know that’s a shitty way to look at it, but don’t get too caught up in that. I realize this was what we signed up for but nobody can be adequately prepared for what it’s really like to be a foster parent. It’s an added layer of difficulty when you’re fostering because you’re constantly under a microscope, being questioned, being accused, being misinformed. And as another foster mom said, “You don’t know what it’s like until you do it.” Truer words were never spoken.

Now that I’ve shared what is wrong with foster parenting, let me share with you what is right with it. It’s a blessing to be able to have the support we have had to bring children into our home. Not everyone has the tribe that we have. You guys are irreplaceable. The tears that I’ve cried, the laughs that I’ve shared, the confusion I’ve gone through. You’ve all been there. You’re incredible people. Thank you!

It’s pretty amazing to bring a life into your home and love that life unconditionally as if it were your own flesh and blood. If you think you can’t love someone else’s child you’re wrong. You can and you would do it beautifully. You learn a lot about yourself and your partner when kids come into the picture. I never thought I’d fight so hard for anything in my life. The social worker probably thinks I’m some bitch from hell because I’m not afraid to speak up when we’re noticing things that aren’t healthy for the girls. I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m trying to make sure they get the very best.

This process is stressful and it’ll be stressful on your household. No doubts about that at all. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Although it sucks that we don’t get to adopt the twins, it’s awesome that their mom gets to have her family back. We helped her with that in a small way. In one hand, we love knowing we could help dozens of families stay together, but in the other, we’re still aching to be adoptive parents. It will happen. Our day will come. If nothing else, the twins have taught us we CAN be good parents. There was never any doubt about Mitch. I knew well before we started this journey that he’d be a great dad and he is. In fact, he’s amazing. Any kid would be lucky to have him as a role model.

As for me, I had (and still do to some degree) some concerns about being a mom. I knew I wanted to be a mom but I was afraid of messing up some kids life. I don’t want that blood on my hands. I still have a long way to go before I could be considered a “good” or a “great” mom, but for now, I’m a mom to kids that need love, safety, shelter, and support.

Anything worth having is worth working hard for. I have never worked so hard. I have never loved so hard. I have never laughed so hard. I have never cried so hard. This process is beautiful, stressful, rewarding, challenging, confusing, gratifying, hilarious, and exhausting. There’s no way in hell I’d go back on the decision to do this. I love being a mom!

I feel like this is a pretty vague update but I wanted to give you something. If anyone read this, leave me a comment so I’ll know whether or not I should keep writing.

xo,

a