You Are Always On My Mind

I feel like talking about my dad today.

I think I have to point out that he was a good provider when he wanted to be. We had nice things like music and movies, which is where Luke and I get much of our interest in it from, my mom always had a neck and fingers full of nice jewelry, we had nice vehicles, we lived in nice places. All of that being said, it came at a cost.

My dad was the kind of guy that was the life of the party. Funny, a good entertainer, and vivacious. People were drawn to him in every arena and he was always the one ready to party and have a good time. The problem was that he never knew the fine line between fun and fury. As grand as he was is as atrocious as he was. He was a Jekyll and Hyde of the drug and alcohol world. He was vicious.

My dad has had several wives and there are six of us kids all spread out between the marriages. Not a one of us has a close relationship with him. That wasn’t always the case, though, as I spent many of my fragile childhood and young adult years putting his needs in front of mine. I fostered his demand for acceptance, love, and encouragement well beyond the call of duty, especially for a child. I spent well over a decade trying my best to instill the love I had for him that I could only wish he had given me. It was never enough and for a long, long time it made me believe that I was not enough.

Experiencing rejection from a parent is an incomprehensible blow to a child of any age but as a young girl who desperately wanted her father’s approval, it completely broke my spirit. To watch him replace me with his insatiable thirst for a world I couldn’t understand, yet hated, shattered my expectations of ever having a normal relationship with him. Drugs became his new wife; alcohol became his new children; addiction his new career. His soul was a vagabond on the precipice of defeat more often than not. There has always been a good person underneath those layers of skin that hold his hatred, shame, and guilt like a cloak of failure.

I cringe when I hear the phrase, “I’m just going to sit this one out…” because that’s what he told me when I was two weeks away from my wedding day. After having spoken to him about the most important day of my life and making plans for over a year, he had promised me he’d be there. I foolishly believed that he would be but he wasn’t. It was then that I knew I could no longer allow my father to hurt me. I was about to start a new life as a married woman and I refused to allow the turmoil my dad poured all over my fragile heart for the first quarter century of my life affect my marriage. So when the phone rang the morning of my wedding day with the word “Dad” across the screen, I simply ignored the call and that was that. Easy? No. Necessary? Absolutely. Regretful? Never.

I had to realize that I have to be OK even if he is not. I have to make good choices even though he has chosen not to. I have to parent our kids in the ways that he chose not to. I refuse to be the insufficient source of love, protection, and acceptance that I was aching for as a child and sometimes even today. Walking away from a parent is not easy. The comments that have been made to me are bewildering. As if I hadn’t already thought about the repercussions of living a fatherless life would bring.

This hurts me every. single. day. Especially at times where I wish he was here, like right now as we struggle with the idea of sending our girls home to their mom. And speaking of mom’s…how unfair is it that my mom has had to shoulder the weight of two kids and two parents? Did they not create this family together? Why should she have to be the one left standing? It doesn’t seem fair. She has experienced her own trauma at the hands of a man who could be so loving, yet so damaging. What a toxic and confusing way to live. It was awful.

Today, I am free from my dad’s presence but I am not always free of his emotional stronghold. All I can do is keep moving forward and reminding myself of the exceptional reasons I choose to live and be happy. I wish I could have seen him do the same. What a sight he would have been.

xo,

a

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Bumps in the Night

The kids were at their visit with their bio mom. Mitch was asleep because he had to get up in a few hours to work the graveyard shift. I can’t begin to remember what I was watching on Hulu. It was 5:15 pm on Thursday night. I was supposed to have the night off from the crisis line but I eagerly picked up an extra shift at the last minute. The phone was on, charged, and ready to be answered.

*Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.*

“Hi, this is Aubrey.” It’s the answering service. “Hello. I have a caller named Bob* that didn’t want to give out his information and said he’d like to speak with an advocate.”

The answering service connects the caller to me and within the first 1.5 seconds, I froze. It’s my dad. I haven’t heard his voice since my wedding day on August 2, 2008. Irrational. Irate. Infuriated. Ranting. Raving. Screaming. Swearing. Spitting. And this is about the time during the call that things start to go black for me.

If you’ve ever been to “da club” or “clubbin” or seen raves on TV, then you’ll know what I mean when I say how jagged people look when they’re dancing under a strobe light. It’s a bunch of 1 second stills, then it goes dark, then there’s another 1 second of light but the picture is different and so on. Jerking. Jostling. Jumpy. That’s what this call was like in my mind.

He’s yelling about how pissed off he is. He’s so angry and talking so fast that I can barely make out what he’s saying until he says, “I’m just going to kill all of them or maybe myself!” He has been unstable my whole life, so I’ve heard this from him before, but does he really mean it this time? How do I know? What do I do? I know! I will get him to calm down. Deescilate the issue so we can talk this out. I’ve seen my mom do this with him. I’ve tried to do this with him. I’m experienced in trying to deescalate my dad’s temper. These are all coping mechanisms a small child should know nothing about, but I know it all too well.

Me: “Bob. Bob…Bob, I need you to listen to my voice, okay? Bob. I need you to listen to my voice so you can take a deep breath, okay? It’s okay for you to be angry right now but I need you to breathe for me right now, okay buddy?

Bob: “Fuck you, you dumb bitch! You don’t have a fucking clue, do you?

Me: “Bob, you will not speak to me like that. I am trying to help you, but you are not going to speak to me like that again.”

My voice is firm. He calms down. 

Me: “Bob, I need you to take a deep breath for me and tell me what your location is.”

Bob: “I’m at the convention center. I’m sitting on the bricks.”

Me: “Okay, now I’m going to ask you a question and I need you to tell me the truth. Do you have a weapon on you right now?”

Bob: (irate) “No, I don’t have a fucking weapon on me, I’m not going to hurt anybody!”

Me: “I’m going to call to have someone come pick you up. What are you wearing?”

Bob: “Nobody here takes me seriously, nobody is coming to pick me up! That’s why I’m just going to kill every one of these assholes!”

Me: “Bob, I’m sorry but I have to take these kinds of threats very seriously so I need to call someone to come get you. I have to hang up now.”

It took me 3 different transfers to get to the correct city 911 operator. When I get to the right gal she tells me they are very familiar with this guy. I give her the full details (many omitted for privacy reasons) and we hang up. I called my boss to let her know what transpired. She asks if I’m okay and I tell her I’m totally fine. We get off the phone. I go to the bedroom to check on Mitch since I’m sure I woke him up by accident.

He asks if I’m okay. I crumble. 

For a good 20 minutes I’m hyperventilating on the bed, in my chair, on my back porch, and back to my chair. My legs feel week. I can’t stop crying. I HATE THAT I’M CRYING. The strobe light of memory lane flashes glaringly in my mind. My dad, all 6 ft 1 of him, towering over us in the middle of the night as we all quiver in the bed we’re sharing – begging of him to leave us alone and let us all sleep. The room is as black as his eyes but his casted shadow and his foaming mouth burn through us with the heat of 1,000 suns. He says the most awful things to the 3 of us. He is scarier than the monsters in the horror films I grew up watching. He is THE monster.

Maybe you’ve guessed by now that the guy on the phone wasn’t my dad, but his voice sounded just like my dad’s. It’s like I heard a ghost and when that happened, when that ghost kicked in the door, busting the frame, like he had time and time again, I instantly traveled back in time. Panicked. Shocked. Disbelieving. Yet, there I was, on the phone, trying to hold it together to help this guy calm down enough to get a description of what he was wearing, whether or not he was armed, and where he was at so I could report to police in the area he’s in since I have no tracking information like a dispatch center would.

I was truly terrified tonight. More terrified than I can remember being in years. It was a full on PTSD flashback and it completely drained me. At times, I couldn’t figure out if I was standing on my back porch or if I was hiding under the covers from the monster that my dad was. Thank God Mitch was here. He did such a great job at soothing, helping me breathe, refocusing my attention on that stupid tree in the back yard that I could barely see because it was dark, but dammit, he was going to get me to focus on ANYTHING other than the trauma I was reliving.

He grabbed my work phone, he called my boss, and he told her I couldn’t finish my shift tonight. She was extremely understanding and I appreciate that. I have been a crisis line advocate for a year now and this was the first time a call triggered my PTSD. I should also mention that the man I spoke with tonight has called multiple times before, and I truly like the guy. He’s a good man with a hard life. I think part of my tears tonight weren’t because of him, but for him. My heart cries out for where he feels insufficiencies in his life. Regardless of what the outside world perceives to be true or not, he speaks his truth to me when we are on the phone and his rage is not unfounded – it just came out in a different way tonight. I feel sad for him. Sad because I think he’s lonely and sad because, in his mind, his world is so chaotic and scary.

I really don’t know what I would have done if Mitch wasn’t here. I’m so glad the kids were on their visit with their mom during the call, but when they got home…oh, how I hugged and loved on them like no other. Not just because it made me feel happy to do so, but because it’s important for kids to be hugged and kissed and doted on by parents (or parental figures) in their lives.

Mitch, just as in many other scenarios, you were, once again, my hero tonight. Thank you so much for all of your courageous and heartfelt work to try to understand what it’s like for me to live with PTSD. Thank you for loving me when I’m sure I’m hard to be loved. And to anyone else reading this – thank you for reading, for not judging, and for continuing to encourage me to share whatever it is that’s on my mind through the written word.

xo,

a

Messy

I’m feeling exceptionally emotional about the girls today. I think this is probably because we got some information yesterday that leads us to believe they will be gone very soon. In fact, the wording was specifically “very soon.” I don’t have to tell you how extremely sad this is. I’m selfishly thinking of how this makes me feel right now instead of how exciting this must feel for their mom. Just let me get this out. I promise not to stay here but if I don’t say this here then it’ll stay inside, and I can’t let this fester.

I guess I’m worrying and it’s highly likely that it’s unnecessary. One of the hardest parts about being a foster parent for me has been the emotional triggers it brings from my childhood and young adulthood. These triggers are the reasons I have chronic PTSD in the first place. When I think of them going home, I’m scared for them to wonder why they don’t see us anymore. I’m afraid and physically cannot bear the idea of them wondering where we went and I couldn’t possibly pray any harder that they won’t wonder if they did something wrong and that’s why they don’t see us anymore. That very idea feels like it’s literally slowly killing me.

And why would such a thought be so triggering? Well, maybe it’s because I know what it feels like to be left behind by a parent. I know how it feels for a parent to be there one day and gone the next. I have felt the ache of wondering what I did wrong, why I wasn’t good enough to stick around for, and what I could have done differently to make them stay. These are all feelings I cannot even begin to imagine my girls knowing because I know that if they stayed here they’d never know what that is like, and now I worry if I will make them feel that way when they don’t live here anymore. I don’t want to be the person that fades in and out of their life, like my dad has done to me. It’s far too much of an emotional mountain to climb.

I thought, “Maybe if I show him I love him enough he will change and things will be okay.” No matter how much we love these girls, the fact is that they are not ours, they do not belong to us, they are not staying here. So the correlation between trying to love my dad enough to get him to stay and trying to love the girls enough to get them to stay is the same stabbing feeling of getting nowhere and treacherous sadness, and I have to constantly remind myself that neither of those situations were ones I had control of. Maybe that’s the hard part, knowing that I have no control, but only that I can control how to respond rather than how I react.

Watching a parent be an addict is hard, to say the least. Playing second fiddle to an addiction is not a feeling I would want anyone to know, but sadly, many can identify with. I am the first person to acknowledge that addiction is an illness. What may seem like a choice is actually a cry for help, a way to escape, a way to stay alive for people who have been through trauma but have no resources to properly heal. I get so outraged by the stigma of mental health in our world today. If we addressed it and made it accessible then maybe there would be less addiction, less loss, less trauma, and the cycle could break. We are not there yet, and frankly, we are so so late.

Even though it might not be true, I feel like my dad chose his addictions over me. It can sometimes feel like it’s easier to love the high than it is to love me. When you’re made to feel that way for so long it’s easy to start believing it and when you believe something so tragic, you start to push anyone away that loves you, compliments you, celebrates you. It feels like people are just saying nice things to be nice, not because they truly feel that way. Surely they can’t possibly love me, especially if they knew that I’m really not the person they think I am. Then one day someone asks you why you think so poorly of yourself and you can’t even figure out why because this is all you’ve known, because the way you were treated made you feel as if you weren’t good enough or important enough to love. It’s because the actions of one of the most influential people in your life that are supposed to love, support, care for, celebrate, and protect you is prioritizing their addiction or has disappeared without a trace instead of choosing you.

All of this all leads to not feeling like enough. Had I been a good enough daughter, maybe my dad would have stuck around. Had I been worth loving, maybe my 13 – 19 year old self wouldn’t have had to fight tooth and nail scouring the internet for 7 years to find him. Maybe if I love the girls enough they can stay. Maybe if I fight tooth and nail to advocate for their best interest they’ll get to stay. These two subjects are very closely connected and painfully triggering.

As hard as this all is, it’s good for me. I knew I needed to start going to counseling and I aligned it with the same timing as becoming a foster mom. I knew both would be hard, I knew both would be a lot of work, I knew that through these experiences I would be able to heal. I wanted to be able to love others in the ways I wished to be loved. I wanted to love myself the way some people in my life love me. I knew I couldn’t do that if I didn’t do both of these things. While some may see this as me breaking, this is me healing. I am erupting from a pile of disappointment, shame, uselessness, heartbreak, and trauma. Everything is flying around in the air but it is no longer holding me underneath its heavy pile. It’s progress, not perfection, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.

xo,

a

It’s getting real…

I’m feeling particularly emotional tonight. As each day passes, the gifts, love, and support continue to roll in for the adventure of becoming foster to (as-soon-as-the-opportunity-presents-itself) adopt parents. I can’t even begin to tell you what it has been like around this house. Just a few months ago, we moved into our first home and the joy has been abundant ever since. It’s rare that a week goes by that we don’t have visitors. There always seems to be some sort of party happening here and we love nothing more than sharing our home.

Now that we have decided to share our home with a baby, it’s like someone has turned on a magical light and the bulb is ever glowing and comes with a beautiful shine. I think that switch was flipped on inside of our hearts since day one, but what surprises me is how many other people have flipped that switch with and for us. They, too, have been on this journey almost just as much as we have. It’s a feeling we can’t describe; a love and appreciation for people that we have never experienced; a clarity for the village that is being built.

To sit in that room rocking in the chair we will rock our babies in and knowing that it will soon be filled with baby sounds (and smells) gives us the greatest burst of joy in our hearts. I can’t go in that room without a great big smile. Knowing that baby after baby will find the refuge their little lives are seeking and knowing that we get the extraordinary opportunity to be the people who love that baby in their most difficult of times, is an enormous blessing that we don’t take lightly.

I catch myself getting scared sometimes, usually daily. “What if I lose my baby again?” Then I realize that I’m not with child and somehow it doesn’t make me feel better. But just because the child isn’t growing in my body doesn’t mean it’s not growing in our hearts. We chose this and I believe that the perfect babies will be chosen to live with us, even if only for a short while.

Our next baby shower is this Saturday at 1:00. We are so excited to see everyone and we are so grateful that we have the best friends and family to do these things for us. The baby room is stocked full of the big things and some of the little things. I know that when it’s showtime, that baby will want for nothing. I realized that there are some babies that don’t start out in life with all of the treasures sprinkled throughout the baby room. I’m surprised it took me so long to realize that fact. I guess I never got to the part with my own babies when I would plan a baby room so I never gave it much thought.

A few days ago, I was putting baby furniture together, washing baby clothes in Dreft, and cooing over everything. Mitch told me I was nesting! I didn’t realize that was a thing for foster parents, but I confirmed with my trusty mommy friend that it is and my heart swelled with pride. “I’m nesting!”  I thought to myself and I beamed with sunshine from my soul. “I’ve never had the chance to nest!” It was such a warm gift to be told that and it totally put me on cloud 9.

I’m excited to see how this changes me/us. I already see and feel the changes, the thought processes, the priorities, and so on, but it can’t possibly compare to when our first little nugget comes through the door. The baby smells. The baby sounds. To watch their eyes, nose, ears, arms, legs, and everything else squirming as if they are trying to tap dance their way into our hearts will be like nothing we have ever imagined.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of my dad and how angry I am a lot during this process. I keep thinking of my godfather that passed away in November, too. I think Troy would have been so happy for us. I can see his smile through the clouds and I feel the warmth of his hugs. I so wish he was here to teach our kids about the important things in life like music and the art of having a good time. Troy was always so good about both of those things. God, I do miss him dearly. I think of Mitch’s mom, Rachel, and how I never got to meet her and how our kids won’t either. It makes me really sad to know that the biggest influence in my husband’s life isn’t here, but I know she’s an angel, along with Troy, and is watching over us and our babies.

I’m thankful for my mom, Mitch’s dad and his second mom, Mitch’s huge family, our friends, and my brother and Janet. I’ve always heard that it takes a village to raise children and that bell couldn’t ring any clearer than it is right now. I know there will be lots of times when I will want to figure it out myself and do things on my own. I know that Mitch will need that too. All I ask is that if we don’t accept help every time you offer it, it’s only because just as these babies are developing into the person they will be, we are developing into the parents that we will be. Don’t take it personally. We’re just bonding with our baby.

All of our dreams are coming true. It has taken us over a decade and it has been after a lot of hard work, hard times, and hard lessons. We are so thankful for every struggle we have been through. It has prepared us for this upcoming event. By this time next month, we will be parents. What a priceless gift! Thank you for your love and support!

xo,
A

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Baby showers, shitty things, and fun updates!

Baby shower #1 was yesterday. We were looking forward to seeing what was in store for us, who would show up, and all of the food that was going to appear. It’s hard to explain how it feels to be celebrated for something you don’t associate with being heroic but that is the word some have used. To us, it just seems like the natural thing to do. Foster parenting (and eventually foster to adopt) is a big deal to us but we are realizing that it’s a big deal to our friends and family. I can never express how much support we have experienced; it’s been such a great feeling. Our friends went to a lot of trouble to put together a beautiful shower yesterday and we could never adequately thank them for all that they did for us and for our upcoming bundle.

We had our licensor out to our house on Friday morning for appointment 2 of 3. Remember that 26-page autobiography that I told you about? From that, she writes a 30-page “story” about Mitch and me when she submits our final paperwork over for licensing. Most of the last two home visits we’ve had with her have been going over our autobiographies to make sure she has a clear understanding of all of our answers. She has commented more than once on what a great job we did when we answered all of the questions on that form. She said some people write one sentence answers, which makes it super difficult for her to write a 30-page “story” about them when she’s got one liners for all 26 pages of the autobiography. I felt a sigh of relief come over me when she commended our efforts. I had been irrationally concerned about the length of some of the answers I gave.

Tonight and tomorrow night, we will be at Good Sam Hospital in Puyallup to fulfill our CPR & HIV/Aids training. Just one more thing off of the mile-long list of to-do’s for this process. On our licensors next and final visit, she’ll check to make sure we have the last minute requirements, such as our immunizations updated, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, lock box for medications and vitamins, and all of that fun stuff. She will also ask us questions on a 1:1 basis. After that, she writes up our story and sends our file to the state for the license. We have to go to Fife this Saturday for our FBI fingerprinting. Another check mark! Our licensor told us we’re at the top of her list for getting things completed. In fact, we’re about 95% done with everything!

Overall, we are feeling extremely well supported. It’s overwhelming to see how quickly how things have changed. The baby room is such a transformation from just a few weeks ago and the fact that we can even say “baby room” is a big change. We’ve painted, set up the crib, a changing table, a book shelf, and a ton of baby gifts have poured into that room. I can’t wait to get a dresser in there so I can put all the clothes away. It’s just nuts how it’s all coming together. We can’t take credit for doing this all on our own. There have been many supporters of Baby Cushing thus far and we won’t forget that – trust me!

On the other, slightly more negative hand, sometimes big life events make people uncomfortable/weird/distanced. Weddings, babies, graduations, promotions, relocations, divorces, deaths, and so on are all big life events and some people just don’t know how to react to things like that. I think it makes them very reflective of themselves and sometimes, if that person feels like they are lacking something in life, it makes them project that disappointment/frustration/whatever onto the people that are going through the big life events. The important thing to remember is that life events will happen regardless of whether you want them to or not because, for the most part, many of life’s big changes we don’t control – unfortunately. I know when one of my best friends recently had her baby, it made me realize more and more how much I truly wanted to be a mom. Seeing the joy and positivity transform her inspired me to start thinking more about being brave enough to consider mommyhood again. I don’t think I have ever thanked her for that. Thanks, boo. You know who you are!

Still, even when you realize that most of these odd projections aren’t about YOU, it can still feel like it and it is very hurtful. I’ve heard of some people referring to foster parenting is “not real” parents and I guess that’s okay for them to think. Just like it is okay for me to think that this may be the closest I’ll ever be to being a “real” mom, but while you’re thinking or saying that to a foster parent, keep in mind that you’re reminding me that I’m unable to carry a child to term and you’re starting an emotional brush fire for me. So, thanks for that. This is as real as it gets for us. Legal or not, birthed or not, I’m going to be a parent in my mind. And one more thing, before you say something, stop and think, really think, “Would I say this to someone carrying a child? Would I have this assumption if she were really pregnant?”

I’ll wrap this up with talking about how much fun my mom, Mitch, and I had at the Just Between Friends consignment sale last Thursday morning. My mom kindly bought us a ton of items for the baby, like the changing table, diaper genie, clothes, books, car seat for her car since we already got ours, and the list goes on. Our registries are getting smaller and smaller by the day. When those were created, they were meant to act as a check list for us to remember what we needed to buy. By the time this baby comes, we will have damn near everything!

Again, “thank you” seems so incredibly inadequate to say in comparison to all that has been done for us, but THANK YOU for everything you have done to support us and our little nugget!

 

xo,

A

Oh, baby!

Let me first start out by saying that this entry will probably be a long one, but I promise that if you stick with me, you’ll be glad you read this. You’ll finish reading and have a better understanding of why we chose this and how this process works.

My body does not respond well to pregnancy. After three miscarriages, I can no longer put myself or my body through the failing feeling of pregnancy loss. IVF is something I just can’t wrap my brain around trying for me. I know plenty of people that have had success using this method and I applaud and celebrate that. For me, for my body, for my mental health, I know that trying to conceive is just not a thing for me. Have I accepted that? No. Does anyone ever really accept that? Maybe, but not me. It is what it is. I didn’t choose this, this decision was made FOR me. Carrying a baby is not what God wanted for me.

Recently, the news came out on Facebook that we are in process of becoming foster parents to babies born drug addicted. The response has been overwhelming and almost everyone we know has been supportive and overjoyed for us. I get asked if I’m pregnant fairly often. It’s a stinging question. I hate saying no. It physically makes me ache to say no. It reminds me every time that my body has failed me and then I internalize that as, “I have failed.” I know that you just read that and thought it was the silliest thing ever, and you’re right, but in the weak moment of heightened sensitivity a part of me is ripped to shreds. What I wouldn’t give for that baby bump. To feel the life growing inside me, depending on me to nurture it while it’s floating around in my protective belly. Nobody is trying to be hurtful by asking this question. It’s the natural question to ask! Logically, I remind myself of that and carry on. Emotionally, I carry that around for a little while. It pinches at my heart. I can’t help it.

So that brings us to the choice to become foster parents. There will (eventually) be the opportunity to adopt a baby that we are foster parents to, but until then, we will love, nurture, swaddle, kiss, hug, feed, bathe, rock, pat, teach, laugh with, cry over, and obsess about the babies we are going to take care of. At first, we don’t plan to accept more than one baby into care at a time. We know we need to get our bearings before we allow two babies at once or an infant/toddler sibling set.

The process is a long one to become a foster parent. We’re going through Catholic Community Services, so they’re a private agency. Everything has been free, so far, but there has been miles of paperwork and red tape. For starters, we had to write a 26 page autobiography on our lives. It asks you every detail of your life from infancy to present day. Some of those questions were extremely difficult to answer, especially those pertaining to childhood, domestic violence, sexual assault, mental abuse, mental health, addiction, and things of that nature. It’s hard to rehash those painful events, especially on paper, because then you’re staring at it. You’re looking at your heartache and you’re going through those emotions all over again. This is one reason I’ve refused to go to counseling; because I don’t want to feel all of that pain again by talking it out with someone who doesn’t know me, but I wrote it all out. Word for word. Feeling for feeling. Action for action. It was really hard, but for this baby, or these babies, I let it flow. We’re already so protective over a child(ren) that we don’t even have yet. To anyone thinking that foster parents aren’t real parents, I ask you to re-read this paragraph and tell me if this isn’t what a biological parent would do for their kid.

This isn’t just about The Cushing’s or the baby for that matter. This is about the bio parent(s), too. What’s imperative to realize in this situation is that, in order for our family to grow, their family has to fall apart. We are seeking to being a blessing to these babies, yes, but also to their parents. Addiction is an illness, don’t argue with me on this point – you won’t win. While we’re snuggling with babies and watching them grow, their parents aren’t. Instead, the bio parents are attempting to grow in their own ways. Getting clean and sober, finding housing, finding transportation, a job, and finding themselves again. It’s really sad when you think about it. Statistically, these biological parents were also “in the system” as kids. Breaking the cycle is imperative. This is about building a family for us and for them. And no matter what we do to love this child, they will always love their bio parents. My dad was/is a real asshole. He’s an addict and always has been. He has chosen himself over everyone and everything. But do I sometimes wish he would have got his shit together so we could have remained a family? Do I still love him despite the disappointment, dismissal, and the heartache he has caused me? YES. It’s no different for these kids. The kids, the parents, and the family unit as a whole deserves a second chance. We’re here to support that because Mitch and I believe in doing the right thing for others, and more importantly, we believe in family.

As I said before, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We can’t thank everyone enough for everything they’ve done for us. The common questions are wondering when we’ll get our first baby and what the gender will be. Well, we won’t know either of those things until we get “the call” that a baby needs a home. We expect to have a baby the beginning of May, when our foster parent license comes through. We’re told time and time again that there are more babies than there are homes, so we should expect to get a baby before the license even arrives in the mail. Once it’s approved by all the big wigs, it’s open season. That’s the reason we need all of the key baby items before the baby arrives. We can’t get licensed until we have everything we need. Hence, why there are TWO baby showers that have been thrown for us. There’s one this Sunday, April 3rd at 1:00 p.m. and the second one is Saturday, April 16th at 1:00 p.m. also. We registered at Target and Amazon at the request of some friends.

At first, we were afraid to really tell anyone about this. The reason? Four years ago, we made the very public announcement that we were going to become foster parents through the state. People were excited, of course, and my mom threw us a shower. After we finished the training classes through the state, we were very discouraged by things and ultimately decided that it wasn’t right for us. It was humiliating to tell people that we weren’t going through with the process at that time. Most people were nice about it and they allowed us to return gifts or send them to families that were in need. We had barely gotten through step one and just knew that going through the state wasn’t for us. We realize that four years has changed so many factors for us now. For one thing, we’re going through a private agency, but for another, we have a home of our own with lots of extra space, we have better jobs, two vehicles, and a lot more support now than we did then. Sometimes people say hurtful things, but they probably don’t mean it. They probably just don’t realize how it comes off.

I told you this entry was going to be long. I hope you have a bit of a better understanding about how this process works and what’s inside my crazy mind. I should also point out that I referenced myself for most of this entry and that shouldn’t overshadow Mitch’s position in this entire process. We are going through this together as a unified team, but it would be easier for him to write how he’s feeling than for me to explain it. So maybe Mitch will guest author an entry here so he can tell you what it feels like in his mind. I can’t wait to see who he becomes as a dad. I have negative 3,000 worries about him. He’s going to be such a great father. I can hardly stand to see him in action. Me, I’m a little more worried about. My biggest fear of being a mom stems from things that happened to me as a kid. I don’t want my kids to hurt into adulthood because of something I did or didn’t do right. No pressure!

As always, thanks for the love, support, and sharing of this blog. I sure hope I’m not the only mom to be with these thoughts, but it wouldn’t be the first time I marched the beat of my own drum and it surely won’t be the last. I hope this message brings clarity, understanding, compassion, and support. If it brings negativity, please refrain from responding.

xo,

A