I can't tell you how many people I have in my life that are a wonderful support system. Many that I have met in the last two-three years that have become a fabulous network of the fostering journey. Some of them I haven't actually met! (The Internet can be a wondrous thing!)
Shannon: Oh, Shan. What would I do without you? You check on me regularly, sometimes daily. You are a prayer warrior that I go to with any "little" thing and know you'll pray! You told me it was okay to mourn that my birthday was not the same. That it was okay to feel taken advantage of. That it was normal to be exhausted and to cry with little warning. You told me I was NORMAL. You made me feel NORMAL. Shan, you're a dear friend, and I'm so glad you're mine!
FAM group: You ladies know your stuff! I remember being slightly overwhelmed at my first meeting because everyone was talking at the same time and babies were being passed around and people came and went as their schedule allowed. There might be five or six conversations going on at once, and all across the room from each other. It's hilarious! By the time J came, I was jumping into those conversations and asking questions and sharing information. It's great! I love y'all! Thank you for answering text messages and calls of "What do I do with ____________?" I love our network of information and SO appreciate y'all!
Kristin: WOW! What a knowledgeable, sweet, giving, God-loving woman! I am blessed to know you! Thank you for your listening ear. Thank you for opening your home! Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the fostering system, our agency, parenting in general, parenting a foster child in specific and conferences around us! You are a blessing!
Bledsoe family: Not a day has gone by that someone hasn't checked on me. I truly think not one! I have received text messages, facebook comments, emails, hallway conversations and hugs. I am blessed to call you family and so glad to be a part! Thank you for opening your heart to my little ones. Thank you for holding open your arms and saying, "Come on in!" You've opened your homes, your classrooms, your closets, and your bookshelves. I remember one teacher sharing an anecdote from her son, "Mom, we're teachers' kids. We're famous!" I smile to think of my little one being famous and knowing how good that will make her feel!
Sara and Jana: I would not have survived this summer without y'all! Play dates, swim dates, shopping trips, text messages, phone calls... Whenever I was questioning something, you'd tell me it was normal. My feelings were normal. Our days were normal. Reactions were normal. Yes, I'm feeling frazzled. No, we're not sleeping. Yep, it's normal! It's funny to me how knowing that what I'm going through is NORMAL made me breathe a sigh of relief. Y'all are awesome!
My family: I literally would have lost my mind if not for the help of my parents. Mom and Dad have supported me through this decision 100%. They are my primary short term care providers. They provide baby sitting when I have a work meeting or am desperate for some time at the gym. They work puzzles and teach ABCs and how to use scissors. They bake salmon and stir fry green beans and the kids gobble it up. They go shopping for clothes and put gas in my car and don't expect to be paid back. Mom has said more than once, "Alyssa, you feel called to fostering. Our ministry is helping you with your ministry." I LOVE that! We're a family. That means we do things together. My cousins call or text to see how things are going. They've provided school supplies, CD players, CDs of silly kids' songs, child medicines, DVDs, knapsacks and fun toys. Our family is in this together!
My Home Group: I bawled my eyes out in front of these ladies on Sunday. I needed prayer and support and they came through! Kathy prayed for me Sunday night. Meredith has already filled out the forms to be another babysitter. Jess invited us over for a play date. Jen texted on Monday to tell me she was praying for me. Val offered to run errands. Pam and Lauren gave me sweet hugs before I left. I am blessed to be in this group and SO glad we're back from summer break!
Veronica: I have loved our swim dates with "our" girls! I love getting to know your family and love that we live close enough to be able to do it! I'm thrilled you've moved closer to me, too! :) I haven't been the greatest at keeping in contact, but you're awesome at touching base and setting something up. I look forward to our fun times with our girls as well as our adult times out, too. :)
Missy put me in contact with Kim who put me in contact with another mommy group up here. Facebook is incredible at bringing people together, no matter their physical distance! I love that I can read blogs, see status updates and know what is going on through various journeys. Thanks, Missy!
My Houston sisters: Y'all rock! I knew our friendships were deep. I've depended on them for years. I wondered when I moved if they would change. And sure, they've changed in that I don't see y'all regularly. But the love and support hasn't diminished one iota. AJ calls regularly, and I always get off the phone so very encouraged and motivated and convicted. Melody drives to Plano at the drop of a hat to help. The simple knowledge that she's coming changes my entire outlook on life. Katherine emails regularly and texts scripture. I love having scripture has a reminder of God's goodness and faithfulness. Jamie asks good questions that make me continue to think about my next steps.
I am blessed. I am not walking this journey alone. God is good.