Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mental Snapshots

Mom, J and I went for a walk this afternoon.  It was very overcast and occasionally drizzled on us, but overall it was very pleasant outside.  We just walked up and down a few blocks near my parents' house.  We've done this before.  Mom and J do it very often when they're hanging out together.

We always have fun choosing which direction to turn at each choice and about turning left or the kitty cat across the street.  We talk about different yards and flowers and birds that we see.  I always enjoy seeing how her mind works and hearing the questions she asks.

Towards the end of the walk, it's pretty obvious she's getting tired.  Not just from the walk but from a busy day.

She asked Grandma to skip with her, and they began to skip and race and do fun little jumps and twirls with their hair bouncing out behind them.

I took a mental picture, and my heart smiled.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Mindset Shift

When C first came, I knew within 12 hours that she wasn't going to be here long.  So, when my bed room looked like a Goodwill donation center and the paperwork piled up, I just said to myself, "I'll take care of that after she goes."

And I did.

When J came, I first thought it would be a short period.  Not as short as C, mind you, but still short.  I took care of clothes as needed.  I kept my apartment cleaned and the refrigerator stocked and cleaned out, as needed.  Some of this happened while she was there.  Some of it I scheduled for when she would not be there.  I gradually became used to shopping with her and having her try on clothes and sharing her, very opinionated, thoughts of clothing.

However, there were times I thought, "It's okay to go without sleep or to stock pile the DVR.  I'll have personal time again soon."  I had that same thought about paperwork.

Except part of the problem was that I didn't always realize that was how I was thinking.  It helped when I stopped expecting to sleep through the night.  It helped when she started falling asleep earlier, and I still had some energy, so I could get some things done after she went to sleep.  I could have some "me" time...which is like gold, I tell you!

However, I just realized yesterday that the paperwork has still piled up.  I have a 4" binder that is full and is piled with another 2" of paperwork on top.  I got an email today that a bill is due today.  (I was able to call and pay it over the phone.  Thank goodness!)

My mindset needs to shift.  My life now includes an active 5 year old.  Period.  Not "for a time, it includes an active 5 year old".  I need to be able to, and now feel much more confident that I can, handle paperwork with her there.

What other things do I need to shift my mindset on?

Do you have anything you need to shift your mindset on?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

How can awareness be raised without sharing?

I've struggled with something off and on over the last few months.  Awareness is being raised for so many things: good things!  I see Facebook posts and commercials for breast cancer research and leukemia research.  I see posts to raise funds for international adoption or sponsoring a child.  I see people signing up to walk for 3 days or ride for 150 miles.

Through all of these awareness campaigns, people share their story.  They are a survivor of ______ or a family member died with _______________ or they know a cure is needed for ________________ or a child needs food, water, shelter and clothing.  They don't just give a snippet.  The ones that bring a tear to an eye, stir the heart strings and actually RAISE awareness are the ones that include pictures, lengthy stories of heart ache, lessons learned, grief felt or victory celebrated.

How can I do that for fostering?  How can any foster parent raise awareness?  I've really been struggling with this.  Because, awareness NEEDS to be raised.  But how?

I can't post pictures due to safety and security.

A huge part of foster parent training includes the privacy of the child.  It is not MY story to share, but HERS and therefore, I have no right to share it.

I can talk about some of the activities we do together.  But that's what any parent does.

I can talk about SOME of the successes.  There are SO many I cannot share, due to privacy.  I can't share our schedule or even all of our activities.

How?  How does a foster parent raise awareness?  I don't mean for me.  I don't mean for any one specific foster parent.  I mean for the hurting.  I mean for the innocent.  I mean for the casual organization that is foster parents.  There are support groups.  We are a tight knit bunch, but anyone is welcome.  We trade clothes, toys, cribs, babysitting and bounce chairs.  We need formula and toys for fine motor and gross motor development.  We would be greatly appreciative for you to sacrifice a few hours to get CPR certified and help us out with babysitting occasionally.  I would love for someone else to teach her how to ride a bike, because she thrives under the attention of safe adults, and I want to show her that adults can be safe.  

How does a foster parent raise awareness?
The heartache.  The success.  The lost of innocence.  The giggling innocence.  The smiles and the tears.  The frustration and the victories.

Believe me.  There are MANY!  Daily victories.  GI-NORMOUS victories.  There is daily heartache, too.  Daily.

Sometimes someone tells me, "I know exactly how you feel.  I know exactly what you're going through." when they don't have a clue.

Sometimes someone asks me a question that is none of their business, and I don't know how to answer them politely.

Sometimes someone tells someone else, "This is Alyssa's foster child." and the LAST thing any foster parent wants to do is call attention to the fact that this little one is different.  NO child wants to be singled out.  It is NO one's business!

How?  How do I raise awareness of what it means to foster a little one that is hurting and in need of a safe and secure place to live?

I can't tell her story.  But believe me, it is a beautiful story.

I've learned a new definition for beautiful.  Beautiful can be hard.  It can be gross.  It can be painful.  It can be carefully, painstakingly woven together.  It can have aesthetic beauty, but it might not always.  Christ's death on the cross was bloody and messy and gory and downright gross.  But, His sacrifice was beautiful.  That is the best picture I have for the word beautiful.

Fostering is beautiful.  It is messy and filled with excitement.  It is joyous and filled with heartache.


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Mini Rant on Disney

I remember people being "Um, why are these called "KIDS' stories?" when talking about Disney stories, and I would always think "Yeah, I guess...but they're kids' movies, and I grew up on them, and they're great!"

Ok.  Seriously!?  Let me just tell you, in my own words, the story we read last night.

A young maiden is HATED by her step-mother. (Hello?  A LOT of our culture has a step-mother.  It's hard.  Do we really want to make it harder by having them read a story/watch a movie in which the child is HATED by the step-mother?)

The step-mother so hates this young maiden that she sends someone to KILL the young maiden and bring her the maiden's heart as proof.

WHAT?  Gross!  As in, truly sick.

But the huntsman can't do it and lets her go.  The wicked step-mother eventually finds out about this and then poisons an apple. (Does it HAVE to be an apple?  A fruit?  Something GOOD for children?  Do the writers of Disney stories have any idea how hard it is to get kiddos to eat fruit?  Couldn't the step-mother at least have poisoned a Starburst candy!?)

The young maiden is hiding with kind and caring dwarfs.  (Well, at least this is one redeeming quality.  People that are "different" are shown to be kind and compassionate.)

But, they come home from the diamond mines one day to find the young maiden LIFELESS on the floor.  (HEL-LO!  Scary!  These are little kids, here!)

But, of course, a prince comes by and kisses her, and they ride off to his kingdom.  (He only kisses her because she's beautiful. (Great.  I'm TRYING to teach her that she is valued for more than her beauty.  This is NOT helping!)  Not every girl gets a prince and gets to ride off to his kingdom and never work again.  And by "not every girl", I pretty much mean it does not happen.  Ever.  I know.  I know.  It's a fairy tale.  Except for all the SCARY stuff, you know!?)

Ok.  Mini rant over.

Does anyone have Beauty and the Beast on DVD that we can borrow between now and Halloween?  Because Little Miss is Belle this year.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


I used to read my blog list every night.  I liked Google Reader, then moved to Blog Lovin' when Google Reader went away.  I would lay in bed and read my favorites and chuckle and groan and sometimes cry.  I'd laugh seeing the pictures, rejoicing in the progress of an adoption story, or mourn a loss or heartache.

I cannot think of the last time I read a blog post.  No clue.  I think it's been since my little one came.  Surely? Maybe not, though?

I write blog posts.  Because I love this outlet of emotion and creativity.

But I haven't had time to read them lately.

We do seem to be in more of a school routine.  Routine is necessary for all children, but it's a magnified need for kiddos from hard places.  The transition from summer to school was a bumpy ones, but it does seem to be smoothing out.  She's falling asleep about 7:30-7:45, which means I have a couple of hours of an evening to decompress.  Sometimes that's a laundry list of "MUST DO THIS!" and sometimes it means I can curl up with a book or watch a favorite DVRed show.

But, at least for right now, blogs aren't getting read.

Maybe some day...