Five.

5. 5. 5.

Soon, I’ll have only 5 kids at home. Biscuit, Blue, Boychild, Bunny, and Lemon. I’m freaking out, how do I cook for only 7 people?! What will we do with the copious amounts of leftovers?! There will be extra time, room, and finances. Weird. There will be less stress, chatter, and traffic.

We will enjoy our time together until we are needed. I love my community, I love children, I love foster care. There are lessons to be learned about humility, compassion, and pain. My kids understand the importance of helping people and also, witnessing me fail, has shown them that even though you can desperately want to help it’s okay to say ‘enough’ and have a child removed. My kids have helped transition foster kids to our home and comforted them in times of need. They have also disagreed and fought with them. It is all give and take, understanding others circumstances and remembering how blessed you are to be taken care of in a standard in which society deems normal. My kids don’t take much for granted these days because they understand that things change in the blink of an eye.

I’ve been sifting through adoption listings, looking for potential matches. I’ve sent in several inquiries and have gotten very little feedback. Our system is flawed; caseworkers are busy prioritizing and adoptive kids are being pushed to the backburner. I understand that the removal and reunification are high on the totem pole, they are critical to child safety, but having a child wait in limbo for months or years just isn’t right. My licensing worker has assured me that my homestudy has been sent to all of the inquiries that I’ve sent in and even he says he has gotten very little feedback. It shouldn’t be this hard to find an older child, in the United States, who is legally free for adoption, to find a match. It shouldn’t be this hard to help.

On the other end of the spectrum I’ve gotten leads on some foster placements. Unfortunately, they weren’t a match for our home. I do have a strict criteria that I follow as my children are my number one priority. I do not want to expose them to some things nor have them possibly become victims in any way. It’s hard. Often times it breaks my heart but I’ve developed a firm understanding during my years of foster care of knowing when to say yes to a placement and when to say no.

Luckily, when you seek out adoptive children via photolistings or through your agency you can get every detail of their case/life since being in the foster care system. That makes finding a fit easier for families and agencies. I’ve gotten a few responses stating we weren’t a good fit for a child and I’ve sent responses saying we wouldn’t be a good fit for a child. I’m okay with that, I’m all about the best interest of the children. My older girls have taken an interest in looking at potential siblings online, Blue loves to watch the videos and Biscuit wants to see their faces.

Only God knows what will happen next, we may stay with the 5 kids and be done. We may foster more. We may adopt. Until then…we wait.

Love, forgiveness, and anxiety.

Forgiving people is hard. I’m the type that pushes negative feelings aside and moves forward. The problem with that is every once and a while, after holding onto these unpleasant memories, it HAPPENS. The feelings box gets full and overflows; I can no longer shove the feelings aside and I’m emotionally distraught. I’m forced to deal with the unpleasantries all at once. Why do I continue to do this? I know what will happen. Why can’t I just deal with the crappy stuff as it rolls in? I’m not smart. Now, after that box of emotion overflows and I’ve got a heap of emotional baggage to deal with and the anxiety creeps in.

Great. Anxious AND emotional. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Why am I bringing this up? Luckily, I’m not experiencing that shitshow of despair at the moment. Nope. I figured maybe we should talk about wonky mental health. Why do people feel ashamed of their inner workings? We are all screwed up in one way or another. I’m not saying that my mental health is awful nor perfect, I’m merely saying let’s be vulnerable. I’m willing to bet you that at least one of your friends have seen or are still seeing a counselor or therapist. It’s not weird, it’s proactive.

I’ve been working on forgiveness lately. Honestly, it’s been a hard and a long process. I’m typically a forgiving person as I understand that humans are morons and we are doing the best we can. Most humans mean well, we don’t intentionally want to hurt people but when we are emotionally charged we do and say dumb things. I love humans, all of them. Yes, even the morons I cannot see eye to eye with.

News.

Hair should be leaving soon to live with her grandparents. She recently celebrated her 15th birthday and is as sullen as ever. She continues to be wishy-washy when it comes to all avenues of life; she cannot make up her mind about anything except school. One day she wants to be part of the family and next she’s making excuses to why she cannot participate in family outings/trips. Hair is impossible to communicate with as she thinks she communicates well but she doesn’t. Hair is demanding, loud, and immature. Hopefully she can get things in order and lead a happy, productive, life. She means well, she truly does. When kids are parentified at a young age the maturity often has a hard time catching up, it’s a fight or flight mechanism and doing adult things are critical during times when maturity should be the growth target.

Flower is headed off college at the end of the month, University of Arizona. Flower has a lot of the same tendencies as Hair, maturity mostly. Luckily, Flower can communicate effectively and takes constructive criticism with ease. I’m happy to see Flower take the next steps in her life!

Pretty moved to Colorado with her boyfriend. Everything seems to be going great for her. I’m happy to see her following her dreams and enjoying her life.

Blue is participating in cheer and baking in her spare time. She is heading out to Colorado soon!

Biscuit is participating in cheer and watching a lot of Netflix. She’s gearing up to go to Colorado too. I’m anxious because this will be the first time that they both fly solo, I’m sure they’ll be fine but my mom anxiety is killing me.

Boychild is his typical self, he was going to play football but I guess he lost interest as he would rather play Fortnight with his friends. He has read a lot this summer, about 25 books.

Biscuit is participating in cheer and a bowling league. She is a social butterfly and has been on many trips this summer with friends.

Lemon is participating in cheer and in theater.

I’m gearing up to go back to work as the summer break ends, Husband has been working his tail off this summer. I’m lucky to be able to have the summers off to spend with my kids

We have 3 open beds at the moment. What’s next for us? Adoption? Fostering? Nothing? Time will tell.

What is new, Pikachu?

I LOVE this picture. My boy is smiling and his teeth are showing. He has been extremely self conscious about his teeth…well tooth, it had been several months that he had been missing his top front tooth. Braces are in his future once that tooth gets all the way in, that new tooth it is definitely crooked! Originally the orthodontist had wanted to perform oral surgery and attach a bracket to his tooth and we would be required to use a key tool to bring the tooth down through the lanced area. We decided to wait until the end of the summer before we put braces on the kids because of all of the traveling and such. I’m glad we did, now he won’t need the surgery! In any case, my boy is handsome with his perfect smile and I love him. I love Bunny too, no doubt. Her little smile is going to take years to fix, luckily she isn’t self conscious about her smile. We have the option to do 5 or 6 years of braces or electively break her jaw. Yes. You read that correctly. They’ve suggested breaking my babys jaw. It would cut the time in half in which she would need to have braces. I’ve opted a big NO on that one. Her insurance would cover the jaw surgery as it is medically necessary to correct her oral issues, insurance will only cover a fraction of her braces.

C’mon. Look at my boy. He is special to me as my only son. I’ve had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of quality time with him this summer as his best bro moved away. I’m treasuring the time we have together because I’m sure that friends and girls will soon engulf his time and I’ll have less time with him. He is perfect in all of his imperfect ways, he has a big heart like Chadad, his bio dad. A sweet and sensitive boy, I can’t get enough of my Boychild.

OKAY! Enough Boychild spam. 😍

We went to a wedding yesterday, we were able to connect with many family members related to my children. People that they had never met or hadn’t seen in many years and it was AMAZING. Biscuit, Boychild, and Bunny loved meeting relatives and sharing stories with them, it was truly magical. Congratulations to Tabitha and Sean who were married yesterday!

Bunny and her cousin, Kenzie, really hit it off. I love it! The last time they had saw each other was 3 years ago… it was like a new beginning. (I think Boychild looks a lot like their cousin, Kenzie.)

Look at all of these amazing people who were all kind, respectful, caring, and welcoming. We were sad that Margo and her mother had left but we took a picture nonetheless. It was great that the kids were able to see and meet everyone; family is important. These humans are, by far, the best. I’m truly honored to have introduced my kids to them and to call them family.

Biscuit in best mode playing football.

Biscuit and Blue thinking they’re fancy with their apple and cranberry cider for the toast.

Not the best picture because my boy was not keen on showing his teeth and it is sorta dark/blurry. But it showcases family and I adore that.

Part of my nerd herd. I love them SO much my heart aches. Seriously, look at them…they’re perfect.

Obviously it was only myself, Biscuit, Blue, Bunny, and Boychild who had made the trip. Lemon had a role on the play Honk Jr. at Grace Preforming Arts Theater as Fluff the duck and opening night was Friday. Flower had other plans, naturally someone had to stay behind to look after Lemon so Husband stayed home too.

Bunny is cute. She knows it.

Being in California for the wedding was nice, the trees and grass were welcomed. Naturally, going to the ocean was a no brainer as all of my kids enjoy it! We also crossed something off of Boychilds bucket list, he had never eaten a Cinnabon. WHAT?! How did that slip through the cracks?! He had a Cinnabon and as far as I could tell he enjoyed it.

Blue and Biscuit are heading to Colorado for a week soon, they’re excited! I’ll be going back to work soon too, teaching is life! Everything is busy as usual and I enjoy it; keeping up with the kids helps me feel important. I like knowing that they need my support, my chauffeuring, and my time. Being a mother is the BEST thing in the world, for real.

Now, if they’d stop asking for money…

Boys weekend

Boys are weird. The weekend consisted of water action, massive candy and food consumption, shopping, exploring, mini golf, hats, sunglasses, underpants, and lots of hilarity. Boys have a weird way of seeing the world… their perspective on things is trulybaffling. We discussed things from presidential candidates to boobs and penis sizes, we covered it all. The best part all weekend? ‘Mans not hot, never hot.’ Punchline. It was an memorable time and I can’t wait to do it again!

Adjustment

It’s taken 2 weeks to recover from being gone for 2 weeks! As soon as we returned home we were right back into normal routines. Jet lag hit me a day after we returned to America while I was out running kids around. That was not fun, not one bit.

Summer activities, camps, sleepovers, trips, jobs, fundraising, etc are going full force. Everyone is busy. We are going to a wedding next month and magically everyone will be able to attend with the exception of Husband and Lemon. Lemon is in a play and she cannot miss the any performances and someone has to stay behind to look after her. Not It!

Today Boychild and I embark on our trip together, we are going to Phoenix to stay in a fun hotel (with a lazy river and activities per his request) with his Best Bro and his mom. Boys weekend! I’m looking forward to some one on one time with my boy. Boychild REALLY wanted to go to the Vans Warped Tour but I don’t think he is quite ready for that…or maybe it’s me who isn’t ready for that. Haha!

OH! And we were supposed to have new placement when we had gotten back from Thailand but it fell through. I’m not sad, I feel happy that she found a place where she is comfortable. Everything happens for a reason and I’ll continue to roll with the punches, whatever they are.

I’m still sifting through adoption listings, it’s weird. I love to do it but I also hate it, it makes me sad to a certain degree. There are a tremendous amount of kids who need forever homes. Most of the time they’re profoundly, and irreversibly, damaged emotionally. I wish there were some sort of early intervention services that checked up on children birth-3 years old. Oh, wait. There is. And it’s free. See?! Frustrating. On the opposite side of the spectrum there are perfectly well rounded children with the minimal amount of emotional distress who desire to be part of something. A family. Think about that, a family. Most of us take it for granted as it is our normal, to have a family… imagine your life without one. A child with no family. Devastating. See, everything about this sucks.

This is why I’m a foster parent, everyone deserves to feel loved. Get involved, donate money to a rad foster organization, invest in C.A.SA, help a local foster family by offering anything from babysitting to shoes, donate backpacks, toothbrushes, clothes, toys to a local licensing agency.

If your heart isn’t in foster or children in general pass it by, move onto to something you are passionate about. Do something, be involved in anything that sets fire to your soul.

Shanghai China and Thailand

We recently survived a 14 hour flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai and China was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, China has a lot of rules and I was HAPPY get out of that country. I wasn’t in Shanghai but 15 minutes and got myself reprimanded.

Thailand has been nice, we have been in Bangkok, Surai Turat, Ko Phangan, and Koh Sumai. The islands are nice! We have met many people from all over the world, it’s been a lovely experience. Flower has been sick, she has been in the room for the last 48 hours. She’s always the ‘sickest she has ever been’ sick and adding culture shock to her plate has taken her out. It’s hard to differentiate when she’s really sick vs. has a cold/stomach issue because she’s the girl who cried wolf when it comes to being ill. Flower = drama & complaining…even on holiday in a foreign country. We are hoping for some growth during our trip, keep your fingers crossed.

Husband and I have been enjoying ourselves, seeing the sights and relaxing poolside/oceanside. The food, y’all! THE FOOD. I’m eating all of the things.

Time doesn’t stand still.

We’ve got new placement. Another teen female, surprise! We are headed to Thailand at the end of the week and once we return our new foster daughter will arrive. There was talk about her coming before we left but I feel like it would be tough to hop into a family when your parental units are gone. Our new placement is called Trambi, she’s band girl who has excellent grades and a sunshine-y disposition. She has a good head on her shoulders and is a lot like Hair, she is serious about school and her future.

Hair is currently trying to decide if she wants stay here or move away to live with family members. I’m okay with whatever she chooses, I’m here to help the kids in my home. While Hair may be different with her emo-goth facade…I don’t care. I’ll teach her the best that I can and help her achieve her goals. She wants everyone to believe she is different and interesting; hair color and dark clothes will not define you nor set you apart. You aren’t a special snowflake, you are YOU and once you accept that you will go as far as your allow yourself. I get it, I WAS the goth kid in school. If I could go back and tell myself one thing in High School it would be ‘Drop all this I’m special and different bullshit, you’re making life harder than it should be.’

Biscuit is having an amazing summer so far, she is taking the summer off. She has cheer and she’s happy. She isn’t doing summer school, college prep, camp, etc. She is currently considering studying abroad her junior year in Switzerland. I fully support this choice, I’ll happily pay for boarding school. Biscuit really wants to Colorado this summer and has asked to visit California as well.

Speaking of boarding school, Boychild wants to attend school in Hawaii this year and attend a boarding school. What?! He wants to learn Hawaiian culture, surf, fish, and paddle board. I’m on the fence about this…I was considering retaining him in the 5th grade and switching him to a private Christian school this year, I enrolled him earlier this year. Then I talked to a friend who has raised 3 successful, and amazing, children into adulthood who all went to public school. I’m on the fence about education at this point. Boychild has no interest in theater, karate, nor swim this summer. He wants to play Fortnight, hike, and ride jet skis. He is attending a Glorietta camp next month.

Bunny is excited about next school year, she knows a lot of kids at the private school. Again, I’m on the fence about education. Do my kids REALLY need private school? Parenting is hard. Bunny is participating in cheer and will soon be in a hip hop dance class to see if she likes it. Bunny has joined a bowling league this summer and a ballet camp. She will also attend Glorietta camp next month.

Blue has recieved her birth certificate, it’s SO cool! It lists me and Husband as her birth parents. I feel really good about that. In addition to this news, Blue is attending summer school so she can take the same math class as Biscuit next year. Sisterhood, it’s the real deal. Blue is on evaluation for a cheer team and we hope she makes it. If not she enjoyed participating in track and is open to other sports next school year.

Flower is trying to adult. She struggles continually when it comes to family, loyalty, and the future. Unfortunately she’s put too much time into her boyfriend (of one year) and prioritized him. It’s not uncommon for young girls to do this; I thought she was smarter, she almost had me fooled with her self hype and responsible actions regarding bills and such. I anticipated that she would cultivate her family and deticate more time to her family, family is forever. Instead she’s practically dragging her boyfriend along for HER journey and completely disregarding his ambitions. She’ll always be my daughter even if she wants to be absorbed in her herself and new love life, I get it… love is exciting and blinding. Flower is an arrogant girl, she believes what she wants and whatever we try to tell her it’s preposterous. It’s the struggle where she wants adult privileges but lacks the mature mindset. As parents typically are, we are the bad guys…we have the experience and want to teach our kids but they’re reluctant. She’s a stubborn girl and I haven’t got much time left to teach her. The entitlement is REAL with this one. She’s attending U of A this fall and then I have to sit back and watch her figure it out. I believe in her, undoubtedly.

Pretty is moving to Colorado in the fall. I’ve got mixed emotions as I want her to follow her dreams, I’m scared that she’s leaving me. She will ‘cultivate’ her dreams one way or another. I will support her in every endeavor…even if she wants to be a hippie and potentially live in a VW Bus.

Lemon is back into cheer, she’s on the same team as Bunny. Lemon is truly excited to be back on a team; she feels helpful and big. Lemon is attending a theater camp and a Glorietta camp.

Me? Nothing really new on my end. I’m anxious about leaving my humans for a little over 2 weeks, I know they’ll all be taken care of but my mom anxiety is through the roof. I’m a bit fearful about this Thailand trip because last time I had gone somewhere with Flower I didn’t see her except for a few hours at an event and at cerfew. Is it going to be like that again? I hate feeling this way. I feel betrayed, used, not worthy, and not like a mom. Yeah, you read that right, Mohavecountymama is vulnerable. Moving along…I’m taking the summer off, as teachers usually do. I’m going to see if this ecommerce thing takes off and then become a millionaire. 😘 Ha, if only! I’ll presumably spend the remainder of the summer shuttling my kids to all their activities, parties, fundraisers, etc.

Husband, well, he’s a Type-A personality. He wants to plan, plan, plan, this trip to Thailand and I’m more of a go with the flow type. I’d say he is a bit stressed about leaving his business behind, leaving the kids home, and trying to plan an itinerary. I’m screaming ‘Husband, focus on the 18 hour horror flight and wing the rest.’ Husband is not concerned with the flight…not one bit, hes got to be some sort of sociopath. I really love and admire this guy; he has the patience for all of our kids and rolls with the chaos. I’m lucky we have eachother.

Red

Red has decided that she’d like to be adopted in Washington state. I’m not super sad, I had already had prepared for this. I hope she finds her forever family and has a beautiful life.

The waiting game, foster care continues to move forward.

I’m less emotionally distraught about the whole photolisting thing; if it’s supposed to happen… it will. The choice is Red’s and only God knows what will happen. I’m truly at peace with the entire situation, it feels pretty damn good too. The rollercoaster of emotion associated with foster care/adoption is asinine.

We recieved a new call a couple of days ago, a 16 year old girl who needs a home, and the said teen was not a call from my agency. Typically, all calls are filtered through your licensing agency but I’m sort of a naughty foster parent and I often get calls from mental health workers or lawyers who have worked with my family in the past or present. These people know my family dynamic, they visit my home at least once a month or communicate via email/phone weekly. These people talk with every person in my family and I trust them, undoubtedly.

My licensing worker is a cool guy and I am incredibly lucky to have him, he gets my family. But, licensing workers don’t like being side stepped because it makes them look like idiots to their supervisors. Don’t be a jerk foster parent. If for whatever reason you side step your licensing worker be a nice person and send them a text briefly explaining what’s going on, don’t make your licensing worker look like he/she cannot do their job. DCYS is to contact the licensing workers and the licensing worker is supposed to call the parents in an ideal world. However, I have directly contacted via DCYS directly in some cases too.

In any case; I said yes. Hear me out! I know some of you are shaking your heads ‘More kids?!’ Hush. Hair will be leaving shortly as she is moving to her adoptive home when school is out. Flower is going away to college shortly after Thailand (she hasn’t really saved any money so she could be home all summer which is fine, there is no rush for her to go.) That means I’ll have open beds. Also, my licensing worker has an enormous amount of faith in me as he has made the comment if it were needed I could change my licensing to ‘group home’ and accept more kids if we were in a bind. It shouldn’t come to that. Husband and I have a solid number, we will abide by our set rules otherwise I’ll be the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

Our new placement will be moving in the first of next month. I believe we may be having a meet and greet this weekend…which doesn’t happen in foster care, not in my experience. It’s new but I’m all about it, whatever makes the transition easiest. Honestly, I feel good about it because if either my family or the girl think ‘Hell no!’ It’ll easy to opt out. Test driving. Man, this sounds extremely screwed up.

Foster care is the unknown, it’s taking chances, it’s rebuilding something that’s been broken. It’s teaching trust, normalcy, and loyalty. It’s about overcoming and growth too. It teaches my family to love unconditionally, to never take life for granted, and to give cheerfully. My family is continually growing both emotionally and in size, I couldn’t be happier. I’m aware that I’m not the perfect parent nor person, I’m just like anyone else…trying to make it work and learn from my mistakes. Oh boy, do I make mistakes. I’m working on talking without bad intent…this is hard. Self growth sucks but it is essential.