Oops. I did it again!

New placement! Tata has moved in with us, she is a pretty sweet kid. Tata is 8 years old and was in the same class as Bunny last year. We have a full house! With Tata, Bunny, and Lovely sharing a room it’s comparable to a itty bitty sorority. They’re a great group of girls and my only complaint is my aching wrists from all of the braiding in the mornings. It’s really great for me and the girls, the morning hair bonding. Both Lovely and Tata have told me that their bio mothers never did their hair and they let me know how pretty and happy it makes them. It truly is the little things that we do for one kids, like their hair, that let them know we care about them. Please, don’t take that for granted. It’s something that most parents do for their children daily and never think twice about it, it’s just what we do. Many children don’t have that luxury, bizarre… right?

The new placements are getting along well, Boychild is really doing exceptionally guiding Loud into making good choices. He is taking his job as big brother very seriously, it is wonderful to see him being compassionate and understanding. I’m incredibly lucky to have taught my children to be kind and helpful when we have new placement. Speaking of Boychild; he has really stepped up his game lately. He has been responsible, he has wonderful grades, and he has improved quite a bit overall. He is a sweet and sensitive boy and 6th grade is doing him well. Although he had a minor setback for fighting at school (he did not start the fight, another child hit him first) he took full accountability for his actions and accepted the consequences with no fussing. The most important thing about Boychild is that he is no longer medicated for his ADD. We had a rough couple of years but the hard work and dedication is paying off. He is a good boy who loves to skateboard and ride his dirt bike, protect his sisters, and read. Yes. I said read. Holy shit.

I’ve received progress reports for all of the kids, all 8 of them. I’ve got some bright kids as they’ve all got A’s and B’s. Yes, it is the begining of the school year so it’s a given that they all are doing well. I hope I can keep them all on track and keep it up, we all know that a childs success starts at home.

I’m ready for the whirlwind of life, let’s see where this group of kids leads us!

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.

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.

And then there were 10.

We recieved new placement over the weekend, a 14 year old female, we will call her Hair. This girl has the longest, thickest, hair ever. She is outgoing, an excellent student, and okay with the extreme change in her life.

At the end of the we month Pretty is moving out at the end of the month, she’s grown up! Pretty recently had a job change and it seems to be a good fit.

Biscuit is doing wonderful, she’s going to be 14 in less than 2 weeks. She is doing standard high school and online school, cheers on 2 teams, and wants to get a job.

Flower has been accepted to 2 colleges, she is interested in bio medicine/Neuro stuff. She is working and finishing high school and will graduate with 18 college credits. We are taking her to Thailand for graduation, she is elated.

Blue is doing exceptionally well, she has started tumbling and is super close to her back handspring. I’ve got great news! The recent appeal by bio mom has been dismissed and our adoption is underway! I can’t wait until she is ours forever, I can’t imagine a life without her.

Boychild celebrated his birthday, he is officially 11. He had been wanting a new dirt bike and we came through for him.

Bunny is a stellar student, a great helper, and is getting better at regulating her feelings. We are experiencing WAY less crying, thank God.

Lemon is big. She isn’t liking the change from toddler to kid. Now that she is 5 she has more responsibility.

Husband and I are doing great, I do get annoyed with him when he doesn’t take care of himself. This whole skin cancer thing has been dragging on. He had his stitches removed then the incision site reopened, ugh. And he STILL won’t stay still.

Teaching is cool, I’m happy. Staff meetings are less cool, I deal with it. I took a huge pay cut when I quit my job in Prescott… but, I’m significantly happier with my job flexibility. My kids come first.

We’ve been though this before, how to interact with our new family members v2.0

Anyone who knows me knows that I love fiercely. I will love and protect every child who enters my life; my bio children, my children’s peers, my foster placements, and even strangers children. I am a mama bear and I will destroy you if needed be, I am a children’s advocate. I have devoted my life to children, both my own and others because I am passionate about them. Everytime we get a new placement I feel the need to refresh memories, with this being said… let’s go over some do’s and don’t, shall we?
Do offer help. Help is not always needed but it helps us feel secure, the foster parent and child can both benefit from this. Make sure your offer is sincere; I might need a favor sometime or maybe our foster placement will ask you for something. 

Don’t sympathize, empathize. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of another (having shared the same experience,  or very similar experience) it goes far beyond sympathy, which is pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Don’t tell my foster babies you understand what they’re going through, you simply cannot unless you’ve been a foster child. 

Do recognize that my foster kids are not “damaged goods.” They come to me as humans, some are experiencing trauma and some are not. These kids often have amazing personalities, they laugh and play, they’re smart, witty, and have some skills that my family sometimes doesn’t. Remember, these kids aren’t placed in care because they’re bad…they’re placed in care because their parents made mistakes.

Don’t tell me I’m a saint for being a foster parent. I. Am. Not. Saving. Anyone. I’m just providing a safe, and loving, home for a child who is living with me. I certainly don’t praise you for going to your child’s sporting event, I don’t tell you how wonderful you are for going  to a parent/teacher conference, I don’t high five you for successfully pulling off a Tooth Fairy/Elf on a Shelf/Santa thing. Don’t tell me you could never do it, don’t say it must be heartbreaking, just stop. I’m just a parent…just like you. 

Do teach your children to be welcoming, inclusive, non-judgmental, and kind. I’m especially lucky to be a part of a large group of kids and their families who know what I do, they know I’m a foster parent, and they have taught their children to be accepting and helpful. This is magical, if you haven’t talked to your children about foster care…do it now. The large group of kids typically know that I’ve a new placement; they see a new child or children with me. The kids are quick to introduce themselves, to let the child know how they know me/my child/husband, tell them something positive, and run off to do their thing. If kids can do this, anyone can. The kids NEVER ask if they are a foster kid, they NEVER ask what they did to be placed in our home, they NEVER make our placement feel as if they’re different than anyone else. Adults can learn from this.

Don’t be a moron. This should be self explanatory, but I’m going to ramble off some points. 

  • I am not making money being a foster parent, don’t ask. 
  • Will you adopt them? Seriously, ask yourself if you’ll get in a car accident today. Do you know the answer, probably not. 
  • Watch what you say about their parents, kids hear everything.
  • Am I their real parent? Go suck an egg. 
  • Don’t you dare say anything about race, I’ll likely assult you. 
  • Go ahead, ask me how many children I fostered. Do you want me to go sad? Don’t make me take that dark trip down memory lane. 
  • Treat these kids like you treat my bio kids.
  • Try to start conversations and don’t ask a lot of questions, that’s a tough one. Try a compliment!  If the kids don’t respond please be understanding. 
  • Be yourself. Be yourself. Be yourself. Stop being overly friendly, over the top happy, etc, just be you. 
  • Offer help in unconventional ways.
  • Celebrate small victories with us. 
  • If our foster kids aren’t acting in a way that is appropriate, relax. I can handle them. Don’t feel sorry for them or me; they’ve experienced trauma and they’re coping the best that they can. 

    I know it’s hard to understand, I know some of this sounds bogus. It’s most important to be understanding.