The problem isn’t the problem… your reaction is.

I’ve learned a lot during my 37 years on earth, but the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is about human reactions. I’ve learned that people want reactions in every aspect of life, whether it’s praise for a job well done or something critical that hurts a person. We have all done things for be particular reactions; hello human nature.

React or respond.

Reactions are quick, they’re developed in an instant. When you do or say something without thinking… you’re on auto pilot and your unconscious brain does the footwork. For some people it’s a defense mechanism; rest assured that most people regret reactions later. Responding is a slower process; instead of that quick clap back you tend to be more logical and you consider the other persons feelings in addition to putting yourself in their position.

I often struggle with my unconscious side during day to day interactions, I react. I run my mouth, I’m boisterous, uncouth, and generally unremorseful of the sometimes hurtful things I say. However, when it comes to parenting or conflict I’ve got the responding part in the bag. I don’t yell. Wait. I do yell but I don’t yell at people. I holler down the hall at the kids to stop fighting or playing ball in the house like any other parent. I’ve learned when you yell at someone they stop listening.

React = loss of power.

Respond = empowerment.

You can change. Train your brain! Get the education on your own time, you don’t need a training or class. You have Google… what a time to be alive! If you’d rather not read articles, watch YouTube videos, or pick up a book you can start by trying self help. Simple things to ask yourself to start the process are what would be a better response? Could I have been more compassionate? Why did I react that way?

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.

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.