Triggers

Dear Jax,

I didn’t put your Christmas tree up this year. It isn’t because I didn’t want to remember you. Or that I forgot about you. I have three children in the home that need me to be able to push forward and to keep going. And, sweet baby boy, as much as I know that I’m here today struggling with the triggers from the loss of you.

Continue reading “Triggers”

Today

Today, I am naked, bare, raw to the feelings that swirl in my heart. A little over two years ago we got the call that we were finally licensed foster parents. We celebrated by eating some ono Hawaiian food. We called our family and friends. We were excited. Two years ago my heart was naive to the hurt that comes with the territory of foster care.

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Letter to My Baby Girl on Her Second Birthday

Dear Lulu,

While we have celebrated you all weekend (thank you Cheesecake Factory, my island ohana and the Paulino/Popovich’s) I find myself wanting to celebrate you even more. Today you turn two. You have officially become my Little Miss Two Much and my heart is so blessed for all of your attitude, all of your expressions, all of your love you have brought into our home.

Continue reading “Letter to My Baby Girl on Her Second Birthday”

When Those Tears Start Falling

If you know a foster parent, let me challenge you: don’t forget to love on them.

I’m telling you this because unless you have or are walking the shoes of a foster parent – that includes you too you awesome parents who are doing kinship or fictive kin parenting – you don’t know how truly hard the struggle is. Parenting is hard in general. Foster parenting, well, strap in ladies and gents because you’re in for a crazy ride. Continue reading “When Those Tears Start Falling”

The List of Why I Want Another Home

Hypothetically speaking, this weekend in the world of foster care was crap.

Friday wasn’t the worst. I mean, I know someone who was sick to their stomach. Let’s be real, the joys of foster care can be way more physically and mentally draining then the stomach flu. So, all in all, it it seemed it was a pretty decent Friday. Apparently the kids came home and someone’s feelings of wanting to be home alone came assaulting them. The bickering, the fighting, the lying was exhausting.

They nearly said a naughty words out loud. At least they knew they were mere hours from the sound of crashing waves.

Fast forward to Saturday and a two hour trip resulted, in thought, no kids going to sleep. All the kids asking for some kind of snack or drink. Multiple potty stops. And a rearranging of the agenda for the day because y’all were supposed to get to your first destination at 9a. But, you know, you left the house at 9a.

Nothing really matters, though. Theoretically, you can feel the salty air and you know you are nearly there. Two poopy diapers, a whiny 4 year old couldn’t stop you from living your best life with the Pacific Ocean in breathing distance. You stopped for lunch and had the best Dungeness Crab Melt that ever kissed your lips.

The rest of the day went on without a hitch, right? You went in and out of candy and toy stores. There was a contemplation of buying a kite. You ventured to stand in the line of Scoopers. You walked the board walk. And you took a not made for sand double stroller onto the beach and soaked in the rays of Mr. Sun. In all probability, It was an incredible family day that helped you recharge.

And then Sunday hit.

Lies. Lots and lots of lies. Hitting, pushing, shoulder blocking. More lies on top of lies. You, in a sense, can feel your body getting heavier. You ask yourself, Where is the little boy that was absolutely content in the water as he kept getting knocked down by waves?

As you cook some awesome Singapore Zoodle Chicken Stir Fry for dinner you hear, “I want to to live in another home.”

You halt. Your breathing stops. Hmmm, okay what did I do? You ask yourself. It’s fine, take a deep breath. Kiddo is in an time in, obviously he’s upset.

“Oh, you do Bubba?” you start. You figure the kid needs to feel like he is being validated, right? “Tell me why.”

“Well,” he begins, “here’s the reasons why…”

  • I don’t want to share with the babies.
  • I don’t want the babies in my room.
  • I don’t like that there are so many baby toys.

Okay, you think, he’s clearly just upset he’s in time out.

  • I don’t like Buster’s breath.
  • I don’t like that I can’t play on the rocks.
  • I don’t like not playing behind the fence on the road.

So, no one like’s the dogs breath. But the other two keeps him safe. You nod your head with understanding as you realize can live with this.

  • I don’t like when he pets my head in the car.
  • I don’t like when she sticks her feet out.
  • I don’t like when they fall on me.

Here is the template of “sibling” fighting. “I’m sorry that they do that,” you tell him.

  • I don’t like that I have to eat vegetables.
  • I don’t like that there aren’t a lot of super hero things.
  • I don’t like I can’t watch what I want to watch.
  • I don’t like I can’t listen to the music I like.

It’s getting almost comical. Your pretend summation of your weekend has you thinking you have a full life of adventure in this home.

  • I especially don’t like all the rules.

Ding, ding, ding. There it is. You waited to hear this because the list isn’t a list. What kiddo doesn’t like are the rules. He hit it right on the head. He doesn’t like to listen to the rules. He likes to be disrespectful and unkind. Two things that are not aloud in your family.

You realize you nearly blamed yourself because he was unhappy. I mean, it is your job to make him feel welcomed and loved. But, it is not your job to put those kids at risk. So much has happened for you during the weekend. But, now the only question that makes you wonder: how do you stop a four year old from saying, “I have a list of the reasons why I don’t want to live in your home?”

Theoretically this was your weekend. Presumably a possibility? Indubitably someone in the world of fostering – or not- has gone through this? Or, perhaps, I’m just asking for a friend? xoxo

Five

Yesterday was rough. I spent my morning crying because the joys of fostering will do that to you. I’ve learned before I became a licensed foster parent that I love hard, I love deep. I knew with children coming into my care that I would love them hard, I would love them deep. I believe that every child in care deserves to hear someone screaming at the top of their lungs how lucky they are to shower love on those kids. I do that. At least I try to. But, by doing so I also have realized when they are being hurt in any way I am fiercely protective.

Continue reading “Five”

Empty Handed

I got there at 830a. I had a 30 minute cushion but that was fine. I wanted to be able to gather my breath, calm my heart, pray that no matter how it went God would touch the lives of the two mothers involved.

As usual, I stepped through the metal detector and had to be checked again. These darn bracelets will be the death of me. Even still, it was something predictable, something expected, something I welcomed in a storm of emotions. I paced as I waited for the SW and the CASA worker to get there. Maybe I shouldn’t have allotted myself so much time?

I walked into the courtroom to listen in to the other cases being called on the docket. Mostly though, to see how the new commissioner is on the job. I wasn’t thrilled about having a new commissioner. Even if a lot of people didn’t care for the old one, I liked her. She seemed to genuinely care for my kids. I wondered to myself, Does having a new commissioner work like getting a new social worker? Will we have to start over again like we have done so many times before?

Case after case I try to listen in but those in the front of the room was speaking to softly. I try to strain my hearing as much as I can but there isn’t much luck. Instead, I honor my grandpa and become a people watcher.

There is the lady sitting directly across of me with the killer black slip ons. I admire her ensemble as if I actually have a lick of fashion sense. I store her outfit in the back of my brain. Maybe I’ll use it to reference how I’d dress when Vancouver Angels becomes a full time gig. Or, maybe not.

There is the guy that looks like he’s coming straight out of the hood. Yes, that isn’t at all kind of me. I realize that when I think it but, it’s hard not to. His jeans look as if they are barely hanging onto his body. He has a shirt that is far to long for his torso. And he has a chain hooked from point A to point B of his pants.

Or what about lawyer gal up in the front? She exudes confidence. She holds her head high when she’s speaking with people. She has a strong voice that demands you to listen. Her outfit is cute and summery but professional. She goes around the room speaking with her clients, other attorneys, social workers and CASAs. She at one point makes the new commissioner laugh. I don’t ever remember seeing the old commission even smile. I think to myself, Those are the types of people I need in my life.

The first hour goes by and I’m beginning to get a littler stir crazy. Two hours past and I’m beginning to create a list in my head of the things I need to do at work.

At the third hour I hear what I needed to: her name signifying her case is being present to the commissioner. We go over introductions. Once that is over everyone says a little something about their case. I always get nervous talking to the commissioner. If anyone knows about these kids its me. But I stumble with my words trying to get past the memories of when I stood in front of a judge for myself.

Our part in the hearing takes very little time. Bio mom’s attorney explains why the plan shouldn’t be what the state is requesting. Social worker disputes it and explains why it should. Back and forth for a bit. The commissioner asks a few questions and shares some concerns. And then, just as quickly as the life with this littler girl and us started it ends. I hear exactly what my heart wants and yet my heart cries. This foster mom gets to hold on to her foster daughter and love on her. But, the other mother doesn’t. And that, that is one of the hardest things about wanting to love and adopt these children. Someone leaves empty handed. xoxo

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