One of the great ironies of life is that when we say that we would never do something, more often than not, we find ourselves doing that very thing. Years ago, I was in a health class learning about all the different kinds of vegetarians when I decided that I could understand most kinds of vegetarian diets, but there was no way in the world that I would become a vegan. A little bit later I also swore that I would never homeschool my kids because I didn’t think it would be a good fit for my personality. So, naturally, I’m now a homeschooling vegan.
A few months ago, something incredible happened. Some dear friends of mine have stepped out on faith and developed a brand new social media that is focused on generosity. They asked if I would be able to volunteer with its needs as it launched and I said yes. It isn’t often that things align like they did so God’s hand was clearly in it. My skill set, background as a foster parent, and passion for making a difference for Christ were exactly what was needed. I’ve been doing some writing for the Givefinity blog and want to share one of my posts there. Please check out the new social media platform here. Here is my post:
I might have mentioned that we have a guinea pig. Harry is the progeny of the class pets at the local elementary school who joined our family when my oldest asked if we could keep her (yes, Harry is a girl…). My husband told Ethan that it was up to me, a mistake he regrets because he really didn’t want a guinea pig, and our very timid and traumatized guinea pig moved from a raucous class of third graders into a family of four kids. She’s still traumatized.
Last week, the thing that I have been dreading happened.
As embarrassing as it is to admit it, my kids recently stole my hairbrushes. All of them- literally. Luckily, this happened on a Friday after I had brushed my hair, but by the evening they were gone. Every. Single. One.
After essentially having a conniption Saturday afternoon and looking like some wild cave creature with my hair literally sticking straight out (I’m so glad I didn’t have to go anywhere that day), my kids finally started to help me look for them. Emily had stashed two under her bed and another one appeared in a kitchen drawer next to the can opener.
I feel like the last year has been a whirlwind and I am just now catching my breath-sort of. I was running so tired I needed to cut loose everything that I could to focus on what is important. There have been some very important things…
I no longer have to use the title “foster mom” when I take my little girl to the doctor or fill out any official paperwork. I don’t have to get permission to travel with her or consult with social workers about what her needs are. I can post pictures of her, hence my excitement with this blog’s title photo. I can just take care of it since I’m now simply “mom”. Continue reading
A friend emailed me this week and invited me to an online event on Friday night. I told her that I would love to be there, but Brian was going to be a men’s camping retreat with church so I was going to be on my own with the four kids. I said that I would be there, barring any unforeseen chaos.
I actually used the word “chaos” in my email to her. I learned a lesson this week.
Don’t use “chaos” in reference to something you are hoping doesn’t happen with three boys and a foster daughter. I also shouldn’t play the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic as it has the line “With every broken bone I swear I lived.” It’s only setting myself up for failure.
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I’m sorry for the absence of a post last week. My computer had other plans. I actually had everything written out and ready to go when my computer turned off. I turned it on again. It decided it didn’t like the position of the power cord and shut down again. And again.
And I gave up.
It seems like it has become trendy to complain about social services. You’ve probably seen the stories of parents ending up in the crosshairs of CPS because their 11 year old was playing outside by himself for an hour and a half while his parents were caught in traffic or heard of the case in Massachusetts where the state took custody of a teenager. Doctors at one hospital disagreed with the diagnosis of doctors at another hospital and alleged abuse…
I made the mistake of reading the comments on some of these articles and it was… ugly. Hideous. Wrong.
People were left and right on multiple threads bashing the work that child protective services does, saying they are just causing trauma by taking kids and they shouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore… and this is the tame version I am repeating here. People were asking why isn’t CPS commenting on cases and why aren’t they answerable for cases gone wrong and insisting that the whole system needs to be done away with.
I’m sure you’ve heard the sentiment. Maybe even felt it yourself.
There are two competing narratives going on right now regarding the work of CPS and foster care.
This week, I have to confess I got kind of annoyed with a sign. Yep. A Sign.
And all this offending sign said was, “Smile!”
I was taking out two of the boys to McDonald’s just to hang out when I was confronted by said sign at the register. Maybe I was just a little tired, but it seemed funny being told just to randomly smile by a sign that clearly had no self-awareness. I suppose that the management wanted to reinforce that McDonald’s was a happy place to be, but it’s symptomatic of an interesting trend.
Last summer, of course at the very beginning, Luke had an accident and broke his foot. We went from, “I really hope that isn’t broken,” to “I think that might be broken,” and then finally, “I’ll be surprised if it isn’t broken” over the course of hours as it started to bruise and swell up. The x-rays the next morning were sickening. It is definitely bad when even I can tell that it’s broken since my expertise in radiology is limited to, “yep, that’s a foot”- it was really broken.