Our Future in Foster Care

Sometimes, I feel like a fake.

Can I really call myself a foster Mom?

After all, we’ve been licensed for four years and have only had two placements.

One went through ICPC and moved to another state.

One we decided to disrupt and she moved to another foster home.

Yes, yes…of course in that time we have also had three biological children.

But I still feel like a fake.

 

I’m passionate about foster care.

But I cringe when someone recommends that I should be followed on Instagram because I’m a “foster Mom”.

It makes me feel like I can’t deliver…

I shouldn’t call myself a foster Mom because we don’t currently have any placements.

And to be honest?

We don’t plan to have any placements any time soon.

 

I see foster parents in my training classes or in Facebook groups online, and they mention being licensed for a handful of years and fostering 30+ kids. Yes, some of those placements were very short-term, while we have always had long term (9 months and 13 months) placements. But, still.

Many foster parents have adopted multiple children from foster care. They’ve fostered sibling groups. They’ve done more and been more.

I feel like a fake. Have I really made a difference?

I laughed out loud when our caseworker mentioned that the agency sees us as one of the best foster families they have. “US? WHY?” I asked, thinking maybe he was joking.

 

I’ve talked about this before, but in the foster world there are marks of “success” (adoption or reunification) and there are marks of “failure” (disruption). There is an undercurrent of comparison (mostly that I myself put on myself) and an air of who is making the biggest difference.

 

And it’s clearly not me.

 

After Heavenly left at the beginning of June, I’ve had to work through a lot of heavy and hard emotions. Feelings of guilt, of not doing enough, coupled with feelings of relief and wanting to slam the door on foster care and never let it enter my home again. I struggled with burnout and secondary trauma and hearing so many words on social media about how God calls us to do hard things and be love to the fatherless and the orphan. And yet…there I was feeling like I had failed. Asking God why this pregnancy has been so difficult, and how he could call us away from foster care when our hearts are willing, but we feel physically incapable.

And feelings of “what next?”

 

For the past few months, we have been leaning towards allowing our foster license to expire and closing the door on foster care (for now). We know that we will not be taking in any placements during my postpartum season, since I usually struggle a bit with depression and anxiety. We know that we want to move out of our current home and into a smaller home, possibly in a different county. We also know that our biological family is most likely not complete, and we do not want to put another foster child through a disruption just because we get pregnant again and I’m too sick to handle it. I struggle with the fear of dealing with a child with trauma and how utterly exhausting it is every moment of every day. I struggle with wondering if anyone would support us if we took in another placement.

And yet…we know too much. We know about the children who are being removed from their mothers arms right now. We know that there is MONTHS of pain and healing to come. We know that these children and their parents may not have a healthy example of what a relationship, a marriage and a family can look like. We know the caseworkers and that they are overloaded and overwhelmed. We know that so few are carrying the load of so many. We know what it looks like to hold a child through their pain, and what it looks like to share the gospel of hope with them for the first time. We know what it looks like to head towards reunification, and we know what it looks like to head towards TPR. We know what it looks like to say goodbye to a child that has been a family member for over a year. We know too much.

We could never step away from the foster care system. There is too much need, and we have too much to give.

But what does this look like?

For now, it looks like Theo and I working to keep our license renewed, but having the freedom to not have foster children in our home at this present time. It looks like working with our agency no matter what county we move to! It looks like taking it one day/one week/one month at a time, and when we feel adjusted as a family of five, perhaps taking in respite foster children for the time being.

And the most exciting part? It looks like me getting involved in a bigger support role of foster parents. If I could do anything with my spare time, it would be encouraging other foster parents and working with them to prevent the crippling burnout that I felt. That is my passion, and without me even mentioning it, our caseworker also mentioned me stepping into a similar role.

So, we are not currently foster parents. I’m still working through whether or not I am fake foster Mom. But either way, whether we continue to foster in the near future, the far future or not at all…we will continue to be involved in helping and supporting ALL OF THE PEOPLE who make up the incredibly complicated system of foster care.

 

Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to hear from you! I know that this has been a sensitive topic that not many people want to breach, but please feel free to ask me if you have questions 🙂

 

 

Pregnancy: 7 months!

Phew. Last week, I had a whole five days of blog posts planned out.

And instead of waking up early and creating blog content, I slept until my kids got me up every.single.day.

So, there were no blog posts last week.

And somehow I’m still exhausted.

Some days I have to remind myself that I am 7 months pregnant and I don’t need to pressure myself to do it all. I’m feeling it, y’all. This pregnancy has a solid 9 weeks left and I’m looking forward to that moment in 9 weeks when it will be over.

Size of Baby: My baby is the size of a coconut! That seems huge to me! He is growing and chunking up now, and boy oh boy is he a mover and shaker! Even the midwife said he was one of the most active babies she had seen. I was sitting on one couch and Theo was sitting across the room the other night, and he could see my entire belly moving around from ACROSS THE ROOM!

The midwife said I’m still measuring about two weeks ahead, which is pretty unusual for me. I am not sure if my dates are off, or if for whatever reason I’ll grow a big baby this time. Only time will tell!

Symptoms/How I’m Feeling: I am going to do my best to restrain myself from complaining. Pregnancy is a wild beast. It’s a beautiful and miraculous process to grow an entire human and I know that I can sometimes take that for granted. This pregnancy has been hard since day, and it continues to present a number of challenges. My hip pain has actually disappeared which is wonderful, but I am now starting to feel like a whale when I attempt to roll over. The nausea is still present, and sometimes the vomiting as well. The past few weeks the strangest pregnancy symptom I’ve developed is this insanely itchy rash. It’s mostly on my legs so my doctor said it’s not PUPPPS, it’s just an increased blood flow and irritation to my skin and my hormones. But IT ITCHES SO BAD. I currently have coconut oil and lavender smeared on my legs, then I wrapped them with ace bandages so I don’t scratch!

However, the baby is incredibly healthy and exactly on track. Literally every crazy thing is happening to my body, but the baby is kept completely safe and just growing away. I’m so very thankful for that. I’ll take nausea and itching for my sweet little one any day.

Emotionally, I’m doing much better now. The unexpectedness of this pregnancy has been a struggle from the beginning, but I’ve been able to deal with a lot of those emotions as the months have gone by. I’m kind of ready for this baby to born so that my pregnancy is over, and I’m excited to have another little one around and begin that adjustment process.

I think we have finally settled on a name, but there is still some debate around our house! And no, we will not be announcing the name until he is born. Our criteria is: unique, has to match with the last name, and preferably Biblical or have strong meaning. Any guesses?

Sleep: I still sleep alright, although I wake up exhausted. I’m only up 1-2x a night, but I also really struggle to get comfortable.

Cravings: Eh. No cravings, still. It’s a cruel world when I can have nausea and vomiting with no cravings for 10 months straight and still gain a lot of weight. I have enjoyed Honey Nut Cheerios a lot this pregnancy, so if the baby were to be whatever food I’ve eaten most, it would probably be that!

Aversions: I mostly can eat anything, but on my nausea days I just don’t feel like anything. No meat, no cheese, no sweets for me.

Exercise: Yeah, no. This has also been one of the hardest parts of this pregnancy, as I’m usually very active and try to stay in shape/healthy/up on my exercise. But not this time around. The exhaustion and the nausea are overwhelming, and even exercising doesn’t help it much. I do try to go on a daily walk with the kids that is about 1.5 miles, so I’m not sitting on the couch ALL DAY. But I pretty much want to!

Birth Prep: Wait, I have to give birth soon, don’t I? Ha! I’ve submitted my registration to Family Beginnings (the birth center), I have my favorite birthing book on hold in the library, I’ve started to nail down who will be with me through labor and delivery, and I’ve reserved someone to come and encapsulate my placenta! I think I have nailed down someone who will be able to watch my kiddos while I labor and am in the hospital, and I’m SO GLAD my mother in law gets to come soon after the baby is born! This was one of my big anxieties so having that planned out is really, really helpful! We are getting closer to the big day!

The Rest of the Fam: Everyone is holding in there, but I think we will all look back on these 10 months as a “hard time” for our family. I’m not able to be the fun and active Mom that my children are used to, and I know that they feel it (but don’t understand it). Theo has obviously taken up the brunt of the load in caring for Tera and Kiah and doing a lot around the house (not to mention listening to me whine about my aches and pains and giving me foot rubs).

 

Amazon Maternity Clothes Haul!

How many of you also follow me over on Instagram? I love hanging out over there, and one of my favorite parts of IG is Instagram Stories!

Today I shared some of the maternity clothes I have bought on Amazon recently. I know this is my third pregnancy, but somehow my maternity clothes have either gotten worn out, lost…or they just don’t fit this time. On Sunday, I tried to put on the jeans I’m wearing in my 40 week picture with Tera…yeah, I couldn’t even get those on over my knees. So there is that.

My go to place to find maternity clothes is consignments sales or Goodwill. I cannot stand how expensive maternity clothes are!!! Our local Goodwill has a very hit or miss maternity section. Last time I went I snagged four shirts and two jeans, but the time before that I couldn’t find a single thing that fit!

Needless to say, I had to turn to Amazon for a few more clothes as my belly (and the rest of my body, apparently) stretches to accommodate this sweet little man. For those wanting to order, just click on the picture link after each top and it should take you straight to Amazon where you can sign in and add it to your cart.

I am 5’4″ and 31 weeks pregnant, so I weigh around 140 right now (between 110 and 120 not pregnant)

Full disclosure: These are affiliate links, which means that Amazon pays me (approx 2 cents per purchase lol) if someone purchases through my link. The price does not change for you.

  1. Plain Jane Navy Maternity Tee 

(Also in black and wine red)

I’m wearing a M

Super comfy, love how simple it is, great coverage! Would be easy to dress up with a necklace or scarf or cardigan for fall

(I couldn’t get the image to link, so just click on the title of the shirt and it will take you to Amazon

 

2. Striped Simple Maternity Tee (scroll down for the link)

(I’m wearing a M)

Love the length, love the stripe, super comfy and has good coverage up top, too. Will still hold my belly for a few more weeks. I could still fit the small, but it might not last all the way up to 40 weeks.

 

3. Fun Color Blocked Baseball Maternity Tee

(I’m wearing a M)

Love the colors, love the fit. Great length, will keep growing with me, fits well up top

 

4. Lace Hemmed Maternity Top

(Also comes in black, grey and khaki)

LOVE this one. On my stories I mentioned that it’s not maternity, but apparently it is (the long sleeved ones are not). I think it could still easily be worn non-maternity and I plan to wear it long after this babe is born! It’s super comfy, flattering and I literally don’t have to worry about my underwear sticking out or my top pieces falling out/showing either. I believe this is a small, and as you can see it will last all the way through my pregnancy.

 

 

5. Long Sleeved Lace Hem Top

I loved the last one so much that I decided to buy it in two more colors, but this time I found it long-sleeved for the fall! I ended up buying a M, but now that I see it on I should have gone for a small. Still, I love it!

(Also comes in black, red and purplish red)

 

6. Maternity/Nursing/Postpartum Tank

(I’m wearing a Small)

There are TONS of colors and patterns in this top. It also seems to be more expensive, but that is because it comes in a random pack of three!

I snagged this one back at the beginning of my pregnancy, I loved how they fit at the beginning of pregnancy. I’ve kind of outgrown them now (I can feel a breeze on my lower belly when I walk around lol), BUT I’m keeping them and highly recommending them because they will be perfect for postpartum and I LOVE the breastfeeding panel.

Here is a non-awkward shot of the breastfeeding access panel 🙂

 

Ok, I think that is all! Please let me know if you have any questions or if the links aren’t working. Let me know if you like this sort of post! You know I’m here for all your fashion needs (LOL LOL LOL)

Yes, I Solo Parent…But I’m Not a Single Mom

“Sooo, where is your husband?”

“Is Theo at work?”

“Are you a single Mom?”

 

If Theo had a day off for every time I get a comment like this or similar, he would probably never have to go to work again!

One aspect of police life is that their shifts are different. I’m sure that there are many other jobs out there that can relate- jobs that are third shift or require a lot of travel. Theo’s shift is never less than 11 hours long, and after four days of 11 hour shifts back to back it can get exhausting. And, yes, Theo’s hours are set, but there is rarely a day when the needs of the people in his city follow a set clock-in/clock-out time. It’s never surprising to get a text telling me he won’t be home for several more hours, and at least once a week he works a 15+ hour shift.

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How to Combat Anxiety as a Police Wife

On September 1, 2017, Theo spent his first day on the streets as an officer.

It’s been a year and this life is nothing like what I expected.

On paper, it doesn’t seem like being married to a police officer would be that much different than being married to someone who works a desk job or who works as a welder or tech man. My officer works 40 hours a week, he deals with people on a daily basis and he doesn’t usually make the news.

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