“I am a teacher, of course I do not want my own children. After all, I have over 70 children and I get the weekends off.” How many times have I told myself that … or “Why can’t I just take this kid home?”
Before I knew it, I was a mom to five children ages newborn to 14 years old within a 7 month period (not even a full term pregnancy) because I used the “F” word, FOSTER.
Five children were never on my bucket list, yet they were here in my house and I was responsible for each little life. These children came to me through family situation and foster care.
Ummm, foster care?
Yes, foster care! My wife and I made a pact that she would be pregnant by the age of 30, or we would adopt. Boy did that promise become a reality times five. When the topic of fostering was placed on the table, I froze with the instant thought, “Foster children are bad, they will steal from me, and they will fight me.” Immediately, that thought that had been portrayed through social media and conversations had to change. I had to be that change, not only for me, but for those innocent children as I taught some of them.
Our First Placement
Oh boy, did my thoughts change instantly on April 7, 2014 when we received our first placement. This 6 year old little girl who I got to dress up in Matilda Jane and the biggest bows ever … only to realize the biggest bows and cutest clothes would never change her situation … or her feelings of being in a new and strange place. Again, my thoughts had to change. May 30, an 8 month old baby boy rocked my world as I had no idea how to soothe a baby or train a baby, particularly this baby on how to self soothe. Again, my thoughts had to change from “oh give the baby a bottle and he will be ok” to “be patient and understand his different cries.
Awww “F” word!!!! Did she say a 14 year old girl?
Happy 5th of July as we received the sister of our first placement. Oh, and she’s a 14 year old teenage GIRL!!!! What will I do with a full figured 14 year old catty girl with an attitude who appears to look older than my 5”1’ self. Again, my thoughts of what a 14 year old teen girl is had to change. She was the most kind-hearted, loving, helpful and giving girl who felt obligated to COOK and CLEAN (we quickly informed her that her job was to be a teen and focus on school). Three years later, she is now graduating as salutatorian of her high school class.
Completely Changing My Thoughts
Lastly, an August call that would change my life permanently completely changed my thoughts on being fully responsible for another human being. Our forever, on paper, baby Lane would teach us how to be the best parents we could possibly be while going through the unknowns of the adoption process. All because I used the “F” word.
And how could I forget Marlee, our spunky, wide eyed great niece who lived with us while her mom attended college. Marlee started this entire parenting journey for me. Although she was not in foster care, we fostered her in the same as our foster children with love, cuddles, adventures and many one-on-one dates. Each child changed our initial thoughts of their individual situations … all because of that “F” word. And while many will say how lucky the kids were to be placed with us, we are actually the lucky ones. We are forever changed because of them.
I share this story in honor of the adoption of my
foster son, Thomas. He has found his “F”orever home and “F”orever “F”amily … all because I openly used the “F” word with love.