Friday, August 31, 2012

What to expect from foster kids: straight from my biological kids mouths. (part 1)

As I was clicking around the internet world, I happened upon a blog with an article titled

Adding Foster Children to Your Family: How Will Your Kids Take It?  

It posed a young woman this question : What was it like growing up with foster siblings in your home?”

It was a beautiful and well written article and it got me thinking.  What do my kids think?  So I asked my teenagers.  Now, I am not a wonderful author and my kids are in the middle of teenagerhood. So don't expect much from us.  

My 2 oldest have been foster sisters to 82 kids.  Well, 83 if you count the girl who stayed for 3 hours but they found a grandma that could take her.  I didn't write her name down, so I don't normally count her.  I guess that case was more like I was babysitting.  Anyway, back to my story.  I asked my 14 year old first.  She just said she was glad we did foster care because we were able to help kids.  I said, "really, that's all you've got?"  And she said, "Mom, I want to be a foster mom and adopt and be a social worker when I grow up, so yeah, it was a good thing. I am glad we did it".  Then I turn to my 13 year old and she said "ditto." 

So, I'm not quite so eloquent with words, bout bio kids do fine having other kids come in to their home.  Kids enjoy helping and sharing if given a chance.  We were careful to not let taking in foster kids affect our families routines too much.  For instance, if I had a child in care and school programs, everyone goes.  We don't use foster care as an excuse.  We just haul everyone with us.  You just have to have a go with the flow attitude.

P.S.  I titled this post with a part 1 because I want to ask my other kids what they think.  Also, I believe that after my girls read this, they might want to add or just not speak to me, but whatever.

P.P.S.  The original, got me thinking article is here.

Share with us...

Share with us what it's like for you to be a foster parent! What do you enjoy, what is hard for you? What do you wish you had more help with, what do you wish you could change?

Sweet Baby

Just imagine with me for a moment holding a brand new baby in your arms, she is so beautiful. She has thick dark brown hair that just stands straight up and she has the most beautiful olive skin coloring. Her eyes are a dark brown and her cheeks are rosy and oh so kissable. She is just tiny, remember she is only a couple of weeks old. You are holding her in your arms and loving every minute of it and then she begins to shake uncontrollably, she pulls faces that tells you she is in pain. She can't get comfortable no matter how hard she tries and no matter how softly you rock her or sing to her, all you can do at this point is hold her and love her through it, soon the shaking will stop and she will be able to rest again for a short while, and then it starts all over.
What you just read is what it was like for us when we brought one of our foster babies home from the hospital, she had been born addicted to heroine. Watching her go through the withdrawals were horrid, but I am so grateful that we were there to hold her and love her while she went through it.
I wanted to adopt this baby more than anything and I thought that her mom should have zero rights to even attempt to try and get her back after what she had already put this baby through, but the judge thought differently. The Judge ordered her mom into a treatment center and said if she could complete so much of the treatment then the baby could move into the center with her. We really all thought the odds were against her because heroine is so hard to get off of, but this baby's mom beat all the odds!  She would be in our meetings with a garbage can next to her because she was so sick and she would have a rag wiping the sweat as it ran down her face, she was just dripping wet. She really looked like death most of the time and she told me "Kim if it weren't for my baby I could not do this, it is too hard, she is the only thing that makes it worth fighting for." When the Judge first made his ruling I was angry with him, but by the end I was very happy that the Judge had given this mom a second chance! This was a great learning lesson for me, it helped me to see that people can change and sometimes they do!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Xena's story

It really has been fun to think back on all of the kids we have had in our home, brings back some great memories! I was talking to Melissa this morning about some of our placements and just realized how blessed we have been to have been able to take care of these children. They are so special! They have been through so much in such a short amount of time, and they have come into our lives and have taught us so much!
A quick story about a cute little girl we had named Xena. We had this beautiful little girl come into our home when she was only about 3 years old and her mom had shaved her head, and treated her like a little boy. Well we had a house full of girls and a house full of dress up and Xena loved to dress up, she adored all the dresses and we got her pretty hats to wear and she loved it! We would let her put on make up (only as dress up) and tell her how beautiful she was and she just ate it up, if we had been given the chance to adopt this cutie we would have jumped on it! She was just so much fun to have in our home, but she ended up going back to mom. When I told Xena that she got to go home, she wrapped her arms so tightly around my neck and said "please just let me stay with you mom." Oh I was heart broken, but at the same time I was so glad that her stay with us was a good experience for her. We just found out a few years ago that Xena has been adopted and is doing great! We are thrilled for her!!

Every Child Deserves a Mom!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Here's another story.

I just thought of another story I would love to tell.  So, a few years back (by a few, I mean 10) we took a placement of 3 kids.  The oldest was 9, then a 3 year old, and youngest was a 4 month old baby.  The first morning, I was feeding the baby a bottle when the 9 year old came in and said, "You can go back to bed.  I am up now."  It broke my heart that she was used to being the care giver.  I just let her finish feeding the baby and I went in to start on our breakfast. I didn't make a big deal about it.  

Surprisingly, it didn't take her very long to slip back into her child role.  She was a beautiful girl.  I wish I knew what happened to them.  The day they left, the 3 year old was sick.  It was hard to send a sick sweet child away.  This was when I was doing shelter, so they went to another foster family.  

 It really is amazing how fast kids bond.  I love how much my kids love other kids.  Within the first day, they are usually best friends.  
(My bio son and the baby in matching jammies, how sweet is that?)

Fostering is a beautiful thing.  

Please send us your stories!

Please help us out, we really need your foster/adoption stories. We can't make this blog work without your help, you are the ones that make a difference in the lives of these children and yours are the stories that can help others. We appreciate ALL you do, Thank you!
Melissa and Kim

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What to expect from Foster kids.

So I have had many conversations with new foster parents lately and I felt that I needed to talk a little about starting out in foster care and what to expect.
I am in no way a professional and I do not have all the answers, but I would like to share a few things that we have seen in our home with some of the children we have taken in.
Some of the biggest things you will find with these children is attachment disorder, most of these kids have been passed around so much that they don't know who to attach themselves to.  I will tell you when we first had Beyonce' I was at therapy with her and as we were leaving there was a lady outside and Beyonce' looked at her and said "I want to go home with her" I asked her why and she said "just because she looks nice." She had never seen this lady before, but she didn't care, she looked nice so why not. Beyonce' would go up to anyone and sit on their lap hug them climb on them it didn't matter. It is very normal for them to call everyone mom. We just had a placement where the 5 year old boy called everyone including my 16 year old daughter mom. My daughter did not appreciate this very much and kept telling him, "I am not mom!" But this poor kid had been passed around so much that he didn't know who to call mom. Because I had to have surgery he had to go to a respite home and was supposed to come back to us, but my recovery didn't go well so he ended up at a different foster home (believe me this is the worst thing that could ever happen!) I felt so awful about the whole thing! But all of us (foster moms and respite mom) got together the other day and this little boy was calling all of us mom, how sad is that. He is so confused! My little boy Chase has been with us for three years and he still suffers from attachment disorder. He still would run off with anyone, it is pretty scary!
Another problem is eating disorders, hoarding food is a big one! We have had several children come into our home that when they get food in front of them they don't know how to stop eating. You don't want them to think that you are going to take their food away from them, but you also don't want them to get sick and throw up because this does happen. So the best thing to do is let them know that they are going to get another meal and maybe make out a menu for them and set times for when you are going to eat so they can count on it. Let them have snack time also.
Hoarding is Huge! I'm not sure we have had many kids come in that haven't had a hoarding problem, and a lot of our placements have been young children. So you will find food hidden in strange places. One of the most common places is under the mattress. I have found food in drawers, under beds, in closets, in shoes, you name it! Oh and they will dig through the trash. It is the saddest thing in the world to see, but they do it. We let them know where they can go for food, let them have a safe place that is theirs. A drawers that is only theirs or a spot in the pantry, somewhere that just belongs to them. That seems to help a lot.
I will try to write more later, but I have to go take care of some kiddos right now. Hope this helps a little. Have a great day! Make sure to hug your little ones, they need it!!

Interesting Information

Our local news posted a picture about foster care.  They 

hosted a telethon to raise money for the Adoption Exchange

 and help children find loving homes.  This is the photo they


What do you think? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

My little Charlie*

I wanted to share one story from my foster care arsenal.

We got a sibling group of 3.  All 3 were 3 years and under and mom was expecting number 4.  She did great in rehab and the first 2 children were able to be with her and the baby.  Sadly for him, little Charlie, the 3 year old, needed to stay with us for a bit longer.  I won't lie and say that having his mom in rehab was easy for us.  The rehab was not flexible with visits.   But with help of neighbors, we made it work. He stayed with us for 10 months.  He was very bonded to our family as we were with him and we still miss him everyday.  He went to a preschool close to our house.  Every time we drive by, the kids gets nostalgic and miss him.  He lived with us 3 years ago.  Yes, we still miss him.  But guess what?  His mom did it.  She did what so many people couldn't do.  She got clean and kept her family together.  One of the most common comments I get about foster care is "I couldn't never do it, my heart is too big and I couldn't give the kids back."  Yes, it does hurt, but the experiences that you share with that child outweighs the pain.  Like, I don't think that Charlie had ever baked before.  I had him sitting on the counter making banana bread.  The look on his face was priceless.  He wanted to check on the bread every 2 minutes.   And when he ate it, he acted as if nothing tasted better.

He lived with us over holidays, birthday, he went on multiple family vacations with us, and all of our day to day fun. Here he is with Kim's and my family at a father/son camp out. 

 Do we miss him?  Yes, but do we wish he was never in our lives?  No.  Will he remember us?  Probably not.  But we know.  We know the influence he had on us as well as we had on him.  I will forever be thankful for that sweet little boy.  

*I changed names on this story to protect confidentiality.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beyonce's Story!

When our family started foster care we really didn't think we would end up adopting. We had our three little girls, and was planning on having at least one more and figured we would just keep doing foster care for ever after that. Well plans changed! We did end up having one more, a little boy and we were so thrilled. We took a little break after having Zach, when he was 8 months old we started taking placements again. Our first placement was a little baby only a few weeks old, that was a little bit of a handful but I guess not challenging enough for us because I kept feeling like I needed to contact the Christmas Box House and ask them if they had any toddlers that needed a home. Sure enough when I called they did! They had a little two year old girl, they told me that she was very well behaved, but that she did have tattoos on her face. Tons of pictures began running through my head, I couldn't imagine what kind of tattoos could be on a little girls face. I told them we would love to take her. I then called my husband and said "how would you feel about taking in another little girl?" "Oh and by the way she has tattoos on her face." I was very touched by his reaction. He said "That sounds great, maybe we will have to keep her." I'm not sure how to explain the feelings that were felt, but we both knew that she was supposed to be part of our family from the moment we heard about her!
Beyonce' came to our home and we all fell in love! She was so beautiful, her tattoos were marks that a family member had made on her face, they were just little, and truthfully kind of cute, but they did need to be removed. It was very harsh how they were put there, and no child should have ever had to be put through anything like it! Beyonce' had been through so much at just age 2!
It took Beyonce' a good couple of weeks before she started to really talk, but we found out from a different child that came to our house that spoke Spanish the reason why... Beyonce' spoke Spanish! It was really pretty funny when we figured it out. She did speak English, but her Spanish was much better. It didn't take long though before Beyonce' was out talking us all!
We did go through some difficult times with Beyonce' in the beginning, she had severe attachment disorder and would become very destructive at times. She also struggled with hording food, because she was so worried about where her next meal was coming from, amazing at what survival skills they learn at such an early age. But with a lot of love and patience, and some helpful therapy she has come so far! Beyonce' is the most amazing girl you could ever meet!
It took a good year of visits with bio mom and lots of court to finally get to our adoption date, but it was so worth it! Beyonce' was so worth it! I wouldn't trade any of the roller coaster ride and late night what ifs and all the tears that were shed for what we got in return! Our family has been so blessed by the joy that Beyonce' has brought into our lives!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Melissa's adoption story

We did shelter care through the Christmas Box House for 6 years.  Then we did foster care for 4 more years.  We were getting burned out and tired of loving kids and giving them back, so we decided that we would do 1 more placement.  We were going on a family vacation and had a busy July so I put my name on the foster list early so I didn't have to come home and wait.  I was going to take in 1 child, but there are so many that take 1 or 2 and I am licensed for 3.  So I said I would take 3 to help keep a family together.  I was laying in bed unable to sleep and I thought If there was a foster tree and I could pick any placement off I want to, what would it be?  I choose twin newborn girls and their 2 year old sister.  2 days later, I got a phone call. . .  for twin boys and their 2 year old sister.  Oh my crap.  I was shocked.  It was almost exactly what I had wanted.  I called John, he was game.  Then I called Kim.  I was just worried about my trip and my busy month.  She told me I was stupid for even questioning it.  I had always wanted twins.  How could I say no?  And she said she will help me get through July.  Respite took them when we went on vacation and Kim took them when I couldn't haul them with my family.  
We brought the babies home from the hospital.  Complete with Oxygen and monitors.  What a job waking them up and feeding them.  They were born 3 months early.  After months of court cases and sporadic visits, Bam.  We adopted our little Elizabeth, Jonah and Joshua. I did have to testify in court.  That was a very scary experience.  We have been so happy with our family.  So now we have 9 kids, almost 2 sets of twins.  And we are super happy.  

Kim's first placement

 I always share the story of my first placement because it had the biggest impact on my life! The two little children we brought into our home a 2 year old little boy and a 6 month old little girl. We were so excited!! But had no idea what was ahead of us! When we first started doing care we worked with the Christmas Box House, so it was the CBH that dropped the kids off, let me tell you how sad it was to see this little 6 month old baby girl in her car seat! She looked right through me, when I say right through me I mean as if she didn't even know I existed! She had no expression on her face, she could not sit up, hold her head up, nothing! The little boy James came in and was so willing to run and play, but didn't really care much about who we were or that he was in a different place than he had been in. Severe attachment disorder, and severe neglect! I was heart broken!! We had a lot of work ahead of us, but I was determined that we were going to help these kids.
James was a very difficult 2 year old and loved to get into trouble, so we had to learn how to work with him to help him make better choices. It was a challenge to say the least! But after a while, he did start to learn!
Autumn, would have been content to sit in her chair or lay in a crib all day long with no interaction at all. She didn't cry for food, didn't care if she had a dirty diaper and could care less if anyone looked at her or not. Well that didn't work for me! So we started by just holding her, and not putting her down! Yup, I held her all the time! She was talked to, sung to, played with and just cuddled. We never propped bottles, she was always held for feedings, and guess what she learned very fast that she liked it! After just a short while she started to smile, she started to interact with us, she even started to cry when she was hungry. Some of you might not think that is so great, but I remember how excited I was when she cried for her bottle! I think I might have even jumped up and down! Soon she was sitting up by herself, rolling over and laughing! I was thrilled! It was so much fun to watch these kids grow and change, and it was so hard to let them go and move on to a new family, but I knew from all that I had learned from these kids that we could make a difference and that no matter how hard it was it would be worth it!