Labels Change. “Foster Kid” to “Foster Parent”

Fifteen years ago, if you would have told me that I would one day be a foster parent, I would have laughed in your face. I wanted to be so far away from the “system” that nothing would have convinced me that one day roles would be reversed, and I would become the one advocating. No money could of tempted me to open my home to the kind of kids I was in homes with, the kind of kids that I was living with, the kind of kids I saw come and go… but even more so… the kids like ME!

I was a NIGHTMARE for some of my foster parents. I screamed. I yelled. I hurt myself. I never hurt anyone else though. I ran away. I engaged in the riskiest behaviors that would leave you slack jawed to know that I was still alive today after what I did, and what I went through. I had good foster homes. I had bad foster homes. I had foster parents I fell in love with. I had foster parents I feared sleeping under the same roof with. It was all over the board.

Now, today, I fight for the kids in my home. From the infants to the teens, we accept them all. We aren’t picky. We don’t judge. We’ve had teens with severe psychological disorders (rad, split personality, conduct disorder, violent outbursts) and we’ve had teens who simply didn’t care (drugs, sex, alcohol, etc). Our home has more than once been a “last resort” home before juvenile hall or long term residential.

In the past year, I’ve watched two lives be completely changed. Two teens in our home who came to us as a “last resort”. Two teens who left our homes to return to families and pursue military choices. One of these teens had a severe psychological history. You couldn’t blame them for raging out and lashing out. A mother who chose drugs over them, a mother who favored a younger sibling, a mother who walked away and left them behind. The other simply didn’t care. Drugs, alchohol, and sleeping with anyone who asked. So desperate to have a baby just so someone would finally love her.

Love. Structure. Care. Discipline. Listening. Talking. Being there. Advocating. Fighting for them.

We had our ups. We had our downs. We had stays in psychological hospitals for each of them. We had police at our home due to some of the violence. And we still fought. We struggled. We worked. We tugged. We dug deeper. I heard the “you don’t know what I’m going through” more than once. Finally, we sat them down. We talked. We explained what I had been through. And the world changed. Almost overnight. They became different teens finally able to listen and be worked with. They were willing to change. They knew they were not alone in this world. They realized that they weren’t the “only ones”.

One went on to be reunited with a biological father who didn’t know they existed. They are thriving and doing well there now. They have younger siblings. They have a “blood connection” which is something they were so desperate for. The other went on and is headed into the military. A life goal, that they thought they would never see…. All because someone believed in them.

Once again, my world has been changed. What I went through is now helping others overcome their struggles. A label I was once so ashamed of is now benefiting others. My labels may have changed, but my past has not.


First Court Appearance

My husband and I had to appear in court today for one of our children. This child came into our home due to neglect, abuse, and instability on the part of their biological mom. We’ve only been foster parents to this child for less than a week.

It’s sad when you watch a biological family lie on the stand and then get caught in those lies. I feel for the parents because I KNOW they want to be reunited with their children. However, when will they learn that lying to everyone (judges, caseworkers, and even their own privately funded attorney) will not help them in ANY way.

To make matter worse, this family has already had children taken from them in the past. This isn’t their first time experiencing this. They’ve had two children taken away from them involuntarily, and immediately placed one child for adoption at birth to stop that child from being taken as well. When they realized they were pregnant with this child, they ran and jumped states in order to avoid it happening again. However, unfortunately, the parents still don’t have the means/ability/desire to truly parent and care for the child.

Another meeting will be done next week to determine a case plan. I really want to see each parent that we are involved with succeed, but there is only so much that we can do without ENABLING the parent (which in this case has been done previously in order to help… they were unfortunately enabled so much that their attorney completed 90% of their last case plan for them).

How do you handle that fine line between helping the biological parents without enabling them?

Greetings Greetings!

Once upon a time ago, I was a young child in foster care. Then, several years later, I grew up and went out into the world. During my time out in the world exploring, I met a guy who I fell head over heels in love with. While he didn’t grow up in foster care, his parents were foster parents… He was used to having siblingsĀ  who were foster brothers and foster sisters.

Flash forward several more years… We’ve been guardians of more than a dozen children combined… and then life throws a curve ball our direction that neither one of us expected. Something happens that changes everything… and almost overnight, we become foster parents for our state.

Fingerprints, background checks, home inspections, interviews, and a partridge in a pear tree later… We’re up and running full force.

This blog has been started to chronicle our adventures from the other side.