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Children in Foster Care, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysFeb. 12, 2018

Make a Difference Monday | Love Heals All

I hold on tight as I embrace the hug from my foster daughter. Her legs awkwardly fumble to get comfortable as she wraps them around me as if she were a mere toddler. Her small frame can be felt as I squeeze her tight and remind her just how much I love her. My heart hurts when I realize these hugs will not last forever, but I remind myself that with each warm embrace I am teaching her she deserves to be loved. That alone is worth it. I wipe the tears away from my 2-year-old’s eyes as she falls […]

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Children in Foster Care, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysFeb. 5, 2018

Make a Difference Monday | Why You Should Never Give Up on Foster Care

I get it! Let me just say that clearly before we go too much further. I completely understand why people want to walk away from foster care altogether. If you’re not dealing with difficult case managers, a court system that says one thing but does another, birth parents who continually bail on visitations, you’re dealing with children who are pushing you to your absolute limit! We’ve been there. We have the scars to prove it. So, I get it. In 2008, just four years after we began taking placements, we had both had enough. One of our placements was diagnosed […]

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Children in Foster Care, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysJul. 31, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | Parenting Should-Haves: Mamas — Give Yourself Some Grace

“Mom, J was saying mean things about you and dad yesterday on the bus. He told people you say the F-word and that you don’t feed him for five days. He’s lying. He lied.” I can always count on my daughter to be honest. But, for the love, we were six blocks from the kids’ school, running late, and my coffee was cold. At that moment, I didn’t have the emotional capacity to process something so significant. Immediately, from the back seat, J piped up, “Someone ELSE said that about their parents. Not me.” I tried to remain calm while […]

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Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingJul. 28, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Best interest.

Often we debate what’s in the best interest of a child. Number of activities? Dinner routines? Discipline methods? But rarely do we debate who is in the best interest of the child. That agonizing question is saved for divorces and foster care. Here, a judge, a stranger to the child, somehow has to determine who should care for and raise her. And I can’t imagine the weight of that question. In foster care, the judge has to consider the biological parent, who despite his faults, is the one adult this child has known all her life long. The one adult […]

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Encouragement, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysJul. 24, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | If Foster Care is Hard, You’re Probably Doing it Right

I remember the moment. The four of us were all sitting on the kitchen counters eating cereal at ten p.m. (or it might have been ice-cream. . . we were young and stressed) debriefing about the events of the day. We were all recent college graduates in our early twenties who were responsible for the day-in and day-out love and nurture of 7 boys, mostly teens and preteens. Boys who had come from trauma. Boys who couldn’t safely live with their parents. Boys who brought their unhealthy coping skills and beautiful smiles into this house designed to be their home […]

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Encouragement, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingJul. 21, 2017

Forgotten Friday | 9 Tips for Successfully Navigating the Child Welfare System as a Foster Parent

The foster care system is complicated. But there ARE things that foster parents can do to more effectively navigate it. If there is one thing most people involved with child welfare can say about the foster care system (US), it is this: The system is complicated. But there ARE things that foster parents can do to more effectively navigate it. Here are just a few: 1) Don’t buy into the myths. There are many negative opinions about foster parents, case managers, attorneys, biological parents, and the system as a whole. Unfortunately, some of these opinions have turned into myths about […]

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Children in Foster Care, Encouragement, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysJul. 17, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | When You Understand Trauma, You Understand A Whole New World.

It took us a while to get there, but after years of parenting children from traumatic places, we finally had our eyes opened up. It became a game-changer for us, and our parenting. There are only 3 things I would go back in time and change if I had the power to do so. The first was field day in 6th grade. The event was cancelled due to rain and all students who decided not to come to school were excused. But I didn’t know this so I got on the bus anyways. Fail! The second was when I began my first […]

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Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingJul. 14, 2017

Forgotten Friday | A New Direction. Again. Some More.

After Nathan and I changed course to pursue domestic adoption, and then had the surprise visit from the Haitians, we settled into Christmas celebrations and anxiously waited for a phone call from our state agency to fill us in on next steps. We are not good waiters. Not like as in a restaurant. As in waiting. For stuff to happen. For people who have the information to tell us what our lives might look like in the future. So after a week, we called them. They reported that the next step was to take a mandatory training class which would […]

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Encouragement, Forgotten Fridays, Foster ParentingJul. 7, 2017

Forgotten Friday | Painting a Portrait of Our Foster Family

I’ve spent a good bit of time browsing stock photography sites in my career, and to be honest, 90 percent of stock photography is ridiculous. My current favorite stock photo is titled “Woman Riding Rhinoceros in Rural Field.” It’s everything you’re imagining and more. When you search “family” or “parenting” on a stock site, you get all these stereotypical, idyllic images of a mom, a dad and a couple kids at the table laughing and eating a healthy salad. But there’s nothing stereotypical about my family made up of my foster son, L., and me. I’m like, “Where’s the picture […]

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Children in Foster Care, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference Mondays, Vulnerable ParentsJul. 3, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | Liberty — part one

The roads of the small town would’ve been saturated with plump pumpkins, hay bales, and corn husk figures on that day in late October 2010–intersections and front yards plastered with signs advertising Fall Festivals for chili-cook offs, costume contests, and children’s inflatables, as the crisp air wafted cotton candy and caramel apples. The woman was likely surrounded by her two young sons, their hearts bursting with excitement, as they awaited the birth of their infant sister. She probably labored in the conventional blue-dotted gown, her bottle-blonde hair perhaps pulled back loosely into a ponytail. Life is ironic. No coincidences or […]

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