real talk. 

Two weeks (and a day!) with our little love, and the most common questions we’ve gotten seem to be some version of these three: What has been the best part? What has been the hardest part? What has been the biggest surprise? 

I’m pretty sure I’ve given different answers each time. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one for each question, but reflecting on this past week (with the honeymoon phase definitely being over), I think I can finally respond with some thought:

Hardest part: the logistical stuff. Transporting little love to and from visits multiple times a week, doctors (multiple) and dentist appointments, meetings, visits to our home by social workers, documentation of.. everything. And phone calls.. boy, the phone calls. I’ve never felt so popular (or annoying) in my life. We knew this was coming.. but that doesn’t mean we were totally prepared for it. It’s different when you’re in it rather than just hearing about it. Our life is not as private as it was before. By opening our home to foster children, we opened our home to the system and all that it entails. And that’s okay! It just takes some adjusting. I’m also trying to deal with the fact that we are officially flakey people. And we’ve already been known to be flakey in the past because of my husbands job (another post for another time). Long story short: because of everything mentioned above, we can’t commit to anything.. like ever. Life changes in a moment in foster care.. we literally do not know what life is going to look like in a day, a week, a month. And while we signed up for that, our friends and families didn’t. At all. And it hurts to hurt them. I’m dealing with some major guilt from these past two weeks because we had to cancel a vacation to see friends, concert plans, work commitments, lunch dates, babysitting, tutoring.. the list can go on. Definitely my biggest struggle right now. 

Biggest surprise: the little things that no one tells you about in training. That people are going to stare at you when the hear your child call you by your first name. That you’re going to have no idea how to respond when strangers in public say things like, “She looks just like you!” Feeling helpless when your toddler is having a meltdown in public and you have no idea what triggered it. When you cringe on the inside because someone just referred to you as “mommy” when talking to little love and you have no idea how/if she will react. The feeling you get when someone looks at you harshly because you aren’t able to answer a simple question about the past but you refuse to tell them that this is your foster child because you don’t want her to be looked at differently. 

Ending with the BEST part: the joy. When little love starts calling Daisy “Dais” for short. When she sings along with the JJ Heller song you’ve been playing her all week. When she finally asked for something using a full sentence, even with a please on the end. The mornings when she snuggles and then immediately asks for “chocolate face” or “ketchup” or something else that makes no sense in the morning. We get to love this incredible little girl and the joy that brings us can’t be explained. In two weeks she’s completely stolen our hearts. I don’t remember ever laughing, singing, and smiling this much. We are better because of her. And our hearts are forever changed. 

Jumping into parenthood has been a blast and even with the above answers, we wouldn’t change anything about it. The hard parts and the surprising parts make the best parts so much better. God is working and He is right here in this with us. 

P.S. Every time I post something, someone I love reaches out to me with concern about how I’ll be when little love goes home. I appreciate the concern, I really do. And I totally get where it comes from. But I need to say this: it’s going to be okay. It IS. Little love has people fighting for her. Doing everything they have to do because they love her just as much as we do. And that, as I always say, is a beautiful thing 🙂 

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our new normal.

I am going to try and make this update short and sweet! ..but I usually end up being pretty long winded, so sorry in advance if it becomes lengthy.

We have had our little love for one week and one day. It’s crazy to think that our lives and our hearts have changed so much in such a short amount of time. A little over a week ago, we were living completely different lives. We had the freedom of doing things (waking up, going to bed, eating, watching TV, going out, having people over, etc) whenever we wanted. Now.. our little love comes first. I think it would have been really easy to see it as a burden (ya know if you ignore that fact that we signed up for this), but it has been a blessing in so many ways. I keep having the thought, “Wow, little love has made us into better people.” And it is so, so true. Because of our little love we now:

  1. Spend more time together. My marriage is stronger now that we are parents. We have no choice but to get up when little love wakes up, eat three meals together (when we are not working), go on outings together, communicate more, etc. Before little love, we would overthink about money when talking about going out a lot, date nights, daytime activities.. we never felt like it was worth it for just the two of us (which is not okay, by the way.. but I’m just being honest). Our thought was that we could have fun just being together at home or doing some low key, but it sometimes led to wasted time together where we weren’t really connecting. Now, we want little love to experience everything. We don’t come up with excuses. And yes, it’s the three of us, but it’s still been really special time for my husband and I.
  2. Clean and stay organized. Okay.. sounds funny, but it’s true. I want little love to have a safe, clean, organized home. And while I may never keep up with my house like want (or say I want) to, we have gotten SO much better about it in the last week. Like, to the point where I feel like people could just drop by and I wouldn’t have to frantically clean up. There is a lot more “stuff” now that we have a child and it’s better to just stay on top of it. Oh and social workers in and out of your house is definitely a motivator as well (seeing good in the system!). So yeah, we clean more. And that’s good.
  3. Fight less & love more. We want little love to see what a healthy marriage looks like. While my husband and I definitely do not always agree and we are not always happy, we have been MUCH more intentional with fighting fair and talking things out, rather than dealing with disagreements in an unhealthy way. We think before we speak, because we know that little love is listening and watching, even if she is so young. We also make sure that we show affection and tell each other we love each other in front of her. It may all sound silly.. but it really makes a difference. A week ago we started doing this intentionally to be a good example, but now it is natural.. and it’s a beautiful part of our relationship that we had let slip over the past two years.

There are so many other ways we have changed too: I read more, because I want little love to see someone reading for fun (she’s not always interested). We see our family more, because we want little love to be a part of it. We eat better, because we want little love to be healthy and she eats what we eat. We appreciate each other more – and we vocalize it. We make sacrifices for each other, tag team, and learn from each other. This whole parenting thing is BRAND new. One day we were a young married couple with a dog we love a little too much, the next day we were parents of a toddler. Her world became our world.. and all three of us were thrown into a brand new normal.

Okay, because foster care isn’t about becoming better people and it IS about children:
Little love is THRIVING. I keep telling myself that anyway. I am pretty sure she would be thriving with anyone, because she is STRONG and resilient and an incredible little girl. She’s been torn from everything she knows.. and she still laughs and sings everyday. She meets new people and wins them over immediately. She makes us laugh, she asks us questions, she reminds us of the little things. We are aware how blessed we are to have her as our first placement. I expected sleepless nights, tantrums galore, behavior problems, and full on #mombie status. Instead we got a toddler that sleeps through the night, naps everyday, and looks the cutest when she cries about not getting her way (I’m not horrible.. it’s just a fact). In training we were prepared for the worst, and we feel like we have gotten the best. For real. Don’t get me wrong.. there are hard moments, scary moments (please tell me how to make a toddler NOT fall), and moments where I straight up think “We are actually crazy for doing this.” But mostly there are beautiful moments. Beautiful moments of healing and love and growth.. for not only her but us as well.

Okay..also had to answer a question I’ve been asked again and again:

Will you take another child at this time? My husband would tell you no, and I would say I don’t know. The truth is.. we may not have little love much longer! Which, as you know, is a good thing (we are FOR families). If we were planning on having little love long term, I would definitely say no to a new placement at this time. We are still transitioning, we don’t know what everything will look like when I go back to work, and we still have some adjustments to make and things to plan ahead for. But since we probably (but who knows in foster care) won’t have little love for much longer, my heart keeps telling me we should say yes if we get another call. It took us a LONG time to get our first placement, and maybe it’s selfish, but I don’t want to wait that long again. So if we get a call.. we will talk and pray and make the decision we think is best at the time. For the record, I don’t think we will be getting any calls. But who knows what God is up to 🙂

That’s all for now!

 

 

 

the beginning. 

I’ve tried writing this post three other times already. It’s hard to figure out where to begin.. hard to choose the right words so that others can get a glimpse of the beautiful, exhausting, difficult, joyful, and important adventure we just began. 

We received our first foster placement. She will be referred to as our little love. We will not be sharing her story from before us.. while it is important and so much of who she is, it’s a story that is only hers to tell. The stories that we will be sharing are the ones that we’re writing together

Our little love is JOY. They say there is a honeymoon phase with most new placements, and maybe that is the case.. but she is a happy, fun-loving, hilarious little girly girl with an incredible personality for such a young age. We’ve had so much fun as a family of three in the short amount of time we have had together. She loves people, singing, and anything to do with water. She’s been adjusting well.. which is definitely an answered prayer. 

People have been INCREDIBLE. From the texts, calls, Facebook comments, messages, etc.. We have felt the love. My mom and sister went out and lost control at Toys R’ Us. We spent the morning at their house being spoiled with toys & lunch while my sisters boyfriend checked & fixed BOTH our cars (because of course our check engine lights came on the same week we get a child). Talk about a blessing, right?! We are blown away (and I know I say this all the time, but for real) by the support and excitement surrounding this little love and our family. From the bottom of our hearts.. We thank you!!

Here are some of the questions I’ve been getting that I can answer:

How are you feeling? The first thought that keeps coming to my head is unworthy. I am already in love with loving this little girl and I don’t feel worthy of it. I struggle the most with guilt.. so while I’ve been given this incredible opportunity to love this little human, I’ve been thinking of everything I’ve done (and do) that makes me unworthy of it. I mean.. I can be a horrible person sometimes. I say horrible things, think horrible things, get angry too quickly, can gossip & complain.. The list can go on and on. The incredible part of this feeling of unworthiness is that God thinks I’m worthy. And God uses us, even though we are sinners, to do some incredible things. And I’m thankful to be a part of that. 

How long will you have her? We really have no idea. All we do know is that we are called to love her today and in this moment. I’ve never felt such a sense of urgency.. not knowing how long she will be with us.. It makes it real. We need to make sure this little knows how much she is LOVED! I want her to hear it, feel it, experience it. It is urgent. 

How much do you know? This, I think, is in regard to little loves family and history. The truth is.. we don’t know much. But what we do know is this: when we started foster care, we knew that we wanted to be FOR families. We want to see the system work. We want to see healing from brokenness and we want to see reunification if that is Gods will. So regardless of what we know or don’t know, we will be praying for little loves family. We will be writing updates and sending pictures. We will be talking to little love about them in a positive and loving way. This is absolutely necessary if we truly want to see broken families restored. 

What’s been your favorite part? Hands down.. watching her with my husband. It’s like I’m falling in love with a completely different side of him. It started when we first started getting placement calls with just little things he would say and ask, but it’s continued to show since we took in this little love. He is such an incredible father. My current favorite sound is both of their laughter together.. I’ll never get sick of it. 

Thanks again for being a part of this!