#fostercare #fostermom #adoption #gotchaday #firstmothersday
We are going to break away this week and get personal. Tara and I (Becca) both have “wear your heart on your sleeve” kind of personalities. What you see is what you get, and what you get is always our best. So we decided to treat our blog the same way, and open up about something very big happening in our private lives. This past year behind all the scenes of The Upcycle Girls, I have been going through an extraordinary adventure. Tara, being not only a co-worker, but also a close friend and confidant, has witnessed the many phases of this process. So we decided together that we would like to share with our readers in order connect with you on a new level.
I will keep this as brief as I can, although I could talk for hours about everything I know and have experienced. If you have questions about foster parenting, adoption, or my story, please ask! However, please be mindful of my desire to protect my kids’ privacy as they are still too young to make decisions themselves about sharing their stories.
My husband and I had decided to become foster parents toward the end of the summer, 2016, after much discussion and a ton of prayer. We truly felt it was where we were being led, and still feel that way. We began the certification process in a southeastern county of Wisconsin, and during our training were repeatedly told not to get our hopes up for adoption. The purpose of foster care, after all, is reunification. That is always the first goal, as it should be. Healing a family and the individuals in it must be maintained as a primary goal for foster care in order for it to be carried out properly. This was a fact that I struggled with at first, but came to understand and strongly agree with. (This is one of those things I could talk your ear off about…) Thus, we emotionally and mentally prepared for our first placement as we started down this new path.
Fast forward to the second week of January, 2017. I will always remember every detail of this moment. I was standing tall on a ladder, putting a coat of white paint on a built-in cabinet for an on-site project we had in progress. My phone rang, and I recognized it immediately as the county. I answered, and sure enough it was our licencor. She asked me if we were still interested in adoption, to which I simply replied “yes,” with hardly a breath. I was informed that there were two children, ages 2 & 3, who needed a foster placement with potential to adopt. In basic terms: Due to the current status of the case, the county only wanted to place the children with foster parents who were open to ultimately adopting them in order to maintain as much consistency for the kids as possible. Awestruck (remember, we thought it was unlikely that we’d be able to adopt any kids…), I said I needed to talk to my husband and would need to call them back. Matt and I talked and knew we had to at least meet the kids. We did, felt an instant connection, and agreed to accept our first (and only) placement. Shortly after, we learned that their birth mother was pregnant. So quite quickly we went from zero, to a third on the way!
The next year was kind of a blur as the kids, Matt and I, developed new relationships and navigated life’s phases as a new unit. As you may guess, learning how to parent two toddlers overnight: NOT EASY. Our lifestyle changed REAL quick. That kind of shock puts a strain on everything and everyone involved. And then when our baby girl came in July, things took their biggest shift. While it got crazier and busier, and Matt and I were all of a sudden sleep deprived in addition to everything else, we felt settled; complete. Life was now a very loud, very messy continuous loop of crayons, diapers, stickers, tissues, cheerios, and PJ Masks (anyone else with me on that last one?). Chaotic, stressful, and perfect.
Earlier this year, parental rights for the kids’ birth parents were officially terminated, and we began the process of adoption. This month, that adoption became final and our family is finally legally in one piece. We are very open with our kids about their adoption. We talk about it, read about it, and celebrate it together every day! Our hope is that as each of them gets older, they feel comfortable and confident telling their friends and peers about their story.
Honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever be a mom. I knew I wanted to be a mom. I knew I could be a mom. I just didn’t know how or when it would happen. Now, I know that this was always the path I was meant to take to reach that destination. These kids were always going to be mine.
Learning to parent each of my three kids separately has been a challenge, each in its own special way. I am grateful for that, as it will always help us learn and grow together. My four-year-old “M” has a crazy spirit. She is one of the most interesting people I know. She pushes me to my limits, but the same characteristics that push my buttons are what I know will take her far. She is adventurous, passionate, and so clever. Three-year-old “R” is a spitfire. He is impulsive, affectionate, and hilarious. There is never a dull moment with him, and I am excited to see how his personality both changes and stays the same as he gets older. Baby “L” is simply a doll. She is sweet and beautiful. She is feisty, cheery, and curious. To have been able to watch her develop from birth has been a gift, and to witness her strength through such a tough beginning to her tiny little life has been humbling. I can’t imagine my life without these three little trouble-makers. They make me laugh, cry, and dream. They make me work harder. I hope for their best future. I wish for their pain to vanish. I look forward to many years of teaching them about “side-of-the-road gold.” And I will never stop loving them as if they had come from me.
“Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.” #AdoptionCreed
At this point, I do feel the need to note a couple of things:
- Our story is NOT typical. If you have plans to become a foster parent, work hard on maintaining a realistic and prioritized mindset to focus on the true purpose of foster parenting. But also be open with your case leads about your hope to adopt.
- The fact that we were given three kids so quickly is a testament in my eyes to the great need for foster parents. If you are interested in fostering a child who needs a home, www.fosterparentsrock.org is a GREAT place to start. You should also call your local county Health and Human Services for options and direction on what you can do. If you want to help through other means, send food, clothes, and toys to foster families you know or through your county HHS office – They can also tell you if there is a need for anything specific. You can also donate to The Coalition, which is a locally based organization who is very involved in the support of foster and adoptive families: https://coalitionforcyf.org/ And finally, feel free to ask me questions, or talk to me about your feelings on this post! I would love to hear your own stories, and connect with you in a new way.
Happy Mothers Day to ALL mamas today: Biological moms, foster moms, adoptive moms, fur mommies, hopeful moms-to-be, and moms who have experienced loss. Tara and I are thinking of all of you today. We are grateful for you, and we admire you.
Becca & Tara