Here’s how you can get involved with foster care

When we started looking into fostering just under a year ago, we knew absolutely nothing about the system, the process, the (amazing) people or how to begin the process. We began talking to everyone we met and learned that there are so many opportunities to help and be part of this incredible community.handsin

Like any organization, we have found that Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services
has endless possibilities to help make a difference. Continue reading →

Dear foster parents, keep swinging for the fences

As a parent of a high school senior, our family is deep in the summer season of graduation – ceremonies, parties, and the constant celebration of successes. Yet what if I told you to you should also celebrate failure? What if I told you to “fail up” next time, to fail a little better? You The-best-top-desktop-baseball-wallpapers-16-ball-in-the-grass-wallpapersee, success is a journey with stops of failure along the way. We have the best intentions, we set goals, we adjust the route and we stay positive and hopeful. But the journey throws us curve balls and we occasionally go down swinging.

Speaking of striking out, Babe Ruth (aka The Babe, The Great Bambino, the Sultan of the Swat himself) once said, Continue reading →

The Lucky One. Counting my blessings while fostering

Every once in a while, right in the middle of a typically normal activity like folding the laundry or washing dishes, it hits me. I realize just how lucky – no, how blessed, I am!swing (1)

You see, as an adoptive mama, one of the comments that really gets under my skin is “Your daughter is one lucky girl” My daughter experienced things no child should ever have to, and then on top of all that she lost her primary attachment figure when she was removed from her birth mom. It doesn’t matter how ugly of a living environment that was, being removed from it meant losing everything she knew. However, that great loss is also what provided the opportunity for great healing.

Continue reading →

My son’s other mom: A ‘precious relationship’

This past May, we adopted our son from foster care. He has been in our care his whole life – they called me within minutes of his birth to see if we could foster him for a while. Days turned into weeks, weeks into years until he was heart-shaped-leavesadopted at 2½ years old. There was another special woman in his life who had been there in the beginning – his birth mom. We met after a few days of him living with us, we wrote letters and had a few quick phone calls here or there while I fostered him, but things were super awkward. We never quite knew how to end the conversation. We always had so much more to say to each other, but we could never found the words – until the adoption was final.

Continue reading →

Foster parenting is a hard task worthy of celebration

Don’t worry about the sticks and stones of fostering. It’s the words that can hurt.

That old childhood rhyme “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will
never hurt me” is really just the opposite of what we deal with in life. I can’t really think of the times I’ve had to protect or defend myself from
the sticks and stones yet I can name countless times I’ve had to dmaxresdefaultefend, protect or heal from the hurt of words.

  • ”When are you done with this fostering?”
  • “Your decision was made for your whole family.”
  • “Why are you adding more stress to your life?”

Early on in our fostering journey, we felt the need to try to answer everyone’s questions, Continue reading →

6 things foster parents need to hear

Over the years I have tried to walk alongside many of my foster parent friends who are trying SO hard to do right by their foster kids. Here are six things I desperately want to say to each foster parent:

1) THANK YOU. There are too many foster kids without a good, loving home. Thanks for stepping up to the plate.puddle

2) Stop trying to figure out your case. Try not to focus on birth families. The decisions they make and the way things play out will not play out differently if you are worrying about them.

3)  Try to figure out how to work with and encourage birth families. Kindness goes a long way. Do not worry about their messes or their choices. Just send pictures, update them on milestones and keep them posted. They may need advice and help, Continue reading →

There’s no such thing as giving too much in foster care

A few weeks ago, we welcomed some tiny little baby feet into our home. These little feet and the adorable baby they are attached to caught us somewhat off guard. Instantly, we were thrown back into the world of bottles, diapers, and midnight waking, back into a family of seven with a mere couple of hours to prepare. I for one was veryfamily-photo-shoot-wi-deb-025 emotional with this placement knowing the pain that his momma was going through not being able to be home with her new baby.

Many of our friends and family showed support without hesitation. We had meals brought to us, loads of formula and diapers donated, clothes and blankets showed up. We even had help with some of the other kids during those first few days. There’s also my personal favorite, friends dropping buy with a big olecup of coffee! This was by far more support than we have received with any of the previous foster kiddos we welcomed into our home. 

To those who have supported us or other foster parents, I say, thank you. You have no idea how much a cup of coffee, or a pack of diapers means to us. It might seem like a small gesture to you, but to us it means that you are with us in a time when things are chaotic and we can sometimes feel alone. Continue reading →

Respite angels are truly award-worthy

Nate D. Sanders Auctions Collection Of Academy Award Oscar Statuettes Set To Be AuctionedEvery quarterback has a backup, many computers are backed up because of viruses, and every lead actor has supporting roles alongside them.

So what do foster parents do when they need to rest, recharge or deal with a virus? They reach out to the wonderful people who do RESPITE. Respite is defined as a short period of rest or relief from something difficult. Yet if you ask any foster parent, it is a service that is so very much more. If it were up to foster parents, they would win the Oscar for “Best Supporting” role every single year!

Parenting children is “heartwork” and hard work. The latter of the two can take its toll on a person, a relationship or a family. Continue reading →

Live your version of your story

Others will tell you their version of your story. In fact, many people feel very comfortable doing so without you even asking. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get everyone to tell your version of your story? We can always dream, right?  iStock_000015831258Small1

Without the ability to have others see with your eyes, think your thoughts, have your passion and feel with your heart, that will just not happen.

So why do we waste time and energy listening to the fictional version of our nonfiction best seller? Stay focused and true to what you are writing on the hearts and souls of all you touch, as you provide respite, foster or adopt. Think back to the start of your fostering journey and the reasons you began writing this amazing story. Are those reasons still not ringing true today? Have you listened to so many incorrect or negative versions of your story that you are starting to doubt and believe the fiction? Continue reading →

Foster parenting is an exercise in unselfishness

I sat in a noisy restaurant, and across the table from me was the most beautiful 2-year-old girl with the best little ringlets falling from her head. She was a part of our family for nearly a year and now, seeing her for the first time since she left our home, it would seem we hardly knew each other.DIGITAL CAMERA

It had been months since she left our home to be reunified with her sister. We celebrated with her and we mourned the loss of everyday interactions with her. Now, as our families got together for the first time since this transition, it was clear the transitioning wasn’t over. Continue reading →