Foster care: It’s a challenge worth taking

family3Many people become foster parents longing to adopt. In fact, when my husband and I began fostering, it was with the intent to adopt. We never imagined we would foster beyond that, or have an open door for children to come in and out of our home.

I still believe we will eventually adopt, so I can understand the desire parents have to adopt a child right away. I have felt how a momma can long for a child she has never met. I know firsthand how …Continue reading →

5 changes I made to save my foster parent sanity

1. Stop seeking/worrying about approval from others.
This is great advice regardless of whether you foster. I am a people pleaser, and that can be a good and bad thing for the same reason: I worry about other people’s opinions. When we began fostering, I thought people would celebrate the good we were doing. It was a wakeup call, however, to see how people acted and reacted to bringing traumatized children into our family. I learned quickly that fostering is our calling, and grew up quickly, leaning on others who foster to strengthen my faith, because after all it is God bringing us these precious souls. Over the years, because we have stayed the course, it has been amazing to see some people’s opinions and actions change.

2. Back off the case(worker).
I use to be that person who sent constant emails and had questions for every aspect of the case. I would communicate weekly, sometimes daily, …Continue reading →

A message to foster parents everywhere

It is said that during World War II that Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, found it almost impossible to sleep. He was never able to clear his mind of worries until he adopted these five words as his motto, “One step enough for me.” They are taken from an old hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light… Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see. The distant scene; one step enough for me.”

“Easy” is not a word I would use for our fostering journey.

As a foster parent, there are events you might not understand, things that keep you guessing, wondering and worrying. Things seem to happen all at once or they drag on for what seems like forever. We would love to have a crystal ball that gives us a clear understanding, calms our fears and ends our worrying. But that crystal ball does not exist, so we will have to settle for …Continue reading →

What it’s like when a foster family says goodbye

handsIf I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I could never do what you do, because I couldn’t give them back.” That comment gets under my skin. Every time. It’s as if people are claiming that because they just couldn’t “give them up,” they are better than me. As if saying, because I can give them up, I am less of a mom or must have some kind of superpower they don’t possess.

Of course, neither of those is true. As we prepare to say goodbye to another precious one we have loved as our own, I think, “I can’t do this.” I don’t want to have a conversation with the other children in our home telling them …Continue reading →

Daddy, can you carry me to that island?

It is a crisp spring morning and we are volunteering, with several other Milwaukee residents, on riverprojecta river cleanup project. My 8year-old daughter, Mia, my wife, Gina, and I have scaled down a steep hillside, filling up garbage bags with detritus mundane, odd and disgusting. We discovered a fallen tree that had collected, at a time when the river was higher, a wide variety of trash that was swept along by the current. Since I’m the expert wilderness camper in the family, I venture out onto the log and immediately lose my footing. …Continue reading →

Being a foster parent won’t always be easy

castleMy foster care journey began almost two years ago. Since then I have accepted nine children into my home and they have taught me so much. If there is one thing I had to sift out of all the knowledge of the past two years, it would be this: Being a foster parent won’t always be easy. There will be times when you are exhausted and yearn for the days when going to the bathroom alone wasn’t considered a “break”. But there will also be times that encourage you, lift you up, and validate every reason why you started this journey. I’d like to share with you the story of my Princess, who has changed my life in the very best of ways. …Continue reading →

The Grace I gained with a different perspective

GraceWhat is Grace? It is kindness and patience we don’t deserve. It is the help and strength we
receive. Yet, the Grace I am referring to is my beautiful teenage daughter who taught this blogger a valuable lesson!

I had just finished posting a blog and was reading it to my daughter when the question came,
“Why don’t you ever write about us?” The “us” she was referring to is the biological children in our home. The question hit me like a ton of bricks. In all my years of writing my topics have always centered around foster parents or the children we foster.  I’ve written about heroes, miracles and overcoming the odds. Overlooking all the time that my now teenagers have grown up as two of the biggest heroes of all. …Continue reading →

A foster parent reflects on an 8-month journey home

It’s the night before the boys’ court hearing and I just dropped off them off with their mom. Mom talked to her lawyer, and she will be granted custody again tomorrow. The paperwork will be done in about a week, and I find myself reflecting on the last eight months now that the boys are finally going home.

Many people have asked and wondered along the way, “How can you not be devastated that the kids will leave to go home one day?” “Why don’t you secretly want the kids’ moms to fail?” “How come you have no judgment toward these moms?” “How can you just let go of these sweet little kids?”  …Continue reading →

5 things foster care has taught me

Foster care is hard. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a foster parent, it is important that jillyou understand it will not be a simple journey. But my foster kids have completely changed my life for the better. We have been luckier than most foster-to-adopt parents because we haven’t had to say goodbye to long-term placements, so if you are interested in adoption, you’ll want to speak to those who have gone through that situation.

Here are my top five things I’ve learned being a foster-to-adopt parent, so far … …Continue reading →

Foster and adoptive parents are the invisible heroes

cape

“Mom, can you put my cape on me?” is a question I hear many a morning from a brave little 3-year-old. This little guy has been through more in just three short years than many of us will ever experience. Yet he knows he is “cape-worthy” and he asks with pride to wear his cape week after week.

Foster parents are heroes. Foster parents are cape-worthy. But, our capes are invisible to the world. You see, foster parents don’t “suit up” every morning; they “show up” every day in the life of children. They “show up” for children who desperately need them, children who need their love, kindness, understanding, wisdom and patience; children who are not looking for their cape, but their arms.

To these children your super powers show up in the books you read, the homework you …Continue reading →