A cherished relationship

When we entered our foster parenting journey, we never had concrete expectations of how relationships would look as the years went by. While a couple placements have left us broken hearted, we feel so blessed to have bird in our lives today.

Baby Bird left our nest well over a year ago, yet we often speak of him multiple times a week in our home. Sometimes we reflect on how rough the newborn stage was while other times we mention the cute things he did that brought a smile to our face.

My husband and I consider ourselves blessed because his aunt ( now adoptive mommy) made us a promise that we would still be able to maintain a relationship with bird and she has kept her word everyday since that bittersweet August afternoon when they removed him from our home to hers.

We try to visit bird atleast one time a month, weather and sickness permitting. It’s always so nice to spend time with him and see what an awesome little guy he is turning into. I know that his mom is busy chasing him around and I try not to contact her as often as I’d like. I trust that when she needs us she will text message us.

The other day I recieved a text saying that she had a birthday gift for my husband and a Christmas gift for us. ( have I mentioned what a sweet lady she is?) She is so considerate  and sweet to think of us during moments when she isn’t obligated too.

As I lay my head down this evening, I thank God that even though we have weathered the storm of loss, that bird is blessed to have such a selfless adoptive mom who acknowledges the role we play in his life as his previous foster parents. The fact that she could have walked away with him and never looked back is not lost on me.
We will forever cherish the relationship we continue to have with bird and build with his beautiful mother who loves and adores him so much.
This is what adoption is. Love, selflessness and relationships.

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Purging the past

I have always been a sentimental person.
If I had to pinpoint why, I would attribute it to being an only child. The extra special attention I received from family always led to extra special gifts. I felt special to be allowed to have an object beyond my years. It was a treasure.
As an adult, I still have items that I keep near and dear to my heart. I know exactly who gave them to me and for what occasion. By no means am I a hoarder of all things, but the special things are very difficult to let go.
Naturally, the same trend would occur for all things baby/child related. We have numerous totes in our basement with clothes. The totes are sized beginning with Baby Bug, Baby Bird, and Bookworms items of clothing. When each child left it took quite a while to pack their belongings. When that time came I remember picking each and every piece and remembering a special moment we had with the child wearing that particular outfit. I know most moms have that same moment with their child’s clothing, but I feel that my memory box is extra full, simply for the fact that when our children wear the outfit I never know when the next time I will see them in it will be.
The totes have been left untouched for months now. When we were placed with our little girl ( name still yet to be determined) we obviously bought different gender clothing. Another reason for those totes to remain untouched.
As the weather changes and I prepare to buy summer clothing for our little girl, and she grows out of the outfits bought for her when we she first came to us, I knew I had to sort through the clothing in our basement to make room for the new. We are also having our surrogate visit next week, and cleaning up is a number one priority.
Its like a band aid, you have to do it fast, or you wont ever do it.
Yesterday I sat in the basement while little girl played. My husband responded ” You cant hold on to the items forever. When we get a new child you will want to buy new things for him. We cant keep these clothes. Its like keeping them for a child who has died.” I didn’t think his words were at all harsh, he was simply speaking what deep in my heart already knew.
The first tote belonged to Bookworm. He was with us the shortest time, but also the most fun time; summer. His cute little t-shirts and plaid shorts were just so adorable. My mind immediately went to park play dates and applying sun block on his skin and long days spent by the water. I could almost feel those moments again.
The task of setting out the clothing in “lots” to sell on our local moms buy/sell page began. I posted the photos and got a response from someone interested in buying whatever I had. I took more photos. grateful to have someone buying them so they would just be gone. We set a date/ time to meet and I took the clothes upstairs to bag them. I came across one set of shorts in particular and brought them to my face. The smell was still there. The sweet smell of the beach, lotion and fun. My heart began to ache. I missed Bookworm all over again.
As each day passes, it gets slightly easier. I miss the boys less and less. There is no doubt that as summer approaches, I will miss Bookworm a little more, after all, Summer 2014 was pretty amazing 🙂
I know that purging the clothes is best for my mind and soul. I cant live with regrets. By purging the past now, I already feel ready to face the future. Whatever comes our way, I’m ready… I think.

where you least expect it……

Baby Bird hold a special place in our hearts. He will forever be our first ” newborn baby” that we accepted into our home and hearts.
Bird was trial and error, sleep deprivation, blow outs in public that were blown way out of proportion ( no pun intended)
When Bird left, it seemed like our world was collapsing. I couldn’t imagine what a life without that gummy drool covered babe would be like. It was devastating.
Bird was placed with a relative placement. An aunt who I was able to speak to on multiple occasions before his placement.
I can remember spending nap times begging and pleading to her on the phone to let us keep him. We knew that his case would linger and potentially go into an adoption process. We had come to love this baby so much. Seeing him leave was going to be so painful.
She listened and respected us, but ultimately said she wanted him. She said that we wanted us to be a part of his life. Deep down I felt like she was trying to pacify me, make me feel better about the situation.
We had agreed to meet her at a local restaurant to have her visit Bird. She seemed so nice. Again, we begged and told her our story. She said she had made her mind up. He needed to be with her.
The day of his leaving is a day I will never ever forget. I don’t think I have cried so hard in my entire life. A part of me died that day.
We knew that seeing him would be so hard. It was something that would take a long time to get over.
We let a month or so pass and we reached out to Bird’s aunt. She welcomed our olive branch and stood by her word of letting us see him.
The day that we drove to a local McDonalds was nerve wracking. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to see him. It was going to be too hard. Would he remember us? Would he still come to us? When they walked in I cried. I couldn’t believe how big bird had gotten. He wasn’t a tiny infant anymore, he was almost 11 months old. We spent a little bit with him and parted ways saying we would be in touch and see him soon. I cried the whole way home.
Bird is spoken of often in our home. Sometimes we laugh about the memories and other times we cry over the loss of what we once had. We found that the more we spoke of him, the easier it seemed to want to see him.
There have been multiple visits with Bird and his aunt.
Each time, the visits seem more natural. He is becoming a part of our lives again and its not how we ever imagined it to be.
I never thought that I would be able to accept seeing Bird as something other than my son. The thought of seeing him and handing him back over to her seemed unreal.
The relationship that we are building with baby Bird’s aunt is becoming a blessing to us. We are grateful for her allowing us to be a small part of that special little boys life. We know we have so much to learn from him yet.. He is so loved and so cherished in our hearts.
I wouldn’t change how our life story with him is playing out.

Then there were none

With every ounce of me I am trying to hold it together.
Trying to make sense of the past almost year of our lives.
Desperately trying to understand, imagine, wrap my head around what is to come in the next 48 hours.

Chaotic is an understatement of our lives lately. Somewhere between juggling two kids, accepting a part time job (after being a SAHM all summer), quitting said part time job for a full time job at a school teaching ESL students, and establishing new routines, blogging about our journey took the back burner- my sincere apologies.
I assure you, there has not been too much excitement from the children in our home.

I have yet to write out Bug’s arrival or departure story. Bug was our first and each experience is note worthy- maybe later though.
Baby Bird has the same stories to write. For now, I will just touch on what has happened with Bird.

On August 15, our lives changed forever. Baby Bird left our nest to be with a relative placement. Losing one baby in May and another in August has by far been the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life.

I found that with the last loss, I am not the same. Life does not mean the same to me as it did before. There are times when I feel fine and other moments when I have to take a second to try and hold myself together. I was in no way prepared to feel what I have felt.

We recently learned that Bookworm’s siblings ( which are in another placement) are being moved to another county. Bookworm will be taking the journey with them. We will be losing bookworm by the end of the week.
Bookworm has not been placed with us very long. Just under 3 months to the date since this bouncing blonde hair blue eyed child walked into our home. He has come a long way and we are so proud of who he has become in the short time with us. He will be missed so much. I already hurt.
This will be the first time since Oct 12, 2013 that we will be just us. no diapers, bottles, middle of the night feeds, ped appointments, daycare drop offs/ pick ups. just two people who have memories of 3 amazing boys who made our house a home.
Honestly, I am not sure how things will be, where to begin in picking up the baby messes or which part of my house to clean first.
I do know that things will never be the same. Recovering from the losses of Summer 2014 will forever be etched in my aching heart.
As we learn to become a couple again, I ask for your patience, love and prayers as we work on our marriage and decide what our next step will be in this journey.

How can I be happy?

I don’t know what its like to wake up and be happy every morning.
Somehow, in my selfish mindset, I thought that having a baby in our home would make everything ok.
How can I be happy? The child that was chosen to be with us isn’t in our home because it had a happy life. The child in our home has had a pretty rough beginning and there is nothing to be happy about. When I sit and ponder what they have gone through prior to having us as parents, I realize that being sad and angry is the only natural response to feel.
Sometimes, my anger gets the best of me. I want to sit behind my computer all day and write letters to so many agencies, judges, counties and beyond to get my voice heard. NO CHILD should have to endure the ongoing process of being in foster care for longer than 6 months.
Yet, what they don’t tell you in preparing to become a foster parent, is that people who constantly do drugs, mess up, and prove to have emotional issues will get chances time and time again, because blood is thicker than adoption.
Our case with Baby bird is so stagnant, I am pretty sure bacteria is growing in the water. Each and every day I fall more in love with this little boy who has grown so much before my eyes. Each week I pass him to a caseworker who takes him to a visit with a woman he screams with the entire time, yet a judge still believes in her. I so desperately want to throw in the towel, yet I have no idea how to do it, or what my life would look like with no children.
Each passing day as my heart breaks into smaller pieces, I continue to wait. Patiently.. but, not without throwing a few tantrums along the way.

Limited Days

The days in our home have been stressful the past few weeks.

I have tried to avoid the reality of it.

No longer can I keep silent.

Our second placement, Baby Bird, will be leaving our nest in the near future. He will be placed with a relative placement for the remainder or even permanently.
You see, in the foster system, family pulls rank over any foster family that the child may be placed with. We will always lose if family comes forward for the child. We knew the risks involved when choosing this way to become parents. We knew that there was a very good chance that our hearts would break many times in the process of it all. We knew this would happen, just not so soon after the loss of our first placement.

The news is devastating. When I look at baby bird, I remember his time with us. How tiny he was when he came into our home.

As the nights become less, we will snuggle a bit more, have lots more kisses, and cherish the moments for all they are worth.

The unknown is scary, but with a little hope and trust, I know that the future plans will soon present itself.