This heart that I follow

Life is funny. In a matter of a second it can drastically change for the better or worse. The end result changing the direction in which your life is going, often times in a complete directional change than before.

I remember like it was yesterday. December 19, 2014, We recieved the phone call for a precious 2 year old little girl. My Christmas wish had come true and I was on cloud 9.

The amount of love and preparation that went into accepting that little girl in our home was fierce. So many people came to our rescue and helped make her transition and Christmas simply beautiful.

The case quickly became complex. Too complex to write out for others to accurately follow and we soon realized that little girl came with alot more baggage than we ever imagined. Such is foster care. You never get the full story until your all in.

Our hearts and minds were taken on a emotional whirlwind and we quickly tired from the complexity.
Little girl was snatched from our home within 48 hours by the hands of a very hurtful worker and our hearts have never fully recovered.

Looking back, I realize the excitement that took over receiving her was impulse and encouraged by the ache in our hearts that longed for a child. I’m not too proud to admit that we had been approaching foster care all wrong. Our intentions were selfish. There are many lessons learned from the experience and we have given ourselves the opportunity to grow in many ways.

Shortly after the loss of our 4th foster child, we realized that our hearts couldnt take any more hurt.. or could they?  A decision was made that we would pursue domestic infant adoption ( a topic I have not yet opened up on here). It seemed like the safer, much less emotional way to become parents. Boy, have we been wrong. The emotions involved are such a rollercoaster, minus the tiny human passenger along for the ride.

My heart has lead the way on this crazy journey to parenthood and thus far, it’s left our hearts hollow and aching in more ways than we ever prepared to be.
There’s no turning back now, we’re all in…

losing our foster daughter helped my marriage

* Let me state beforehand, my marriage was by no means in immediate danger of being disrupted. Our marriage was in a rocky moment and that was 100% attributed to foster care. *

It is hard to believe that a month has come and gone since we lost little girl. Her case was a whirlwind of emotions, frustrations, and moments I would never wish on anyone. When we received the news that her worker was putting in a 14 day notice, I was distraught. I fought so hard to have that reversed, simply because I cared for her. When a letter came to our home, hand delivered on a Friday at 8am informing us that we would be parting ways in 48 hours, I was even more devastated. I don’t have the energy to go into detail about our final hours together or how much my heart aches as a result of losing little girl.

Foster care is hard. There is nothing to prepare a couple for what is to come. Each case comes with its own burdens and challenges. When you are completing the licensing process, DHS makes sure that they inform the parents that there are measures in place to prevent burnout, and that when we need a break from the trials that it will be readily available to us. Unfortunately, in our county we are down 50 homes and the number of children needing homes is on the rise. There is a large deficit in the home to kid ratio. There is not that promised respite care to free us for a moment. It’s quite sad, but makes a lot of sense.

My husband and I cannot and do not have our own children. I can only speculate what having a forever child is like, but I imagine it to be a much easier task than having the state breathing down your back and having to deal with workers, judges, and lawyers.

In our two years as foster parents we have experienced a lot of turmoil. Each case varied, some being easy, some caseworkers being supportive and loving towards us. This makes for a smooth placement, easy table talk and all around happy life. When a worker is less supportive, manipulative, bossy and rude, it takes a toll on you, your relationships and most importantly, marriage.

Little girls case was our hardest by far. We were tested, stressed and angry. Looking back on it now, I see how angry and tense I was all the time. Majority of our discussions were angry with our caseworker and  that in turn spilled over into my relationship with my husband. Our lives were completely upside down and we argued a lot about little things, simply because of the pressure from the state and the lack of control we had in making decisions for little girl. When you in the moment, its hard to see that. You think everything is fine and the bickering becomes a daily part of life, it seems natural.

I never imagined that the day little girl walked out of our home would be the day that the stress associated with her case would disappear as quick as it came into our lives. We found that the phone was quieter, emails weren’t pinging in at all hours and we had time for ourselves again.

My husband and I only had each other. We had to learn to lean on one another again and cope with the loss we were dealt with. It made us think about the lack of attention our marriage was getting. We knew we needed to change that and focus on one important thing….. US!  At first it was weird, for the first time in over 7 months we were alone, no little person following us around. Eventually we began to enjoy our freedom, and took on a new hobby, more intimate moments, and focused on why we fell in love to begin with. Our marriage was no longer being deprived and the life was coming back to it.

Realizing how much we needed each other made us think about where our next chapter needs to begin. We know that right now foster care isn’t for us. Becoming parents is not that important if it means our marriage has to take the backseat because the state is in a deficit and our lives will be turned upside down.

Its sad that our hearts had to be broken again, its even more sad to have lost another child, but I know that God has everything happens for a reason and he knew that my marriage was more important than some child that may or may not have been with us forever.

As for the hubby and I, we love the fact that we can kayak, go wine tasting and enjoy being a couple and focus on a positive relationship instead of a stressful foster care relationship. I am unsure of what direction we will head next. for now, we are busy enjoying the summer and picking up the pieces from little girl.

Some days……I just can’t

Infertility sucks. every single day I ache. I ache for a baby, for a way of parenting that doesn’t require consent forms, court, 3rd party parenting, and parenting times.

Little girl has been a complete joy. In her short 110 days here, she has made great strides, and overcome issues that I thought we wouldn’t be able to hurdle over. As usual, in typical kid fashion, she has shown resiliency and adaptability in being a kid who, given the chance can overcome the impossible and thrive with the correct family.

Lately I haven’t had it in me to document our foster parenting journey. The end of the day comes and I am just exhausted. It takes everything in me to finish the day and rest up for the next day of drama.

because, quite frankly, it sucks. I just cant keep putting myself through the emotional trauma, added stress, and struggles that go with this journey to becoming a parent. I feel like every time I have a need to blog its a complaint and the same old story of disgust. It has been mentioned many times that our area has a foster parent deficit. I know exactly why…. The way we are treated and the expectations set for us are unrealistic and stressful on a marriage. The expectation that we are required to do everything correctly and the emphasis that birth parents only need to do sup par expectations is taxing and creates a toxic situation for all involved.

I don’t know what direction we are headed as foster parents or how easy our surrogacy journey will play out. I do know that in the coming weeks we prepare to go off the grid and leave behind the stress of foster parenting and focus on us as a couple. A couple who has endured so much in just under 2 years with 4 children who have entered our home and left a mark on our hearts.

I wonder…

There are nights when I silently creep into our little girls room and adjust her covers and tuck her in. I often stop and stare at her for a few moments and wonder. I wonder thoughts that so many of my other mommy friends don’t have to wonder about. I wish I could look at her and wonder the basic life wonders. Instead I think about things no adult should have to think about when they look at their child.
I wonder so many things. I cant even begin to imagine the thoughts that go through her tiny head.
As she sleeps in her crib, she seems so content, so happy, so normal. Her life is anything but normal. Each week 2 days in a row she is whisked away by a caseworker who transports her an hour away to the next county for a two hour visit. All I know is she comes back smelling heavy of cheap perfume and menthol cigarettes.
I often wonder if she could talk what she would say to her mother. Would she tell her how amazing we treat her? or about how her closet is full of beautiful clothes that smell of laundry detergent, not smoke, lies and drugs?
I wonder if she knows how loved and wanted she is by us. How I spent years shedding tears about my potentially never becoming a mother, even if only for a few months. How each night as I hold her while she falls asleep that I feel so much love and contentment in that exact moment and I never want it to end.
I wonder where she will be next year this time. Will she be in this exact same room, with the exact same parents? or will she be back to her smoke filled, un loved life with a woman who is more in love with the bottle than her own flesh and blood?
Lastly, I wonder how.. How did my life come to this point? Where did I fail my body, my husband, my family? How did I allow myself to expose my heart so much, when at any given moment it could be broken yet again?
How did I allow myself to lose my faith, my relationships? and where do I begin to repair those relationships?