Saturday, February 21, 2015

More Love in the Story

A different kind of love story has been developing in my foster care journey. I have connected with a few awesome foster Moms from my agency and, man, I love these girls.

Foster Care is hard. We always have drama. My life is this never ending saga of heartache and injustice and acronyms that are a burden to my friends and family. They don't get it, and they want to protect me, so they demonize the birth family or the system or they stroke my ego to try and make everything better. Foster Moms are a different breed. They know the acronyms. They drink in the dramatic saga like a beloved TV series and recall all the details so you can pick up your story where it left off. They aren't weighed down by the crazy. They float on it just like I do. They don't make me feel less crazy, but they make me feel like I'm not alone.

We each have 3 kids around the same age, so they get together and play. It's been good for the kids to be surrounded with other foster families who function like their own. Our kids all have big behaviors. It's hard not to get your feelings hurt even when all your training and knowledge tell you their behavior is not personal. They did not go to school today with the intention of making you look like a bad Mom who can't control her child, but that's what it feels like when the school counselor calls you for the 3rd time this week and wants to speak to you about your son. So when you're having a "What was I thinking?! I can't do this! I don't even like kids!" kind of day, to call someone who gets it and doesn't hold it against you is the greatest gift. They laugh (a real laugh, not a nervous polite laugh) when I tell them that I bribed Baby 4's teacher with a Starbucks gift card to not call me to pick him up early for disruptive behavior, then actually bought and delivered said gift card. They tell me my son has been fine while playing at their house (because they dealt with whatever happened so it is fine). They have their own stories to share and know it's nice to have someone else deal with the petty stuff once in a while.

I've spent many evenings whispering fears and anxieties to them over paint and canvas, essential oils and wine, and colored pencils and mandalas. I've driven down city streets with them looking for my child's parent because I had a bad feeling and needed to make sure they were OK. We go to meditation classes and comedy shows and borderline inappropriate movies together (JLo's latest, anyone?).

When their kids have a good day, I rejoice with them. When court sucks and all the energy they've put into keeping it together still isn't enough, I sit there and make sure if it's going to break, it breaks on both of us. I befriend the pregnant Mom of one of their kids, and suggest socially appropriate baby names to her. I bitch about caseworkers and bring Starbucks to trainings. They surprise me with dinner at my doorstep when Brandon's away for the weekend and I won't be able to shower until he gets back because Baby Girl's nurse called in sick so I have to be by her side. They teach me how to stand up for myself with the team working with my kids, and they show me how to be be brave in loving my kids' parents.

I've known that you can't do foster care in a bubble. The difference in doing life with these ladies instead of on our own is remarkable. I'm one of those stay at home Moms who meets and talks to people all the time and always say, "Yeah!! Let's get together! For coffee? I love coffee!" knowing full well I never even saved their number in my phone. I'm really glad I didn't miss out with them.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 It's Biblical, dear reader, go make some friends. 


  1. Oh my goodness yes!!, It is nice to surround yourselves with those who know and get it.. and get it some more. I have a set of friends who although no longer foster, but did for years back in the old school kinda days.. know and understand.. the drama the happens when one takes in children that are wards to the "state"/county" the good ... bad and down right ugly. We keep each other sane when we want to go insane.. HA HA HA

  2. That is Great!!! I have to admit I am insanely jealous of the connects you have made with other foster parents. I have been a foster parent for 6 years and have not been able to find other foster parents to connect with. It can be lonely.

  3. Hi Teresa! I just found your blog, and it's so encouraging reading through it! I'm a relatively new foster mama-first placement arrived in September and is still with me. One of the most helpful things I've done in the past 5 and a half months was connect with fellow foster moms who can relate to the hassle of home inspections, the fear of the unknown, and the hard balance of trying to (in ways) root for biological parents. Thank you for writing about your experiences!
    I try to write about my own when I have time. I recently wrote about a letter I sent to Ellen, and I'm trying to figure out how to share it with other foster moms (since it concerns them). I hate how self-promotional it seems to post a link on here, but I hope you'll take a second to read it- and maybe share it with your fellow foster mom friends! In any case, I'm thankful for your blog and for your desire to serve God's children. Thank you for the inspiration!