You're Not My Momma

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

On Wednesday, November 7, our world was flipped upside down.  Together, Shane and I accepted a placement of three children in Foster Care.  This sibling group will likely remain with us for several months.  They are precious.  They have stolen our hearts and we are so grateful for the opportunity to love them during this time.  To protect the privacy of our kids, I will not share specific ages or details about them.  But as I sit here to write, I realize that I really don't know where to start.  There is so much to say and so much of that I am still processing.  Hear my heart, it's unfiltered and candid...

10 Things I have Learned in My First Week as Foster Mom

1. The first day of placement is hard.  The second day is harder and by the third, if you are like me, you find yourself sobbing on the bedroom floor asking yourself what the hell you were thinking signing up for this while your husband manages dinner for three downstairs alone. The fourth day gets a little better when your meltdown is in the kitchen with screaming babies.  Really, it's only better because that's when you realize that you actually do need your Momma to help you because you went from zero to three and that is a bit life altering. Silver lining, she comes to save the day while your sweet husband has a stomach virus from the underworld and she is grandly rewarded for her service by succumbing to the virus a day later.

All jokes aside, the first few days were tough. They were overwhelming personally to us at no fault to the children.  Not only were we adjusting to being new foster parents we were adjusting to be new parents in general and to three kids!  It has been a learning curve but we have worked hard and quickly adapted.  It's sink or swim!  Schedules have been our best friend and things are going much smoother now.

2. Despite being sleep deprived and cycling through emotional ups and downs you will find yourself quickly becoming attached.  Every diaper changed, bath given, giggle at dinner or part of a little heart that is slowly learning to trust again rips your own heart right out of your chest.  Don't fight it.  They need you to be willing to love them no matter what and you need to have the guts to give them that.

3. When the oldest screams at you, "You're not my Momma!" it will hurt.  Even though you know you aren't their Momma, it still hurts.  But the hurt isn't in the words spoken, it's in the reality of loss that is evident to the child.  Their trauma is real.

4.  Emotional reciprocation isn't guaranteed.  Despite all the love you give, they are not always going to trust you, much less love you back.  Watching my husband work to connect with the oldest and gain her trust and respect hasn't been easy; but day by day he continues to provide that support and love and day by day we watch the shell open just a little bit more.

5. Day by Day and One Day at a Time interchangeably are my new life mottos.

6. Your family and community are everything.  There are no words I can write to express our overwhelming gratitude towards our community that has rallied behind us as we have embarked on this new adventure.  Gifts, well wishes, dinners, clothing, toys, babysitting, a shoulder to cry on... we have never felt more loved and supported than we have this past week.  Thank you will never suffice.

7. Visitation and family phone calls are necessary but difficult.  Watching a school aged child cry on the phone with their mom because they miss her is brutal.  There are no words or actions that you can provide that will fill that void.  Simply put, it's not supposed to be this way.

8. Crossfit, a hot shower, silence, hot coffee and sleeping past six are life saving privileges that should not be taken for granted.

9. I think this goes for having children in general but I will speak from our experience as foster parents only.. your marriage is important and it will be tested.  Make time for each other.  Be kind to one another.  Sometimes the only interaction you are going to get is a few minutes of silence each night before you pass out from exhaustion.  Make it meaningful.  Make it count.

10. I wouldn't trade any of this for the world.  It doesn't look anything like I thought it would but I am getting to do it.  I am a mom.  This treasured life that alluded us for so long has been given to us.  There are no guarantees.  No promises of families fixed or hard timelines.  There are just fleeting moments where we have been given the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Every moment done in His name.  His heart is not lost on the brokenness of what the situation is; but He is in it with his steadfast love and never ending grace.  The character of Jesus is the embodiment of what we are called as foster parents to be for these precious children, day by day; one day at a time.

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