Answering the call to become a foster parent comes with a certain righteousness. At first anyway. Then comes the nitty gritty of raising a child that is not your own. Or your own race. I'm going to lay out some petty thoughts here. Feel free to judge. I know I do.
We were at the YMCA gymnastic center and chubby white girl (age 10 or so) started following around our African American foster daughter (Tulip age 4). Like my foster daughter was a special rock star or something. My husband and I shot each other a look. There are just some white girls that love to chase African Americans around. It's a special category of the white trash. Emulating the ghetto fabulousness of it all. There was even an African american boy that the chubby white girl started latching on to. And my husband and said to each other, there is a biracial baby in her future. You all know what I'm talking about. We've all been to walmart.
Now remember, I'm not proud of these thoughts.
At a gas station restroom I was helping Tulip wash her hands. A grown up version of the chubby white girl came out with her biracial girl. She made the deepest, knowingest, 'well hey girlfriend' type of eye contact with me. And I wanted to say "THIS IS MY FOSTER DAUGHTER. AND HER SKIN IS SUPER DARK. YOU CAN SEE SHE'S NOT BIRACIAL RIGHT? I AM NOT ONE OF YOUR TRIBE." But, I just smiled and got on with my life.
Then there's the thoughts about Tulip's birth mom. I'm coming to realize that she really really REALLY values Tulip's looks. Every time she gets a visit with mom she gets new clothes, new shoes and 150 dollar hair extensions. Ok, the hair extensions were a one time thing but still. The child is four. Then, THEN we get emails from the social worker about how Tulip's mom doesn't like how we're doing her hair or how she's dressed. Sometimes, when she calls Tulip, she asks to speak with me to outline these grievances. It was all I could do not to crawl through the phone.
My anger and resentment with the mom is getting kind of big lately. I'm really not proud of this. I'm tired. Tulip is starting to have behaviors. Mild ones so far--being stubborn, screaming when she's put on a time out, ripping at posters on the walls, hiding objects (the other kid's toys) in her bed . . . . all stuff we're spending time correcting. Every day she cries for her mom and asks when her mom will come get her.
And as far as I can see. . . there is nothing wrong with mom. She's not addicted, in jail, abusive or neglectful. She obviously loves Tulip. So why isn't she coming to get her daughter? She has a job, an apartment and had raised for the last four years. She's had her "break" to get together. It's been three months.
Then the really evil thoughts kick in.
What if Tulip's mom just doesn't want to be her mom. What if she just wants a doll that she can dress up, then leave with other people so she can live the single crazy life.
AND that's where the righteousness of being a foster parent wears off. It seems we are serving a selfish birth mom here. So she can be all footlose and fancy free. And I want to tell the social worker to give the birth mom a big kick in the hinder and get her to take her little girl back. Because Tulip misses her mom so much. And I'm tired.
but I can't force her to take responsibility for her daughter. I can't dictate anything the Mom does. I'm not here for her. I'm here for Tulip. And I pray I'm doing everything that needs to be done.
And I'm making mistakes and screwing up. But I'm here for Tulip. Hugging her and comforting her. Putting her on time outs in the MIDDLE OF TARGET. And making sure she knows she is beautiful, not because of the clothes, but because GOD made her. And God made her beautiful.
That's something I can be proud of.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sometimes we like to tell our daughter a story called "The Egg Story". It's her birth story. Which was ten years ago. sniff sniff . . anyway, we let it unfold like this.
Daddy and I loved each other soooooOOOooOOOooo much we decided to have a baby. We went to amazon.com and ordered you. A few weeks later, a package arrived. We rushed home and found your box on the porch. I ran my fingers over the big, block letters that said, "BABY GIRL: FRAGILE".
We brought you inside, opened the box and found a big egg. It was the size of a watermelon. Daddy trimmed the box, laid a heating pad down and placed you back in. There you sat, on the couch, for a whole week. Sometimes I would hear a slight whimper or see a tiny wiggle. If you stirred, I'd cover your egg with a blanket and it settled you right down. You were a good egg, even then.
Each day, Daddy and I we would sit by your egg, making sure the temperature was just right. We’d wrap our arms around you, giving you a big Daddy Mommy hug. Then, we'd settle in real close and tell you how much we love you and how we couldn’t wait to meet you. Sometimes you’d jump when we talked. I think you loved us too!
Then came the day when you couldn't be comforted. Your whimpers grew loud and your egg wobbled to and fro. I tried to hold you but I couldn't get a grip. You were just too restless. We decided to let you do what you needed to do. Daddy and I made a bed for ourselves front of the couch and waited. You were ready to be born.
You worked so hard on being born. Your egg would bob all around, rolling back and forth. We followed you from room to room, making sure you didn't roll down the stairs. Sometimes you would take a rest and your egg would get very quiet. Then things got too quiet.
Mommy was really scared. So was Daddy.
We put our ears on your egg and didn't hear anything. We jiggled you a little and you didn't jiggle back. We put the heating blanket on medium, thinking you were too cold. We sang to you, we hugged you, but you weren't stirring.
Then Daddy went down stairs and got a small screwdriver. He gentle tapped on your shell, making little cracks so you could breathe. I peeked in and saw your little head. I saw your tiny hands and baby ears. You weren’t moving and Daddy kept chipping away. He peeled back part of the shell and we scooped you out. You were soggy, bluish and covered with crisco. You were very sleepy. We held you tight, rubbing your back to wake you up. I put my hand on your heart and felt it beat. I put my cheek near your nose and felt you breathe. You started to twitch. Then you opened your mouth super wide and started to howl.
Daddy and I cried while you turned blue to pink to ruby red! We were so happy!
Then we cut your cord, cleaned you up and wrapped you in a warm blanket.
And THAT, dear Piper, is how you were born!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I can count about 4 times in my life where stress has overwhelmed me. Two of those times were school-- nurse and nurse practitioner school. It almost killed me. Both times.
Another time involved being a mom for the first time. I had NO IDEA how to handle that. My head was all explodey with feral fear for the first year.
The forth time is now. I have 5 kids. Each with their own set of needs.
Pancake, age 10, is becoming a tween and not dealing well. Life is full of challenges she doesn't know how to handle. She's growing up and growth can be very painful. Her girly huffy puffy tears--they do flow. I want to just yell at her and say, "YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL. JUST RELAX AND LET ALL THE AWESOME THAT GOD GAVE YOU BLOSSOM. IT'S GOING TO BE OK." Instead, I bring her to yoga, roller blade with her and make sure she has a door to lock in order to read excessively. This seems help reduce her tween meltdowns. Or space them out at least.
God help the sensitive teenage girls out there, especially my daughter.
Mac-N-Cheese is six years old, blonde and super charming. Asks really interesting questions. Hypersmart and sensitive. Still can't get the whole 'wiping his butt thing' conquered yet. Can't cross the street without his sister because he'll stop in the middle of the road to stare at a cool cloud. Has no idea where we're going half the time, but happy to be along for the ride. We're getting less notes from school about his behaviors. The male of the species is slow to develop temper control. Sometimes anyway.
God help the all boy boys out there, especially my son. God help his future wife develop patience and a light and loving heart, she's going to need it.
Sam is our part time foster kid, age 5. He's here on weekends. He's the least of our problems. We've got his behaviors pretty much under control now. Signficant reduction in palming items when we're out and about. For me, being with him is fun. Sad though. I'm not the mom he really wants. I hope his mom gets her act together. It'll take a miracle though.
God help all the boys with Moms that can't be Moms out there, especially Sam.
Tulip is our 4 year old foster daughter. We've made headway with her tantrum behavior. She is still very, very needy. I feel so guilty sometimes but sometimes I just need her off my lap. Sometimes I don't listen to her stories. Seriously, I'm worn out. The other night I told her to hush because I was watching TV and I JUST DIDN'T HAVE THE ENERGY TO HEAR ONE MORE STORY ABOUT HER MOM AND THE BELT SHE USES FOR SPANKINGS. Sometimes she uses these stories to get attention because telling me her mom 'dances upside down on a pole' is a way for a 4 year old to get attention. But, sometimes THIS MOMMY needs to watch dancing with the stars without kids on a lap because dancing with the stars is awesome! Stripper birth mommy stories can WAIT!!
God help all the little girls with mommies who don't take care of them. They won't make it far without you, especially Tulip.
AND THAT BRINGS US TO RIVER.
He's perfect so far. Seven months of chubby, baby love!!! I carry him everywhere even though he's so heavy my arm feels like it's GOING TO FALL OFF. He rarely is put down by anyone. All are agreed that is no good and much fussing occurs when it happens. This probably explains why he isn't sleeping through the night BUT OH WELL.
So this is the forth time where I've felt my wheels are spinning too fast. That life is going so fast it's getting away from me. I feel exhausted and weepy. The stress is too much. But, not matter how fast the wheels go, they don't stop. Life never stops. So, I'll wait. I know this feeling will pass. Then, I'll look back and laugh.
Each time this feeling comes around, it comes with growth in my heart. And growth makes me more capable of handing all sorts of things.
Which is kind of scary really. What more is coming down the pike?
EEEE!!!! God help Mrs. Hall!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I want hug to all moms who've breastfed their babies. A HUG TO EACH AND EVERYONE ONE OF YOU! I want to hug the moms that breasfed their babies until their babies were kindergardners and beyond. I want to hug the moms that breastfed 100% and never once used a bottle. I want to hug the ones that breast feed twins, triplets and quads! I want to hug all of you.
I want to hug the moms that tried AND TRIED AND TRIED to breast feed and it never worked out. I want to hug the moms that held a sqwakey, crying, sleeping, hysterical, biting baby at the nipple for one minute then completely changed their mind went to the bottle. I want to hug the moms that never wanted to ever breastfeed so they didn't! I want to hug the moms that hold their babies tight and give them good bottle love. I want to hug all of you.
I want to hug the moms that drape a blanket, shawl, towel or sweater over their nursing infant in public. I want to hug the moms who let their boobies hang out, nipples all akimbo and nurse those hungry babes! I want to hug the moms that nursed in private, curtains drawn, in the back room only. I want to hug the moms that nursed in front of disapproving relatives and resturant patrons. I want to hug all of you.
I want to hug the moms that were scared, frightened and really sweaty when they nursed. I want to hug the moms that felt righteous and arrogent. I want to hug the moms that felt annoyed that every 90 minutes the baby was being launched in their direction after a mere squeek because OF COURSE HE MUST BE HUNGRY. I want to hug the moms that cried because there were so tired but it was 3 am and the baby wanted the booby love. I want to hug the moms that have sore boobies and then their husbands have the nerve to try second base. I want to hug all of you.
I want to hug the moms. ALL THE MOMS!!! BECAUSE BEING A MOM IS HARD. Feeding your baby doesn't have to be. I promise!! You can feed them however you want and it'll be awesome!!
And now, let me type this without having a snot bubble cry.
My first baby was born via emergency c-section. Nursing her went well for two days in the hospital. It didn't go well after that. Shredded nipples, scared new mom . . . :(
My second baby nursed LIKE A CHAMP. Hungry, hungry, hungry. He was in boobie heaven all the time. And he was effecient. He ate till he had his fill and then popped off like a tick! I would still be nursing him but around 4-5 months I want back to work full time and didn't have a door to lock while I pumped. Sigh, he was such a good nurser.
My third baby. . . we just finished nursing. He was a putzy nurser and could be latched onto me 24/7 if I would let him. I loved it though. I nursed him everwhere-our house, in the car at road stops, the mattress store, relatives' houses, hotel rooms, pool side, target, the kid's museum, in front of social workers, in front of our foster kids, at the doctor's office, parks and resturants.
I'll always remember having him on my lap, nursing shawl intact and nursing him while eating my lunch at a resturant. When I was done, he was too. The waitress said, "Now everyone is done eating." I wanted to hug her too!
I'll always remember the nap and nurse. It's when you attach your baby and you both sleep. All snug. Best baby love ever!!
I loved pumping at work too. I had a locked office door that I put a sign on while pumping. It said, "DO NOT DISTURB. I'LL BE WITH YOU IN 10-15 MINUTES." I loved tracking how many ounces I pumped and delivering it home for mah baby!
But . . . everything has a season. And our season of nursing is done. He's eating more food, less milk. The boy has teeth and is all chewing everything. So, I slowed the pumping down and well . . we're done.
AND. . . there are A MILLION OTHER WAYS I LOVE ALL MY BABIES. Just like the rest of the moms out there!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY ALL!!!