Getting to Know Our #Partyof8

#AdoptionTalk: Getting to Know our #Partyof8

For the moment, everyone in our household is a forever-member, so I can actually share our family photo with no stickers or strategically turned heads.

Without further ado, please let me introduce our #Partyof8 (from left to right):

Squish (adopted from foster care 3.4.14), Jamie (me), SuperDad, Lil Bit (adopted from foster care 10.23.15), The Boy (our oldest child, SuperDad’s bio son), Squirm (adopted from foster care 8.22.14), Punky (our youngest daughter, SuperDad’s bio daughter), and Princess (our oldest daughter, SuperDad’s bio daughter)

Yes, you read that right, for the first time in 4 years, we have no foster children! How long that continues to be true is still under negotiation. After finalizing Lil Bit’s adoption in October, SuperDad wisely realized the importance of a little fostering break to semi-cocoon a bit and focus on family-bonding. After successfully getting Squeaker home to her forever family in time for Christmas, we began to discover life as a family of 8. For the first time in recent memory, there was no fence around my Christmas tree!! SuperDad is convinced that makes me sad – mostly it’s just weird….

With approximately 37 children under 4 years old, we get the “hands full” comment very frequently. Just the boys and I went to the zoo last weekend – when anyone mentioned my “full hands” I couldn’t help but respond how much easier 3 is than 4. Like, seriously, y’all. When you’re used to wearing an infant, while pushing a triple stroller full of toddlers, only having three to wrangle is a piece of cake – and just weird….

On the other hand, we’re starting to explore the things we have wanted to do with the boys, but are just too complicated with an infant. Next weekend we’re going camping. Later this month, we’re rejoining the sailing club we belonged to before we starting fostering. Now that everyone in the family gets around under their own steam, we can start planning to get back out on the water.

It’s also been nice to be able to just hang with the older kids when they stop by – with no one needing constant care, we can actually listen when The Boy tells us about his latest business venture. And it’s been a real treat to just enjoy the boys playing together in the evening. Without a baby who might be trampled, we can let their imaginations run wild and just enjoy the show.

If you’re new to Starfish Confidential, please check out:

When I decided to be a foster parent

How we found “twiblings” (and part 2)

Adoption stories: Are they twins? and The Sequel (Lil Bit’s to come soon, I promise)

And finally: our family’s journey (through 2014 when I apparently forgot this post should be regularly updated)   😳

Now on to the #AdoptionTalk Linkup!

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Today’s topic is Getting to Know You. Grab a button for your post and join Ashley, Erin, Jenni, Jill, and me!

New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

No Bohns About It

 


Faking Holiday Cheer

When I was a kid, Christmas was a huge deal for our family. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, every decoration in the house was put away and Christmas decorations put up in their place. My sister and I would always grumble about the work required to put up the decorations, but I have always loved Christmas.

For most of my adult life, I followed the same schedule. I even began to look forward to the day after Thanksgiving. At least until my family and I stopped speaking two and half years ago. The details don’t matter, but suffice it to say that situation isn’t changing anytime soon.Faking holiday cheer

While it’s never easy to be estranged from your family, the holidays are exceptionally hard for me. For the majority of the year, the absence of my family like an old football injury that acts up when it rains. Yeah, it hurt when my mom ignored my text about Lil Bit’s adoption, but I told myself that everyone makes decisions and focused on enjoying my kids.

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5 Things Foster Parents Wish You Knew

5 Things Foster Parents Wish You Knew

 

  1. I’m not a saint! I don’t do this because I have a heart of gold or more patience than the average person (trust me on this one!!). I’m human and I make mistakes – and I don’t have ANY special qualities that make me “good enough” or “strong enough” to foster.
  2. Reunification is the goal of foster care. Most of us got into fostering because we believe in helping families stay together. We almost always support reunification. And if we don’t, we really can’t talk about it
  3. We don’t do this for the money! Yes, we get a small stipend for the children in our care. Emphasis on small. It varies by area and agency, but I can almost guarantee, it’s less than your child support. A lot less. If you do it right, foster parenting is like owning a boat – instead of a hole in the water you throw money into, fostering is a hole in the minivan you throw money into. (I wish I was exaggerating)
  4. We don’t know how long we’ll keep them. Really, we don’t. We’re not trying to be coy – it’s not up to us. There are 5,000 variables, and almost as many opinions – the least important of which is ours.
  5. You don’t have to be a foster parent to make a difference. Not everyone can foster. Not everyone SHOULD foster. There are numerous other ways to help out foster kids and/or foster parents.
    • Become a Guardian ad Litem or CASA – these court-appointed volunteers are the voices of our kids – the good ones are worth their weight in gold & there are never enough of them.
    • Offer free babysitting – this may involve getting finger-printed and background-checked. Find out what it takes and do it.
    • Be a safe place to land – and be consistent about it – even when it’s inconvenient. Offer an advice- & opinion-free zone. Give us a place to vent/cry/scream/get drunk without piling negativity on top of what we’re already feeling.

BONUS: We do get attached! If ever your heart doesn’t break when a child leaves your home, you’re doing it wrong! The length and depth of the grief is different for every single placement, but it hurts when they leave – even when you also feel a little relieved. At the end of the day (everyday), we continue to volunteer for this heartbreak (and the frustrations) because it’s not about us!! No child chooses to be a foster child, but EVERY child deserves to know unconditional love and unquestioned safety.

I’m willing to grieve if it means another child has known unrestrained love. For however long they’re mine, they get All of Me.

#AdoptionTalk Link Up

This week’s topic: Anything Goes

Please join ErinJenni, Jill, and me! New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how

An InLinkz Link-up


In Everything Give Thanks

Thankfulness in Adoption: In everything give thanks“In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18

One of the things that I don’t blog about very often is infertility. I am infertile. SuperDad and I tried 2 years of infertility treatments before becoming foster parents. I’m certainly not ashamed of it – I’ve been known to inform unsuspecting, intrusive strangers, “These are my real kids. I don’t have biological children because I’m barren. Thanks for asking.”

The reason I don’t talk about infertility much is that I am no longer battling it. I am still infertile. That’s not going to change. What’s changed is that not only am I at peace with my infertility, I’ve come to a place where I’m thankful to be infertile. No, that’s not a typo.

First, let me say that I would never suggest to a woman or couple battling infertility that adoption would solve all their problems. That is a cold, insensitive, and hurtful suggestion, and I would never presume that my response to infertility should be everyone’s.

But let me explain what I mean (in no particular order)

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Wendy’s Wonderful Kids

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wendy’s for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

November is National Adoption Month.

While my Facebook feed has been deluged over the last few days with outrage – half the internet is outraged about a red cup, and the other half is outraged about the outrage – Wendy’s is proudly sending a powerful message with their cups.

Wendy's Wonderful Kids - Cause Cups

As you read this, there are over 100,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption in the US.

More than 22,000 aged out of foster care last year without finding a forever family.

Another 20,000+ will age out this year.

And next year.

And the year after that.

Just sit with that a minute. (more…)