Tag Archive: Mother Goose

Mother Goose Speaks – Spend the Holidays with ALL your kids!

I have a special treat for y’all this Thanksgiving Week!! I finally convinced my mentor, Mother Goose to do a guest post for me!

As I sit here tonight surrounded by my goslings, I am so ready for the holiday season. We are eating turkey this week (but no rolls due my weight loss journey with Duck Mommy) and everyone at my house is excited. I always decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving and I can’t wait! 

The trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas is my favorite time of year. The house smells wonderful from baking, and the TV is constantly showing a new must-have toy and everyone’s list continues to grow! It’s a cliché, but giving is much more fulfilling than receiving.

Papa Goose and I have been foster parents for over 15 years. We have fostered more than 150 Littles! Our house is always a busy place and that’s just how I love it. Our house is not quiet or spotless; sometimes the kids stay up too late and sometimes go to bed without a bath. We are far from perfect parents, BUT our house is a home full of love.


We don’t see skin color in our home – when you break a white egg and a brown egg are they different inside? The big thing is we don’t see foster either. Our kids are our kids. I love them with all my heart (especially the ones who are hardest to love). When my 10-year-old biological daughter was about 2, she was certain that our licensing councilor was her caseworker. She was convinced that L came each month just to see her!

One day we were cleaning up from lunch and she asked me, “Mom, where are my other mom and dad?”
I giggled and said, “We are your mom and dad.”
She looked perplexed and said, “NO, MY MOM AND DAD BEFORE YOU!”
She thought she was a foster child! So I thought: well, I’m doing it right!

I can’t imagine a Christmas without kids. The excitement of a child’s eyes when they get up in the morning and Santa has brought them presents! Even more I can’t stomach the thought of a foster child spending Christmas away from their foster family.

I know you’re asking yourself why any child would be away from their foster family???

Unfortunately, some foster parents ask for respite over holidays and even birthdays. Yes, I have had a respite child at my house on their 1st birthday and guess what: the other foster family didn’t even bother to tell me it was his birthday!

I clearly have a huge problem with this. I just don’t believe that we should be allowed to ask for respite over Christmas OR Birthdays. I know people want to spend Christmas with family out-of-town, but take your kids (all of them) with you. Please. Or if you really can’t, then put on your big girl panties and go a few days after the holiday. Are you going to have any less fun with people on the 27th of December?

Imagine your whole family goes on a cruise, your parents pay for all your siblings’ families to go but not yours. Imagine how that would feel as an adult. Now multiply that feeling by a thousand, because these kids are already feeling crappy about the holiday because it’s the first, or fifth, or fifteenth holiday they are spending away from their family of origin, with a foster family they may not know very well or trust. And then they’re just dropped off – like dry cleaning or the mail – unimportant and definitely other. Other family, other child, just other, not a part of your family. No child deserves to be treated this way EVER, but especially not during the holidays.

If you’re Christian, would Jesus have sent anyone away? Because that’s what this holiday is really about, right? Celebrating his birth? I think he would have gathered all those orphans together and shared what he had, and if Mary and Joseph wanted him to come for dinner, well he would pack all those kiddos up and head on over!

So please love all your kids. Give them a great big hug and have a wonderful holiday season together!

Much love and happiness,
Mother Goose

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Building Your Foster Parenting Sisterhood

It may take a village to raise a child. Some days it takes a sisterhood to keep a foster mom sane.
 
But we’re not born with foster parenting sisterhoods – we have to build our own. I actually live several states away from both my family and my in-laws (not entirely by accident), so I didn’t really have a built-in village the way most new moms do. But I still expected to be able to call my mom or sister when the baby wouldn’t stop crying in the middle of the night, or I couldn’t figure out how to get gum out of the toddler’s hair.
 
But it turned out that the most urgent questions I had couldn’t have been answered by my mom or sister anyway. Here are some actual questions with which I called my mentor in my first 3 months of fostering:
 
Foster mom dilemmas that a phone call to YOUR mom won’t resolve:
1.   “So I went to pick up Johnny at day care, and he wasn’t there! The case manager had picked him up for a visit and didn’t think I needed to know ahead of time.”
(this happened three times)
2.   “Susie fell off the couch onto her head. There’s no bruise and she barely cried, but do I have to go to the emergency room?”
3.   “Jasmine has a fever and is really miserable. Should I cancel the visit? Do I have that authority?”
4.   “Should I go to court Tuesday? The case manager said I can, but that I don’t have to. How does it work? Do I have to say anything? How should I introduce myself?”
5.   “Do you know anything about Sally Casemanager? She seemed nice but a little flighty. And some of the stuff she said was kind of confusing.”

 

Foster mentor responses:
1.   “Let me call the Foster Care Liaison. That’s not okay.” (the third time) “Here, let me introduce you to her supervisor’s supervisor. That’s not okay.”
2.   “Would you take your biological child? Then, no. You’re the mommy, trust your instincts.”
3.   “Would you let your biological child go? Then cancel it. You’re the mommy, trust your instincts.”
4.   “Yes. You go up and stand next to the G.A.L. You probably won’t have to say anything, but you will need to introduce yourself. Which judge do you have? Here’s what she’s like… Do you need me to go with you?”
5.   “Yes, I had her once before (or so-and-so had her before). Here is my experience with her….”
 
That’s not to say I haven’t called my sister in the middle of the night to get her advice on a child that won’t stay asleep when you get out of the rocking chair, but I cannot stress enough the value of my foster parenting sisterhood!
 
As much as my sister loves me and cares about my foster kids, she just doesn’t understand when I’m excited for a baby that’s being reunified, but sad for me because he’s leaving. But my foster mom sisterhood gets it. Not only do they understand that sometimes I just need to vent about how horribly, heart-breakingly volatile foster parenting is; they’ve been where I am and they feel the same pull that I do to keep doing it.
 
That is perhaps the most crucial element of my friendships with veteran foster moms: they’ve been where I am. They don’t always know the right thing to say – sometimes there IS no right thing to say – but I know that they’re coming from a place of understanding and support, because they’ve been where I am.
I’m sure I don’t tell them enough, but I couldn’t do this without my foster mom sisterhood.
 
And to my sisterhood (you know who you are): Thank you!

Attached? Who, me?

Foster parenting isn’t for everyone. It’s hard. And frustrating. And heart-breaking. And frequently thankless. It’s also wonderful and humbling and immensely rewarding. If it isn’t for you, that’s okay. Please don’t feel like you have to justify that to me.

Not everyone can foster – not everyone SHOULD foster. If you don’t feel like you can take in someone else’s child and love them like your own until it’s time for them to leave, please don’t sign up for foster care. If you only want to adopt because you don’t get enough validation from your cat, please just pass on foster parenting. There are other reasons for not fostering – My career is too demanding; I drown goldfish and cacti; I don’t want to expose my kids to that instability; I live in a 1-bedroom walk-up; my cat tries to eat babies….

Regardless of why you choose not to foster, please, please, PLEASE(!!!) do not tell a foster parent that you can’t foster because “I’d get too attached.” If I hear that one more time, I may just lose my mind.

Just stop and think for one second. Do you really think I don’t get hopelessly, heart-breakingly attached to the children in my care? Do you think it isn’t excruciating when a child leaves our home – a child who’s slept in my house and played in my yard for weeks (never mind learned to walk in my living room and fallen asleep in my lap for months)?

Maybe what you really mean is that you’re not crazy enough to subject yourself to that. Or not strong enough. If that’s the case, say that. But don’t look me in my face and imply that you’re more compassionate/empathic/loving than me and so you would hurt more than I do when they leave.

I watched Mother Goose (my foster-parent mentor) take in a terminally-ill infant and love her completely and unreservedly until the baby passed away in her arms. And then struggle to put the pieces back together so she could take in the next baby that needed her.

Honestly, anyone who’s heart wouldn’t shatter when these kids leave has no business being a foster parent. I don’t believe it’s possible to truly love a child like they’re yours and then just be hunky-dory when they’re not anymore.

I don’t do this because it’s easy for me – or not painful – or god forbid, for the money. And I don’t do it because I enjoy having my heart ripped out every other week. I do it because … well, because I have to. I can’t save all the starfish. But I can make a difference for this one. I do it because I have to. If you don’t have to, that’s okay. Truly. This isn’t for everyone.