The DCS worker had training people come to our house with her and we were talking about some of the crazy stuff that has happened and they were like, no way! She told them you can’t make this stuff up. I feel like anything that could possibly be as crazy as it gets had to happen for them to be in our house. If you ever want me to type up the side stories and fix them up I am sure I could. LOL Also I will try to find pictures where you can’t see their faces as their case hasn’t gone to severance yet. I do love the video of the airport I don’t know if you have short videos on your blog. I can look for it and send it to you if you want. My friends cried and maybe only because they know them so well. You are welcome to cut stuff out, change it how you feel. Not use it at all. Whatever you want it doesn’t bother me. Just thinking back to what I sent my friends I think of even more stories. A story of how were cleaning rooms and trying to get rid of things because the two oldest girls room was beginning to look like a hoarders episode. Learning the lesson that my over privileged 8 year old has no problems giving away toys because she very well knows that she will get more later and the foster 8 year old couldn’t even throw away a broken lei because she got it at activity days and it reminds her of a happy time. She couldn’t get rid of anything because she came from a home that had nothing, not even beds to sleep in and she treasured everything that she had gotten if it made her happy in anyway. So I learned that for now she has to keep everything and hopefully we can get past that to get rid of what I consider to be trash. Anyway I have so many different stories I am sure I could go on forever and that is my biggest problem. LOL
Why do you want to do foster care? You have 3 kids already, why would you do it? Can you not have any more children? Why not just have another baby? These are the questions I hear often. Even from family members. Yes I could have more children. I don’t have the trial of infertility. My answers are different depending on what is being asked and who is asking. One reason is because I want to love and care for Heavenly Fathers children. I just feel the strong desire to help as many children as I am able. I don’t feel the desire to have any more of my own children. After having our 3rd child a beautiful girl my husband and I both felt complete and done having more children. As time passed I began bringing up the idea of foster care or doing foreign exchange students. We lived in a tiny house that felt perfect with our first child, but with our 3rd child it felt like we were all living on top of each other. So after 9 years of living in our first home we began looking for a new place. We were blessed to find the perfect house that was almost 3 times as big as the current house.
After about a year, we finally felt settled in enough that my husband and I talked about helping kids. We were blessed with a big beautiful house that could easily welcome more. We talked about foster care, looking into that sounded scary when you have a 7 year old beautiful blond little girl. It made me worried with the stories of sexual abuse. We talked again about hosting a foreign exchange student, they are the good kids and come from wealthy families that have less issues. Well we finally decided on doing foster care. For one, I feel like the Lord had been preparing me to do this calling. I had started working at my kids school almost 4 years before this time. Three of those years I worked with special education children. One of the students I had worked with had been in the foster care system and just a normal, cute little girl from the outside. Granted I didn’t know much of the specifics of her story. So we began the process. I feel like everything that happened has so many side stories that brought us to this specific story I want to share. So I will try to stay on track and not go off on different side stories.
The license process was long and we had 3 children that spent every Saturday with their grandparents so we could do the quick all Saturday version of the classes. There were lots of scary stories during those classes. Being the paranoid parent that I can be I put locks that require a key for every bedroom just to protect my three beautiful children. My husband and I were very excited for this adventure and wanted to know what the Lord had in store for us.
Not long after we were licensed and in my excitement of finally being finished I posted that we were finally done. Not long after we were licensed we were asked by people we knew to take in a 17 year old boy. What?!? This what not in my plans. We know this boy from the dance studio that my kids go to and was on the same dance team as my oldest 12 year old son. After lots of considerations we decided that we would let him come live with us if he agreed to all the house rules that we had. I typed them all up and sent them to him. We are a very religious family and we knew that he was not. He was removed from 3 group homes, tried to run away and was sent to a boys shelter. He called his caseworker and asked to come live with us.
After he had been living with us a month and everything was going well I told our license agency that I wanted to take on another foster child. Little did I know that they wouldn’t let me take on another child for 6 months. I was like are you kidding me? We are just helping him until he turns 18, he is either in his room or at his girlfriends house. This was not why I signed up to do foster care. Where was my beautiful foster child that loved me and wanted me to help? Of course the Lord makes me practice patience.
A couple of my neighbors do foster care. It is really nice to have that foster community all living close together to help and vent. One of the neighbors just got placement of 2 little girls one 2 year old and one 6 year old. There was a third sister, but she was in the hospital and the reason why the other 2 were placed into foster care. It was a big story on the news and they didn’t think that the 8 year old sister would be alive. Well, with the Lords hand she pulled through and they asked my neighbor if she would take her. Well she only wanted 1 child to begin with and taking the 2nd was a push so she told them that we might take her and to call us so the sisters could still live close. So a DCS worker called us and we said yes we would take her in. So only 2 months after the 17 year old was placed with us we now had 5 kids, 2 of the foster.
To keep things interesting the neighbor didn’t want the 6 year old. So she pretty much lived with us. This is when a side story comes into play because not all foster parents are good. Well everyone knew it and tried to turn their heads because we were only licensed for kids older than 7 and it was going to be 6 months before she turned 7. Well more things happened, all a story for a different day. The 17 year old moved out after 5 months, we put up a fence around our pool, changed license agency, added more beds to our license so we could take in all 3 sisters. We had 4 months of not getting any subsidy because of all the issues. I truly believe that everything up to this point happened for a reason. The waiting had to be because they specifically needed us and are supposed to come to this family.
Fast forward a year. A year of girls coming into our home who were extremely sick, all with horrible lice that somehow keep coming back into the home, fast forward through all the dental work with teeth getting pulled, caps put on the remaining 2 year olds teeth. Fast forward past the Dr visits and eye visits. All three kids having eye problems, a 2 year old needing eye surgery. All needing glasses. Fast forward through getting the oldest healthy. A 8 year old coming to you at 150 lbs and not being able to wear any of your adult clothing because you are in a smaller size than she is. An 8 year old dying to wear the same clothes that your bio daughter who is also 8 wears. Fast forward through the blood work and trying to help a child so she doesn’t get fatty liver disease and being pre-diabetic making sure she stays healthy. Fast forward through a year of learning to eat healthy. Learning what a fruit and vegetable is because they have never even tried a banana. Fast forward through the weeks of them asking for chips and soda every day until I finally get so tired of having them ask. That I finally blow up and tell them I will never ever buy that crap and bring it into the house ever. Fast forward to the oldest losing 55 lbs in a year and not looking like the same kid and now learning to balance chips and treats with still eating healthy. Fast forward through the 9 IEP meetings I had to attend in one school year. Fast forward through a 7 year old knowing she is ADHD because I have worked with those kids for 3 years and can name it with a flip of a coin, but still having to go through the process of getting it diagnosed and treated. Fast forward through putting her back a grade and being on a totally different school schedule than all the other kids and trying to make a hundred different schedules work. Fast forward through the struggle of an 8 year old wetting the bed and even an adult diaper will not contain it and still needing to wash the sheets every day. Fast forward through the neurologist testing. Fast forward through all the struggles, because I probably only skimmed the surface. Fast forward because no matter the struggles, it has all been worth it. Seeing how far these beautiful children have come makes my heart happy.
These 3 beautiful children came scared and not speaking to anyone. The case worker was not able to get them to speak a single word to them during the investigation. It took time, but they quickly started to talk to us. At one point the investigation DCS worker needed to ask the girls questions, but because they wouldn’t talk to anyone but our family; we had to have them on speaker phone with them in the other room and me asking them questions I wasn’t even sure what they wanted to know. In time they came around and now will actually talk to the DCS workers when they come.
The girls started calling us mom and dad from the first couple weeks that they came. My 7 year old bio daughter, the rule follower the teacher personality was a great help during the transition. She taught them all the rules and helped them feel included. My 2 oldest boys were the biggest help with the 2 year old. They adored her and she adored them. They always had the energy to play with her and entertained her for hours. In the summer they left to visit family in Alaska for a vacation and we would do video calls and they would play peek-a-boo over the phone for an hour and then she would cry for an hour after we got off the phone because she missed them so much. Seeing a 2 year old run past airport security and everyone watching with tears in their eyes as a sweet foster sister ran to her foster brothers because they were gone so long and not letting go with the biggest bear hug and joy in their eyes. Seeing the love that all the family has for each other and the bond that grew over the year.
I am all over the place writing this because how can I put a year challenge, love story into a short blog post. We had always planned on only doing foster care and not adopting. So when the DCS worker said that this case is more than likely going to end in adoption and asked if we would adopt a few months ago, we said we would have to think about it. So after lots of talk, ponder, and prayer we decided that we would try to adopt these 3 beautiful girls out if that is how the case plan went. Keep in mind that most of their family live in Mexico and the family here are not able to get them. We hoped that we could bless another family that are unable to have children. So we had talks with our bio children that they might not stay with us forever. We had talks with the 8 year old foster daughter that she might not live here forever and if that happened if she would want to go back home at that point or be adopted by one of my friends that she didn’t know. She said she would rather go live with one of our friends.
Everything seemed to be working out right. Well for months I hypothetically looked for a possible adoptive couple so they could meet and do respite and get to know the girls before it got to that point. Little did I know how big of a challenge that would turn out to be. I posted to multiple groups and talked to lots of foster parents, having no luck. I should have known that having a 8 year old with low IQ and some mental delay would be a challenge to adopt out. Then include a 7 year old with ADHD. Then add a 3rd child and if some might consider the other stuff don’t want 3 kids thrown at them when they don’t have any children. 2 kids are ok, 3 kids is too much especially adding everything. Really wanting to find a family with our same religion because all the girls love church, especially the 8 year old who loves church and the gospel. Those special need kids have a very special spirit and seem so close to our Heavenly Father. She will ask for a blessing from my husband who holds the priesthood because she knows it helps her feel better.
My husband had been warning me for months that they will probably live with us forever and he doesn’t plan on them ever leaving. Me, thinking that of course someone will take them and my calling in life is to continue to foster and fix the wounded. They are 3 beautiful girls that we love and everyone else would love also. Well we finally got to the point that maybe they are supposed to stay with us forever because I can’t find anyone for them. As I started to think about this I thought how could I have felt so good that I could find a family for them and continue to foster. Why did my prayers not happen the way they should have happened?
The video I had seen many times came to mind called Wrong Roads. Thinking of this video makes me think of the two roads we were presented with, to adopt out or adopt ourselves. Looking for an adoptive family was the shorter road when not one single person wanted to take them. So taking that road and knowing that it might not be the right road has helped me move to the second road of considering growing our family forever and stopping the foster road. I really wanted to keep fostering kids between the age of 1-3. Being ok with the idea that I will only be able to help 3 children when my plan was to help the village of children. Lately we have been talking to all the children on the idea of adopting. All 6 kids have been wanting us to adopt the whole time. The neighbors and friends have been wanting us to adopt because they know how much they love us and don’t want to leave us. It was only me and my crazy ideas to help all children that keep me from getting to the idea of adoption. That and the fact of raising 6 kids FOREVER, lol. One with the possibility of a lifetime commitment if she can’t mentally become an adult. Knowing all the work and love a mother has to give to 6 children, with what seems like all of them having high needs in their own ways. Feeling the pressure of am I good enough? Can I be everything to everyone? In the future can I still do big church callings with everything that is on my plate? Because right now I have the easiest possible calling, when I used to do big fun church callings like helping the stake with girls camp and treks. The Lord hasn’t given me any of those callings now that we started foster care. I truly believe He thinks foster care is my church calling right now and this is something I need to be ok not going to girls camp and doing the things I did in the past.
The thought can I really do this comes to mind the most. Because when I am yelling at an 8 year old who has clogged the toilet for the 3rd time because mentally she hasn’t learned how to wipe her butt and I am googling how to teach an older child how to do this without physically having to do it for her, I start to wonder can I keep going? I start to wonder if I can really do this when it has been 8 months of helping them learn to shower and thinking they can finally do it on their own. Only to find them not in the correct shower throwing water on themselves with a cup because they couldn’t turn it on and their was a mosquito that would hurt them in the one they know how to use . Wondering why what I am teaching isn’t sinking in enough? But having to remind myself how much they have learned in a short amount of time and how far they have come with, I start to feel discouraged. I don’t think most foster kids are as difficult as the ones we got. Behaviorally they are a dream they get along great, they are sweet and loving! I have heard stories of older kids that are hard in that area. We were at one foster event and a little girl probably only 4 started throwing a tantrum calling her foster sister a B using the F word because she didn’t get a toy she wanted and my husband and I looked at each other like, Oh wow! At least our 3 foster kids didn’t have that issue. Some might think the special needs part of our kids is way to hard! Granted even I think it can be hard. However, the Lord has prepared me through work to know how to work with them and help them. I feel like they are fixed enough that anyone can handle them now. Right now these 3 beautiful girls have come just to us for a specific purpose. I don’t fully know their happily ever after ending to their story yet, but I am waiting. There still could be a perfect adoptive family come up or maybe they will be sealed to our family forever. Only time will tell and I am not going to rule out any possibility yet. I did request with the court to take longer to go to severance so every possibility could be explored and now that I say it, the court will probably decide to go to severance next month because I am well aware that nothing is on my time line, but the Lords.
To find more stories from our National Adoption Month series head HERE.