I have lots of things in my mind to process and share, it’s just a matter of finding the time this week as we’re all still getting situated. This is our first placement of Foster Care Round 2 and there are some really significant differences this time:
1. We have another child.
I know this is obvious. In a lot of ways, it’s made this transition easier. Our house is already pretty child-proof. We have lots of toys, a playroom, kids shows loaded up on our Netflix, bath toys and shampoos and soaps, high chairs, sippy cups, etc. We’re familiar with toddler behavior and have a lot of well practiced discipline and parenting techniques. We have toddler friendly foods and an understanding of little kid schedule. All of these things were a huge learning curve with our first placement, Ladybug, who was 16 months old. There are also some challenges that come because of having two kids. The fighting…I mean learning to share. Two kids running in opposite directions. Taking turns. Dividing our parental attention between two. Attempting to adapt them both to the same schedule. Double the: bodies to wash and dress, teeth to brush, butts and noses to wipe, shoes to put on, car seats to buckle, sippy cups to fill, backpacks to pack, toys to wrangle, boo boos to kiss. It’s also double the: cuddles, giggles, comforting hugs, smiles from strangers, sighs of relief when they’re both finally asleep, safe and sound at night.
2. A community of fellow moms.
The first time we became parents we had a few friends who were already parents but not a ton. I wasn’t part of any groups or clubs. This time, holy smokes! It wasn’t just our immediate friends and family offering to help. I sent out an email to our neighborhood MOMS club right after Buzz was asleep on Saturday morning requesting clothes because he hardly came with anything. At 8:30 am the first mom was out my doorstep with a big box of clothes, shoes, underwear, socks, pjs, toys, diapers. (Some of which is pictured below.) Throughout the day, we got 3 more deliveries. I thought we could handle it from there but in a weak, desperate moment yesterday I put out another plea for a few grocery items and some babysitting help. Before I knew what hit me I was sitting at my computer weeping as phone calls, texts and FB messages started pouring in with offers to help. One friend left immediately for the grocery store with my short list of desperate needs. Another mom from the MOMS club called to set up a meal calendar. Another couple of friends offered to bring meals this week. I am blown away but the support from our community! Also humble enough to admit that I need help this time.
3. Grieving people.
The most significant difference with Buzz’s placement is the emotions. Ladybug didn’t really show signs of grief. She was angry sometimes and I’m sure there was some confusion or frustration but she didn’t really seem sad. We never met her birth mom. The family member we did meet, the one who got custody of her, didn’t seem sad either; just frustrated and angry at the department. Ali was a little baby and as content as any baby I’ve ever met. Her birth mom was not outwardly sad, though I know she was struggling. She was very tough and didn’t let her guard down very much. Buzz has been much more sad and emotional than I expected for a 2.5 year old boy. He cries daily, says “I want my mom!”, pouts…it’s very clear that he’s grieving. When we first met his mom she was also very visibly sad and scared about how everything is going to turn out. That combination has just about wrecked us emotionally, too! The most significant thing God is teaching us right now is compassion. He wants us to know what it feels like to be near to the brokenhearted, the way God is near to the brokenhearted. If you ever feel like You can’t find God or you don’t feel His presence, get around some broken, desperate people. That’s where He is working, moving, healing, loving. That’s where He is. But let me clearly warn you: It’s a gut-wrenching, heart-tearing compassion.
What an incredible community you have to support you! Our first several placements were difficult because of the lack of support too. Just a couple of weeks ago our church launched an orphan care initiative and the local focus is on foster kiddos and foster parents. We’re in the process of opening up a clothing “closet” that will be available to foster parents free of charge. Its such a fun ministry to be involved in!
I would LOVE to get something like that going at our church!