For the past five years I’ve been a foster mom. We started our classes in early 2011, were approved and took our first placement in July 2011. For five years, a significant part of my identity has been wrapped in the label of foster mom. It feels strange to peel that label off.
Our goal with foster care was to love kids in need, to be their parents for as long as we were needed to fill that gap, and perhaps to adopt someday. Our journey has been a success. If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you probably know all about our experience but five years is a long time to keep track of so here’s a
brief run down:
July 2011 – First placement 16-month-old “Ladybug” was with us for 5 weeks and then exited custody to an extended family member. Whirlwind first parenting experience!
September 2011 – Second placement was 2-month-old Alianna. Found out a few days later she would be an adoptive placement. A month or two later DCS decided to move her to a friend of the adoptive mom of two of her four half-siblings. We fought it. Hard. And won, by a miracle! We were given custody by a judge in order to pursue private adoption.
February 2012 – Put our home on hold to new placements while we prepared to sell our house, move in with my parents temporarily and build a new home.
August 2012 – Finalized Alianna’s adoption just after her 1st birthday.
February 2013 – Once settled into our new home, we took our home off hold status so we could start fostering again.
May 2013 – Third placement was 2.5-year-old Termain. He lived with us for 3 months, through the summer of 2013 and then was reunited with his mom. Through our experience his mom became a dear friend and I’m so thankful they are still in our lives.
November 2013 – Fourth placement was 6-month-old “Bee.” Technically placed with us for 3 months, although she spent 30 days in the middle of that period doing an extended family visit with relatives in another state. In February 2014, her ICPC passed and she was transferred to another state as a kinship placement with extended family.
June 2014 – Fifth placement was teenie preemie “Firefly.” He was 3 weeks old, brought to our home straight from the NICU. He was less than 5 lbs. and still several weeks before his due date. He was with us for four weeks before his case was dismissed and he was returned to his parents. The following month, I found out that I was pregnant with Isaiah.
October 2014 – Sixth and final placement was 1-month-old Noah (who now has a new name). He was with us only 3 days but his sweetness anchored deep in my hormonal-pregnant-mama-heart. He left custody to an adoptive placement who has since reached out and reconnected with us. We’ve had the privilege of keeping in touch and getting together with them.
April 2015 – Put our home back on hold status as we prepared for Isaiah’s birth. We planned to reopen within a year.
Which brings us to today…
April 2016 – We had planned to be on hold just for 9-12 months and then start taking placements but I got pregnant again pretty quickly after Isaiah’s birth. Going from two kids to three in short period is one thing. I’m finally starting to feel comfortable with the idea of three. But four kids still seems really hard to imagine. Our agency will only allow us to be on hold for 2 years. In April 2017 Ali will be 5, Isaiah will be turning 2 and Josephine will be 10 months old… I don’t think we’ll be ready to start fostering by then either, so we decided it was time to close up officially. It’s a bittersweet decision.
Bitter because it’s a cause we are passionate about. The need is great. It’s hard to walk away knowing there are still so many kids that need safe homes to go to in our city, right at this moment. And, honestly, it’s hard to step out of the label, the role, the identity of foster mom that I’ve worn proudly for the past five years.
Sweet because I’m so honored that we’ve had the opportunity to bless six children who needed safe mama- and daddy-arms to hold them through a really traumatic time in their lives. I am blessed by the friendships we’ve made through fostering…with biological family of the kids, with other adoptive parents, with other foster parents. The biggest blessing from our experience, of course, is our forever daughter Alianna.
Closing our home brings a wave of relief. For five years our lives have been in a state of temporary. It was hard to plan ahead more than a few months, never knowing how many family members we would have and what ages of kids we would be parenting at any given time. We’ve had bedrooms with gender neutral flexible set ups. Now, we can finally feel settled with some permanency in our family and our home. I can say with confidence that later this year we will have three kids, no more and no less. I know what their ages will be and that they will all share our last name. We will be allowed to leave the state without asking for permission. We won’t have regular home visits with a case worker anymore. We won’t have classes and credit hours to keep up with annually. We can even get rid of our home phone that we never used for anything anyway. It’s a new kind of freedom.
Foster parenting will forever have a special place in my heart and I wouldn’t doubt if we do it again in another season of our lives. In the meantime, we can stay involved in other ways. We are signed up to be mentors to new foster parents in our county. I plan to continue supporting and encouraging the many friends I’ve made through #fostercare on Instagram, many of whom are still in the trenches as foster moms. I’m considering becoming a CASA or a member of our county’s foster care review board someday.
I’ve gotten away from blogging over the past year but my heart is aching to write again. I’m looking at my life from a different angle now. For a while it seemed that foster care was the only exciting topic in my life to write about but I’ve realized there is a lot more going on besides that. This blog originally started out with a focus on mid-century-modern style, furniture, homes, living, etc. with an emphasis on home projects. As we because foster parents, my focus shifted. I’m planning to return to more blogging about home projects, modern/mid-century-modern furnishing/architecture/homes, interior design mixed in with parenting, adoption, graphic design, craft projects and one of our newest endeavors: homeschooling.
How does that sound? (Is there anyone still out there, reading this blog and this super-long post? Chirp. Chirp.) What do you prefer to see posts about here?
I read it all. 😁 I admire you for being a foster mom and I always liked to read your stories about it.
Now, you could keep writing about your new experience of being a mom of 3.
I’ve loved reading your stories. Looking forward to hearing more about how life unfolds – especially with home schooling. We’ve been doing that for a few years now. It’s a great adventure.
Hi! I’ve been following your blog for years. I first found it when I was a new mom and was looking for blogs that spoke to my love of design and my life with kids. I’ve followed your journey with growing your family and building your home. I now have three kids and am starting homeschooling next year, so I’ll be excited to read about your adventures with that.
Martina! I have had you bookmarked for ages, and I love coming over for a peek at what is going on in your world. You are a great writer. All your topics are interesting to me. Being an adult strongly on the fence / on the no side of the fence of motherhood, I am strangely interested in reading others’ accounts of parenting. Happy spring and hope things go well with your family transition!
Your posts give me strength more then you will ever know thank you for showing your love for God and Christ. You have lifted me up with your words to them. Bless you.
So very thankful for the few days lil “pumpkin” spent with your family ❤️
I totally identify with your blog. My wife and I have been foster parents for almost 3 years. We had a placement with a 17 year old who lost left us after almost a year, and then we had a sibling group of 3 who we adopted this past April recently another sibling group was placed with us I will move for my home after just a few days even though we were told by the agency that it might be a permanent placement. There are lots of things going on and because of that we’ve decided to close our home. But it is a hard thing to do knowing that there are so many more kids that need help. But we also realized that every time we said yes to other kids we said no to the ones that we were adopting. We’ve decided to focus on our forever family and perhaps pick up the mantle of fostering in a couple of years. But for right now it is really hard to make this decision. Lots of sleepless nights and debating on whether or not this was the right decision for us. I hope this it’s the right thing to do oh, I guess the universe will tell us.