Update on the Ortega crew

It has been a hot minute since I have sat down and wrote a blog. I still write side notes when an idea comes to my mind but have you ever been so busy in life that your hobbies are pushed to the side. These past three months I felt like I needed to find myself again. I love to stay busy, and if I am not working, I feel like I am going crazy. Besides that, I wanted to update everyone how we have been. Life has been fantastic and emotional and crazy busy! We have finally adopted our oldest daughter. I will have a blog soon all about her adoption, but please welcome Miss Emily Elizabeth May Ortega. It is crazy to think I am officially a momma. I know many may think you are already a momma, no guys! I am finally a momma! No one can take her from me; no one can make any decisions for her other than her father and I. y’all my name is now on a freaking birth certificate, this feeling is amazing. Emily is thrilled to have a forever home and no more foster care finally. She is struggling a little in school, but I feel like she had a hard time transitioning from a semester of homeschooling to public. In homeschooling, I pretty much had to start at 3rd and 4th-grade levels because she moved so much in the past three years there wasn’t much learning retained. I think that homeschooling benefited by allowing me to help her reach the grade she was supposed to be, but public school is helping her build those social skills she needed. SInce being in public school math and science has been her struggle but we are happy she is progressing. We have also noticed she is communicating with her peers in a healthy way. SHe no longer fights or bullies kids either, so I have seen her grow so much this past year it makes me so proud of her. She has changed so much to better herself, and it is paying off. I believe she sees it too and is much happier with who she is.

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Our two middle sons will be reunified with their biological grandmother here shortly. We have a great bond with their grandmother, and I feel like that is helping with all those crazy emotions you get when children are reunifying. We have had our boys for almost a year! They are the sweetest and so polite, I see bright futures for both of them. Our oldest son is starting to open up more and more. I am noticing his change, and it melts my heart that he is more optimistic as the time goes on. Our youngest son is a little stinker and always joking with us. He enjoys coming up to me and massaging my head. He will let me know every time that every momma deserves to relax, and I agree with him 100%. They are just the best, and I can’t wait to continue to watch them grow.
Now for the littlest of them all. Our eight-month-old daughter who keeps me on my toes. We went to court mother has relinquished her rights. So next step is the BIP, Full disclosure, and Adoption! Her mother and I have a great relationship, and I feel what she did was so brave and selfless. She is giving this sweet child a second chance at life. We have had Baby K since she was five days old so of course, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to be her forever family. As she is growing and learning I am loving her little but feisty personality. She is such a happy and loveable baby. She is starting to roll over and is realizing her body can go places. It is the cutest thing when she discoveries new things. She loves to eat; we have been doing the baby led weaning since she was three months old and it has been perfect. I plan on writing a blog about this too. She is allergic to tomatoes and hates! Bananas. We also learned that she is allergic to sunscreen. So if any of you mommas have any suggestions to protect her from the sun let me know. I tried five different brands so far, we have done a patch test before making that mistake again, and all of them create a rash. So as of right now, we care many hats, sunglasses, and umbrellas when we are outside. Thankfully she loves to wear her hat and sunglasses. I can’t wait to share the adorable photos once she is officially an Ortega.
I decided to take an anxiety and stress class. It is a ten-week class we are now on week 8. Now going into this class, I had never thought that I had experienced anxiety, the stress, of course, anxiety not even. I thought anxiety is when people couldn’t mentally pull it together get through a situation. Wrong and so thankful I decided to take this class. It has taught me how to prevent anxiety outbreaks with kids who are in care. How to identify triggers and how to help them through an anxiety attack. How to avoid stress and ways to cope. I took the class because I wanted to be able to help my kids more when it came to this. At the same time I realized there was a lot I needed to do in my life as well. My oldest daughter and mother have joined me in this class as well, and it has helped our relationships grow. I would suggest that if anyone deals with anxiety or stress to attend a class. On to my wonderful husband, he is studying for a test and will be taking the test soon. Updates on that once he is ready to announce it. I am so proud of him. HE supports us and takes care of us so well. I appreciate him so much; he tries so hard to get off of work to pick up the kids from school. That may seem silly to some of y’all, but he understands that loading three kids all in car seats to do pick up can become a pain. Especially if they have fallen asleep! Don’t wake the kids if you don’t have too. I only work Wednesdays and Saturdays, so he does go above and beyond to provide for us, and I can’t thank him enough for that. I never thought I would be a stay at home mom. We would joke that he would be the stay at home dad because I loved to work and was not about to stop what I loved to do. Now looking back it all fell into place. Julian can grow in his career and do what he enjoys every day. I can experience motherhood whole heartily. It has been fantastic watching our children grow, and for that, I will forever be thankful.
I am surprised I was able to write this much. Our youngest daughter is learning that mommy’s hip isn’t where she always needs to be. So she has played this long for me to finish up the blog. I hope y’all enjoyed the update and looked out for more blogs to come. Thank you all and have a beautiful day!
-Momma K and the bunch
xoxo

A letter to our daughter’s mother: our adoption story.

We are approaching our adoption, and I am overwhelmed with so many emotions. This adoption has been a long-awaited moment, and we can’t wait to see what our future holds with our daughter. 
Throughout this whole process, it has been heavy in my heart to write to our daughter’s Biological mom. I know little about her but just want to thank her for giving our daughter life but Most importantly giving her a second chance in life.

To the wonderful woman who gave life to our daughter,
I just want you to know we are proud to call her our daughter. The beautiful gift we were very fortunate to receive, is telling me what a significant loss another woman experienced. I don’t mean that by any disrespect. You pushed aside your selfish acts to make sure she has a better future and with that shows how beautiful you truly are. Don’t think for a moment that she won’t know who you are and where she came from.
It takes a lot for someone to realize that this precious gift deserves the world. For whatever reason, no judgment on your part, you were unable to give this child the future they deserve. I just want you to know I can’t thank you enough for being brave and making sure your child’s future is going to be magical. I want you to know she is very loved and well taken care of. She has grown so much and is such a beautiful young lady. I appreciate that you carried this child under your heart and gave her life.
So please don’t feel ashamed or guilty because you gave her up for adoption. I speak of you with all the respect you deserve because you gave our daughter a second chance. You gave her life, and we thank you for that. I don’t want you to worry, her father and I will treasure and guard her with our lives. I will make sure she has the best opportunities in life.
We will honor the sacrifice you made when you made the impossible choice to give her up for adoption.
Thank you for this amazing child. No matter what she will know who you are and what brave choice you made and how much you love her for doing this.
Thank you and Take care.
Julian and Kristina Ortega

You are strong!

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This past month has been a roller coaster, Mentally and physically speaking. Everyone always asks if you are “Okay?” I find that question becoming redundant. No, I am not okay, but yes I will eventually be okay. I know they ask out of concern, and it is much appreciated, but sometimes I just want a hug and someone to tell me it is going to be okay. This journey is challenging but worth every minute. Only takes some time to get back to feeling normal again and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I can tell you one thing is making time for yourself and family pay off in the long run. I want this blog to be about a few things this journey has taught u because I know when I am reading blogs I want to learn about how people dealt with certain situations because I could go through the same thing.

Oct 7th of this year, our middle daughter reunified with her aunt and uncle. It was a bittersweet moment for us. I knew her family is where she needs to be, but for the last eight months, I had watched this beautiful child become a beautiful little person. She has truly taught me so much as a mother but nothing prepares you for the unexpected.  We dealt with the death of her father and the separation of her older sister, during those months. Her older sister had to be placed in treatment once they both came into care. During that time I remember her older sister trying to break her ankles and feeling lost at what to do. I had never dealt with a child who was so angry. Once they admitted her sister to the hospital, I was sitting there talking to her and could see that deep down she just needed someone to be there for her. I stayed at the hospital with her for a whole week till they could get her into a mental hospital. I knew that she needed me and I needed her! She kept me distracted from one of the most heart breaking moments I had to deal with as a foster mom. It was a stressful week because we were also in the middle of transitioning our son back with his bio mom. One of the roughest weeks I have had since becoming a Foster Mom. I look back at that week and realize it taught me so much. I am strong, and I’m built for this Mom life.
I need to make sure I give it my all, for my kids! These kids come into care and have no idea what to expect. I can only imagine the fear they have stepping into my home, but if I continue to stay strong for myself, I can be strong for them as well.
When our middle daughter’s dad passed away while she was still in care, I tried so hard to prepare myself for the outcome. I expected her to be sad and depressed. Shockingly, she was just numb to the situation. Again, every case we deal with as foster parents teach us something new as well.
Two days after his death we received a phone call that our oldest daughters uncle had passed. Talk about a double whammy. Once again, I was preparing myself to tell her and figuring out how to help her deal with this. She had a harder time dealing with his passing than our middle daughter with her father. I am not sure if it had anything to do with our support for them or what. I have just realized so much this year, and one thing is EVERY child deals with stress in entirely different ways.
I have never dealt with death personally. So trying to understand what they are going through was difficult on my part. I tried reading books on how to cope and educated myself on that subject. I can tell you from experience no book or google search is going to give you the advice you need when it comes to death. Sadly, it is something I am going to have to experience to know what emotions they were dealing with, To understand what they needed from me during the most robust moment in their life.
A few months after their deaths is so vivid to me. I can remember feeling disconnected from my girls because if either girl was trying to deal with their loss, I wasn’t sure how to react. Of course, I offered hugs, long walks, car rides and just anything to help ease their pain but I missed the biggest picture. I was trying so hard to try to help them escape the memories. What they needed was someone to talk with, to express the beautiful moments about them. One evening, I walked into their room, and they were talking about memories, and I could feel their pain. It finally occurred to me that they just needed to talk. I am learning daily on how to parent and how to deal with everything that comes with fostering but the best thing I can say to anyone who may be doubting becoming foster parents, is you do the best you can with what you have. God will guide you; it may take a minute but worth every lesson taught to you.

You got this!

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*Pictures- google-strong

Capitan Period Pants! #Momlife

“Mom, I can’t wait till I get my period.

I will grow chest hair and a beard like dad!

My voice will get deep,

and people won’t look at me like I am a little boy.”

This morning was a #momlife moment. Kyleigh and Nate came over this weekend, so that makes a total of 7 kids, this morning was busy and loud! In the middle of getting everyone their hot tea and breakfast, my ten-year-old approaches me, wearing his costume and holding a wooden sword ready to conquer the world. I am sipping on coffee listening to my girls argue in the back ground about how I am making them drink a vitamin C concoction because everyone was full of boogers. Anyways back to my son, he approaches me with so much confidence and determination. I ask him if he was on a mission and he replies “Mom, I can’t wait till I get my period. I will grow chest hair and a beard like dad! My voice will get deep, and people won’t look at me like I am a little boy.”  My oldest looked at me as if I had been keeping a secret from her and my two youngest daughters about rolled over in laughter. He looked at me waiting for a reply; I explained to him that yes one day he will hit puberty, but he technically would never have a period because he is a boy.  He asks, “well what is a period?”  In my head I am thinking, okay he is ten how can I make sure I don’t freak him out…… I could A. Sugar coat it, you know make it sound like the best seven days of our lives, so he doesn’t freak out. Or B. Lay it to him straight and be upfront and honest and pray I don’t traumatize him because at this age the imagination is in full force. So I went with plan B, I explained what happens, and to my surprise, he said well good thing y’all don’t die during that week, never mind I just want my puberty to come already so I can be like dad!  He runs away to go back to play. I look up at my two youngest girls, and the look of fear is on their face. Whoops! Surprise! Everyone learned about periods in our house today! #momlife

Numb

Numb

It has been one heck of a month……… I was trying to write a blog about our middle daughter going home with the family before her leaving. I typically write to prepare myself for what is coming, expressing my feelings and getting rid of all the negative thoughts. This time around I couldn’t help but feel numb.

Little S joined our family Feb 2017 with her sister. Her sister, unfortunately, had to go into treatment shortly after coming into our care. Little S was so shy and kind. Her smile would light up the room, and there was never a moment her kindness didn’t show. Her personality was amazing! She would melt your heart in a matter of seconds. I watched this beautiful child blossom. Little S found herself in our home.

There have been many obstacles I have had to deal with while being a foster parent, but no one can prepare you for what comes when a child loses their parent. May 9th, 2017, I received a phone call that unfortunately, Little S’s dad had passed away over the night. She was at school when I found out, and I knew right away I needed to get her. I would hate for her to find out during school about her dads passing. I arrived at the school, and she was so happy and thrilled to see me. I told her that we were going to do whatever she wanted to do today. Little S looked at me with tears in her eyes and said something is wrong isn’t there? I am going home, aren’t I? I just hugged her so tight and told her that she wouldn’t be leaving, but she will be visiting her grandma today. I explained grandma had something significant to say to her.

We ended up at target and went shopping of course! We went to the park, went home and did her makeup, and she put on her new dress that we had just bought. I asked her to tell me stories about her dad and what her favorite things about him were. Her memories were so precious and allowed her and I to connect on another level. Those moments will forever be cherished.

Over the summer she was growing more and more. The more she grew, the more I fell more in love with this precious girl. She came to us one day as we were folding laundry and looked at me with those beautiful big brown eyes, She leaned into me and whispered I just wish I could stay here forever. My heart was so content, but I also knew I needed to remind her how important it is to go home with family if it is possible to do so. She was so understanding but would occasionally mention us adopting her. Without a doubt, I would adopt her in a heartbeat, but again as a foster parent, I can’t stress enough how important it is for reunification to happen.

September 27th, 2017, her case worker comes over and gives us the news that her uncle and aunt will be the new placement. He gave us our ten-day notice. Inside I was broken, but on the outside, I showed her how excited I was, and we spoke about how important it is to go with them. They had passed everything they needed to do and how beautiful it was that they were going to take her and raise her. She was excited but nervous, which is to be expected. Little S leans in for a hug and just starts crying. She replies with “I would dream at night that you would forever be my momma K.” I replied, “and I will be!” No one will ever take that from me.

The next ten days just felt so numb; I am not sure how to explain the feeling. All I knew is that I had to prepare Little S for what was about to happen……. But how can I do that when I didn’t feel prepared for what was about to happen to us.

October 7th, 2017, the day has come to say See you later! She was excited at this point and couldn’t wait to get her stuff in her new room. Taking her belongings out to her relative’s car seemed like it took forever, I just kept talking to avoid anyone asking me questions. Seems like if anyone that asks me how I am doing, I completely lose it. I must be strong for her, and she should see that I am okay for her to be okay. Children feed off our emotions, and I didn’t want her to stress about my feelings. I wanted to make sure she was excited no matter what.

I will pray for her daily and pray that as a family we cope with this in the best way that we can but explaining this feeling has been difficult. Typically, I can express myself without any issues but this time around I just feel numb.

Amazing conference

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Our Experience this year was entirely different from last year. I am not sure if it is because we were new last year. This year meant so much more to me. We are almost done with Big A’s adoption, and we are about to send one of the kiddos back to her family. So sitting in the conference and learning more about sibling connections meant so much to us. We learned a significant amount this time around also.

I enjoyed the talks from all the speakers and took notes. I felt so much better leaving this years conference.

Our first day we arrived at the Santa Fe convention center. We found parking fairly quickly and headed up to the main lobby. Now mind you we took all five kids, so my anxiety was high that day. I was praying everything went smooth. To my surprise it did. We were able to sign in our kids and find a seat for Julian, me and Baby K. We decided to go to My Brother’s keeper session, Chauncey Strong is an amazing person. Hearing his story was beautiful. It opened my eyes up so much about sibling connections.

Our second workshop for the day we decided to Join LUVYA members in their presentation about Foster care journey through a youths eyes. I enjoyed this talk because we are about to adopt our 14-year-old daughter and there are days when it is a struggle to understand what is going on with her. It also allowed my husband and I to see the bigger picture when it comes to our youth groups.

We decided to head back to the hotel and let the kids enjoy some swimming. Big A had made a friend who was also in the process of being adopted, and she was staying at the same hotel. So it was nice seeing Big A making friends and enjoying herself. We ended the night with a family movie.

Saturday morning we drove back to the convention center and signed our kids in. Julian and I found our seats and relaxed a minute eating our breakfast. I was very interested in the next session: Celebrate my first Birthday By Sue Harris O’Conner. Her book is about her reflection on transracial adoption. I come from a transracial family, so I was very intrigued to see what her view was and maybe learn something. I, unfortunately, have not read her whole book and as of right now I don’t want to make any comments till I do so, because during her speech I was just rubbed the wrong way and became very disturbed. With what was being said, I couldn’t shake the feeling, and before I knew it, I was getting up to leave her presentation. I plan on reading her book and hopefully have a better understanding of what she was trying to explain during her speech.

After her presentation, we went to a Trauma, Attachment and sensory integration presentation. I loved this class. It taught my husband and me so much about dealing with Trauma. We recently have been dealing with our middle daughter losing her father and our oldest daughter losing her close uncle. Never dealing with something like this before has been difficult. I want to make sure Julian and I get a better understanding whenever we get the chance.

This Foster Conference was so rewarding in so many ways; I love that we were able to take the time to do this as well. Our weekend was great and allowed Julian and I to learn so much more.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

-Momma K and the bunch

What inspires you?

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Growing up I knew I always wanted to be a mom

But I knew I had to be financially stable to do so. I went to college and got a job as a certified nursing assistant. I worked as a CNA for five years before I decided to change my career. I loved being a CNA, but my passion was hair and makeup. I went back to school and received my certificate within ten months. I immediately started my career, and within four short months, I was writing a business plan.

In 2013, I had purchased my first hair salon. I was so dedicated and motivated. I loved what I was doing! The first time in my life I had a talent that was taking off like a wildfire. Business was going great, and I was enjoying every minute of it. 2 years after we opened the doors, I started to think about starting a family. I knew it had to be through adoption and I was ready to take that leap. My husband and I would joke he would be a stay at home daddy because I couldn’t see myself leaving my job to take care of my kids full time. Little did I know God had other plans for me.

In 2016 we started the process, business was still going strong. May 2016 we get our first placement. They were 10 and seven at the time. I figured out my work schedule and clients were more than understanding of having to take kids to and from school. It worked out perfect. It wasn’t until we started to get infants is when the business began to get rocky. Again I have always wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t realize how much time and effort it took to play that role. I decided to stop taking new clients, and if some of my clients hadn’t seen me in 4 months, I dropped them as clients. I wanted to make sure I had a strict schedule at work so I could focus on my babies after work.

At this time I was enjoying being a mom. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was focusing so hard on my little family I was neglecting my business, and it was showing but deep down I just didn’t care. I still went to work, but it was slowing down a lot because I wasn’t staying committed to my clients. I was giving 110% to my children and was realizing quick just how much my love and passion for my business was dying. I love my shop and clients but I was given this opportunity to be a mom, and I can’t seem to focus on my business. Honestly, I am okay with that. I still see very few clients now, and I enjoy the relaxed schedule at work.

It is crazy to see how life was four years ago. Now I can’t wait to spend any given moment with my children. Motherhood to me has been a complete blessing, and I want to make sure I give it my all. I never thought I would be living this life after I was told I was not able to have kids. Being determined to become a mother one way or another I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

I am having a hard time dealing with the relationships I have made in the last four years with clients. I feel like I have failed them but I know they all understand why I made the decision I did, I am not leaving any customer without any notice, and I have taken care of them to make sure they have a new stylist. I just miss that connection with them, but I am loving all the new connections I am making with these children.

My passion for my business may have died down, but my love for my children has grown so much. I hope to make something of my business later in life, but for now, I will raise these children to become successful in life. I feel blessed with how life turned out, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has shown me so much and has allowed me to find my real passion… Being a MOM!