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

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

The happy planner: foster parent life

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I use Create 365 The happy planner to stay organized with our busy life.

It has helped out so much and after many buys later I am very pleased with this one.

So I ended up paying a little over $21, which isn’t bad at all considering  I purchased the planner and sticker book.

The planner includes a box calendar and individual slot dates. Multiple other little features that can be utilized as well.

The Front

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It includes 18 months, notes, goal list, birthday list and so much more.

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The date slots Begin on Monday and end on Sunday. has additional space below for notes

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has the basic calendar in the beginning of each month

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I also purchased Stickers , I bought the Mom life addition. I was excited to see what stickers were going to be in there, I personally will be purchasing other ones. Only reason why is because I unfortunately wont be utilizing majority of those stickers. I enjoyed the purpose for them and it makes the planner fun and creative as well.

The Happy Planner- Sticker book: Mom life addition

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I am hoping to have a YouTube video up soon about the planner to give you all more detail on the planner.

https://www.amazon.com/Create-365-Happy-Planner-Beautiful/dp/B01NBJKTVM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1505761033&sr=8-5&keywords=create+365

 

 

 

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!

Perfect Mom!

I am the perfect mom……

 

Being a mom has been such a blessing. It is something I never thought I would have the title “mom.” After years of trying we finally decided to adopt. I was determined to become a mom one way or another. We eventually chose to foster to adopt. Julian and I, were told we had a better chance to get a newborn which is what I wanted so badly. I wanted nothing to do with older kids. Little did I know God had other plans.

Julian and I have been foster parents for 16 months and have had over 30 kids in our home. So many people approach me while in public, on-line, family, friends, case workers, clients, etc. they always tell me you have it all together. Your kids are so well behaved. You make parenting look so easy. You are such a good momma. I wish I were like you. You are such a perfect mom! I ENVY YOU!!! Teach me your secrets…….. STOP!

I dislike being put on the spot. Don’t get me wrong I love when my kids have made a good impression on others. It makes me feel proud as a parent. I do not like when others put me on this pedal stool and worship me. Every child is different, every situation I handle differently. Guess what I don’t have it all together!!! There are no secrets. I go to bed every night thinking to myself; I shouldn’t have told my son/daughter that. I always try harder the next day to be better for my KIDS! No one else but my kids. My world revolves around them, and I love every minute of it. Knowing I can make a positive impact on their lives is my reward. So no I am not the perfect mom, actually far from it. What I have is an imperfect life with imperfect kids and imperfect husband and imperfect dogs. Who by the way just ate all of our deserts. Thank you fur kids, hope you enjoyed it.

I look at every mom and just want to hug her. I want her to know that the mom she is envying has the same flaws just like she does. We mess up every day. I do it more than once every day. What I can tell you is I don’t stress over the small stuff and take every moment with my children and embrace it. I teach my kids the basic manners just like you have with yours. I do homework every night just like you do. I repeat myself 1000000 times to go put their shoes up, just like you do. I am just like you! Your four your old told you No, guess what so did mine. Your teenage rolled her eyes; mine did too. Your kids started to fight over a toy; mine did too. You were on an urgent phone call and gave your kids the evil, guess what so did I ! I also mouthed “go way” just in case you were wondering. You lost your mind during breakfast because you have children whining they are hungry, me too! Guess what they cried breakfast was taking forever I walked away and said eat cereal! Teach them to complain again. So yes I am very imperfect, and I don’t regret any minute of it, I am still learning, and my kids teach me every day to try harder the next day.

We are raising them to go out into the world to be decent human beings, Not robots.

So if you want to call me a “Perfect Mom” well I just joined your party late. We are all Perfect in our way! Enjoy your kids and forget about trying to be cookie cutter mommy.

-Love always, an Imperfect Mother

xoxo
Photo credit: google

How to handle a difficult placement?

Being a foster parent positively, has its moments. Our first placements were tricky, but we got through it with time and consistency. Last month we accepted to take a six yr old boy. They had warned us about his compulsive lying and story telling. Okay no big deal, we have considered that before. We introduce him to our girls and get him settled into his room. The first month is the honey moon stage. We are getting to know him, and he is getting to know us. Everything seems to be going well. The first month is done and now comes the “testing” stage in foster care. What can I possibly do to drive my foster parents crazy? Literally! Children can be cruel. You try everything from being understanding and patient, walking away, getting down on their level…. So that he could spit in my face. We tried time out, we tried taking toys away, we tried so many things to stop this young child from causing chaos. His last days in my home I had so much anger built up I didn’t know how to feel, I was about to lose my mind. Why won’t he listen? Why won’t he obey? Why does he start problems?

So finally after all the chaos I call CYFD and ask for them to remove him from my home. Of course, they explain to me that it might take some time and to just hang in there.

I sit him down and explain what is going to happen. That we, unfortunately, can not give him what he deserves and before it gets any more out of hand he will be going with a new family. He started to cry and say he didn’t want to go. That he loved being with us. At the moment I felt horrible. Maybe we could figure out a different solution so that he was able to stay. Maybe I was over reacting and what he was doing wasn’t that bad. You can’t help but think what can I possibly do to make sure he doesn’t go through more stress and heart ache. As foster parents, you feel so torn between situations like that. Even though these kids can be involved, you still want what is best for them. You can’t help but feel guilty that if you do get them removed, they may end up just jumping from one house to another.

So when they say, tough love! I mean we went all in with tough love!

I was going to make sure this young man knew I was serious and we weren’t playing around anymore. I wasn’t mean, I was understanding to his feelings and guess what finally we saw a change in him. It is all trial and error when it comes to new placement. I was done allowing him to think it was okay to act the way he was. So he would have to write why he did what he did and why he thought it was okay. As soon as he did that, I noticed small changes in him. Our last week with him was manageable. They ended up calling and telling us grandparents would be taking him.

No matter what just love the child. They tell you sometimes you can’t love a child because of what they do. How about we learn to love a child because they are a child of God. This child didn’t ask for this. It will be a lot of tears and frustration, but in the end, it will be worth it.

Don’t get me wrong though if the child is causing to much stress ask for a removal don’t feel that you have to keep with living in misery. What I am saying is just continue to love the child and try your best.

The most rewarding part was when he went home to his grandparents. He hugged me so tight and said: “I love you, Kristina!”

In the end, those words are what made everything worth it.

Just hang in there! God knows all that you can handle.

 

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*photo credit google*

Why you should never give up

 

I will take you back to December 21st, 2016.
We received a phone call from CYFD to take a 13 yr girl. Her past was run away and bounces from house to house due to her anger. Of course, I was nervous, but I also thought I could give this child a place to stay for the week. It was almost Christmas; she didn’t deserve to be alone regardless of the situation.
She comes into our house, and I just remember her acting as if nothing was going to bother her. She grabbed a gift and opened it. I remained silent. I thought to myself observe her and allow her to settle in. I knew she was going to test the water. It is typical for any child to do so.
Within three weeks of being in our home, she came to us and asked if we could adopt her. I felt so honored, and we explained to her that it was fresh and just go with the flow. We also told her that we were very open to adopting her but let some time pass. We made sure to leave that thought open in our heads. We immediately thought about it, and of course, she was a great kid, but it was so new to us. We questioned the age. Not that long ago we were that age. We examined her past. Before anyone who is closed minded reads this…. remembers the past can repeat its self. We thought about how new this was too.
We both loved the thought of having her as our forever child. So nervous!
February 2017 Julian and I are talking about Nate and Kyleigh going home soon. I decided to bring up the adoption. I am so glad I did. Julian isn’t the type to speak up first, so when I mentioned it, he was very pleased to know I felt the same way. We were ready to have her as our forever child.
We talked to our teen, and of course, she was thrilled. Her excitement showed everywhere we went. She was proud to become our daughter, and we felt so blessed.
We have always had issues with her bullying other children. We would always address the situation, and it seemed to be dying down. Her bad habits were slowly disappearing. Now I know we weren’t going to have a perfect child, but I wanted to make sure her major bad habits were nipped in the bottom before she thought we were okay with that type of behavior.
She seemed to be growing in such a positive way. Such a beautiful young girl. I love so very much. I was proud of her. She had come so far. Proved to so many people that she could change for the better.
We started the adoption process in May 2017. We received a call that July 5th, 2017 was the BIP at 3 pm. It was such an exciting moment. We went out to dinner discuss our future as a family.
We were preparing her to be our forever child. Considering college situations, setting up her bank account, getting her a cell phone and planning big family vacations. Now we didn’t just throw this all on her. We slowly talked about it and made sure along the way she understood and was comfortable with our plans. Of course, she was so happy to be doing everything with us! So were we! Three weeks before the BIP we started to notice her anger towards our youngest daughter was coming back, and her attitude was different.
We figured it was because her mother just had court, and they stated that she would be sentenced June 23rd. We assumed it had to do with that. Dealt with the situation and went on with our day. She has always been very open to me about everything. Her first week in our home we sat down for 3 hours while she talked about nearly everything that she had dealt with in life. I let her talk and trust in me that she could come to me if she ever needed to talk. I have spent countless hours driving around being that listening ear for her. Never judging and always allowing her to speak.
When I decided to ask her what was going on and expecting her to open up she immediately shut down “nothing!” was the answer. It would upset me because I thought why all of the sudden would you shut me down?
Every situation that happened for the next two weeks was hectic. Our daughter was so angry or would jump to conclusions. She would express how our youngest daughter was our favorite or how I was doing things on purpose. I could see my child hurting and breaking inside. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I tried talking to her and would get shut down.
I would stay up googling what to do with an angry teenager. Yes, I know why google? Because you would be surprised on how many people are dealing with the same crap you are!
I would approach her the next morning, and she would just be very quiet. Wouldn’t say much and Kept to herself. June 23rd, 2017 comes around. Her mother sentenced seven years in prison. She breaks down feeling guilty about it. She continued blaming herself for her mother’s mistakes. I am trying to explain to her that it isn’t her fault. She isn’t liking what I am saying. I hear her say “I just need to talk to my mom.”(she calls her step grandmother “mom” someone who helped raise her and make sure she was safe when she could. ) it crushed me!
I instantly felt hurt, angry and annoyed! I am her mother! I should be the one she wants right now! I told her to give her grandmother a call and ask to go over. Even though I was hurt, I knew what she needed, and that wasn’t me. She called, but her grandmother told her no she couldn’t come over.
She ran to her room. I tried talking to her, and she just didn’t want anything to do with me.
The next day she asked if she could call her grandmother again. Again the grandmother said no. She had some personal issues to take care of.
That following day she had been a hand full. Very disrespectful and rude to our other children. I had asked our youngest to get her for dinner, and it ended up in a screaming match. She had yelled at her and told her to get out of her room. I immediately went in there and told her to eat!
By this time I am heated and so is she. She refuses to eat for dinner. So I send her to her room. I will admit I didn’t do it maturely and I do regret not being more grown up about it. At that moment all these emotions and anger had got the best of me.
The next morning I wake everyone up to do chores, and I had noticed when I went to her room she had a notebook and pen laying on the ground. Something in me knew I wasn’t going to find a positive note in that book.
I ended up finding a hate letter. How she didn’t want me to call her my daughter or even be my daughter. She didn’t want to be adopted, and she was just going to run away. She called me some pretty offensive names and said she hated our youngest daughter as well. I decided to tear them out and throw them away. I knew she was mad but now so was I. Hours had passed, and she comes into the living room asking who ripped out the papers and I said I did. They are in the trash. Before I knew it, I was calling CFYD asking for them to get her. She started screaming and stated how much she hated our house and our youngest daughter.
A child I had loved so much. Someone who meant the world to me! A child I was ready to have in my life forever!
I knew we needed space. I knew I had over reacted. What I didn’t understand is why now???? I questioned her safety. I doubted her love for us. I asked her goals with us. I questioned my parenting skills.
Where did I go wrong? Why didn’t I see the signs before this got out of control? Do I want this? Does she love us? Are we being used?
You name it; it was going through my head. I felt like a horrible person for calling CYFD to get her, but I was so worried that she was going to run away or hurt our youngest child.
We talked with CYFD, and it almost felt like I was numb to the situation. A child that I had so much love for I was ready to throw in the towel. Is it easier to run from our problems right? Both my husband and I let one evening go by we discussed we weren’t going to give up on her. Even though I was still hurt my love for her meant more!
June 30th I walked into CYFD feeling lost but ready to hear what she wanted to do. We sat down in the room together, and I remember her not saying a word. Question after question and not even any emotions coming from her. I had to step out and cry.
I felt like I had failed at that moment. I was ready to drive home and just say forget it! That’s what she wants right? I pulled myself together went back in the room and finally an answer “I want to go back with them.”
It all happened so fast. Looking back on how everything went. She was so used to people not fighting for her. It was typical for her to run away from her problems. Here we stood fighting for her to come home.
My emotions are still a little wacky right now. I am still questioning what the heck is going on, but as for now, she is home!
What happens next? I learn from my mistakes and become a better mother.
Don’t give up on your kids!