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

5 tips to stay organized

5 ways to stay organized as a Foster Parent
1. Color Coordinate
2. Buy a planner
3. Have a spot for homework and backpacks
4. Chore list
5. Filing cabinet

I know many people panic being first-time foster parents. I did! I decided to share some ways to stay organized. I hope it helps with those who struggle with being first-time foster parents or anyone who is needing help to get organized with kids.

 

COLOR COORDINATE

Color coordinating has been a lifesaver! I purchase everything from the dollar store when it comes to baskets and totes. I buy bulk toothbrushes, and brushes off my amazon prime account and make sure they come in all different colors, plus they come cheaper that way. A visit to Walmart and they have a variety of separate color towels and wash clothes. The pens I use for my planner I purchased at Sam’s club and bought the color bundle set. When it comes to their lotion and hair product I use my label maker to put their names on the items and highlight it according to their color. It may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff is so worth it. If children leave things laying around, I don’t have to search I just look to see what color it is. I have a closet that I put everyone’s basket including Dad and I we have all our toiletries in there as well as our towel folded in the front. Our closet is located right before the bathroom, so this has been very effective when it comes to staying organized. We also noticed that new placements aren’t so lost when trying to figure out what is theirs and where it belongs.

BUY A PLANNER

I use The Happy Planner to stay organized, it has a primary calendar, and it also has the day to day planning. I have a blog all about on my page if you want to know all the details. Whoever has an appt or school functioning I use my color coordinating system to manage my planner for their events or mine. Typically try to use sticky notes for reminders throughout the day so that I can stay focused. It helps with sports, visits, projects and so much more. This organization tip helps when you get a new placement in because Those next 48 hours are hectic. So being organized right off the bat will help with a smoother transition.

HOMEWORK AND BACKPACK SPOT

If you can find a spot in your house for backpacks and homework, I will encourage you to do so. If you are not able, my suggestion to you is set a homework time so that it stays organized where ever you decide to set the kids down to do homework. In our house, we have the backpack wall. I just used command hooks to hold the backpacks up off the ground and spray painted them to the color of each child. IF you don’t want a wall of bags, my other suggestion would be a spot in their room, so it is still off the ground and organized as well. Do what works well for your family. Everyone knows that Our homework spot is our dining room table! Every kid knows that if someone is there doing their homework, it is quite a time! I have extra pencils and paper laying out every day after school just in case. I use my cooking timer during reading to time the kids. Some of my children prefer to go into their room to read which is fine the timer is loud enough for them to hear it.

CHORE LIST

Every day after school everyone has a chore, they first do their homework and typically while I am cooking dinner they will start on chores. Mothers dream to walk out of the kitchen to a spotless house, right? If only but it is the thought that counts. You usually get kids who 1. Have never cleaned 2. They had to clean for punishment 3. They hate to clean and will throw a fit to get out of it 4. Love to clean.
At our house, we use an award system, and I am not talking like do a chore, and I will buy you a video game. NO! It is more like do a task, and we will earn our way up to a dessert from McDonald’s. I don’t want to just hand my kids a treat after one duty I want them to learn that when they get older, you must work hard and then comes the gift of life. I have had some many people roll their eyes, but I feel like in my household this system works! I get asked so many times how I raise my kids to be so respectful and well mannered. I don’t want to sugar coat life even with the smallest things like chores.
I made each child a magnetic chore chart ( I plan on making a separate blog on how I made them) It is labeled Monday through Sunday each day I change out their chores. I even have a “FREE DAY” magnetic that the kids try so hard to earn. They can earn it by helping mom without being asked or helping someone else as well. Using their manners while out in public or not fighting with their siblings. There are many ways to earn the “FREE DAY” I also included an everyday side, and I have magnetics made for showers, homework, brush teeth, put on lotion, do your hair, read, etc., everyday things.
The chore list has been a fantastic organization trick because the kids know what is expected of them. They just move they’re magnetic to the “COMPLETE” box, and all I need to do is go check the list and to see what they have done. It has improved our oldest son with being more responsible which I am loving watching this boy grow.

FILING CABINET

My good ol’ filing cabinet that I am quickly outgrowing. I am going to give you a tip just buy the medium size. I bought the smallest one because in my head I thought If I don’t have the room I don’t need it, and if it becomes cluttered it is time to organize it. Wrong! I need more space for filing. Utilizing my color coordinating tip I do it in the filing cabinet as well. So, each child has their file but I forgot I own business, a house and I also have bills! I went in only thinking about the kids. I purchased a bigger one keeping my organization tip in mind don’t go to big, or it will give me a reason to keep filing till I am knee deep in a mess of clutter. I purchased all my folders on amazon prime. It seems like anything that has a bundle of colors is cheaper which helps me in the long run. I use my label maker to stay organized with the filing system. I file by oldest to youngest as well. Now when they go home, I just send them back with the whole file. Any artwork or grades anything that you want mom and dad to have. I keep the things they have drawn me or written to me, and I put all of those in a separate folder for memories. Cause man oh man it is nice to go down memory lane to see just how far these kids have come.

I hope these 5 Organization tips have given you an idea of what may work for your family. If you would like to see any of these tips in a more detailed blog or have any questions, just let me know down in the comments below

– Momma K and the Bunch