When Notice Comes Due: Grief and Loss with Foster Care

baby_FotorOctober 1st of last year, we took in a 4lb 2oz foster baby girl. She was the tiniest little thing. She was a preemie -about 6 weeks early. She grabbed our hearts and off we went to be her foster parents. Length of time unknown. Or as my daughter would say: till further notice.

For months we grew this baby girl. Night time we got up and feed her every 2 hours-then 3. Slowly she grew. Her plan for her future went in many different ways. That’s her story. But if nothing worked out in the end: we were prepared to adopted her-giving her the continued stability she already had with us. This sat in the back of our minds as everyone fell more in love with her.

Foster to adopt. The children we foster-if they come up for adoption we have the first choice of adopting if we we feel this is what is best for all in our family. This concept helps keep children in stable loving homes longer if possible. We have our three beautiful children through this way. While we don’t set out looking to adopt-God places them in our lives.

We have had foster children come into our home that didn’t stay. We have said goodbye to many. It doesn’t get easier.

This one was the hardest goodbye. The abruptness of it threw us. Yet we know in foster care, children can be moved just like that. We had little time to prepare ourselves. We found out at 2pm in court that the next morning our sweet foster baby was moving home, just about a year after moving in with us.

And just like that our family was broken. The kids cried. We cried. We held her, loved her, spoiled her, kissed her. We treasured every moment with her.

‘Till she was no longer ours.

My heart ached.

I was just sad.

I became numb.

It was like our world stopped.

Then I saw the words “God is Good all the time” and thought -yes. He is. Even in my sorrow I have to find goodness. I have to my strength in Him.

So we stayed busy. I read scripture and sang. I prayed-even when I had no words. God has a plan- I just have to wait and see. I called on trusted friends to help in my sadness.

Soon there was laughter. My kids were looking at pictures -smiling. We found that we had to trust that God was looking out for our sweet Squeakers, and that there were other children who needed us to help them along their way.

Foster Care comes with sorrow not only for the foster children, but for the foster families also.  When I teach perspective families, we teach them to treat the foster child like their own.  So many of us do.  And when they leave it is almost like a death.  We grieve.  Yet knowing these children are still out there.  Sometimes some foster families have the benefit to build relationship with the birth families-we did not have that benefit in terms of reunification. Grief and loss with foster care comes in many different forms and knowing that they are there will help foster families understand what it going on after the loss of a foster child.

God is Good all the time.  Two weeks later we had a vacation planned.   A Disney Cruise.  We as a family needed that time to be away to heal, to relax, to unwind.  It was just the timing.  And as a family we would every now and then bring up our Squeakers, and a tear would flow.  It is part of the healing process.

Do I wish she would just come back.  Of course.  Do I pray that her family situation will be stable and healthy for her.  Yes.  Do we continue on the road with foster care? Absolutely.  Our journey is already continuing.

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The Cloth Diaper Itch

My box is sitting there. In the corner of the room. With my cloth diapers. I love cloth diapers. I used them on Robby almost full time and my other foster babies part time. But for some reason, with these two-I’m having a hard time getting in the grove.

Part of it is Squeakers (our foster baby) was so tiny and the cloth diapers I have 20140423-101645.jpgwere/are still too big for her. She is just fitting into the old M Fuzzi Bunzs I have. I have all three sizes of Kissaluvs, but only a few of the smallest. With Haddie she fit into the Fuzzi Bunzs fine. I just think it will be easy to diaper both at the same time.

And with summer coming it’s a great time to use them. Sun drying is so much easier after washing them. And if I get into the habit of using them again-I can add a few new ones here and there. It’s amazing how far cloth diapers have come in 12 years! I would love to try a few of the newer styles! (Like many are all in one sizes now!)

So yes, we will still use disposals. They are good for the go. (And yes I’ve made it across country on cloth diapering an 18 month old.) But that was a few kiddies ago!! Plus visits with Birth Family it’s easy on them to use disposal. But I think I’ve got the Cloth Diaper itch!  And I may pull them out and use a few here and there!

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5 Things I Wonder on an Advent Monday Morning

1. I wonder if Mary got these quiet Monday mornings after she feed baby Jesus to just nuzzle him in her chest as he slept. Did she enjoy those moment or was quiet not really part of the life style or community? I just wonder.

2. I wonder what the second week in Advent will bring. I found our advent candle holder and am going to put candles in it to use it. We have been doing our devotions and putting our ordainments on the tree.

3. I wonder if I will have a full normal week of homeschooling. Seems there is always something happening. I have to have Robby finish his Math U See book this year to start fresh next year!

4. I wonder if I will get my house cleaned! It’s a never ending battle! And finished decorating for Christmas!

5. I wonder if I will get to go grocery shopping! We are in need of food in the house!

As the morning quietly awakes, I ponder these things. But I think I will cuddle Baby Squeakers a wee bit longer and start my day.

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Homeschooling with a Preemie Baby and Grand Baby

As some have pointed out-I have not blogged much lately.  It is not cause I don’t want to-or don’t have any grand ideas or cleaver post titles.  Those are coming to me at 1 or 2 am in the morning while I am feeding our now 10 week old sweet foster baby girl.

Life in our house changes all the time.  With one call we can have a little 4lb 3oz baby girl enter into our lives like that.  We can go from having 6 kids living here to 3 in one day cause my oldest son and his new little family are having major life changing issues.  God has shown us to be flexible and trust Him-He will take care of us.

For the past 10 weeks it has been 4 kids in the house with our new littlest sweet preemie baby.   She turned everything upside down, and her case continues to surprise us.  She is ours for now-all her cuteness and squeaks.  And we are learning to adjust and homeschool with a baby in the house.  The first two weeks she came we did not do a full homeschooling schedule.  Robby our oldest, he continued with what I assigned him, but the younger ones, they did various things but not a full schedule.  Thankful for computers, iPads and movies.  I had to get adjusted to having the new baby, and she was eating about every 2-3 hours.


We just went through adjusting to homeschooling when my daughter in law moved in and we had a new baby in the house last spring when my sweet perfect grand-daughter Haddie was born!  She now spends at least 2-3 days with us and is just one of my kids when here.  But since she holds the title of grand baby she gets spoiled.  Yep- started the grand ma lollipop of the month club!  (note lollipop did not last long in her mouth-she didn’t know what to do with it)


Little Squeakers (our baby’s nickname) is on about a 4 hour schedule.  So we can get most of our school work done in the morning now.  By the time we are done Autumn  will show up with Haddie for the day.  My kids are very much baby kids and want to hold and play with the babies!

Little Squeakers we did not let them hold her till about 4 weeks ago.  She was 6 weeks or so early and we wanted her to get a little bigger first.  She really spent the first 3-4 weeks in our room. We are blessed that Robby who is 12 now, took the Red Cross Babysitting training class this last summer and is a trained babysitter now.  He does well with all the kids!

So as we get ready for Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas, our homeschooling book learning will come to a rest for a while.  But life learning continues and that is the greatest learning of all.


Robby said to me the other day, holding Haddie- “Mom, I am going to be a great dad cause I have a great dad and I know how to take care of babies from him.”  And that melted my heart because no book learning is going to teach my boys how to be a great dad but the example of a great dad.  And learning how to change diapers.


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Until Further Notice: A Child’s View on Foster Care

foster careWe have an ever-changing family.  Every year it seems we are different in number of children we have living at home.  Between our children, granddaughter and foster children, people never know how many to expect.  Saying we have 6 kids doesn’t bother us.  Somedays we are down to only 3 in the home.  That seems way too easy!

We are a foster family.

We are an adoptive family.

We are God’s family.

This is our family.

We have been fostering over 7 years, over 20 kids in and out.  Some for just a few hours, some for over a year.  Some babies, some teens, some became our forever children.

For the last two years we have done respite care.  We have done longer foster care, but we were dealing with our older son and his new little family.  They needed more of our attention.  But recently we have been placed with a small little preemie baby girl.

It is amazing how when you are placed with a foster child, one of the first questions people ask is “how long are you going to keep them?”  I think this comes from the fact that we had done respite and we knew how long.  I always tell people till the family figures things out.

We do foster care to provide a safe loving home while families figure out what they need to figure out. Our job is to love the children and care for them.  In this case, care for baby girl.  My kids have many questions.  It is normal.  We talk freely with our kids and they know that baby girl is with us till her family is ready to care for her.  We do not know how long.

So people ask our kids how long are the kids going to be here.  The best line that our little girl (7) gives them.  “Till Further Notice.”

The first time I heard her say that-I though perfect.  She understands this.  We were her third placement.  We are now her final notice because we adopted her.  But she understands that many kids do get to go back with their family.  We have seen it happen.  And we are happy and thrilled.  My kids of course want to have more children in our family (like there is not enough!  LOL)

So how long will we have baby girl?

Until further notice as my kids say.  And that is how foster care works. Till then we will love and take care of our newest bundle of joy.  Along with the lack of sleep, bottles that need washing and poopy diapers (no one said it was easy!)

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Haddie is Here

Well after waiting Haddie made her way into the world. She was born two days ago and is home. Pretty proud of my son and his wife Autumn ( did I mention they got married last week!). I know how hard it is to have a new baby in the house. He is taking good care of her.
So here is Haddie!





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Waiting For Haddie

My grand-daughter Haddie will be here soon. She will be starting a new chapter in our lives as grand parents. A chapter I wasn’t expecting to start so soon in life, but as we all know life does not alway hand us what we expect. So we take what God gives us one day at a time.

Jeremy and his fiancée Autumn are going to be teen parents any day. This week we are looking at possibly bring home Haddie(she isn’t due till May 11), Jeremy is finishing last-minute work for High school schoolwork and I need to work on school reports. On top of it, we are trying to sell our house to get a house that fits our family better.

Today we thought Haddie was coming. Everyone got excited. We were waiting for Haddie to show up today. But it wasn’t time yet. Haddie still has some baking to be done, some growing and developing. It is best done inside mommy. IMG_0555

So for now we will wait for Haddie. Because when she gets here our house goes to 6-8 for a while. I will be gaining another teenager and newborn as the three of them merge into a family. When she gets here, the noise level will be the sweet sound of the newborn cry. I will be molding a young soon married couple to become the best parents they can through trial and error. I will be gaining a daughter in law soon to help balance out the number of girls in the family. And soon-on the outside- a grand-daughter that I will get to love and cuddle on, and then hand back when stinky or fussy! Ahhh going to like this Grand momma job!


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How do you say Good Bye to a Baby you Never Held?

This month marks 5 years since I lost my baby through a miscarriage.

It is a silent time in my life.

How do you say goodbye?

I never got to hold my baby.

I never got to feel my baby kick me.

I just know I have a life inside, and then it was taken from me.

That was 5 years ago.

Most of the time life goes on, but a picture or a child would make me think “is that what my child would look like?”

He or she would be four years old now.

And my heart would ache a little. And sadness would creep in.

How do you just say good bye?

Some feel that it wasn’t a little life , that it didn’t count.  If it didn’t count, then why does my heart still hurt today?

Life continues.  I know my baby is being held in heaven.  It is a comforting thing.  But every year, at this time it is still hard.  And it is hard to explain to others just why -and I don’t always don’t know why I am even sad.  But something will make me remember.  Like Lent makes me remember.  I have taken care of  over 20 children.   I have said goodbye to many of them.  Each one I think about-each one special.  But I got to say goodbye to them.  I got to hug them.

And as February fades into March, life continues.  I suppose that every year will bring a moment of sadness.  And that every year will bring moments of healing.  Keeping God as the center of my focus, His love and care-will overshadow me in my sadness and bring me the healing I need for the years to come.

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Story of an Alien Baby Birth-AKA Robby’s Birth Story

Robby had asked a while ago if I had ever blogged about the day he was born.  I said no, I don’t think so.  He said to call it Alien Baby Birth.  I was I ok…. You will have to listen to the story.

All my other children’s birthday story start our with me staying “most mother share their birth stories of their birthday days, but when you adopt kids, you share the first time you met them.”  While I am going to share my birth story of Robby, here was how I first met him.

Yep they freed a hand, stuck my glasses on, stuck this slimy baby in front of me to slime up my glasses so I could not see, I finally managed to put my hand on him.  And I called him my alien baby.

Let’s rewind to the day before.  I wasn’t due for two more weeks.  I had been dilated 2 cm. but not much happening.  So I had still been working full time as a DCE in our church, trying to get everything in line for me to be gone for maternity leave.  That Sunday morning when I woke up, I was having different, pressure feelings.  I did not tell Dan or my mom.  We got dressed and went to church.  I did my Sunday morning job, with those pressure (now I know) contractions coming about ever 6-8 minutes.  No pain, just pressure.  Didn’t tell anyone.  I figured when I felt pain, it was time to go.  I was ready.

After Church Dan, my mom and I drove around looking at leaves and big houses.  These “pressure contractions” were now every 5 minutes-I was timing.  But no pain.  I was like ok…where is the pain.  We went home.  I did some more work for church at home, on the phone getting Children’s christmas program in line.

I finally told Dan we should take a walk.  I said, start timing.  These darn pressure contractions were getting closer, but no pain.  But I finally said, I think it is time to go to the hospital.  So you know those moves where the pregnant women goes calmly to the car and it seems like everyone else is freaking out.  That is what it felt like.  I don’t know what they were doing, but that is what it felt like.

So we get to the hospital.  I was only 4cm.  Ugg.  The nurse said l had to walk to for 2 hours.  If I continued to dilate they would keep me.  If not they would send me home.  So for two very long boring hours I walked the hospital.  I went to 6cm.  Then all the ugly stuff happen.  IV’s (oh I hate IV’s -they had to bring in a specialist. )  and all the other “stuff they do to you”- I mean I was just having a baby.  A baby who after me being in labor for over 24 hours wasn’t coming.  I had gotten to 7 cm by evening by the morning time I was still there.  They started Pitocin in the morning-I stayed at 7cm all day.

I really didn’t start feeling any pain till about 4ish.  About the time I finally agreed to an epidural.  It was at that point the Dr. came in and said we needed to consider a C-sections. Robby was Sunny Side up.   He left us for a moment to talk about it.  I agreed-I was exhausted and ready to met my son.  I knew Dan was scared.  Everything happened so fast.

Soon I found my self on the table being prepared.  The did a spinal.  Later they had put some liquid on my stomach and I said that was cold.  The nurse said “really?”  I said “yes”  Soon they were checking…the spinal didn’t full effect.  Soon after much discussion, I had another spinal.  Before I knew it I had my alien baby slimming up my glasses.

I was disappointed I didn’t get to see him be born.  But find it ironic that I didn’t see any of my child be born.  They each have a special story of how they came to me.  The pictures you see in this blog are my only pictures of Robby on the day he was born.  We have some video.  But how I wish we had a better camera.  But being taken into a C-section threw us.  We had not prepared ourselves for that but at least we have some.

And now, 11 years later that Alien baby is turning 11!  Happy Birthday Robby!!

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Cups, Sippy cups and Breast

Robby is our first born in our family (not oldest). He came from my tummy as the kids define it. The only three things that set him apart from my other kids is he grew in my tummy, he slept with us in bed and I nursed him.

Those first four years before other children entered into the picture I was able to research-books and Internet which had a huge wealth of information exploding on it. Maybe just a little too much reading. I was always ready for what was next not wanting to miss something!

I breast feed Robby 80% of the time. I did use bottles for juice and organic soy formula to supplement. (I was a little to crazy green then, I have balanced out to help the pocket book and the fact that I can’t feed every baby that comes in our house organic formula-we get WIC)

I had two theories being throw at me-leave them on the bottle till they are ready to stop sucking-followed the Let them lead the way to stop nursing or stop at one years old.

I introduced the Sippy cup at 10 months with some watered down juice in it and no stopper in it. Robby was in the high chair. By a year he was done with a bottle and it was breast or Sippy. We still nursed another 6 months and he stopped. Sippy cups where given at the table or out side. Never was he allowed to wonder with it-or goto bed with it.

At two we started a tupperware cup with a sipper seal on top. Outside I would give him open cups to drink from.

By three we used Sippy cups or cups with straws for traveling in cars long distances or when visiting others houses.

By four sippy cups are now water bottles. Which all my kids have.

I follow this path for all my babies minus the breast. I only had two that I had to wean off of bottles to Sippy cups. One went happy at 14 months. The other at 15 months. Each other were passy babies, which by 18 months for Isaiah we would give only when tired and then it lived only in the crib-then it just fell out….about 2 1/2.

There has been a lot of talk about no Sippy cups or pacifiers.

1. Teach kids at an early age not to walk around with their cup. Drinking is done at our table. Or sitting with daddy or mommy. (and yes when they are really cranky sometimes they had one more to hold on to) but our rule is drinks and food at table.

2. Fact is if you give a 14 month old baby a cup of milk, they will dump it out. That’s what they do. So have them sit at the table. Or outside. With just a diaper on. And towels all around.

3. Let them run with anything in their mouths and they fall-it will hurt.

4. Babies/toddles get hurt. Their mouths bleed alot, which freaks new parents out. Apply pressure to cut. If any of the teeth seem wiggly or not right, call your dentist. Most lip/tongue cut are minor but seem huge cause of the amount of blood that comes from them. . If in 10 minutes after apply pressure there is still a large amount of blood call your child doctor.

5. While baby/child lead is good-you are the parent. Learn this now. When you say no-do no feel guilty -you are the parent. You need this skill now so when they are teens…..you know how to say no!

6. No baby or toddler is going to get hurt being breast feed.

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