Update 2015

Posted July 14, 2015 by Instant Mama
Categories: Adoption

Tags: , , ,

Hello Friends.  It’s been a couple years, and I just wanted to share a little update with you all.  If you remember, I can be a bit wordy if I’m not careful, but I’ll try to keep it to an update and not a book.

It has been two years, nine months since our six kiddos moved back in with their mother.  I’ve thought about them almost every single one of those days, missing them, wondering how they are, praying for them.  I still love and care for them deeply, but the pain of saying goodbye is no longer fresh and raw.  And they are really doing well, so that helps alleviate much of the worry and stress.

It has been two years five months since our forever five came and we became the family we are today.  They love our first kiddos and miss them too.  It’s pretty awesome to occasionally have all eleven of my kids together in one place, enjoying each other’s company!  I was blessed to see that last week, as you are about to read.

It has been one year seven months since we moved from our home that was home at one point or another to all eleven of our kids, and we now live a full day’s drive away.  Leaving our six behind was hard, but we are in a great place now.  Hubby is pastoring a church that is the perfect fit for our family.  We couldn’t feel more blessed.

I actually ventured out and decided to use that degree I paid good money for so many years ago, and got hired as the principal and upper grades teacher of a small church school.  All mine are school age now so they come with me each day, and I teach grades 4-8 (last year I had ten students in the room) as well as call the shots as the administrator.  I LOVE my job, but it is a full schedule for sure.  I’m thinking I can keep this up till my student loans and a couple other things are paid off, and then we will see.  This summer is slipping by all too fast and I have so much I should be doing right now…but let me finish this update first!

Earlier this month we had some meetings to go to several hours away, and kind of on the spur of the moment decided to drive another six hours back over to see our kiddos rather than the ten hours home.  We stayed two days, and got to see them both days.  We have seen them about twice a year since we moved – not nearly often enough but really pretty good considering it takes two days just to travel every time we go.

So let’s start with A-girl.  She will graduate High School this year with excellent grades and an associate’s degree!  Yup!  She stayed in the program we helped her get started in, maintained excellent grades (only 35 of the original 70 are still in), and is graduating with honors.  She was complaining that there were too many colleges sending her information and scholarships that she didn’t know what to do!  Woohoo!  Good problem to have.  I’m super proud of her.  She also got connected as a translator and so has that as a part-time job (some jobs pay $200/day!).  And she got her full license so is able to get around and get her siblings/mom around if need be as well.  Did I mention how proud I am of her?  She has matured so much in the last two years…

B-boy went through a really rough spot and I thought he was going to drop out of school.  But the prayers must have worked, because at this point he is in the ROTC and working towards getting a degree so he can go into the Airforce as an officer.  I saw a picture of him in uniform – SHARP!

C-girl is just starting High School.  She has kept up good grades and while I was a bit disappointed she didn’t do the same program her sister did, I know she will be OK.

D-boy & E-girl are hanging in there.  Elementary school still, not exactly dreaming big for their futures yet, but there’s still plenty of time for that and with their older siblings all setting such good examples I feel like they will be fine.

And last of all, F-girl.  Oh how I miss my baby.  And she misses us too.  It seems like there may have been some negative repercussions for her in the past relating to interacting with us, because she is crazy reserved whenever we see her.  We have been trying to let them know ahead of time so she can mentally prepare – it’s got to be hard if we just show up randomly on her doorstep.  The heads-up has worked better.  Every time we go she always asks us if we can come back, if we can visit again.  Even as a super-smart five-year-old, it’s hard to comprehend what “moving” means.  This last visit was especially revealing.  We were in the pool, and at one point most were at the other end and so it was just my hubby and F-girl together.  She leaned towards him and whispered “I still love you.  You’re a good dad.  My dad isn’t a good dad – he does [mean things] to us even when we are being good, and that’s not what a good dad does.”  Where does she get these insights?  For the record, I don’t think she sees her bio-dad all that often, but she obviously isn’t impressed.  And here is where I am tempted to get philosophical about the psychological damage that can potentially occur when you take a child from the only home they remember, from parents they love more than anything, and put them in another family.  But philosophizing does me no good because it is what it is and it’s not like I had a say in the matter anyway.  In so many ways, though, we can still see that her core is aligned with our family so much more than with her biological family.  And that makes me sad – I wish she “fit” better.  But she is definitely loved and cared for.

That reminds me of one more thing.  Last month on Father’s Day weekend, we were reminiscing with the kids about these guys.  My hubby sent A-girl a text saying something about we were just looking at their picture books and thinking of them and missing them.   A-girl texted back an unexpected reply.  In Spanish, so this is a terrible translation but gets the gist.  “Forgive me for not recognizing you on Father’s Day and for not appreciating you as much as I should have during the time I was with you.  Miss you too and Happy Father’s Day.”  Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever!  You don’t become foster parents to get thank you’s, but when they come like this, it feels a million times worth it all over again.

Speaking of Father’s Day, A-girl told us a cute story.  At their church they called all the kids up and had asked them to bring in a tool or something to represent their dad’s work.  F-girl hadn’t brought anything, but she was up there.  The pastor’s daughter’s turn came, and when they asked her about what her dad uses to work, she showed them a Bible.  F-girl was soon after, and she looked around and then went and grabbed a Bible.  The person leading out was very confused, but A-girl clued in right away.  She explained that F-girl was thinking of her foster-dad (my hubby), not bio-dad, and that he was a pastor as well so that was why F-girl had grabbed the Bible.  To think that any time someone talks about her dad, my hubby is who she still thinks of…

It is truly amazing to me the impact that we have had in these children’s lives.  The fact that a little girl who left us at two and a half years old still remembers us so well, considers us her family and definitely her father, and at five-years old can not only feel the difference in how people treat her but can articulate it clearly.  We did teach her to communicate young and always spoke to her like she could understand everything – she could, and can now express so much so clearly herself.  It is amazing.  To see A-girl, from a family who hasn’t valued education or the independence of women getting ready to graduate with a High School AND College degree, holding a flexible job, and independently driving and handling things on her own… This is not where she was heading five years ago when we met her.  And B-boy was ready back then to drop out of school and work construction the rest of his life.  Not now – he has aspirations!  They have all seen something bigger, something different, something worth fighting for.  And they are now more willing to lift their gaze, shoot a little higher, dream a little bigger.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  It was worth it.  Every tear, tantrum, and trial.  Every heartache, hiccup, and hallelujah.  The moments of madness and then ones that melted our hearts.  The grief I experienced then, and even the grief I still experience today.  Worth it all.  I am who I am today because of all I’ve gone through, because of the impact these six lives have had on me.  I know my life is better, fuller, deeper because of it.  And from all appearances, their lives are richer as well.

Thanks again to those of you who journeyed with me through those two years – you were part of the better, fuller, deeper for me.

Until next time…if there is a next time, God Bless!

New Blog

Posted April 18, 2013 by Instant Mama
Categories: Adoption, Foster Parenting

Tags: , , ,

Just a reminder that if you want to continue to follow me, you’ll have to move over to my new blog.  My previous post gives more details.  Thanks!

Click here to go to the new blog: instant2forever.wordpress.com

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Instant Mama refers to the speed at which I became a mama – from our first serious consideration of becoming foster parents to having six children in our home, the process took less than three months! Two years later we said goodbye to them, and focused on adoption. From our first inquiry to welcoming our five children into our home, that process also took less than three months! If you’d like more background, be sure to read How it all Began. For a recap of our fostering journey, see Instant Highlights. You can also sign up on the home page to receive new posts via email, or if you would like to contact me privately you may do so at my gmail.com account, user name instantmama.

Case Closed

Posted April 15, 2013 by Instant Mama
Categories: Adoption, Foster Parenting

Tags: , , ,

I mentioned before that we had reached the end of the Instant Mama blog as you have known it. But with the kids’ case still open, I hung out here with you a little while longer and want to thank you for standing by me in the wait. It was tough to see the case closed in many ways, but in many ways this is as happy an ending as anyone could wish for. Six children were kept together for two years while in the system, were kept safe, and have a better knowledge of both the world they live in and the God who made it than they ever did or would have had otherwise. And then they were allowed to return home to their mother who always wanted them and loved them. Yes, there are unpleasant uncertainties and definite deficiencies, but overall everything has great potential for turning out fine in the end and I am choosing to look at that.

It’s been a long journey. A journey I never dreamed of before it happened. I am much less naïve and innocent to the ways of the foster care system than I was before. Whether that is a good or bad thing, I am not sure. I am also now on a journey as an adoptive parent of five children that began because of my journey with these six. And while I love them all dearly, there is no doubt in my mind that we were never meant to adopt those first six as a family. There is also no doubt in my mind that we were supposed to be their family for the two years they were with us. While in the midst of the chaos there were so many questions, but I am thankful that God allows us to look back and see a clearly marked path of how we have been in His will all along. How our relationship with the children and their mother continues, as friends, remains to be seen.

And what about you? So many of you were along for the story – and what a story it was! Stranger than fiction, crazier drama than even TV or the movies at times. There were some high highs, and some low lows, and lot of everything in between. Telling the story helped me to see it better, to recognize many behaviors and attitudes for what they were underneath instead of simply surface annoyances.

But that story is finished now.

Perhaps you were along for the camaraderie. You are a fellow foster parent or an adoptive parent of children that were in foster care. Perhaps you know someone who is going through the foster care experience. This was another place you could come and know that you would be understood here. Thank you for coming – I needed that support as much as you!

But that foster parenting journey is over now as well.

Perhaps you are a friend or family member of mine. And you’re following just because it’s me. Aww, I feel so special! You may not care what I post about! If that is the case, then stay tuned.

Where does that leave us? Well, for the foreseeable future, this blog is done. I won’t promise that nothing will ever be posted here again, but this story is finished. The children who delighted us and then you for the last two years have been out of our house for six months now. Their case is now officially closed. Their foster care story has ended, and ended better than many. Our journey as foster parents ended with them leaving. I am taking the advice of the very wise man I am married to and bowing out. This story is finished.

Fortunately, his advice didn’t end there! I have loved blogging, and I have loved the community here. So he suggested that I start up a blog devoted to my new passion – speaking about adoption. I must especially speak about the adoption of children through the foster care system. Related to that is of course foster parents, children in foster care, and caring for the fatherless as God has asked of us. Fortunately, I am inviting you to move with me if you so desire!

So if you were just along for the story, or if you only seek support from an in-the-line-of-fire foster parent, or if you were just waiting to see how this story ended, then I must thank you again for the great time we have enjoyed here. This is an easy place to hop off. Perhaps we’ll bump into each other again on another blog somewhere!

But if you have a passion for adoption (or you just love me, haha), perhaps you’d like to continue to follow me over at my new blog. It is called “From Instant to Forever,” and the tagline is: “They came to me in an instant. That instant began our forever.” Fitting, right? Here is what the About page says:

Hi! I’m Instant Mama and I am excited you’ve found me. I am a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother. I am passionate about a lot of things, but here is where I share my passion for adoption – specifically, adoption through the foster care system. I was a foster mama for two years before meeting my wonderful children who are a part of my life through adoption. Foster parents and children in foster care will always be another area of passion for me. We now celebrate the blessing and joy of adoption, but we also recognize that there has been loss and grief involved in making adoption necessary to start with. This blog discusses the many issues that are unique to adoption, especially the adoption of children who have journeyed through the foster care system and are old enough to be well aware of what is taking place. Whether you are involved in foster care, are part of an adoption trio, have friends who are involved in these, are considering adoption in any form, or are simply curious, please join me as we continue this journey! Comments and discussion are so welcome and I’d love to hear your story and your opinions. One person at a time, we can help the world become a safer place for those who don’t quite fit the traditional picture and whose story is uniquely their own. Ready to join the adventure?

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Come on over. It can be found at instant2forever.wordpress.com. If you click on Instant Mama’s Story it explains my blog title a little bit more, while of course giving some of my story. I was surprised to see that some of you have found me already, and am excited for the rest of you who will find me there as well. If you are following by email, you will just need to go to the home page and put your email address in there to begin receiving the new posts by email just like you were with this one.

Thank you all once again for the amazing blog community you have been. Your comments, advice, and experiences are priceless. And I have even gained some true friends that I do hope to someday meet in person! That definitely was not on my list of expectations when I started this blog, but is one of the things I value most now.

May you be blessed, and may the peace of God fill you and give you strength for each day.

And now I’ve got to run. I may have become a mama in an instant, but my forever is waiting…

Blessings,

Instant Mama

Click here to go to the new blog: instant2forever.wordpress.com

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Instant Mama refers to the speed at which I became a mama – from our first serious consideration of becoming foster parents to having six children in our home, the process took less than three months! Two years later we said goodbye to them, and focused on adoption. From our first inquiry to welcoming our five children into our home, that process also took less than three months! If you’d like more background, be sure to read How it all Began. For a recap of our fostering journey, see Instant Highlights. You can also sign up on the home page to receive new posts via email, or if you would like to contact me privately you may do so at my gmail.com account, user name instantmama.

Court Update

Posted April 9, 2013 by Instant Mama
Categories: Foster Parenting

Tags: , , ,

So I know some of you are anxiously waiting to hear how it went this morning.  

Anticlimactic is the word.  Anticlimactic indeed.

I got there early.  The waiting room quickly filled up.  I was totally fascinated watching people, knowing that the majority of them were parents here to see about getting their kids back.  Some were getting to visit their kids as they waited.  I will admit that there is a part of me that is up for the challenge of (and even enjoys?) dealing with the drama and suspense of foster care.  It is an adventure like no other.  But as I sat there watching people today, I felt only one thing – total and complete relief that I was no longer a part of this scene.  Watching mamas cry for and cuddle their babies that are being cared for by someone else – it is heartbreaking.  I can relate to losing a baby, and at this point I have had enough.  I felt so blessed to have been given the gift of children through adoption, to have been given the strength to endure the trials of “the system,” and to be where I am now both because of and in spite of all that we have journeyed through during the last two-plus years.

I saw the kids’ worker – he told me that their case was WAYYYYYY down on the list – like he was going to go back to the office and come back after lunch.  Unless…unless he could convince the judge to see their case first, because there was a translator there (being paid by the court, by the hour).  People were going in and out of the waiting room all morning, but at one point I did not see anyone who was associated with our case.  Hmm.  I got up and looked in the hall.  No one there either.  Hmmmm.  After a quick trip down the hall to the bathroom and back, I saw the worker talking to the kids’ mom.  I walked over and asked him if the judge had come yet.

Yes, and court was over.

The case had been closed.

End of story.

Well, I was not in the least surprised though I was a little annoyed.  They couldn’t have been in there more than five minutes.  Of course they were quite intentional about NOT calling me when they called everyone else.  And so it goes.  Just an additional confirmation that I am glad that the foster parenting stage of this journey is basically over.

Thank you all for your prayers, for your support, for your encouraging words, and the verses shared.  I feel strangely calm and at peace with everything – a peace that is beyond explanation because I should feel really annoyed and perhaps even angry right now and yet I do not.  There were a lot of people praying for us, for our kids, and for this case today.  I have to trust that this is in line with God’s plan.

I asked the kids’ mom if she needed a ride and she took me up on the offer.  She asked why I had come, and I told her that since it was the last court date, I wanted to be there and congratulate her.  Which I did – it really is a milestone and I imagine she feels a great sense of relief now.  I was also able to share a few personal things with her, including thanking her for allowing us to continue to have a relationship with her beautiful children.  It was a little emotional but, despite my horrible deficiency in Spanish, we were able to understand either other as mothers who both love the same children.

So here I am, pretty much where I expected to be today – in basically the same place I have been for the last few months.  And I am OK with that, because if God had wanted me somewhere else He would have arranged that.

I continue to give thanks for so many things.  God is good and ultimately He is in control.

I will rest in the peace of that knowledge.

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Instant Mama refers to the speed at which I became a mama – from our first serious consideration of becoming foster parents to having six children in our home, the process took less than three months!  Two years later we said goodbye to them, and focused on adoption.  From our first inquiry to welcoming our five children into our home, that process also took less than three months!  If you’d like more background, be sure to read How it all Began.  For a recap of our fostering journey, see Instant Highlights.  You can also sign up on the home page to receive new posts via email, or if you would like to contact me privately you may do so at my gmail.com account, user name instantmama.

I Choose Thanks

Posted April 9, 2013 by Instant Mama
Categories: Foster Parenting

Tags: , , ,

So today is the day. Sometime this morning the kids’ case will go before the judge once again. Perhaps for the last time, perhaps not. Your continued prayers are so welcome and so felt – thank you. I’m planning to go to court for the first time. I have been told I won’t be allowed in the courtroom and the kids won’t be there either (and the unspoken message was that I really shouldn’t even bother to come…). So if I go and sit around until after their case is heard, so be it. If things go differently than the workers expect, I will be ready for that as well.

So, in this stressful time, I have a choice to make. And I choose to be thankful. God has led so clearly in the past, and while I feel as though some people have not followed His will He does not let that deter His ultimate plan. I am thankful to have seen this in the past. I am thankful that He is faithful and has promised to continue to work things out for the good of those who love Him.

I am thankful for my children who are in my home. While I am not sharing stories of life in Instant Mama’s house, let me just tell you that things are great here. Sure, we have our share of issues (big and small) and the timeout spot has continued to get plenty of attention. But things are good. My kids are happy. We enjoy heartfelt laughter. I hear, “Mommy, I love you” randomly and at the weirdest times ALL DAY LONG! I am certainly thankful for this.

I am thankful for my supportive family and friends. Our parents who probably never dreamed that they would get five grandkids all at once through adoption as they walked us down the aisle (yes, my hubby was walked in by his parents too – we like to be original). We are so blessed that our friends and family have been supportive and welcoming of our children (and most have not even been awkward about it!). Not everyone can say this.

I am thankful that I have seen positive changes around F-girl and her family. I expressed my concerns and expected them to fall on deaf ears, yet definite things have happened and a few improvements have been made that are directly related to and because of my voicing those concerns. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for so much more, but the last specific I will mention is life itself. I read the Facebook status of one of my friends last week stating that she was in shock because her five-year old son’s friend had just died. A tragic accident. It reminded me of what I do have. All my children are alive and healthy. I have a relationship with even the ones who do not live in my home any longer – this is not usually the case in foster care. I am alive. My children are alive. I am not having to figure out how to explain death and loss to a five-year old like my friend had to do that evening with her son. And while I do not know what tomorrow holds, I will be thankful for these things today.

So I choose thanks. Today. Tomorrow. And every day. There is always something to be thankful for.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

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Instant Mama refers to the speed at which I became a mama – from our first serious consideration of becoming foster parents to having six children in our home, the process took less than three months! Two years later we said goodbye to them, and focused on adoption. From our first inquiry to welcoming our five children into our home, that process also took less than three months! If you’d like more background, be sure to read How it all Began. For a recap of our fostering journey, see Instant Highlights. You can also sign up on the home page to receive new posts via email, or if you would like to contact me privately you may do so at my gmail.com account, user name instantmama.

Steal My Show

Posted April 8, 2013 by Instant Mama
Categories: Foster Parenting

Tags: , , , , ,

Again, thank you for praying.  Tomorrow is court.

For a girl who doesn’t claim to be super crazy about music, I seem to be posting a lot of lyrics lately!  In the car is pretty much the only place I listen to music, and that is just the radio.  One of the ways that we are intentional about keeping God first and foremost in our lives is never listening to anything other than Christian radio.  And since neither of us is crazy about talk radio/ preaching, we tend to stick with KLOVE.  Another song has struck my fancy, and echoes what I want to say as well.  It is by TobyMac.  Read the lyrics:

“Steal My Show”

Another cold night
Another late flight
It’s almost show time, and Diverse City’s waitin’ on me
We got a packed house, the crowd is callin’ out
They want the beat to drop, but what we really need is You[Chorus:]
If You wanna steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go
So take it away

So now the crowd is hype, that you showed up tonight
Anticipatin’, cravin’ somethin’ more than smoke and lights
So I’ll step out the way, I’ll give You center stage
Alight
Spotlight
Give ’em what they came for …

[Chorus]

When You arrive, we come to life
Our hearts collide, they’re beating in the same time
You’re comin’ through, all eyes on You
Our hearts collide, they’re beating in the same time, beating in the same time

No matter who we are, no matter what we do
Every day we can choose to say …

[Chorus]

My life
My friends
My heart
It’s all Yours, God
Take it away
My dreams
My fears
My family
My career
Take it away
Take it away
It’s all Yours, God
Take it away
Take it away
It’s You I wanna live for

So that’s how I feel.  It’s easy to desire that people look at me and admire or be proud of me.  But my life should just be the stage where God is allowed to be the star, to steal my show.  People should be excited when they see me because it is God moving in and around and through me that is what is really visible.

I’ll admit, I’m kind of hoping that God will choose tomorrow to not just steal my show, but to really wow the crowd.  To do something so amazing that there will be no doubt that it was Him working, and no one else.  But I guess that it is possible that the “wow” He wants to give will be in my heart and in being able to continue moving forward full of grace and love with the situation as it is.  Either way, I’ll take it.

Today and everyday I can choose to say,

“If You wanna steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go
So take it away

My life
My friends
My heart
It’s all Yours, God
Take it away
My dreams
My fears
My family
My career
Take it away
Take it away
It’s all Yours, God
Take it away
Take it away
It’s You I wanna live for”

To God be the glory.  May my life reflect Him and point others to Him.  It is His show!

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Instant Mama refers to the speed at which I became a mama – from our first serious consideration of becoming foster parents to having six children in our home, the process took less than three months!  Two years later we said goodbye to them, and focused on adoption.  From our first inquiry to welcoming our five children into our home, that process also took less than three months!  If you’d like more background, be sure to read How it all Began.  For a recap of our fostering journey, see Instant Highlights.  You can also sign up on the home page to receive new posts via email, or if you would like to contact me privately you may do so at my gmail.com account, user name instantmama.

Even If

Posted April 4, 2013 by Instant Mama
Categories: Foster Parenting

Tags: , , , , ,

I saw my baby today.  She is doing well.  Better than the last time I saw her.

But today I just wanted to share with you another song that has caught my attention.  “Even If” by Kutless.  Have you heard it?  Read the words:

Kutless

Even If

 

Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true
Of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That can never change who You are
And we trust in who You are

(Chorus)
Even if the healing doesn’t come 
And life falls apart 
And dreams are still undone 
You are God You are good 
Forever faithful One 
Even if the healing 
Even if the healing doesn’t come 

Lord we know Your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
And even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
We rest in who You are

Chorus

You’re still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You’re working all things for our good
We’ll sing your praise

Chorus

You are God and we will bless You
As the Good and Faithful One
You are God and we will bless You
Even if the healing doesn’t come
Even if the healing doesn’t come

Wow, those words really hit me the other day.  “Healing” may not come to me in this situation.  Sometimes it feels like this part of my life has fallen apart, and dreams are certainly left undone.  But none of that changes who God is.  He is Good.  He is Faithful.  I will trust Him.

Even if the healing doesn’t come 
And life falls apart 
And dreams are still undone 
You are God You are good 
Forever faithful One 
Even if the healing 
Even if the healing doesn’t come 

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Instant Mama refers to the speed at which I became a mama – from our first serious consideration of becoming foster parents to having six children in our home, the process took less than three months!  Two years later we said goodbye to them, and focused on adoption.  From our first inquiry to welcoming our five children into our home, that process also took less than three months!  If you’d like more background, be sure to read How it all Began.  For a recap of our fostering journey, see Instant Highlights.  You can also sign up on the home page to receive new posts via email, or if you would like to contact me privately you may do so at my gmail.com account, user name instantmama.