Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oh, to add to my list...

Oh, to add to my list...
I am going to remove the gun and fart sound apps on my iPhone. Yeah, I
allowed, but did not choose to put those on here!


Sent from my iPhone

Tonight will be my last night as a parent for a while. I am really pleased with the new situation C will be in. It is a family that can take her brother too and they seem nice. Especially the mom; not sure what to make of the dad. I don't want to sound mean, but I think some of the people at the meeting I was at don't see the C that I do. I exchanged a few glances with her friend's mom that said, well we see things a little differently. Yes she can be a good kid, but she is also very strong willed.

Tonight will be my last night as a parent for a while. I am really
pleased with the new situation C will be in. It is a family that can
take her brother too and they seem nice. Especially the mom; not sure
what to make of the dad. I don't want to sound mean, but I think some
of the people at the meeting I was at don't see the C that I do. I
exchanged a few glances with her friend's mom that said, well we see
things a little differently. Yes she can be a good kid, but she is
also very strong willed.
So I admit I am looking forward to getting my life back. Well other
things have changed in my life too, but that story doesn't belong
here. Anyhow, this is my plan for when she leaves:
1: clean, clean, clean. I can't believe how many things I have
overlooked or haven't had time to get to. My fridge in particular.
2: ride my bike. I have had more opportunities than I have taken, but
I think the weather will be perfect for it this weekend.
3: cook myself something nice and meat free.
4: go and do whatever I want outside or far away without worring about
when I need to be home. (specifics here yet to be determined)
That's it for now. =)


Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The good, the bad, but no ugly

I think that there is a reason children start as babies. They are so lovable. Then by the time they reach teenage years, you have developed a bond...
I jumped into the hardest part of this girl's life. Not only because of the foster situation, but because of the age.
The bad: the whining. I get so sick of it. And I told her tonight. I sounded like a mom for sure: "I have heard enough of that, you need to stop. You know my answer." "If you don't do what you are told, then we won't go get your friend." It felt good to say though. I wasn't mean, just firm. She pouted enough that one of her friends called home to get picked up. That says a lot.
The good: She referred to me as her mom. She calls me by my name, which is fine. But instead of referring to me by name on the phone she said her mom. That's good. And I was talking to her friend's mom who said her daughter said I was nice, and that they all think it is a good thing that C is here, in this good situation. She also said C wasn't nice to her daughter before and is glad that they can be friends now. That is very encouraging. And what I will end with. =)

Friday, July 24, 2009


I can't tell you how many times I heard "seriously Jennifer" tonight - one right after the other. It got to the point where it was just funny. It had no meaning, or maybe it's like that old term "dude" that could be said to mean a million different things.
I am tired of demands over requests, being told what to do and that I am not in charge ('cuz she thinks its funny), and its making me get blunter in my comments each day. Tonight we had an argument on: you need to shower and brush your teeth. Yesterday I had to call her on the multiple versions of stories I was getting - after I gave her an earful on how we both have to make sacrifices, and there are some things I am going to do that she is just going to have to come along for.
Tomorrow morning - early - she is going with her dad, and Sunday afternoon she leaves for camp for a week. I am so excited to have some time to myself. I enjoy having her for the most part, and don't want her to leave to live with her friend instead of me, but wow, she can wear a person down. I think her friends even get tired of it.
Let's end on a bright note. Well, it's marred of course, but I'm choosing to see the good side here. She made a couple of comments on me being her mom. First was that I wasn't a good mom, then she immediately retracted that statement. That's a compliment to me. Later was something about me not being her mom, but then this confused, well sort of... Hey, I'll take this as a good sign, that sees me as a mom. I like that.

Monday, July 20, 2009


As last week progressed, C-- ate better and better. She would still claim she wasn't hungry, but ate when I prepared food. She even asked me to prepare breakfast on Friday. This weekend she was with her dad most of of the time. All she ate with me was cereal. So naturally I was concerned about what she was doing for dinner, etc. I am still wondering about this.
This morning, it was the same as it had been for breakfast most of last week - not hungry. Then, as was making a sandwich for her lunch she also made these statements: "I don't need a lunch. They'll have food there." As I told her, I was there last week, there wasn't food. That was followed by: "I ate yesterday, I don't need to eat today. You don't have to eat everyday." (I'm thinking, oh my goodness, does she really believe this? Has she done this or is she just being obstinate?) Of course I told her that she does need to eat everyday...
She ended up eating a bagel for breakfast. The smell of mine must have made her hungry. Who would have thought that eating regular meals was something I was going to have to model.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Small changes, large joy

C-- is coming around a little more each day. I see little changes, and take joy in them. Here are a few things she's said to me:
  • Monday afternoon I had followed her to another part of the beach we were at. When her and her friends were going to another place, she called out to me: "Jennifer, we're going over here now." Basically asking/telling me to come along.
  • After picking her up from camp yesterday: "My friends like you- not as much as they like my dad, cuz they've known him longer..." The thing is, she wasn't around any of the friends I met that day.
  • In talking about an activity she is attending tonight: "I don't think you can go. Not that I don't want you to go, but I don't think you are allowed to."
  • Along those lines, a random comment, with no real context, where I think she was talking to me, and I think about about the church camp she's attending: "You could go, but it's too late to sign up." That was odd to me, why would I go to church camp?
  • This morning she was volunteering information to me, telling me about yesterday. She sounded excited for today.
She hasn't objected when I have said I am coming along; got used to that pretty fast. And wasn't really upset when I told her she couldn't go to her friends, that they would have to come over. Although that could be because I immediately followed the statement with, "so I decided to get a Wii." And last night I said that I'd like to get to bed earlier, and without my asking she did when it was time; we didn't even discuss what time.
Okay, one more thing. or maybe two. I was telling her yesterday how so many people said good things about her and I was too and she said not to believe them. I told her from what I have seen, they have been right. So I was glad to have that opportunity for an encouraging word. This morning I snuck a napkin with a note "I love your smile" in her lunch. We'll see how embarrassed she is this afternoon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Good Day

Today turned out to be quite fun. After church I joined their youth group at lunch and got to meet some of the girls who help out and see C-- interact with them. That was encouraging; it looked like they have a great relationship. Then this afternoon we went to the beach with C--'s friend and a couple of ladies who are also leaders in the church youth group. They had boogie boards too. Then we got some tastee-freeze, great way to end the time at the beach! I agreed to let her friend come over for dinner and watch a movie, so we stopped by his house I met his mom and then we went to Blockbuster and home to make dinner.
I have to say my favorite part of the day was when I was preparing dinner. C-- wanted to help, which was quite the turn around from the night before when she didn't want to even eat. But the best - when she blared "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong through the ipod dock and said it was her favorite. I was so happy to hear both of them sing along at the table. Those are the moments that are amazing and give strength for the hard times. That church and its impact on C--'s life is such a blessing. God is certainly working through the people there.
She still wants to go back with brother, and if that doesn't work out I know she will be upset. But after today, I know we will be able to get through it. I want what's best for her, and I don't think it is going back. That is not my decision, but we will see what happens tomorrow. I think I'll sleep better tonight though.

The first day

This is hard! I slept terrible. Last night C-- was missing her brother and wanted to go back. It's hard not to want that too. I keep asking myself what am I doing? A single person who has never raised a child. God is this really what you have for me?

I feel more upset, and literally my stomach hurts more, when I think that way. C-- really is a good kid. It's the emotions that are hard to deal with. I think I handled the situation last night okay, but it's the pain of separation from her family that is hard. I had to explain that even though some things might be the same, living with someone other than your family is going to be different. (Dear God please give me the strength I need.) She has friends in this area and her church is just across the street. With no contact with them this weekend that makes it harder. I also keep wondering if I should have waited until Monday to get her. But it is too late now.

My biggest concern is still day care; yesterday when I was praying God reminded me of the verse about the thousand cattle... Basically telling me to trust him to provide the money. There are other complications with this in specific to C-- as well, but there is nothing I can do about it today. Matthew 6:34 I can just pray that God will work everything out.

...I wrote that when I woke up this morning. It has been better since (10:10 am now). I decided it was okay to let her go to her church youth group. It is so close and at church for goodness sake. I didn't talk to the social worker, but with the level of privileges she had the lady at Polinsky made it sound like the social worker would say it was okay. I am taking a chance, but it is not fun for either of us to be cooped up in my apartment all day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My visit to the children's center

This is probably one in a burst of posts. I keep getting the same questions, so I might as well share my answers here. (and this is a rather unorganized pile of thoughts by the way.) I am not sure about sharing some personal things like name, so you might have to have talk to me in person.

I went and visited, we'll call her C--, this afternoon. After a little mix up of her being the right child (a her for one thing; guess that comes with living with a dad and brother) we talked for a while. She didn't know what was going on with her living situation, and was likely wondering who and why this stranger was visiting her. I learned more about her, asked what she enjoys doing. Skateboarding was a big thing. ...She is going into 7th grade! Yikes, I was looking for early elementary. But I think this is good, in that there are a lot more things she will be able to do for herself. In addition, she understands what is going on and why - even it doesn't make complete sense. So we seemed to carry on a conversation okay and she sounded eager to come and live with me. That was encouraging to me. I am sure there are going to be challenging times ahead, pushing rules and boundaries, but she seems like a well-behaved child. ...I think she knows my neighborhood better than I do -- she is involved in the church youth group just across the street, so that will be convenient.

My biggest concern is what I am going to do while she in not in school. Her age makes this more difficult too. But God keeps whispering to me that I need to trust Him. He has certainly shown himself faithful this week when I have surrendered to Him. So I will take and deal with the challenges as they arise. I know what I need to do and worrying about those things because it is past office hours doesn't help anything.

I got a call about an hour after I left there that I could take her back with me after my visit if I wanted. Too late! But I wasn't quite ready to schedule a time just then. That caught me off-guard; I thought I would have a couple days to prepare. But after a couple hours I feel okay about it. It will probably be good to bring her to church Sunday. So I plan to call tomorrow and go and pick her up. I probably won't talk to the social worker until Monday though. Which is looking to be a non-office day for me.

What other questions? I can't talk about the reason for being in foster care... She has been at the center for two weeks. Wow! I realized making dinner tonight that she missed the 4th of July. We'll have to go watch the Sea World fireworks one night. =) My mom asked me on my way home what I was doing this weekend. I think now it looks like a weekend of shopping - Target here I come.

First phone call

I got a call yesterday morning. I had anticipated that morning something happening in this part of my life. I knew I wasn't supposed to call, but felt something was different. That the waiting time was changing/coming to a close.
It was scary; wow, what a decision to have to make. I was so thankful that the social worker told me I could take time to think it over. An eleven year old girl needs a home. There were pros and cons in what I learned, but I will always have that to deal with. It is a matter of if I can deal with the cons, really.
I worked yesterday and prayed all day too. I was amazingly focused on my job, which involved a detail-oriented project, while I continued to mull over what I learned about this child. Last night at home was much of the same. I didn't spend a lot of time on my knees about it, I felt I had been in communication with God all day. I just needed those thirty seconds or so down on my knees to confirm what I was feeling. That God had prepared me for this, and that I should say yes.
There were a few more questions I had to ask, but I figured anything terrible would have been shared with me initially. So I called this morning and got my questions answered. I was right, nothing I learned was bad, either what I expected or better. (those classes really prepare you for the worst) One thing I learned is that I can visit her in the children's center she is staying at. So I am going to do that this afternoon. It is both exciting and scary. What do I say? As I ask that God calms my heart, it is going to be okay. ... I will write more as things develop.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I mailed my final training certificates in yesterday. Now I just wait for a phone call. I'm nervous and excited about it.
It's going to be especially hard at first, adjusting to each other, figuring out a routine. And the child will probably be sad and confused - I would be too if I was suddenly taken away from my parents. ...I know they talk about it being easier early on when the child is in the denial stage of grieving their loss, and that the anger stage is difficult. And some of the behaviors they might have along the way could be really odd to me, and even be difficult to deal with.
But I can't help (especially to keep from being overwhelmed) to focus on and look forward to the good times: the fun activities we can do together, the little smiles that sneak out from being silly. I will almost be teaching a child how to be a child. That just sounds like it has potential for fun.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dealing with Loss

I have had a lot of people tell me about Christian foster agencies that they/someone they know are going/have gone through to do fostering. I suspect the support and approach is different. But I like that I'm just going through the county. Too often I can dismiss something in my life and not really work through it, just try to pray it away. While prayer is great, I am learning that it is important to not use it as a tool to run away from our problems. On the other hand, I can't forget how powerful prayer is, and need to use it as tool to help deal with the issues.
That might sound confusing. Let me try to explain what I have in mind. One of the topics that we have discussed in our training is loss. The instructors have said this a few times: we have to deal with our own losses before we help the children with their own. In example, it is not healthy for a foster to adopt family to not grieve the loss of their own potential child that the adoptive child is 'replacing.' They might not realize it, but resent the birth parents... So for me, I am thinking that there is a loss that I need to grieve. It may sound a little silly, but it is my privacy. I live alone and have for three years. I can do what I want, when I want, wearing whatever I want... So that is all going to change. I am not only giving up time and money, but my way of living. My world is about to turn upside down. I am excited about it, but I would be lying to myself if I didn't admit that it is going to be hard.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mixed emotions

This week's foster training was the most shocking. Some of the things that the children face and do - oh my - taboo topics to talk about openly in our society, especially within the church. There were some issues that were presented that I really don't think I could deal with. That was the first time I have thought no, rather than, that will be difficult. In addition, the week had been draining for me. I am not used to be around people all the time, and I kept thinking how
I will have to get used to it. That alone is draining for me. I am doing this on my own. I began to question if this is right. Then I realized that my doubts were selfish and that is partly why I am doing this- not to live such a self centered life.
Then there was also a video we watched that had clips of interviews with children who had been in the foster system for years. I found that very moving and it made me want to encourage the church to intervene before it gets to the point where people feel hopeless. It made me think of a friend of mine who made a lot of changes in her life when she began a relationship with Jesus and the struggles she faced along the way. How difficult it was for her to ask for help without worrying about being judged. We as a church need to go reach lost people and show them love, grace, and that there is hope. I read "What's so Amazing About Grace?" by Phil Yancey years ago and was reminded of the lesson he gives on grace breaking the destructive cycle. It makes me consider creating promises for the children, including that definition of grace given in the book. He states that there is nothing we can do to make God us more and nothing we can do to make God love us less. That is the security and type of promise that these children need to hear to have hope. Lord help me to love these children in that way - the way you do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Change in Habits

When I first began considering fostering, I was thinking about all the things that will have to change in my life. When I get up and get ready for the day, I will have to wake up and get ready a child too. I will have to make the child breakfast and maybe pack a lunch. I will have to park somewhere else so the child can get into my car... on and on throughout the day I thought of these things. But there is something that I didn't consider too much that I might have to change.
I have noticed this just recently about my television watching habits. I watch a lot of shows that are drama, now I gave up CSI a long time ago, but shows in that thread I enjoy, Chuck, Lie to Me.... Or on a lighter note, I like Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. But I would not want a child to watch any of these. They would be scary, or might resonate too closely to their experience, or just reference activities that are above the level of appropriateness for the child's age. It's the summer now, so most shows are over, but I wonder what I am going to have to give up on in the fall? I record these shows; what keeps the child from pressing play on the DVR? Well me, yes, but I don't want to be just a rule enforcer, to say "I have a long list of shows that are okay for me, but not for you." No, I'd rather skip House and watch Nemo instead.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Training #2

Last week I didn't know what I was getting into when I went to training. I think I was expecting it to be more of a presentation of facts. That it would be: here are the issues you are going to be faced with and here is how to deal with them. But it wasn't that way, it was more of 'put yourself in someone else's shoes.' So this week I approached the training differently. As I was getting breakfast beforehand I felt I needed prayer. I had sent an email the day before to some of my friends with prayer requests and I thought, 'It would be great if someone could read that and pray for me right now. Who would be up and online at 8:15 in the morning?' Then I thought my friend Linda, who has 3 kids might be. I was praying that God would put it on someone's heart to pray for me. Fast forward half an hour, I am sitting in my car outside the training center, checking my email on my phone before I go in. My friend Linda had written me just 15 minutes earlier. Wow, God really answers prayer. So I went to the training strengthened knowing that I wasn't alone.
This weekend we covered attachment and loss. The topics were again presented from an emotional perspective. What I learned about attachment is that it is formed by meeting basic needs. There are different levels of attachment and children's behaviors vary based on these. We were read two stories of children from birth and were to imagine ourselves as that baby. Being on the side of the room that had Baby B, who ends up in foster care, I felt that I would be hostile to the world.
Then in the afternoon we discussed loss. They had one of the instructors sit up front and some of us stood around her representing the things that are important to her. Then another instructor told a story and we walked away as she lost these things in the story. After it was just her sitting up there by herself; the story even took her name away. It was a good presentation of loss and helped us to feel what the kids must feel when they are taken away from all they know - and in a more traumatic situation than the story. I was thankful at this time to be a Christian, to know that even if all that was taken from me, I would still have God and wouldn't feel as though I had lost my identity.
Another thing presented were the stages of grief. The instructors said that children can be easier to deal with during the first three stages, and then when they get to anger the foster parents give up. But this was a great perspective: this anger should be celebrated because it means they are moving through the stages. However the children often get moved and end up getting stuck in that stage. Each move creates another loss!
I felt more confident this week, less scared. I know that I am going to have to deal with some terrible stuff, but I also know I am not alone. One of the instructors said sometimes if you are young, one of the losses the foster parents have is their friends. I think it is ironic because since I made this decision, I have felt closer to and developed more friendships than before. It also helped my confidence to reflect on some of the children I have been around before and seen changes in. Lastly, and it sounds funny when I say it this way, but I also know that I have this supernatural power that the other people in the class don't have -- prayer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First PRIDE training

I had my first training this weekend. It wasn't what I expected and I found it a lot harder emotionally. There was a lot of talk about the birth parents and their perspective. I think I was forgetting the children returning to them too much in my imagination of what it will be like. The reality of it began to scare me. One of the things that they said Saturday is true. We may gain knowledge in the classroom, but we gain skills in experience.
Having a few days to process what I heard Saturday, I feel much better. Sunday I was very emotional and crying at church. The fact that it was mother's day wasn't helpful in that regard.
...God still has a lot to teach me. As I write I am realizing more of what that is. Not only does He want to teach me community, and humility in asking for help, but also to solidify my identity in Him. I will not be 'mom' to these children, but I will be a mother and will feel love towards them as if I was. But the love I will receive in return will come from God my Father and that love alone is perfect and whole.
My friends have been so encouraging to me, and the message from them all has been the same. Thanks for your prayers and support, ...
I better stop before I tear up at work.

Monday, May 11, 2009

LATE trolley

It's a good thing I don't have a child to pick up now. The trolley is
super late; I have been waiting 25 minutes and some have been here
longer. I should be at my car by now.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I start training next week. I am so anxious; I can't wait to get them over with. Although, I think it will be somewhat difficult. I'm sure we will discuss issues that the children face and how that will affect us. That will be emotional for me. I'll be sharing here what I'm learning.

This weekend I was wishing I had a child. I really wanted to go do something fun, but much of what I thought of would be more fun with a child. I think and pray that we will be a blessing to each other.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Awkward pause

I had my first cynical reaction today. I was afraid of this type of reaction at first and hesitated to tell people.
Of course it came from my co-worker who looks at the world through - well - what's the opposite of rose-colored glasses. I too often hear don't-bother-even-trying sentiments from her. So I know I should take it lightly, but it is a prick in the side. There wasn't a congratulations, how are you going to do it? but simply, don't they want people who don't work? Well, I didn't say this, but I am thinking, no it is those losers who don't work and try to live off the foster money that they try to avoid.
I think I will focus instead on all the joyous reactions I have gotten. Because I have gotten a lot over the last day and it has been very encouraging.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Finding an Elementary School

I will admit that I have been putting off looking at the local elementary schools. Perhaps because I know there are so many around here that I didn't know where to start. For someone who has never dealt with such things, it can be intimidating. 

Yesterday I was talking to a mom who is dealing with finding a school for her son after an upcoming move. She helped out by directing me to a website called So I checked it out. After trying to visit a school's site, I found instead the district's site, which has a tool where you enter your address and it tells you the assigned school for that area. Why didn't think of looking at the district site before?! duh. That made the decision easy - there is none. And according the other website, the school has a good rating. Great.

Part two - finding before and after school care. Another link from the district site and I found a program that offers a free educational program. Of course there is a limit on the number of students, but that would be great if I was able to get my future child in! Entrance is based on a point system and being a single, full-time employed foster mom will give me 2 of 5 points. There is a possible additional point if the child has poor academic scores. (and those who are already in the program get 2 points) However, there are two problems: 1 - the application in due May 8. I won't have a child to enroll by then. 2 - The elementary school is my area doesn't have a program there. (nor does the next closest.) Perhaps it is because I live near a rich area - that school is surrounded by million dollar homes. Which makes me wonder how a foster child would even fit-in in a school like that. Maybe the OB school will be best; more diverse, good ratings and has the after school program - if I have that option. I will have to talk to the licensing social worker about this when she comes this week. 

Another thing I found online- free lunches at school for foster children. This is great. I don't have to worry about packing a lunch; and that will cut down on the cost of groceries too. While I wasn't concerned about the cost of food, the cost of after school care was a uncertainty, so if this can off-set that, woo-hoo. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fostering set up

Orientation - check
application - check
fingerprinting - check
CPR & first aid training - scheduled for Sat; check
Physical & TB test - check
prepare bedroom - check
PRIDE training - scheduled for Saturdays from May 9- June 13
home visit - scheduled for Tuesday; check

WOW- I have everything scheduled. I am really doing this. It is happening so fast -it's been 4 weeks (tomorrow) since the idea really presented itself. I am excited.

well, a few more details to work out - what school the child will attend and what before/after school programs are provided. need to find sometime to be a regular babysitter and get that person fingerprinted and safety trained. ...and maybe a few more things around the home.

I have been thinking about this with every spare moment since the idea first presented itself - imaging what it will be like to have a child along with me in everything I do. What I will and won't be able to do. I can't imagine how much my mind will be consumed with the child when they actually arrive.