Foster Mama

One of the questions that I find myself asking more and more is, “Will I be a good mama?” I have been an excellent daycare teacher with the most difficult children’s parents saying, “How do you do that?!?!” I am a pretty awesome babysitter, hardly ever putting an infant down, and making sure that children of all ages have age appropriate ideas and activities to do and that the TV remains OFF! I treat all the kids as if they are my own and make sure that they feel loved, respected, safe, attended, and listened to. But what about my own kids?
Will I be as great a caretaker to my own kids when I can’t send them home at the end of the day and have a few hours to decompress before I do it all over again tomorrow? Will I be able to exercise the same amount of patience with my own babies as I do with a complete strangers? Where is my guarantee that after all of the craziness and turmoil that I experienced in my life, I wont emotionally scar my children with my indecisive, free spirit, “who cares what happens next as long as we’re alive” mentality? There are a lot of things that are still so incredibly unclear. So many things that are not guaranteed.
We have been on this pregnancy journey for about 17 months, but even before that, WAY before that, Callie and I had discussed what was most important to us and for the future of our relationship. One of the things that came up was the idea of adopting or fostering to adopt. We always knew that our hearts were big enough for more than 1 child. Heck, we knew it was big enough for a preschool sized room! Bring on the babies, we thought. 5 kids?!?! Make that 10! Our own soccer team to take to the 2026 World Cup hosted right in our own backyard! Why not, right? We had talked about it several times since then, and even after our initial consultation with the fertility specialist, we still agreed that it was something very important to us and that we wanted to do regardless. And lo and behold, we take my niece to a children’s carnival, and there right in front of us, about a week after another “foster/adoption” conversation (despite fertility consultation), a booth in support of National Foster Month! How could we not sign up and get more information?! How could we possibly pass the booth by when it was so very loudly screaming, “SAMMIE!!! CALLIE!!! COME HERE!!! WE NEED YOU!!!” So we did! Obviously! And we signed up that very same day for MAPP classes (a 10 week course in learning to become foster parents).
What were we thinking!?!?! We had Dr.’s appointments twice a week, I had a new job with an inconsistent schedule, Callie had a new boss who was pulling rank and switching schedules left and right, and the only class that suited us was a Saturday morning. Did we really want to get into this? Now? On our one day off together a week? No day but today they say, and we are so glad we decided to do it. We met some really amazing like-minded people who we still stay in touch with and hang out with pretty frequently, and we learned a lot of things about ourselves with through of the sensitivity training that they offered. It allowed us to open up more about some of the things in our past, and even opened our eyes to how different some of our parenting styles are. Ultimately, it was an amazing experience.
After a load of home visits with a slew of different people, 10 weeks of classes in an unair-conditioned room in the middle of June, some MORE home visits, and then almost 8 months of waiting, we got our first placement. A set of 3.6 year old twin girls. They were only with us for about 2 weeks, but they changed our lives. They made us realize how CRAZY the child welfare system is (but that’s for a WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST!!!), how in sync we are as parents, how supportive we are of each other when we needed some parental back-up, and how much love we truly have to give. Callie still cries about those girls. A few weeks later, we got the little lady that’s been living with us for the past 3 months.
When Mary came to live with us, she was truly a lost child. Having spent most of her life surrounded by her mom and mom’s friends (not being judgmental here but lets just say they aren’t the best 20-somethings to surround your 6 year old with), she truly had no clue how to socialize or play with other children. 3 months later she looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask if I can play with her and her friends on the playground. Apparently, its for “little kids and not big people” like me! She is truly a ray of sunshine in our lives. She’s feisty, smart, rambunctious, curious, and loves her “2 best foster moms ever!!!”. She’s learning to be independent and play by herself (mainly because she trusts us enough to know that she’ll be o.k. even if we aren’t with her every moment). She’s learning to share her emotions with us and allowing us to comfort her and show her our love and support (even when being ripped from her school without a goodbye from mom in FL, she never cried), but most importantly she’s learning that we love her, and that no matter what she does, right or wrong, we are going to be there from her.
Even with all of the things that we are able to teach her, I still struggle with the notion of having my own children and being able to do what’s best from them. I somehow still try to separate being a foster parent and being a “real” parent. Aren’t they one in the same? Isn’t being a foster parent being a REAL parent? But something resonated with me this weekend when we took some friends out for a day of boating and swimming. My friend T said, “You guys are awesome parents!” We are? Stated that simply and as nonchalantly as “Pass the Grey Poupon”, but you know what? We sure are! We are pretty awesome parents.
So back to where this blog started. Will I be a good mama? From the looks of it, with the support of our loving parents, our amazing friends (who might as well be our family), our doctors and our years of experience in the childcare industry (oh yeah and GOOGLE which I can hardly survive without), I think I might just do alright! We might just do alright! I might just be cut out for this “mom” business.

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