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Confessions of a Foster Mom

Since May is Foster Care awareness month, it has me thinking a lot about our foster care system, being a foster parent and my role in the foster care system in the future.

I was a foster mom for 342 days.

We completed agency training, PRIDE training, and 20 hours of state-mandated training. We did a home study, background checks, finger printing, physicals, CPR training, house inspections, fire inspections, and health inspections. We even had to keep our medicines in a lock box and our prescription medications in a lock box within the locked box.

Then, for 342 days I had to answer to the state about how to parent a child that they were conservators of, even though I was the daily mom and legal guardian. I had to fill out daily progress reports, weekly foster care notes, and monthly reports. Every 30 days we had a CPS worker, our agency worker and our CASA worker each scheduled for a minimum of 1-visit each in our home. Every bump and bruise my baby/toddler got had to be reported with an incident report. We had multiple court dates and meetings at CPS with all the caretakers.

And this is just the surface level.

So, why? Why would anyone put themselves through this??

Because of this:

We have been recently looking at houses and casually going to some open houses. And on one occasion we actually brought the boys with us.

{This little advice is free for you: don't bring your kids with you to look at houses. Just don't do it. They want to touch everything and they totally don't understand that you are just looking. I digress.}

But what was fun about taking my kids was when we would leave every house, my 5-year-old would tell me his "confessions" about the house. He was so cute! He would say, "Mom, confession: I really like that house but I didn't like the backyard." "Confession: I loved that house; you should get it." "Okay, confession: I didn't really like that house."

I loved that he wanted to confess to me his thoughts! What a treasure.

So after almost a year of being a foster-mom, here are my confessions:

Confession: I didn't actually want to be a foster mom.

This is the hardest confession to make.

I wish I could say that I had a heart for foster care from day 1. I wish I could say when we started this process, I knew the need for foster parents and that's where my heart was.

But that's not the truth. I did not start out with a passion for the foster system. I didn't know anything about it really. I mean I knew that there were kids in foster care, but that was about it. I had no idea that there were 31,000 kids in Texas foster care system alone.

But you know what, God already had a passion for our foster care system and for all children. And He knew where I needed to be and set my whole path that I would be right where He wanted me.

Confession: We were really foster-to-adopt parents with the end-goal being adoption.

So honestly, I never have felt like a TRUE foster mom. We were not fostering children to help them be reunified with their birth families. We were not accepting emergency placement phone calls as a stopgap for children who need somewhere to stay for a few weeks.

We were truly wanting to adopt and went through the foster-to-adopt process as a means to end, if you will.

Confession: Fostering is exhausting and stressful.

The whole fostering process is just so emotional. Even thinking about fostering and planning for fostering, you are planning for all of these what-if scenarios and preparing your home for a child and age of a child that you don't even know!

And then after a child is in your home; wow. I mean you are learning a new person and they are learning you. And you are trying to merge into this new normal - all while being majorly scrutinized by social workers very very frequently. Which means also keeping your house perfect all the time. Oh my.

And yet, your daily life and requirements are still there! School, work, lunches, church, whatever. Sometimes it just feels like life keeps going and you are just trying to hold on and keep up.

Confession: I really hate when people tell me thank you for what we do.

Please don't get me wrong; I love your heart and where you are coming from when you tell me this! Thank you for your encouragement! I would never shame some one for saying this at all!

It's just - First of all, I have no idea how to respond! And second, I don't feel like I am doing any thing extraordinary. Especially since the majority of the time I am not doing things with as much style and grace as I would like. Mom exhaustion is real y'all.

And at the end of the day, I am just being a mom. And you know I totally think moms are our everyday superheroes, but I am not doing anything over and beyond what all you other mommas are doing!

Confession: I would do it again.

I know. I know you are reading this and thinking, "Really? After ALL of that, you would do it again?"

You know what, I so would. It has opened my mind and my heart to what I would or wouldn't do. In fact, it has helped me to learn the secret to parenting. You are totally going to want to write this down: it is to never-say-never!

And then when I saw that face. Heart melt. Being a foster parent for 342 days was the best thing I could have ever done for the chance to be his momma for the rest of his life.

I can't tell you how much foster and adoption has just changed my life. You know, you think you are going to being helping a tiny human and instead he changed me and my world for the absolute best.

Do you know why I wanted to confess this to you? Because I want people to see the realities of our world and the realities of parenting in general. It's not perfect. It's not easy. But it's necessary.

If you feel your heart stirring for our foster system, don't let your fear stop you from making a move and getting involved!


Holly Nicole James

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Meet Holly Nicole James

I'm a workin', southern momma who loves stilettos and I have a major case of wonderlust. I'm a boy mom and I love every second of it. My heart is for kids who don't have a home ♥ 

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