The Guilt

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while!!

Lately I’ve been feeling guilty about everything that comes with parenting!! When I adopted my 5 kids I knew that things would get difficult, I was ready to deal with the bad behaviors and the crazy things that my girls would do. I wasn’t prepared for all this guilt that seems to becoming with it.

My biological son is 9 years old and is pretty well behaved. When he was a baby to about 6 years old we did weekly mom and son dates. Then I became a foster mom and it became once every other week to once a month and now that I adopted, we might have alone time one time in about 5 months. It kills me, especially when I try to make time but cant seem to find it! I know he knows I loves him. We no longer have as many date nights but I still cuddle up with him and play video games or watch a movie. It doesn’t stop the fact that I feel so bad. Will he grow up to resent his sibling? Will he say I failed as a parent? These are the questions that keep me up at night!!

My cute little girl Malaya is 7. She’s a pretty happy girl! Its not until recently that I realized that she loves doctor appointments. Why? well that’s our alone time! that’s the time she gets just with mommy!!

My older girls are constantly trying to have all the attention on them! It doesn’t matter if we are watching a movie or eating dinner. They always are trying to be the center of attention and I cant help but wonder if its because they feel as if they don’t get enough attention! And my youngest son seems to hate being home lately!!! I don’t really understand why because he’s the baby of our house!!!! he gets to cuddle more than the other kids!!!

I guess my feeling of guilt will always be here!!!! Between ballet tap jazz and acro, soccer, lacrosse and 4 different basketball teams, constant one on one time will be hard. I just hope the vacations, the game nights and the laughs around the dinner table make up for it all!!! I love my babies!!!! I just wish we had more hours in the day!

 

Advertisements

I’m out numbered!!!!

I get asked all the time, how do I do it? how do I manage to raise six kids alone and still make sure they are in sports and all that good stuff!!! Well some days are easy… like when we are at home. At home I can send them to their rooms when they are bad or tune out the whining with the tv or honestly turn on some cartoons and do whatever I decide!!

Days like yesterday and today are when I want to pull my hair out and scream!!!! My oldest daughter had a basketball tournament this weekend. My mom kept two of the kids so I only had 4 of the kids. Well my one 4 year old does NOT listen at all in public! (or at home) I have two 4 year olds and the difference between the two is crazy! The second I turn to watch our team shoot a basket he’s doing exactly what I said not to do!!!!! I finally called my sister and she said she would take him overnight for me!!! THANK GOD because I was 10 seconds away from flipping out!!! Out of the 4 kids I brought with me I also had my diabetic. Diabetes at home and out in public is an entire different thing!! If you know anything about diabetes you know when the blood sugar levels are a little high it causes you to go to the bathroom….ALOT . Again, at home this isn’t an issue but out at a busy basketball tournament its a nightmare!!! Then poking her finger and giving her shots, and having everyone stare at us!!! makes my anxiety go through the roof!!!!

I’m happy to say I survived this busy weekend!!! but I’m not sure if I will survive next weekend!!! Friday my 2 four year olds have soccer practice from 5:30 -6:30, my daughter has a tournament at 6 pm and so does my other son at the same time!!!! 3 different places, 4 kids!!!! I AM DEFINITLY OUT NUMBERED!!!!!!!!

 

~Esperanza

Black mom, white kids!!!

As we are walking through walmart , my daughter yelled ” mom we need more white people gel” and  I responded “grab some and make sure you grab some black people gel” The looks both my daughter and I received were crazy! Not bad looks but just confused people, like why would they call it white people and black people gel! In that moment I realized that this is the normal for my kids and I.  I wondered if they would always be so carefree about our unique family or at some point would they possibly get embarrassed.

When I was 16 I came into my foster parents (parents) home.  They are white and at the time had their 2 biological children and a black teenager and a black little girl living with them. I was honestly relieved to see that other black people lived in the home, especially because I was raised in the inner city (hood) and my new home was all the way out in the “country”. When my mom signed me up for school she said “I’m here to enroll my daughter into school” and she will never know how much those words meant to me. She didn’t think anything about it. I was her daughter the color of my skin didn’t matter to her! Going out in public my mom would get the looks, but I never really noticed them. My mom is white and I’m black! that was life!! and I loved it! When I began fostering children I would complain to my mom about the looks I received. People wouldn’t just look and look away they would stop what they were doing and stare. She told me that some people wouldn’t take in kids of a different race and that annoyed the hell out of me, I still don’t understand why, what does being black, white, purple, red, or blue even matter?

My kids and I love how unique our family is. My older kids get asked all the time how is she your mom, or how is he your brother?  Some days my daughter will say she’s adopted and at other times she will tell them that her dad is extremely white!!! My youngest daughter had to make a drawing of herself and she made herself with brown skin and said “see mommy I look just like you” my response was YES YOU DO.

 

~Esperanza

Caseworkers- some need more help than the kids

Tonight I was sitting here thinking of all the different people that have been in my life due to being a foster parent. That led me to recall some very “interesting” caseworkers / therapists. In foster care a child has a ton of different people assigned to their case. Sometimes a therapist is also one of their caseworkers depending on how the agency the foster parent works for is set up. They also have a caseworker through the department of social services(dss), a case manager and a youth specialist (YS). The YS person takes the child out in public to teach them social skills etc…. Most of the time they also see a psychiatrist or psychologist on top of all these other people. In addition, there’s a ton of supervisors. This is why there’s often miscommunication. No one can keep it all straight when passing information from person to person. It often leads to a lot of turnover as well, so the kids are always meeting someone new that they are supposed to open up to,confide in and trust to do the right thing for them. So now back to my original thought behind this blog…. the “interesting” ones.  I’ll start with the trainer for my  certification 19 years ago, Keith. He was funny, easy going and made the 7 week course go by pretty quickly. He shared a lot about his childhood and why he chose this career path. His father was an abusive alcoholic, he was bullied in school because of the way he had to dress and was an awkward kid. As an adult,besides working at the foster care agency he also took in short term (90 day) foster teens at his home with his wife. He alluded to having his own addictions, but assured the group of us in this class that it was all in his past. Uuuhh… maybe not. I kept saying to myself that he looked and acted higher than a kite! I made it through the training and got certified. I got my first child and my first caseworker. Stacy was in her 30’s, very pretty and VERY tiny. We became quite close and she began to confide in me. She told me she had struggled with anorexia, but was currently ok. I soon realized this was not the case. She avoided food like the plague, but couldn’t stop talking about every little thing she put in her mouth. I realized she was struggling and felt bad for her. Then one day while sitting at my dining room table, she informs me that she’s been having an affair with Keith! He was still married and living with his wife but assured her he was going to leave her.  This went on for several weeks when everything blew up. They had taken a foster care company car to a cabin for the weekend and Keith left his pot in the glove compartment when they turned the car back in. They got caught, Keith got fired, wifey found out about the affair but stayed with him and Stacy flew to California for a stint in rehab for her eating disorder . Oh yea, she also got pregnant by Keith and lost the baby according to her. She came back from California and returned to work. I was still very concerned for her though she said she was doing well. One day I was talking to her on the phone and her teenage daughter came yelling in the room that she had found a suicide letter on the computer. The call ended and Stacy called me back saying it was a misunderstanding and that she was writing up stuff for her will and it upset her child. From what I could tell the agency didn’t know the details of the affair (but I sure did) and Keith took the blame for the weed. Stacy stayed at the agency for awhile longer, but was eventually let go. I bought her story about the will but in hindsight probably should not have. I did discreetly discuss my concern for her with a supervisor and also kept in touch with her for bout a year  after she was let go. She seemed to be doing much better in that year. Good lord, I almost left out one more outrageous story from her ! She told me that about 10 years prior her therapist convinced her she had repressed memories of being molested by her father and she believed him. The man, of course, was devastated. Years later she realized the therapist was crazy and the abuse never happened. She apologized to dad, sued the therapist and won a lot of money. Who knows if any of this is true. As I’m rereading this story I am finding it ridiculous! These two people, Keith and Stacy, were taking care of and responsible for helping the children most in need! Even after I gave the agency a heads up it continued for a bit. After this debacle, nothing phased me when it came to the actions of some of the employees of the foster care system. Like for instance,a YS was in my home one day talking with me and my foster daughter. I can’t remember what was so exciting to this woman but she proceeded to stand up and smack her ass repeatedly and dance in a circle! I just said “wow” while my daughter just sat there with her mouth open. I guess that seemed mild compared Stacy and Keith…

The last person that comes to mind is a supervisor at my agency. Tammy was very controlling and was right dead down mean to the kids she didn’t like. She had her favorite kids, foster parents and office employees. If she didn’t like you or couldn’t control you and couldn’t get you to cover for her “policy adjustments” then she worked extra hard to get rid of you. She regularly did not act ethically and was eventually found out and she “resigned”. Right after that, a caseworker told me to google her. Apparently at a different agency she had an affair with a BIOLOGICAL father of a foster child! She got in to some kind of ethics trouble for it, thank goodness! Gee, maybe all the crap this woman pulled at this agency could have been avoided if a more thorough background check had been done!

Well folks, these are just a few of my “interesting” experiences with the employees of the foster care world. Believe me, there are a ton of excellent workers who are emotionally stable, kind and truly care about the kids. On the other hand, we have a long way to go to help these kids be safer while in care and sadly, sometimes the people responsible for this are the most messed up! We can do better!

 

 

 

The Reality Sets In

Hi Everyone! I was just sitting here contemplating my first official blog. I guess it makes sense to start with how I felt when I got that call saying I was getting my first child. Frankly, I was scared shitless! I was nervous, apprehensive, nauseous and excited. She was 14 years old and had never been in foster care before. She lived with her dad and he just couldn’t handle a child struggling with identity issues and he had a drinking problem. Mom wasn’t really in the picture. The day came and I got her settled in and it went well, I think. She was quiet and nervous, of course. She basically did what ever she was asked with minimal behavioral issues. Within 24 hours she was calling me Mom which carried its own issues. At the time, my children were 2 and 4 years old. They were confused as to why this teenage girl would be calling their mother MOM! I explained it as best as I could. I told them that she didn’t really have a mom in the picture right now and that it probably made her feel more secure and part of our family to call me that. ( I put it in 2 and 4-year-old terms, of course). They seemed to understand and didn’t seem too upset about it. I will say that she kept my kids at arm’s length. She seemed afraid to get too close to them both physically and emotionally. She always called them her little brother and sister but had trouble really connecting to them. I do feel that she genuinely cared for them but didn’t want to overstep any unspoken boundaries.Every Friday she came home from school, grabbed a bag and hopped on a bus in to the city where she stayed until Sunday with her Dad. She took a bus home to us and got ready for school on Monday. This went like clockwork each week with little variance. In hindsight, I see now  how lucky I had it. She was an extremely easy foster child, but with her being my first I had no idea that this was the case. Boy was I in for a shock, hundreds of shocks really, for my future as a foster parent. Those are stories for later blogs though! She occasionally lied or caught an attitude or had trouble in school, but nothing outrageous. I remember being so angry at times thinking she was really giving me a hard time. Remember, I had two small children and here was a “troubled” teenager living in my home and I was supposed to know what to do to correct the issues and help to get her back home more able to cope with her day-to-day life than she had previously. The biggest thing she ever did actually amuses me today. She wanted to show me that she could do what she wanted and was in control of her own life ( understandable). Apparently, she got a wild notion to pierce her bottom lip in school. Now I don’t mean the kind of lip piercings you see today. Oh hell no! She put a big ass hoop earring directly in the center of her bottom lip! It swelled up and turned purple and the nurse called to notify me of her attempt at calling the shots. If I recall correctly she came through the door with it still in. I looked at it, told her to take it out and sent her to her room. She complied with only a small amount of anger and resistance. I talked with her later that evening explaining why this was not a great idea and that maybe there were other ways to express herself. I wondered for the next several days why I got off so easy and why there wasn’t a bigger blow out over this piercing. Was I simply a phenomenal foster parent who had a way with getting through to these kids?! That must be it! Uuuhhh…nope. As it turns out, she was in so much pain from jamming an unclean hoop through her lip that it was killing her. She was dying to take it out! So much for me having a knack for dealing with “”troubled”  teens. Well, my first child was only with me for 7 months. I suppose I should be mad at her for not breaking me in better. Ha! She really was a great kid. I still keep in touch with her and though she has her struggles she seems to be doing well. She probably should have remained with me longer, but the “system” doesn’t always make sense. Some times parents get their kids back with little or no effort. However, I do feel that her family had good intentions and loved and do love her very much. In later blogs, as I stated earlier, I will get in to the “rude awakening”of foster parenting! No, it is not all bad, but boy are there stories to tell!

 

 

 

 

 

our crazy BIG family

So four years ago I decided that I wanted to become a foster parent. why? why at 26 did I want to raise kids that weren’t biologically mine? Well I wanted to make a difference and how hard could it really be? I mean they are just kids… right?

After I became a certified foster parent, my 1st set of kids came! I couldn’t contain my excitement!!!! I was getting a 2 month old baby, 2 boys close to my sons age and a little girl! I always wanted a daughter. I was told the girl was a diabetic and all I could think about was pretty little bows and cute dresses!!!The finger pricks, shots and special diet didn’t even cross my mind.  My kids came home, I was scared, I was excited and I was so ready for this new life!!! My biological son adored the kids!! He finally had kids to play with. He wasn’t alone! and that’s what I wanted!!! wasn’t it?

First night home, I made pork chops corn and mashed potatoes! the kids are going to love it, well boy was I wrong! The plate of food was tossed across the table and the biggest  tantrum was happening at my kitchen table. What was I doing wrong? Am I sure I can handle this. This boy is 6 years old and calling me every swear word in the book, all because he wants cereal for dinner! What the heck was I getting myself into?

About 1 year later I was saying my goodbyes. All the tantrums the tears and sleepless nights were coming to an end. Two of my kids were going back home, the other two were staying with me. I didn’t know how to feel about this, this sibling set of 4 was getting split up. The older 2 get to go home to their parents, but the youngest 2 stay with me! I was happy that I got to keep the two but the guilt of the other two leaving killed me inside. What if the parents didn’t change? What if the kids have to come back? My biggest question was are they going to take this little boy that I had since 2 months away from me? Are they going to take this little girl who follows me around everywhere away from me? What is my son going to do? Am I messing him up with kids coming and going?

A few months after the goodbyes, I received another phone call. A caseworker needed a set of 3 kids to stay with me for a week. 2 girl ages 9 and 10 and a 2 year old boy. uhggg do I do it? Its only for a week but I have a camping trip to plan for. why not! a week will fly by and having older girls could be fun!!!!

Well those 3 kids that were suppose to go back a week later are now officially mine! The Babyboy that stole my heart with his adorable sassy sister are officially mine!!! I adopted 5 children and my biological son and I couldn’t be happier!

Does life get crazy? yes! am I overwhelmed at times? of coarse!!! between dance practices for 4 kids, 4 different basketball teams, soccer, and 4 different schools , I GO CRAZYYYYYY! But I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I have 6 very unique kids.

My mother adopted 2 kids on the same day I adopted my 5. She fostered me at 16. I’m not legally adopted but I’m hers!! Together we have adopted a total of 8 amazing kids! There is never a dull moment!!!! She will be writing about how she got started shortly!!!!!  So there it is, that’s how we got our diverse 9.

~Esperanza