hey.

i’m trying out this new thing called blogging.  

ha.

i keep saying i’m going to do this and then i never do.  but finally i decided to hell with it.  i’ll write when i want to write about what i want to write.

so.

currently…

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listening  to justin bieber’s new album  because, why not?

watching The Good Wife because i cannot get enough

eating nachos!  specifically the pioneer woman’s recipe.

drinking orange selzer with a splash of fruit punch.  hopefully it will curb my caffeine addiction.

wearing old navy sweat pants all day errday.

feeling tired.  maybe because i ran for the first time in forever this morning?  maybe because i have tiny children?  maybe because it’s the end of the year?

wanting hot chocolate. but my recipe is so rich that i gain a bazillion pounds with each mug full. so i guess i’ll wait until christmas eve.

needing a nap. but it’s almost school pick up time, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. or the next day. or the next…

thinking about all the goods and bads of 2015 and how i’m almost too tired to even begin to prepare for 2016.

enjoying time alone with the little’s nap time and the oldest’s school time.

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Respite Redefined Episode 3: The Need for Community with Alli from @ourmisfitisle

It took me a bazillion years, but I finally figured out how to record an interview.  WOOO!  Where’s the celebration emoji when you need it???

(ALSO!  I’m officially putting in a call for anyone who is a million times more technical than I am to help me out here.  Because I know the sound quality isn’t that great.  But the content was, and I forced myself to stop stressing about perfectionism and decided that since what was said was so awesome I had to just go ahead and post it.  But help me out here.  Seriously.)

cell-phone-791365_1280In this episode I’m joined by Alli from @ourmisfitisle where we talk all about community and its importance in our lives and how beneficial it will be in your life.  If you can’t find community in real life, then find it online.

Connect with Alli:  instagram  //  blog  //  shop (where she sells stuff to pay for Baby Bear’s formula, trips to the hospital, etc.)

RESPITE REDEFINED EP 2: I don’t know how you do it…

I KNOW.

I’m always sooooo late writing these shownotes.  Especially since I’ve got episode 3 already finished recording and I just need to edit it together and post it.  I’m trying to get better at this.  But I’m not gonna apologize anymore.  You just need to know by now that I’m a huge procrastinator.

Annnyyyywwaaayyyyy….

In this episode, you’ll hear me vent about the worst response I get when I say that we’re adopting.  What my response is, what I want it to be, and maybe what it should be.  Also we answer the question of why did we buy tickets to this crazy train?   

I don’t have many shownotes, except links to articles I read about the terribleness that is the Texas state foster care system. (I urge you to read and really listen to what they’re saying.)

There are over 100,000 kids in the foster care system. Find a way to get involved.

Connect with Respite Redefined on instagram {@respiteredefined} and twitter {@respiteredefine}.

Respite Redefined EP 1: The Pilot {Shownotes}

Guys I did it!!  And whew, was that hard.

As of today, Respite Redefined the podcast can be found on iTunes and all podcasting apps.  (Except Stitcher.  I can’t figure out how to get it on Stitcher.)  So feel free to listen to your heart’s content.

And please, if you like what you hear, share it with someone who might also like it.  Don’t be stingy.

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In this first episode, you’ll hear the story of how Respite Redefined came to be, why the name, and my story of how we became fosteradopt parents.

Connect with Respite Redefined on instagram {@respiteredefined} and twitter {@respiteredefine}.

Just Wait

I was all set out to bring back my Bold Intentions.  Because I haven’t done them in a while–on the blog or in my life.  Well, I take that back.  For the first time in 5 years of marriage, my husband and I are actually on the same page and have been doing three sets of Bold Intentions over the 2015 year.  But that’s a story for another time.

I haven’t really been doing a lot of personal goals.  I’ve been taking a lot of small steps, and I’ve definitely seen fruit (finally!) come from practicing discipline, but to me, those small steps are not the same as goals.

Here’s the thing.  There’s a lot going on right now about goal setting and doing work and chasing your dreams and getting your life plan and then planning it to action and then actually acting on it.  Everyone’s got dreams, right?  Everyone wants to be doing something more than what they’re doing right now.  Everyone has hobbies and passions and ideas and so now there’s a plethora of information about how to take one of those hobbies or passions or ideas and turn it into a goal and then turn it into a plan of action.  We wouldn’t want all those hobbies or passions or ideas to sit in the back of your mind without you doing nothing about it, right?  Because that’s the ultimate “sin,” isn’t it?  To not do something about it?

I’m coming up on a year of motherhood.  A year that I feel simultaneously relieved and anxious about because this has been a tragically hard (and terrific!) year and parenting has really only just begun.  At the end of a very easy first year of marriage, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “If this is marriage, we’ve got this in the bag!” and then fist bumped each other.  But at the end of this first year of parenting, we looked at each other and said, “If this is what parenting is…I’m going to need a nap.”  In the last five years of marriage this has most definitely been the hardest year–physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

So how am I supposed to be reaching these goals?  How do I turn a hobby into a plan of action?  How am I supposed to have an entrepreneurial spirit when my body aches from moving all the time?  How the hell do I get that bikini beach body the magazines tell me I need when I spend free time playing Old Maid?

just wait

I’ve been told many times by many people that if there’s a “trend” or something that a large majority of the population is doing or liking, I automatically won’t do it or like it purely to be different.  I’m not sure how true that is.  When there’s a large group of people doing something, I’m more likely to immediately question the communal thinking and then decide for myself.  It just so happens that oftentimes I decide differently.

Just like everyone else, I, too, have been swept up in this goal-making frenzy.  But instead of getting all excited and feeling my heart beat fast with nervous anxiety, I start to feel panicky.  My palms sweat.  I can’t catch my breath.  Homeostasis fails me.  And instead of questioning whether I should get caught up in the craze or not, I just allowed myself to make lists and charts and plans, thinking that that’s all I need to get my body to calm down.

Lately I’ve felt very much like a failure, in a lot of different ways.  I feel like I’m failing as a wife when my house isn’t clean or when my husband yearns for time with me and I don’t respond to him.  I feel like I’m failing as a mom when I feed my kids cereal for dinner because every.single.dish is dirty or when my youngest wants to snuggle but I don’t respond because there’s too much other stuff to do.  I feel like I’m failing as Caitlin when I get home and don’t do anything “for myself” (unless it’s Netflix after the girls are asleep) and if I do it’s not anything “productive.”  And then I feel like a failure when all I want is time for myself but I have three other people depending plus a dog depending on me for survival.

This morning I made a list:  All The Areas I Feel Like a Failure and Why and What Small Step I Can Take to Do Something About It.  And I wrote it all out.  And I decided I would write until my hand cramps and my mind can’t produce any more failing thoughts and I’d have it on paper with all my small steps and I would just work on those.  At the end I went over my list and realized that there were really three categories:  My Spirit, My Body, My Home.  There was no category labeled My Dreams, or My Goals, or Me Time.  It’s full of simple things like not talking to Jesus, not doing morning yoga, not cleaning my bathtub.  And when I lay it all out, as long as the list actually is–and it is long–it’s not overwhelming and it’s not really life-draining.  Actually, it’s just a list of life-giving things I should be doing on a regular basis.  Like washing dishes.  Folding clothes.  Cooking dinner.

So here’s my giant Bold Intention for the summer:  JUST WAIT.  I’m going to literally put every thing on hold–any passion, any goal, and hobby, any dream–and just wait.  I’m going to settle in my comfy chair in the mornings and pray.  I’m going to play Old Maid until I get one hundred paper cuts.  I’m going to scrub the dishes until I form callouses.  And I’m going to love all of it.  I’m going to enjoy every crumb I get to pick off the floor and every time I get to hold my husband’s hand.

And I’m going to pray for grace every time I begin to feel like I’m failing again.  Because of all the steps to take, I’ve got to get at least that one right.

Respite Redefined

I DID THE THING.

I realize that phrase most definitely has a million innuendos attached to it, and I’m already hearing Michael Scott’s “That’s what she said,” in my head.  So let’s all just take a minute to chuckle 12-year old style and then move on.

Okay.  Ready.

Because I totally did the thing.

I stole this phrase from my friend Mandi, because I’m a klepto like that and because I like it.  Because it takes a lot for me to just start something.  In fact, I never really know how to start.  I actually have no clue how to go out and do anything.  Really.

But for some reason, I did it.  And I have no idea how I did.  I just did.

And now I have my first ever podcast.

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I was just really frustrated at there being a lack of something I truly needed.  An outlet to vent my frustrations about this whole foster-adopt process to.   Even if my venting goes on in my head while listening to a recorded voice.  I needed a podcast about things relatable to me.  A podcast where the speaker will make me laugh, and then cry, and then she’ll pick me back up and we can laugh again.  I needed someone who just gets it.

I am so hoping that I have created just that.  A place where you can come and listen and just get some much needed rest and a break from your life and for just a moment you can “talk” to someone who just gets it.

It’s not on the internets yet.  There are actually three versions of the first episode sitting on my phone right now because I have absolutely no idea how to do an intro or an outro.  But I have it.  And it’s really good.  Like, promise.

Watch out for it.  It’s gonna be good.

100,000

A couple weeks ago I saw through the instagram grapevine that this semi-famous blogger was going through the adoption fundraising process to adopt their next kid.  And I was like, Sweet!  This is great!  We need more of you!  But when I clicked over to her profile and read the blogpost that explained what they were doing, I just got so angry it was all I could do to not throw my phone across the room.

This is where I’m going to put a disclaimer and say that I understand a lot of what I’m going to say will make me sound like I think I’m better than people, or that I’m not sympathetic, empathetic, or I just don’t care.  If you talk to me in real life, I hope you know that’s not true of me at all, and that yes, what I’m about to ramble on about will seem at times to be completely irrational.  And to that I can simply only shrug my shoulders.

The Current State of Foster Care in the U.S

{via}

So this blogger-who-must-not-be-named is adopting their next kid through private domestic adoption.  Which means a pregnant woman is choosing to give up their baby to a family willing to take it and that waiting family must pay money to cover all these expenses in order to adopt a tiny infant.  And that’s why I’m mad.

For someone going on and on and on about how adoption is great and beautiful and how God is calling you to go out and adopt, why aren’t you guys adopting through foster care?   Why does everyone insist on adopting babies, or international children?  For that matter, why isn’t anyone adopting children with special needs?

{infographic using statistics in 2012}

On any given day in the US, there will be over 400,000 kids in the foster care system, with only about 100,000 kids eligible for adoption.  And then those kids usually have to wait 1-3 years before they’re adopted.

Do you know what can happen in 1-3 years?  A LOT.

I can’t help but look around and see all these people are prancing about raising money for their private or international adoption, when there are 100,000 kids sitting in some sort of foster home, homeless shelter, or group home.  Some are going to be reunited with birth parents.  Some will be adopted by a relative.  But so many others won’t be chosen for anything at all.  While birth moms are choosing to give their child to someone else, while people are buying t-shirts to support a friend’s domestic adoption, while there are fundraisers being held to raise money for international adoption, there are 100,000 kids who are not being chosen for anything.

100,000 kids.

Here’s the thing.  Adoption is awesome.  And it’s not.  It’s this big, beautiful tragedy all wrapped up that gives one of the most glorious pictures of life when you don’t stop to think about the tragedy that comes when children are born to one woman, but call another one mother.  Or, in most cases, they don’t get that chance at all.  Most foster kids end up becoming homeless, or having kids at a young age and continuing the cycle of abuse and neglect.

{statistics of children on AdoptUS kid website}

The bible tells us to take care of the homeless, the orphans, and to love our neighbor.  But why is it we can’t see that sometimes our neighbor is the homeless and the orphan.  Why can’t we see that all three of these things can actually be the same?  Why must we compartmentalize, and serve soup at a homeless shelter, donate toys for Toys for Tots, and have a neighbor over for a Barbeque.  Why can’t we recognize that there are children in our community who have no home, no family, and no one to take care of them.

I heard it once said from someone who adopted children from another country that the reason they chose international adoption is that even the poorest Americans are still rich, and that kids in different countries face so much more neglect, abuse, and tragedy than American kids do.

And then I got my two, beautiful, amazing daughters.  And learned that the statement above isn’t true at all.  My daughters have seen war, hunger, and death.  And it all happened one hour from where my husband and I were living.

There are so many foster kids that the state literally have a hard time placing kids in homes.  They have so many babies that they can’t find families for them.  Who wouldn’t want a baby, you ask?  People that are already caring for a dozen or so children.  It’s not that there aren’t people out there willing to help, it’s that there aren’t enough people to take on the burdens of 100,000 kids.  It’s because people want their tiny, perfect babies, or a picture-perfect trans-racial family.  It’s because people don’t know what to do with a 5 year old boy who has PTSD.  Or a 10 year old girl who still isn’t potty-trained.  Or a teen mom who still has no place for her or her baby to call their own.

Sometimes I just feel so alone.  While I know there are others out there (and I’ve met you all on Instagram) I just feel as if there’s no one that takes the time to understand that every child has the right to a family.  Every child has the right to be loved, to be safe, and to be healthy.  It can be so depressing to feel as if you live in your own little bubble, the plight of the nation’s kids constantly on your mind, while you have to keep reminding yourself that you can’t help 100,000 kids, but you can help these two.  You can be a parent to these two. You can love these two.

I just wish more of you would help out the other 98,000 kids out there.

On a side note, I have the genius idea of starting a podcast all about the foster care system, the process of adopting through foster care, and the joys (and frustrations) of motherhood to foster/adopted kids.  At least, I THINK it’s genius.  But tell me, how many of you would listen???