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

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???

Weekending — Monsters Under the Bed

In an effort to practice more writing and less blogging (and to try to work up to that 1000 words a day goal that I wrote about and subsequently ignored) I’m going to start posting a writer’s style weekend recap on Mondays.  A post where I talk about my weekend at great length with lots of details on specific feelings and such, and less of a bulleted run-down with pictures in-between.  So, you’ll either love it or hate it.  But at the very least, I hope you appreciate it.

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I often wake up in the middle of the night now.  I guess I should put a disclaimer on that and say that ever since I got married I would often wake up in the middle of the night.  Those first few months of sleeping in our full size bed I woke up wondering why there was a boy in my bed and I couldn’t figure out what room I was in.  Then I started waking up because the husband would thrash about and smack me repeatedly in the face (at which point I told him it was a queen size bed or a divorce). 

But now, now I wake up in the middle of the night when there’s crying coming through our baby monitor.  More often than not the crying comes from the littlest, who is merely uncomfortable and she begins to whine.  So one of us trudges down the stairs to move her pillow off her face, or to unstick her from between the bed and her railing, or to untwist her from her blanket so she can roll over. 

Sometimes, though, the crying comes from this deep rooted pain. Terror echoes throughout the house at 1AM, 2AM, or fifteen minutes before the alarm is supposed to ring.  Those times the both of us shoot out of bed, racing each other down the stairs and bust down the door to see which of the monsters that live under the bed are wreaking havoc on our daughter’s sleep.  One of us lays with the little that’s asleep, so that she doesn’t wake up to the screams and become afraid herself; the other tries to comfort the tearful little by praying to her, stroking her head, rocking her in the chair.

I think it’s safe to say that I cherish late evenings, now that they’re few and far between.  I cherish those hours and minutes where it’s just me and the husband playing cards at the table or watching HIMYM on the laptop in our bed.  Sometimes we use that time to discuss everything about our days the last few weeks, or we discuss how God is moving in our lives, or what we love most about each other.  Sometimes we don’t talk at all and we just mindlessly watch one episode after another snuggled under a pile of blankets because our HVAC system is out of whack and our bedroom is the coldest now that we have to put on our AC at night so the girls don’t drown in their own sweat.

DSCN9458But no matter how the night goes, no matter how many times we get up throughout the night, no matter how many cokes I have to drink to get through the next morning, no matter how long the terror lasts or how long it took to get the little back to sleep, when that sunlight bursts through all our windows, it brings a promise of a new beginning and a fresh start.  It brings with it a promise of better things to come.

Best of all, it brings with it four sets of chubby cheeks that I can’t help but squeeze, and four wide-eyes that have forgotten the past few hours and are lit up with what the day will hold.  Two smiles that brighten my own day when I walk into their room, and two bellies full of laughter so loud and glorious, no monster under the bed could ever survive.

Currently

why yes, she is buckled in her booster seat watching a movie.  pick your battles, people.

why yes, she is buckled in her booster seat watching a movie. pick your battles, people.

listening to one child screaming, because she doesn’t want to go to bed, and “Let it Go” because the other child is watching Frozen for the billionth time (even though I hate that movie…)

thinking about how drastically my life has changed in the last few weeks, and how drastically it’s going to change in the upcoming months.  the frosts have quite the adventure coming up soon.

wondering how bad of a #momfail would it be if i also took a nap and let the 4 yr old take care of things? 

eating my kids’ leftover crumbs from their lunch.

praying about how to be a good mom to my kids, and how to potty train the oldest.  (any mom advice?  and by that i mean from moms who have also adopted.  sorry other moms, but it’s not the same.)

deciding to get rid of half my closet.  because i hate all my clothes and i’m ready for a change.  also, i’ll be getting rid of half my house, too. 

hoping for a big fat pepperoni pizza to appear on my doorstep that i can eat all by myself, because i’ve got too much #momguilt to feed my kids crap food.  well, to feed them more than what i already am…

looking forward to when the husband comes home.  we agreed (okay, i forced his hand) that i deserve 30 minutes to an hour to myself each night.  and tonight that’s going to be spent in a hot bubble bath with a good book and music playing just loud enough to drown out the screams from the downstairs.

struggling with patience–both with motherhood and with all the changes happening about.

looking at the mess of my room.  that’s what happens when i only get an hour and a half down time during the day, and i usually spend that watching Suits.

debating whether or not to get a BJs (bulk store) membership, because two tiny children are eating their weight in pirates’ booty and yogurt, and i’m tired of running to the grocery store every other day.

eager to get back to writing a little more full-timeish, whether on the blog or in my own journals, but i know now is not the right time.

loving that “full” feeling that’s slowly starting to fill me up.

I met my kids and I haven’t blogged about it.

Good thing I’m not a real blogger, because I think meeting my children and not immediately blogging about it would be quite the #blogfail.

But, hey, good news!  I met my children.

I haven’t blogged about it because I don’t quite know how to put the whole experience into words.  I think you (adoptive) mamas would understand.  There’s just something so surreal about meeting your children for the first time that makes your emotions and your feelings intermingle with all your senses so you don’t know how to compartmentalize and separate the two so that you can actually tell people about the experience.  There’s too much to say.  There’s nowhere and everywhere to begin.

There’s this phrase in the English language–that I cannot for the life of me remember–whose definition says that there are things so secretive and special that the moment we put it into words it loses all purpose and heaviness.  It’s like, the second we share the secret, it just becomes so plain and ordinary.  (Anyone know what I’m talking about?)  And that’s how I feel about meeting my kids.    I haven’t been able to write anything at all because this is the only thing I’ve been wanting to write about.  I’ve filled pages on paper and pages in my head and have multiple posts sitting in my drafts box. Try as I might I just couldn’t put the whole thing into words,  and then I decided that I didn’t want to, because the whole experience would just be lost.  So I’ll keep it with me.  For now at least.

But I met my children.  My daughters.  And they are amazing.   They have smiles that light up the whole room.  They have tiny hands that grasp my fingers in a way that makes my heart melt.  They have laughs that penetrate my core.  They have a presence that I feel the second they’re in the car and when they’re not around my whole being searches for what’s missing.

These children are ours.  They talk like us.  They act like us.  They look like us.  They were completely and wholly made for us.

And I am so, so, so grateful.

The countdown is official.  Nine days and they’re ours forever.  And most likely, I’ll never write about what it’s like to bring them home. But I sure can’t wait for it to happen.

Foster Mom-ing

So, we were foster parents after all.  I told you.  Life is great, and then it’s not, and then it is again.

foster parentingfollow me on instagram!  @caitlinmfrost

I won’t lie.  This was such a fun week.  So very fun.  I love waking up to them talking (sometimes screaming or singing) in the mornings, and I’ll miss that when they’re gone.  I love watching them get really excited about little things, like a Dora movie or dead leaves in the backyard, or cheese and crackers for a snack.  I love having conversations with them.  I love their laughs.  I love their childishness.

But this was also such a weird week.  I mean, we’re not their parents, so a lot of behavior we knew we wouldn’t be able to successfully correct in a week’s time.  A lot of things we just gave into, because we didn’t feel like making a war out of tiny battles that would disappear in a week’s time.  Having to be a parent while really just being a babysitter.  And there were a lot of times I wanted to call it quits.

The hardest challenge was to listen them call us Mama and Daddy when we’re not their Mama and Daddy.  And to have that conversation with them about how that’s not who we are.  This was the complete opposite conversation I wanted to have in this process.

Soon we’ll have our children in our homes.  (This week will (surely) be the week!)  And we’ll have conversations about how we’ll never leave and always be there.  We’ll probably have to beg to be called Mama and Daddy because with our luck it won’t be as easy with ours.

I’ll never forget these children.  Never ever.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Starburst Studio!  I’m extending the deadline through this Friday at midnight.