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.)

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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}.

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???

On becoming a foster mom.

Yesterday I woke up at 5:30, got out of bed, went down to start breakfast, and just knew that we were going to get an email about some kids and we were going to say Yes to them.

How crazy is that?  It was just the oddest feeling in the world.  I knew it was going to happen, and I knew we were going to say yes.  It was more than just wishful thinking or hopeful optimism.  It was very clear, and very direct.

So when I left school at 2:15, finally checking my phone for the first time in a few hours, there it was, the email was sitting in my inbox, waiting to be read.

But we weren’t being asked to adopt.  We were asked to provide a short-term placement for two children, siblings, that needed an emergency placement.  The stories of their lives in the email scared the living daylight out of me, and for the first time in this journey of saying that my children will see more destruction in their short little lifetimes than I will ever know finally became me knowing this to be true.  And my newly acquired mama-bear instinct kicked in and reared out me, prayerfully drawing them close to my heart, while I set out home determined to convince the husband that we would be saying yes to this.  Of course we would.  Didn’t I already know that this morning?

Of course he said yes. And two and a half days from now we’ll be picking up our temporary children and taking them to their temporary home and I get to spend my entire April vacation being a temporary mom.

I am ever so humbled that God has asked us to parent these children for this time.  Because let’s face it, why else did I know what I knew that morning?  To think that for even a brief span of time these kids will encounter the Almighty Jesus in our homes is such a grand idea.  And I feel so very honored to play a part of His story in their lives.

Now, the real question remains.

Who wants to have a playdate?

Life Lately

On going Paleo:

So far, so good.  We’re concentrating on breakfasts and dinners at the moment, and I’m already tired of eating scrambled eggs, so I’m trying to find breakfasts that don’t use eggs at all.  I’m also trying to find Paleo snack foods, since I eat lunch at 11:00 and dinner isn’t until 6:00.  My handy-dandy book says that I shouldn’t be snacking, but I don’t know who can go a whole 7 hours without being hungry.  I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins and they were delicious.  Next up are these Banana Breakfast Cookies and this Grain-Free German Apple Pancake.

My biggest realization so far?  How much grains and dairy I actually eat.   I was deluded into thinking that I was actually eating semi-healthy, and it turns out I so was not.  So if anything, going Paleo for 75% of the day is forcing me to up my veggie intake by about 23o32489384%.

On Adoption:

Our homestudy was approved!  And we’ve been matched with a few different sibling groups!  So far nothing has worked out, but I’m hopeful that this will be the month*

*I know I say that every month, but it’s because it’s true.  I really hope today will be the day, this week will be the week, and this month will be the month.

On the job:

Seventh graders are hard work.  Really.  I mean, I didn’t think it’d be easy, but their raging hormones and the fact that I’m a substitute and not their “real teacher” is driving me up the wall.  Some days I want to cry because I feel like a failure, other days I shout for joy because I finally got one of the too-cool-for-school kids to actually show interest and participate in an activity.  Mostly though I feel like repeatedly banging my head against the wall.

On books:

I’ve been re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  I started with Mockingjay, I finished The Hunger Games yesterday, and I started Catching Fire today.  I also reread Insurgent because it was on my teacher’s desk and I didn’t have anything else to do at the moment.

On the weekends:

I’m wicked busy over here with a mountain of a to-do list of things that I just have to have ready before future children arrive on our doorstep.  Which could be any day.  My sweet, cute, nesting phase of getting the house prim and proper and cute so that my children will love it and us has become a Clean All The Things! marathon to get my mind off of the fact that we have no children and any day they will be here.

I hosted a wedding shower for a sweet, new friend a couple weekends ago, and of all the parties I’ve thrown I really think this was my best yet.  It was cute and simple and she absolutely loved it.  Also, you can find that tissue tassel banner in the shop.

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On the shop:

If you didn’t see today’s earlier announcement, new things are up in the shop.  And we’ll be participating in a giveaway today/tomorrow.  So watch out for it so you can win something fun!

On the blog:

I’m taking a much more lax approach at this blog.  No more worrying about when I’m posting or having all seven days filled or having stuff up by 8am.  No more trying to develop content or revolving my life around the blog or checking my stats daily or working at it like it’s a job.  Instead, I’m trying to just go with the flow, and when I want to write, I write.  When I want to do more of a blog, it’s more of a blog-like post.  And when I don’t want to look at this dashboard at all, I don’t.  It’s a win win for us all, I think.