Feeling Defeated
therapist mom together. Worn out and waking tomorrow to hold compassion and connection in my days. Right beside you. Foster Mom (The Therapist)
Spring Roundup
favorites too! -Foster Mom (the therapist) therapist mom
Hard things
therapist mom all. I just believe we as Moms, and we as a family, are doing the hard work that comes along with doing a good thing together. -Foster Mom (therapist)
It's complicated
therapist mom
Sunshine before the rain.
There is a beautiful girl in my home who needs a family to commit to her and love her forever. And while she waits for that home, we wait in our home together. I have tucked her in every night, washed her face, styled her hair and kissed her goodbye every school day for six months straight. I cook for her, shop for her and worry about her, and for her, every single day. I have changed my mind a thousand times over committing to her, about making a go of caring for three complex kiddos forever and I continue to return to the same spot I begin each time. This is more than I can do well. My head makes choices and my heart cleaves in thirds. And so I hold on for now and try my best. Our reasons for where we stand are clear to us, and clear to providers in our life. And in my head are so muddy and complicated. She was never a foster kiddo in the traditional sense, she and our biggest brother came to us for a short term emergency placement which has shape-shifted into something much more. She is the oldest, bravest sibling in my boys' family. She is of the same genetic map and life experience as my boys. The weight and the privilege of being able to care for her is something I am continually present with. And truthfully some days I yearn for easier times in our home with less little people, which really means I sometimes miss having less demands on me, less chaos and less of the appointments/providers/specialists/homevisits/meetings/crises/system disasters I have to clean up at home. And to be fair things are different with The Artist home on maternity leave, now we have (for the first time ever) more than one Mom home to help with the morning and afterschool routine. More than one Mom to run to grab groceries if we are out, so I'm not dragging three kids in rush hour traffic to the grocery store solo after working all day myself. There are good changes and hard changes happening in our home everyday. As your kids grow you're always adjusting to a new normal with developmental shifts and changing routines. And we are now adjusting to more free time, more home time, holiday time and our first season as a family of 5. We are nesting. We are winding down on the number of adventures or special family traditions that are a first to her. Initially everything was "We are excited to see what you think of X adventure/cookie baking tradition/restaurant/road trip/museum!" There are now things we do as a family, rather than things we did as a family we were bringing her into. Which can seem small, until I step back and look at how we are really full-on two moms and three siblings in a home. And have the goal of helping my beautiful girl move on to her forever home someday. It's what I want most for her: a home that can love her, take care of her in the way she needs and will be an extension of my family. And it is what I am most broken hearted about. Maybe this is what all the other foster Mamas and Papas do all day everyday, love for the gift of loving and prepare for the rain to come when grief comes to stay in the place she once stood. Our biggest brother has moved on to his own pre-adoptive home which is good news and hard news. We are excited to begin negotiating this new modern family together where relative strangers become part of the network of my life. Maybe by the time I have to do this again with my beautiful girl I'll have more wisdom and practice. Maybe that will help. We legalized the adoption of our boys a few weeks back. In some ways it was a big momentous day, and in some ways they have been here so long, I've been so committed to a forever with them for so long it felt more a marker of time rather than a revelation. My biggest girl has known since she moved in that the boys were living with us forever and she was with us until her forever family is found. Her learning style is really complex so concepts like "forever" or "adoption" are almost too abstract for her. But she knew we had a meeting at court, and she knew we were meeting after to be all together. The Moms went over about seven different plans for how to do this day. I felt (and still feel) it would have been better for her to be with us all day. To know what an adoption looks like, to see the courtroom, to know as she grows up that the day her brothers were adopted she was there too. To be included in the celebration for the important and loved family member she is and will always be. To have the story as she grows that she was important and included and she was beside us on this day like she is every other day. The system felt different. And of all the many things I will not miss about foster care, not being able to make the right choice for the kids you know best will forever rank #1. I know how she processes information, and I know what matters to her. What matters is being beside me and us. That sense of belonging has more staying power with her than a process she only vaguely comprehends. The system said no. They said she would feel left out. I said a lot of things. They said no. So no it was. And so on the day we legalized she had a matching outfit with the boys. Stayed home from school and got a manicure and pedicure with our Supernanny while we were at court, met up with us and did a big extended family lunch and then sleepover party with her favorite cousins. We did not make a huge deal out of the adoption, and framed the lunch as a family celebration for our adoption court meeting, and family was in town because they love us, and the sleepover was a party because they live out of state and it's a treat to see them. Which really is all true. We didn't have adoption signs or banners at home, and everyone who brought a gift brought one for her as well. The gift of having our boys for two years allowed this to be a smoother Adoption Day than it might have been otherwise. And then just like that we went back to living our life and doing what we do as a family. This will be the first month I sign papers with our family name. This will be the first month social workers are not in my home to meet with my boys nor will they ever have say over my boys again. And my girl continues to be parented by our family and the child welfare system. And I wait. And I hope someone who is kind and gentle and full of love is brought to us by the universe and welcomes this brave, strong girl into their home. And I hope the pain of losing her doesn't last forever. Love always wins, Foster Mom (The Therapist) therapist mom
Therapist Mom: on being legally freed for adoption
Therapist Mom: on being legally freed for adoption therapist mom Shock. I was speaking with a friend the other day and trying to explain what I'm feeling in the aftermath of Mom signing over her parental rights. I was fumbling and needed help with the word to describe what I am feeling. I was saying, "I feel like, what's the word where you feel numb, and kind of distanced from it all? That word that means you are a little too far away from the world and not sure you believe what is happening?" She answered the word I'm looking for might be called "shock." Everything changes and most things stay the same. Next week brings visits from social workers the boys still have their monthly visit, and all the Moms are back to work in our house. Life marches on. I'm feeling a mild panic about needing to have next year's plans for daycare and childcare ironed out like right this minute. From now on we are only ever looking forward. We've been a family for the better part of a year and a half and have never focused on the "forward" part of our family life. Which is a statement unfathomable to my friends with kids. In the coming weeks I'm sure I will find the relief and elation that I know is coming. But now? Right now I just feel unadulterated grief and so much loss. We were not at the courthouse on the day this happened. This was the first time I've ever not been there throughout this whole process which really, really makes me frustrated. Our nanny's kiddo was sick so we had no childcare, I had to teach mid-day and with the commute to court, no childcare for the day and our schedules - it could not work. The questions I'm wishing hardest for answers to are ones I suspect will be answered in the years to come. I find myself wondering why she finally agreed to sign off on the rights to all of her babies? Why now? I wonder what she would want me to tell the boys about why she decided to end this all on that particular Wednesday? For reasons of her own she gifted her boys a different life. And she gifted us a family. She allowed all of us closure and an end to this endless court process. I wish there was a way I could sit down with everyone involved in wanting to adopt or waiting for kids and say this to them: The family you will become is born from pain and loss, please do not forget that. Honor that. Honor Mom's pain, and kid's pain in surviving what their life as a family was before. Your life will not be all grief and hardship, not by any means. And yet the first phase of moving through any feeling is just allowing yourself to be right next to it, or surrounded by it, if that's a more apt metaphor. Our family was given permission to be together forever by the boys' Mom. She gifted us permanency for reasons of her own. And then she walked out of that courthouse completely alone. She did not have one single support person with her in court that day. How does one even begin to imagine what it must feel like to create an official agreement to never parent your babies again and then walk outside the building into the Spring rain all by yourself? You could allow yourself to default - to no-show in this process and the end result would be the same, relinquishing legal rights. This Mom showed up and stood up before all the people who worked to support her, and then in turn, remove her kids and she signed papers so that we could remain a family. The image I am holding most in my heart this week is how utterly and completely alone she was that afternoon. I hope, in the quiet places in my heart, that someday when the boys are grown enough they'll be able to hear her talk about her side of that day. I know I will do my part to make sure they know she gifted us love and togetherness, at her heart's expense. Our family is born from loss and pain. We Moms were gifted two boys to do right by and work our hardest to love and raise up. The magnitude of this all is not lost on me. Foster Mom (The Therapist) Read the Artist's response here
Love Loss Race Class
this world of love and loss. On some days, I'm not sure measuring the path even matters. -Foster Mom (the therapist) Therapist mom
The case of just me.
. We are still walking along over here, and still doing our best to survive intact, loving together. With love, Foster Mom (The Therapist) therapist mom
Christmas Magic in Our Home
therapist mom . -Therapist Mom   *This post was sponsored by hanna Andersson    
Our Ultimate Foster Care Children's Book List
therapist mom . These books are my current warm breeze after a long winter, my way of holding ontorenewal and growth and hope.   With love, Foster Mom (The Therapist)
Foster Care: Final Steps Toward Adoption
therapist mom
Mom, Mama, Mommy & Supervisor
. Foster Mom (The Therapist) You can always move forward but you can never go back. And you have choices therapist mom We're still painfully new at this mom thing. In recognition of Mother's Day, we hash out a few things. First = Therapist Mom. Last = Artist Mom.
That's a wrap. Just kidding.
I'm the Mom unless my kids snuggle me, call me "Mom" or I'm clearly doing Mom things (like wiping therapist mom near done. Foster Mom (the therapist) I'd Give Us A Solid B It's unrealistic to expect that we can that I'm mistaken for our kiddos' teacher, social worker or therapist. Rarely is the assumption that
Sibling Connection & Love in Foster Care
it feels like a new chance at a big, beautiful family. Heartfelt wishes for a season of love and hope. -Foster Mom (the Therapist) therapist mom
Long game & rebuilding from the outside in
, just keep working at your long game and let your kids pace your way there. -Therapist Mom therapist mom
How to just keep moving.
And then they came to our home In some ways it feels I've spent my adult life preparing to raise littles who've experienced great hurt. My professional work, the academic learning, the purposeful thinking and organizing my view on attachment and what healing means. And then they came to our home and suddenly, I'm forging all those thoughts into practice right there in the moment. Sometimes I feel purposeful and other times I feel muddled and like I'm spinning my wheels on how to maneuver out of the tantrums that seem endless. Or the birth parent conversations our older kiddos share with us, which causes them such conflict and loyalty confusion. The work of helping someone reshape their internal beliefs about relationships, trust, connection and rhythm is life's work. And yet, I find myself realizing important moments with our little guys where it seems like the only work I'm really focusing on. I learned what I already knew I've learned the best way out of Mr. Toddler's meltdowns (be they tired meltdowns, hungry meltdowns, too many transitions meltdowns or social workers were here for too long meltdowns) is to just pick him up and keep moving. Holding him close to me while I continue in my rhythm of movement and our life. It seems the best way to hold for him that life continues on and that feelings come and go. They get big, then bigger, then they fade, even when it feels they won't. Moving through our day with him right beside me for a little while feels right and it's working to help shorten and lower the intensity of his distress while helping me feel like I have a plan that's designed for him and our family. Walk toward that light in really dark moments I found myself one day holding his little hand to my chest as I took deep breaths and then slowly asking him to match his inhales and exhales to mine. In that moment I was just trying anything- ANYTHING- to help the screaming stop- no significant purpose, no big fancy ideas- just so badly wanting for both of us to have the chaos and yelling get smaller. And then right there I learned what I already knew, that life moves forward, in hard ways and beautiful ones. And my way of managing, as one of the lucky mamas to these boys, is to be the one who can keep us walking toward that light in really dark moments so that someday when you're old enough and brave enough you'll know you can do this when you're alone too. Most of the talks we have around these parts (real talk- like when were in bed trying not to pass out immediately after the kids are asleep) is what kind of moral compass we hope our kids have when they're old enough to move through this world with some autonomy and then we really think about how to do things to move us in that direction. We ask them to remember to say "sorry" not simply because it's a rule or that we need to have you act deferential to us, but rather because we believe humans belong to one another. And maybe there will come a day where someone steps up and apologizes for how hard things have been for you. And maybe that day never comes. Either way this unfolds, I wish for you to be someone who believes you matter and that you wish to give kindness to the world because you know both the pain of unkindness and the beauty of generosity. Building rhythm We talk a lot as Moms about how to build rhythm. How to help our littles develop a sense of security and connection to their own bodies and to us as parents. I'm learning there are big gestures we do as parents, like making sure there's enough play space and toys for gross motor activity. Things like slides, swings, forts or tents to den and snuggle up in. And then there are the small ways we manage and move through feelings and distress, which are likely the more important choices we make as Moms. We're working hard on this one. Tantrums and meltdowns with kicking and screaming and tears are common. But for now, we've found a path out together. Moving slowly toward the light at the end of the tunnel. All together. Foster Mom (the therapist) therapist mom
In the Beginning
for as long as they are. -Foster Mom (the therapist) therapist mom
Finding the right therapist
therapist mom
Court: The Divide
therapist mom ' siblings will have someone, somewhere, and that this will be enough. -Foster Mom (the therapist)
The name game
are a family in process. A multi-step, multi-part family. All parts awesome. -Therapist Mom Therapist mom
See more