About Me in Foster Care

I opened this blog two months ago intending to give a name and a face to foster care. My goal was to offer a higher quality blog; something with information for those looking for answers and a community to those just wondering if what they’re going through is “normal.” (& FYI there is no “normal” in foster care).

Here I am a couple of months in and I realize I’ve shared very little about myself or our my family. Why would you want to trust my voice in foster care? What about me is relatable to you? Do I have any area of expertise? What is my favorite thing to eat for breakfast? What football team colors do I bleed? 🤔🤔

So here is my Getting-To-Know-Me post ➡

Babies! (We got married before there was good photography)

My husband and I met at college and will have been married thirteen years this upcoming April. It was mostly love at first sight 😍; he saw and loved and I took a while to get there. We’ve done all sorts of wild ventures together. We seem to be those people who get big, crazy ideas and then go for it. We have three biological daughters: Ella (11), Lilyanne “Lily” (9), and Evangeline “Eva” (6). They are awesome kids. As a whole, our family is involved in all sorts of things and it can become a logistical nightmare some times. I often forget to pick up kids from sports practices and our middle child, Lily, somehow manages to get left at church a lot. 🙄🙄

Before the chaos of having kids and John losing his hair!😂 (ugh-pregnancy weight!)

 

At the birth of our last daughter (2011)

We’ve been licensed for foster care two years now. The first year we had no placements. We had several calls but they always ended up being placed with a different family. I was pretty disappointed, but had to trust in God’s plan and timing. (If you ever want to learn how to trust God more– sign up for foster care!!) The first year we did long-term respite care for a little girl (meaning we’d give her foster mom a break on a routine basis). There was consideration for having her move in with us and they had even thrown out the word adoption. However, there was a lot of back and forth on this and after much prayer concluded that we were not the right fit for this child and her high needs (this was very hard for us to admit). Immediately after we made this declaration we had our first foster placement. Since then, this last year has been a whirlwind. Our first placement was a little 14-month-old boy. We had vowed not to take boys or babies. He lived with us for 2 1/2 months. Two weeks after he left we took a sibling group of three for an “emergency” (i.e. supposed to be short term). After a few days the brothers moved to another foster home and we kept the four-year-old girl. It was summer so the kids got to see each other every day at daycare and this worked out great. However, as the case evolved, the writing on the wall was that reunification was not going to be anytime soon, if ever.  We ended up having Lil Miss’s brothers move in with us until their aunt and uncle could get licensed to take them all. We had Lil Miss for about five months and all three for 2 1/2 months. It was hard having six kids. At that time we had kids ages 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, & 10. Our house is small and by sheer grit, the grace of God, and good support from friends and family we made it. We then took a month sabbatical for a two week family vacation and time to recharge. At Thanksgiving we got a call that our first little guy was back in custody and could we take him and his 5-year-old sister this time? Yes! So this is where we are currently at in our foster care journey. We are always learning something new about this system every day. Ultimately, we’d like to adopt from foster care and then be done, but we’ll see what God has planned for us.

First day of school was a lot crazier this year!

We live in the rural north where I grew up. The nearest Wal-Mart is an hour away. The nearest Target is 90 minutes away. 😱 Thank you, Jesus, for Amazon Prime! We live in a high-poverty, high-needs area. I work as a family practice nurse practitioner four days a week. My job can be one of my biggest passions and biggest stressors. We may live rural, but our clinic is very busy and serves a large area of people. Our clinic may be the first medical facility people can get to so we often get ER level cases coming in. We have chainsaw injuries, heart attacks, lacerations bleeding out, fractures, anaphylactic bee stings, collapsed lungs, etc. We call the ambulance at least once a week to the clinic. For instance, my day yesterday involved dealing with a toddler who couldn’t breathe, to calling CPS on two cases, addressing a failed drug screen, to dealing with the news of life-ending metastatic cancer (and then all the other “little” things one top of these). My patients’ needs can be very great. I have to often consider if they have transportation, insurance coverage, money to pay for medications, how the diabetic can chose healthy food from the food shelf; just to name a few. Our area has suffered a huge spike in illicit drug use (Methamphetamine and Heroin being the biggest problems) and our CPS department has been slammed with children coming under the county’s custody. Our court system cannot keep up. Our jail is overflowing. As a mandated reporter I have had to call CPS more times in the last year than ever in my career. Five years ago it would be rare for me to call CPS even once in an entire year. Now I find myself logging at least one call a month. Yesterday I logged two cases, and my co-worker one. That’s just from our clinic. That doesn’t account for what area schools and ERs are calling in.

The day a patient drove into our clinic!! (Never a dull moment)

 

When I was able to present the Health Care Advocate of the Year award to my father, and coworker, on his birthday. 

Due to the stress of my job, that is why one of my favorite times of the day is when the kids are in bed (😂 haha). #kiddingnotkidding. But seriously, my favorite time is cooking dinner. I love to put my apron on, grab a glass of wine, and unwind by whipping up a delicious meal for my family. You will hardly ever find me making a hotdish (aka “casserole” depending on where you live!). I generally look at a recipe and then just make it my way. 🍷

Some things I am bad at are: 1) being on time 🕐 2) cleaning out my refrigerator– there are scary things in the way back!! 🤢 3) I spill things. A lot. 🤦🏼

Some things that drive me crazy: 1) Settling for mediocrity. I try my best and expect others around me to try their best and when they don’t and they don’t care I go crazy inside! 2) If there is no coffee. If I do not get my morning coffee and alone time this screws with my entire day. 😵 3) When my child uses my good kitchen utensils to make her dumb slime concoctions. 😡 4) Caseworkers that do not return my emails or calls! 😫

My husband and I love to host parties and we’ve thrown some pretty good ones over the years. I love planning and decorating and cooking for our guests. Our big dream is to someday have a yard party with one of those huge blow-up obstacle courses/jump house!

We hosted a rockin’ End of Summer party

One of my favorite Me-Time activities is kayaking down the river. I can launch from our house and go to the next bridge and have my husband come pick me up a few hours later.

My happy place

I love to read (when I have time). I will read all genres (minus horror and romance). A couple of my all-time favorite classics are Gone with the Wind, Jane Eyre, Chronicles of Narina. And then, of course, Harry Potter. I also love a great suspense/espionage novel. The problem with me reading is that I tend to check out of the world and nothing gets done. The laundry and dishes pile up, I cannot hear my kids or husband talking to me, the house could be burning and I would not know.

I enjoy date time and vacationing with my husband. We have done some great things together. My favorite memory is when we were skiing in Breckenridge, CO and we wanted to get up to a big bowl to ski. We had to take a T-rope rather than a gondola to get there. T-ropes are tricky and I suck at them (and I’m a decent skier). If your ski gets off the track you’re screwed. The T-rope was very long and we were just about half way up when, of course, I got off track and fell off (embarrassing 😳). My husband was so frustrated (that’s the nice word to use here) that he jumped off in a tiff started skiing down the mountain. Except, in his rage his 6’5″ frame took a glorious spill, a cloud of powdery snow flew up around him and all the people on the T-rope saw this and shouted funny insults his way. This is one of my favorite memories traveling because he is such a perfectionist and any time he messes up secretly I love it. 😂

We have laying hens so my favorite thing to eat for breakfast is fresh eggs. And coffee. I hate cold cereal. ☕🍳🐓

My favorite NFL team is the Green Bay Packers. My husband’s is the MN Vikings, so this makes for interesting Sundays at our house. 💛💚

Top Chef is my favorite TV show and I love good food. Sure, I love sushi and steak. But my very, very favorite food is an excellent wood-fired pizza. I could eat that every day and it will never get old. 🍕

I am a completely less than perfect person. I do not know everything and I need a lot of grace. I spill a lot so I have plenty of stains. I enjoy getting to know people in the online foster care community. In the words of the classic movie, High School Musical, “We’re all in this together.” Figuratively, we are all elbow-to-elbow mucking our way through the dirty work of fostering, laughing together, praying for one another, and cheering each other on.  Fostering can be so beautiful and so messy all at the same time!

Here was a little bit about me, now I want to hear a little bit about you! 👇🏻

Leah ✌

This is us now.

17 comments on “About Me in Foster Care

  1. Hi. I’m Anna. And I’m your sister. We’re surprisingly a lot alike (who’d have guessed that 20 years ago?!?). I also eat eggs and drink coffee every morning. Pizza may be my all time favorite food. And we’re both moms to children that never lived in our wombs. I love you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for sharing Jesus with the little ones and through you blog. I am so proud to be your (much younger) little sister.

  2. I enjoyed your post! I agree, lovely complexity in your life. Trusting God-living out how Christ is enough is easier said than done day after day!

  3. Love reading your blog and watching the incredible strides you make to improve the lives of others; through foster care, Providing health care and overall member of our church and community. You are truely one of “the good ones “ and I feel blessed to have gotten to know you through our kids over the years. Keep on Keepin’ on girl!!

  4. I worked in a children’s shelter for five years. It was the Child’s first stop when they were removed from the home. It is very comforting to know that they have qualified foster care parents that do care about them as much as we did.
    Thanks!

  5. This was so engaging, Leah. I smiled all the way through (except the part about the CPS calls on the rise and such… of course). So fun to read about you and your family, likes and dislikes, and falling off the tow rope. 🤣 I laugh because this story is so like when my husband and I went x-country skiing (pre-kids) and one ski went this way and the other went that way and I face planted on ice, skidding the whole way. And he watched me laughing from above. Oh it was terrible. I didn’t speak to him the rest of that outing. But it is funny now. 😂 I love how you say “if you want to learn to trust God more, do foster care.” Yes indeed. So glad to get to know you better and I think if we lived closer we might just be good friends. I spill a lot too and I really don’t care anymore. My wood floors & carpet have so much milk and coffee imbedded in them that they will never rot. Xoxo

  6. Now I know where I’m getting my spillage from…our last girls night out,I was doing the spilling not you. 😄 Finally had some time to read your blogs and I’m glad I started with this latest one. You and John are too funny, love your honesty in so many ways! I’m not experiencing foster care myself but you both have inspired Ryan and I to think about it , talk about it and even may think of respite care in the future. Still praying and waiting on God to guide us. Thanks for showing others what foster care is, the need and the importance of giving yourself up for those in need! So proud of both of you and how you keep trusting God for guidance. Proverbs 16:9 states, ” The mind of a man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. ” I’m sure many times in your situation and even others, we plan, but the Lord is the one in control with directing our steps. Love you both and thanks for sharing.

  7. Found your blog today…We are just starting our foster care journey and should be certified in a few weeks. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It is so helpful!! It is not easy to find encouragement in this process.

    • Welcome to foster care! I’m glad to hear you find my posts helpful. When we were getting licensed (and even now) I find hearing about other people’s journeys in foster care to be extremely helpful and supportive. It’s so important to build some kind of network with others in the same boat because foster fostering is a very unique niche and hard to figure out as someone new to it and even to the seasoned one. Thanks for reading!

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