Sunday, August 20, 2017

Open.

“Oh man Jules, you are like a cat lady but a kid lady”

Somewhere between 4 & 7 kids SOME people’s view shifted from “what a good thing I was doing” to the “haven’t you had enough there are other foster parents out there?!?” While these comments do not hurt my feelings, nor do I pause much more than a moment on them, doing a quick heart check. We are not drowning, I am not yet at capacity. I am delighted in the beautiful chaos of our home.

Laundry is a mountain to constantly tackle. Dinner time a production that will challenge any catering team. Coffee is no longer enjoyed hot for fear the babies will slap it out of my hand. Our days are choreographed around naps, snacks and activities.

My journey into parenting has been different from most, in three years I have found myself the mother of seven children. The nudge came when I was 27, following a year where I was dreaming big, being intentional and seeking purpose. In a matter of a month everything changed, I heard, I answered and I pressed in. Beginning a season of life that would be the most challenging, beautiful and redemptive chapter of my life. Less than 6 months later I was licensed and the placements came.

I am often asked “what is your secret, how do you do this?” The reality is I am not superhuman nor have I figured out the secret I can share. What I can tell you is that overnight I became a mom to three very hurting and traumatized children, ages 7, 5, and 3. I didn’t have time to prep, I didn’t have time to think, to fear, it was all hands on deck and survival was the goal. I often contribute that to my ability to keep growing my family as a single woman. We have the physical space, the vehicle space and definitely the heart space, so when the call is right we say “yes!”

So...when is enough? When do we say no more. Do we always say yes when it comes to adoption? I believe if I have the space and if it will not harm our family’s eco-system I will say yes. There are some realities like physical space and the ability to care for everyone’s needs. I have learned to be thoughtful and cautious each time we add someone else to the family. I take assessments on our dynamics and decided when the timing is right. I also know that even now my seven are not all forever Klepfers. Once we incorporate someone into our home I don’t know what it will look like to say no when adoption becomes an option. I do know that I want to remain a foster parent which means I need to keep our family under 8. I also know that foster care is not going anywhere and I do not need to completely build a family any time soon. We have many many more years of littles coming, going and staying.

I don’t know when our enough is, but I can tell you that we are building something good here. I am being changed by these little ones, each victory, smile, hand in mine challenges my perspective. Birth parents, the goodbyes and the hello agains, the stories have broken me in all the right ways. Watching my crew just open arms love the world around them, welcoming each kiddo in with such warmth. My crew challenges me to love better and therefore my answer is we have not had enough, cause there is still more love to give, to have and to share.

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