Sunday, January 28, 2018

More than...

I have more baby Mamas/Daddys than I know what to do with at times. 4 women, 2 men who have given life to the little souls that call me, Mama. What a complex thing that is.

I feed them, bathe them, snuggle them, rock them, say good morning and goodnight. I kiss their owies, read them stories and soothe their nightmares. As foster parents we stand in the gap, filling the space that protects these little souls from being orphaned. We walk the tightrope of balance between loving these little souls fully, leaving our hands flat allowing them to leave our homes at just a moment notice. Some days this feels nearly impossible, my head and heart don’t always align and I ache for this reality to go away.

As foster parents we must fight to accomplish that task, we are taught and told to do that. The reality is that in order to love my babies well, I must love their parents too. Loving well means loving where they have come from, the very wombs they were formed, beginning life.

The balance for me is firm boundaries and mutual respect, little expectations and good communication. I don’t expect anything of my bio parents, I focus my energy on healing, raising and loving my littles ones so my bio parents are not a priority of my time or attention. Yet, I am their encourager, sending positive affirmations of parenting decisions and days of sobriety. I treat my parents as humans, engaging with them at drop offs and pick ups, throughout the week via texting, sending pictures and greetings.

My first bio mom and I struggled for the first year and half to get on the same page. I feel that one day we realized that we both desperately love the same four kids, three are with me and one is with her. Now, we talk often, we share questions and fears as we navigate open adoption and life changes.

She hated me, I was that bitch that had her kids. I was the bitch who dressed them in clothes she hated. I was the bitch who was a vegan, corrupting her kids. She was scared of me, scared of losing them and the insecurity consumed her thoughts and actions.

This balance for me was not overnight, It took me a while. The first several months of fostering, every interaction was judgement and fear. I hated them, for what they did to my babies. I despised them for their existence. I feared them in their sobriety.

One snowy night, I uttered a prayer that I would see her as God sees her. Offering a ride to her, she climbed into my front seat and I saw her as the little girl she once was, scared and hurting. A victim of foster care herself she never got that break, she was no different than the little souls I was raising, her little ones. I was intersecting their story to break the cycle of brokenness and in a way I broke hers as well.

It was in the months that followed I became her cheerleader. My prayers changed from prayers of failure to prayers of success. Asking for healing, for growth, for change. That that statistics that flow through my mine would not apply in her case. That she would be the 10% that makes it.

There is not a day that goes by when I am not concerned for my bio parents. Wondering if today is the day that the statistics cash themselves in. The conversations that trickle in, the outpouring of broken, scared hearts. I love my bio parents, showing them respect, love and care, instead of judgement, harsh words and disgust has brought forth fruit like this...

One text from a mom that shares her greatest fears. 
A text asking me to adopt her child.
A text apologizing for disappointing with another relapse. (Truth: I don’t let them get to a place where they disappoint me)
A text telling me she is pregnant again.
A conversation where she reminds herself how far she has come.
A text asking me to send on his love.
A text telling me they are trying to get it together.
A text saying they never wanted to be this kind of father.
A text telling me about a stupid choice.
A text of gratitude, knowing I am so good to their kid.
A promise that this time it will be different. 
A text with the number of another day sober.

I am thankful for the bittersweet gift of my bio parents, but having all these extras parents in our family is hard. I have heart to hearts with my bio parents, I cheer them on and support them. They are never placed before my kiddos, in the name of loving well, I support my bio parents but I fight and advocate for my babies.

Their choices steal away their ability to feed them, bathe them, snuggle them, rock them, say good morning and kiss goodnight. To kiss their owies, read them stories and soothe their nightmares. They have a large price tag to pay, their choices have cost them time and that is the one thing we can never get back. So in the meantime I stand in the gap, looking and loving both, praying for health and healing.

So we love and we love well. We love THEM because we love them. May we remember that bio parents are not the enemies, addiction and crappy coping skills are. These little souls are who we are advocating for and to do that well we must learn to know exactly where they came from.

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