Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Loss of Control

“Do you think you will adopt this one?”

The world desires to have all the situations tied up with pretty bows, we like clean lines and happy endings. We seek and access to know what the risk is before we invest, charting all that could happen before we take the plunge. Control is our coping technique.

Early on, my journey into foster parenting felt out of control. Each change in our case or visit account would hit me like a wave. Tossing me to and fro as I desperately tried to find my direction. My ship was caught between the waves of finality, loss and the unknown, leaving me worn and exhausted.

Being a (foster) parent means, I must let go of the plans, control and the known. Letting go of the reigns of sensibility, embracing the unknowns for the now. I did not get into this journey to build a family but to provide a home. This world is unpredictable, happy endings look different than the story books we read as kids, choosing to be a parent is costly but totally worth it. The honor of doing life with them if even for a moment is a rare, life changing gift.

I have learned that I can’t live life as a foster parent with the lens of life being “will I get to adopt them, will they be forever in my home, will they be a Klepfer?” Instead I must live life with the lens that I have today. I have this moment with them, to impact, change and love them, today I am Mom.

As humans we strive for order, justice and control, foster care has taught me just how different those things look. Each case has a team of people around it simultaneously fighting for rights, safety, laws and contingency plans. The timelines, plans and actions don’t always make sense but the result of foster care is always bittersweet. When a case comes to an end either through termination of parental rights and adoption or through reunification of a biological family the story changes a loss happens.

In this past month I have signed papers for the next official and forever Klepfer, said goodbye to one after 10 months of shared life back to his mom and sent another forth another to his happily ever after with his Aunt who will keep his biological family intact. There is no promise how the story ends but we can’t let the ending, change the process.

These last 4 years have taught me many things, what love is, that broken hearts mend and no matter how often I think there isn’t enough, there always is. I have been humbled, changed and challenged to my core. My perspective has shifted through the rhythm of loving well and letting go.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Six.

What my six year old is teaching me...

To love wholeheartedly, with all of my being, 100%. She is in the stage where she adores me, constantly gazing at me and hanging on me. She wants kisses and affirmations constantly, she whispers at least daily, “I am your favorite, right Mama?” Which I always say yes...what she doesn’t know is that I tell them all they are my favorites! Haha! She asks to sleep with me every night and would share each of my breaths, if I let her. She has recently started writing me several love notes a day, I find them everywhere, the house is littered with the most precious drawings of us holding hands and hearts.

That life is a big sparkly party and all are invited. She found out her birthday is on Easter this year and she can not contain herself. Her favorite holiday and her favorite day. She loves that she was born and she does not hide the fact that she is a gift to this world. We have began planning her birthday party and every day it gets a bit more sparkly and magical and the guest list keeps growing. The theme is sunshine, sparkles and unicorns...I am still trying to figure out how do I tell her she needs to share her day this year with the hope and joy of the Resurrection?!?!

To never lose my wonder. She is is amazed by the swirls of new toothpaste and fresh jars of peanut butter. She loves shadows and sunshine. She delights in fresh snow and pretty little weeds. She walks slowly through life, seeing the small things, the simple things and she acknowledges them and celebrates their beauty.

That laughter is the best medicine. This girl’s birthday is fitting as it is one April Fool’s Day. She is witty and sharp. She is charming and smart and she knows how to work the room. She is confident and boldly laughs hysterically at her own jokes and has no shame in saying whatever comes to mind. I have so enjoyed watching this Beauty, develop and grow into herself. She has blossomed into a radiant and rare flower. Being her Mama, is a gift and I am soaking every moment up.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Klepfer Family Album 2

I got a new battery for an old computer that had these gems on it. These are pictures from our firsts together as a family. The first moments, where we fell in love and grew together. 

We spent the evenings of our early days, running on the trails. 
Using the space and outdoors and stillness of the country to process. 
They were healing and I was learning to be a Mom and I was falling in love. 

First Camping Trip, Summer 2014 
Camping has quickly become one of our favorite pastimes.

Daniel, age 5 

Charly, age 7

 
Kennedy, age 3 
She was a part of a weekly preschool dance class.
She was rarely on task but she was cute. 
I couldn't put her hair in pig tails in that season 
The pig tails seemed to only make her more sassy. 

Spent the day at the Apple Orchard,
her smile just brightens the world.
Sept 2014 



Trip to the Desert Dome.

First fishing trip with Uncle Jordan. 

Kennedy's first day of preschool. 


First day of 2nd grade and Kindergarten. 

Finding our perfect pumpkins. Fall 2014

First Pumpkin Carving 2014

First Halloween 2014, Batman, Bumblebee and Fairy.



Christmas 2014, finding our first tree. 

Meeting Santa, he was the most magical man I have ever met. 
Such a fun treat after picking out our perfect Christmas tree. 

Ice Skating with Uncle Jordan. 
This girl is a natural at anything she tries!

Eating at El Basha, one of our favorite places.
This grin and this girl, she snatched falafel and 
lentil soup off my plate and my heart too.

He has always been a good dresser. 
He loved vests, he had several and he would dress himself.

Meeting Cinderella at the Princess Ball, 
her face looked like that the entire time.

2nd lost tooth, first time tooth fairy drop!
She looks so little with those baby teeth! 

I don't remember what story she was telling me but it was big. 

Princess Elsa came to our tea party.

Little One 3 months, her first stay with us. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Warrior

As foster parents it is so easy for us to assume we are the best option for kiddos. These thoughts can complicate our journey as foster parents. I am guilty of them, I have to check my heart often to ensure that I am advocating for reunification efforts while advocating for these Little Souls.

Saying goodbye to our Little Man this past week was hard, our home just doesn’t feel the same. After 10 months, letting go doesn’t come easily, our hearts are aching and our home is changing. This past week of processing has shown me so much, as I flipped back through pictures just seeing the physical transformation of his body. A little malnourished body, eyes that were dark and withdrawn and a voice that didn’t speak. Months went by and his body began to heal, resources were sought so that he could begin to process, sleep and nourishment revitalized his body. He left our home a very different boy, if you are a local friend you watched the transformation right along side of us.

There is a balance that is expected of us as foster parents, we are to love and advocate for our kiddos while supporting the reunification efforts with our biological parents. Sometimes that juggle is difficult, when night after night we are carrying the pain of little souls, processing all their hurt and trauma. Neglect, abuse and trauma done by the very people they share genetics with, the very people biological designed to care and protect them.

In the early months with each of my kiddos, as the tears flow and the hurts are share you can’t help but despise “these people.” The neglect and abuse on their little bodies makes the Mama Bear instinct kick in. But the reality is they aren’t the enemies, their very DNA flows through the Little Souls in whom I kiss and tuck into bed each night, hating them is not going to fix anything.

Over time my perspective has shifted and my heart has changed as I realize that addiction, bondage and brokenness are the enemies. It was from there the trauma bloomed, taking root in the hearts of our biological parents. These Little Souls pay the price for this brokenness.

When a new child enters our home, they are welcomed, arms extended, space is created and the healing begins. I have fought really hard for the culture of our home and family. An atmosphere that makes space for healing, growth and change to occur. I love the idea that my Crew is a pack of wild and beautiful warriors. Warriors that are known by their kindness, health and empathy.

The act of parenting is an act of preparation, an act of sending forth, the goal of raising humans that make the world a little more lighter and brighter than they found it. Whether your children have come through adoption or foster care or have come from you, the goal of parenting remains the same. As we grieve and readjust to live without our Little Man, I find a peace that at first I couldn’t quite explain. A peace I believe comes from God, a peace that is bubbling up from the depths of my grieving soul.

I have not lost a son, his time with us these last 10 months was not in vain, instead his time with us was preparation. While he was here in our home he found tremendous healing, the kind of healing you can’t ignore, the kind of healing that can’t be squeezed out or goes unnoticed. The kind of healing his Mommy, Daddy and siblings need. So, his time with us equipped him to go back and be the spark, the change and the healing balm his family needs.

The time spent is always significant, the healing that happens is always significant, I sometimes wonder where they would all be had they not been a part of our family for a week, a year or forever. The system is not perfect, but it’s designed to get our kids out of harm and into our homes, even for a season. Our bio parents may relapse another three times and the trauma may continue but the impact these Little Warriors can make is life changing. Saying “goodbye” is never easy but focusing on the bigger picture takes the sting away, for a moment, at least. We are not always the forever homes for these Little Souls to land. We send them home, to the places they came from, the places where their DNA flows and hope that this time the sobriety sticks and that they can all move forward in health. 

So with many prayers, we send him forth, onto the next leg of his journey. One that at three years old has been prepped for.