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Parenting 101: My First Five Days as a Foster Parent

February 12, 2015

I got my first official foster placement from the United Methodist Children’s Home on Friday night…a very sweet, VERY active 6-year-old little girl. As soon as she saw me, she ran up and gave me a big hug. As soon as the UMCH worker left, kiddo started calling me mommy. I’d been warned this was typical with kids in foster care. When they’re that young they identify anyone in the parenting role as “mama.” She still talked about her birth mom and could clearly distinguish between the two of us, so I just went with it and allowed her to call me what she wanted.

After she’d been with me an hour, she started saying, “I love you.” Again, I’m not sure whether my heart should be melting from how sweet she is, or how concerned I should be that she’s instantly attaching so well to a complete stranger. What has she been through already that allows her to do this? Over the last few days there have been many cute moments, many giggles, many tantrums, many hugs, many booboos kissed, many lessons to learn and to teach, many visits and phone calls with DFCS, UMCH, CPS, doctors, schools, etc. Needless to say, it’s an adjustment. But after the first few days of parenting a 6 year-old, I’ve made a few observations. Here’s what I’ve learned…

  1. Every store is like Disney World. There is something shiny on each corner that will distract a child and said child will want every item immediately. All shopping will now be done during school hours.
  2. Glitter…UGH!!! GLITTER!!!
  3. Pink clothes and shoes multiply like rabbits.
  4. Hair bows, ties, and rubber bands disappear like David Copperfield.
  5. Between preparing, feeding and cleaning up after meals for the kiddo, I realize I often forget to feed myself.
  6. If you stock up on macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets, those are the exact foods your kid will NOT eat.
  7. There is a Sticky Fairy that automatically comes with kids and makes every surface eternally unidentifiably sticky.
  8. You need an engineer degree to open all children’s toys. I’m drowning in a sea of cardboard, plastic and those little plastic “T” fasteners that burrow directly into Barbie’s head.

    Seriously...what degree do I need to make this thing fly? Why are kid toys smarter than me?

    Seriously…what degree do I need to make this thing fly? Why are kid toys smarter than me?

  9. When no other shoes seem to fit, rock the pink cowgirl boots.
  10. Frozen DOES repeat on an eternal loop. Unless it’s TinkerBell. After watching TinkerBell for 4 days straight, “the TV is tired, it needs time to rest.”
  11. Single life: clean house once a week…maybe. Parenting life: clean every time you turn around, multiple times every day.
  12. Kindergarten homework is actually work for parents. Why was I up til midnight trying to find/decorate a Valentine box due the next day?
  13. When you say “No stickers on the walls or furniture,” be sure to clarify that floors count as furniture too. And doors count. And dishes. And maybe the ceiling too just to be safe.
  14. A bedtime story makes everything better and erases all the troubles of the day.
  15. A kiss will instantly heal all minor injuries. A bunny shaped ice pack will heal all ever-so-slightly-less minor ones.

    Booboo Bunny to the rescue! Heals all wounds, real or imaginary.

    Booboo Bunny to the rescue! Heals all wounds, real or imaginary.

  16. Stay-at-home moms are my heroes, because they are there for every moment of every day for every little thing these tinies need.
  17. Working moms are my heroes, because they manage to get all kid, house, food, and errand needs done and still manage to focus on the demands of a job.
  18. Single moms are my heroes, because they can’t just call dad to pick up Valentine’s kits on the way home from work since you got the homework folder and realized signed, assembled cards are due in 14 hours, and you have to figure out how to make it work.
  19. Teachers are my heroes, for putting up with an entire class full of kiddos all at once for the majority of their waking hours and trying to get them to sit still and learn.
  20. A good night’s sleep and a listening ear go a long way.
  21. I have some of the most amazing and generous people in my life and I am truly humbled by their grace and friendship. When you realize that someone you love does not support your decision to be a foster parent, it makes all of those who do support you even more cherished and loved. Seriously, those who are offering prayers, donations, parenting tips, discipline suggestions, hair care tips and braiding help, spontaneous birthday/welcome parties, and so many kind and supportive words…THANK YOU!!! You have no idea how much this means and how much this is carrying me through the tough moments and reminding me that the reason I’m doing this is really all for her. From Day 1 I learned what it means to protect her like my own, and to make decisions that would be best for her, even if it means sacrificing something myself. No matter what these kids have been through or what they’re putting me through, they need and deserve to be loved just like any other child, and to have someone stick up for them. So that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my ability.
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Sallee permalink
    February 12, 2015 12:14 pm

    You thought you had studied every subject and got all the degrees…there is nothing like being a Mom. These experiences will last you a life time as being a parent (no matter how long being a parent is a life time event. God will richly bless you for saying yes to your “kiddo”! Love you!

  2. Ileen Meggison permalink
    February 12, 2015 12:42 pm

    You amaze me…you are in my prayers for continued success, love, and support….

  3. Noel permalink
    February 12, 2015 12:50 pm

    Love this! I cracked up at #10 because I say that all of the time (TV is tired). Lol. It’s a roller coaster ride, this whole parenting thing, but you are making a difference. You are doing His work. There will be moments where you will question everything (all of us do), in those moments go to Him. He is the only one who can make sense out of those wacky moments.

    I am enjoying reading this. Thank you for sharing and for being so open. I admire you for doing this solo. My prayers are with you two.

  4. February 12, 2015 11:33 pm

    So wonderful! Both what you are doing and what you are sharing.

  5. sherrie permalink
    February 13, 2015 1:33 am

    You are a Hero! The ups are so much Bigger than the downs…..Hang in there and don’t be shy to call/ask for help…we all need it (often)….it is normal….You are both surrounded by LOVE!

  6. Beverly Wiley permalink
    February 13, 2015 1:08 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your words and thoughts at this special time in your life. It is to God’s glory and wisdom that you have taken on what will truly be the “toughest job you will ever love”. We all are here for you. See you very soon.

  7. Mary Ann permalink
    February 13, 2015 2:34 pm

    Oh sweet Julie. I laughed and cried tears of joy and affirmation reading your words. I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. Your SUMC Stephen Ministry family spoke words of support for you last night at our meeting. You are in new territory- which is always daunting, but your loving and open heart will continue to find His way through and provide love and security to this little one who wants and needs it as much as the air she breathes. “Let the little children come unto me” .. in Julie style and manner. Nothing could be sweeter. I’m here for anything I can provide- any day, anytime of day or night. Love you! Mary Ann

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