My Crazy Recognizes Her Crazy

Eden is, no doubt, her own person. But we share some similarities…our emotions run high. I’ve recently discovered that Eden, much like her mama, will lose her ever-loving mind if she feels rushed. I don’t recall exactly how I made this discovery. Likely, my crazy recognized her crazy…long-lost buddies. Anyhoo, one day I simply said, “Eden, there’s no rush.” BOOM…magic balm. It is amazing to watch. Here is today’s episode of “How to Tame a Frantic Heart:”

We were at the library. Eden was happy. We were all happy. Books. Yea!!! Cool air conditioning in this awful heat. Yea! It was about time to go, so I gave the ol’ “Five more minutes, girls.”

My precious bundle of Edenness lost it. Complete meltdown. Screaming. I mean…SCREAMING. She all but fell on the floor as she shrieked, “I DID NOT GET A DVD YET!!!” Scream, scream, scream. (Note, Eden is a perfectly delightful girl. We’re mostly done with stuff like this. But….) (Okay, second note, I have these very same reactions…but they typically take place in my head. Still…my crazy recognizes her crazy…best buds.)

And I pulled out my secret weapon. I came close, touched her, and quietly whispered, “There’s no rush, baby. No rush.” AND all the crazy melted away…and there was my girl, once again. Whew. She got her DVD and tra la la…happy.


Our Heartbeat

Months ago, my friend and kindred spirit (fellow INFJ/introvert raising and extrovert/lover of Jesus, of learning, and of Jane Austen), Melissa Droegmueller, from Rolling Prairie Readers asked me to share my heart for fostering and adopting. The mission of fostering as a family has become the heartbeat of my life, or more accurately, my family’s life. We’ve been at it for almost four years now! In that time, we have fostered four little ones; one went home to Grandma, one joined our family forever, and two are currently teaching us a thing or two about the unbreakable bond of sisters. Speaking of currently, this what our family looks like today: one mama, one papa, one miracle brought to us biologically, one miracle brought to us through adoption, two miracles brought to us through foster care, and two dogs – by far the most needy of our children. Then there are the extensions…more miracles: our beloved Randee (Denver’s biological mamacita – we love her like a daughter) and Sugar Pea (our foster daughters’ brand new baby sister.) Yep, fostering makes like messy…deliciously messy…like a HUGE chunk of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Mmmmm. Messy. But I digress…mmmm, chocolate.

When Phil and I started this fostering journey, we jumped in blindly, simply following a tug that we both felt on our hearts. Through the support and help of our church and its outstanding foster/adopt support group, we have grown and learned from the best. It is no doubt the influence of other folks on the front lines of fostering who have shaped and focused our vision. Our vision has shifted from loving on children to loving on families and helping them heal.

Now, before you get the wrong idea about me, know this…my heart and my parenting is as imperfect as the next person’s. In fact, I am not what one would call “a kid person.” As a people, they are noisy and messy…and they get in my introvert space. My methods of parenting are not always stellar, like that one time I banged a sippy cup of milk on the table yelling, “Stop screaming! Stop screaming! Stop screaming!” So, there’s that. Nonetheless, the beauty of fostering is, I am enough. Full of faults. I am enough to change a life.

Every family story is unique, and our is no exception. I have documented so much of our journey right here on my blog. And since it’s summer, I’m taking it easy and simply linking the heck out of this article. You may read as much or as little as you desire, by clicking on your topic of interest.

Thank you for your interest in fostering! I pray you are blessed by what you discover here. If you have questions, contact me. Looking forward to hearing from you.

That time we knew we could not NOT foster.

That time we decided to risk Eden’s heart in order to foster.

That time we realized fostering was not safe for our hearts, but it was good.

That time I dropped off Denver for her first visitation with Randee.

That time I fell in love with Randee.

That time Denver was relinquished to us.

That time our hearts melted with the beauty of watching Denver interact with Randee.

That time we realized we were the second choice.

That time we realized we had a heart for bio moms.

That time we expanded our family from four to six…overnight.

That time we counted the cost of fostering for the third time and how it could affect Eden and Denver.

That time we saw the Pea’s mom for the first time.

That time we realized God was growing us up a bit…shaping and humbling us.




Seven Years a Tessier

Seven years ago, I took a giddy leap forward – toward LIFE. Behind me was a life I had loved dearly, before me adventure! Philip, thank you for sharing life with me. Thank you for fighting with me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for putting up with my moods. Thank you for seeing beauty in everything I am and do. Thank you for sharing adventure after adventure with me! I adore you on most days. And hate you on some days. And love you every day.

Mother’s Day – The Things and the Stuff

This Mother’s Day marks my sixth as a mama. That fact alone holds so much beauty and pain…my breath catches and I remind myself…breathe. Oh this day, this beautiful day to honor our moms…it can be fraught with longing and sadness. And because of this…this mixed bag that is Mother’s Day, I though I’d share one of my favorite memories…the one that still makes me giggle…my very first Mother’s Day.

I’m a second born. And I had a bossy big sister. Oh, I love the woman. She is the one you want if ever things need to move along in a certain manner. She is the one who dots her i’s, crosses her t’s…and makes sure that yours are dotted and crossed…just right. God, I love her. Anyhoo, because of this glorious force of nature, I DO NOT LIKE TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO. By anyone. Thank you, very much. I especially do not want to be told by a greeting card company that I MUST celebrate someone or something on a certain day. And so, entering into my first Mother’s Day, I boldly declared to my beloved Phil, “There will be no cards for me. Absolutely none. We will not do all the things and the stuff. That is ridiculous. You all love me well every day. We are skipping this whole crazy mess.”

And we did. Until about noon o’clock on Mother’s Day. We had gone to church in which mom’s were celebrated. And all the mama’s looked so happy. And then Face Book. Right? And then we stopped off at Phil’s “daughter’s” home to give her a Mother’s Day gift…and that was it.

We got back to the car, and I softly said, “Phil. I have made a terrible mistake. I want it. I want it all. I want all the things and the stuff.” And Phil watched me to see if I would laugh or cry. I did a bit of both. And I learned a valuable lesson: when it comes to motherhood, just go with it. There is a rhythm and a flow established by those FAR wiser than me…just roll with it.

This Mother’s Day, may you enjoy the things and the stuff.



Our New Happy Place

I am a planner…a five-year plan is my happy place. Well, it used to be. Life has a way of humbling us…and the thought of mapping out where I think we should be in five years has become a bit comical. Take the month of May, for example. Today is April 22. Within the next thirty days we will either say goodbye to our Peas; say hello forever to our Peas; just hang out with the Peas a bit longer (til the next court date); perhaps take on a additional Pea…as one is cooking and is due in May; AND welcome a new family member for a spell. So, uh, plans are really…not…ummm…conducive to our current way of life.

This kind of “uncertainty” is our new normal. And though it is true for all of us, we are keenly aware that we have no idea what the future holds. But our hope for our future is secure…because it now rests on the unchangeable shoulders of a good God. And that space of faith is our new happy place. Trusting the One who is immovable, unchangeable…and good. We feel such certainty that all will be well. All will be well. This place of peace beats the pants off a five-year plan.


We believe our time with the Peas is drawing to a close. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But in anticipation of a life without these precious girls, my heart cannot help but treasure moments. Images of dimples and crazy hair and chubby legs and outreached arms…the way Chick Pea holds my face as we touch noses…the way Sweet Pea says “Ma ma ma,” and sings with me “Ahhhh ahhhh ahhhh”…these moments placed and secured in a trove.

Some folks, lots of folks, shy away from fostering for this very reason…the fear of loss. Oh! But to live each day with the awareness that time is fleeting…such a gift! This  awareness colors our home and relationships…shading the moments of our lives with brilliant hues…making life just a bit sweeter. 

We wouldn’t have it any other way. 


So, we’ve been fostering for about three years. And in that three years’ time, we’ve been assigned the crème de la crème of case managers. I wish she could say the same for us…or for me. But she has informed me…laughingly, “Jan, you are not a good foster mom. You are a great mom. But you treat these foster babies like they are yours. And they are not. You must remember, they are not yours.” Yep. It is true. I struggle greatly with the disparity in my parenting style for my “own children” versus my parenting style for my precious fosters. Risk management? What’s that? I figure, as long as the consequence is not fatal…or near fatal…let ’em figure stuff out for themselves. Right? Let ’em play, and tumble and climb and explore. Let ’em be bold and courageous in the face of the play scape or the slide or the tree. Yeah. No bueno for my Peas. No. Bueno.

And in my quiet moments, I realize, I am NOT a good foster mom. There are aspects of this gig that I forget time and time again. But I am learning. Slowly. I am learning. The babies belong to another woman. And my haphazard approach to risk management probably leaves her frustrated…and worried. And I am starting to realize, my inattention to detail is…unkind. Sigh.

Though it will feel crazy unnatural, I am going to try to parent in a way that isagainst every instinct I have. Now, I won’t stop being me…and I’ll make mistakes…and the fact that I am currently parenting a dare-devil of a toddler comes into play. Up til now, my focus in parenting has been for the love of the babies in my charge. My passion for their good. I am going to try to parent in a way that is loving to my charges’ mama. A consideration for her vulverable position of leaving the care of her babies to another.

Here’s to becoming a more loving foster mom…a fit foster mom.