Five years ago I was eager to learn more about foster care. I just finished a book study on The Connected Child where I met foster parents for the first time and was all fired up to use my new trauma-informed skills! With a deep compassion for kids in need and a mind thirsty for knowledge on all things foster care, I attended a local foster care conference hosted by Fostering Hope Austin. My bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self attended that conference with such vigor, excitement, and hope. I was finally following God into His real purpose for my life. Hooray!
Attending that conference was my first glimpse of finding other people like me, who had a passion for orphans and wanted to help in a big way. You know when you find your people and it feels SO GOOD?! I even met other single women and thought, “OK I am NOT crazy for desiring this as a single person!” Here we go!
I dragged my sleep-derived self into A Future And A Hope completely exhausted and so grateful to have a few hours to myself. I had become an Insta-Mommy just 7 months ago. I was in full-fledged foster mom role to 1yo and 3yo brothers. Diapers, bottles, and nose-wiping had become my life. Lawyers, case workers, paperwork, and visits with bio parents became my norm. My evenings of dancing, hanging out with friends, and having dinners out were replaced with the bedtime routine and sitting home alone. The excitement and hope had left me. I was a shell of who I was just trying to survive each day without losing my mind from the mundaneness and neediness of having two littles.
But then I walked into Jason Johnson‘s session. He was doing a session for prospective foster parents, which I wasn’t, but for some reason I went anyway. He was standing at the door greeting people and I introduced myself. He expressed gratitude for having a single mom in his session, since of course he was not. I sat down next to a single woman named Cecile. She would end up becoming a long-time helper for me and the boys. As soon as Jason opened up his session for questions, a single woman stood up and asked how she could do this as a single person. Jason called on me to respond. I have no idea what I said or how I delivered it but I suddenly realized I had another purpose. I had become a wealth of knowledge about the foster mom life and I would have jumped at the opportunity for someone to tell me the things I know now before I dove in. Even though I felt dead from exhaustion I could still help other single women who want to foster and therefore help even more kiddos.
The session ended and I found myself surrounded by more single women asking questions. I had lunch with a table full of single women. It was a beautiful sight to see so many single women of all ages stepping up and taking the big leap to become a foster parent. My energy, my hope, and my joy had returned. Let’s help more kiddos!
BOB!!!!! Bob Goff is all I can remember about AFAH 2019 and it’s all that matters because this man is SO radical, inspiring, and a true ambassador for God!! It’s ALL about Bob! Read his books, listen to his podcast and there’s no way you won’t leave more inspired to do good in this world. Be like Bob!
By this time I had been beaten up emotionally, physically, and spiritually by the tumultuous events of our case. I had been shocked, furious, and considered putting in my 30-day notice. But God. God raised me up into the light with two little boys that I now know were going to stay forever. We were on our way to adoption.
Pre-pandemic life. Need I say more? And Luke Caldwell with his amazing story of 7 (now 8) kids. 5 kids adopted all with special needs. #GOALS As for me, I was an adoptive mom now navigating the world of a school-aged kiddo, how to handle family trees for school and questions about why they don’t have a dad. I was still trying to recover from my own trauma of the failed reunification and adjusting to the life of a permanent single adoptive mom.
Virtual AFAH. I had the honor of being on a panel this year and it was a privilege to share how life-changing it was for me to become trauma-informed. If only our culture could shift from judging people harshly for their behavior to instead having compassion for what that person must have endured to cause that behavior. And if only we could better help the biological parents so that they can be free from their addictions and stop the cycle of bringing more babies into foster care. If only more people stepped up and said YES to foster care.
I am excited to share with you that I will be a Breakout Speaker this year talking about what else (?!) but being a single foster parent! 😀 I hope to help other single women….I mean people (you think we’ll get any single men in the session?! One can only hope, right? 😉 ) learn more about what it’s like to step into this rollercoaster as a single person and how to build a strong support system. See you at AFAH!
#thisisfostercare #afah #mamalisafosters #bobgoff #lukecaldwell #jasonjohnsonblog #tbri #traumainformed