Now that our journey through the foster and adoption process has been completed, I would like to set a few things straight. There a few things that I personally have been keeping in, just for the sake of argument. Some are misconceptions and other things just to look out for when you are taking the same path we have in building our family and through fostering and adopting. Like I have always said, this type of life is not for everyone; you need a very thick skin.
First, I have publicly been very clear that we cannot wait to be and now are finished with the foster system. The reason is simple: we have been too involved for way too long. I say too involved, simply, due to us having to fight for these kids and others way harder than we ever should have had to. I had a huge issue: I wanted to save everyone. I know now that I cannot. Also, only after years, it gets tiresome having to schedule your lives around case workers. For the most part, a lot of people who have found careers within the foster system do an amazing job. Then the other side is finding those that really had no business being there and are in the wrong field. Those are the ones that you find yourself cursing at under your breath, just saying.
Now, the other side of living with the foster system is our amazing family. Yes, we had to fight a lot with all different sides, for many different reasons. We just chalked it up as, well this is us and nothing is ever easy. But it makes you grow as a person and as a parent. We literally hand-picked five kids to adopt. We didn’t have to: we chose to. How many other parents can say that same thing? That’s what makes whatever battle easier, cause you want to be apart of change. Think how great those kids will feel about you later in life just based on that alone. “I have my parents, because they chose me!” Let’s face it, these kids all deserve at least one person in their corner, so why not let it be you?
Another thing I have yet to say before. Be very careful who you let into your life and your children’s life, especially when building your family this way. There are friends and family that will backstab you in a heartbeat, saying things behind your back out of nowhere. There are people that you thought really loved you and accepted you no matter what, that is not always true, and you may learn the hard way. Be it because the child in your home is of a different race or just due to the child is not genetically yours or that people are simply being ignorant. We have literally heard from people “you have a fake family” simply because we chose adoption. This was in a text message from a blood relative. Things like “most IUI babies miscarry anyway, so you will probably lose that baby” when we were pregnant with Gavin. Do not listen to these types of people, family or not. People will always try to bring you down. Pick wisely and keep your circle as small as humanly possible.
Also, tell your story – tell it often. It helps to get out all that you are going through, vent if necessary. We couldn’t publicly find anything like this before us and I have no idea why! Tell others what you are facing: the good and the bad, either way, it will touch someone. Very few people will bash you for it, the negative comments usually come from the same type of people. For instance, we have found thousands of people like ourselves, now are our friends. That would have never happened if we didn’t talk about all that we are going through to show others that they are not alone. Yes, there were a very few, might I add, saying about me, “you write blogs to make money”. Wrong, we have never received one dime from a blog. Or that “you used your situation/lifestyle to get famous”. Correction, we are nowhere near famous and we used our circumstances to raise awareness and that has worked. We started telling our story when we asked for literature and was told there was none. Please, just block out the negative, it gets you nowhere, but it will also motivates you to demand change.
Bottom line, I have learned that you must live for you first. Love yourself first regardless of what others think. Once you block all the nuisance out, your life and love will grow. Find what motivates you and hold onto that. Then it will just flow into the family that you are building/built. I have learned it’s hard to love others correctly when you cannot start with yourself. That my friend, is where you will find your strength. When you consider all that I have mentioned, it is a recipe for a very strong foundation. That is how we were able to build such a big family and instill that in the ones we have taken on. Life can be amazing, its just up to you and only you to make it that way.