If you have girls in your house, then your house is like mine: hyped up on all things Frozen. We have Frozen cups, Frozen purses, Frozen coloring pages. The dog even answers to ‘Sven.’
Around 90% of the time, I’m humming one of the main songs from the soundtrack because those songs play all. day. long.
With that in mind, I want to share five things I’m “letting go” of during the first couple weeks with new foster kids. They’re probably different for every family, but this is what we’ve experienced by moving from 1 to 4 kids overnight.
We’re letting go of…
1) “A place for everything, everything in its place”: Dear, sweet friend. If this is you, take a breath. Now slap yourself. Now imagine a tiny tornado–nay, swarm of tornadoes has hit your home. The first twelve hours, you will walk around like a person who has NEVER VISITED YOUR HOME BEFORE. Where are the paper towels? What’s that smell? Has ANYONE SEEN THE DOG?! It’s ok. The smell is pee, and the paper towels are gone. Good news: the dog is microchipped.
2) Healthy eating: I said
desperate sweet prayers every time a meal was delivered to our home these last two weeks. Before us, our three foster babies were allowed to have a Coke…with ice cream…at 9 p.m. (If this is your family, no judgment, but this is just not how we roll at The Millers’ house. I gave Corbin a whole donut once and it was like an episode of Children of the Corn filmed at Chuck E. Cheese.)
Corbin is a great eater. He eats salmon and green beans. He’ll try pretty much anything, but that’s because we’ve set that expectation of him–to try something each time we put it in front of him. Obviously, if your kids came to my home, it would take some time for them to adjust. The three littles had a hard time with things like BBQ Pork Sandwiches. No way was I going to try to shove roasted asparagus at them. The objective in the first two weeks is simple: feed. the. children. If they have PB&J for 3 days for lunch, so be it. Did you order pizza? Bravo. Chick Fil A morning, noon, and night? Way to go! These children are still alive because of you. Air. High. Five.
3) Matching clothes: Okay, dressing tiny humans to all match and coordinate is not my spiritual gift, but I know some of you need this to survive your day. Kudos. However, trying to get foster kids (or just kids!) to put on clothes is already a feat. Let foster kids pick out their own clothes (GASP!). I know, I know. Polka dots and stripes. It will happen. People will stare. Let them. The first Sunday I walked into church with our new herd of children, people actually clapped. I felt like a movie star.
Foster kids need to have control over something, and clothes are an easy trade when it comes to controlling their world. As the weeks go on, you can show them what clothes you might pick out. Maybe they’ll learn, maybe they’ll wear pajamas. Either way, #winning.
4) Looking good: Oh my. I have a wonderful husband and great friends, who lie to me when I need them to. But let’s call a spade a spade, here friends. YOU WILL LOOK ROUGH. Find a ponytail holder and just let it ride. It took three days from placement for J and I to both get showers, and let me tell you, mine was one good shower. Also, count everything as exercise to make yourself feel better. Did you pick up a child? That’s a squat. Scrubbed pee of the floor, did ya? Triceps and biceps. It’s like you’re at the gym, except you’re not. You’re at home, in pajamas, that smell like ketchup. One day you will put on makeup again and people will be in awe of your beauty. But it SO AIN’T TODAY, love.
5) Other commitments: Friends, if you have met me in the last two weeks, I apologize. I am not normally flaky. I keep my word, or at least try to most often. I volunteer to help or pray or clean when a need exists. But when you foster, that is your only commitment. There is NO time for anything else in the first few weeks. Unless you can help by writing a check, don’t even try it. You’ll get frustrated with yourself because you’re not on your game, and then you’ll start to place blame…and it’s sure not those kids’ fault. Don’t stretch yourself too thin just because you used to be Betty Sue Homemaker and Barbara the Bakesale-er or Queen of the Bible Group Meal Train. This is not your season. These kids need you. This is your calling for this time. Find your joy in serving there.
There are some days when I feel like I’m failing…terribly. But then, a ray of sunshine will peek through the clouds, and my oldest will share her toy for no reason at all. Or the baby won’t cry when I put her down. Or the oldest boy will lift the lid before peeing. Baby steps, friends.