Half a childhood.

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

It occurred to me recently that I will only get half of his childhood. I guess I already knew that. I must have. The math here is pretty straightforward; our foster son, whom we expect to adopt, is 9 years old. That is quite clearly halfway to 18. I have a picture I took of him and our biological son, Ryan, the first night we met him a couple of months ago. In it, James* has slung his arm around Ryan’s shoulders and is leaning into him, a soft smile on his face. Ryan is grinning. It is a picture I know will be special to me for the rest of my...

read more

Starting Over With a New Foster Child. {The New York Times}

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Uncategorized | 7 comments

We stand in the bedroom together, side by side, clothes and toys piled up around us and empty boxes tossed into the hallway. “So, tell me,” I say. “What do you want to keep on the walls, and what should come down?” The colorful train decal on the wall of this bedroom looks babyish now compared to the basketball posters this 9-year-old boy brought with him today. So does the framed alphabet print and the stack of board books. The stuffed animals. Even the white bookshelf and small, matching dresser I picked out back when my husband and I were...

read more

One year since you left.

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Dear BlueJay, One year ago today was the hardest day of my life. The weeks that followed that day — the day I buckled you into a car seat, stepped back and watched you drive away — were first the numbest and then the most painful I’ve ever felt. The truth is, even a year later, I still feel the empty space you once occupied. I carry it with me wherever I go. A couple of days ago, I was driving through town on my way to the grocery store. I made a left turn and I gasped a little. Where are you, are you ok, are you happy, I miss you, were the...

read more

Becoming foster parents … again.

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

  There is an eerie similarity to all of this. It is late winter, just like it was the first time around. It is cold and it is grey and I have spent the past 24 hours cleaning. I have cleaned the usual stuff. I’ve swept and I’ve vacuumed and I’ve wiped down the kitchen counters. But this occasion calls for more; it calls for tackling the stuff you don’t usually notice. Like the dust that feathers the wall right above the heating vent and the fingerprints that decorate the windows in the dining room. Anything to tip the scales in your...

read more

Round Two.

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

The toys are put away, the TV has been dusted, the dining room rug has been vacuumed. There is nothing left to do but check Facebook, glance at the clock, check email, glance at the clock. As the days counted down to hours and now to minutes, two words are strobing in my brain like a sign on the Las Vegas strip. Round Two. Round Two. Round Two. I am waiting for our caseworker to arrive. A different one this time, one who will help us not with becoming licensed foster parents but who will help update our homestudy to include matching adoption....

read more

After Losing a Foster Child, Contemplating Another. {The New York Times}

Posted by on Jan 21, 2017 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

He’s sitting on a couch with his brothers, presumably in the home in which he’s now growing up. The photo has a graininess to it that is reminiscent of photos from the 1980s, but this picture is much more recent than that. It’s the first visual I’ve had of my former foster son since I hugged him goodbye. The boy we nicknamed “BlueJay” lived with us for almost a year when extended family members stepped forward to take custody of him and his two brothers back in March. In the series Foster Parent Diary, I wrote about the experience of loving...

read more

We can do hard things.

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | 26 comments

We can do hard things. I came across that phrase for the first time recently. It was printed on a sign, sitting in the background of a room on a TV show I was watching. I grabbed the remote, rewound a few seconds, paused it and called out to Mike, “Look! We can do hard things.” “Maybe we need that sign,” he said. He knew what I meant without having to explain myself. It’s been more than two years since Mike and I dove fully into the world of foster care. It’s been 10 months since our foster son, BlueJay, left. In another month, BlueJay will...

read more

On kicking 2016 to the curb.

Posted by on Dec 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

It may come as no surprise that I’m ready to bid 2016 an exuberant BUH-BYE! It hasn’t been my favorite year, guys. I know at least a few of you can relate. Yes, obviously, it was the year we had to say goodbye to our foster son, BlueJay, after nearly a year with him. But it was also the year my father was in a bad car accident. Six months later, he’s mostly recovered … or, as he’ll tell you, he’s “getting better every day.” Also, much less importantly but still annoying, it was the year I...

read more

The Guest Room. {Literary Mama}

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

“It’s so hot up there,” my husband says as he descends the stairs into our living room. “I know,” I say, not bothering to look up from my work to meet his eyes. “So hot.” We love our home, but like all homes, it is imperfect. Built in 1925, we revel in its charm. The wood detail that frames each window. The white built-in bookshelf that has held the books and framed pictures of countless families during its 91 years of life. Then there are the things we don’t relish. The singular tiny bathroom,...

read more

Good intentions, average follow-through.

Posted by on Oct 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

“Where were you today? Why didn’t you come to my classroom?” Ryan and I had just arrived home from school. I could tell he was in a bit of a sour mood, which isn’t unusual for a kid who was adjusting to full-day school for the first time. But this time, there was a little more sadness than usual behind his eyes. “My teacher asked whose mommies were coming to watch us learn today, and I raised my hand,” he said, tears forming. “I told her you would come.” A light bulb goes off in my mind, illuminating a small pamphlet I’d received the week...

read more