How One Man Went From Foster Care Advocate to Dad {HuffPost}

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The day that changed the course of Jon Cardoza’s life started out as a fairly ordinary one. He’d gotten in trouble at school – again – and was sitting down over sandwiches that afternoon to endure yet another lecture from his mentor. “That was the day he popped the question,” Jon recalls now, more than a year later. “He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you are so frustrating; I should just adopt you.’” At 16 years old, Jon had given up on the idea that he would ever be adopted. He’d spent the first dozen years of his life enduring abuse and neglect...

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On failure.

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 17 comments

My cell phone rings, lighting up with a now-familiar phone number. I swallow hard, swipe the screen and answer: “Hey, kiddo.” The voice on the other end belongs to a 10-year-old boy. A boy who lived with us for three months. The boy we fully expected and intended to make an official part of our family. The one we were supposed to keep forever. There’s another term for this, and it is one that weighs heavy on my heart: Failed adoption. It’s not our first time caring for a foster child. Our first foster son was three years old when he came to...

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A Gift Guide for the Foster Parent in Your Life.

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Gift Guide for the Foster Parent in Your Life.

When Mike and I first became foster parents to BlueJay more than two years ago – and it felt as though utter chaos descended upon our home – our village stepped up with support. One friend brought us a full dinner, complete with homemade bread. Another friend sent a gift card to the local ice cream shop. A group of friends banded together to purchase a family pack of tickets to the local – super expensive – amusement park. When we became foster parents a second time to James earlier this year, one friend hopped online to buy him a few new...

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The update I wish I didn’t have to write.

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

There are moments in life that do more than test you. They strip you down to the core and make you examine exactly who you are, what you are made of, and — sometimes — what you can handle. Our newest foster son, 10-year-old James, was in our home for three months when we arrived at that moment. That moment often doesn’t happen over night. It’s a long and winding journey. At every turn, you might think, “Ok, now it will get better. Soon; we’ll be able to breathe again soon.” But one final hard turn to the right can make things clear even as...

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A letter to my foster son on his 10th birthday.

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

Mr. Sparkles, I know, you hate that nickname, but you earned it the day you came home from school with your head so covered in glitter you looked like a disco ball. You’re not quite sure what inspired you to dip both hands into a tub of glitter during a class art project, or furthermore what prompted you to rub said glitter all over your head, but I could tell you were delighted that I laughed instead of cringed when you got home. Even the bus driver parked herself in the middle of our street to see my reaction. If all that glitter had washed...

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What the picture doesn’t show. {Today’s Parent}

Posted by on Jun 5, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What the picture doesn’t show. {Today’s Parent}

You see the picture I post on Facebook of two boys walking down the street, hand-in-hand, and you leave a comment describing it as “joyful.” You are happy for us, you are happy for them—for that one boy in particular. You’re thinking: he’s lucky. He’s lucky to have landed with a real family. He’s lucky to have secured safety, love and opportunity, when so many other children in foster care will not. You note how comfortable those boys look side-by-side, how much they already look like brothers. You know we hope to adopt the 9-year-old, who is...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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