“We thought we were ready, but of course we weren’t. Not really. Because how could we be? To add to your family in such an abrupt way, to take in a child who comes with only himself, one box full of his own possessions, and a fear of sleeping in the room you’ve carefully prepared for him is jarring at best and heartbreaking at worst.”
For Brain, Child ~ Saying goodbye to Our Foster Child
“He’s the loudest, fastest, clumsiest and most hilarious piece of our family puzzle. That piece you might hold up initially and think, “I’m not sure where this fits,” until you fill in everything else first and then suddenly realize you needed that piece all along. The piece that somehow pulls the rest of you together.
After him, you do not simply return to the same old content life of a family of three. He changes you.”
For Literary Mama ~ The Guest Room
“The picture of Ryan leaning against the wooden fence last fall is already starting to look outdated; but the picture of BlueJay doing the same does not. BlueJay is out there in this world right now growing up, getting taller, and looking every day a bit less like a little boy and a bit more like a big boy.
But in this house, he’ll always be four years old.”
For Today’s Parent ~ What the Picture Doesn’t Show
“Foster parenthood can create the sort of anxiety that rises up within you and sits on your chest with a heaviness that would strangle your breath if you let it, but just when I think I’ll have to gasp for my next thought, something happens.”
For Mamalode ~ My Sam
“When you’re pregnant, you refer to your child as The Baby. It’s gender-neutral, it’s fast and it flows off the tongue. You decorate the baby’s room. You get a craving and you call out, the baby wants Skittles!
Do you know what doesn’t flow so well? I want to get this for the kid we plan to adopt from foster care. Or… I wonder if the child who is placed with us will fit into this car seat.”
For Coffee + Crumbs ~ One hundred and Eight-Two Pennies
“It was our turning point. That moment when years of ‘what if, someday…’ rounds the corner to ‘let’s just take the first step…’ and then suddenly you’re holding one hundred and eighty-two pennies worth of information in your hand, and the weight of it feels like the weight of a child.”
For Heart Magazine, Volume I ~ Three Towel Hooks
“I didn’t want our second child to arrive, take a look around and fell like we were crowbarring him — and his shoes and wet towel — into a place where they didn’t quite fit. Into a space made for a family of three, not a family of four.”
For Mamalode ~ Clinging to Innocence
“I thought I had more time. I thought I had at least months or—I’d hoped—years before this would start. Before Ryan’s babyish innocence would be slowly and matter-of-factly chipped away, one peer-inflicted comment at a time.”
For Great Moments in Parenting – Course Correction
“I remembered the way our own stress rendered us unable to acknowledge his, made us say things like, “Kids are resilient; he’ll be fine,” as we changed not only the landscape of his life but the very structure of it.”
For Mamalode ~ Wind
“We are standing the middle of the garden, of the universe, and we are swaying together. Or maybe we’re not moving at all – maybe it’s everything else that is moving.”
NEW YORK TIMES FOSTER PARENT DIARY
- Author of the “Foster Parent Diary” on the New York Times’ Motherlode/Well Family blog, an on-going essay series that documents the making of a foster family. (Illustrations by Abigail Gray Swartz at GrayDayStudio.)
- “So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood” ~ An anthology by The HerStories Project.
(Excerpt from my essay in the anthology: “I didn’t anticipate the full extent of the leaks and the overall mess. Nor was I prepared for the way it added to the laundry that was already collecting in endless piles throughout our small condo each day.
A new mother doesn’t complain about laundry, though. She expects to drown in dirty garments. She accepts that the joy of motherhood comes with a side of suffocation.”)
- Essay to appear in Monkey Star Press’s “What is a Mother To Do? Adventures in Mommyhood and Mayhem” parenting anthology, publication date TBA.
- Cast member for the 2015 Listen to Your Mother (Lehigh Valley) show. (Watch the video of my reading here.)
- Named a 2015 BlogHer Voice of the Year:
- Named a 2016 BlogHer Voice of the Year:
- Keynote speaker for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York‘s annual conference in Albany, May 2016.
- Slate’s “Mom and Dad are Fighting” / Sept. 2015. (Interview starts at the 9:55 mark.)
- #AmWriting with KJ Dell’Antonia and Jessica Lahey / March 2017.
- Calm in the Chaos / May 2017.
AROUND THE BLOG
A sample of some of my most popular blog posts:
- We can do hard things.
- On kindergarten and new paths.
- That time I poured my heart out to 250 strangers.
- This week.
- Our boy.
- A birthday letter to BlueJay.
- Farewell to “only.”
- Two bowls of popcorn.
- Loving Four.
- Lay with me.
- Breaking through the block.
- Balancing the working and the staying.
- As the wise Walt Disney once said…
- A farewell to my childhood home.
- I don’t see the “only.” I only see him.
- Where I’m from.
- On blooms and brothers.
- He’s the maestro.
- My little Halloween devil, er, dragon.
Answering reader questions about foster parenthood:
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
For Sluiter Nation ~ Phase Four?
“I didn’t want to sacrifice my love of this place. But maybe I wasn’t fully considering what I was sacrificing in its place. That the hole left in our lives by an absence of Sunday dinners and cousin sleepovers couldn’t be filled by a shining Arizona sun.”
For Kludgy Mom ~ Becoming a stay-at-home mom
“In short, I’m afraid I’ll lose myself. That I’ll become just a mom. That I am giving up my career to do something I won’t enjoy or be particularly good at. (And yes, then I feel terrible for feeling that way. Mom Guilt knows no boundaries.)”
For Aiming Low ~ A little head bump is ok if he doesn’t cry, right?
“I shouldn’t be glad he hit the baby’s head against the stove. Maybe glad isn’t the right word. Smug might be more like it.”
For In These Small Moments ~ Swirled Around Us
“The warm air swirled around us, the sun was setting, and I remembered. I remembered waddling through the streets night after night with all that pent-up excitement. Excitement and confusion and wonder.”