My Journey: The First 12 Years

I started writing here out of necessity, almost urgently, without a plan or much of an introduction, because this space is for me. I don't know if many people will ever read it. If they do and it helps them, awesome, but that isn't what it's for. This space is for me to process. And I decided that what I want to process next in my journey is not what I'm working through in real-time right now, but my past. I find that reflecting back helps me develop empathy and grace for myself. I find it easy to have empathy and grace for others. I excuse others over and over, to the point of enablement. And when someone comes to me complaining about others, I give so many excuses for the others behavior - even if I've never met them -  which is both illogical & nonsensical (because I don't know that person and if they have any good excuse for their behavior or are just a bully), and demeaning to the person I love standing right in front of me. I.E. when Brave Lion comes home from school and wants to talk about someone who made her feel crappy, instead of saying, "I'm so sorry, that must have really hurt you", I find myself saying "Wow, they must have had a really tough day, think about what they're going through." In reality, people can be jerks, and my kids need my empathy and support, not to feel like I'm supporting a stranger more than them. So, as I type this up and process through my journey, I want to recognize that flaw in myself - both towards the ones I'm closest to, and myself. I've been through some times that were a real strain on my stamina, my resilience, [...]

2023-08-18T00:19:19-04:00August 18, 2023|


My earliest memories of my grandma are from when I was probably around 3 years old. I'm unsure whether I remember these firsthand or have seen them in home videos over the years, but I can vividly picture the orchard out behind the home they lived in. I'd ride in a trailer she pulled behind her lawnmower, and we'd get out near the trees and walk around a bit, sometimes meandering into the woods. She was always pruning and weeding and that trailer behind the mower, when not filled with grandkids, was filled with trimmings for the burn pit.  I remember playing gnip gnop in the basement of their home, and having sleepovers. They had a waterbed, and I couldn't get over how cool it was to have a bed full of water. The precious moments knick-knacks on their mirrored headboard shelves were my favorite to play with. I remember the decor, especially the placement of two pieces that eventually were passed down to my husband and I in our first home... a big, heavy orange hide-a-bed couch, and a bathroom cabinet with wheat stamped into the tin on the door. My memories go on to when they moved 'up north'. That period of my life, from around age 5 to age 13, we lived a few hours south of my Grandparents, and there were frequent weekend visits and lots of driving. I'd come visit on the weekends, and I remember the rhythmic movement of keys in the ignition, her snoopy keychain clinking against her elongated metal circle - I think it said something about being a Grandma on it. I looked forward to my time with my grandparents, escaping the city for the country, where I was free to roam. We'd often stop at the buckhorn saloon for pizza [...]

2023-08-18T00:19:29-04:00May 7, 2023|

A Poem for the Brave Lion

Even Stronger   Sometimes I wish There was a magic button I'd press it and your troubles would subside It pains me to see your pain I don't want you to hurt   Sometimes I wish You could you yourself the way I see you A beautiful soul, a breathtaking young woman   Sometimes I wish I had strength to not wish easy on you I want to guard Shield Protect your heart   But I know that easy isn't worth it Easy teaches nothing   A wildfire takes out a forest New life sprouts from ashes Just like you will emerge from these depths Even stronger

2023-08-17T22:52:28-04:00March 17, 2023|

TILFF/AP Part 1: You’ll Need More Time

In the name of shortening the title of this post, and with the decision to make it a series since point #1 got way too wordy, I've produced an acronym that I doubt anyone's ever used before or will ever again: TILFF/AP.  Things I've Learned From Foster/Adoptive Parenting. You'll Need More Time If you're thinking of beginning a foster care or adoption journey, and think you don't have much spare time in your life, make time now, before you get started. How do you make more time? We all only get 24 hours in a day, and that's not negotiable, so what gives? Find more time through better time management. Slow down your life. Reduce to the bare essentials and then selectively add in things that are worth it. Consider human need for downtime, and opportunities to fully connect with the family. If you say yes to something and regret it, give yourself freedom to quit midseason. On that note, become aware of what you're currently spending time on - the next two points will help with this if you're unsure where all the time in your day really goes. Get more organized. One of the ways my husband and I make space in our schedule is becoming really conscious of what's going on and how long it takes, making sure we're adding travel time, and looking at a holistic view of our week. Each Sunday night we sit down together while the kids have some alone time, and go over our weekly schedule. Here's a link to the schedule I've created if you want to use it: schedule with our usual events or blank schedule. We sit down at the kitchen table (note that this time is on our schedule each week 🙂) with a printed [...]

2023-02-15T12:54:03-05:00February 15, 2023|

“We’re going to get that baby back”

Last night we had our first one-on-one session with a therapist; I'll call her the Wise Owl. We had been meeting with her in a group setting for a few months, and today my husband and I met with her, just the three of us. She asked us how life had been going lately, and our story started to spill out. As we talked about our family and some of this things we struggled with, she empathized with us. She acknowledged us, validated us, commented on how unfair our journey had been, stating in wonder that "you guys have been through hell, it's amazing you're still together", and ended the evening with a optimistic, almost triumphant declaration; "We're going to get that baby back". The 'baby' she was talking about is our almost 7 year old daughter, who I'll refer to as Baby Butterfly. We opened up with identifying her chronological age - 7; cognitive age - 4, and emotional age, which we estimated to be around 10 months. When we described some of her normal behaviors, it was almost comical that we hadn't seen the trends that this therapist quickly identified. Baby Butterfly often wants to play by climbing up into our shirt, pretending to breastfeed, and fake crying inconsolably. "This baby isn't a 10 month old, she's an infant! Maybe still in utero!" Wise Owl exclaimed. Tears started pouring down my face as I started connecting the dots. In my mind over the last 24 hours, I've continued having realizations. One of Baby Butterfly's therapists has mentioned a recurring theme in their sessions: during play therapy, babies can't be comforted by caregivers. Perhaps a throwback to the months of visits with biological parents who had so much love for her, but their impairments made them unable to [...]

2023-02-02T14:49:53-05:00January 19, 2023|
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