Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fostering is Worth It…It Really Is

I walked away from AJ’s room last night with tears streaming down my face. He has just fallen asleep and it is what we would call a “Yellow” night. It wasn’t horrible but it also wasn’t one of our best night.  We all have these days as parents and with our kids but when you have a foster kid who is having these days but lets you in just a little into their chaotic minds and worlds, it is like Christmas morning with the tree full of presents! 

It is bedtime and I explain to AJ that is it is time for bed and he blurts out “I AM MAD AT YOU!” He is mad because we didn’t get to open a package that is sitting in the living room unopened because his chores weren’t done as requested, prompted, and presented the options/results of good vs bad choices. I thanked him for expressing how he felt and telling me and asked him to go ahead and get ready for bed. He stomps upstairs and asks if I will tuck him in and I said “Of course sweetie” in which I get the response “BUT I AM STILL MAD AT YOU” as he continues to stomp up the stairs and into the bathroom. J

When I get upstairs to tuck him in, he is pouting and mumbling under his breath and then shouts “I AM STILL MAD AT YOU….GET OUT!!!!!” I calmly thanked him again for telling me how he feels and said that I would leave if he wants me to or we can sit together with these big feelings until he feels better…AND THIS YOU GUYS IS THE VICTORY! AJ mumbles “Fine…Whatever” You see he normally would demand I leave his room, scream, or decide to express himself in other manners…but tonight…tonight he allowed me to sit with him…and I did just that until he fell asleep. Tonight for the first time, he felt safe enough to allow me in…into the Big Feelings that is going on in his tiny body and mind and that my friend feels like I just won the gold medal in a marathon at the Olympics or it is Christmas morning! So I sat as he fell asleep with tears streaming down…my heart growing 3 times that day for him… for his courage and vulnerability to let me in at that moment…and pure thankfulness to Jesus. Walking this journey is not for the faint of heart but this moment right here right now….makes it all worth it! Thank you AJ for sharing this moment with me, I love you to Uranus and back times infinity and beyond ;)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

October

We had such a fun month celebrating Halloween. I finally got to see one of my best friends from college and she brought her family up to Seattle for a short but lovely visit. We went to a pumpkin patch and got to do a hayride and pick out some pumpkins. AJ picked up a 30.48lb pumpkin and we carved it. I learned that this was his 1st time getting to carve a pumpkin and as the pictures below show, he clearly and thankfully walked away with all 10 fingers!
AJ couldn't pick which costume he wanted so I caved and he got to be both Flash and Captain America. We went to a trunk or treat and then headed to a friends house. My favorite memory from this month was watching him trick or treat across the neighborhood. He would go to a house and then come running down the driveway shouting "May May I got a snickers bar!" We would proceed to the next house and he would come running back "May May I got 2 M&Ms!!" and this continued for the whole hour and 15 minutes that we were out. I learned that night it was his first time going door to door and it was truly a special moment and time to get to share with him.
Soccer continued to take over our calendar but this boy LOVES HIS SOCCER. The sounders continued to dominant the field and at the end of October was still undefeated. The picture below was on a very, very cold and rainy Saturday and the boys all huddled trying to stay warm. ADORABLE!










September

The month of September speaks volumes of how kids are resilient and how incredible AJ is. This month was about transition galore. He started his new before/after school care, new school, new soccer team, and a new counselor. GASP I know! He was so incredible though. Below is his first day in 2nd grade! He loves his new school and his teacher Miss Smith. I asked what he liked about her and he said "she is nice and give us candy!" Guess this teacher knows how to win his heart in an instant.

If you could only see his face - STICKING HIS TONGUE OUT once again ;)


His soccer team this season was pretty epic. The kids were all very good and his coach was a phenomenal teacher. AJ was looking forward to the season with the Sounders and practicing the ball skills he had been learning all summer.
Looking back, I would say that September was a month of astonishment and immense proudness. AJ blew me away left and right and just rolled with the punches. Love you my big second grader!

Monday, November 21, 2016

This is what Summers are made of...

August was a month of visitors, trips, and lots of fun!

My high school best friend and best friend in law came to Seattle for their annual visit. Last year in the middle of their stay was when I got the call for my previous placements...now this year they are coming and got to meet AJ. AJ I think was attached to them before they even came to visit. I was given a Wii and their names are plastered all over the games...so I think AJ already established a connection and was calling them Uncle Ben and Auntie Kari (Kira) from the start. They accepted their new role with open arms and happy hearts and it brings tears to my eyes to just think of all the people God has surrounded AJ with. He truly is so loved by His Father and so many people here in Seattle and around the world.  We took a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula and had a grand old time. He had an incredible time seeing the falls, learning to skip rocks with Uncle Ben, staring at the enormous trees that God has grown, and just getting out of the city for a bit.









My Dad also came to visit. AJ loved showing off his soccer skills and having a person who sided with him...that's what grandparents are supposed to do right? Drive their kids nuts and spoil the grandkids ;) Thank you Dad for loving on him, he enjoys you!

Summer wouldn't be complete without nights at the park, getting soaking wet at a splash pad, and bdays parties. This was his 1st time roller skating and after numerous falls catching his fall and trying to catch him I caved and got him a walker....They definitely didn't have those when I was growing up!!



SUMMER YOU ARE BEEN WONDERFUL!!!




Sunday, November 20, 2016

July Fun!



4th of July - Bubbles, music, sword fighting, Fireworks, and 11:30pm rolling down a hill


6 weeks in and he is finally not sinking...well mostly! So proud of his hard work
BFF visiting - Making S'mores

June

This month was wrapping up his 1st grade year and getting into the swing of Summer.  I just wanted to create some type of summer normalcy and a memorable summer for AJ...

Kung Fu Panda at the beach with a spontaneous swim afterwards. Great way to start the summer! 

Introduction to Kinder toys flown from South Africa (Courtesy of Petronia)


Summer Sports under way - Project Don't Drop Like A Rock And Get Eaten By A Shark was under way. Sounder Soccer Camp, and learning how to jump curbs on a bike :)




6 months later...


We are still alive and thriving!

Summer came and went and now can someone please tell me how it is Thanksgiving week now? I don’t know where the summer went and as I sit here… I am still shaking my head that we are heading into the Holidays.
AJ finished school in June and both his teachers at school and after-school care kept raving on how much he had improved in the last 3 months. He finished school in his reading level, continued to excel in math, and his behavior and social skills also improved. I am just in awe of this kiddo and so dang proud of all the hard work he put in!
Once school ended though, it was a rough transition into summer. AJ knew that he was with me until the end of the school year but after that point, the future was unknown. The goal when he was placed with me was to be able to finish the school year at the same school he had been going to all year long…well that goal was accomplished so our eyes were locked onto the state to say “Now What?” Kids generally don’t do well with change but add in a foster child and uncertainty = confusion and chaos. The state had their monthly Health and Safety check (H&S) in June and gave some news to AJ which ultimately caused our summer to be a roller coaster of a ride! His team of caseworkers and other state folks are actually quite amazing, but it is the story of foster families where they come in, give news, and then we the foster parents are stuck having to deal with all the aftermath. The emotional side, the tantrums that may come with it as they can’t process or express what is going on in their mind and heart, and the repeated trauma and triggers that come when the state visits and gives information to the child…whether it is good or bad there is still ramifications.

As June passed into July and then into August, it was finally decided that he would be starting school with me. Things settled down toward the end of August…JUST IN TIME as now he would be starting a new school, new afterschool program, and a new counselor! Dang my heart breaks even writing that sentence and to think of all the change AJ had to go through at the end of August…geez.
SO….I apparently stink at keeping this blog updated, but thank you for everyone who has been praying, reaching out, and reading. Prayer and all the support has definitely helped us to get to the point we are today.  I will leave you with a conversation we had the other day while he was standing on the stairs and I was sitting on the couch.

AJ: May do you smell it? Do you smell that?
May: What?
AJ: I farted! Now do you smell it?
May: (silence)
AJ: I really want you to smell it, now do you smell it yet?!

BOYS! :)