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We Fly Fish Now…

I got the call from a sweet friend asking if I could or wanted to sign my bigger crew up for fly fishing. I had very little information, which in this case was for the best. If I had known the travel involved, I would have said no. I drive for a living, I rarely sign up for recreational pleasures with much mileage! However, if I had said no, we would have missed the amazing time to connect and grow as a family.

So beyond praising the amazing friend who nudged us this direction, this program has been put on completely cost free to me, with amazing volunteers who partner up with kids and teach them all about the art of fly fishing! My kids have learned how to check the water for the type of bugs the fish are eating, how to choose flies that mimic the array of food the fish are snacking on, how to set up and break down a rod, how to tie a fly, how to attach a lead line to the fly reel, how to cast, how to reel, how to protect their eyes and heads, most importantly they are learning an amazing way to entertain themselves not in front of a TV or tablet!

Now I am the first to admit I was naive and had no real concept of fishing for fun, I felt like if I went to the work of catching it, shouldn’t we eat it? Though the gutting part is not really my cup of tea.. Well the way we are learning is to use hooks without barbs, we can remove the hook much easier and return our scaly friends back to their homes. Did you know Rainbow Trout really have a vibrant color scheme to their scales? I do now! Did you know that Bass like to eat other smaller fish more then eating insects, though they aren’t picky and will eat what is around! It is crazy how much we have all learned the last few weeks. Now we have one week left and my kids are anticipating their own fly rods that the program DONATES to these kids! (Huge blessings here y’all!) They still want to get more gear and make more flies! Which I had no understanding of cost or supplies needed until this program shined its light on us!

With a trip planned to Grand Junction we decided to look at Cabelas for an idea of cost, I am truly panicked that my children will turn this hobby into a mortgage sized problem for me! Well we spent an entire hour and a half in the Fly Fishing area of Cabela’s we decided we will need a vice, threaders, bobber, materials and a case to keep things safe. We agreed today was not the day to buy these things but just a day to shop. We found a net, we bought it. We found some materials to buy for the program. Then we were looking at fly rods, and my quiet, soft spirited, watch then react kid spoke up. “Momma, if you buy a fly rod we can fish together forever, or at least until you are really old….”

I now own a fly rod and hopefully everything I will need to just get started. More importantly as I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks, I pray I have something my kids will want to do with me until I am too old to be in the water, until I can no longer make the memories, but have the time to enjoy the memories we will have made. I pray that they use this knowledge and experience to build a beautiful life where they enjoy the outdoors more than that of a sports bar and television. I pray that they make lifelong friendships and fish at all the most amazing places, starting in our own backyard! Thank you Colorado for the rivers and the views, thank you friends for the time, thank you to the Mayfly Project for putting something together SO well!

Also if you fly fish, this sappy momma may still needs a few more lessons to catch up!

 

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Respecting Our Family…

I have started and erased this post five times. Each time a little less angry, a little more understanding. Foster care is a roller coaster on a good day. It is tragedy and joy, fear and excitement, loss and growth, hurt and healing, foster care is not for the weary, it is for the wholehearted. I began this journey 2.5 years ago. I have seen 13 kids come into our house. One beautiful adoption. Nine sweet and sad goodbyes. These losses are often wins too, when you see kids go home to a family who has worked hard to fix the issues and begin healing and helping their children.

The issue I feel people should take to heart, is our family needs respect. When you see us in the supermarket, the coffee shop, the school or the restaurant, do not make assumptions. Do not assume I don’t know “how to prevent” so many kids, don’t ask “do they all have different dads?”, do not say “whoa are they all yours?”, most importantly if you somehow find out that some of my kids are foster children, do NOT assume that foster care means they are wearing “adopt me” signs. Do not go to my friends and ask if they know how to adopt my children, cause you met one you liked. My children are not walking billboard for adoption, and my friends are not the keepers of my children’s story. Respect us, our tribe and our community.

With that being said, some children end up not returning home, some children really do need a family to love them 110% of the time, meet their needs, and reassure them that the whole world isn’t terrible. I strongly encourage you to reach out to your local county and start the process of certifying your home. We need foster families, we need adoptive families and we need respite providers (overnight, short term care).

If you have thought about adoption, foster care or helping provide relief for current foster parents, PLEASE contact your county’s Department of Human Services. Linked below will be the website to Garfield County Colorado’s Department of Human Services.It starts with a phone call.

https://www.garfield-county.com/human-services/foster-care-adoption.aspx

 

 

Its a Personal Day….

I cannot call in sick and say that the stomach bug has me down. This is the sacrifice of running a business for yourself. I love being in business for myself and even better that I have an amazing business partner who manages to pick up all my loose ends. It allows me to be an active parent for my kiddos, it allows me to attend meetings at the school or the Department of Human Services. It allows me to schedule my duties around a VERY hectic life, but I really want to call in sick tomorrow.

Today was a stressful, even entirely overwhelming day does not cover the feelings felt. Not just for me, all of my tiny humans had a hard day. With a family member, dealing with their own share of struggles, too many miles away. My cup was running dry. I managed to pull myself together, get the important things covered. We ate out, because no one felt we could make it through the grocery store, without someone in tears, possibly even mom! We got back to our house where we turned my tiny bed into our fortress of solitude, family movie night, and on a SCHOOL night! We needed to be close, we needed to snuggle and we needed to recenter. We even managed to make it to bed only 30 minutes later then scheduled!

What aches in my heart is one of my precious little humans does not trust easily and he felt insecure today. So much so he also wants to stay with mom tomorrow. When my kids choose a driving day over school I know that they are off balance. So tomorrow he will take a personal day. He will see nothing has changed for us and mom is sticking around! For tonight hold your babies tight and hear what they are saying, recognize when they need a personal day, just as you would yourself!

Trauma Momma

I have been truly blessed to have amazing and supportive people around me since the birth of my first son, nearly nine years ago! Even more so as I came into the world of foster care. I have had dear friends listen to my woes and offer support in ways I never expected! This village of mine deserves so much attention, it also brings me to the point of adding new people to my village.

One of the first things we are exposed to in foster care training is how trauma can literally effect every aspect of a person or child’s life. This is because trauma has triggered our brains to think in a specific way, fight, flight, or freeze. I suppose what I didn’t realize in training was the amount of trauma varies between people and exposure to triggers. One of the biggest aids I have been privileged to discover is sensory play. It has then uncanny way of taking a child out of a fit of rage or fear and allowing them to process and release their hurt. Now this doesn’t work every time, but it certainly helps more then it could ever hurt!

I have recently been honored to get close to another foster family in my area, while this friendship has offered valuable support, it has also shown me that I am not alone in this fight against trauma! We have been making regular outings to allow our small humans to bond and allow ourselves to unwind! This friend just shared a pile of new sensory toys and gadgets to aid in our outbursts, but also help us prevent the complete dis-regulation!

So tonight I took the time to clean out my backpack, which serves as my holder of all things vital to parenting and trauma fighting! From diapers to changes of clothing and sensory gadgets. I was able to throw out the broken and leaking toys and exchange them with useful tools in the form of toys! My weaponry is in place and we are ready for our chaotic Mondays! Thank you friend, for all of your support and all of our new gadgets!

 

Goodbyes

Foster care is anything but easy. I think I may have said that in the past. Foster care is beautiful, tragic, fulfilling, painstakingly raw, it is a roller-coaster at best. For me it has taught me more lessons then anything else in my life. It has taught me to be authentic, in everything I do, that my truth is important, my kindness is for my own mental benefit, even when it is in service of another person. It has taught me that people change, everyday I see changes in the lives of the children I am around, the parents, even the caseworkers. Some changes are for the better, while others are hard to watch.

The thing I wish it would teach me; how to make goodbyes not hurt. I sent another child off to a very unknown future, one that I can’t at least keep on eye on, even from a distance. I sent another heart away that I managed to connect with, despite some very challenging differences. A heart desperate for a sense of belonging and acceptance, and I will likely never see this child again. This hurts.

When I signed up to foster, I said YES to adoption also, making my home a “Foster to Adopt” home. This to me meant some time in many years and after many placements, I would find the “right” child to adopt. Where the case had run its course, and the child was truly in need of permanency. I never thought my first placement would be my first adoption. After just short of two years my sweet little man got to stay forever. Since his arrival I have brought in and seen leave 13 other kids. It pains me to know I really only have direct contact with 5 of those kids. That is eight goodbyes that have really been goodbyes. Eight faces I see often in my mind. Eight kids that I have no idea if they are fed and well, loved and nurtured. Eight faces that even if they were struggling, I could not reach out and make known that they are cared for.

Thirteen goodbyes and they still hurt.

So please remember when you talk to a foster parent, that we do get attached and it really hurts when they leave. Don’t say you couldn’t do foster care because you would get “too attached”, because that is like saying we don’t get attached, or hurt, or scared, or even happy and joyous for a successful reunification, even those hurt!

Season’s Lesson

It is never easy to use age appropriate natural consequences. It is important for the growth of a child and your sanity to give these consequences as often as possible. Today was a seasonal lesson, I imagine all parents face but often force their way through. Today it was my trigger happy little human, who decided to wear shorts for the day. I warned this little person that it was cold outside and it may be a better choice to wear pants, which then began an hour and 15 minute long melt down. I never fought the choice, mind you, I simply made a recommendation. Once the fit was nearing its end and I finally had all other small humans ready to walk out the door, I  reminded the short-wearing little person to grab their snack for school. Which then created the next twenty minute melt down. So little person would have gone to school in shorts and no snack if it had not been for a sibling jumping in and grabbing an extra snack.

I packed extra clothes in the bag, knowing it was honestly cold outside. My little human complained about how cold the seat was, how cold the car was, even said “I am FREEZING!” so calmly I stated, “my friend, you are right, it is very cold in the car and outside, I put pants in your pack, I hope that you make the choice to wear something warmer later, just remember who picked shorts this morning.”

You pick shorts, the weather is cold, you learn to trust that I was not lying when I said it was cold outside, you learn to process your emotions because I did not fight with you. You even get to trust that when you make mistakes, I’ve got your back, and I put what you needed, close enough you can access it, when in need! Probably the most important, you learn to follow directions!

83 days..

I find it exceptionally hard to accept that it has been 83 days since my last blog. Bare with me as I tell a tale, gruesome and filled with hurt. It has been 83 days that I have not found the time to express my inner-demons. It has been 83 days I have been fighting someone much bigger then myself. Mr. Anxiety has had his fair share of time mutilating everything that I call life. Making me feel less then complete and certainly not worthy. I have found his darkest corners and I am just beginning to clear the cobwebs of self loathing out. However deep he has found his grip right before our little worlds changed traumatically.

The tales that have been created and thrashed through our lives, however deep they touched or effected my life, they are not my stories to tell. Maybe that is what makes this journey so ever complicated. I cannot just share these darkest parts and bare a clean soul when it jeopardizes the comfort of my dearest friends and loved ones. I cannot take from their stories or journeys or leave the world to devour their aches.

My peace is recognizing I have to speak on my mental health. I have to share my pains and my struggles. I have to make you know that you are not alone, and in this you are not special. Many people have faced these demons and lost, but so many more have faced these demons and won. Share with me. Tell me your pain and maybe, just maybe my light can shine for you. Maybe my prayer can touch your heart. Maybe my willingness to listen will change your narrative and you will choose to stay; Because there is so much worth staying for…