“Are you a Mom?”

I stopped at the store this morning before work, and the cashier asked, “Are you a Mom?”

Uhhh… She gave me a funny look as I paused to think about what she thought was a simple yes or no question. A hundred thoughts raced through my head in that handful of seconds… [Well technically, I have no biologically children, but I am a foster mom, but I don’t have any kiddos with me now, but I did about a month ago and she called me Mom and I felt like a Mom, but now I don’t quite know and I feel like a Mom with no children, and  I also don’t feel like a Mom and I don’t know does that make me a Mom? You tell me, cashier I met 3.5 seconds ago, because I’ve been wrestling with these thoughts and feelings for weeks now.]

I started to speak, and stopped. This cashier didn’t need to know my complicated thoughts on the topic…

“Yes?” I said with a slight question.

She smiled. Wished the weird lady a “happy early Mother’s Day.” And looked towards her next customer.

Happy early Mother’s Day Moms. No matter what state of “Mom” you currently reside in, I see you.

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An Unwasted Afternoon.

Little One left 3 weeks ago. Since then I’ve had just a few calls from DHS about possible placements.

Yesterday, around 1:00 pm, I got an email from my DHS Resource Worker, would I take sisters, 2 and 7, just coming into care?

I asked a few questions. I said yes.

Luckily, I was working from home, so I was able to do some things on my breaks and make some phone calls. I speed picked up the house. I vacuumed. I made the bed in the kiddos’ room. I cleaned my bathroom. I called day cares. I figured out a morning drop off schedule and an after school care solution for the older sister. I talked to DHS off and on throughout the day.

Around 5:30 pm she called me again, the girls were at the doctor, but as soon as they were done she’d bring them over.

I ran to the store for milk and bread.

20 min later, she called back. They were working on approving a provisional placement (a relative), but weren’t sure it would work out. She’d let me know.

Around 7:00 pm she called back. The provisional placement was approved. They weren’t coming.

This is Foster Care. Fits and starts. Stop and go. Adrenaline and let down. 

I’m happy they found a relative that was willing and able to take the girls. It’s the best possible solution to a horrible situation. I’m a little disappointed for myself, but that won’t last.

It wasn’t a waste of my time. I have a clean house. I made connections with a new case worker. I discovered some new day care options for future kiddos.

A foster mom friend sent me this message and I couldn’t say it any better than she did:

“A lot of these kids have very little attention given to them. They don’t see the doctor when they should. They miss school. They don’t have bedtimes or sleep in the car late at night. A lot of them are fed only snacks when they whine. A lot know only selfish love. Their parents live their addiction more than their children. They’re being raised by people who are ill and unfocused.

And today, two kids (who I am totally guessing had a life like that) had someone like you who not only was willing to love them with no relation or relationship to them, but also gave up her afternoon focused on ALL THEIR NEEDS. It’s a powerful demonstration of love. It is NOT a waste.

I just want you to remember in these fits and starts that what God has called you to do MATTERS. He sees you.”

And now I wait, until the phone rings again…

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” – Colossians 3:23

Walk for the Waiting.

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This weekend I’m participating in the Walk for the Waiting, which raises money to support kids in the Arkansas foster care system.

“Did you know there are almost 5,000 kids in Arkansas’ foster care system today?  There is a huge need for 2,000 more foster families, and 375 children are waiting to be adopted into a loving forever family.  Because of the shortage of families, nearly 200 teens will “age out” of the system this year and enter into adulthood without having found a family to support and encourage them. That’s why for the 6th year in a row The CALLImmerse Arkansas and Project Zero are joining forces to support waiting children and the families that care for them.  Show your support for these organizations by registering and becoming a sponsored walker today.  Not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but we can all do something… walk, raise funds or donate!

If you’d like to donate to my team, please click the link below, there are 5,000 kiddos in my state who would be greatly appreciative!

https://www.walkforthewaiting.org/jesharmon

 

Fostering Update.

It’s been almost two weeks since Little One left.

I’ve only gotten one call from DHS about a new placement, and it was for a kiddo outside of my county, in a county 30-45 min away. (I was advised from the start to say no to placements from other counties, so I said no.)

It’s a little strange, because I know people in my county who are getting 3-5 calls for placements a week, and are turning DHS away because they’re full. The online DHS portal shows I have a slot open. My age preference is set to 4-12 (which we were told was a good, wide range) and yet nothing.

Not sure why. I’ve reached out to my DHS resource worker, but I have not yet heard back.

In the mean time I wait, and trust in God’s timing for this process.

“He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:7

Necessity is the Mother of invention.

The war wages on. Peppermint essential oil had no effect, other than to make their mud smell minty fresh.

I took everything down and disinfected the whole area (again).

Then I went to searching for something I could use to block the ledge entirely. I found some old paper grocery bags under my kitchen sink and they sparked an idea.

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I tucked one end of the bottom up under the gap between the porch ceiling/wall and then taped the rest down like crazy. They block the ledge, they’re curved and provide no purchase. The ends are taped down so they can’t get inside. Fingers crossed it works.

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Is it cute? No. Will it work? Who knows. But it was worth a shot.

So far, it doesn’t look like they’ve been back since I put it up. I’m still on the look-out though.

I’m at war.

Swallows. They’re cute little birds that swoop and soar in graceful circles through the air.

They’re also relentless pests. A pair has determined that they are going to build their nest above my front door. I’ve scraped off their mud splatters at least 5 times now.

This is what my front door looked like a couple days ago.

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Listen. Anywhere else on my house and I’d leave them, but this is above my front door. I open it and mud falls down on me. My front porch is full of bird poop, dried grass and dried mud.

The devil is alive on my front stoop, y’all. They won’t stop.

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I tried a powerfully scented cleaner. They came back.

I stuck a bunch of nails in some duct tape and put it up, so the nails were pointing upwards. The next day, there was fresh mud in between the nails.

The internet said to hang shiny things. I tried foil. I made some hanging things out of old soda cans.

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Didn’t work.

This morning I opened my front door and they were flying around in circles and chattering at me. They’re mad. I’m mad.

I heard they don’t like peppermint essential oil, so I put a bunch of that up there this morning. We’ll see what I find when I get home from work.

I’m going to Wal-Mart to get some more supplies. A plastic owl, some actual bird spikes, anything else I can think of.

They’re relentless, I’m determined.

 

Expectant.

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I pass this sign on the way into work every day.

 

I’m not pregnant. But I am expectant.

I have an empty room. Two empty beds.

I jump every time the phone rings or dings.

It’s the nature of foster care.

I’m not in a hurry for another placement, just waiting for God’s perfect timing.

It’s been over a week now since Little One left and I know I needed some time to grieve that.

But, I’m ready now. And waiting.

Expectant.