Skip to main content

Do You Call Her Your Daughter?

One of my colleagues inquired about how Solana was feeling after being sick last week. She couldn't remember her name and then said, "I don't know how to refer to her. Is she your daughter? Do you call her your daughter?"

It's been a while since someone asked me this kind of question. Interestingly, I've  not really self identified as a "foster" mom for a while. I mean, I introduce myself as a foster mom. I offer foster mom advice. I advocate for kids in care and educate about trauma. But somewhere over the last six months I've lost the "foster" mom identity in the way I think about myself in relationship to the kids. And this question caught me off guard.

These are my kids- and no one questions it. They answer to a name I gave them. They call me Mom. They list my family members as their family members and no one questions us. We are far more likely to be approached with compliments vs questions when we are out in public. 

Maybe it's the length of time they have been my kids. I remember struggling to feel that connection when they first moved in. Stuck between the incredibly messy place of grieving children who once occupied all of my time and opening myself back up to the fear that if I let them in, it would happen all over again. But for a solid while now, there hasn't been a question of those feelings for them. Those are my kids and you best act accordingly.

This colleague only met me after I arrived at that place where - I just had four kids. No descriptive adjective (foster, adoptive, biological) and I forgot that for people who aren't informed about these things, these types of questions come up. She of course knows we are a foster/adoptive family and that Solana is in foster care so I understand why the question came up. She was trying to be mindful of the situation and use the correct terminology. 

I answered, "Yes I call her my daughter." Because she is. I have 5 kids. Because at the end of the day, I am just "Mom". To all that matter, I have no adjective. I am  Mom who answers questions about why legs hurt when they drink water. I am Mom who asks when they last pooped. I am Mom who negotiates hot lunch and ice cream day. To the ones that matter,  I'm Mom and they are my kids and that's that.

If Solana hadn't had a visit, today would have been a day where I might have forgotten our "foster" status because it was decidedly "typical". Band concert, parent meeting about the gifted program, homework. I cherish these days as they balance out the days where foster care sucks (and we have had plenty of those in the past year).

I know I will have to reprise my role as foster mom soon enough and deal with all of the crap that goes with that (you know, opinion being ignored, schedule disregarded, kept in the dark) so for now I'll cherish the little bit of "normal" we achieved. We- my four girls and son.


Popular posts from this blog

She Never Cried

Sheila called to wish Sarah Happy Birthday and she shared a story with her that as a baby she never cried. Not when she was hungry, not when she was tired, never. She never cried.
A little later Sarah said to me:
"Mom, my Mom said I never cried. I don't really believe that. That can't be true can it? Don't all babies cry sometimes?"
Oh my sweet girl. The red flag went up for her too. As I listened to Sheila share this story fondly, I felt sad. That was a sign of her RAD. That was because she couldn't count on adults. That was because she cried and no one came so she learned not to cry.
"It doesn't sound right to you, does it?"
"I know your Mom shared that story because she thinks it's cute you never cried. It made me sad. You are right babies cry so adults take care of them. You know how you had a lot of different adults that were supposed to take care of you as a baby?"
"Yeah, like 10 foster parents."
"Well …

Minimum Parenting Standards - Monday's Post

I can't figure out Blogger's time zone and I may not have time to write Monday evening so here is Monday's post.

This week we are having another "team" meeting. This time to discuss the "minimum parenting standards" that the kid's Mom has to meet in order to be "good enough" to parent them.

Now I have all kids of issues with this entire exercise. The first being that these kids deserve better than the minimum. The second, that good enough isn't going to cut it with their issues. The hardest part though is being asked to write down a guide to being their parent FOR their parent. Putting my commitment to first reunify a family to the test. It is one thing to suggest ways in which she can be a better parent and to support the goal by not bad mouthing her and encouraging the kids to share their true feelings. It is an entirely different thing to sit down and write a guide for a woman who has yet to grasp the basics after two years.

It wa…

Reader Question: Did You change their names?

Yes we did. We actually started using their new names shortly after their good bye visit with Sheila last August. So the only name that really changed this week was their last name (kind of, one of them actually had our last name). We had started using them so we wouldn't have to try to do a name change mid-school year. Plus the kids had only been in the school the last 1/2 of the year so they didn't know everyone yet. The school was great about going with the new first names.
At some point Simon spontaneously asked his teacher if he could change his name tag on his desk to our last name. He was tired of waiting on the legal stuff. He started to write Simon Almost Last Name on his papers. So we asked all the kids and they asked for the same update. Their report cards and benchmarks still had their legal names. 
The name change was a bit cumbersome at first. We sounded like owls because someone would ask for a person by their birth name and we would all answer "Who?". W…


I had some questions asked of me recently that I thought I would answer here:

1) How do you keep doing this after so much crap?
I actually had two different foster moms ask me this. One dealing with a false allegation and one in a kinship case with a pregnant, unstable bio mom.

I'm not sure I have an eloquent answer to this question. I think I've reached a point where I see the bigger picture - the kids.  That's not to say this stuff doesn't drive me nuts or make me emotional. I would be spitting fire if we had to deal with a false allegation. I'm really upset about the potential of having to make a decision about another baby. But if not me, who? We are good at this. There are kids that need me. And I probably need them. I am a caretaker by nature.  What would I be doing with myself if I didn't have 15 different obligations all at once? I have no idea because I've always been this way. And right now all of the current drama is related to my children. I s…

It is a process

It's a physical ache. A pain in the middle of my chest.  And it causes hot tears, the kind that sting my eyes.  It settled over me today and I couldn't shake it.

It started with news that more people in our lives are expecting and today, I just couldn't muster the happiness.  I heard complaints of not feeling well and my ability to plaster the smile on my face just vanished from my body. I left the house to "run an errand" but really I just needed an escape.

All week I've been able to communicate and tell people about Solana leaving without any trouble.  I probably sounded like a PSA for "How to be the role model foster parent".

People were asking:

So will you get to adopt the little one? Is she staying?

Well no, actually.  She is going home in a few weeks. That's the goal of foster care. We are really happy for her dad. He really gets it. We've built a relationship. I'm so glad she doesn't have to go through the pain of adoption or …