that I haven’t posted anything in almost two weeks. This lapse in posts is partially due to a lack of time, but unfortunately, it’s mostly due to the struggles we’ve been experiencing.

No one said this was going to be easy. We knew coming into all of that this that even though we had been through all of the training, had all of our inspections and meeting with social workers– and talked it over…and over and over; we’d never be FULLY prepared.

Over the past few weeks we’ve established a comptlely different lifestyle. We knew this was coming. We didn’t know it was going to happen so soon, but regardless, we knew. What we didn’t know was just how much it was going to affect us emotionally. We had discussed the physical aspects of it. We talked about how we were going to be on someone else’ schedule and we talked about the changes we were going to have to make to our home to make it more kid-friendly. But we didn’t talk about how these physical things were going to make us feel.

When a married couple gets pregnant and then has a baby, they get nine months to prepare for the arrival (similar to us) but they also get a lifetime to establish personalities, likes, dislikes, routines, habits, etc. When these three kids arrived at our home three weeks ago, we knew NOTHING about them and they knew even less about us. It goes without saying that this creates exceptional difficulties, but to what extent?

Well let me tell you. Food. Ever time I grocery shop or cook, I have to keep my fingers crossed and HOPE that they’ll eat our food. A common conversation in our home goes something like,

“This isn’t the kind of _______ we have at mommom’s house”.

“Well what kind do you have?”

“The kind in the box”

External dialogue, “Oh, well I’ll see if I can find that kind next time I go shopping”

Internal monologue, “Oh the BOX, that helps! ARGH!”

Details and descriptors are not a strength, even when asked LOTS of questions, the answer is usually “uh, iunknow”

This brings us to other “things” we’re having to work through. If you follow me on Facebook, you probably already know that the kids FINALLY started school last week. You may also know that this is their FIRST TIME EVER in school. FIRST!! They are 7, 9 and almost 11. Supposedly they were “home-schooled” but it doesn’t appear that there was any structure.

According to the kids they each had a TV in their room with a “game system” and that’s what they did all day. This may or may not be the truth, but judging by where they are academically and how GOOD they are at video games, I’m gonna go with: LIKELY.

Symantecs? Another thing we are have to work through is making sure we’re all on the same page. From “what do we all consider an apple to be?” (red, green, yellow, etc.) to “what do we all consider a game to be?” If you ask the kids, “what do you like to do for fun? The answer is, “play games”. But if you say,

“hey, want to play a game?”
“Okay, how about Go Fish?…Tic-tac-toe?…..Twister?……..”
“Those aren’t games! Those are BOARD games!”
“well then what kind of games do you like to play?”
“I dunno, game system games, like Wii and Play Station.”

“Ohhhh, okay, right. I see now. Well let’s try something different, how about ______?”

“We don’t like stupid BOARD games”


This is just one example of the differences in our vocabularies.

Speaking of vocabularies. Words we take for granted such as “privileges” and “consequences” had no definition three weeks ago. Words smaller than those have been a challenge too. It can be so frustrating sometimes. Dealing with children as tall as me, trying to solve “big kid” problems with the vocabulary of a four year old, creates what sometimes feels like a brain teaser. Or at least patting your head and rubbing your stomach. It requires A LOT of patience.

Trust me, I’m NOT complaining. It’s challenging, EVERY DAY, but the reward is worth it. Like I said, three weeks ago they didn’t know “privileges” and “consequences”, now, they are experts. ๐Ÿ™‚ Baby-steps, one foot at a time.

So what’s going on with school? Well, with a bit of hesitation and some necessary coddling, we’ve made it SEVEN days now. The middle one is having the hardest time. He’s extremely shy on his own and he has zero patience for anything that isn’t easy. He doesn’t know what to do with praise and doesn’t recognize accomplishment when he succeeds. We’re working on it…SLOWLY.

The oldest one was anxious to start school and so far she is loving it– thankfully! She has A LOT of work ahead of her, as do the other two. But she will be 11 in March and can’t write her last name, add more than 2+2 and can’t read a sentence.

The boys have the same struggles but at least they’re a BIT younger. However, they all have more catching up to do than one person can even imagine. They are SO smart. All of them. So freaking capable! But only have the education/experience of a pre-kindergartner. Makes me sick to my stomach. I often wonder how many other children there are out there in the same situation.

No child should ever have to experience what foster children experience- bad home-life, being taken away from their families, sent to live with strangers, etc.,…but I think these kids are lucky. They have been given an opportunity to learn and grow rather than perpetuate this vicious cycle that some are unable to escape; Uneducated kids, growing up to be uneducated adults, raising uneducated children.

Although this is by-far the hardest job I’ve ever had, it’s also the most rewarding and I’m so, so, so proud of these kids.


So why has it been so bad? Well, last week, Brett was out of town Tuesday through Thursday, which left me alone with the kids for three whole days. Alone on their first day of school, alone on their second day of school, alone on their third day of school. I’m still not sure how I managed, but I did– bedtime and all. Pure adrenaline maybe?

The thing is, those three days weren’t THAT bad. We did have one incident on Wednesday night that I thought for sure was going to end badly. Complete with a showdown in the Target parking lot followed by kicking and screaming the whole way home, followed a tantrum that included a knocked over trash can, books thrown on the floor and a broken cat-food dish. NOT FUN. Especially when you’re alone, with three kids, that you suddenly realize, you barely know.

I don’t remember how I managed it now. I think I’ve erased it from my memory. It sounds worse than it actually was. I never felt like I was in danger, but I knew I had lost control of the situation and I had no one to help me get it back.

Oh wait, I remember. After not giving in to the cat and mouse game the “tantrum child was trying to play”. We finally went upstairs, where I closed the door, stood in front of it and when the opportunity arose, I grabbed the child, gave a big hug and said calmly, “I’m not going to hurt you. I love you. You need to calm down.”

It had dawned on me that these kids are probably used to being hit when they are “bad” and that the fear was that I was going to do the same- hence the running away.

This was a proud moment for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Over the next few days we had similar episodes with the same child, followed by “monkey see monkey do” behavior by another. Saturday afternoon culminated in an emergency call the social worker, behind closed doors, complete with lots of tears and a little hyper-ventilating, I told her I didn’t know what to do.

The subject of removing the child was discussed as a potential plan for Monday. I shared this conversation with Brett who thought it might be the best solution. This was Saturday afternoon.

That night, when I crawled into bed next to Brett, I just cried. And cried. I couldn’t bear the thought of sending one away. I couldn’t even begin to think of that scenario– packing up belongings, opening the door for the social worker, allowing them to walk in to our home and then leave with a child. Saying goodbye. What would I say?? How would I face the other two after the door closed?


It makes me ill to think about it.

We knew something had to change. Brett and I talked about it, and talked about it and talked about it. We were feeling helpless, feeling like we had bitten off more than we could chew. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that behavior problems aside, we were feeling inconvenienced. We knew the moment we accepted the placement that our lives were about to be turned upside down but we didn’t realize that we were going to miss all of the things we once had but never noticed before.

We weren’t taking this frustration out on the kids per se, but the issues that the kids were presenting made our inability to be self-centered completely impossible. We couldn’t wake up when we wanted, go to sleep when we wanted, eat when we wanted, watch what we wanted and even more, we couldn’t NOT sleep when we wanted, NOT eat when we wanted, NOT WATCH what we wanted. Our lives had gone from doing what we want, when we want to the complete opposite- at the mercy of three young kids. Kids that were disrespecting, testing boundaries and pushing limits.

We quickly realized that although the children were being difficult, our attitude needed to change. That was Sunday morning. That day we spent the entire day playing with the kids outside. We had a picnic lunch and ate dinner on the patio. Bedtime was still a challenge, but we found joy in what we had accomplished during the day– some serious bonding. Since then, we’ve still had the same challenges we had before, but I think we’ve all found a new respect for each other. The kids are trusting us more and we’re enjoying being “parents” more.

The hardest part in all of this is realizing that my fantasy is very different from reality. At least for right now. I instantly fell in love with these three children and wanted them to instantly fall in love with me. I anticipated “having kids” would mean “being a family”. I forgot that even though I WANT a family, these kids already have one. I’m not saying that we won’t grow into a family, after all it’s only been three weeks, but just like my definition of “games” is different from their definition of “games”, so is our definition of “family”. For that, I cannot feel resentful.

I have faith that it WILL get easier, it WILL get better. But for now, I just have to be patient. Accept things the way they are and work towards making them better.

Now if I could just figure out what kind of ice cream they ACTUALLY like…