Letters from a Foster Mum ~ those firsts

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Friends,

The teacher stood up & read it.  A poem so right for those starting school.  All about firsts - first movement in the womb, first steps, first words, giggles, first day at school.  As I listened all I felt was sadness.  I have no memories of those times with him.  One mother grew him, someone else taught him to walk, another words.  There are no records of any of his firsts.  I had to throw that page out of his memory book because it was empty. It's just not fair. 

I felt dreadfully out of place in that school library full of excited parents. It shouldn't have been me sitting there for this precious little one.  It should be his mother.  She should be the one buying uniforms & packing lunches, giving kisses & getting hugs. I should be just another stranger, but instead I am the one he calls 'Mum'.  She goes by another name.   

For me the emotional side of foster care is very hard.  The sadness for both the children who aren't cared for & the parents who cannot do the caring bears heavily on my shoulders.  While I love our two precious new ones & am honored to be able to love & care for them, I know that I will never fully fill the mother role in their life. I think of her often - their bio mother.  I feel like I am sitting in on what should be her life.  Birthdays are hard as I prepare the cakes that she should be preparing.  Exciting achievements always make me think of what she's missing out on.  The hugs, the kisses, being the one who they come to - this role she should be filling, yet I am.  I feel sad for our shared children who so desperately want to have been born into my family.  Anyone who says foster care is easy fools themselves.  It is undoubtedly the hardest & the saddest road that I have traveled, yet it is definitely the most worthwhile as well.  

We're well past the six months of our long-term placement and it's all beginning to feel a little more achievable.  We've lost the 'deer in the headlights' look that marked those first few months.  The little things that at first were overwhelming are now easy.  We can now usually gauge how the children will react in a given situation & come up with an achievable plan to counteract any difficulties we may face .  And they are acting more & more the way we want them to act.  They are understanding our priorities & are taking them on board as well.  They are really becoming a true part of the family.  

It's been an interesting experience adding two hurting children to our family.  Being a blessing is not always going to be an easy road.  But in return we have been doubly blessed to have these two precious children who were strangers become family!


By the fireside...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

 The evening was cool & the sun barely lowering in the sky when the bonfire was lit.  Thanks to the beginning of day light savings we don't dare wait until twilight to start our bonfire.  It being far too late for our little ones to handle ( & trust me when I say they don't handle late nights, or any change in routine, or any change very well.....).   We haven't done any bonfires this season.  This is mostly due to the rain.  Wet wood doesn't burn well.  Thankfully our region had a extension until fire ban season begins.  An extra month will give us more opportunities to enjoy a night at the fireside!  I'm sure the children feel marshmallow deprived this winter!!!

Our fourth term of homeschool has begun, after some wet spring holidays.  It's hard to believe we are beginning to wind up the year, but the reality is that some subjects are already almost completed.  I always aim to finish the year the first week of December.  This gives  me ample time to get into the Christmas mode after schoolwork has been completed.  My brain seems to need to segregate these things.  We shall see how hard these kiddos work.  Usually this term they are tired, but the incentive of summer holidays seems to give them the push to complete extra work! 

And so I wrote this a couple of weeks ago.  So close to pressing 'publish' I stopped, probably distracted  - or called away to some problem or other.  Needless to say, the memories are still the same & I post because I love these people in these pictures & I want to remember these fun, crazy, loud, busy nights.  This was our first bonfire as a family of eight - worth remembering!

Have a lovely evening friends

The year of the big wet

Friday, September 30, 2016

 I'm fairly sure that in future years we'll remember 2016 for all its rain. (Well that, and the wild lawns & gardens...)  While winter was abundantly wet, spring has surpassed even that!   Roads are closed, creeks are overflowing their banks, paddocks are covered in water & even here up on the hill, everywhere you walk is accompanied by a 'squelch'! It's such a contrast from those drought years we had when we first moved here and I am oh, so thankful that we will be going into the hot, dry summer this year with dams full!

Farm work has been tricky with all the rain.  That, and it seems every weekend has been filled with plans.  But we have lambs that are in desperate need of marking & the boss (that would be Dave -ha) has declared tomorrow THE day (weather willing)!  We are going to have to bring up the sheep on foot & then draft the lambs off & put on the rings (tails & testicles) & give them their needles before we send them back to their mothers. It's my job to put on the rings & I get very good at counting to two by the end of the day ;) !

We also have piglets down in the pigpen!  2 litters - which is a first for us as we've never had them overlap before.  Delores had 6 surviving piglets a few weeks ago, and Miss Piggy had her very first litter with just three surviving (sadly one had crawled off & drowned in a mud puddle).  Our other sow Pompei is also pregnant, so in a few months we will have lots of little pigs running around!  The older piglets are desperately in need of castrating.  Dave holds them, I do the job - counting to two again.... (This is probably my least favorite job of all on the farm).  It will be lovely to have some fresh pork in a few months time as we are almost out of it.

We've had new chicks hatch, just today!  It's always so exciting when you hear their little chirps from the incubator & know that another little bundle of fluff is there!  The children love them & Mr. Preschool gets so excited every time we have a new batch.  It's such a miracle that you put in the eggs & 3 weeks later there are chicks.  I'm not sure he fully comprehends it all, but he is learning fast about farm life!

And finally, another birthday has come & gone for me!  We celebrated with good friends over & it was lovely & relaxing & the children were loud!  Both our families have added 2 more children in the past year through foster care & so we laugh at how much busier our get togethers are.  It's great though & we wouldn't have it any other way!  

Well rest time is coming to an end & the sun is beginning to peek out from behind the clouds which means I will send all the children outside - at least until the next rain shower travels through!  I must close here...

Have a lovely weekend friends!


Spring rains here on the farm....

Sunday, September 11, 2016


 Spring has sprung here on Sunnyside! 
My white Bearded Iris' have popped in the garden.  Last year I separated one large bunch into many throughout my flower 'half circle' .  This year they have rewarded me for allotting them the extra space with a stunning display!  I can only hope that the purple ones I also transplanted will be equally as extravagant!  The canola crops ripple along the bottom of our valley with their bright yellow flowers. I can't help but admire their beauty each time I step outside.  I am so glad the neighbours decide to plant canola as I couldn't imagine spring without these pretty yellow patches intermingled with the varying greens of the pastures & grain crops that fill the other paddocks.  Spring is in the air & beauty lies all around.

We've had some rain.  Actually, we've had loads of rain. Our paddocks are very wet - far too wet to drive on (read: far too wet to bring up the sheep for lamb marking - & we have some BIG lambs already).  Friday night, for the very first time since we've been here, the highway that our little farm fronts onto was closed due to flooding. Zai & I snuck out the next morning to try & get some photos, but already the water had receeded.  We did manage a few photos of flooded paddocks & water rushing through streams that generally hold just a trickle.   The forecasts are telling us that the rain will return.  I'm not going to complain because the beat of raindrops on our tin roof is one of my favourite sounds & I know come summer that we will appreciate the overflowing dams! 
The twins helped me to start our seeds for our summer garden last weekend.  This year I am experimenting with peat pots as well as the normal pots I generally use.  We shall see how they go.  I grabbed them by accident as I was running through Masters after arriving back from Brisbane a couple of weeks ago.  I'm sure my foggy, 'I've been travelling on two plane flights with a toddler ' brain wasn't thinking properly when I picked the pots up.  Since I have them, I thought to give them a go.  So far the seeds have come up in those & not the others.  I know that I am late starting the seeds.  I always like to have them in by mid-August, but this year it just didn't happen.  Thankfully they are in now.  Actually, I'm late with everything this year.  Taking on our two precious youngest children has sure meant I've needed to extend bucket loads of grace to myself as we work out the new logistics of family life. I'm learning to relax just a little about the less important things such as starting seeds at a particular time.

I had to include a photo of Eli and his blow gun.  He designed this thing & had loads of fun shooting clay pieces everywhere.  Once his brother built one, I relegated the clay shooting to outside.  I'm still finding clay everywhere.  Of course then the other boys each needed one (4 sons... 'nuff said) & they've even been making them for friends.  Boys.....

The hammock is finally being used again as the weather warms a little (well when it's not raining that is).  Ellie will spend her time happily laying there doing schoolwork.  I'm not sure that's normal school protocol, but hey, we homeschool & hammock schooling is allowed! 

The big children have just finished their movie & its time for me to say goodnight here & become switched on Mummy again (the little ones have been asleep for a good hour as they were TIRED)!

Have a wonderful week friends!

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