Letters from a Foster Mum.... Two years and counting

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Dear Friends
It's hard to believe it's been over two years since I received the call asking us to take in a little brother & sister who desperately needed a permanent placement.  That call changed not just my life, but that of our whole family.

Taking in a permanent placement has been one of the most difficult, yet rewarding things we have ever done.  When we decided to pursue foster care as our response to the orphan crisis, we honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  Yet here we are well over two years down the track (since their placement) & those little ones are quickly growing.  They have fully meshed into our family & it seems quite natural to say we have 6 children without any kind of explanation.  Because we DO have six children & we DON'T owe anyone an explanation about how our family is made up.  

Foster care has changed me.  I feel like I am both weaker & stronger because of it.  I am weaker because I have to rely on God for His strength each & every second of the day.  The behaviors we have had to deal with are so very different to anything our biological children had.  The turbulent emotional journeys these children have to work through are hard & supporting them can be very tiring.  Yet, God is good & He has always given us the strength we need & provided the support to envelope us at exactly the right times.

So would we do it again??  Yes.  We are living proof that providing permanency in a placement is key to these precious children living a stable life.  To be honest, it takes a while for real love to come & when children are shipped through placement to placement, there is no way that they would experience that ' I will die for you' type of love that a mother has for her children.  It was about 18 months into our placement that I realized that  that was how I felt for these children.  They are fully & completely children of my heart even though they  may never be able to share our last name (although we are praying).  Every child deserves to be loved in this way.  Every child deserves to know where they are going home to & who will be there.  They deserve to live in a home that is safe, where they are treasured.  Sadly that is not a reality for too many children within the foster care system.

And so as we embark on this new adventure, moving away from all that is familiar, we are humbly honored to have been trusted to continue as carers for these precious bonus members of our family.  When we first considered moving we made the decision that we wouldn't pursue it unless they could move with us and we know that we had some awesome agency staff who went above & beyond to ensure this was able to happen.   I cannot guarantee tomorrow, I cannot say that this placement will continue forever for we don't know the future, but what I can say is that these two children will forever be mine, will forever carry around a piece of my heart & they know that they are fully & completely loved!

Blessings to you today


An Aussie Christmas...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tentatively Jack opened his eyes.  The sound of a kookaburra laughing came from somewhere outside his window indicating that summer storms were likely to roll in later in the day.  As memory came to him, excitement coursed through his body.  He threw of his thin sheets & ran down the stairs.  Today was Christmas Day, one of the most exciting holidays of the year!  As he bounded in the lounge room his eager eyes darted across the room.  There under the Christmas tree was such a pile of presents, it would make any boy smile….

Christmas in Australia arrives on a hot, summers day, yet the excitement of this celebration is not lost on Aussie boys & girls!  ..... Continued here

When my friend Katie Hornor from Paradise Praises asked me to write a post about our Aussie Christmas I hesitantly said 'yes'.  It's been months since I've put pen to paper, so to speak, here & I've certainly lost my writing 'groove'.  Once I got writing, I found my love for it returning.  Oh, if only I have time to really fill out here on my blog what I want to.  Thank you to Katie for this opportunity to share a little about our Australian Christmas! Katie is sharing a giveaway in conjunction with her Christmas Around the World Series which has some awesome prizes!  Giveaway found HERE

Wintery days

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Winter has wound its way to this part of the world, although the temperatures today belay that fact.  Today, long sleeves were not ever required, & the clothes dried so quickly on the clothes line.  The fire was left to go cold, & everyone sought the outdoors for some warm sunshine.  However, we do know that these temperatures won't last & the worst of winter is still ahead of us.  Moderate temperatures in June are not unusual, however July & bitter August are still to come.  Extra blankets already grace our bed from the earlier cold snap and our menu plan includes thick casseroles & soups. 

Life on this little farm has continued to plod along, although this blog has sorely missed documenting it.  Never have I left such a long time between posts & I can only put it down to being incredibly stretched for time.  This year saw our foster son begin school.  We are not homeschooling him for a variety of reasons, which means that not only do I have the normal busy homeschooling day, but my morning & afternoon margins are full with taking him & picking him up from nearby stops. I will admit that I have really struggled with the impact this has had on my schedule.  I used those margins to get housework & planning done.  Now I feel like I am scrambling most days and my gardens are looking terrible.  I would love to say there is a solution, but at the moment I can't find one.  I have made sure it hasn't impacted our homeschool, but the housework is another story...Sigh.

However, while that has been rather difficult, life in the farmyard has continued to flourish!  Our sows have again produced adorable piglets which romp around the farmyard (they are still small enough to duck under the electric fence).  They always bring a smile to our faces.  We also recently had a steer butchered & so the boys have been dissecting & experimenting.  Zai boiled up the horns & removed the inside ( it is seriously that easy).  He intends to use them for some kind of  decoration, however I have requested that he find some way of removing the smell from them before they are allowed inside my house again.  Eli & Jud are currently having a go at tanning the cow hide.  They have covered it in a thick layer of salt & have been reading up on the whole tanning process.  I am slightly skeptical about what kind of outcome it will have, but they remain excited about the whole process & the homeschool mother in me enjoys that they are learning :)!

My Ellie continues to grow up & has well overtaken me.  She is such a gentle soul & rarely does she get riled about anything.  She is an incredible help with Miss Toddler who is more spirited than ever! School is so easy for her this year that I am seeking extra stimulation for her.  I am thinking of enrolling her in a course from Open to Study.  These free courses have been very popular with the high schoolers in our homeschooling group.  Zai completed a course through Future Learn earlier this year, and he intends to complete another one in the near future.  Both are great options for some auxiliary learning for older homeschooling students.

While our schedule is rather busy at the moment, family life is relaxing into a steady pace.  I honestly did not realise the impact that adding two extra children to our family would have.  It really deserves its own post.  However I will say that after well over a year of being a family, it is all beginning to feel quite natural.  We love these little ones & couldn't imagine life without them!

And so I must close.  Have a wonderful week friends!

Just visiting...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Summer lingers long here at Sunnyside.  The days are hot, hot, hot & our air conditioning is just hanging on for dear life.  Days of temperatures peaking over 40 degrees (Celsius) make everyone's tempers short.  Laziness takes over & I find people laying around under air vents all over the house, trying desperately to capture the little coolness it has to offer.  Just when you feel like you can't take it any longer, God sends us a cool spell & the outside beckons us all.  Bikes are the favorite mode of transport & we have many different sizes that race around the farm!  As for me, there is just so much garden work to catch up on during those days of coolness!  

We're finishing our summer holidays & beginning our 2017 school year tomorrow!  I always begin the summer holidays with endless ideas of what I should be able to accomplish during the break.  Sadly, much on my list still awaits completion & I dare say it will for a while yet.  However I have six children who are healthy, happy & more settled than ever so I do believe good has been done!  

My parents visited us - thankfully before the heat really decided to visit - & we had a wonderful time with them.  They got to meet Mr. Preschool (who, by the way, has a new title of "Mr. Schoolboy", but that's another post in itself).  It was lovely to have Mum & Dad here & to really spend some lazy time with them.  Our schedule was empty, as everything takes a break over summer holidays, & so we  could sit & chat & cook & cook.... (because, let's face it, people here love to eat & eat!).    We did save our annual cherry picking trip for their visit.  They had never seen cherries on a tree before & they also just happen to be Grandma's favorite fruit.  We enjoyed the time, although I certainly knew we had younger kiddos again as they tired much more quickly than the bigger ones did.  As the cherry orchards are located near the Chinese Gardens, we packed a picnic lunch & visited there as well.

One of my favorite things to do is to visit gardens. Maybe it's because it is generally quiet & peaceful (well, until we arrived).  The boys preferred the ducks & geese that were swimming over the ponds, but I think my favorite thing was the beautifully scented flowers.  All I know is that I love the chance to spend time there relaxing & just taking it all in! 

I hope to find time to blog again.  I desperately miss it, but will always put my family before my hobby!  This past year has seen a lot of changes in our family & it has taken a whole lot of time & energy ( & prayer - loads of prayer).  I finally feel that life is beginning to get a little normal again, so hopefully I can slip on here occasionally & post some of my many pictures.  

Have a wonderful day friends

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

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