Monday, June 20, 2011

Are they ALL yours??? Or where did those extra kids come from???

Those are two questions we've been asked a whole lot in the past month!

The rambling story of how we became foster parents or: Why I've not posted on here in such a long time, Why my garden is knee high in weeds (it's really bad, trust me!), Why my laundry has doubled in the past month, Why even though my workbasket is full of half finished dolls, sewing and other crafts that I really want to work on, and my brain even more full of ideas for more crafts and blog posts... not much seems to be happening on the creative front!
{B and J}
A bit of quick background about us: My parents where missionaries. I met my husband while living on the mission field with them. Once we were married we decided to become missionaries as well. My husband is from Guatemala and our oldest three children were all born there while we worked as missionaries. We helped run a children's home there. In Guatemala there isn't a foster care system in place like there is here in the USA. Children that are removed from their parents for whatever reason are placed in group homes or orphanages instead of with individual foster families like they are here. So most of the kids in our "orphanage" were not actually orphans, (though there were several that were) most of them were placed in our care due to abuse or neglect by their birth families. At one point I had 9 babies under one year in age including one of my own (Matthew) that I was caring for! At it's fullest the children's home hovered around 40 children under the age of 12!

Rodrigo (my husband, for those of you who didn't already know) did laundry for all of the children and we didn't have a clothes drier there for years, so all of that laundry was carried upstairs to the rooftop and hung on the line every. single. day. (The washer was located in a tiny little wash house situated just outside of the main big house and the clothes lines were all on the rooftop of the big house as the land the children's home was on was shaded by huge trees and that was the only place that got direct sunshine) Oh, the rainy season was hard! Some days he couldn't do laundry at all because there was no way to get it dry between downpours! Imagine what it was like with 40 pairs of socks to wash, hang out and then get off the line and pair up and fold each and every day! Then of course there were their underwear, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, and on the "Big Laundry Days" Sheets, towels, and blankets. Because we spent pretty much every waking hour at the home, we also took our own laundry to wash there so he dealt with that was well! So my poor man has done more than his fair share of laundry, these days I never ask him for help in that area! :-) I guess I mentioned this because today I have about 5 loads I have to wash! Laundry on the mind today!! I try not to let it pile up, but somehow it always does! Excuse me a minute... I need to go switch loads from the washer to the drier and put another on to wash! I do have a clothes line and I use it a lot! But I refuse to let myself feel guilty when I don't use it. We have a clothes drier for a reason, and getting laundry finished on a very rainy Sunday afternoon is one of those reasons! I do actually enjoy hanging clothes out to dry though! It's one of my quiet times... I get to be by myself for just a few moments in the warm sunshine, listening to the birds, thinking, being calm(!), and getting myself back focused on what's important. Many, many prayers have gone up while I stand before that little revolving clothes line, and by the time I am done, I am better able to deal with the many "challenges" that every mama faces throughout the day.

In the Autumn of 2003 we moved to the USA. Ethan our youngest (at the time) was just a baby of 4 months old. He has no memory of living in Guatemala. Matthew was about 2 and a half and Logan was 6 and a half years old when we came here. Logan was completely bi-lingual in Spanish and English and very much remembers living in Guatemala and playing with the kids in the home. Matthew pretty much only spoke a few words of English and Spanish at the time and really doesn't remember living there either as he was so little when we came here. Fast-forward a few years to March 2009 Rodrigo had his vasectomy reversed and in December of 2009 our little miracle Claire was born!

{Claire "eating" her deviled egg, nothing to do with this post... just thought it was cute!}

Since moving to the USA we have talked about becoming foster parents. Last year we began to look into it seriously, and began taking classes towards that end in October 2010. We had to attend 12 weeks of classes in order to become state certified foster parents. We filled out mountains of paperwork, had background checks preformed, paperwork was sent to most of our friends and family members asking lots of personal questions about us and what kind of people/parents we were. Great fun and lots of red tape all around! Our classes ended on January 3, 2011.

About two weeks later we found out that I was pregnant with baby #5! We were thrilled, but at the same time I worried that it might affect our chances of becoming foster parents (in the DCS's opinion).

We waited for DCS to begin our home study. And waited... And waited some more. Finally, about 5 months after our classes ended they began the official home study, we had been told during class that it is Departmental policy to begin all home studies within 30 days of completing the classes! HaHa... just a taste of the Department of Children's Services efficiency! Thankfully once they actually began, it really didn't take very long to complete our home study and become certified. Our case manager called us to let us know that we were state approved, and the very next day we were being called by the person in charge of children's placement with 2 little boys who needed a safe place to live until their case can be resolved, brothers ages 18 months and 30 months.  So since the middle of May 2011 we have been foster parents to B and J. We suddenly had a house full of toddlers under the age of 3! (Claire is 18 months old now too!)

So for the past month, life has been full of doctor's appointments, therapy, visitations, and days spent at court with these little boys. We did take a vacation last week and took B and J along with the family. I'll post about that as soon as I get a chance! It was so wonderful to get away and not have to worry about referring to my planner several times a day, every single day! I knew it was going to be a bit more hectic once we had foster children, but some days the busyness feels almost overwhelming to this homeschooling mama that enjoys quiet days at home the best!

I plan on continuing to post on here as I have the time and energy. I am still planning lots of fun creative things to do with the kids and I've got about a million "crafty" works in progress right now, that hopefully I'll figure out how to finish now that we are so much busier with these extra little ones! And if I actually manage to find the time and energy to actually do something, maybe I'll even be able to find a few extra minutes to blog about it! I've been taking tons of pictures over the past month, but I have to be extra careful to protect these little boys placed in our care, so if a photo includes them either I wont be able to post it... or I'll have to figure out how to blur their faces. (Anyone have any ideas of how to do that? )

So for now I am trying to be more patient with myself and not stress the small stuff, and as much as I have fun posting on here, it is one of the much smaller things on my list of priorities right now, so I'll do it as I have a chance and not worry to much about it when I don't! I'll be online though, and I'll be sure to answer any emails that are sent to me! Comments too, if they need answering :-)
{The frog that lives in our lily pond}


  1. Life is full of blessings that come from unexpected places. Congratulations on number 5 yourself and best wishes for a successful experience with the foster system.
    There are those parents who enjoy it, even with the snags and rough patches, and there are others who see only the ways it does not work. It truly does take special people to make the system perform at its best.

  2. What an amazing story. You are such a good person to take on other peoples children while you are still juggling your own little ones. I've got a friend with ten children aged from 8yrs up to mid twenties and she has just started fostering this year. I have been in awe of her as I am of you too! Keep up the inspirational work.

  3. Hi Rachel
    I loved reading a little more about your life -what a wonderful story you guys have! I've kept you in my prayers, but will add fostering!
    We have also been considering fostering - we were thinking before the reversal & are again wondering if that's where God wants us to go - praying, praying, praying.
    Hope you have a wonderful day

  4. Hello Rachel

    Thank you for visiting my blog this week. Just ot answer your question on my fabric. I brought it from the homemade group called from a seller called sewdelightfulfabrics. I see she is on holiday but so many other sellers sell this range. It is by bonnie and camille for moda fabrics. Medallion in aqua, fresh in scarlet,medallion in scarlet etc....

    happy sewing
    warm regards

  5. What a blessing you are in this world - an inspiration! I'm in awe of your energy :) Reading your amazing story makes me want to do more for others, and at very least, support you in prayer. Blessings on this journey...

  6. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing the story of your missionary work. You are an inspiration, and I am a little envious, as I always wanted to do missionary work.

    I have been "off-line" mostly this summer as I organize kid activities, work and extra children at the house. I am just now catching up with your many adventures, wow! Congrats on your latest additions, in all their forms. I hope you are enjoying your house full of toddlers, it sounds wonderful...but awfully busy too!

  7. That's amazing! I worked at an orphanage in Zacapa, Guatemala for 3 years. I lived in a home with lots of children and house parents from my home church in Va. I met my husband in Guatemala when his church came down to help at the orphanage and minister in the mountain villages.


I love hearing from you, and I read every comment you leave! It's such a great way to meet new people. Please feel free to leave me a comment so I know you were here! Even if you want to comment on an older post... go ahead! I will still see it!

Related Posts with Thumbnails