How to harness numbers to set better expectations
When you decide you’re going to become a foster parent, you sign up for 30+ hours of classes, find an agency that will pick your personal story and life apart, and you’ll literally label containers in your linen closet so you know where Hydrocortisone cream is for your home inspection. The preparation to become a foster parent is unreal—and crucial.
I feel like Nick and I did a lot of preparing of our home, our hearts, and our heads on how to parent children in foster care. We did extra reading on trauma-informed parenting, sensitive discipline, and boundary setting with extended family and friends.
What we didn’t dive deep into was the data behind the machine of foster care and the Department of Child Services.
Now, I can’t say that digging into data really is the most important, crucial part of foster care. At the end of the day, your role and job is to care for the child in your home.
However, if you’re anything like Nick and I and you want to be eyes wide open on all the hard, challenging parts of this journey it can be helpful to know the numbers behind what will happen with your child’s case.
One Reason Trauma-Informed Parenting is Key
Let me start by prefacing this: every case is different and every child needs different things.
We are over a year into foster care and we’ve only ever known the needs of one precious boy. His needs have drastically changed since he came to us and that’s been a great thing. Less needs means improvement.
What I’ve outlined below is a brief breakdown of what it can mean to be trauma-informed as a foster parent.
My husband, Nick, and I both wish we would've had more realistic expectations about what to expect after having kids. We knew sleep would probably be hard to come by but our expectations of our sex life after kids was naive at best. Sex just wasn’t a thing we thought would change all that much.
Wow were we wrong. We hope this two part series can make you laugh, let you know you’re not alone, and give you some tips on how to bring the PDA back to your bedroom.
*Disclaimer: This is an honest read from a happily married couple. This is not an article from a perfectly married couple. We, like everyone else who has committed their life to a partner, struggle with real, deep things. And if you’re related to us, please consider moving on to another blog post.
I couldn't find what I wanted so I made it
Ok. Here's the deal.
I made a shirt. If you know me personally, you know my love for black and white t-shirts and witty sayings on a soft, cotton tee. I'm not afraid of getting dressed up but this is America and jeans are the national uniform. Give me a t-shirt with some skinny jeans and I'm in.
Maybe you're asking why I made a t-shirt? Well, I wrote a little bit about my dilemma and process of wrestling with the challenges of identity as a mom in this blog post. This shirt is an answer to all of that for me.
Imagine this. It's May 2017 and I just started contracting with my previous employer while staying at home with two boys under 2-years-old and I'm 30+ weeks pregnant. Before May 2017, I worked working in an office, staffing events, dealing with the press, organized program growth, and occasionally got to banter about policy. I schlepped kids to and from daycare, managed work calls in the car after doctor's appointments. I literally checked all the boxes you could check on managing a career with many little kids.
Then the crying in the car, the running on little sleep while literally making a baby in my belly got to me. Things need to change, so I took my work home with me and dove into playdates, kids events, and the whole yoga pants on a Monday thing. Needless to say, my uniform of weekday clothing needed to shift. Call it shallow, call it silly, call it whatever you want, but I believe so wholly in the importance and value of what you wear. I believe 1,000,000% that the right outfit can shift your perspective of yourself. This new working, wifing, raising, praising thing didn't look the same as it did when my days were organized around a 9-5 schedule. So, here we are.
I feel like I'm finally started to understand this new version of myself-- t-shirts, jeans, yoga pants, and all. In celebration of this journey and all the titles that come with it, join me in wearing all of the things you are on a t-shirt.