Meet the Mama: Kate

meetthemamakate

Tell us a little about yourself.

“I am a flawed and funny human who publicly rebels against being labeled, classified or stuffed into a socially acceptable box. This makes me sort of awkward, and makes others super uncomfortable. I know what you’re thinking – let’s invite THAT girl to our next dinner party!

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My name is Kate and I do life with my sweet man, our two biological boys and a whole slew of family and friends. I am a writer who is passionate about many things, with Jesus and social justice being at the top of my list. I love being a mother and feel incredibly purposed in raising my children, born to me or otherwise.”

How long have you been a foster parent and how many kiddos have you fostered?

“We have been foster parents for a year and have had two placements in that time. We loved our girls, and still do, but they were incredibly difficult to parent. Not because of who they are, but because of what they had been through. We fought hard for each of them and during their time with us, we learned that advocating for foster children doesn’t stop when they leave your home. We continue to get small updates on the girls and though we no longer have an official say in their care, we continue to battle for them in prayer and are believing for big, beautiful stories of redemption in each of their lives.

I do not hesitate to share with those interested in becoming foster parents that this is a messy way to grow a family. It is brutal, but beautiful. It is hard and invasive and you will eat all of your feelings, but there’s nothing like it. You will be surprised by how deeply you are able to love a child in crisis, and even more, you will likely find that you have a great deal of compassion for their birth family. Reunification, rehabilitation or adoption – we get to make an impact and a difference. It is insanely difficult at times, but it matters.”

What made you want to become a foster mom?

“I think that I was put together in such a way that has caused my life to lean toward the hurting ones. I realized this in junior high and by high school, I was pretty confident that I would become an adoptive parent. I didn’t really think much about it. I made up my mind, and it was an easy decision to make, so that was that. My husband came to a similar conclusion so when high school was long over and we started dating, orphan care was a common and easy subject for us to talk about. We never asked if the other person wanted to adopt because it was really just a matter of when.

Before having our boys, we researched every option. We looked at private adoption (something we still plan on) and international adoption, all while starting our family on the home front (that’s code for making babies). After we had our first son, my in-laws became foster parents and it just made sense. Our little guy spent his first year having three older “siblings” at Nana and Papa’s house and it all seemed so normal to us. The day we decided to do foster care, we found out that we were expecting our second son so we had to delay our plans for about a year but here we are now, taking this adventure one day at a time. There was never a big moment where we made a pros and cons list or sought counsel from friends, though I think it’s smart to do those things. It just fits who we are, in a way, so the decision never required a whole lot of mulling over. Since then? Lots and lots of mulling.”

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a mama of fosters?

“There are several challenges that come to mind – some specific to our placements and some that are more specific to our lifestyle. I’ll go with the latter, since each placement comes with new challenges and needs that would be impossible to summarize here. I work full-time outside of our home, as does my husband. I work (with joy, most days) so that we can do ministry, and foster care, so it is a catch 22 in a way. I long to be home with my children and often, there are kiddos in foster care who need a parent at home, but we can’t swing that right now. So I do my very best with what I have, and am thankful for the people in our lives who walk alongside our family. Having a support system is so important. It takes a village, and then some.”

What’s the most rewarding part of being a foster mama?

“Failure. Seriously, it has done our family so much good to find out that – gasp – we are imperfect. And if we, a mostly normal tribe of humans, are massively flawed, then it’s okay for others to be too.

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Opening our hearts and home to foster care was an act of inviting freedom to dwell in our home. There is freedom to be whoever you are, in whatever moment you are in, no matter how brutal or ugly it might be. I am not in a hurry to fix people, especially our placements, anymore. Instead, I want to love others in a way that doesn’t leave them feeling burdened by the idea that they owe me, or worse, need to perform to earn acceptance. The blessings that have come from foster care far outweigh the difficulties of it. We are better because of it. I am better because of it. Not perfect, but free to love without an expected return.”

What’s your best piece of advice for new foster parents?

“Be human. Don’t worry about being a super mom or rock star dad. You don’t need to be the most domestic, most educated or most put together. There’s this funny thing that happens when you bring foster children home – it opens wide the wounds you thought were healed, it exposes all of the reasons why having a spouse is hard, and it makes old habits suddenly remember your number. LET IT. Do not fight the honesty that bubbles to the surface and instead, choose to do something about it. Choose to let your humanity be what qualifies you to parent hurting kids. And if the stuff that surfaces makes you uncomfortable, face it with boldness and choose to be better. 

I hate to break it to you, but clean floors and delicious casseroles are really only good for the days your social worker stops by and even then, you shouldn’t hide behind things that appear to be good parenting. I would be mortified if you came to my home right now and expected the toilets (or people, for that matter) to be clean.

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But show up to our house and you will see a family that is committed to giving you the space to be exactly who you are. If you chase perfection, you’re going to fail at this. The pressure is off. So go ahead, be your wonky, busted up self. The rest just gets in the way.”

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2 Responses to Meet the Mama: Kate

  1. ifosterlove says:

    Absolutely loved this. Absolutely needed to read this. Especially the part about perfection (and casseroles) 🙂

  2. jenniferquirk says:

    Gotten behind on reading! Loved this. “let your humanity be what qualifies you to parent hurting children” Perfectly stated. So many times I think my humanity (my sin) will disqualify. Or i get into these, “I can’t even parent my own children well why in the world would God trust me with someone else’s?” moments. I love what you said to about making it better. I’ve been reading through this fabulous book with lent readings, and one day last week talked about confronting sin. And really, confronting the cross. Realizing that it wasn’t just “the world’s” humanity that got him there. It was mine. That though painful to confront our sin, it’s crucial. Failure to confront enables sin patterns to continue and while momentarily maybe that’s more pleasant, in doing so we also fail to receive the healing and grace that comes from our Risen Savior. I feel like Foster care has done that. Holy cow I feel like marriage, children, in general has done that – but when you are face to face with someone else’s brokenness on a daily basis, or so aware of their families sin, it brings up so so much that was tucked deep inside you. I need to remember that those nasty areas must be brought about and confronted if they are ever going to be healed. Reminds me of the psalmists prayer “Search me and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts” Writing this out was good 🙂 Thanks so much for your post!

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