A Whole New Meaning on Taking Work Home
Becoming a mama looks different for everyone. My journey began in 2017 when one of my students needed a home. It wasn’t in the plan to foster, it wasn’t in the plan to adopt, it wasn’t in the plan to take my work home with me— literally. But that is how my journey to being a mom began.
Let’s back up a lil bit first. I was 25 years young, in my third year of teaching in an inner-city school in Phoenix, Arizona. I was super passionate about being a teacher, but simultaneously overwhelmed with the work. I was getting my masters degree in Reading Instruction and had big career goals. All of this flipped upside down when a little girl came to school and told her teacher “my grandma’s getting rid of us.” Re-read that... how do you “get rid” of a child!!?? In a world full of aching hearts and women longing for a child that can’t have one or “not yet”... how does someone just “get rid” of a child or children? Well, needless to say, my heart began breaking little by little as I found out more information. I ran home and asked my husband if we could be temporary caregivers for these girls from my school who were otherwise without a home. There were a lot of tears shed, as well as a lot of unanswered questions but we agreed to be a temporary placement for these girls.
Now when we first agreed to this we thought we were taking home a 7 & 9 year old... little did we know it was a package deal that included a little 5 year old girl as well. Overwhelmed was an understatement! However, we weren’t going to let that stop us and promptly brought the three of them into our home (a two bedroom apartment at the time) and made it work. There is another part of this story that is hard to share. It’s not as glory-filled or wrapped up with a bow on top, but that’s what motherhood is, it’s messy!
So the 9 year old was the girl who had been my student previously. I had the most connection with her prior to her coming to live with us. She was the reason I wanted to take the girls in and I had hoped our story might end in adoption with her. Things don’t always happen as we plan and this was definitely one of those situations. After several months of caring for this girl, we realized we were in over our heads. She had a lot of past trauma that was causing psychological issues and behavior that was out of our scope of experience. After five months of her in our home, we made the tough decision to have her placed with someone else. The hardest part through this all is that social services had threatened us and said if we made this choice, they might take our younger two as well. We prayed through it and came out on the other side knowing what we had to do. In the end, it was what was best for her and her sisters. In a new home with a therapeutic-level of care, she was able to flourish and we still keep in touch with her today.
Life has not been a walk in the park and I try to never glamorize being a mom of kiddos who were in the foster care system. I want to honor their story, not suppress it. However, the change I have seen in our two girls since the day we brought them home is beyond what my wildest dreams could have ever fathomed! They are beautiful, strong, independent, emotionally intelligent, resilient girls and I am so proud to be their mama! Jason and I were honored to get to finally adopt the girls last year; Renae in January 2020 and Lydia in June of 2020.
In addition to my two beautiful girls Lydia and Renae, we also became pregnant and now have an 8 month old, little Miss Emory Ellen. She was born 10 days after Lydia’s adoption and our family became perfectly intact just in time for her arrival!
In some ways I feel like we did it all backwards, but at the same time, I wouldn’t change our story for anything. Emory now gets two big sisters to show her the ropes. She gets to be a first child that’s also a third child and grow up with great examples of what it looks like to be a young lady. Lydia and Renae got to see me be pregnant, give birth (no not literally, not the type that’s cut out for home birth lol) and raise a child from birth which is something they had never experienced before being in the foster care system.
They were a little nervous when I got pregnant and thought the baby would get all the attention, but Lydia expressed to me when Emory was a few months old, “mom, I was angry because I thought the baby would take all your love and attention, but I didn’t realize how much I was going to love her and how cute she would be” These are the magic, mom moments that burst my heart wide open.
My journey to becoming a mom was anything but traditional, however, I am so blessed and grateful for every second!