Last year everything changed for me. We had fostered before. This sweet girl wasn’t our first baby to love and let go.

But somehow through all of our previous foster children I had managed to maintain the idea that I was the better parent in all of this. That for some reason these children really deserved to have me more than their biological parents deserved to be able to parent them. That I truly was the better parent and that anyone with half a brain would see that these kids needed to stay with me, for their own good.

And then we got baby Mary.

Her parents had been struggling with a hardcore drug addiction for years and years. This wasn’t their first CPS case and they had lost custody before. The case seemed so black and white to me at first. Of course baby Mary should stay with us. She deserved better than that. She deserved me.foster-care-birthfamily-reunification

But then the visits started. And every single week Mary came home with formula and diapers and new clothes. Every week her parents brought a disposable camera for us so that we could take pictures of her through the week and then send the camera back with her to the next visit for them to develop.

Her parents started a journal and they wanted to know every detail of what was going on – doctor’s appointments, milestones, what we was happening in our family. And every week they expressed deep thanks to us for taking care of their baby girl.

I went to court with them. I heard them stand before the judge and express how desperately they wanted their baby girl back and how they were going above and beyond what was asked of them to make sure that they could provide her with a safe place to call home. I heard the results of every drug test – negative. I saw them searching for jobs and finding a stable place to live and getting a car.

And then I realized the truth.

These people aren’t monsters. They are parents who got mixed up in some junk and who really, really hate it and who want nothing more in the world than to make a better life for their daughter.
It’s been two years and her parents are still clean. They are living a beautiful life, gainfully employed. We are so blessed to be able to see her from time to time. That baby girl is right where she needs to be.

Mary’s parents changed me. They changed the way I view foster care and adoption. They turned me into the world’s biggest cheerleader for the parents of my foster children.

Yes, I would love to adopt more children. But if there is a child in my home whose parents are really trying, I am going to do everything in my power to support them and encourage them and help them get to the point of being able to care for their child again.

Because fostering isn’t about me. It is about a child and it is about a family. But it is not about me.

foster-parent-blog-forum-support-storiesJenn is an adoptee turned foster, biological and adoptive mom. She blogs about life, faith, foster care and adoption at buildingmommymuscles.com.

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This paid post is brought to you by the new free Oral-B Disney Timer App as part of a Type-A Parent Community Sponsored Post.

I don’t know about you, but getting my kids to brush their teeth has ALWAYS been an intense struggle! It seems my kids’ sensory issues keeps them from wanting to brush their teeth.  Intense battles ensue! And I always seem to lose that battle – every – single – night!

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If you follow our adventures on Facebook, last month, the dentist found a cavity on my son’s bicuspid and suggested an ugly silver cap!!! (Thanks for your advice against it)  I MUST find a way to encourage my kids to brush their teeth! Without a battle…

I was thrilled to try Oral-B’s new Disney Timer App just to see if it could motivate my kids to brush their teeth without a battle…

OralB-Disney-Magic-TimerThe app was super-easy to set up with one boy choosing to be Ironman and the other choosing to be Jake from the Neverland Pirates.

OralB-kids-brush-teethAs my kid brushes his teeth, the app shows a toothbrush slowly brushing to reveal a Disney scene that becomes a sticker in his album. And would you believe, this is all that it takes to get my kids to brush their teeth?!!!

OralB-kids-brushing-teethOralB-Disney-Timer-AlbumBut sometimes we still have a small battle – a different one: “Mom!!!! Gimme your phone so I can brush my teeth!!!” (we are working on asking politely)

Also, the app prevents hackers, like my son, from cheating — my son tried to get more stickers by brushing his teeth twice in a row — the app didn’t let him!

Do you struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth?

Disney Timer App by Oral-BThis paid post is brought to you by the new free Oral-B Disney Timer App as part of a Type-A Parent Community Sponsored Post. Featuring sixteen of your favorite Disney and Marvel characters, use this app to seamlessly encourage your kids to brush longer. Collect a new digital sticker after each successful two minutes of brushing; track progress with stars and milestone badges on the Brushing Calendar. Longer, happier brushing for your little one is just a download away!

Download the Free App Here

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When Family Portraits FAIL

Parenting

When we had some family portraits taken recently, it quickly deteriorated into an epic FAIL! This is the photo we show… However, this is what was really going on….. Can you relate? Do you struggle to keep your kids still for a family portrait? Or is it an epic FAIL like ours?

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Will You Answer 10 Quick Questions for Me?

Blogging

I have been sharing my story online here since 2009 — before my preschooler was even born! I have been quite open about my struggles with the foster care system and parenting kids from hard places. Through Facebook and Twitter, I do know tidbits of some readers — but I’d like to know more about […]

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You Don’t Have to Be a Perfect Parent! I’m Certainly Not!

Adoption

This post is paid for by the Ad Council, but this is my true story of how I am not a perfect parent! We had taken over 30 hours of training to become foster parents! We had a car seat and a crib – the items our caseworker required before opening our home to foster […]

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10 Great Valentine Box Ideas for Boys

Children's Activities

It’s not easy coming up with Valentine box ideas for boys.  If your boys are like mine, they just don’t get into the lovey-dovey hugs & kisses idea of Valentine’s Day.  My boys just want the CANDY!!! So getting my boys excited about making a Valentine’s Day box (without hearts & doilies) takes some searching […]

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