Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Does anyone else feel like there is much more unappealing stuff on Facebook recently?  Scrolling through my newsfeed, I feel like all I see is disgusting videos (many posted by hackers, I’m sure) and disturbing news stories.  Maybe I’m just noticing this type of unpleasant stuff more.  Regardless, I was actually contemplating taking a break from Facebook for a while when I happened to see this gem of an article that I friend had shared: 10 habits you should pick up from your grandmother.  Maybe there is still good to be found on Facebook after all!

afternoon tea









I absolutely love this article because I totally want to be my grandmother.  She’s so classy!  She’s an avid reader, tea drinker and world traveler.  Her house is always spotless and organized (and very tastefully decorated).  She has a perfect green thumb and everything she cooks or bakes turns out delicious.  She even knows how to expertly accessorize and coordinate any outfit. (Yes, my 80-something grandmother owns way more jewelry/accessories than I do.  She owns more high-end clothing, too.  But none of you who know me personally or have seen my closet are surprised by those facts.  I’m still not a mom yet but I’ve had “mom jeans” in my closet for years.  Fashion is not a word in my vocabulary).  But I digress.  The most important reason why I definitely want to become my grandmom: she and my grandfather raised two amazing daughters (my mom and aunt) who became such hardworking, caring, generous, kind women.

So what does this have to do with my foster parent journey?  Basically, nothing at all.  I just really liked the article because I do value so much of what is mentioned in it (Cooking from scratch, writing letters, love that kind of stuff!).  Do I do it enough?  Of course not!  But this article was a great reminder of so much of what I strive to be in my life.  Guess I should go take a walk now and contemplate what “made from scratch” meals I can whip up this weekend after a trip to the local farmer’s market (since I’m not talented enough to grow it myself). 🙂  Happy Friday!



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I was talking with a colleague recently and she mentioned that one of the things she loved about being pregnant was getting to experience just how nice people are.  Her advice to me was to take the time to appreciate how caring people really are.

What wonderful advice!  It certainly has not gone unnoticed by me that I am surrounded by so many loving and generous people.  And knowing that fact helps to constantly reinforce in my mind and heart that becoming a foster mom is God’s will for my life (especially when I get those negative, unsupportive comments and need that reassurance).  These children who will enter my home have experienced such tragedy, such loss.  To know that I am providing them with a safe and loving home is a wonderful gift I can give.  But even greater than that, I am allowing them to see a world that is so caring and accepting.  My friends and family will create this huge temporary family in their life who will love them as much as I will.  What a gift!

A few weeks ago, I showed up at a friend’s house for what was supposed to be a quiet dinner and a movie night with a couple of friends.  Imagine my shock when I pulled into her driveway and saw TONS of cars.  My friends had planned an incredible surprise baby shower for me.  For someone who dislikes being the center of attention, it was a little uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing but all I kept thinking about was how grateful I was to have all of these compassionate and supportive people in my life.

Many foster parents don’t get a baby shower at all.  This most recent shower was the third one that has been given in my honor.  That’s incredible.  I recognize just how lucky I am.  It is an amazing blessing to have so many people in my life who care about me and my future foster kiddos enough to take the time to plan a baby shower.  I mean, just look at this adorable cake that one of my volunteers made for the shower.  Never in my life have I had a big, elaborate, beautifully decorated cake like this.  The generosity continues to amaze me.

Baby Shower Cake
There were two woman at the baby shower whom I just met within the last year so they haven’t known me for that long.  At the end of the shower, they came over to me and shared that they could tell I was extremely loved.  Such a true observation!  I’m extremely blessed.

So for everyone who has supported me in any way along this journey, please know how grateful I am for you.  I can’t say thanks enough for everything you have done.  Truly amazing.


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When you lose a loved one, there are certain days that always become difficult.  After losing my mom, days that usually evoked joy like Mother’s Day and her birthday, became days of sadness and loneliness.  But over the years, you learn ways to cope.  They never become happy days but they become days when you can fondly remember.  As the years go on, there are fewer tears on those days and more bittersweet smiles, thinking about fond memories.

Mother’s Day has always been the hardest for me.  When you lose your mom and don’t have children of your own, it becomes a day that represents nothing but loss.  A few months after my first Mother’s Day as a motherless daughter, I began volunteering at Chara House.  Those of you who have heard me talk about Chara know that my experience there truly changed my life.  The first day I walked through that door, I knew that this was where God wanted me to be, not just because of the work that I could do for these vulnerable children but because of the healing they would bring me.

Chara became my way to cope with Mother’s Day each year. It gave me a reason to celebrate on that difficult day. Each year it became a tradition that I would buy a Mother’s Day card for the staff, thanking them for being “moms” for these children.  They never knew why I made such a big deal about Mother’s Day every year or why I was always willing to volunteer on that day when most people took the day off from volunteering to celebrate with their families. Being at Chara made Mother’s Day a happy occasion. It gave that day a purpose.

After Chara was forced to close its doors, Mother’s Day lost it’s purpose again.  It went back to just being a day that reminded me of loss.  So, you can imagine how eager I am to one day have a little one in my life to give that Mother’s Day a new purpose for me. 🙂

But honestly, Mother’s Day isn’t the hardest day of the year for a motherless daughter in my opinion.  It’s those random days out of the blue when something happens and you just want to call and share it with your mom.  When you just want her there with you, for whatever reason, on a particular day.  And sometimes you can’t even explain why, you just do.  Those are the hardest days.  They catch you off guard.  It’s rare that I shed tears anymore on those expected “difficult” days like her birthday.  But those unexpected moments that come a few times a year…yep, those are still really sad teary days.

Most who have been through the experience seem to agree that the hardest milestone to deal with as a motherless daughter is becoming a motherless mother.  There are lots of things that have happened in my life that my mom has not been here to experience with me.  And that sucks.  But this is by far the hardest life journey to take without her.  My mom was a teacher.  She loved kids, she valued family.  She was the most caring person you could ever meet.  She would have adored being a grandmom.

Tonight is one of those “catch you off guard” moments when I just wish she were here.  Tomorrow afternoon, my “new to me” dresser is being delivered that will be used as a changing table/baby item storage area.  And I’m so excited to spend some time this weekend sorting through baby clothes and other items I’ve acquired already and organizing them in the dresser.  Yes, it’s a simple task that doesn’t require help but I just wish I wasn’t doing it alone.  I so wish she were here to sit on the floor in front of that dresser with me and fold clothes and daydream about that moment later this year when my first foster placement arrives and I get to pull out these cute little clothes and put them to good use.  This process of becoming a foster mom has been so full of joy, excitement and anticipation for me.  But becoming a mom without your mom is hard. 😦

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Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook probably saw my post last week about a house that I have absolutely fallen in love with.  I’m not one to get really attached to houses but this one I just can’t stop thinking about.  It’s this big old farmhouse about 20 minutes away from where I live now.  There’s a huge porch with a swing on it that I can envision myself sitting on and relaxing with a book on a warm, quiet afternoon.  It has so much character!  I really cannot stop thinking about it.  There’s only one problem…It costs about $250k MORE than what I could ever possibly afford.  Minor detail, right?  So, this truly is just a dream home.

But what really made me fall in love with this house is the size.  I’ve never minded condo living until I started this foster parenting journey.  The more I become immersed in the foster care world, the more I wish I had more space to be able to take in more children.  I never thought I would want to take in more than one child at a time.  I didn’t want to be outnumbered. 😉  But after watching a few videos in our PRIDE classes and lots of reflection, I’ve started to feel a change of heart.  There are so many children who come into foster care with siblings.  It would be so much better if the siblings didn’t have to be split up.  However, so often foster home are not willing or able to accommodate a sibling set.

Around this same time that I started PRIDE classes, I noticed the short film ReMoved circulating on social media.  I finally took the time to watch it this weekend and all I can say is “Wow!”.  It is so powerful.  It just further placed in my heart this desire to take in multiple foster children at one time.  But that’s not possible in my current home.  I can only be licensed to care for a single child due to space constraints.  And I know this doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference and doesn’t mean that I won’t get to experience all the highs and lows of foster care.

But I just feel like I could be doing even more.  I can see myself living in that big home full of kiddos who need my love and support.  Rocking a baby in the beautiful glass porch.  Reading a book with a child on the window seat in their bedroom.  Sitting at that big dinner room table helping with homework.  Taking walks to the pond nearby to feed the ducks.  Yes, this is a complete fantasy, I know.  In reality, things wouldn’t be so picture perfect.  There would be temper tantrums and nightmares and fights over eating their vegetables at dinner.  But those happy moments would be there too.  And they would be together with their siblings instead of spread across multiple homes throughout the county.

As much as I would like to, I can’t save the world.  So unless I win the lottery (which is 100% unlikely to happen because I never play the lottery), I’ll make a difference in a child’s life one foster child at a time in my present condo.  And it will be an incredible experience.  But I can’t say I won’t stop daydreaming about that big farmhouse…

Watch the film: ReMoved.

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Don’t let the title of this post fool you.  I LOVE shopping for baby supplies!  Absolutely love it!  But for someone who likes to do research before making a decision on a product, creating a baby registry can drive you crazy.  There’s so many products out there and for every product that someone loves, someone else will tell you it’s the worst product ever.  Let’s just say you can easily get a little (or a lot) obsessive and frustrated over the research. 🙂  So, to keep my sanity, I have convinced myself that my registry is officially done.  No more research, no more changes.

When you are fostering, it’s not quite as easy to shop as when you are pregnant or adopting.  At any given moment, I could find out I have a tiny newborn coming or a rambunctious toddler.  And I’m not going to know days or weeks in advance that they are coming.  I’ll be lucky to get a few hours advanced notice.  So, I need to have way more supplies on hand than a typical mom would have.  Nothing about foster parenting is “easy”.  But so worth it!

So, I’m working on selling furniture (anyone want a hutch or a bookcase?), continuing to figure out other items that I can part with and creating as much space as I can for all of the nursery furniture and baby gear that will soon fill my home.  Just thinking about that puts a huge smile on my face.  There are certain parts of this process that I have just been looking forward to and dreaming about for such a long time.  One of those is the day I walk into what is currently my guest bedroom and see a nursery instead.  It already makes me happy just seeing the baby supplies starting to piling up in there.  I just can’t wait to have furniture and decorations in there to make it an actual nursery.  It really will be a dream come true!

Foster parenting, especially as a single mom. is going to teach me many skills.  And I know one of those skills is to be comfortable with asking for, and accepting, help.  So, I’m working on that skill already.  I was telling a friend recently that it makes me uncomfortable sharing my registry when people ask about it.  I’m the one who made the choice to foster.  I should be responsible for buying what I need to care for these children.  I’m used to be very independent.  However, you can’t be independent as a foster parent.  Your entire role is to work with a team of people to raise this child.  So, I shouldn’t feel guilty about letting friends and family buy items for the nursery when they genuinely want to do it, right?

So for all of you who have asked…here is my registry: http://babyli.st/burdette

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Preparing to be a foster parent is a unique situation.  It’s not like pregnancy when you know in 40 weeks you will have a newborn in your arms.  While I have a general timeline to go by, I have no idea when I will officially be licensed and no idea how long I will wait after that before I get a placement.  And even then, I have no idea what age the child will be who comes through my door (my age range is newborn – 18 months).  It’s a lot of unknowns and for someone who always wants to plan way in advance, this is teaching me many lessons.

I have always been content with the idea of not having biological children.  I can love a child who doesn’t have my genes just as much as one who does.  That has never been an issue for me.  From the moment I first walked through the doors at Chara, I’ve had a special place in my heart for fostering and adoption.  So while I am completely confident and comfortable with my decision to not have a biological child, it turns out I’m not ok with not being pregnant.  I didn’t anticipate that I would feel like I am “missing out” on something by not experiencing pregnancy.

Let’s face it, I’m at an age where many of my peers are having children.  They get to see their waists grow, hear their baby’s heartbeat, bond with other expectant moms over discussions of heartburn and cravings, and count down the days until they will have that child in their arms.  It’s not that I am upset I won’t have a child of my own (and I’m definitely fine with missing out on labor and delivery).  Even though I am taking a different path, I will have the same end result, a beautiful baby in my arms who needs my love and caring.  I just don’t know when I get to experience that end result and for how long.  It’s a very different journey to that endpoint and I feel like I am missing out on the “typical” journey to parenthood.

And there are frequent reminders that I am doing things differently.  On a foster parenting Facebook group I belong to, there was a rather heated discussion today when one woman made a comment that “you are foster parents, not family” in response to a woman’s post that she was sad to see her 1 year old foster son leaving to go live with a relative.

It’s a painful statement and as you can imagine, many of us were hurt and offended by it.  Yes, we all understand that these children are not “ours”.  Yes, we know that the goal is for each child that enters our home to be reunited with their family at some point if at all possible.  Yes, we know we are not the biological parents.  But this child is in my care.  It is my responsibility to keep them safe, show them love and help them reach milestones.  You don’t think I take that role seriously?  Officially, I am not his/her mom but you better believe I am loving these children and raising them as if they are “mine”.  Do you not think these children deserve to be loved and treated as if they were our own?  And is it no ok to be sad when we say goodbye to that child.  We know that it is for the best but we still have to grieve the loss.

This is not an easy journey.  But I still feel 100% confident that this is my life calling and I am eager for each next step that gets me closer to that first placement.  While many women are looking forward to their next ultrasound to mark their progress, I’m eagerly awaiting PRIDE classes that start in March to check off another “to do” in my journey toward becoming a (foster) mom.

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I have a passion for books.  I love the look of them (especially old hardcover books), I love shopping for them, I love reading them.  And I have my parents to thank for that.  Given that I grew up in a family full of educators, it’s not surprising that I developed a love of reading.  And this is one love that I definitely want to share with my kiddos.

I have so many fond childhood memories involving books.  My parents have shared with me that even as a baby, I was a fan of reading.  They would rock me and read me book after book until I fell asleep in their arms.  Needless to say, being the smart child that I was, I quickly learned how not to fall asleep so it would force them to read to me more.  If you are going to spoil a child, this feels like a great way to do it.

This also led to me memorizing entire books because I had heard them so many times.  My parents convinced my grandparents that I could read at the age of two or three because I could recite the entire book word for word, including knowing when to turn the page.

My mom said that as a toddler, she could sit me down on the bathroom floor with a stack of books and I would contently sit and look through them while she enjoyed a shower.

I loved family trips to the library.  I couldn’t wait to browse through the shelves to find something new I could engross myself in.  (Although when I was little I was also known to check out the same book over and over again if I really loved it.  There was a children’s book I loved about two little girls who were friends and one of them was named Jenny.  I called it The Jenny Book.  This was my favorite book for obvious reasons.  I wish I knew the title of it.)  And I remember my mom sharing with me books that she loved reading when she was growing up like Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins.  I can still picture the shelves at the library full of these books with the yellow spines.

I was the dork that couldn’t wait for the summer reading list to come out.  And yes, I was a fat kid because we all loved the Pizza Hut Book It program.  My love of reading equated to a lot of personal pan pizzas.

So, I’ve always known that reading would be an important love that I wanted to instill in my children.  The first baby item I bought when I decided I was going to pursue becoming a foster mom was a board book.  And I’m already brainstorming how to create a fun, comfy reading nook in the nursery.  I want my kids to get as excited about books as I did when I was young.

I know that being a single foster parent to newborns and infants will not be easy.  So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about ways I will cope with those tough times.  And one tough time I know is coming is a lot of sleepless nights with a crying baby.  As I’ve mentioned before, it is pretty likely that I will be caring for a baby who was exposed to drugs and is dealing with withdrawal.  It’s not easy.  Sometimes, no matter what you try, you just can’t settle them down.  All you can do is hold them, rock them, talk to them, make them as comfortable as you can and be patient until they can settle down.

So, I started thinking, what am I going to do to pass the time when it’s the middle of the night and I’m awake with a crying baby?  Sure, I could sit and watch TV.  We may listen to music for a while.  But today, I had a great idea.  Why not read to them?  Why not share my love of books with them just like my mom did with me?

So, I started googling and coming up with a list of chapter books that I remember loving as a child.  Everything from Anne of Green Gables to Freckle Juice to the Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM.  It’s easy reading (because we know I’ll be too tired to read and comprehend anything intellectual), it will keep my attention better than reading a million baby books, and it will let me relive stories that I loved so many years ago and don’t even remember anymore.  I just love this idea.

So, I have start compiling a list of all the chapter books I remember loving as a kid.  The list has gotten long already!  Take a look here.  Then, please come back to this blog post and comment about your favorite book from my list or a great one that I need to add.

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