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These kids aren’t mine: My life as a self sacrificing Foster Mom Pt 2

After finding the courage to share the incident with my adopted daughter last night, I realized I’m finally at a place in my life where I feel comfortable to share my life as a foster mother. It helps that I’m not working as a foster parent, because there’s so much one can disclose to people outside of your household.

It’s been hard and my sunshine, my blessing is my baby girl Niyah. She was only 6 weeks old when she came and all she knows is me, I’m her Mama and I raised her as I did my older two. The kids that came into my home were older and raised a certain way, bad patterns and behaviors could not be broken no matter what I did.

I always had kids in my life, I’m Auntie Dee, but I didn’t realize that knowing most of these kids since birth mattered. I had a relationship with their parents, unlike the foster kids who were placed in my house and that was essential. It’s the parents fault that their kids are in placement and they should not fault you for stepping up to be a foster parent to their kids. You would be shocked to hear that parents literally hate foster parents, because they feel like they are trying to replace them and that’s far from our purpose. There are parents who actually lie on foster parents in attempt to get their children back faster or placed with a relative. Some parents will take an extra evil step and convince the child to lie on the foster parent as well. Foster Parents have false allegations reported against them at least once in their foster parent career. We are actually briefly educated about the certainty of being falsely accused and how respond to it. There’s no class that can prepare you to be emotionally wounded by a parent and child you volunteered your life to help. It’s traumatizing, no matter what is said. The same parent whose child is in placement for neglect, will turn around and report that the child isn’t being fed.. That’s another experience I overcame, survived and continued to be a foster parent who would go on to adopt.

There were days when I felt I wanted to just stay in bed and pull my hair out. There were days when I slept with a camera outside my bedroom door, in addition to locking it and placing a chair under the door knob, because I was lovingly afraid of some kids. I sugar coated my feelings and fears, never letting my family know how bad it was, because a part of me did not want to give up on the kids.

Sharing last night gave me the courage to voice my experience as a foster mom. I never spoke about it, because I do not want to give the impression that it’s just horrible or that foster kids and their parents are evil, they actually need help. This is my story and not to be viewed as a typical foster parent experience.

I was a special needs foster parent for children with medical and mental health issues and I wasn’t informed about what that all entailed.

I hope that after reading my experience that it won’t deter you from being a foster parent, hopfully you can learn from my experiences. You can demand the full report on a kid prior to accepting him or her in placement. You can demand that your worker, work with you and find in home support to assist you, to lighten your load. You can attend all court proceedings and parenting classes that the bio parent has to attend. You have to be a diligent documentor, write a daily log on each child if you can, especially children with medical and mental health needs.

Please do not be discouraged after hearing what I endured. I’m hoping my story can help not only foster parents, but the biological parents as well.

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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