Who am I?
I’m Amanda. I am in my early 40’s and a mom. Some call me an adoptive mom, crazy mom, stay at home mom—any preface you want to put on it, I’m a mom, bottom line. I work part time watching a little guy in our home. To stay sane, I like to make crafts—sew, scrapbook, etc. From time to time I enjoy exercising, too.
I went to Northern Arizona University and have a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. I grew up in Iowa, lived in L.A. for a few years and have been in Phoenix since 2000.
Who are these other people?
Well, I’m married to a hottie named Brian. He’s my life mate and I’m so happy to have found him. We met in 2001 and married in 2003. After we were married for a couple years, we became foster parents. Our first foster kids were Daniel and David.
Daniel was born in 2002. He’s an amazing little boy. He is full of energy and fun and life.
David is 11 months younger than Daniel. He loves technology—movies, video games, the computer. He has always been my cuddle bug.
I sometimes call Daniel “Big D” and David “Little D”.
Just before we adopted Daniel and David in 2007 we received a call to tell us about our little guy. He is their biological little brother. He was born in 2006. We call him our Drama King. He has a huge vocabulary and knows how to use it.
In the middle of all of our boys, we took a little girl into our family as well. Our little Bean came to us straight from the hospital in December of 2006. Her name is Bethany, but that wasn’t her birth name. The nickname Bean came when she was only a few days old. She is the princess of the bunch.
What started this journey?
Before Brian and I wed, we had already planned on having children. We’d already started talking about fostering or adopting in our future. We just didn’t plan it quite so quickly. After about six months of trying to conceive, we didn’t have any luck. So, we turned to doctors. After a few more months of trying with medical help, we were just tapped. It took a mental, physical, and financial toll on both of us. I will admit, it was very hard on me. So, we decided to take steps to become foster parents. Honestly, it was the quickest route to children. We couldn’t afford private adoption. And we *thought* that we could just do a trial run. Foster care isn’t forever… we thought we could give it a shot… Ha! Little did we know how sucked into this we’d get.
It took no time for us to go from asking questions to getting our license. And we got the call for Daniel and David before our license even came in the mail.
How can I become an adoptive or foster parent?
Well, that really depends… Every single state has different laws and regulations around foster care and adoption. In addition, there are public and private adoption issues. I’d love to answer any questions that I can for you (firstname.lastname@example.org) . One of the first places that we turned for ideas was davethomasfoundation.org. If you’re in Arizona, you can go to azdes.gov.
Honestly, I just love my babies. I think they’re the cutest kids ever. I wanted to share pictures with friends and family, and I don’t live close to many of them. I want them to know what goes on in our home and family from day to day.
And, once I started, I found that I loved reading other blogs. I hope that there are others who enjoy reading this.
And, finally, I would love to inspire one family to foster. Or give encouragement for a family that’s struggling with their foster care journey. Once we started fostering, we saw the need. And now one of my goals in life is to help one more kid. We are learning our limits. We already knew we couldn’t save them all. I would love to. But, since I really, truly can’t, the least I can do is share that passion with another family so that they can start on this journey, too.
Some of my favorite links
What can I do to help?
Send money! Kidding (unless you really want to send money, who am I to deny your true wants?). If you want to get involved, but don’t want to become a foster parent there are many, many ways you can help.
First, volunteer your time. One of the biggest supports we’ve had on this journey came in the form of a CASA. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advisor. They are volunteers from the community who want to be a voice for foster children. For more information on this program, go to casaforchildren.org.
Another way to donate your time is through the FCRB. FCRB stands for Foster Care Review Board. These boards are made up of community members who care about foster kids. They help the courts oversee the foster homes and make sure that our kids are getting the services and support they need. Each state has its own standards and procedures for volunteering, here is the link for the Arizona FCRB http://www.supreme.state.az.us/fcrb.
Do you want to be more involved with the kids? Become a respite provider. Respite is a fancy word for babysitting. And all foster parents need a babysitter every now and then. Because of the special needs of our kids, we can’t just hire anyone off the street. And sometimes we need help with very little notice. Contact a local foster care agency for information on becoming trained to provide respite care.
Have extra money still? There are thousands of kids in shelters across the country. They need donations. They need clothing and food and diapers and money to care for the kids in their charge. There are also other organizations that donate to foster children.
Have other talents? One of my favorite local organizations is Project Linus. They make blankets for kids in foster care (www.projectlinus.org).
Whatever you have to give, I’m sure that there is an organization that needs you!