gotmyhandsfull

IMG_1900Do we ever really stop grieving? I think not. We just get on with what we are occupied with, and the pain is put on a shelf so to speak. When we do bring it back to the forefront we feel the pain just as strongly as the loss had occurred a moment ago. Whether it be the loss of a parent, sibling, close friend or child the pain is intense it can momentarily bring us to tear in a snap. I still have my parents, and all 5 of my children are healthy thank GOD! I have lost children I fostered long-term to their wonderful new adoptive families. The grieving is insurmountable. I miss them. I can call and see them but they are gone from my care and in the beginning it is devastating. People think you should put the focus on the other children but that is naive. One child does not “take the place” of another. As busy as life is you still have time to stop and reflect on the missing person in your life. I believe that God gives us beautiful distractions to ease the pain, but it does not erase it.

This is my first post. I have been told for a while now that I could fill a book with the life changing experiences I have had in the past 6 years, but a good friend suggested a blog. In a nutshell – I gave it all up to start a new life – but now have more than I could have ever imagined. My recent journey has truly been an emotional rollercoaster. I am now a mother of five children, hence my blog title. I hear “you sure got you hands full” every time I am out and about with my four little ones ages 4 years – 4 months.  My oldest daughter Bri will be 12 next week, and quite comfortably she was my only child for 8 years.  I had a great job in Manhattan working for a very creative gentleman. He is a designer originally from Hong Kong, who owned a prospering clothing company. My mother in Queens watched my young daughter for me while I commuted on the LIRR daily, worked in the office, went to my gym, and was frequently in Starbucks or PAX with fabulous friends. Was I making a difference in the world? Not much. I was creating a rift in my marriage. I sure didn’t see my child as much as I would have liked, but not many of my associates did. Some even had live ins. They were gone before the kids got up and most evenings lucky to get back to the suburbs to say goodnight. My husband and I had reconciled our differences and needed a change of life style to make our marriage work. We left NY, our jobs, our families and friends making a move to rural AZ where track homes were going up in droves and were dirt cheap. We bought a 4,000 + sq ft home in the middle of nowhere. My walk in closet is the size of my old bedroom in my LI home. We have a huge house now that some days feels quiet small with all of our kids and their stuff. This is how we filled our home with laughter. So Sabrina is our first, then Mia was born in 2007. At that time we were considering foster/adoption classes, and we went through with it during Mia’s first year. We had the notion to adopt a boy through foster care if God put that in our lives but we had no idea the life lessons we were in store for. We completed over 40 hours of training, FBI background checks, home studies, home inspections and were on our way to making a difference for a orphaned little boy. Before we knew it we were parenting 6 fosters plus my 2 girls. While all of this transpired I took on babysitting for a good friend’s 1-year-old regularly as a favor. We went from 1 child to 9 in a years time. It was taxing to say the least and we had some rough financial times to boot, thanks no initial support from foster care. The state said we had too many fosters? While my agency was working on assigning us temporary “Group Home” status, the economy was plummeting and jobs were scarce. Lucky me, a friend helped me land a job close by at a local convenience store.  The shifts were weekends and nights so I could split my duty with the kids. My husband was trying to find something secure at the same time as his  job was real estate related and that boom was way over. What a time to have to buy groceries for 10. I became very creative with the meals and stretched our food dollar until it broke. Can anyone say mac and cheese? Meat and fish you ask? Lots of bulk buys, like the 5 lb bag of frozen chicken cutlets. No fancy dinosaur shaped nuggets during that time. Three packs of Value chocolate chip cookies instead of one package of Chips Ahoy. Otter pops instead of Hagen Das. Thank God for WIC – the little ones formula and milk was provided with cheese and cereal too. If we treated the kids to the movies or even better the greasy spoon diner it was “you got your hands full” at least 5 times. Are they all yours?  People could be so forward (and thoughtless).  But that is a subject for another day. We would endure the curiosity, and attention from strangers so the kids could enjoy a  flat kids meal hamburger, or mac and cheese at a “restaurant”. It was just getting out together mostly. I’ll tell you – sitting at my desk in my Manhattan office three years earlier you couldn’t have convinced me that I would be here – and HAPPY to be. This was more fulfilling than any job I had ever experienced. I am I making a difference? I hope so. Two of our fosters left to go back home after 10 months, and I was very emotional. We had taught them a lot, bonded and had to let go. We always knew they would eventually leave but it was quiet devastating when it finally happened. Good thing I was so busy with still having 6 other children in my home. Then six months later I was pregnant with Ariana ( 4 mo). Going through a pregnancy was no small feat while raising six others. Again, story for another day.


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