It’s been nagging at me all week: I should write on my blog. Today when I realized that May 1 kicks off both Foster Care Month and Mental Health Month, I couldn’t ignore the tug any longer.
It’s been awhile since I put my fingers to the keys to share a life update. I could give a lot of excuses about why that’s the case; I’m sure I’m unaware of many more. But I guess I’ll start by saying the past 16 months have been some of the hardest of my life—which is saying a lot considering I’ve survived colon cancer twice. What’s been so tough?
Well, to put it succinctly: foster care and mental health.
Becoming Foster Parents
Nine months ago, Mike and I became foster parents to a little boy who was the one exception to our plan of raising an only child: a biological sibling to our adopted daughter. I won’t share the details leading up to his birth nor the situation that led to us becoming his foster parents, but I will say it’s been the most bittersweet blessing of our lives. Foster care situations tend to be chaotic, but this little guy is the most joyful baby we’ve ever met. We’re all smitten and in love.
We’re now raising a baby and a tween at the same time. It’s funny though, how circumstances offer perspective. Parenting a large age gap, waking up at night, “starting over,” going from one kid to two—that’s been the easy part. What’s been hard?
Well, foster care and mental health.
Private vs. public
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know I’m used to being an open book. Heck, I wrote and published my memoir, Blush, a few years ago, a composition exposing the innermost thoughts and deepest details of my coming of age. So this is a new chapter for me: keeping so many life details private versus public.
A lot has happened throughout the past 16 months, and very little of it got posted on social media or my blog. I can't decide if I like that or not, I'm still processing the pros and cons.
I will say I don't always feel like "me" right now. Part of that's because situations surrounding foster care and mental health tend to be traumatic and I'm a bit shaken up. Part of that's because I have identified as a writer and blogger for so many years, yet the posts have run dry.
On some days, it feels like I've lost my voice. On other days, I'm choosing to keep quiet. And yet on other days, I'm aware that I'm being forged in a fire and I'm hesitant to say too much because I want the words to come from the wiser version of "me" that will one day walk out of these flames. It's not "selfie" worthy stuff right now, and I don't have any tips, lists or advice to offer.
But, it’s Foster Care Month and Mental Health Month, and it felt like I should find at least something to say.