Today marks 18 months exactly since my family has been complete. 18 months ago Cayla and Preston moved in to our home and joined their sister Skye who had moved in 2 weeks prior. This time 18 months ago we were unpacking bags and moving things into rooms. We were wading through the mom/dad or Katie/Joel territory. We were blissfully unaware of some of the challenges that lay ahead. We were excited, terrified and every emotion in between. We were, for all intents and purposes, 5 relative strangers living in the same house playing family and hoping to one day BE a family.
Today we are all more tired, joyful, reflective, and most of all we ARE a family. A family that still has a lot of work to do. A family that has mountains to climb and valleys to wade through. A family that I wouldn’t trade for anything. A family that will utilize the supports available to make our family stronger.
So in honor of our 18 month family-versary I will be sleeping in late and hanging with Joel and some friends. Nope, not the kids. Last night til Sunday afternoon the kids are with some amazing supports. Former foster parents and respite providers that love our kids, that pour stability and safety into their lives and have since before I knew the kids existed. Part of this life that it took us a while to realize is that it is hard and exhausting. Trying to fill your child full of the love and safety and life skills that they missed out on for up to 7 years is hard. To be able to do that we need breaks (as all parents do). Joel and I are blessed that there are systems in place and people that support us to allow this to happen on a regular basis. So if you are reading this and you are someone that has provided relief or respite or just a listening ear to share the burden: Thank you!