When I was a little girl, I always told my mom that I wanted to live on a farm and have a bunch of kids. She said I had better marry a rich farmer. Instead, I live on the beach in a small Texas town surrounded by mosquitoes and rattlesnakes and not a cow in sight. I live with five kids and a spotted dog. And I’m always looking to move again.
Growing up, my neighbors across the street were foster parents and I was fascinated by the whole idea. The kids appeared with horror stories, things I could never have imagined living in my safe little suburb. Even at 11 or 12, I knew that I too wanted to care for kids like those someday.
But I never seemed to go down the path of the typical foster parent or any type of parent, really. I drove cars without seatbelts, dated women not men, was a struggling artist/entrepreneur who lived month to month, and sometimes was known to eat food straight from the can.
After a bit of investigating and A LOT of paperwork, I received my first foster license. Now, eleven kids, two adoptions, one alternative insemination birth, two legal guardianships, and nine years later, I am an old hat at this game. Currently, my family consists of Clarence, Atrayue, Archie, Savana and Wyatt.
I started Open Arms Campaign, a non-profit, volunteer organization to recruit foster and adoptive families, and I target the LGBT community. I have become an activist and work to educate everyone not only about the plight of foster children, but also the inequality that faces LGBT people in their quest to create families.
Parenting is the hardest job you will ever love. It is challenging and tiring and isolating. There aren’t a lot of women (that I am interested in) out there who can look past my five special needs kids to see a potential date or who want to sometimes share the bed with a sick or scared child. There are not a lot of sitters who want to take them on either. There is not a lot of time for myself after diapers, laundry, meals, and doctor appointments.
BUT, there is also nothing like waking up to a smiling little face, getting a hug and hearing, “I love you, Mom.”
Click here to check out the Open Arms website:Open Arms Campaign Website
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