YOU GUYS, I can't wait to introduce you to one of the most inspiring + vulnerable faces I've ever got to meet via instagram. An incredible love story...a mama thats about empowering + spreading love.
Hi there! I'm Brittaney. I kiss my dog on the lips every single day. I'm a buyer of canned goods I already have and there's a pretty sweet collection of green chilies in my pantry to show for it. Never met a donut I didn't like. Former foster kid, now foster mama to some of the most amazing kids. Madly in love with my husband. Paris is my favorite place, but Nantucket is a close second. Lover of Jesus, vanilla iced lattes and long romantic walks down every aisle at Target. Interior stylist of a growing small business. Lover of the small things. Adoption advocate.
1. Whats the one thing that surprised you the most about fostering?
There are a lot of things about fostering that surprised me, but the biggest was definitely the overwhelming push to get these kiddos back with biological parents too soon. When we signed up for fostercare, we did so knowing we would have to say goodbye. What we did not know is that many times our kiddos would go back into unsafe environments before the biological families had even worked through all of the necessary steps to obtain custody. I will go even as far as to say I have seen social workers lie during case reviews to make the biological family look good. That was definitely the most disappointing and surprising part of fostercare.
2. How do you and Justin make time for you guys, with the busy-ness of being parents?
Every single Friday, Justin and I go out for a date. It doesn't matter if it's dinner and a movie or a trip through the Taco Bell drive-thru. Every Friday, we make time together without the kids. No excuses. One of the best things I can do for my kids is to love their dad.
3. If you could give pre-mom Brittaney advice on motherhood, what would it be?
LET. IT. GO. Pre-mom Brittaney had this pretty fancy opinion of what motherhood was going to look like. Absolutely no baby toys in the living room! My kids must always wear Matilda Jane, Zara, Baby Gap! Funny though, as I type this, there is a baby gym to the right my of beautiful white tufted couch. A bouncer in front of my meticulously styled builtins. I have probably rewarmed my coffee twice and my kid is still in last nights pjs. (Which by the way are not Matilda Jane, Zara, or Baby Gap) Once you learn to let things go you figure out that life doesn't have to be perfect to be awesome.
4. What is something you wish people were more understanding or sensitive about when it comes to foster care?
Oh, this is a loaded question! Let me just say this. Sometimes holding on is harder than letting go.
Our big girl came to us as a brand new four year old. The honeymoon stage was short but so sweet. About a month after she moved in all Hell broke loose on our family. I walked around with the weight of the world on my chest. She hated me. She loved me. She hated me again. The wedge she drove between my husband and I honestly scared me. She was a master manipulator. We actually put in our notice after months of Hell. But they couldn't find a home for her. They were going to put her into a group home. I just couldn't stand the thought of that so I held on to her for dear life. She lived with us for one year. Some days were so good it was hard to put her to bed because I didn't want to stop being with her. Other days I couldn't find a place to cry fast enough because I felt so empty. In December, she was reunified with her mother. Of course we feel broken. Sad. Incomplete. But there is this undeniable peace. In our home. In our marriage. In my entire body. We still have this great relationship with her and probably always will. But for whatever reason, holding on nearly killed me while letting go, well that was almost therapeutic.
Oh! And one more thing I wish people would understand! We are raising other peoples babies. We are going to weekly trauma therapy. We are meeting with social workers and therapists and physicians. We are tired. So many people do not have the call on their life to foster. And that is totally fine!! But supporting a foster family is just as important. I PROMISE. A Target gift card we can use for our kiddos clothing. A homemade dinner. Free babysitting. Means everything to us. Find a foster family and walk with them. That is just as much of a ministry as welcoming kiddos into your home.
5. What impressed you guys to foster?
My biological parents battled with substance abuse. My brothers and I ended up in fostercare because of it. While apart of the system we were abused physically, sexually, emotionally. Eventually we were placed into this incredible adoptive home and that changed everything for us. I knew one day I wanted to be that for someone else.
6. I love how real + raw you've been with some of the darkest moments in your parenting, how has that affected you? Are people kind and accepting of that? Is being vulnerable like that hard for you or come easy?
You know, I believe that vulnerability is the truest form of human connection. Because if I can be really brave, just for a second, and share something really hard or scary and have even one person reach out to let me know they feel less alone because of that, my job is done. I have always been met with an incredible amount of support and acceptance. I'm really grateful for that.
7. Whats something you do to empower you, something that fills your bucket before you can fill others buckets?
I love to shop. If I have a hard day in parenting or life in general, give me one hour in Target and it has been proven at a 99% success rate that I will come out a better human.
8. What do you feel most proud of?
My husband. Truly. I always feel like the luckiest girl in the world when we are together. I watch the way he soars through Corporate America, the way he rocks fatherhood, but he still finds time to be my best friend. Meeting him, falling crazy in love with him, sharing his last name. Well, that is by far my proudest life decision.
9. Whats the most defining moment in your life? ( or three, ones kind of hard to pick!)
When I was 19 years old, I packed everything I owned into my little navy blue Suzuki and with only about $300 in my bank account, moved from a small midwest town to Orlando, Florida. My life really began at that moment. I still remember making that 18 hour drive and the way the sun felt on my skin once I drove past the Florida state line. I saw my very first palm tree and literally couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. In Florida I met and married my husband. I graduated from a great university. I think that move laid the groundwork for so many other areas in my life, too. It taught me that I can do hard things.
10. If I asked Justin, what do you think he would say his favorite quality about you is?
Oh man this was a tough one! I think he may say the way I (try) to keep an open mind about everything. I remember when we first moved into our cute little colonial about three years ago. We had all gas appliances, I had always had electric. I boiled water to make spaghetti and the water got so hot so fast. I ended up burning myself and crying. No-sobbing is more like it. I pitched one of the biggest fits of my life that night about how I hated gas and needed electric again. He just listened and went along with my fit. The next night he found me in the kitchen cooking on my gas stove and he was SO PROUD! Like, unbelievable proud that I would try again. I've never forgotten that. Oh and to this day I am hooked on gas and never want to go back!
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