Lost & Found

LOST by JAK’s Founder, Paula Herrmann
Oh geesh, I couldn’t believe what I watched, playing out online and in the news on Monday.  A toddler, 2 years old, found wandering in just a diaper less than a mile from my home Read More…
A benefit (sometimes a curse) to what I do, as I work, is stay signed into JAK’s Facebook and Twitter pages in an effort to keep abreast with what’s going on that is relevant to kids and families.  If I miss it, you might miss it.  Then I saw the play by play postings made by Racine Undercovered: the discovery of this under-clothed, unattended to, lost child.
Who could this baby belong to?  Where is his mom? his dad? his caregiver? ….the clock continues to tick.  Thank goodness for the woman who “saved” him and contacted the authorities.  I believe there were others that saw him, but didn’t respond.  No one seems to know who he is or who he belongs to, even with the door-to-door efforts by the police.  Within a few hours, the mom is identified.  You can read the story via the Racine Undercovered link above, or the Journal Times articles.
I am not a perfect mom and my intent is not to be judgmental.  At the same time, based on what the police report and articles describe, there are a few things to highlight, that most parents know: 1) Sleep when your kid(s) sleeps.  Of course, as adults we don’t need as many hours of slumber as our growing children do.  Yet, we don’t sleep when our kids, especially unattended young ones are up and around.  2) Don’t leave a bathtub full of water unattended to, especially with babies and toddlers around. 3) Don’t lie.  Especially to the police in the midst of them investigating you.  You’ll get caught (ie: she stated she was shopping online while computer logs don’t support that claim).  I know that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.  She was online, why should it matter where?  Her apparent dishonesty diminished her credibility.   And finally, 4)  marijuana is illegal. Now, you’re busted and you’ve got a police record, multiple charges, an upcoming court hearing.  Worst of all, you’ve lost your son.
I don’t know this mom.  I know that she is young.  I am at least 20 years older than her and maybe some of what I know, including the items numbered above, comes with maturity and wisdom.  The situation, as it is reported, seemingly makes mommy and her ability to appropriately take care of her son questionable.
Now what?  Not sure if she made her $1000 cash bond.  Either way, she cannot have contact with her son. What happens to their Christmas?  To the little boy’s Christmas?  Sometimes, we don’t realize the consequences for our actions.  For this mom, sleeping and not being aware of what baby is up to (with a tub filled with water, a potential safety risk to the child); seemingly being less than truthful; possessing illegal drugs and paraphernalia; has resulted in her really loosing her child.  At least temporarily.  If she just would’ve been sleeping and baby slipped out the door, without the other junk stacked on top, would she be with him right now?  This is a commentary on how quickly events can unfold and the resulting life-changing consequences of our actions.
So what’s best for little guy? Christmas at home with his family? Or in the care of another family member, or possibly a stranger.  I don’t know….I am lost for an answer.
FOUND by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Union Grove, Kaia Beyer
“It’s guaranteed.  Every year, right before Christmas, we would get a call to take a baby.”  These are words my friend, Stephanie, a fellow foster mom, once said to me as I anxiously waited for our next placement.  It seems that even more kids come into an already over-loaded system around this time of year.  Imagine a little boy being taken out of his home, for whatever reason, and asked to wait in a large building while a bunch of people he has never met before try to figure out what to do with him.  Read More…How scary it must be to have no idea where he will sleep that night. I can’t explain it other then God made it clear to me that it was my family’s purpose to provide a home for the children that do not have one.

I became a stay-at-home mom nine years ago, after my second child was born.  My husband Joel and I have been married for eleven years, and currently have six kids: four birth, and two foster.   Things are usually pretty chaotic around here.  Someone asked me once, “But it’s ‘controlled’ chaos, right?”  Yeah… not so much.  Some days, I don’t feel like I have much control at all.  I know I can’t be the only mom who feels this way.  One of the hardest part of becoming a mom for me was to realize that each of these little people are their own person, and will make decisions that I have no control over whatsoever.  I’m learning (sometimes the hard way) that what I do have control over is how I will react to them and their choices.

Joel and I  knew we were done having children together after I gave birth to my fourth, but we also knew of the tremendous need for foster parents in Racine.  Four years ago, we decided to get licensed and “ease” into foster care through doing respite care for foster families who needed a break.  After getting licensed (a process which takes a few months), we were short-term respite providers a few times, but soon welcomed our first official placement- a sweet little girl.
I definitely wouldn’t say that being a foster parent is easy.  The atmosphere at home is usually pretty awkward when a new child first arrives.  Kids have come to us who were dirty from head to toe, smelly, and who obviously wanted nothing to do with us.  I have been sworn at by a two-year old.  It is usually not the “love at first sight” that you see in the movies.  It can be a hard adjustment.   And Yes, you do get attached.  I have fallen in love with each of the children that we have fostered, and have had my heart broken more then once.   Yet, God has pieced me back together, and shown me that there are still children who need us.  My kids have also been sad to see children leave. This being said, my kids amaze me by the compassion they have for others.  I have no doubt this compassion has been learned through our experience as a foster family.  I love how they are not uncomfortable talking to people who are different from themselves, or volunteering to help serve those in need.   The blessings we have received through our experience in foster care far outweigh the hardships.  I sometimes wonder why my life circumstances turned out so different than most of the children who come to us.  I believe God has blessed my family so that we are able to help those who need it most.
The greatest lesson I have learned through my experience as a foster mom, is that each and every day with our children is a gift.  We do not know how long we will have with any of them.  Although this time of year can be extremely stressful, try to not be too flustered that you forget how magical this time of year is through your child’s eyes.  How exciting is the morning after the first snowfall, when they can’t wait to get their snow suits and boots on and run and make a snow angel?  How sweet to watch a child put each piece of the nativity scene so carefully into place?   These are the things that matter.  Sometimes you have to just stop worrying about crossing everything off your to-do list, and instead, make some hot cocoa, sit down, and listen- really listen– to what your child has to say.   Cherish the time you have together.  Life is too short not to.
In addition to her responsibilities as a foster parent and stay-at-home mom, Kaia also the co-coordinator of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) of Grace Church.

1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Melissa Lichucki said,

    Kaia – you are truly amazing and an angel on Earth! So proud of my “big sister”! xoxo, Melissa

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