Hold onto the Happiest Parenting Moments

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. Being at home sick was not how I’d planned to spend this week, but it created time to start writing a devotional book for educators. I hope you make time to do something fun this weekend.

Quote of the week: “Being a foster parent is like the slogan for the Peace Corps. It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.” –Marion Rhines

Joke of the week: I don’t know why people say having dogs prepares you for having a kid, because my dog has never wanted to watch Frozen for 47 days in a row.

Nugget of Wisdom of the week:  If you had asked me six years ago if I ever thought I’d be writing, I would have said, “No way.” My first major step outside my comfort zone was volunteering for the Tennessee Foster Adoptive Care Association as their Knox regional director. The TFACA participated in the National Foster Parent Association’s Walk Me Home program, a tool to raise money for foster care-related needs. The TFACA had participated in these events since they began in 2008 but felt they needed to change a few things to benefit the organizations holding these events. So, what did I do? I volunteered to be the NFPA Walk Me Home program coordinator, which I did until 2022.

While working with the NFPA, I had my first opportunity to write articles for Fostering Families Today magazine. I wrote a total of three articles in two years. One article highlighted how the TFACA made its Walk Me Home successful nationally. One article tackled back-to-school shopping for foster children. The topic of the third article is what I want to emphasize in today’s post: laughter. It is said to be the best medicine.

My article, titled “It’s a Laughing Matter,” encouraged foster parents to hold onto those moments when happy, funny things occur. This is important, because later on, the hardness of their children’s reality will set in, and foster children can be hard to care for. I used several examples from my family to get the point across, such as when our oldest son was in first grade and wanted to give up school for Lent. Or the time our son Austin had a staring contest with Olivia’s picture on the wall. After a few minutes, he said, “Wow, she’s good.” He was only 8 years old at the time, but that memory brings back some of the easier times we had parenting him.

When you’re a foster parent, on some days you have the mentality, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got this!” Then, on other days, you wonder what in the world you have gotten yourself into. Children in care are often triggered on the anniversary date of when they entered custody or on a parent’s birthday, and their behaviors can be challenging. But, if you are intentional and hang onto the good times when funny things happen that make you belly laugh, those memories can help get you through the moments when you feel like giving up. These children need you. As Josh Shipp says, “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” You could be that person for a child.

Shout-Out of the week: This week, I want to give a shout-out to the people who work to ensure that children in care are taken care of: foster parents, caseworkers, therapists, teachers, and of course, the birth parents. It takes everyone working together to get a resolution and put children exactly where they belong.

Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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