I am Sharla, mom to seven amazing kids, five through adoption. My husband and I were foster parents for eight years and in that time, fostered 17 children (not all at the same time!). We went through foster-to-adopt four times. We lost our precious daughter Amera after she had been with us for 20 months after a judge made a bad decision (I think it’s fair to say that it was a bad decision because she is currently living in foster care in another province and has had more than a dozen homes since leaving us). That experience was one of the most difficult of my life and I miss her every day, but feel privileged to have had the opportunity to take care of her for those 20 months.
Our other three foster-to-adopt situations resulted in the adoption of our kids Miss Optimism, Einstein, and Granola Girl.
We later adopted Snuggle Puppy and Dancing Queen from Ethiopia.
During our years as foster parents, we had access to over 50 different training courses and seminars, so I was shocked at how little help and support was available to us after our international adoption. There were many times during the initial days home (which were a huge struggle), where my husband and I looked at each other and asked, “what would parents who don’t have all our training and experience do?” It was a scary thought. My eyes were opened to how little help was out there for adoptive parents and how difficult the resources were to discover. Over the next months, I received many desperate phone calls and e-mails from adoptive parents who were struggling and didn’t know where to turn. That is how I slipped into my role as adoption advocate, not only for children, but for adoptive parents who needed support.
I am fumbling along a bit in this new role, but my heart is in the right place. I am learning more and more as I go. I may not always get the adoption language right (some prefer “first mother”, others “birthmom”, others “natural mom”, and some don’t like any of those terms) but I am reading and growing through hearing the experiences of others. I hope that being open to hearing the stories of others on all sides of adoption will only help me to be a better mom to my kids.
On this blog, I don’t blog much about adoption, mainly about homeschooling, food, and fun, but adoption weaves its way into each of those things in some ways.
Welcome to The Chaos and The Clutter…our family’s little spot on the web!