Adoption Family Parenting tips

Do you attend court proceedings of your foster kids? Parenting Tip #23

Navigating the Foster Care System

Someone asked me lately how involved we got in our foster kids’ court proceedings.

My answer? V.E.R.Y.

Little lying joyful girl with ponytails and risen foots on white background

Every three months there was a court hearing for the kids.

  • We attended ALL court hearings.
  • I wrote a letter to the judge a week before updating him on the kids.
  • We talked with their court appointed lawyer before every hearing.
  • We kept in contact with the social worker asking for all updates and plans.
  • We sat with the birth parent and talked with them while we waited.
  • We contacted the Guardian Ad Litem if needed

The judge always asked if we were present and read my letter during the proceedings. He often asked for our input to clarify some of the issues.

In addition, this shows the court that the kids are being properly cared for and fulfills one of the parental duties that are missing  if they are not with their birth parents. It is amazing how much you will learn about their birth family, the foster care system and the legal system.

Advocate for the Children {Mom of Many}The case worker needs support.

The case worker most likely has a heavy case load. By attending court you are showing the worker that you are willing to put in effort and support them. One of our workers was so burned out that he actually told us he wasn’t planning to do anything for our foster kids – that court was just a formality.

He had good reason to be discouraged. He had recently fought to terminate the parents rights of a boy in foster care because he knew the birth home was dangerous.  He lost the case and the boy returned home immediately – he died that same week by parental abuse.

When we talked, we told him we would support him and even hire a lawyer if he felt the kids needed one. He accepted right away and started being more proactive.

Though we did not agree with much of the methods of the foster care agency, we remained involved through out the 2.5 years our last set of kids were in foster care. Since we were so involved, the judge felt comfortable granting the termination of parental rights.

The worker needs a plan.

Judges often won’t grant termination of parental rights if the foster care worker has no plan. 

For the most part, the courts’ goal is to reunite families – which is the proper goal. But if that is not possible, judges need to know the child will have a forever family once termination is granted.

They don’t see the point of freeing a child that will only float around in the system. There are so many kids lost in the system, waiting for a family.

If you are a foster family that would be willing to adopt your foster child if they are ever in need, get involved in every area. It’s what parents do.

What do you find to be the greatest challenge in fostering? Is it the day-to-day caring for the child, or the emotional stress?

Let me know in the comments.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Family Events Parenting tips

A Kid Friendly Thanksgiving Table – Parenting Tip #13

Is Your Thanksgiving Table Kid Friendly?

Since the kids tend to get a bit impatient waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to get on the table, do a little something different this year.

Give them special placemats.

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

The Thanksgiving coloring pages are from Busy Bee Kid’s Printables. They will grab the kids’ attention and take it off you – giving you the freedom to finish up on your Thanksgiving preparations.

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

Create kid friendly hors d’oeuvres

Curb their appetites a bit with snack foods consistent with the holiday – if they are nutritious, you’ll have no worries!

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

If they are a bit older, go with a Mad Libs fill in the blank activity.

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

These Mad Libs can be found at My Sister’s Suitcase.

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

The Kids' Thanksgiving Table {Mom of Many}

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s a great time to focus on family and forget your to-do list…even if just for a day.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Please leave a comment and tell us what Thanksgiving traditions you enjoy each year.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Educating Our Children Family Parenting tips

Does your child run away? Parenting Tip # 12


Running away from your problems is a race you will never win…

Recently a mom contacted me about her teenage son who has developed the habit of running away when he is upset.

We had a couple of kids try that a few times and it caused huge stress for our family. It’s a heart breaking moment when your child runs through the door when you are in the middle of a parenting moment. If you want to experience mind numbing F.E.A.R., just watch your child go out the door in a fit of defiance!

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}
To download this FREE full resolution JPG word art, click the picture above.

Running away:

  1. Exacerbates the problem because you can’t deal with it if they aren’t there!
  2. Disrupts the family and scares the other children.
  3. Puts them, you, and your family immediately at risk legally (you never know what they will do on the run).
  4. Is unsafe for the child to be running around unsupervised.
  5. Puts the public at risk because the child isn’t thinking clearly.
  6. Is an act of rebellion – it must be addressed.

This was what I told the M.O.M. – in a nut shell.

I never did this but found myself wishing I had. Live and learn, right?

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}

  1. If your child has developed a habit of running away, be sure to call 911 IMMEDIATELY to let them know your child is on the run.
  2. Be sure to let your child know ahead of time that if they run, you will call the police. Be clear that you love them and will do it to protect them, you, the rest of the family and the public.
  3. Keep a journal EVERY DAY if you have a child that acts out. This will give you credibility if you run into any legal issues. Because I had NO PAPER TRAIL, my word was disregarded in time of crisis.
  4. Get a good support system that will come to your aid day or night. Fill in at least one trusted friend and your pastor so there are others who will back you up in time of crisis and come to your house if you need them.

I had a good support system in place just weeks before our last incident, so between them and the Lord’s protection, we were fine. But it could have turned out disastrous!

If you need support join our M.O.M. group. We get it.

Val @ Mom of Many

Family Parenting tips

M.O.M. A New Facebook Mom’s Support Group

Helping and Healing {Love My DIY Home}

Have you ever felt isolated, out of options or ganged up on? Do you wish you could find someone who understands?

Then join us at M.O.M. Click on the side banner in the right or CLICK HERE. >>>

For many years I felt isolated and alone. Now you don’t have to.

If you are a mom and interested in joining a new Facebook mom’s community where you will find:

  • no judgement
  • acceptance
  • ideas and advice
  • other moms who “get it”
  • a safe place of support

You will get information on our “closed” Facebook group and others goodies along the way.  Join M.O.M.


Keep being amazing!

Val @ Mom of Many


Family Parenting tips

Does your child sleep through the night? Parenting Tip #9

Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom of Many}

You CAN teach your kids to sleep.

I have often heard of parents who get up with their child several times a night because of crying or whining or just plain getting out of bed to play.

My heart goes out to them when I see their red eyes, short tempers and woebegone faces. I’m talking about the moms!

I truly want to help them but I seldom offer advice unless asked. I don’t want to be one of those “know it alls” who seem to have an answer for everything. So to those of you who know me…if you want advice, you will have to ask!

But peeps…I have the answer here.

Wanna know how to get your child to sleep through the night and to stay in bed until you tell them they can get up?

Here you go…

  1. Have a regular bed time. Don’t negotiate and don’t argue. State it. Stick to it. Don’t allow arguing or bargaining. This applies for babies all the way to teens. Someone recently commented on one of my parenting tips posts that if their kids argue about going to bed, the next day they have “practice” bedtimes during their favorite shows the next day. Get creative!
  2. Be sure to remind them just before bedtime. “Hey guys, in a half an hour it’s bedtime.” Nobody likes to quit what they are doing – this will help them to mentally prepare. Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom of Many}
  3. Have a routine. We always did jammies, brush teeth, prayer circle, hugs goodnight and then bed.
  4. Check on them regularly until there is no question that bed time is bed time. Let them see you checking on them. Be consistent. When our sibgroup of 3 girls moved in we took turns sitting outside their door until they went to sleep. If they knew we were out there, they didn’t move a muscle. Establish a habit.
  5. Put books at the end of their bed for morning. Tell them that if they wake up early, to just read quietly till you come to get them. If you hear them in the mornings talking or getting out of bed, go remind them and put them back in bed and tell them to stay until you get them up. Be consistent.
  6. If they wake in the night, go in their room and tell them you are there and to go back to sleep. If they continue fussing, go in every 15 minutes the first night. Reassure them by telling them you are there and to go back to sleep. Touch them to let the know you are there but DON’T pick them up or let them get out of bed.
  7. Within a few days if not sooner, your child will begin to sleep longer and eventually all night. Continue to require obedience in the mornings. Be consistent.

Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom o

I have taught all my babies to sleep through the night by 4 months.

Here are a few baby specific tips:

  1. When they are newborn, they need the nutrition, so don’t plan to teach them to sleep through the night early on.
  2. When you do get them up to feed them, don’t change their diaper unless it is messy or they are soaked. Changing them awakens them completely and you’ll have a wide awake baby ready to play if you do. Part of teaching them to sleep is wrapped up in what you do from the beginning.
  3. Never let little ones cry a long time without reassuring them. Those who call out for mom whether through crying or words and get no answer learn that adults will not care for them. This is how we get kids with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder).
  4. Always make sure that there are not extenuating circumstances. If you know they are fed, clean and dry, comfortable, not sick or afraid, then you know their waking is just a matter of habit. Work at teaching them to sleep. Work at getting to know your child so you will know.
  5. Always put them to bed in a reassuring way. Babies and kids in general need to go to sleep after a pleasant interaction with their care givers. I have known of moms who throw their kids in bed or yell at them to get them to obey. This is not what sweet dreams are  made of. Be kind but firm.
  6. If you put them to bed with a pacifier, bottle or nurse them to sleep you are asking for trouble. It may be easy to start with, but you will become a slave to the habit. I knew of a parent that several times a night would have to crawl around on the floor looking for the pacifier in the dark.

If you begin praying with them before bedtime early on, you and your child will get in the habit of pleasant bed time experiences and their mind will be on how God cares for them rather than thinking about being alone in the dark.

Some of my best memories are of our prayer circle.

We had a wide hallway just outside the kids’ bedrooms. We’d send them all in to get jammies on and brush their teeth. One by one they’d come to sit down with us, waiting for the others to finish.

Getting Your Kids to Sleep {Mom of Many}

There was a lot of chatting, tickling and hugging going on during the few minutes of waiting. Then when all were sitting down on the floor in a circle, one by one they would pray. It was precious.

This accomplished 5 things: No messing around or fighting while getting ready for bed. We made sure they brushed their teeth and put their clothes away. We were all together as a family at the close of the day. It was a happy time rather than the kids feeling like they were missing out on something by going to bed.

How about you? What do you do to make bedtime stress free? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Val @ Mom of Many

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Parenting tips Things I've Learned

Do you have parenting goals? Parenting Tip #5

Give Yourself a Break

When my kids were still living at home, I often would fall asleep at night stressing over what I had not accomplished that day – it was very self-defeating. “Why did my kids act like terrors today? Why did my son bite my daughter? How is it that I never seem to get the house clean? I’m home all day. I need to do better…”

Parenting Tip #5 {Mom of Many)

It is very common to stress over what we didn’t get accomplished that day.

But what about the things we DID accomplish? Were there any wins? Did the kids learn anything? Were they happy and healthy? If they were sick, or got hurt did we help them?

I was fortunate enough to have a DH that would come home and greet me without expectations.

I’d say, “I have NOTHING planned for dinner tonight, so sorry.” or, “The living room is strewn with toys, sorry, watch your step.” You know his response?

He’d come back with, “Are the kids still alive?”

And of course I would reply, “Yes.”

“Then you did great today,” was always his answer.


We moms are hard enough on ourselves.

We don’t need others defining us or telling us what we should or should not do or accomplish in a day’s time.

I distinctly remember one day looking at the clock at 2:00 in the afternoon feeling guilty that I was still in my fuzzy pink bathrobe, crying because I couldn’t seem to get anything done that day because the kids ran me ragged that day.


Uh, uh. Nope. Never again.

Since then I’ve learned that my best is good enough – good enough for my family and good enough for God. God only expects us to be faithful. If we are then we’re good. End of story.

Do Your Have Parenting Goals? {Mom of Many}

Let’s talk about goals – parenting goals.

While I encourage you not to stress, it’s always good to have goals to shoot for. I’m very goal oriented and tend to analyze EVERYTHING in my life, from how I present myself to what I’ve accomplished in my life. I analyze my relationships and hobbies – how could I do better? How is what I’m doing affecting others?

So I’ve made up a goal sheet for you – a PDF with some spots that you can enter your goals to keep track of your progress and to think through what it is you hope for, dream of and shoot for.

It’s good to have goals.

I’ve made a Parenting Goals Chart for you.

Just click on the picture and I will send you an 8×10 JPG that you can either print in your office with an edge to edge printer or get printed as an 8×10 photo and then cut to the 8×8 square goal chart. Suggestion… Get it printed, cut it and frame it in an 8×8 frame with glass you can write on with a dry erase marker – that way you can write/meet your goal/erase/write again.


Parenting Goal Chart {Mom of Many)

If you make progress then you are successful.

Be realistic, but shoot for the stars. We all need goals.

A friend told me of an app that I downloaded on my phone as an encouragement – to keep track of my wins every day. Its’ called WinStreak. Put some things in your life today that encourage you and keep you on track.

Ask yourself, “Are the kids growing, learning and loved?” If you say, “Yes,” Then you are on the right track.

Find friends who are encouragers. Find a good church. Find out who you are and enjoy being who God made you to be.

Now go be amazing – because you are.

Val @ Mom of Many