Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Foster Parenting While Writing OR Writing while Foster Parenting (You Decide)

This writing prompt courtesy of MRW:

18 months ago to this day, my husband and I took in two little foster girls. Very scared and very quiet,  we were their third foster home in a year.

At that time, I was writing about 3 times a week and editing about an hour or two. I felt very productive and thought I could see myself sending out serious queries at the end of summer. I signed up enthusiastically for the California Crime Writing Conference and managed to spend an hour or two a day getting all that ready.

Then these two little girls stood on our door step. Placed on an emergency order, Big Princess at 6 years behaved far too old and Little Princess at 4 came off much younger. Within 30 minutes of placement, Big Princess poo'd her pants and Little Princess cried off and on. We signed the papers to receive them and sent the social workers on their way.

The following days consisted of setting up showers for Big Princess who poo'd her pants out of anxiety, finding Little Princess day care, and driving Big Princess around to an amazing about of doctor's appointments.

Writing? Impossible. When I did find the time to write, I found myself endlessly interrupted by calls from social workers, setting up showers, and "Lee, Lee, Lee". So most of my writing of the time seemed almost schizo.

After the conference, I ditched my writing. I felt little satisfaction in doing so, but I'm a licensed Foster Parent and I agreed to taking them. After three weeks of taking them in, we learned that DCSF wanted them to stay permanently longer. We agreed.

18 months later, I'm finally sitting in front of my screen and hammering out words. No regrets over those 18 months of lost writing time or the lack of publishing, lack of query, lack of...everything creative.

We've gotten into a rhythm that allows me to write with them in the house. Big Princess, now poo-free thanks to anti-anxiety exercises, seems content to do crafts and can do her homework with little supervision. Little Princess, my budding drummer, can pound away happily while I write...and nope, it doesn't bug me.

The secret lies in routine, consistency, and setting the girls up for success. They know they need to think twice before interrupting Mommy's typing (if you're not bleeding or it out!). I try to only write when they're busy or during lunch time when Daddy's on duty.

All in all...I'm back in the office chair again and I'm ready to roll...but the Princesses still sit in first priority...and that's ok.


  1. As a former foster parent, I know the heartaches and joys of this very important and loving endeavor. All the best to you and your family.

  2. Beautiful story. You are so blessed to take in those 2 princesses. Your writing can only improve.

  3. The writing time will come, but the stable life you are giving the Princesses is irreplaceable. Good luck to you all!

  4. Super article, gives you to think like no other!

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