Nesting With The Earley Birds

Fostering Life - Meet the Simons Family, Foster and Biological Parents!

November 25, 2020 Shannon Earley
Nesting With The Earley Birds
Fostering Life - Meet the Simons Family, Foster and Biological Parents!
Chapters
Nesting With The Earley Birds
Fostering Life - Meet the Simons Family, Foster and Biological Parents!
Nov 25, 2020
Shannon Earley

Everyone - I can't warmly express ENOUGH how fond I am of this husband and wife duo.
I first found Chelsea through Google's suggested stories that the A.I. thought I'd be interested in - and apparently Google was right  - because I then read a gut-wrenching yet hopeful story of foster-parenting and love, written by Chelsea herself!  You can actually find that article right here!
She was so gracious and kind and brave to meet me for a phone call from across the entire USA - literally East meets West in this situation - and my mind was blown even further when I saw a picture of her and her husband online, and get this - we both had pink hair and a nose ring in the photo, and our husbands had beards, glasses and a sweet face!?!  What in the world?!
I am so happy to introduce you to Chelsea, and to share just a part of her story with you all - she has been one of my favorite guests, and I can't wait for you to hear what she has to say!
Thanks for coming back, friends!


Gemmist
Haircare for the Holidays

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nestingwiththeearleybirds)

Show Notes Transcript

Everyone - I can't warmly express ENOUGH how fond I am of this husband and wife duo.
I first found Chelsea through Google's suggested stories that the A.I. thought I'd be interested in - and apparently Google was right  - because I then read a gut-wrenching yet hopeful story of foster-parenting and love, written by Chelsea herself!  You can actually find that article right here!
She was so gracious and kind and brave to meet me for a phone call from across the entire USA - literally East meets West in this situation - and my mind was blown even further when I saw a picture of her and her husband online, and get this - we both had pink hair and a nose ring in the photo, and our husbands had beards, glasses and a sweet face!?!  What in the world?!
I am so happy to introduce you to Chelsea, and to share just a part of her story with you all - she has been one of my favorite guests, and I can't wait for you to hear what she has to say!
Thanks for coming back, friends!


Gemmist
Haircare for the Holidays

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nestingwiththeearleybirds)

Shannon Earley:

Hello friends this is Shannon Earley, with the nesting with the early birds podcast, and today, I am super duper pumped! I have a guest that literally lives across the entire United States of America. I actually found this person through a Google suggestion of something I'd be interested in reading. This woman not only has been married to her darling husband for nine and a half years, but she also has two biological children. Her and her husband, way back in the day, we're like, man, we have two foster children. There is a huge need in America, and her husband stepped up. And within one and a half years, they have already loved on and helped and fostered five different children. She runs a blog called messy fun mayhem. And it's all about empowering and encouraging women and sharing some stories, true stories about her foster experience. And when I saw this, I was like, I have to talk to her. She's like Oregon version of Shannon. She's empowering kicks and being real. Please welcome to the show. Mrs. Chelsea Simons.

Chelsea Simons:

You are so awesome.

Shannon Earley:

When you said yes. I told you. I was ecstatic. So thank you.

Chelsea Simons:

Yeah, this is gonna be fun.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, man. So I'm really excited because I was reading your blog, like I said on Google. But then I found it again on love what matters calm? And what struck me is how you and your husband knew that you wanted to foster before you even were married. Like before you even started out. What made you guys I mean, what?

Chelsea Simons:

Okay, this, this goes way, way, way back. So when I was a sophomore, I actually want to make friends. One day, he came to school. After telling me that, I have to go back to California, I have to move back to California. And I was like, Oh, no, not gonna happen. Nope, that's not cool with me. So I went home from school that day. And I was like, Hey, Mom, um, Vishnu is going to come live with us. Who's finishing new? And I was like, Oh, well, I mean, of course, it's fresh now. So right. He's, he's a foster kid, his sister is telling him that they have to move back to California. And I'm not movies that come live with us. And so she's like, Well, can I like talk to your dad about this first. So they have like, you know, that have the family meeting. And then we went out to dinner with him. And his older sister, we, you know, we all went out and we got home from dinner. I remember my dad looked at my mom and he goes, I think we just met our son. And sure enough, they like this. And they became foster parents. And he moved in with us and he's been my brother ever since. And so through that my my older sister started fostering my mom continued to foster she had a broken had so many kids come through their home, they love on so many kids. So this has been a part of my family for, I don't know, 1516 years or so and loving on all of my adopted nieces and nephews. And you know, my brother, I mean, like, this is just the near and dear to my heart. So when I met my husband, I was like, super up front. I can't wait to adopt someday I want to foster someday. And he was like, Yeah, I do. Like, I've always wanted to do it up. That sounds like like, the one for me.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah. Oh, dude, what a beautiful legacy. Like, you guys have a Noah's Ark for Sweet children that need a house. I mean, that's beautiful. That that's just insane. The amount of children and it's so sad how many kids even need help. There's like always another child. How do you deal with that? Like, how does that how do you wrap your Do you feel like, I'm just going to love on this child as much as I can, without worrying about the neck like how does that work?

Chelsea Simons:

That is a really good question. I think I'm such an empathetic person and I'm such a sensitive person and emotional person. So I mean, it really can be hard to just carry that weight of, you know, there's so many kiddos who need help and love? Um,

Shannon Earley:

I didn't their back stories. That's a hard way to write like,

Chelsea Simons:

Oh, yes. backstories big, big. Yeah, that's. So it's, I mean, it's just one step at a time. This is the kiddo in my home right now. I am going to love this child fiercely. As best as I can. I'm gonna love their biological family. Just one step at a time. I mean, like, kind of like, I don't know, could be cheesy and emotional. But I mean, I really think that God puts these kids in our home for a reason for this time. This purpose this season this I mean, this, like I yeah, so I just one step at a time. Or else it just you could drown under the weight of the pain that is in foster care.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, dude. Hundred percent. You mentioned God. Hundred percent. I love him. So that's fantastic. Do you feel like thinking that God has anything to do with it? Do you feel like it helps like, with the burden that you're carrying? Does it make you feel a little bit stronger or anything like that?

Chelsea Simons:

Oh, absolutely. I mean, yes, yes, yes, yes. And I think that it's such a beautiful thing to watch God seem such a terrible situation. I think that he has such a sneaky little special way to do that, to take this, you know, ration. Our kiddos have such heart and heart wrenching backstories. But then to see the beauty come from it. I mean, it has to be God to see the redemption behind it to see these parents get better to see these parents want help to see families reunited, and these kids overcome so much. Um, it's just magical. It's absolutely incredible to see, to see it. And you know, I wouldn't have these connections with these families. I mean, I one family in particular, I wouldn't be able to love on this mom, if her daughter wasn't in foster care. If she didn't, at lowest point in her life, I would not have gotten the opportunity to hug her and to tell her that I'm proud of her and I love her and that I'm in her corner, and I'm never going to replace her as mom and, you know, like, I wouldn't have gotten that opportunity to speak that life into her had. The awfulness of foster care happens,

Shannon Earley:

dude, yes, you are such a gangster. Thank you both. And there's actually a Bible verse that talks about what Satan meant for evil God uses for good. And so that's awesome. I just love also you said that God is a sneaky way. I 100% talk like that about him. Like, he thinks he's so cute today. He's like, he's being a little a winker, you know, like, he's giving me a wink. Like, I love that. It's like, I just love the way he can do. Yes, yes. So, you already I'm sorry. Go for it. You

Unknown:

say it first. Yes, and amen. Okay, good.

Shannon Earley:

Sorry, I talked him anyway. So, um, I was wondering, um, so a little bit of personal backstory for me, which I haven't tried to share with my audience. When I met my husband, I was always like, I want a giant family. Like, I want to, I want to be like, 19 Kids and Counting, like, I want as many kids as I can possibly have. And he was like, I want to get a master's and be smart. He doesn't talk like that. But you know, um, and I was being a hairstylist, and I go to the OB GYN and I'm like, hey, um, I might try to conceive, like, in the next two years, just want to make sure stuff's cool. And she was like, actually, it's not. You have such severe pcls your chances of getting pregnant are slim to none.

Unknown:

I have

Shannon Earley:

your ear, dude. Dude, dude. My leg hair is growing. Like, it's so exciting. Um, I, they sent me home with a pamphlet and I go home that day. And I'm just like, crying so hard. My husband and I prayed. And I was like, Lord, if you put this desire to have a big family on my heart, show me like, why like, what does that mean? And pretty soon my husband and I were like, you know what, like, I'm just gonna be a foster mom, and I'm gonna have 300 children. And like, we made jokes, like, I'm gonna be like, Mrs. Claus with big giant breasts when I'm like, 70 and the kids are gonna run up to me and snuggle me and I'll be like a chubby jolly lady and I'll have anyways Yes, and so, um, we had decided that is something that we wanted to do. But actually, right when we both were like, you know, confident in that decision, we got pregnant. And with our first child, which is so it's such a blessing too, because it made it feel like God gave us that child when we weren't desperate for her. Does that make any sense?

Unknown:

Yeah, um,

Shannon Earley:

anywho. So with that being said, At what age were your children when you decided your biological children when you decide it's time to bring another one in?

Unknown:

Um, another foster child

Shannon Earley:

or new foster? Like when How old were your children when you were like, you know, stuff's really crazy here. I just want it crazier. Like how old?

Unknown:

I think Lincoln are my five year old. He's five now. I think that he was. Oh, gosh, I think he was three and a half. The bad guy, a baby. And so our daughter would have been freshly too. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Two and Three. And. Yeah, I mean, when God puts a calling on your heart, yes. You need to be sensitive to the to the timing of it and you need to pray and all that jazz. Um, but also saying yes, is is a magical thing. And I think that he equips you when you say yes for it. So yep, bring on the crazy bring on the sleepless nights bring on. More screaming kiddos. Yep. Right. It's great. It's exhausting. Yeah, bring on.

Shannon Earley:

It's like that seen in the grand tours. Hearts too tiny. And then it grows like boop, boop, boop. Like, you know, he thinks there's no way you could love someone else. And then they come in. You're like, just kidding. I love you.

Unknown:

more. One more. One more. Yes. Oh,

Shannon Earley:

did you guys uh, one thing that surprised me. I think I was reading how quickly you guys began fostering that blew my mind. Like, I think you said something about your husband. So Okay, there you go. Start with that talk about who brought it up.

Unknown:

Okay, so even after my husband read read the blog, he was like, it was not your idea. It wasn't my idea.

Shannon Earley:

And like, Yes,

Unknown:

I can rest firm knowing that I am right. So it's fine. It's fine. We're fine. I'm actually right before Halloween, and I was like sitting on the floor. I like we always do like these big elaborate, like family costumes or whatever. So

Shannon Earley:

I just didn't have any costumes. I have what is happening more. All right, let's

Unknown:

continue.

Shannon Earley:

Yes, love.

Unknown:

So I was so we were in your pants. I was making my daughter's, like, ginormous. Tinkerbell too. Too cute is yes. My bed. Um, so they're like, leaving the tool away. And out it like seriously, out of the blue out of nowhere. Jonathan was like, What do you think about being a foster family? What do you think about? And I was like, Yes. Yep. Yep. love that idea. So it was like, I mean, the very next day, I was like, emailing, calling leaving voicemails for anybody I could find like on the local on our county's DHS website and when I could find

Shannon Earley:

what to stand for, for newbies. Oh, thank

Unknown:

you Department of Human Services. Right. That's, I you know, and that's a good point, because I think every state does it a little bit different. I mean, every state but um, so in Oregon, it's the Department of Human Services. And um, yeah, so it was like, I had voicemails and emails out the next day, we got our application in the mail like, a couple days later I had it returned to them. Like giving we started our I mean, like yeah, it was like so fast that we got the process started and it was just timing that like the are in Oregon, you have to take foster parenting classes. And it's like, I mean, they do it a little bit differently to try to cater to different work schedules, but ours was four weeks long to me. three hour classes. And it What did you do with your kids? babysitters? You're on baby. Yeah, yeah. Just had babysitters for like a month straight? Uh huh. Uh huh. Yeah,

Shannon Earley:

yeah, so two nights. Plus it's kind of like a date. Like, it's kind of it's kind of nice. Even though it's, you know, a long time, it's like up just as like.

Unknown:

So it was fine. last second class that we had our second ever class was actually on my birthday. So we sat like at the back table in the class, and we like, went and got like an individual pie from the grocery store. And we were like, birthday pie, like on the back.

Shannon Earley:

Like that fat person, like, What is she? Because that's so that's so romantic. Cool. I love it. So you guys went in, right before Halloween, you made the decision, like a couple days. And then the next day, you're like, calling everybody up. And then a couple weeks after that, you start the classes. Right? Yeah. Okay. And then those were for two weeks? No, just kidding. Six weeks?

Unknown:

It was a month. Yeah. Okay. Okay.

Shannon Earley:

And then what happens in the classes? Like, what kind of stuff did they tell you about?

Unknown:

They go over? I mean, it's like, it's everything in art and art teacher did an awesome job about like preparing us but non terrifying us, you know? Yeah.

Shannon Earley:

out,

Unknown:

abuse, different types of abuse, trauma, what that looks like, in all the different ages from birth to you know, up through teenagers and young adulthood. They talk about, oh, gosh, what are they talking about, you know, different services that are available to foster parents. Right? Different rights that your foster children have? is typically how it works. Being a foster parent, I mean, because you have doctor's appointments for your kids, you have visits with their biological parents, if they need counseling, you have that if you have a young child, and they're going to have early intervention assessments, and I mean, it's like, so just talking through, you know, preparing us for the logistics of that. And, um, oh, gosh, what else? I mean, it was insane. In one week, they had a few different foster parents come in. And like a panel, just we were able to just ask questions from current foster parents, and another week, they had DHS staff come in and talk to us about foster care through the staffs point of view. Um, and yeah, it was so heavy every single week. And further assurance, like this is what we need to do this is these are the kids we need to love.

Shannon Earley:

What did your parents say? Like, the fact that your other children were young? Like, did you ever? How was the support from your parents? Firstly, and then did you ever get negative pushback from people?

Unknown:

That so my mom, my father passed away? years ago, eight years ago, sorry. Yeah, I know. He's just, he would be cheerleading me on from the get go. And my mom was like, Yes. Oh, my goodness. It's about time. Yes.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah,

Unknown:

we have most everybody was super supportive. A few people, you know, had the raised eyebrows like, Oh, yay, like, so excited. Like, what is crazy, getting into radical family members that were just because they love us, they love me, they were just super, like, hey, make sure that you're protecting your heart here, make sure that you're protecting your illness, please be smart about it, you know, like, just out of like, you know, just love wanting us to like, not get hurt because they've gotten burned off for care. Um, but for the most part, people know how crazy we are. They know that, you know, we our family is loud and crazy and insane and beautiful. And we love it. So most people are just like cheering us on. And it was like, not a surprise at all that we would want to do this

Shannon Earley:

back step count. So what about like your other babes? How did you prepare them? And how did they react? For number one,

Unknown:

we'll say? Yeah, so they, I mean, they were so young, that you kind of like can't really prepare them

Shannon Earley:

when it's kind of just normal. Like, oh, okay, this is what we're doing now. Like,

Unknown:

this is like what? So? Um, yeah, Delaney when because it took us about eight or nine months to fully be certified. So by the time we were officially officially certified, Delaney had just turned two. Oh, boy. Wrong when I told you how young They were they were. They were two, two and one, I guess when we officially decided so then. So then

Shannon Earley:

one month to get certified after you did the class that's crazy.

Unknown:

Yes, it's crazy. But again, like God's timing he knew the kids we needed in our home. If you have to do home studies, you have to do a safety, home inspection, the background that you have to do like every family, every potential foster family is paired with a certifier and the certifiers job is to make sure that the foster parents are safe and healthy and you know, all that jazz. So they are the ones making sure that we're okay so with your certifier, you also have to do like a million and a half interviews with them. It feels had to do you an individual interview, Jonathan had to do an interview individually, and then an interview as a couple, but if those interviews go too long, like if you like then you have to do like multiple interviews until the certifier feels like they have hashed out your entire life story.

Shannon Earley:

Geez, and when you're like a big talker, like us, they're like, okay, we're gonna go on round seven, like

Unknown:

zactly. So and then it was like, oh, our certifier, you know, was out for a couple weeks. They went on vacation, then they got a crazy caseload. And then it was just like one thing after another. So long, so yeah. First, Munchkin. Delaney had just turned two. So Lincoln was still three and our first Munchkin that we got he was two and a half. And so it and we only had him for two about two weeks, two and a half weeks or so. And it was like having two year old triplets for those. Yeah. Oh, that little Munchkin was so sweet. I still miss him. So it there's no way to like prepare your kids. I mean, they were so young, two and three years old. So it was just, you know, we got the call, like, hey, there's a Munchkin who is going to come you who we think would be a good fit for your family. And then I just told them, like, we're gonna have a buddy, come and play with us. We're gonna have a buddy. And they were like, when's he coming? When's it coming? When's he coming? And so they were every single kiddo who comes into our home? They are just over the moon excited to like, play with and especially if it's an infant, if it's like a young young baby, yeah, they immediately go into big brother and big sister mode where they're like, Can I get the bottle? Can I hold them tight? You know? Yeah, they just, it's because they were so young when we started it's just a way of life like we we help we help people and we're going to have a buddy come and live with us until mommy and daddy are are healthy again. And kind of like a way of life at this point. Like they just this is the way for the children

Shannon Earley:

that can speak what do you have them call you? Because that's so tough, because I feel like I said mommy Chelsea Yeah.

Unknown:

Is they hear my kids calm?

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, I agree.

Unknown:

Automatically want to call me Mommy, which I love. And yes, I am your mommy. But I'm not your forever mommy. So mommy Chelsea, but our kiddos. I mean, thankfully kind of not thankfully. I don't know. It is what it is that our kiddos have been most of them too young to talk.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, yeah. Right.

Unknown:

I mean, it just there hasn't been too much like, time I guess for someone to like, call me mom.

Shannon Earley:

Right? But no, like, I mean, I literally like I late at night thinking about like, oh, when we foster one day, and then all of a sudden all of anxiety like, what do they call me like it's but I think I could deal with mama Shannon, can you please get me milk instead of Shannon, when you get me melt? Like no. Anyways, I'm just like dumb story. But one of the pastors that our church ended up, they started fostering. And the first they already had five of their own biological kids. They're older. But the first family that they started fostering was a sibling group of three kids. And the sibling group was a little older. And so the youngest was three at this point of the sibling group that they fostered. And they had had a really rough go with things just the way they spoke and acted, you could tell the way that they were loved was very different from the way the rest of you know. And Evan and I were Sunday school teachers and the three year old was like, a very sassy little boy, like, very sassy. And one day my husband was like, hey, so and so. Can you I need you to pick up the trucks. You know Everybody else is cleaning up. I need you to pick him up. And he looks right at my husband and he goes, No, you're fat bitch. And evidence. Side like, you're supposed to be mad. But like, he had to leave the room because he was laughing so hard because it was just

Unknown:

like this little boy looking up,

Shannon Earley:

finally. And like just saying that it just, we were like, what the it was so striking. Anyway, um, that sibling group did. Yeah, so they ended up going back to their, I believe they ended up being with their grandma. But then the pasture ended up, they did end up adopting their next child that they fostered. But it was a really long battle. And it frustrated me how many chances the bio mom got, and I know that sounds crummy. Because like, I would like a lot of chances to keep my children but when it's when the chances are things like just show up, not hide of court. Like just do that. Oh, you couldn't do that. That's okay. We'll give you another chance. Just stuff like that drove me nuts.

Unknown:

It's not it's not caused me to think that or feel that way. It's really hard to see these kids that you love. And everybody's natural instinct is to help. I mean, you just want to help you just want to protect this innocent, beautiful, perfect child from the horror that they have lived Rael natural things. So your gut and I just think God puts in us this. Like, almost like a righteous anger like a like,

Shannon Earley:

Yeah.

Unknown:

Like how, like, how could you harm this child? How could you not just get your act together? How could you act this way? You know, it's a very natural thing. Mm hmm.

Shannon Earley:

And yeah, like Jesus flipped the table. He was righteously angry.

Unknown:

Mm hmm. evils flip as many tables as young that need to be flipped. Flip them all if you need to. on the same side of the coin. Is that grace? Yeah. The other side of the coin of that righteous anger is God's love is the love right. died for them to Jesus died for their biological parents to get it girl. Yes. Like it. You can't just you can't God's love doesn't discriminate. You can't discriminate. I mean, it's it's really, really awful and hard. And it really helps me to remember to realize I don't struggle with addiction. I haven't right. Oh, right. What in the life looks like for them? I have never. I mean, I was fortunate enough to grow up in to grow up in a home with both of my parents. No one was alcoholic. It was a loving home. No abuse. No, I mean, I just such a perfect, perfect life. I don't know what it's like to have two parents. I don't know what it's like to grow up with verbal emotional, sexual physical abuse. I have no clue what, Andrew, I have no clue what overcome. And I cannot fathom. I mean, it breaks my heart to think how broken must you be? How low in your life must be how deep in that pain and self hatred? How deep in that addiction must you be to actually not be able to get help to not to actually physically be incapable of living sober? Like, I don't think anybody is like, Oh, yeah, let's go be an addict today. Like, let's just get I

Shannon Earley:

guess, not just it's not

Unknown:

a happy thing. I don't think that they are content and happy being addict. I think that they're hurting. I think that they're in pain. And that's like you said, like, I would want as many chances as I could get to get my kids back and if they need someone to hold their hand, if that means that they're going to get better someday then by golly, I will move there every freakin step of the way. If they just need one more chance to free to click if they just need one more moment if they just need one more look in the eyes and say Hey, you got some really great kids I hope you have a good visit today with your Munchkins and by golly I'm gonna do it my hair girl Good. graces is Is anybody gets as a sober person gets as I hope the person guts girl does the same. And it's hard. It's hard. It doesn't that doesn't make it any easier. But it's a lot a lot. I mean, it makes it easier for me to show them love and grace. It doesn't make it easier for me to not be less angry. It doesn't make it any easier. When you know. I mean, I don't know it's you love their kids. Just the same. Right, you love their kids knowing what they grew up in? It's, it's easier to show that grace for them. It's I mean, it's just messy. It's hard. And it's right. It's worth it. I mean, yeah, it's messy. It's great. It's hard.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, dude, I know, I, as you were talking, I just kept right, like, thinking about image of God, and how that's the way that we're all created. And obviously, it's a fallen world. So things really stinks sometimes. But you're right, like hating a mother or father, whatever, for that kind of thing. It's not really understanding the bigness of God.

Unknown:

Um, what do

Shannon Earley:

you do? When? How do you handle time for kids to go back home? What do you guys do? Do you guys like say goodbye and hug them? Or what do you guys end up doing as a family?

Unknown:

I mean, it depends on the situation. It depends on what a reunification looks like. For for our last Munchkin that we had, so she came into our home when she was 16, about 16 months old. And she was with us for about six months. Wow. And her mama was a super young mom. And she isn't a young mom, and she worked so hard to get back. And she was trying so hard doing everything right, she had a couple little minor slip ups, she would get right back up and keep going and keep trucking along. And so that was so happy to get her daughter back. I mean, we had a two week, a two week transition period where like, we started with instead of just like, I mean, it's COVID. So that's also a little bit different. Yeah, zoom call visits for I mean, three quarters of the time that she was with us. So they started with, you know, a three hour in person visit. And then that went on for a few days, and then overnight visit and then a two day visit. And then next time was okay, you're going to mom now for good. So it was like, loosen it a little bit. I mean, it was only over two weeks, which isn't that long, but it was perfect for this Munchkin and her daughter. It worked out beautifully. And that was so happy to get to hand her over and to get to hug mom and tell her how proud I am of her. And she she was like this isn't goodbye. It's just gonna be a See you later. I can't wait to see you. The guest and Oh, we got to do respite for her. A couple weekends ago, we got to see that much going again. And I got to hug mom and you know, it was just so good.

Shannon Earley:

And then the kid already feels like they know you and it's a comfy kind of time.

Unknown:

This and she had so much fun and you know, at our house playing with you know, all the toys that she remembered in an instant, you know, the second she walked in the door. It was so great. Um, the so yeah, we had a couple Munchkins who were only with us for a super super short time. Yeah, I was like, Hey, girl, they're gonna go to a new home. And it was just, you know, give them lots of hugs and snuggles while we had them.

Shannon Earley:

Oh, is it normally like more babies that would be quick stays like that?

Unknown:

Um, no, it. I mean, it's just situational. Like, like our very first place, about two and a half year old boy that we had. He had a younger brother and we we just feel like in this season for us. We only want to take one placement at a time, one Munchkin at a time. So I wanted to take his younger brother to so badly so they could they could be together. But we just felt like it just can't couldn't. It just wasn't right. Yeah, so his caseworker called me and said, We found a home where he could be with his little brother. I'm going to come home. And then and I was like, Oh, great. Like sobbing is it? Oh,

Shannon Earley:

yeah. Not it's

Unknown:

Yeah, it just depends. It just depends. Um, one Munchkin oh my gosh, it's still just guts me to this day to think about this. So are the first like long term placement we had we had this infant for four months. And she had a rough go have a life and so I bonded with her so quickly because I mean, when you're holding like a drawing baby who's withdrawing from multiple hard drugs bond so much faster and so we I work so hard with her to help regulate her body. I mean, the whole thing.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah. And then

Unknown:

and then we were told Like one day her caseworker call them is like, oh, a family member step forward, and they want to be a placement option for her. And I was like, um, interesting. Where has this family member been the past? You know? Yeah. months? Yeah. Cuz DHS passed it, like, it's a part of their job, they have to constantly be trying to find a female member of the pile, because they believe family is best, which for the most part, I am totally on board with that, you know, this?

Shannon Earley:

Munchkin.

Unknown:

I actually had a really good relationship with other family members, they, they were like, We love her so much, we just can't be a placement option for her. But we want to be in our life, I was in them all the time sending them pictures and stuff. So I had a really good relationship with them. And one of the family members was like, um, that family member who's coming forward is actually like, this is not a good, this is not healthy. This is like, there's abuse that was done.

Shannon Earley:

No, no,

Unknown:

that so I had about two weeks to they were like, in two weeks, on this day is when we're hoping to have it over to this family member. And I kept trying to call the caseworker talk to like, hey, they're telling me this, they're telling me like, please look into this, please. And, um, so that transition I that it was harder for me because I thought it and I really couldn't have that make sense in my head that they would actually really send this baby to this family member. And so I complete and utter denial that she was going to go so I mean, I made it myself there. But that transition was just the caseworker came to my house, I put the baby in the car seat, and I said her next bottle is at 10am or whatever. And I she went and I was like, good. Oh my god. I pray for all the all, but it's so gut wrenching. So yeah, I mean, all that to say long story short, transitions and goodbyes look very, very different case by case. Everything well.

Shannon Earley:

Yeah, I'm Chelsea. Firstly, I was just wondering, I know this is premature. If you'd ever come on again. Because I feel like I could do 1000 different fostering stories with you. So concern? Hell yes. Okay, good. Well, then that means that what we're going to start doing, I'm going to start working on, like the wrap up of this episode, that I feel like moms that are really busy. I know that some people have sent to one two hour episode things. I love nice snack, bite sized things like you're doing the dishes. Does that make sense?

Unknown:

Yep, that's about all the time when I got to.

Shannon Earley:

Yes. Okay. So also, like, I've written 75 I look like a meme of like a psycho where there's just notes written all over. And I have so much I want to ask you. And so now that I've like, spoken with you more, and I know more your personality and also where your faith affinity lies, it's going to make it much easier for me to actually maybe prepare you with some questions.

Unknown:

Good, God. Okay, so, um, so Okay,

Shannon Earley:

I'm uh, so I have a question for you. And then we're going to get into my silly rapid question time that has nothing to do with anything serious.

Unknown:

Um,

Shannon Earley:

what would you say to families that are considering fostering but are on the fence?

Unknown:

That is a really good question. I would say giving it a try. Doesn't hurt. There are many ways to start with a foster child you just because you say yes to fostering does not mean you are selling your soul to the foster care system. You can say yes to being a short term placement family. So it's just until they find a long term home for the child you can say yes to just doing just being a respite, family. respite families are so needed a safe place for the kid to go while the foster family goes on vacation or just takes a weekend for a breather. I mean, those are so needed, it really doesn't hurt. And I would also say find a foster family. And some questions get to know your foster care system locally to you because every county is different in every state. Yes, that's a lot. That's a big margin for differences in experiences. So just read up on it. Ask someone from your DHS office if you just email someone like I mean like I did, they can point you to someone who can get you who can get you some information of what that looks for people in your county, find a foster family to ask find someone at your DHS to ask and also see if there are any nonprofits in your area ask there is some nonprofits in the Portland Oregon area. And, and they have little like coffee house times where they have foster families come like a panel and talk where you can learn more about foster care in Oregon. So you like there are so many ways to reach out and just to gather information like that. Um, and I would say, don't be scared foster kids. They're not scary. I mean, I feel like there's a huge stigma around, around like, oh, foster youth come with so much baggage, and they're gonna wreck your ankle or break your dishes like you're also the sweetest kids with the biggest hearts and they have no place to put their love and so they're gonna pour it into you. It's the biggest, biggest blessing ever.

Shannon Earley:

They are really yeah and and your blessing them to you know, it's, it's not even just a blessing for yourself. I mean, helping somebody like that is beautiful. Um, and I'm going to put into the show notes, guys. I'm going to link some of Portland, Oregon, specifically some of their Department of Human Services links for fostering. I'm also going to include them for Richmond, Virginia. That way, we're repping the east and west coast. And I'm sure thing for the US. I'll look for it people's. And before we get into the fun round with sweet baby Chelsea, I wanted to just remind you guys that Chelsea is a blogger who is actually now been solicited to be a writer for more articles, which means she's amazing and has lots of information to check out. You can mostly find Chelsea on her Instagram page. And Chelsea, would you remind them how to find you on Instagram? Please

Unknown:

find me at messy bun mayhem. because my hair is messy bun all day long.

Shannon Earley:

And it's messy bun mayhem, all one thing like is it all connected the one word? Okay, excellent. And I'm also going to link the different places that I found her original blog post, I'm not gonna lie, it will make your you will get sick. There are some stuff in there that she didn't share today that I purposely couldn't handle talking about with her, but it is in her blog, her article. So Alright, Chelsea, this is a really dumb part of my show. And I like doing it because it makes it's just stupid. And it makes people laugh and feel uncomfortable.

Unknown:

So I

Shannon Earley:

like it. Okay, good. I'm grabbing it right now. Okay, so every time I've had a guest on my show, I make them randomly choose three questions that they have no time to think about, and they just have to answer. And it's numbers one through 200. Now you can answer it quickly.

Unknown:

That's fine.

Shannon Earley:

I mean, you can answer it with a long answer. That's fine. But you just got to do it quickly. Does that make any sense? Like,

Unknown:

I'm the type nine on the enneagram. This is so stressful. Every single person.

Shannon Earley:

Like, I can literally be asking them like, Can you explain the DNA sequence and they're like, and then they cannot handle it? They can? Okay. One through 200. Pick one of those numbers.

Unknown:

All right. Let's

Shannon Earley:

see. That's a really weird question. I'm not asking you. I'm asking you. I Dude, that this is just do you want I'll ask you the question. It's just really uncomfortable. It says, if you could be any nationality, what would it be? That's weird.

Unknown:

That's weird. Just

Shannon Earley:

just save you that live anywhere your friggin. I literally printed this off of a thing. No one's ever picked that I'm crossing it out. Alright, so number 59 says what is the most delightful word you can think of?

Unknown:

I don't have any words in my head.

Shannon Earley:

Um, so you would you say your brain is at peace with that

Unknown:

good word to you. The most delightful word I can think of you know what, I actually think it's the word delight because I when I get in an argument with my husband, I go freakin delight and I yell like that. Such a happy word. I love the word delight. That's good

Shannon Earley:

one quirky It is good, but it's not like delightful. Right? quirky. Yeah. Okay. Number two question.

Unknown:

Go for it. Um, 120 Okay.

Shannon Earley:

Great. Now my fingers are like all dry. I can't turn the page. Okay. Okay, number 120. Wow, you're the second person to ask this. That's interesting. Okay, do you have any pets?

Unknown:

I have a dog named safety and a beta fish named Teddy. He just rest in peace. Ronald. His name was Ronald E. I'm not heaven, but he was named Ronald after Ronald Weasley. Great. Oh,

Shannon Earley:

girl. You don't even Okay, so I can't I'm gonna go on a tangent. All my nerd radars are going for proper like, you have no idea. I can't okay.

Unknown:

I gotta go. Yeah. All right, sir.

Shannon Earley:

Okay, let me I I was feeling kind of depressed during COVID. And I was like, I don't need any clothes or anything. Like I'm content with everything. And I splurged on something. And it was a freaking Lego Harry Potter set for myself. And all my kids were like, Yeah, all my kids are like, what are you made? We can't touch it. I'm like, don't do that. Anyways, it's now I literally put it in a curio cabinet because I like it to be like, I'm like the bad guy in a lego movie where I want it all glued together. Like Don't touch it.

Unknown:

And

Shannon Earley:

not one part of that effing set remains. bless their hearts. All right, number last question.

Unknown:

Um, 186

Shannon Earley:

When are you most productive?

Unknown:

Never. Yeah, never ever ever heard of when kids

Shannon Earley:

are sleeping that well? No, that's what I like to just nap. No,

Unknown:

I I asleep. My house is a wreck. I know, I'm honestly never proved. Chelsea.

Shannon Earley:

my doppelganger from heaven. Oh, my house. My house looks like the personification of a fart. But like all my kids are really happy.

Unknown:

What that sounds about right. Okay. In my defense, so I I also teach preschool and I'm I mean, not to toot my own horn, but I'm a freakin awesome preschool teacher. So I guess I'm like, super productive. at work? Yeah. I am.

Shannon Earley:

That's great. See Angela foster mom, and like, I'm a homeschool mom. So my work. Dude, my work is teaching my kids and two of them have autism. And when we're done with school, I'm just like, EFF my life. I can't handle one thought anymore. Like, I can't do it. But um, okay, you did the three questions. Give yourself a round of applause. Good. All right. So next time, Chelsey. And if sweet husband Jonathan is interested, if you guys want to talk together, that would be awesome. After we stop recording

Unknown:

this, you have

Shannon Earley:

to kind of stay on for a little bit because I have to make sure it all uploads correctly. But anyways, maybe you guys can talk together because I know he's super supportive of you. But

Unknown:

um,

Shannon Earley:

I really appreciate you coming on bro. Thank you.

Unknown:

So glad you had me. Yeah,

Shannon Earley:

yeah, this is great. Okay, so now I'm gonna say by like a weirdo, but don't leave.

Unknown:

I'm gonna stop