This story is a little harder to write. I have had it in my mind for a while, but the more personal ones are always harder to share with the world. If you’ve read my About the Mama page, you’ll know my hubby and I started our path on foster care due to infertility. We had discussed adopting when we were younger, but we always thought biological children would come first. And so this story starts with that journey and how we painted our world green to make our house a better place to be.
After our infertility treatments I needed a new outlook, a new perspective and with that, a change in my surroundings. I have a friend who changes her hair color and cut every time she has a breakup. For her, it’s a fresh start, a reboot of her positive mentality. A way to gain some lost confidence. Before fostering a child I needed that. I needed to break up with my depression and the idea that the fertility treatments would work for us. I needed to give myself a welcoming place for myself, and for a child. Painting the walls and changing my surroundings gave me the positive reboot I needed.
My husband and I are high school sweethearts. I take a lot of pride in our relationship because it comes naturally. It doesn’t take a lot of work. Sure we bicker like any other married couple, but we both adore each other. What I love most about us is that in our times of weakness we seek out each other’s strengths, and use those to pull us out of our dark place. The infertility was definitely one of our hardest battles as a couple.
Due to some prior medical issues we always knew infertility was a possibility from the start of our relationship. When the time came where we were ready to have children it didn’t make the struggle and reality any less hard.
See, I have always been the type of person who found the glass half full, and I thought my optimism and positivity would leave us as the part of the statistic where the fertility treatments would work. But they didn’t work, and the depression hit me hard. My emotions mixed with the hormones I was given made me a crazy mess.
When we started the fertility treatments I was 27, the age that most of my friends were having their first and second babies. They would tell me stories about how it was hard for them to conceive too. I was always the last of our friends they would tell, and probably for good reason. While I wanted to be happy for them, I was so unhappy myself that it was a challenge to put on the happy face and say, “I’m so happy for you.” The façade was tiring.
The hormones I was taking left me a crazy mess too. Every time I saw a pregnant woman or I got my period (especially the period after a fertility treatment) I mourned the loss of a child. The child I thought we were going to have. The hypothetical child that my optimism believed would make this fertility treatment work. I cried a lot, and it was basically the only thing I could think about. Our marriage struggled, and while we both look back at those years now and realize we are stronger because of it, they are not memories I like to think about.
A few years before this, we had also bought our first house, a house that we believed we would raise children in. After I pulled myself out of my dark hole and picked myself back up again, (with the support of my amazing husband and mom), I changed my mindset and began looking into adoption. Foster-to-adopt specifically. We were ready to move forward. We understood fully how the foster care system worked. We were ready to come to terms with loving a child who may not stay with us forever. We knew it may be painful, but we were ready for that too. But I am a huge believer in symbolism. Maybe it’s the English major in me.
I was on a mission to make our house welcoming for a foster kiddo. The problem is these walls had become a place that wasn’t happy for me, they had become walls I cried behind. I needed to give my house a quick uplifting (and cheap) makeover. For as long as I could remember I wanted to paint my front door red. There’s a house on our street that I adore, they have the green grass, with the grey walls, white trim and red door. And so I began looking up paint colors. We had just finished the gender-neutral bedroom, and now we needed to work on the front door.
The more I researched the color red, the more I realized that it wasn’t necessarily the color we needed. I am not a feng shui expert by any means, but as I did my Google searches I found that many of the key words that popped up were ‘welcoming’ and ‘luck’, but red also symbolized ‘full of life’ and ‘seeking attention.’ Maybe at one time in my life a red door would have been appropriate, but seeking attention wasn’t something that oozed ‘we’re foster parents’ and a safe place to be.
So, I went on more Google Searches and instead decided on the color green. The key words that began appearing were ’emotional balance,’ ‘welcome,’ ‘luck,’ and ‘safety.’ These were all things that I wanted to feel every time I walked into my house, and so the green paint obsession began. We started with our back door, and window ledges. (this took some serious hubby convincing and persuasion, but he loves it now.)
Then I decided to do the entry way in a very light muted green, and more recently our hallway. I also found this refurbished bar at a flea market for a fair price. Once we had our kiddo my parents found this IKEA table for super cheap (but in a terrible shade of blue) that I painted mermaid green with a chalkboard top. If you haven’t noticed I even have a small obsession with it on the website, especially on my pins. I don’t know if painting my world green actually has helped with our good fortune in adopting our daughter, but what I do know is that it gave me what I needed. It gave me my glass half full approach; it gave me my positive confidence back. It also gave our stale white walls the makeover they desperately needed. Most importantly it turned our house into a place that is welcoming and safe.
Something about painting my walls made me feel good. I was feeling productive again. I wasn’t crying. I was making my world prettier. But it wasn’t the only thing that helped. The part that gave me my confidence and strength back was strengthening our marriage. Which is in the follow up post to this one: From Infertility to Foster Care: How This Mama and Papa Built a Stronger Marriage. I couldn’t have gained my who positive perspective back if it weren’t for the man I decided to spend my life with, and his strength helped me completely pull through my rut.
Thanks for reading and happy parenting,
If you want updates on this blog or are interested in the foster parent resources like the foster parent planner, the foster child binder, or the foster parent binder I have available please follow this link to register and gain access to the resource library.
More recently, I published a post on recommended foster parenting reads, and thought it’d be really cool to start up a closed Facebook group where we would read a common book and share ideas and strategies that enlightened us. Please reach out to let me know if you’d be interested by commenting on the post or shooting me an e-mail. If I can get enough interest I would love to organize something like this.