The Romagnolo Family

The Romagnolo Family

Monday, February 8, 2016

How I Became A Single Mom

     It occurred to me this weekend that I have never really shared on here just how I became a single mom.  If you are reading this, chances are that most of you know already, but if you don't then here is our story...
     In early 2007 I was living in Tampa, FL where I had been living for the past 16 years.  In January, I came to Texas for a Pampered Chef Conference.  While visiting one of my best friends (who had been hounding me to move back to Texas), her husband asked me what was holding me back.  I said, "you know, I need to get married first."  His response was, "Ann how random is it that you'll meet a guy that says let's get married and move to Texas?"  It made sense.  So, after much research, prayer and God providing the perfect job, I made the leap.  I know, you're thinking...what does this have to do with becoming a single mom?  I'm getting there, don't worry.  This is how I ended up back in Texas and where my life began to change forever.  While all of this was happening, my beautiful cousin Amy was fostering a baby boy.  She told me..."Annie you should become a foster parent."  This was funny to me in two ways.  First, she knows me just about better than anyone and what a hot mess I am!  Second, I naively thought and told her, "I can't be a Foster Mom. I'm single."  Then I moved to Texas and began teaching in a 9th & 10th grade High School.  I had many students that came from single parent homes.  Some were good environments and some were not.  I began thinking, "I don't have much and I'm single, but I can raise a child in a loving home and point them towards the love of Jesus."  Don't think that I jumped in right away.  Oh no.  I went back and forth with God.  I enjoyed my single life that involved sleep!!  God and I went round and round for 3 years.  During the summer of 2010, I took students on a group trip to Disney (shocker, I know!).  My roommate during the trip was the mom of one of my boys.  That past spring they had adopted a girl from Child Protective Services (CPS).  We talked a lot about fostering and adoption during that trip.  After that trip, I finally picked up the phone and contacted a Christian Foster Agency in the area.  This began the process to become licenced to become a Foster to Adopt home (meaning I would be a foster parent and then be able to adopt when there was an opportunity).  There was an initial visit to my home to make sure that I wasn't crazy.  Ha!  After that, I had about a month or so of training, inspections of my home and a five hour long home study with questions about my childhood, job, you name it.  During this whole process I kept praying for a little girl.  My heart has always been for ministering to girls.  It was a long 6 months.  I had many supporters, but I also had many that did not think that I could handle it or that didn't think that I was making a good decision.  Fortunately I had more supporters than nay-sayers and I knew in my heart that this was the path that God wanted me to take.  I got licensed Friday, December 15, 2017 and on Sunday, December 17th I got a phone call for a 4 week old bi-racial baby.  Unfortunately since I had just been licensed on that Friday before I was not showing up in the CPS system as licensed.  The wait began.  I didn't have to wait too long though. Two days after Christmas I got a phone call from my Foster Agency that they had two sisters ages 6 months and 16 months.  That's right folks not one, but TWO girls AND they were only 10 1/2 months apart..  Now, you can say "no, now is not a good time", but my bleeding heart wouldn't let me.  I said yes, I'll take them even though I had only one car seat and no beds.  I quickly got on the phone with my AWESOME support network and one friend brought over another car seat.  Another friend brought me two pack n plays.  Over the course of the next few days I had a high chair, double stroller, clothes, diapers, toys and many other items given to me.  My friends showed up in mass that night to help me.  I was like a deer in head lights.  They helped me feed, bathe, and clothe those sweet girls.  Since my babies had been very much neglected and just allowed to run around until they crashed, it took a long time to get them to sleep.  My friends eventually had to leave me.  I finally got the girls to sleep.  They slept solid through the night.  I didn't.  I heard EVERY noise the whole night.  Our journey began.  I was told from the very beginning of the process to not expect to keep your first placement.  It never happens that way.  I was prepared to let my girls go and then take in another placement down the road.  God had other plans though.  Those beautiful babies came into my home and heart on December 27, 2010.  We became a Forever Family on December 21, 2011.  That my friends is a miracle!

     Will my children know that they were adopted?  Absolutely!  I've seen the damage that is done when parents try to hide it from their children.  I openly talk about adoption in front of my girls.  We've talked about how they didn't come from my tummy.  I answer their questions very simply when asked.  I try not to shove too much information at them.  They know that they have an older biological sister that is now 9 that was adopted when she was a baby too.  I will NEVER bad mouth their birth parents in front of my girls.  It's because of them that I am a mommy to two precious girls.  It is very sad how it had to happen, but I won't bad mouth them.  My girls weren't in a healthy or safe environment and fortunately God intervened.  In fact, Mia asked one night last month if they (their birth parents) didn't love them.  I assured them both that was NOT the case!  Those girls are very much loved.  I told them that their birth parents just weren't able to take care of them (all true).  They knew that the girls needed a family that could provide for them.  Some day I'll have to have the hard conversation with them, but not today.  I just keep praying that my girls will continually feel the love of Jesus and find their security in Him.  I pray that they will grow up serving Him and others.  
     So you see, my story of single motherhood is different from many.  I chose this life.  Yes it's hard.  There are a few that feel like I am too overwhelmed or have taken on too much.  That's okay.  People will think and believe what they want.  Am I tired?  YES!!!  Is life crazy?  YES!!!  Do I regret obeying God?  NO WAY!!!  This was the BEST decision that I have ever made.  Yes, it's hard, but any life worth living is going to be hard.  I can't even remember what my life was like before my girls came into my life (except the sleeping part).  I am one blessed woman.  I get to be the mama to two adorable girls who love me dysfunctional and all.  I have a job that I love.  I have a huge support system, which has been a huge blessing since none of my family lives close.  Fostering and Adoption are two of the best things ever.  It's hard, but so worth it.  I've heard many people worried about getting children with a lot of baggage or issues.  Honey, who are you kidding?  We ALL come with baggage!!!  As one of my friends pointed out in her blog, who is to say that your birth children won't have ADHD, dyslexia, depression, health issues, etc.  We just never know what's around the corner.  I do know that nothing that happens in this life is a surprise to our great Creator.  I think I'll let Him deal with whatever comes our way.  
     If you ever have any questions about Fostering or Adoption, please don't hesitate to ask.  I love talking about it and sharing my experience!

Summer of 2012
Summer of 2013

Disney - Summer of 2015

Summer of 2015
Our Gotcha Day 2015

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