We are loving our Mom of the Month series! Do you know a special mom in our community who deserves some special recognition? Fill out the form to nominate a mom you know here. Thank you to Whole Foods Market Oklahoma City for partnering with us to provide a special gift for our Mom of the Month!
We are excited to introduce you to our August Mom of the Month, Lana Freeman!
Lana was nominated by Heather Koontz and this is what she had to say about her.
Lana is a saint. She is truly the most kind-hearted, passionate mom I’ve ever met. She works tirelessly to promote the well beings of children in our community, and she’s deeply involved with several fostering/adoption agencies in Oklahoma. She founded the Foster Care and Adoptive Association of Oklahoma, works with St. Francis Community Services to train, recruit, and support foster parents, and advocates for children who need a voice. She has fostered more than 300 children over 33 years, and has adopted four (in addition to her four biological children). She continues to foster today, even though her plate is full with grandchildren and work.
Let’s get to know Lana!
How many kids do you have and what are their names and ages?
I have fostered 300 kids for 33 yrs. I have 8 kids of my own, 6 are adopted and two are bio children. My kids range in all ages!
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I love everything about being a mom…When I say that my favorite thing about being a foster/adoptive/bio parent is the children, this doesn’t mean that parenting them is easy. It’s not. The kids coming from the system have stories that are hard. But many of these children are the bravest, most resilient people I have ever met. I stand back many times in awe of their love and giving spirits. These children have been so wounded but they are showing and giving love.
What is the most challenging thing about being a mom?
Many times with the things I have seen, heard and the difficult the invasion of privacy. The uncertainty. The emotional rollercoaster visits, the courts, the agency, the bio parents, loss of work and little time to myself, and life in general, I would give up if it were not for these precious jewels. Their losses are real and their behaviors are challenging. Their emotions are big and can be scary to everyone involved. Their experiences have taught them that adults are unavailable, unpredictable and not always safe. They sometimes push away when all you want is to pull them close. The Foster Care and Adoptive Association of OK a few years ago put 12,000 shoes on the OK Capitol steps. Everyone of these shoes represented a child in foster care (in OK). It was NOT just a pair shoes, it was a child with a face and a story. Heartbreaking stories! Being a foster/adoptive/bio parent is not easy. Not even a little bit. But, hands down, the best thing about being a foster parent is the kids.
What could you not survive without as a mom?
My work is my life so it may be a little different “survival” than most moms.
1. I need God…I could not make it one day without his love and reassurance.
2. My spouse and children…In the worst of times they remind me of who and I am and why I do what I do.
3. Loving people of a like mind…People who do what I do and have gone through the same things. They have given me hope and recharged me many times when I wanted to give up.
4. Training…You cannot help these kids if you don’t know what to do. Good specialized training that give you tools to do your job. Foster/Adoptive and even Bio Parenting requires skills and talents.
5. Burnout…Knowing my limits and asking for help.
6. Fun…Learn to have fun and laugh, laugh often. Working with troubled, traumatized and abused children – you will die if you do not learn to love and enjoy life.
What is your proudest mom moment?
They are too numerous to list but I will try!
When I gave birth to my bio kids I was so proud and thankful. They were so perfect and I felt so honored to be their mom. But no less was the adoption of our foster kids. I did not give birth to them from my body but…I did give birth in my heart. There were days, months and even years that I prayed “God help this baby see your love through me.” When I say baby you may think I am talking about a little child but many of those babies were older kids. I remember the first time my oldest daughter called me mom. She was 16 when we adopted her. We got her from foster care at the age of 15. She was a broken child who felt hopeless and lost. I remember her crying for months and months because she was so lost. She was beautiful but she covered her face with her hair because she felt ugly. She had grown up in foster care thinking no one would love and care for her. The night she called me mom I smiled and acted like it was no big deal but later I went to my room and cried like a baby. God had birthed a child at the age of 16 in my life.
Lana, we recognize you as being an amazing mom! We hope you enjoyed your goodies from Whole Foods Market Oklahoma City! Congrats on being our August Mom of the Month!