Please say hello to Rachel.She and her family live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and like the rest of us, have recently been making quaratine-related adjustments to schedules and expectations.

In this interview, I love that Rachel shares a bit about their foster son, and what the fostering process was like for them.I had NO IDEA that so many kids needed foster care, and that a large part of it is due to the opioid crisis in the country.It’s so heartbreaking, and I am so glad families like Rachel’s are stepping up to make sure these kids have a safe place to land.Welcome, Rachel!

My name is Rachel Kuhn Stinehelfer.I live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with my husband, Danny, and our four kids.We have three biological children Henry (15), Claudia (13), and Walter (nearly 11).We also have a three-year-old foster son who we are in the process of adopting.We call him Boo.

Danny and I met about 18 years ago on a beach trip organized by his brother-in-law who was my colleague at the time.Danny was coming to crash on the couch for a couple of nights.I rode down to the beach with Danny’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew.Most of the ride down I heard from his sister how immature he was (he was 22 at the time and I was 30).I remember thinking:这个人听起来像 a jerk.Why is he even coming?

Danny showed up much later than the rest of us, and I was the first one to greet him.(He loves this part of the story.) I thought:She didn’t tell me her irresponsible brother was so good looking!

Danny stayed a couple of extra days and we have been together ever since.

The age difference seemed like a big deal at first, but he is growing gray, so I tell everyone we look more and more the same age every year.He doesn’t love when I say that!

We got married about a year and a half after we met.We had a wonderful adventure of a honeymoon traveling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.Nine months later we had our little honeymoon souvenir, Henry.I worked full time until our third kid was born.

I really struggled balancing family and work, and did not see how I could do my commute, work, and manage the house.We had talked about having more children, but at that point I just didn’t see how I could manage.I had had some complications with my last pregnancy and decided to have my tubes tied.I regretted this decision almost immediately.

Occasionally, I would get a pang for more children but tried to ignore it.As I got older the pang got stronger.We did a lot of soul searching and thinking about how to fill this growing hole I was feeling.I ended up having a tubal reversal and did get pregnant several times but none went past the first trimester.

After considering alternative ways to grow our family, we decided to pursue becoming foster parents with hopes to adopt.We became licensed foster parents in September 2018.It has been a very positive experience for us.We have had excellent social workers who are in it for the kids without a doubt.

Our little Boo was initially placed with us in a respite situation for two weeks where his foster mother (who is a biological relative) needed us to watch him temporarily.After those two weeks we were pretty much in love.I reached out to his social worker to let her know if they ever need respite again, or if he were to ever come up for adoption that we would love to be considered.And… only a few days later she called to ask if we would like to be his foster family.We said: Absolutely!

He was placed with us just after Christmas 2018.One thing that has been powerful in this whole process for us is that we have built relationships with his biological family that we hope to continue.Boo should never have any questions about where he came from or how loved he is.他的两个亲生母亲和父亲的家人都非常爱我们和他。

五月是寄养宣传月,而现在寄养系统正处于危机之中,由于受阿片流行的儿童人数。原因有很多孩子在寄养通常忽视或虐待。统一与生物家人永远是寄养的主要目标,但如果无法实现,然后通过成为目标。

目前有超过12,000名儿童被寄养在北卡罗莱纳州。我们不知道会发生什么,或者我们会有怎样的感受,因为我们通过这次旅程去了。作为一个寄养家庭并不容易,文书工作的量是巨大的,但在一天结束的时候它都是值得的。我们计划在保持许可的寄养家庭,帮助他人与喘息服务。

我可以说毫无保留,在我们的生活中有驸最大的快乐是看到我们的亲生孩子与他分享的纽带。我不假装知道或了解人们如何某些出没于你的生活。嘘是一个祝福给我们,我觉得100%像我嘘声的妈妈。

也有很多孩子谁已经合法地自由接受收养并寻找一个永远的家。如果你的家庭想知道更多关于这一点去here

更多关于我们的家庭:亨利是磁铁的高中一年级。高中需要大量时间管理这是一个真正的挑战。他还参与了童子军,但他真正的快乐是玩魔术的聚会。这实在是一种执着,他是在战略游戏惊人。

克劳迪娅是7年级学生,她是非常社会化,享有所有的中学所提供的。她的爱是跳舞和做/看的TikTok视频。

沃尔特是一个五年级的学生,也是一个童子军。他喜欢骑着他的自行车,看电视节目,并在厨房试验。

嘘是所有的男孩,很少数。他喜欢汽车和卡车,以及宠坏!

我刚刚回到了全职工作和我的工作是在沃尔特小学的一名图书管理员。

丹尼作为工作在医院第三换档药剂师。他的作品上七天,七天假。日子过的是巨大的,但在天可以是一个挑战。他真正的爱是玩飞盘高尔夫和觅食蘑菇。

我们搬回我的温斯顿 - 塞勒姆,北卡罗莱纳州的家乡时,我是怀孕8个月沃尔特。我告诉丹尼,我不会再移动。它被耗尽。

我买了我们在达勒姆共享我们见面之前的房子,所以逛街在一起的房子是一个全新的体验。我总是幻想着生活在世纪四方形的与所有的怪癖和美丽的转身。所有丹尼看到的是钱坑。

在Winston-Salem的房地产市场是健康的,我会说,但并不是很有竞争力。一个朋友告诉我说,她听到一个明智的房地产经纪人问什么类型的房子的客户想要的,然后他们长大是什么类型的房子了 - 9出10倍,他们在他们提出了屋子结束。所以,我们在1958年的两个故事牧场结束了 - 类似于我童年的家和类似丹尼的为好。

我真的觉得我是因为妥协,这不是我梦想中的优雅房子,但经过一些绘画和小装修,它确实是非常适合我们。该平面图是理想的家庭。

我们从一个更小的2个卧室1个浴室运动,变成了5间卧室3.5浴。过了一段时间来适应有一个更大的房子。我没有使用过的婴儿监视器在我们的其他房子,因为我总是说,如果我不能听到我们的小房子里哭那么宝宝是确定的。我们那种从起步房跃升到我们家白头到老英寸

我们买了我们的房子为$ 328,000,现在我想的Zillow是说$ 440,000。房子真的是在良好的状态和以前的业主已经更新了。

在地面,地面铺有硬木的一半,另一半户外板岩砖。每个人都喜欢当他们看到它的砖,它是好看,但他们不是伟大的生活 - 跌落时硬盘上的脚,背部,一切都碎了。

当我们走进房子在走廊里,墙上挂满了血红色 - 一个真正可怕的红色,真正与灰色的色调瓷砖发生冲突。绘画,这是第一位的。由于我是到目前为止怀孕了,我的婆婆涂慷慨对我们来说,还有幼儿园。

厨房和浴室的一个人需要升级。浴曾与蛤壳片的塑料包装计数器面盆之一。丹尼觉得这是不错,但它让我抓狂!所以,比油漆颜色等,这是第一次更新。

我在房子改为每油漆颜色至少一次(除了亨利的房间),以及几乎所有的灯具。

主要的装修是我们大约5年前做了厨房。这一直是我的GameChanger,我知道它增值的房子。我爱我的厨房!我与内阁油漆颜色挣扎 - 在厨房地板上的灰字面上盯着,直到我神志不清。我选择了灰色猫头鹰本杰明摩尔,我认为 is perfect.

As far as decorating goes, I think of my style as Anthropologie meets Southern Living.Danny and I love traveling, and love getting mementos from our trips.I was an art history major in college and my father is a retired biology professor, so I really see art and science as significant influences on my style.

We also have some traditional elements in our house that make me feel like a grown up.I have incorporated a lot of the sentimental items throughout the house.A favorite item is the oversized copy of an envelope over our mantle (you can see the image at the top of the post).

The envelope is from a letter my grandfather wrote to my grandmother in 1939 one year before they were married.I love that there is no street, or zip code.My grandmother lived in a very small town in East Tennessee.The content of the letter is amazing.He writes that he would like her to attend a dance with him the following week, but he has no way of knowing if she will be able to attend, because the reply wouldn’t get back to him in time.He says there is a phone at a boarding house where his friend lives and she could call and leave a message and his friend would relay the message to him.

We found the letter after they had both died so we don’t know if she attended or not, but I suspect that she did!

Our neighborhood is a hidden neighborhood that is close to pretty much everything in town and within a bike ride of several historic public properties, and Wake Forest University (my alma mater).Most of the houses were built from 1958 to about 1968.

There were not many young families 11 years ago, but now there are.It is so much fun to have the younger families out on bikes and walking dogs, and the older neighbors out on their evening strolls.Some of our neighbors are the original homeowners.

Our house was built as a show home for the neighborhood with all the bells and whistles — a front porch, back porch, and swimming pool (which at some point was filled in, boo!).As a good librarian, I went to the public library and did some research on the house.The builders charged people to attend open houses which featured swimsuit models, live piano music, and showcase furniture.It was kind of a big deal!

I have a lot of family in Winston-Salem including my mother, father and stepmother.Danny’s parents are only an hour away and his sisters and their families are close by as well.We count ourselves very lucky to have them nearby for us and for the relationships our kids have with them.

am an only child and two things I swore when I had a family was that I would live in town (as I grew up out in the country) and have more than one child.I have succeeded on both accounts.

Winston-Salem is a city that was built on tobacco and textiles.R.J.Reynolds personally brought Wake Forest College (now University) from Wake Forest, North Carolina, just as James Duke renamed Trinity College to Duke University.We can see the WFU chapel from our front porch.

Our neighborhood is the smaller stepchild to nearby neighborhoods with larger homes.Maya Angelou lived a couple of streets away from us, so that’s neat.Other fun businesses that started in Winston-Salem are Krispy Kreme doughnuts (we do our fair share to support them), and Texas Pete hot sauce — actually from North Carolina.Winston-Salem is a great city to raise kids and I am really happy we came back here with ours to put down our roots.

As with everyone, our lives are definitely different since the pandemic.We are so lucky that we live in a house with a great outdoor space.We also live on a dead end, so the kids play outside and ride bikes without my worrying about them.Everyone works on their homework in the mornings and then has the afternoon off, as a rule.We have had, especially since Spring Break, some days of kids not getting the work done when they said they did and having to double down to make up.

It has not been easy.There are a lot of distractions around.

I have had to work from home, but luckily I am able to do my job in little chunks that are manageable.I don’t know how classroom teachers with kids at home are doing it.Big shout out to all the teachers out there!

My husband is still going to work as he is an essential worker.He doesn’t have much patient interaction in the hospital, mostly dealing with technicians, nurses, and doctors.

There are a ton more dishes, and messes to clean up, but overall we are doing okay.

While the school work has been hard, the home time has been really good.Lots of experimental baking, and time outside.Our front yard looks like a sporting goods store.We have several hammocks, a disc golf basket, corn hole boards, and there has been a resurgence of the Nerf guns!

我们做了一些金银花冰糕本周我们 have done for several years — if you google the recipe, I reduce the amount of honeysuckles by half.You can also just use the mixture to drink like lemonade and for adults, give it a splash of bourbon for a summer cocktail.A real seasonal treat!

When all this began, I started out pretty stressed out being at home.I felt like I had to clean out everything — junk drawer, linen closet, bathroom vanity, etc..I felt like if I didn’t get one of those projects done every other day or so I had failed in some way.Also, all that cleaning out kind of added more piles of junk in the garage.

I am still getting some straightening done and trying to get the kids to see the benefit.We are not naturally tidy people.I had to work hard to get my spaces cleared for the pics in this feature.Whew!

I do believe we will change as a society from this pandemic.Hopefully for the better.We are in this together as humans and this battle has the potential to unite us.We need to protect each other and acknowledge that our actions directly affect others.

As a nation we are still trying to strike a balance and we need to solve this problem together and be patient.The protests to reopen are just so short sighted — it is hard for me to understand.We are in unchartered territory and need to be rational and non-partisan in our decision making.

Going forward, I hope the positive takeaways will be respect for teachers, daycare workers, emergency responders, doctors, and nurses.I do worry about the PTSD of the hospital workers in the hotspots.

I am often a person who thinks things will work out eventually, but this may not be the case for this disease.

Being at home with the kids has made me think that some of my goals for them in life are MY goals, but not necessarily their goals.I need to help guide them and help them be the best person they can be.Spending 24 hours a day with the kids makes me more keenly aware that I am teaching by example.Danny and I are their moral compass and we need to have that in the back of our minds all the time.

I think we are setting good examples, but I am even more aware of setting that example.I heard a wonderful quote the other day:To lead a good life one must plant trees under whose shade you will never sit。I hope that our children will think about that and do things in their lives that benefit others.

I hope my kids remember that our house is filled with love and compassion.And yet, we are not perfect.We all make mistakes — sometimes small mistakes, sometimes big ones.Danny and I put our all into our family and we hope the kids know that.

I hope that they remember that I tried to create an artful home.One that is filled with original art from our family and other artists.

My favorite thing about living with my kids is watching them grow into their personalities.I hope we can give them the space and support to be their best selves.When they are gone from here I will miss the mess and the chaos— I already know that.One day I will miss the laundry and the bikes all over our front yard.Well, maybe not the laundry.Luckily for me I have a little one giving me hugs and calling me mommy and grabbing my hand still.

I wish someone had told me that it’s okay not to enjoy every moment.Some moments, hours, days are just hard and you are not your best self, but tomorrow is another day and even the next hour.Regroup and start over.

——

Thank you, Rachel!I really love hearing about how different families grow and I love hearing about Rachel’s experience with fostering.I had no idea that there were so many kids in the foster system — and that’s just in one state.And I hadn’t thought about the impact that the opioid crises has had on all those kids, but of course it makes sense.I am so glad there are families like Rachel’s that can step in and fill in the gaps to make sure that these kids are taken care of.

I also really loved what Rachel said about her goals for her kids not necessarily being their own goals and realizing that the most important thing is to be a good example.I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is realizing that our kids get to make their own choices.I love that idea of planting trees in who’s shade we will never sit.It’s such a smart way of looking at it.

What are the things you think your kids are learning from the way you live you life?Are there things you do actively to set a certain example for your kids?

SOURCES

FoxWallpaper

Mushroom themedpottery

WhaleArt

SilhouetteArtin stairwell


Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you canfollow him on Instagram too.

Would you like to share your home in ourLiving With Kids series?It’s lots of fun, I promise!(And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here.Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families.Reach out!We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us atfeatures@designmom.com