Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes. During this series, I’ve interviewed moms of many children and moms of few: how many kids we have is not what defines us as mothers. Today I am going to introduce to you a mom who has one biological child and opened up her home and heart to four more foster children who, after a long and difficult road, became part of her forever family.
I am so pleased that my dear friend Angela Tinter shared some of her precious time with us today to talk about her experience in mothering. I am constantly blown away at the choices that Angela has made over and over again to do the hard things that make an eternal difference.
As I was reading through her answers, I saw such a rich legacy of love that has been and is continuing to be passed from generation to generation. As I was reflecting yesterday on being intentional to choose the good in my parents to pass down to my kids, I see Angela passing down the openness to love and welcome others with open hearts and open arms that her parents demonstrated. It made me feel such appreciation that the way we live our lives matters: we are growing, building and eventually leaving a legacy. We can only do so much, but when our children see us making the hard choices to do the right things over and over again, it is then that seeds get planted that will bear eternal fruit.
Name: Angela Tinter
How long have you been a mom? Seven years
How many kids do you have? Five
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I love watching my kids experience growth. Whether its mastering a handstand or realizing a certain social skill, I get super excited to watch their little bodies and minds grow. The pleasure and confidence that they experience watching themselves and the world around them stretch and expand is so rewarding.
What has been one of the most difficult things you’ve experienced as a mom?
Five years ago we added our second child to our family via foster care. I had been a bio mom to only one child, and within a four year span, I became a mom to four other children. Mothering five children under four years old was absolutely physically exhausting. On top of that our foster care/adoption journey was slow and painful… full of lots of twists and turns and emotionally extremely heavy. I always say I have PTSD from that period of motherhood! I learned through that stage how we can feel so close to Jesus when we share in his suffering. The pain and fear of losing children that were so close to my heart was real and constant and one thing that made it more bearable was that I knew He understood that sort of suffering.
What is one thing you have learned through being a mom?
I’ve learned that my children and their behavior do not define me. God has taught me so much through my role as a mother of children who have trauma as part of their life story. When I started my foster mothering journey I knew nothing of the effects of trauma on the developing brain… but five years later, I’m becoming an expert! With childhood trauma, behavior and development is effected, often leaving typical parenting skills and techniques totally useless. After feeling like a total failure time and time again because I linked my parenting success to my child’s behavior, I finally set myself free and accepted that my children and their behavior (whether good or bad) was not a a litmus test of me or my character. I was not a failure because they behaved badly and furthermore they were not a failure because they behaved poorly.
Have you surprised yourself in motherhood?
Kinda! I think mostly God surprised me. I would have never expected to have so many children within such a close age span. But I also know myself and I said yes to all of it because I live by the motto “we can do hard things”. I’ve always loved a challenge. My life has been anything but ordinary and I love it that way.
If you had to repeat one thing in your parenting that your parents did, what would that be?
My parents always had an open door to my friends. They always let the party happen at our house. They always had lots of food to share. They didn’t mind the noise and the chaos. It was always the more the merrier. Adoption was also a part of that tradition. My parents adopted six children and their mentality was if you can make room for one more, then you do. I hope that I can offer that sort of experience to my kids.
What is one encouragement you would love to pass along to a young mom? Girrrlllll!!! You are enough! Whatever mothering experience God has called you to, He will give you what you need to walk through it. During my most difficult mothering days my silent prayer was always “God please give me what I need today. Don’t give it to me too soon or too late… give to me right in my moment of need”. He always answered. Sometimes in small ways and sometimes in miraculous, earth shattering ways. He always shows up when you ask Him to.
Angela has been a close friend for a while now, and I have learned so much from her. She has such a heart to take the time and teach you what she knows. One time in my life when I was really struggling with being able to nurse my fourth baby, Angela took the time to teach me how to make homemade formula (which is not easy) and was so generous in sharing her wisdom and supplies. It was such a life saver for me!
This series has been my favorite because I get to hold up a mirror and show moms how amazing they really are. Angela is pretty much the definition of a mom boss. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard and we don’t struggle, but it means we make the hard choices anyway because we know they are good and right. Taking on four kids is no easy task, but the amount of love in Angela’s heart is more than enough. We doubt ourselves too often as moms, but God puts every single thing inside of our hearts each of those kids in our families needs, whether they’re added to it through birth or adoption.
I’m actually overwhelmed when I see how loving, gentle, caring, and thoughtful Angela’s kids are. When I think about the lives that these beautiful ones could be living, my heart feels so inspired to be more like Angela, and ultimately more like Jesus. So many people have lofty dreams of changing the world. I know I do, but Angela actually is. She has literally changed the whole world for and through the little ones she so willingly welcomed into her family.
I pray Angela’s story inspires and encourages you as much as me. If you have an adoption story I’d love for you to share with us in the comments below!