I am in LOVE!

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I am in Love!

I am in love with today!

Because it’s a gift given, with every breath I take.

I am in Love with my husband!

 Because with every moment shared, I am reminded of two souls that became one.

I am in love with my children!

Because the gift of love with each of them, is one that keeps on giving.

I am in love with my Granddaughter!

Because she reminds me every day, Gods perfect plans maybe different then our own.

I am in love with my parents!

 Because they taught me love can be hard, but nothings is too hard for our God.

I am in love with the Foster children God places with us!

Because every little difference we make in a child’s life, is a big difference to their heavenly father.

I am in love with my friends!

Because we help each other receive blessings, even in the chaos of life.

I am in love with tomorrow!

Because I know who holds all of our tomorrows, in the palm of His hands.

I am in love with my Jesus!

Because He has shown more Love to me, then I could ever repay.

I am in Love!

Because “God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us”.  

1 John 4:11-12

 

“Love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God”. 

1 John 4:7

 

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Adoption Story One -sneak peek

 

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Austin Celebrating his adoption at Disney World when it became final.

Austin –

Two years old.

He was our third gift.

He was born into our hearts differently, but perfectly.

The gift of Austin in our lives came eleven years after the birth of our biological daughter and thirteen after the birth of our biological son. He opened our family’s eyes to the tremendous needs that were literally right around us. He grew each of our hearts in an instant. They would never be the same again.

Austin was our first placement call from our local Department of Social Services. The call came on a sunny day in July. My husband Kent and the kids and I were enjoying the outdoors. When I answered the phone, it was immediately different than what I had expected our first placement call to be like. We realized later, it was also very different for the Case Worker on the other end of the phone. This child would not be able to return home. This child was going to be available for adoption. We knew immediately that God was in all of it.

I was just as terrified as I was excited when I hung up the phone. My husband Kent’s reaction complimented my own. We were both ready and agreed to move forward. Neither of us knew exactly what “forward” entailed, but we knew our answer to that call would be yes. We didn’t hesitate, we had already been praying for months. God had given us clarity. We agreed to be obedient to whatever he called us to do. In 5 minutes all of our lives changed forever. We didn’t understand the magnitude of the blessings in that decision. But today, the blessings continue to unfold.

We felt pretty confident about fostering prior to that first placement call. Our confidence was shaken several times in the years to follow.  Austin became the first of many children God placed with us through the Department of Social Services. Our plans initially were to help one child at a time and work towards reunification with their parents. But, Gods plan for us is often different than our own. We now have many stories. With each of them there is a common factor. We trusted God. We knew that he would guide our steps in all of the unknowns we were to face. And he has proven faithful.

My mind was racing even more than my heart on the 5 minute drive to Social Services to meet Austin for the first time. We were casually introduced. He sat on the floor of a quiet room in the Department of Social Services. His only belongings were next to him in a small white bag. He held onto a small McDonalds Happy Meal toy and looked up to see who had entered the room. No matter how I have tried, I cannot find the words to describe when I looked at his sweet, expressionless face and our eyes locked for the first time. I instantly experienced something within me.  It was as if God birthed him deeply into my heart. I longed to hold him close and never let him go. I knew then, without a bit of uncertainty, God was giving us another one of his precious gifts. God has reminded me of that moment many times in the midst of life’s chaos.

This is just a sneak peek of Austins story.

I could have written an entire book about each of our adoptions. Maybe someday i’ll fullfil that dream as well.  Right now, I am just thankful for the opportunity that was given to me to share pieces of our stories in the chapter written for the book being published to help Adopted children.

Stay tuned for other sneak peeks to come…

Read another Sneak Peek here:   Telling our story…sneak peek!

 

Telling our story…sneak peek!

Blessings In The Midst Of Chaos

My husband and I were married sixteen years before we decided to go into Foster Care. We lost our first son when I was 29 weeks pregnant. Three years later, after another complicated pregnancy, I gave birth to our son Wesley.  He was born with a heart defect that required open heart surgery when he was two. Then against the advice of my doctor, I became pregnant again and gave birth to our daughter Amanda. When she was 9 months old I had my first of two major surgeries. We went through some real tough trials in the first five years of our parenting journey. There was undeniable chaos at times. We experienced a great loss and had many fears. Thanks to God, we had the ability to find joy in our hard moments. The blessing throughout our parenting journey has continued to outweigh the chaos.

It came completely natural for us to do Foster Care. We simply wanted to make a difference in the lives of children in our community. Our entire family was onboard as we began our journey in 2005. We became licensed through the Department of Social Services in 2006. We knew that our lives would be changed by the many children who entered our home and our hearts. What we didn’t know, is God’s plan was much different than our own. We were unaware of the impact that three children would make in our family forever. We trusted God then and we still trust him today.

Parenting is difficult no matter what. There will be many blessings mixed within the chaos of life as you are raising your children. With raising adopted children from the Foster Care system, the chaos you experience will be a whole different kind. It may even leave you at times searching for that blessing. Don’t stop looking. The blessing is there. Look for it in the midst of your fears, through every struggle, and in your darkest hours. And if you need to, pray for your blessing to be revealed, because it could become lost in all of the chaos.      

It is my sincere desire that as you read our adoption stories you receive a renewed sense of hope in your own. Hope is a gift freely given through the grace of our Lord and Savior. There is hope for every one of Gods children. I pray you can cling to that throughout your journey. I believe it is the key to all successful adoptions. You need to believe and trust that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 It is a special calling to adopt. I am pretty confident that you’ll have moments when you will be questioning that calling and or your ability to continue on. But guess what? That’s ok. He doesn’t promise any kind of parenting will be easy. But he does give us encouragement in his word. So, cling to his word often and remind yourself in times of trouble, that he will guide you in parenting your children, if you allow him.

In the midst of every storm, remember why you chose to Adopt. Embrace your journey and let God work. God can bring peace in the hard times and clear any of your doubts. Learn to trust him in all of it. There is no question that your adoption journey will strengthen your walk with the Lord.  I pray you will continue to, or for the first time, seek the Lord for His wisdom, as you parent your precious gift. If God has entrusted you with one of his children through adoption, there is no doubt he wants your journey to be full of love and blessings.

My husband Kent and I have three adoption stories and each of them have their own unique storyline. These children came from three different circumstances and from three different families, yet with each of their placements there were undeniable similarities. In an eleven year period we have been given the sacred privilege to Foster over 25 children. All of the children placed in our home have been through the Department of Social Services and have shared many of the same attributes.

These children all came to us afraid, experiencing separation and loss. They have each exhibited trust issues and have each had some form of specific need. In addition to that, each child has had some type of hurdle (big or small) that they were in the midst of or would be facing in the times ahead. We have learned to embrace the work ahead of us with each child placed in our home. All of them have needed help to heal emotionally. Some children have required us to seek additional resources to parent them adequately. It is certain that they’ve all been in need of a safe and loving home. Together, we prayerfully made the decision to find the blessings a midst the chaos. We have fully trusted God to guide us in meeting their specific needs and parenting them. We have always remembered that there is hope. Hope for us all.

We learned to acknowledge and accept each of our children’s differences and have made a conscious effort to parent all of them (biological, adopted and those we foster) in the same way. We love them all fiercely. We have always tried to communicate openly, remain as consistent as possible and give age appropriate consequences when disciplining. I have often referred to this with others as “My Three C’s” of Parenting. (Communication, Consistency and Consequences.)  

We knew before we became parents that our faith would play a huge roll in the decisions we would make while raising our children. We have solely depended on God. It is he alone that gives us the wisdom and strength to be effective in all we do to honor him. It is just as imperative to honor him with our parenting. It remains our goal to “teach our children in the way they should go, so when they are old they will not depart from it” Proverbs 22; 6.  Prayer has remained our focus in everything, but we have learned to become prayer warriors during the difficult times we have encountered as adoptive parents. When my heart has grown weary, it has been God’s word and his promises that have sustained me. 

If you are thinking of adopting a child through the Department of Social Services, please know that it is possible. There are many success stories. You can make a difference in the eternal outcome of a child right from your local community. You will be blessed beyond measure by choosing to bless the child that God entrusts to you. It doesn’t mean it will be chaos free. But I am certain; if you are obedient to the call to foster/adopt, the Lord will equip you. He will never leave or forsaken you on your adoption journey or ever. Remember to seek him often. He will answer your cries for help and he will comfort you in your pain and or frustrations. He will flood you with blessings and joy in the midst of life’s chaotic moments or extended amounts of time. He will provide just what your family needs to succeed. I am certain that right now in the community that you live, there are children waiting for someone to love them unconditionally, forever.

This is the intro to the three adoption stories that are told in the Co-Authored book i am apart of.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to share our stories in hope to encourage just one family to make a difference in a childs life forever or to find strength in the journey they have already begun. I hope to share other pieces of my chapter with you in my blog as i wait patiently and pray for all involved in the process of the book as it is published. 

God is good and his timing remains perfect to fulfill our hearts desires.

Blessings in the chaos.

my favorite thing about being a foster parent_dumasEvery Single Child deserves someone to love them and to believe in them. They deserve someone to be their advocate and to give them the resources they need to succeed in life. Every child deserves a forever home!

May God bless all of you that go above and beyond and are involved in Foster Care. You will win some and unfortunately loose many battles. You will rock lonely children to sleep, comfort and reassure those who are afraid, and speak life into young ones lives who have lost hope in themselves.

For all the appointments, meetings, trainings and court hearings…and for every sacrifice and or missed family event or function…I say, Thank you for your love and dedication to the child placed with you!

For every time you’ve questioned what you were doing, or wondered if you were really making a difference, please know…that you are!

For every time you are hurt and for every struggle you persevere through, may you feel Gods comfort and strength to continue on.

In a Foster Care system that is broken in many ways, remember there is a God who can take the broken pieces and make all things whole.

If you feel as if you are alone, know that you are not. There is an army of people who have similar hearts as yours. They get your worries and they can relate to the many frustrations that can come alongside of working with Social Services. So many other people understand the magnitude of the blessings you receive, even in the midst of your chaos.

Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of MY heart❤️

Keep doing what you do! You are making a difference! One child, one family, one situation at a time…You are changing the world!

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A Passion Pause

A letter to my Nieces and Nephews.

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Dear Nieces and Nephews.

Near and far. 

I’m sitting here thinking…reflecting…praying for each one of you. 

I’m thankful for each one of you and who each of you are. Each of you are special in your own unique way.  As I reflect…I can’t help but think of your losses, your goals, your accomplishments, your struggles, your hurts, your gifts and your talents. Some of these things about you I know very well and some of these things I can really only wonder…and pray for you! 

I want you to know you each bring me happiness. You make me laugh and just thinking about you makes me smile. There’s not one thing you could do, that would stop me from wanting the best for you. I love to see you, to hear from you, to catch up, read posts, share pictures and to share life’s moments with you. (the good and the bad)  I am thankful God gave me each of you and I will never hold the title of being your “Aunt” lightly.  It really is a title that brings me great joy!

If there is only one thing that you could learn from me, I hope it would be this…

Nobody…yes NOBODY!! Has or ever will, love you like Jesus. Not your parents, your best friend, your guy or girl friend or even your spouse. Your children that adore you, admire you and look up to you, could never love you like Him. His love is indescribable, unmeasurable, and undeniable! It truly is the greatest love of all…

Life can fail you, friends will hurt you, loss can consume you and pain can be way too real. But…You are never alone! He is greater than all of lifes messes and He will direct you always…as you seek Him. I know too well through my own mistakes and struggles that He is the only answer to life’s problems, and He is the only one to fill an empty void that maybe present. Trust Him.  

And so, I have decided to make this my prayer for each of you…

I pray the Lord blesses you and that each of your lives bring Him glory. That you are a light to others in this dark world and a reflector of His love to all those you meet. I pray you have strength to face each day, because some are much harder than others. That you live life to the fullest, enjoying the people in life, that surround you. I pray you are wise in your choices and a positive influence on the road that you walk. I ask the Lord to protect you daily, provide peace when needed, give courage when necessary and multiply your gifts and talents. May you seek His presence often, live by His truth, grow in your faith and personally experience His saving grace. 

And I pray to be here for you…to the very best of my ability…pointing you to the one… who will never leave you or forsake you and has the perfect plan for your lives!  

I Love You, 

Each One of You, 

Forever ❤️

Aunt Sue