Book to be Released Soon!

28 True Post-Adoption Stories to Comfort and Encourage

Hope for the Adoption Journey, compiled by Katherine Piper, features the heartrending stories of twenty-eight women from very different circumstances who have personal experience with adopting and fostering children, both domestic and international, of various ages and backgrounds, with a wide range of needs—and who have endured to share their joy.

Are you a mother facing the chaos of adoption in your family?

Do you feel alone and overwhelmed with the struggle of adoption?

Or are you considering adoption and wondering if you can do it?

  
“Adoption can make your heart ache and your head spin, and it can turn things in your family upside down for a while. But the blessings do outweigh the chaos, and every struggle and disappointment too. Remember, you are not alone in this endeavor. There are many others who have been or are in the trenches with you. And God will never leave your side…
Love fiercely as He loves you.”
—Mother of adopted & foster children
(Susan Woodward)

All profits will be used to help prospective adoptive parents bring their children home.

Will be available on Amazon and Kindle, August 2018.

Book

 

Seven Months With Precious Brothers

my favorite thing about being a foster parent_dumas

We said yes and opened our home and our hearts once again seven months ago. This time for two little boys that were ages two and three. They are spunky, cautious but loving, stubborn, confused, hurt, and very silly little boys. They are Gods perfect little gifts who just needed a safe and loving place to grow and to heal.  So, like many times before, we said yes!  Yes, even knowing that a transition one day would be unbearably hard and that the loss would eventually hit us.  Yes, knowing that one day all we would have is the memory of them and that we would miss so much.

A lot has been shared in seven months. Our family has made some special memories as we’ve committed to meeting their every need. Loving and caring for them has been difficult at times, but I’m convinced that living out your life’s passion doesn’t happen easily. God always provides the tools and he gives the right resources, but being obedient and taking on big tasks comes with some hard moments and lots of lessons learned.

Together over the last seven months, we experienced the loss of my husbands (Kent’s) two brothers and we faced some hard sad times. We also shared the fun and happy things that are involved with five different holidays together. (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines and Easter) It was an added bonus that both of the boys were able to celebrate their Birthdays in “Woodward Style”. (Loud and crazy chaos) They also helped in celebrating six of our family member’s birthdays during that time frame. We helped the youngest as he went through two surgeries and got many of his medical needs met. Both of the boys received emotional and developmental assistance to help with their care. We have practiced our patience over and over again…as we’ve taught them both how to communicate their emotions and deal with built up hurt and anger.

Seven months that may have flew on bye but that will never be forgotten. So many things shared within our family of twelve. Over time and with God’s grace we will heal… and we will learn to be a family of ten again.

There will be so many things I (we) will miss…

I’ll miss there little feet running to the table eager to eat anything served.
I’ll miss the excitement in their eyes when they have done well and are praised.
I’ll miss the silly songs, the little dances and the crazy jokes that make no sense.
I’ll miss reminding them to slow down and chew with their mouths closed.
I’ll miss watching paw patrol and power rangers every chance that they got.
I’ll miss the fits that have brought break through and helped in their healing.
I’ll miss teaching the simple things, like water doesn’t hurt and toilets are to pee in.
I’ll miss dodging action figures, LEGO’s and other toys with every step. 
I’ll miss having little clothes in the laundry and many more miss matched socks.  
I’ll miss reading, singing and talking to them about Jesus.
I’ll miss them taking turns and even arguing over whose turn it is to pray.
I’ll miss watching my other children love and adore them.
I’ll miss hearing them say “Mr. Kent will you hold me?” every night before bed.
I’ll miss them learning new things and watching the joy in completing a new task.
I’ll miss covering them up, giving them kisses and hugs and watching them sleep.  

So much to Miss!!!  But I won’t miss Praying for them. I know that God will continue to meet their needs. He has done it before, He will do it again. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  His love is sooooooo much greater than ours for them. 

So, when I miss all of these things and much much more…I will do the only thing that has worked many times before. When my heart aches and my head is full of memories…i will do what always brings me peace…I will PRAY! 

Our God will hear…Our God will protect…Our God will answer!

pexels-photo-267559.jpeg

Adoption Story Two -sneak peek

Shared from Blessings In The Chaos 

McKenzie – Our fourth gift.

Two months after Austin’s adoption was final we received a call from the Department of Social Services to Foster a sibling group of three girls. The girls were two, four and nine years old. There wasn’t much hesitation in us saying yes. It was known by the Department that we would do our best to take in any child that needed to be cared for. We discussed it as a family and prayed before giving them our final answer. From the day they arrived in our home in July 2007, until the day McKenzie’s adoption was final in November 2009 it was a whirl wind of chaos. There were days I felt alone, misunderstood and even miss guided by the Department. It was God alone who gave me the strength to dig deep and move forward. There were many times I prayed for God to reveal the blessings to me. Being a parent to six kids with three of them having additional special needs was emotionally draining. I reminded myself often why we chose to go into Foster Care. I knew that we were making a difference, but I didn’t always see it. Remembering why  we were in the chaos, always gave me the boost I needed to continue on in full force.

McKenzie was the youngest and the frailest. Although she was two years old, she only weighed 17 lbs. and wore size 9-12 month clothing. She had already had her tonsils and adenoids removed. She had suffered from a bowel blockage and was so tiny that it scared me to hold her too tightly. She did not speak when she came. Most of her basic needs were quickly met by her oldest sister who had been her primary care taker.

I would love to say that when termination of the parental rights happened we were relieved and had peace. This would be far from the truth. We were extremely torn, and frustrated with the decisions the Social Workers, Therapist, Lawyers and Judge was making in regards to what they felt was in the best interest of the girls. They made the decision to separate them. At the time, we just couldn’t wrap our heads or our hearts around that decision. It’s awful hard to trust God when you are experiencing great pain.

We have never been the same from the moment the three of them entered our home and our hearts. It wasn’t an easy road, but Kent and I continued to remain obedient with every twist and turn we were faced with.  We understand that we were created with a purpose to love those who may seem unlovable to others. We do not possess or pretend to have the answers. We have no greater option but to seek God daily for guidance in raising all of our children. We look for joy in each moment and have become great at finding the blessings where others may see none. We fill ourselves in God’s presence often. This has allowed us to continue to pour out and into others with every chance that we get. God knew that we would make a great team.

Adoption can make your heart ache, your head spin and can turn things in your family upside down for a while. But the blessings do outweigh the chaos. They even manage to outweigh every struggle and disappointment too. Remember you are not alone in this endeavor. There are many others that have been or are in the trenches with you. And God will never leave your side. Even when you think you are failing and do not see him working, remember he is always working on your behalf. So keep keeping on despite the chaos you may endure and love fiercely as he loves you. Don’t lose hope. For hope will continue to change the world one child at a time.  

This is just a small piece of my second Adoption story in the book I have Co-Authored with many other Christian women. The details of her story and our other two adoptions are shared in length in the book. I am so excited that it is in publishing now.  I cannot wait to encourage others on their adoption journey and to help fund forever homes for others. 

Other Sneak Peeks can be read here:

Telling our story…sneak peek!

Adoption Story One -sneak peek

 

Are you a Magnum Opus?

YES you are!!!!

To God you are “His Magnum Opus!”  

mag·num o·pus
noun
1.) a large and important work of art, music, or literature, especially one regarded as the most important work of an artist or writer.
2.) a great workespecially :the greatest achievement of an artist or writer
No doubt a writer or artist has a deep passion for what they do. They have an end goal when they start on their work of art. They work on precisely carrying out their plan so someday they fulfill their end goal. Allowing their work to reach its sole purpose.  It takes time, sometimes years…But they move forward, don’t give up and keep focused.
You can read stories written from the heart of an author and you can see artwork from an artist that reflects their passion, dedication and commitment to their work. They strive for the ultimate Magnum Opus.  Each of them have important and even great works, but they strive for and work diligently towards their “greatest achievement.”
When I was much younger, my mom told me “You are God’s Magnum Opus” “You are one of Gods greatest accomplishments” “His most important work.”  That analogy and profound statement has always stuck with me. 
God himself, not only planned me, but he had a sole purpose for my life when he uniquely designed me. He did the same for you. He started working on that beautiful masterpiece in my mother’s womb and is still carrying it out to completion. He is precisely planning on my behalf and working things for my good. He has created each and every life with the same heart and deep passion. He strives for excellence in us.  But he accepts the mistakes and the do-overs that we may need. He never gives up on us. He works diligently on our behalf, as our lives and his masterpiece, continues to unfold. 
Look at your self today with God’s eyes. In your failures, your self-doubt, your disappointments and trials. Remember through all of it, God does not see them the same as we do.  He sees the beautiful in the midst of your ugly and he already knows the  outcome of what he started in you.  He sees you as one of his greatest joys, a prize possession, a work of art…and one of his greatest masterpieces. Embrace that!
Let others know who created you and how special, miraculous and beautiful all life really is.  And then, let YOUR life reflect the wonderful “Magnum Opus” that you are. 

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.

Whats your kind of Resolution?

I’m not really a “resolution kind of girl.” Maybe it’s because in years past I didn’t end up keeping them. They were either too farfetched, I changed them mid-year, or I never really meant them to begin with.

I don’t really know when I changed. But I did. And it works for me. I stopped setting a “New Year’s resolution.” Well, i no longer put full effort into accomplishing ONE particular thing before the years end. To me, “my kind of resolution” is bigger and last much longer.

Making this personal change has proven to work for me. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Nor do I frown upon any “New Year” positive resolution that’s made. But I challenge you to try it differently. Reaching daily goals and learning to live in each moment has been beneficial to me and my family in so many ways. I accomplish more, and do better on a “short term” (daily) basis, as opposed to setting my goals on a “year’s term”. 

I make goals often. Some of them may seem trivial or even silly to others. God’s word offers me a great source for “self-pep talks” on my way to achieving them. His word encourages me to remain steadfast and determined.

I want to live a life of Joy, Grace and of complete fulfillment in Him. And I want it on a daily and momentarily basis.

Life’s way too short and can change too suddenly. My plans become altered. My goals often shift. Life can have set backs and come at us with many twists and turns. We have all experienced failed attempts and less than great moments, as we strive to achieve our goals or just doing life.

But…Just as suddenly, life can bring great triumphs, unexpected victories, and positive results from our perseverance, and eternal rewards from our experiences and encounters.

So, I face each moment, each day, each test, trial, triumph, and New Year…the same way.

With One focus.

And One goal.

To be better than I was yesterday. To be kinder, wiser, more compassionate, more selfless, more giving. To be a better wife, a better mom and a better person. My “lifetime resolution” is to be more like Christ. Every moment is a lesson I can learn from. Every connection made is a gift to practice being more like Him. Every opportunity given, is an opportunity that I never want to miss…sharing His love. Every breath I take…is a gift.

So, maybe I am a “resolution kind of girl” after all. It’s just that my resolution doesn’t come forth only at the New Year.  I want to live with a resolution (with intention, a plan, a conscious decision, with aim, a commitment, and a promise) Every. Single. Day.

When I fail…and I do. I get back up, I refocus, I stay close to His word and cling to His promises. I choose Joy in the hard times, and claim His strengths in my weaknesses. I thank Him often and praise Him for each day that He’s given. I choose to move forward, when life at times, can seem at a standstill.

No matter your struggle, or your current situation, you can do the saimg_7629-1me. Make a resolution. Maybe, make it differently…

Choose one focus.

Choose one goal.

Choose to live a life as a reflection of Him.

Do it daily!

With this kind of resolution, I have experienced the most success as I have grown in Him.

And I will continue with this kind of intent, as long as I have breath.