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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Mommy. Mom. Mother. Friend

Mommy,

Thank you for planning and preparing for me so tenderly before you ever even met me.

Thank you for showing me “my first love” starting with my very first breath.

Thank you for letting me be creative, explore the world around me and grow into my own little person.

And thank you for shielding me from things that could have harmed me and for introducing me to Jesus.

Mom,

Thank you for laughing, playing and encouraging me to always look at the positive in a very negative world we live in.

Thank you for teaching me, encouraging me and pointing me in the right direction when things were not always clear.

Thank you for including God in everything and helping me to put Him first in my life.

And thank you for showing me the importance of family, commitments, honesty, and integrity.

Mother,

Thank you for always believing in me, even through the times that I have failed you and I have doubted myself.

Thank you for praying, trusting God and keeping your faith, through your own storms. You have set a wonderful example of perseverance to follow.

Thank you for loving my husband, encouraging my children, and supporting our family like you do.  Your love has beautifully multiplied over the years.    

And thank you for being there for me, (distance isn’t as hard) because you have always made yourself available no matter what.   

My friend,

Thank you for all of the silly, singing, dancing, laughing till we cry, or crying until we laugh moments that we’ve shared. 

Thank you for lifting me up when i’ve fallen,  for speaking wisdom from your heart and for sharing the word of God into my spirit.

Thank you for understanding the importance of “our time” together. Over the years, we have experienced many irreplaceable moments together because of this.

And thank you for being a person without judgement, a friend without drama and a consistent, confidential shoulder to lean on. 

I’m so thankful God made YOU for ME!
Me and MOM

You were first my Mommy,

And then became my Mom,

But forever you will be…

My Mother…and my Friend!   

 

 

 

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 

It is what it is…but it really isn’t!

it is what it is

I have definitely said that at times. And in many cases, it has helped me to process whatever it is that has been presented to me or someone I love…a little better.

The easiest way for me to deal with something out of my control is to think “it is what it is.”   

But guess what?  It really isn’t!

It isn’t what has been presented or what I may see it as.  And it never will be!  

It’s completely fine to think “It is what it is” if in our hearts we can know that “it really isn’t.”

Situations beyond my control become a little more bearable and understandable (I didn’t say they were easier) when I take the next step and fully trust God and cling to His eternal hope.  I have learned to accept that God is the only one who sees what really is.

He is the only one who understands all the details of the masterpiece He is creating with our lives. And God uses every “it is what it is” moment that we face. He uses our every pain and our deepest hurts.

When we look to Him we can make more sense out of something that seems so senseless. We can cling to the promise that His plan is far greater for our lives than we could ever comprehend. We can move forward knowing that everything out of our hands is really in the best hands ever! 

His plan is far too complex for any of our knowledge. It is much too beautiful for our eyes to visualize.  Our broken hearts could never grasp how all the pieces will perfectly be mended together one day. How He works things out for our good will always be far beyond what our minds can understand. 

But He is working!

And what IS really ISN’T.

Learn to trust Him with ALL of lifes moments.

Open your heart, mind and soul to Him.

Remember “It is what it is…but it really isn’t.”

 

There Is A Fine Line Between Helping and Enabling.

there-is-no-better-joy-than-helping-people-dan-gilbert

The desire to help people, especially those who mean the most to us, comes very natural to many of us. Especially to Parents who want to help their children succeed.  Unfortunately, this well-meaning impulse to help solve a person’s problem can backfire. I am learning this as I grow older, not only as a parent, but also living a life of Ministry. Trying to avoid back firing can be tricky and difficult. We try to give, help and serve others like Jesus. But in doing so, nobody said it would be easy. It can tear your heart out and make you question all you’ve ever known.  But trust God, His timing and His promises!  He is proven His faithfulness to me over and over again.  And I too am always learning!

I am seriously good at solving problems. It may even seem weird to some of you, but I actually enjoy problem solving.  I love to help people, so I am more than willing to do whatever I can to fix things for them.  I will always help people, but I have grown more aware of what it really means to enable someone. There is a fine line (but a big difference) between ”helping” someone and “enabling” them.

Personally, I believe it depends not only on the situation confronted with, but the condition of the person’s heart that you are trying to help. I find myself pondering on a few questions whenever I am making the decision to offer my help to someone… so that I do not enable them.  Does the person own up to what they have done?  Or only when they will gain something in return?  Are they being truthful? Demanding?  Or rebellious?  Is the person willing to help them self and change their ways?  And also, is there a pattern to their behavior that needs to be broken?  Would I be helping them to succeed or hurting them in the long run?  Is there behavior or problem causing harm to them self or someone else?

I felt compelled to write this to shed some light on enabling through my own parenting experiences that have ended in mishaps and also in many successes. I know my children have to solve problems “big and small” on their own.   And….Ugh it’s so hard not to protect them from failures!  Can any of you relate to this?  I know many of you have walked this hard and unclear road as well.

I (we) have great kids!  All five of them are different and have different levels of responsibility and different levels of problem solving skills.  They, like anyone else, have to make decisions that are responsible and live by their consequences. Nothing makes a parent more proud of their child than to see them trust God and figure things out with His guidance. BUT…I also like to be involved in the process. LOL  I struggle with letting go and letting God do his amazing work. (He works even through their struggle)  I have learned that being involved in the problem solving process for most people (esp. teenagers and young adults) doesn’t give them an advantage in the long run.  It can even make a problem grow or become a temporary fix.  No matter what the “problem” is when they have to solve it themselves, they are most likely to learn from the process of figuring it out and less likely to keep repeating it. When they problem solve on their own, they learn from their choices and they gain the confidence needed for the next thing they will face in life.

I am not talking about offering assistance to someone that has an immediate and or true need. And there will always be times we give and offer help not knowing the full circumstance of the situation. When you give from your heart out of obedience and someone abuses that giving, it is on them, not the person who has given. Alway give…

Enabling means: To give someone the authority or means to do something.  I recently read somewhere that the meaning has really become more like – “offering help that makes someone or something, (typically an undesirable situation) continue indefinitely. A friend who makes excuses for his hung-over friend is enabling alcohol abuse.  The relative who lends money to a drug addict is enabling that addiction.  And a parent whose child asks to be “bailed out” of a situation they’ve created because of their poor choices is enabling irresponsibility.

Those who constantly enable dysfunctional behaviors are called co-dependents.  I don’t want to be a co-dependent of anyone…..especially in my child’s life. The reality is, enabling not only doesn’t help the person to overcome or learn anything, but it actually causes harm. It can make the situation much worse and continue to repeat itself.

Stepping in to “solve” the problem, takes away any motivation for the person to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Without that motivation, there is little reason for them to change their behavior. Enablers can help their spouses, friends, and children dig themselves deeper and deeper into trouble.  People have to solve their problems without a “bail out” (a rescue) or THEY haven’t solved the problem. Therefore, they have most likely not learned from it either.

There is definitely a fine line between helping and enabling.  “Helping” would be like letting a teenager ignore their chores while studying for finals or because of a busy work week. Dismissing a teenager’s drug use, drinking, lying, defiance, violence or rebellion as “just part of being that age” is NOT helping.

If you ignore unacceptable behavior…you are an enabler. 

If you solve all of the problems brought to you by a person…you are enabler.

I have crossed that ever so fine line of “helping or enabling” myself.  I just didn’t realize it at the time.  Boy is it a tough lesson to learn for both the parent and the child. The child who didn’t get money at their request, or the “bail out” they feel they deserved after their poor choices, may feel they have lost the parents love. But…Oh how wrong that is….

A Strong love… teaches others to solve their problems, grow and learn from them.  Even when it’s painful and can cause heart ache. 

Love your children, spouse, friends, and relatives Strong

Pray for them!  

Show them a love that does not enable their behaviors, addictions or defiance’s.

A Love that helps them to grow and continue to blossom. 

A Love that allows them to learn from their mistakes and become better at solving them.

A love that never stops loving them, but never loves their poor choices.

A love that guides them in the right direction without picking them up and taking them there

A stronglovewebLove that does NOT enable.   

A person struggling needs a Strong Love…

Christ love for us is Strong! 

 

 

I am not a professional…..But If someone you know becomes mentally unstable please do not hesitate to seek medical attention. I suggest seeking a counselor or therapist for anyone that has a dysfunctional behavior that could cause harm to their self or someone else.  If an addiction to drugs or alcohol is the problem, I suggest enrolling them in a treatment plan, attending a local AA group or a Celebrate Recovery Program and or seek counseling.