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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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.

I Have Been Inspired

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I have been inspired and therefore, I want to live as an inspiration to others.

I don’t want to fear life’s challenges, I want them to build me up and make me stronger.

I’m over trying to be perfect, it means much more for others to see how I deal with my imperfections.

I don’t want to live my life ordinarily, I seek God daily to use me extraordinarily.

I know the things I hold in my hands are temporary and what I hold in my heart is forever.

I’m thankful to be filled with Gods peace and joy, I want others to trust God and have hope as I do.

I embrace my story, because I know it’s been written for me to share with others.

Life is better when I am happy, but it’s the greatest when those around me are even happier.

Some of the smallest steps I’ve taken in the right direction, have been my life’s biggest moments.

The absolute hardest times in my life have strengthened my relationship with the Lord, they did not break me.

My greatest challenges were those out of my comfort zone, where I’ve had to fully rely on Him.

I will forever be grateful for Gods amazing gift of mercy and grace, for I have been saved by them both.

I know today will never come again, so I choose to be of encouragement to others, a friend and a blessing.

I struggle with insecurities, but I’m thankful to personally know who holds me securely.

I want to live my life today to change someone else’s tomorrow.

I have been inspired and therefore, I want to live as an inspiration to others.

When Storms Come

Have you ever been in the middle of a storm? With it raging all around you? Where there is no clarity or feelings of peace? I have. And guess what? It’s been more than once, even more than twice. Let’s just say, I’ve experienced my share of storms…and so will you.

Sometimes the storms we face come on fast and strong, then seem to quickly pass and fade away. When things clear up, our outlook on life is often brighter and we have learned something from our storm to use in our future. Just be careful not to hang onto that last drop of rain, doubting that the storm has really ended or never learning anything from it.

Then at other times, the storm we are in the midst of, intensifies over a period of time and reaches a climax that seems unbearable to us. As the winds howl and things continue to pour down, we can completely loose our focus and even our footing. We try to make sense of our waves of emotions and we rely too much on ourselves to weather the storm out.

Whether it’s a thunder storm that we’ve anticipated and been able to plan for, or the dreaded torrential down pouring that happens without warning in our life…our God remains the same and He has the power to calm all of them! Our anchor has to be secured through Him alone.

If you happen to be in any kind of storm right now (big or little) Remember, that He is the only anchor that will hold. He is sure, certain and safe. He (our anchor and our hope) is steadfast, firm and reliable.

It is not in our own confidence that anchors our soul, but the sure reality and belief that Gods promises for us are true. This is our anchor. And this is what we are to lay hold of when our feet may begin to stumble or wander within our storm.

When we put our trust in Christ, our eternal hope, we can make it through any storm that may come our way.

How do we lay hold of something, when we are drenched in the middle of uncertainty? 

I too am practicing this…but here are 5 things that have helped me in the midst of the many storms I have faced and am still learning from.

1. Read your bible! You have to know without certainty that your hope is in the eternal presence of God.

2. Pray! Ask God to open your mind and heart to hope in Him alone.

3. Remember how much Christ has suffered for you and your hope. (Wow… what an anchor right?)

4. Praise Him throughout the storm no matter what. Give Him praise for His Faithfulness, Strength, Wisdom, Mercy and Grace.

5. Think about other Christians (family & friends) who have weathered their storms holding onto their hope in Jesus. Lift up and encourage others. Share your testimony of faithfulness during and after your own storms.

May I suggest you start here:

Mathew 7:24-27 -Christ our solid rock

Hebrews 6:19 -Hope an anchor for our soul 

Colossians 2:5 -He is with you

Psalm 107:28-31 and Matthew 8:26 -He calmed the storm

Nahum 1:7 -The Lord is good

 

You Are More…

YOU ARE MORE….

You’re More Than Your Hard Days!

Some days you may try your best and it may not seem like it’s enough.

Some days the words you want to heal may hurt instead.

Some days you may question everything you do or lack the energy to complete it.

Some days your agenda, goals and plans may be shattered.

Some days your intentions may seem like they dont matter.

This doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Or you should quit.

Or God is mad at you.

It just means this…

All of your days you will be human and make mistakes.

All of your days you will grow, but you will never reach perfection.

All of your days there will be grace enough for you.

All of your days will start fresh.

And new.

And with joy.

Remember that the positive always out weighs the negative in life.

Remember God never gives up on you, so never give up on yourself.

Remember everyone’s ugly can become something beautiful.

Remember there’s no test or trial or hard day the Lord can’t use for His glory.

If you let Him.

So,  Keep going.

Keep trying.

Keep moving forward.

I know it’s hard on some days. But you are MORE than those days.

At the end of all of your days, you may very well hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

And that alone will make ALL the hard days you had to persevere through worthwhile.

So take a deep breath.

Keep your focus.

Remain strong in your faith.

And each night when you close your eyes, remember you are loved.

Loved Today.

Loved Tomorrow.

And Loved Forever.

Because You Are More Than Your Hard Days!