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.

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