Foster Parents~Let Your Love Shine Brightly in 2016!

efb93a316f9326b8e19d4c2601ecd2fd

I’ve heard your pain, your hurts and your worries and I have felt them myself. Being a Foster parent is not an easy job. As a matter of fact, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.

Nobody fully understands what it entails and nor will they ever completely get it…unless of course, they too are given the heart to walk the hard road of fostering for themselves.

These children come in all different fashions when they arrive at our door. They can be any or all of these things when we are finally introduced. (fear filled, fragile, desperate, beaten, neglected, starving, anxious, confused, shaken, hyper, mischievous, hurtful, calm, depressed, etc.) They often face other struggles because of their life circumstances. (Attachment disorders, learning disabilities, sleep disorders, post trauma disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome, severe anxiety, processing disorders, and so on)

We don’t just open our doors and everyone blends perfectly together. We cautiously open our hearts too. And when we do that just right, so many other things start to unfold. We long to really “know them”  so we can care for them just right. The unknowns about “who they are” and “what they will be like” brings on our own set of pre-placement anxieties. We wish we had all the important information upfront. And we somehow accept that we may never really know much of anything. (What have they gone through? Will we be all that they need to heal?) So many things matter in how we move forward, yet little is ever answered. We help them transition the best that we can. We set out to love unconditionally and try not to have preconceived expectations. We are on call 24/7. So therefore, we live a life of spontaneity. Organization becomes second nature and we learn quickly to utilize resources when a call comes. We usually over think things, analyze everything, and have only a handful of people (or less) that we can talk to…about everything.

The life of Fostering is a hard one. It’s exhausting emotionally and physically. It is definitely not for all. It makes our hearts ache, our heads spin and can turn things upside down in our families for awhile. But…it is desperately needed! It’s rewards are great! And it is making a difference, one child and one family at time! And in the midst of some crazy days/nights, weeks/months, and sometimes years…as we do what we are called to do…somehow, someway, the blessings manage to outweigh each and every struggle and heartache.

We may not see the progress or healing while they are in our homes, but we claim it for each child and family.  We have faith and it outweighs a failing system. We cannot do it by “our power” so we trust an unfailing God and “His power” to do all things.  We seek the Lord as we keep pouring out. He fills us daily, so we can keep our focus and move forward with every struggle. We pray His perfect plan unfolds in everyone of our Foster children(s) lives. And sometimes His plan is a forever home through adoption.

Remember…You (WE) are not “just a Foster parent.” 
We are comforters in the middle of the night, when a child wakes with night tremors or wants their Mom. 
We are therapists who hear the things that would break anyones heart. 
We try our best to speak wise words of love and truth…when at times we are struck to complete speechlessness.
We become reporters, when a child opens up for the first time. Or there is visual evidence of wrong doing.
We are transporters as we caravan repeatedly to appointments, court dates and visitations. 
We quickly become patient advocates as we seek every service and resource for a child’s medical needs. 
And….We are professional child advocates as we fight for the help our child(ren) need in school, with daily tasks, or life in general.
We are often the first real example of a parent (mom or dad) and it’s imperative that these children have one. 
We can improvise and change routines or plans in a split second. 
We are a quick learners and we learn things about our child(ren) and…ourselves daily! 
We multi task and meet the needs of our husbands, bio kids and that of your placements. (which all bring there own challenges) 
We appear to be super mom to others, but often we feel alone on your mission to save the world…one child at a time. 
We sit for long hours at appointments, in court, at therapy and visitations, and sometimes still work other jobs outside of the home. 
We are happy doing what we are called to do despite the chaos at times. 
We are creative and fun loving…
We are motivated and determined. 
And…We are so much more!!

I know YOU…I am You!

You have cried in the quiet

And yelled privately at the system

You encourage yourself to keep going

And question everything you do

You have doubts

And you talk yourself out of them

You are happy with baby steps

And ecstatic with big ones

You jump for joy when you sleep all night

And you try to catch up on sleep when you don’t

You shoot to move mountains

And are satisfied when you help a molehill move

You love the smiles and laughter

And you look forward to new goals

You get discouraged when trust is broken

And you hurt when a child leaves

You prepare your bios from the loss that’s to come

And you protect and guard your own heart without even knowing

You worry about outcomes

And you wonder about plans

You love each and every crazy minute of your life

And….You love and provide so much more!!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! You are like me. And WE are like so many others. And WE are all called to love!  To live life and help others to live their lives better. To make the world brighter! To make a difference and then some! 

So let the difference your making be inspiring. Let your story be told.

Let your love shine brightly in 2016!

Remember, We are so much more then what the world sees as “JUST a Foster Parent”.  

We are a Gift to a child..a Blessing to a hurting family… and a crucial piece of stability to a system that needs our help.

We are changing the world… 

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!

I have a purpose, hear me roar!?!

Roar

 

 

 

P -Passionately Mothering!

U -Unflinchingly keeping my eyes on the goal!

R -Regularly and richly impacting God’s word to my children!

P -Praying constantly-my heart always looking to the Lord!

O -Ordering and managing my home with diligence!

S -Saturating my husband and children with love & encouragement!

E -Embracing & nurturing all the children God has placed in my life!

Ok, maybe you can’t actually hear me roar. But, I do sometimes! I’m passionate, loud, dramatic and full of energy, as I embrace and live out my purpose!

We all have a purpose!

What’s yours? And how do you live it out?

The fruit of the womb is a reward!

Twenty three years ago Motherhood changed my relationship with God.  As soon as I experienced the sweet love for my children, I had a new understanding of God’s Love for His children.  “Behold what manner of Love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) 

As children of God, we are God’s heritage. He has entrusted us as parents to love and care for His children.  “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of THE womb is a reward.”  (Psalms 37:3) 

My Mom and both of my Grandma’s faith influenced many lives as I was growing up. Their faith is still a great influence in our family today. They were and are great examples of “living by faith”. The prayers that they have prayed over their children when they were younger are still being answered today.  My Mom has carried the mantle of faith throughout her life. I share that same faith in God and can only hope to carry the mantle as gracefully and beautifully as her.  I live to reflect and share this faith to my (God’s) children. I pray that as a mother, the Lord will continue to give me wisdom and guidance. As my husband and I have partnered together in building his kingdom, we have striven first to build a household of faith.

There are so many blessings that come with Motherhood.  I am thankful that God has given me two biological blessings, and I’m just as thankful He has placed with us our three adopted blessings.  They are each His children first.  The verse Psalms 37:3 is not written “the fruit of YOUR womb” but it instead reads “the fruit of THE womb is a reward”.  Our “fruit” (His children) came directly from the Lord!  I am thankful that despite God choosing another womb to place three of our children in; they remain His Children first. They have been entrusted to us at a later time then “in the womb” but they have brought us so many blessings and rewards!

Therefore, I will always “live by faith” as my Mom, Grandma and those before them did. I will continue to pray over my children and watch as the Lord answers the prayers in his perfect way and timing. I will take careful care of the fruit (His heritage) that has been given to me. And I will live to train them up to be used for His glory!

I will train them in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6) 

image

We Have Gotcha…and We Will Never Let You Go!

Happy Gotcha Day!!

We Have Gotcha and We Will Never Let You Go!

You didn’t grow under my heart. You grew in it!

(A letter I wrote but never mailed to her biological mother) 

Dear Bio mom,

She was your child first…and we are sorry that you were unable to care for her. We really are.  I know that you love her.  There is no possible way that you couldn’t. She is amazing!  She is one of our greatest joys!  The Love you had for her just wasn’t enough. It didn’t keep her safe, nurture her and provide for her needs.

She has your eyes and your nose.  She does some things just like her siblings.  And her dance moves are especially like her oldest sister.  We will always remember the love and time spent with all three of your girls in our home.  It was hard because the visitations became damaging, caused confusing and went on way too long…

Your oldest daughter really wanted to be with you.  It was so strange the devotion and obligation she had towards you. (You, the one who hurt her) Separation and attachment disorders are so crazy.  She didn’t even know how to attach to anyone but you, because of it.  So, when the courts ruled, we really struggled with the decision they made for us to transition her back to you. Nineteen months in our home and then it was like a bomb went off in our hearts…And you got another chance to parent.  Not all five of your children…but just one.  And the struggle was and is…still real for you.   

Your actions and your choices, completely rocked their entire worlds.  They were so innocent…so young…so helpless.  It was scary for them. What were you thinking when you left them hungry, dirty and in danger?  Who did you think would keep them safe when you left them in vehicles and motels alone?  Or in stranger’s homes?  You made them learn to fend for themselves.  They all knew many survival techniques when they were removed.  They had no choice but to learn on their own…how to survive…while you lived.  So selfishly. 

She was sickly and confused then.  She has struggled in so many ways since we opened our home and heart to her EIGHT years ago.  She was a frail and extremely tiny 18 months old. You had rocked her world…over and over again.

We rocked her world too!  Every night…before bed…for over two years…as we held her and sat with her into the night. We rocked her. We comforted her. We stayed awake through the tremors and the sleepless nights. We put her back in her bed over and over again…and avoided stepping on her wherever she lay in the night. We still have “all night drifting parties” often.  I wonder, will she ever sleep well? But I know by God’s grace she will… 

We wished we could have kept some of the doors open with you. But we knew what was best for her, and this just wasn’t an option. We were open to keeping connections with her other 3 siblings. They make her light up when she sees them. It make our hearts happy too.  After all, it isn’t their fault they were separated.  They did nothing to deserve what they received.  We may live forever having to change that thought process in her mind.  But we will do whatever it takes!  

We were never here to take her away from you. We were a part of a system to help you get yourself together.  We offered a safe and loving environment for 3 of your children in order for you to do so. We always work towards reunification and we will never really understand why you never accomplished that.  But we forgive you. I hope and pray you learn to forgive yourself… 

Our role as Foster Parents was to care for your child while you worked hard toward goals placed upon you by the court. We were here to support you and we encouraged you to reach them. Time kept slipping away…court date after court date…You never took any steps towards achieving the goals placed before you.  Not even for your children. 

I had felt sorry for you, because she never asked about you. But now, as she has gotten older and we have talked about you many times…I am thankful she didn’t ask more when she was younger. It seems harsh, but it is best that her memory of you is so vague. She understands it was your choices that were bad and not anything bad that she did. She also knows, accepts and understands that God has worked things out for her. She has such a forgiving and kind heart. It saddens me that you may never know her beautiful heart. One that prays for you and others.

We are thankful God spared her from even more hurt. He has worked in her favor and on her behalf many times. She is His child first…and she didn’t go through an experience of great loss.  We are all she knows and remembers….and His plan has been perfectly unfolding for her all along.

I need you to know that nothing that I could have said or done would have ever helped you get your children back. The choices that you made determined her future. A future that ended up with us as her parents. It is a future of…love, family, assurance, comfort, encouragement, care, persistence, safety, devotion and hope. The greater Hope that she has is eternal. She knows who’s she is! 

I want you to know I am deeply sorry that you were ever in this situation to begin with.  I know you still struggle.  So, we will continue to pray for you. You can still do right, make good choices and get your life together. The same Eternal Hope that she possesses is obtainable for you too through Jesus.   

You chose to give Birth!  That is definitely something to be proud of!  You chose life for your babies!  We will forever be grateful for your decision to do so.  Life is always…always a gift!  And one of the lives you birthed became our precious Gift! 

So today…..

Eight years ago exactly…(at 2:00 pm)

The court saw it in was in your child’s best interest to have all parental rights terminated! It was a sad day for you. I know it had to be. My heart broke for you.

But it was a beautiful day for all of us…and with a broken heart, I also rejoiced!

                            It became her very first Gotcha Day…

                                                                   And one of many more to come!

Forever grateful,

The Adoptive Mom

SW

I CAN’T GO A DAY WITHOUT JESUS!

As difficult as it is for me to start my mornings without my “wake up” coffee, I CAN do it.  

To have a full day of not checking things off of a “to do list” is a challenge, but it too has been accomplished.

I can go without my phone (and that’s a hard one) my iPad, the internet and even the TV and somehow I can still make it through the day.   

As crazy as it makes me to go to bed with dishes in the sink, or laundry in the dryer,  I have done it. Often. And I Am Still Sane!

There are many things that I have no problems letting go of…..

And there are  many things that I’ve had to learn to live without. 

But…  I CAN’T GO A DAY  WITHOUT MY JESUS!

                  

        He lives deep within me     

And His presence is felt all around me.

I thank Him for each day as I rise

And I praise Him when I lay my head to rest.

I cannot go without Him…

I have seen Him move in many lives

And I have watched Him graciously move in death.

I hear Him in the laughter of children

And I see Him through acts of compassion and giving.

I cannot go without Him…

I seek Him for guidance with every step that I take

And I try to humble myself as I let His light shine.

I need His Wisdom and His Love

And I am thankful for His Mercy and Grace.

I just can’t go without Him…

He is my Comfort and my Strength 

My Hope  

My Friend

My Healer and My Rock

I cannot go a SINGLE MOMENT in ANY DAY without…..MY JESUS!

He is My Everything!!!