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!

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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.

If a door opens…make sure to use a door stopper!

Have you ever encountered a door that opened up for you right in the midst of searching or praying for one?  What about a door that opened in a direction that you had never thought of going? Sometimes…God clearly opens them…just for us!

If a door opens…make sure to use a door stopper!  It’s important not to walk through or shut a door prematurely. Take the time to examine the source of who opened it. Carefully evaluate if it’s in your best interest before you step forward. Sometimes it only appears to be.

Doors can open easily if we are too anxious and looking for ANY opportunity. And sometimes, we just want to flee our current situation. Be careful not to move too quickly, it may not be according to Gods plan.

door

The great news is…God truly does open doors for us! He also gives us wisdom on which ones we should quickly close. The easiest way to determine what to do when a door has opened, is to use a door stopper…and pray!

If you weren’t praying before the door opened, you should surely be praying when it does. You don’t want to step in a direction that is unknown, before seeking the Lord.

I have walked through opened doors in my past without using a door stopper. I was anxiously looking for the next best thing, or an answer to something, but I wasn’t seeking the Lord in my current circumstance. Those are the doors that I can look back on now, and see where I stumbled. I fell through them unprepared and without evaluating what was ahead of me. I just jumped through…ready for whatever was next. And what was next…took me in directions and places I shouldn’t have been.

My greatest moments in life (kingdom building and life changing opportunities) have been through the doors that were opened directly by Him. Just because they were opened by Him doesn’t mean I didn’t step through them cautiously. Some have totally been out of my comfort zone and have pushed me to places I had never imagined. But knowing that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” has motivated me to move through doors I may not have on my own. The most effective doors I’ve walked through, have been the ones I was uncertain about. I moved through them out of obedience to Him. Knowing that when “The Lord opens the door, no one is able to shut it.”  These kind of doors bring the greatest rewards. So, pray for them…

I am there once again…A door has recently crept open for me. I hadn’t been praying for this one. So, I have used a door stopper. I am praying and searching again now, for His direction. He has never failed me. I’m pretty sure I’ll know when and how to step, as long as I continue to seek Him.

Is there a door you need opened in your current situation? Have you been praying for God’s direction? If not, I suggest you seek Him first. And then, use a door stopper before you walk through. I guarantee that your greatest life moments, will be through the doors that He has prepared for you!

And then…Walk Boldly!

Revelation 3:8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

 

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

 

Mission Impossible? No Way!

I am so honored to have my son as a guest on my blog!!! He has a huge heart for people and missions and he serves the Lord that he loves. He needs help in going to Nicaragua. We know God will move in the hearts of His people and make a way. He always does. The Lord  gives us the desires of our hearts and I am so thankful for a son that has a heart for reaching others and furthering His Kingdom. If you would also like to make a difference in the lives of the people in Nicaragua….You can! There are two ways YOU can serve with this Mission.

  1. Give if you are able to financially help (here)
  2. Pray for the Team that will be going.

mission

From the Heart of my Son Wes

Thanks Mom for letting me put this out there.

To those who are reading this blog. Here’s the scoop.

The opportunity for me to go to the nation of Nicaragua presented itself to me and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go.  I have always had a heart for kids and missions.  While the Team is there we will be doing hands on ministry in the streets and reaching out to the communities. We will be serving so many young and old that need to know Jesus. This is an awesome opportunity for me. Not only to serve others, but for my faith to grow as well.

This will not be my first mission trip. I am extremely excited and praying God uses me greatly.  The missions on our agenda will be difficult, but there’s no doubt the rewards will be great. We hope and pray to see many lives changed for eternity!

Prayers are needed for both me and the team above all else. If you are able and can help me in raising the funds to go, it would be a huge blessing to me. I am currently 1/3 of the way there in my fund raising with a deadline fast approaching. If there should be any funds exceeding my goal, they will be directly applied towards this mission.

Click here :  Nicaragua Mission Trip

Thanks in advanced for all the support and prayers. Maybe Mom will let me update all of you on the awesomeness of this mission when I return.

Destine to reach my goal,

Wes Woodward
WES