Foster/Adopt Parents: There is a “Togetherness” in Our Loneliness

When a child is removed from their home and placed in foster care they come broken and lost. They need someone to love them with consistency, help them put their pieces back together again and provide a safe and nurturing environment so they can thrive.

While this maybe interesting to some of you, I am sharing my heart more directly to those who are or have fostered or adopted children. Who knows it may even speak to those of you who have been considering doing this. This isn’t being written for sympathy. Because those fostering or those who have adopted are not looking for any kind of sympathy. We do what we do because we love what we are doing.  It is simply my prayer that something from our personal experience will spark inspiration, give direction or encouragement to one of you!  I want people who foster/adopt to know…..that in their moments of loneliness, there is still a togetherness!  It comes from others who are going through the same kinds of things. Tough things…..sometimes Really Tough Things!

With each child we’ve had in our home it’s been a different journey.  We’ve had 21 foster children in our home over the last 10 years and three that we have adopted.  And with all of them, we have gone about picking up and putting together their broken and lost pieces in the same ways.  Without God alone as our strength, we couldn’t do it.  He has been faithful in supplying us wisdom and direction.  He has never left us on any part of our difficult journeys.  But that doesn’t mean that sometimes the journey hasn’t been lonely.

The road to adoption through foster care, fostering a child for a period of time, or doing respite (short relief help) for other foster families, can be filled with despair, days of hopelessness and loneliness too.  A great family support system and a church family for support is a must!  But even they don’t ever really understand it.   A great number of people try to figure us foster families out. They even say to themselves….Why on earth would someone willingly take another person’s child into their home with so much brokenness?  And well, we are saying…Why on earth wouldn’t everyone want to help the broken?  Are they not all God’s children first?

Nobody really get’s us foster parents and families.  They don’t really know what to say, how to encourage or what to do to help. So don’t be alarmed if you learn pretty quickly, that it maybe a lonely road at times.  We made the decision early on, that the lonely road was ok with us. We have had to keep our focus on the child’s needs and not our own need to be understood.  Don’t expect others to know what to say, how to help or what you may need from them as far as support.  There will be many times you yourself will not know what it is you need!

The one thing that is absolute was our need for Prayer!  We have received them often and many of them have been answered timely!  We have spent our days focusing on being obedient rather then worrying about what other’s are saying, thinking or maybe even snickering about. Bad foster families are out there, just like bad parents…and fostering has definitely been talked about!   We stood and still stand completely confident in our God.  He alone has supplied us with all that we have needed and more!

Before we ever give an answer to the Placement Coordinator calling us about a child being removed, we have always prayed first! This is not always to their liking, because they want an answer immediately. But asking the Lord first, if it is his will for us, has been the only way! Waiting on his direction has always proven best.

We’ve remained firm in our faith and grounded in His word. We know that God only gives us what we can handle. And it’s by his strength and not our own anyways.  So, we trust him completely.  With every obstacles, diversity and frustration that comes with a crazy court system and biological family member that can appear out of the wood work. We know that the system may seem out of control at times…..but Our God Never Loses Control!

Be encouraged that in your moments, days or longer times of feeling lonely….you are not ever alone!  God is with you!  If you feel you are the only person in the world….find comfort in knowing their are so many others like you!  They are also fighting battles, mending struggles, sorting out feelings and being a child advocate with concerns just like you!

So, when you ever feel you have no one…this blog is a testimony that you always have someone!  Me!!!!!  My husband and I, our family, and SOOOOOOO many other foster and adoptive parents all over the world really.  We stand united and share the same hearts. We share in your loneliness and totally get what you are doing!   We understand you!   We stand by you!   We support you through your sleepless nights, long court days and the child tantrums that come out of nowhere and last for hours!   So many of us are actually in the trenches trying to heal scars, mend hearts and restore families just like you!

In your loneliness and in your moments of doubt, remember that foster and adoptive parents experience a “togetherness” and an understanding that is shared without having to express any words.  It’s a connection made within our similar hearts. We get each other like nobody else. So, know that you are not alone in your travels. Our God and others will be right by your side no matter where the road may lead you.

With each child’s brokenness that is mended, each child’s family that has been put back together again and for each child that finds his or her forever home…. We Celebrate Together!  There is an unspeakable “togetherness” of people cheering you on!  These people are ones who are doing the same as you. Loving the hurting children in our foster care system despite their own times of loneliness.

So, keep keeping on….and press through bouts of loneliness!

Be Obedient and Believe in Your Precious Call!

Questions were asked…so here’s the answer!

My blog is not strictly about fostering and adoption but I received many questions after my last blog. I thought I’d give some of you a little more insight about us.

My husband and I have fostered 22 beautiful children and have had the amazing opportunity to adopt three. We’ve done everything from respite and emergency removals to transitioning children into other adoptive homes. We have also helped with a reunification of a child back to her biological parents. I’ve worked closely with DSS in our county and the counties that surround us. I have been apart of leading Foster Parent Pride training and doing some Home Studies for prospective Foster Parents. I have not always seen eye to eye on things within the Department of Social Services, but I have always been committed to the hurting children involved in the system. Recruiting, training and mentoring parents quickly became my passion.

Our families lives forever changed when we made the decision to forever change a child’s. We have never been the same since our first call ten years ago. It is something none of us will ever forget. It was our first child placement. With that call came our first opportunity and decision to adopt. Every child that was placed with us over the years was from a different situation and each have had their own struggles. But they have ALL given us the same rewards. Rewards to great to describe….

My husband and I totally believe we were created with a purpose to love those who may seem unlovable to others. We seek guidance from the Lord for every decision and with meeting every child’s specific needs. With every difficulty we have faced we have been greatly blessed! And go figure, we do it to bless the children!  But that’s how our God works! He blesses us ten time more when we are obedient and choose to bless others!

It has never been an easy task. Parenting is difficult no matter what. Adopting doesn’t solve all the problems the child has encountered from his/her circumstances. They have almost always dealt with neglect, abuse or trauma.  But adoption does give “new hope” to a child that is in need of a forever family and home. It is only the beginning. There are many hurdles to overcome no matter what. The separation and loss that they experience is real and needs time to heal.  I believe in being their voice (because they haven’t had one) and not only do they deserve one, but they NEED one.

If you are interested in knowing more about fostering or adoption through your local Department of Social Services, have any questions, or would like me to be praying for you specifically, please go to my FB page (there is a link on this web page) and message me.  

For those of you who are already fostering or have adopted, I would encourage you to seek any available resource to help you parent. I also believe it’s imperative to utilize every resource available to meet the needs of the children you’ve been entrusted to love and care for. 

For encouragement—Some people will never understand your heart and you cannot let negative (about you or the children placed with you) to settle in your mind. Not even for a second. You don’t need their approvals. God has your back. He sees your struggles and he knows your heart. He will never leave you or forsake you.  Keep keeping on. Love and keep loving. And as you do you’ll continue to make the world a better place. 

It may be complicated, but its precious!

Kent and I enjoyed dinner and a movie with McKenzie and Hannah. I couldn’t help but keep smiling at Kent. We were both just soaking up the girls. Without having to say a word to him, I knew his heart was just as warm as mine. They talked about boys, school, music and silly girl things. They giggled, smiled, shared their food and gazed at one another. Hannah is McKenzie’s best friend/sister/like cousin. Their relationship status is best described by saying…it’s complicated, but it’s precious!

They are sister’s by birth and they became “like cousins” at the age of 3 & 5 by the courts decisions to separate them and their 3 other siblings forever. Until their removal they lived in the midst of a storm that was too great for any of them to have thrived. We didn’t understand Gods plan to separate them back then. (it’s been 7 years ago) But we trusted him! We didn’t see how he could possible mend our broken hearts when Hannah (and their oldest sister Crystal) left our home. We thought the loss the siblings would encounter would be to great for them to heal.  But we knew he was faithful! We didn’t fully understand the special role we would have as “Uncle Kent” and “Aunt Sue” to Hannah, after she was adopted by one of our very closest friends. But we still chose to be obedient to him!

The two of them have experienced a true blessing to remain closely connected. They see each other weekly, attend the same church, have regular sleepover’s and spend all holidays and life events together.  They know their story, they embrace their story and they have learned to love their story. I know they will someday use their story for Gods glory! Their lives are precious! The Girls relationship has been beautiful to watch unfold as they’ve grown!  Their bond is just as unique as each of their personalities. They are similar in many ways and also complement one another with their differences. They are both strong, respectful, kind, silly, determined, compassionate girls who are also both true overcomers!

I may be “Mom” to Kenzie and “Aunt Sue” to Hannah, but God made me so much more than that the day he placed them in our lives at the ages of 2 and 4. I have been their advocate, their cheerleader, their prayer warrior, their encourager, their comforter and it’s been super fun to also be known as their clown. We have laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed together. God knew we’d have these moments. He knew that when the courts chose to separate them physically, he would be working on their behalf to keep them together. He makes all things new!

I’ve learned so much about myself through the years of their placement, transition, and adoptions. With it came mending, healing, struggles and still so much more. But we have never faced any of it alone. I’ve also learned that through obedience comes such sweet rewards. Through the “complicated parts” I became stronger, my faith was increased, my passion for hurting children was renewed and it has kept my eyes heaven bound!

I’m thankful for every special moment. Through the giggles at dinner, the shared spoonfuls of ice cream and the sweet talks before bed… when I look at them, I am reminded of what I’ve always known to be true. Every life…is precious! And it’s so precious…to be a part of others lives!