Wednesday, March 11, 2015

And Just Like That It Will All Change

I am much more calm on paper. My friends, especially the close ones, can tell you that I tend to me much more intense when you meet me in person. In fact, you will either like me, or strongly dislike me..... fun fact, every single one of my closest friends throughout my life did NOT like me, when we first met.... turns out that the joke was on them, cause they all very much loved me, in time.

 I say this because I really lost it when I received news regarding our 2 foster daughter's case (Sorry Ashley for the "colorful" descriptive words I used when I found out the news). We foster parents can all unanimously agree that visits are the most challenging part of having foster kiddos. No matter how strong of a bond you build, or how safe and constant their lives become.... visits remind everyone that you are not a family. I do not mean this in a cruel or unkind way. But no typical family has to stop, then switch realities. There's flow and rhythm to a home, and a family. It is interrupted constantly with foster care. But with reunification.... the visits get longer and the overnights come.... which all lead to what the goal is always for kids in foster care... that they go back into a safer more capable bio family, situation. BUT, what if that goal cannot be accomplished. What if it's not in the best interest of the child? Then those visits are worst than the pits. And what if there's a new development that interrupts the reunification date? This is where our family and these two girls are.... it's called limbo. I am not fond of limbo. I very much like to what is going to happen next.... especially when it comes to my family.

But my life, my house, my time, my heart, and my mouth..... are not my own. As I follow Jesus, He slowly takes everything, and replaces it with Himself. So there is much uncertainty in a case that was supposed to move out of our care in 3 days. With foster care, everything can change. I do not know what will happen, but I am praying with all my heart, that everyone involved will think of and do what is best for these girls. Sometimes, the cases become about the parents... and the workers involved begin to think they are the heroes in these biological parents stories.... and things drag on longer than they need to.... at the expense of the kid's well being (btw, I have enjoyed dealing with every single one of the 16 kid's social workers).

Every child deserves to know where they belong. They deserve to know, without a shadow of a doubt, who it is that will protect, guide, defend, listen to, and love them. They need to know that there are people who are for them. We all long to find our place, the place we belong ..... children need that, as much as food, from birth. Kids in the system show you how devastating the disruption of meeting that need is..... or worse, they show you the faces of those who never had the need met, since birth. It does something to a child, to not have that. So we wait. Our girls and our family are in God's hands. I wonder what God's up to. Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Romance is Over

I went out with an awesome group of women friends the other night. Never mind that I was over an hour late because I had to hustle to bring my brood back from swim lessons, and my hubby insisted that I make a smoothie for my oldest, before I headed out (in desperate need of a shower). I made it! I was able to connect with beautiful mothers that I rarely get to. It was great, and rejuvenating. A couple of conversations spawned up about adoption. So, of course, I had a difficult time keeping my ever yapping, mouth, shut.

But the talking from a few nights ago, got me to thinking about how easy it is to romanticize adoption. It's what I did. I had the whole sad, but beautiful story, already written in my mind, long before we actually pursued adoption. It was tragically moving. The children were wounded but grateful to finally have a family, and be loved. On and on it went. But reality went nothing like my little romanticized world.

The truth is that adoption is messy!! No matter the route you go. In foster care, it's even more messy. I have been in the thick of it. I have had to try to let my pride get squashed.  Let go of any decency that I expect from rational human beings. I have had to say goodbye to expectations. All the while trusting in God and being reminded, daily, that my life is not my own. It is a daily death. I throw internal fits before Him, constantly.

As we reunify our 2 girls, I feel like I am being stretched to the max. I would like to give up on the whole situation. I do not want to be kind and eat dirt, before their biological mother. This is the truth, so the accolade of how great I am, really are not accurate. I have no love of Christ for the woman who is currently making my whole being cringe. I have no compassion and very little understanding. I have to continuously ignore texts and not respond to constant internal buttons being pushed. It is not natural. It is not normal. What is normal is to let her know exactly how I see the whole ridiculous matter, but I cannot.

Our house is in emotional shambles. We are terrible at saying goodbye. It doesn't come easy or naturally. I cry. And I am not even sure how I would like the story to end, for the girls, for their mother, or for our family. I just know that I do not like today, well actually, Monday. When the whole chaos begins of them teeter tottering back from our home to hers.

Eventually the pain will lessen. I have learned that is true. But the dull ache will never disappear. I ache for the little girl that we said goodbye to 3 months ago. I miss her. Our kids will tell me they miss her, at random parts of our mundane day.  All I can say is, I miss her too.

The thing about our adoption story is that one day....I will be able to reflect on this entry.... with remembrance of the painful journey. But there will be Joy. It is just how it always works with God's children. The painful events of this life are meant to declare Him faithful. To make Him shine. His Glory to be magnified. "She cried out to her God, and when all seemed hopeless and she looked foolish...... He answered".... That will be the last chapter in my story. I truly believe that. Not because I am worthy.... but because He is good.

So the romance is over. I am tired, all over. Pin It Now!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Prayers Answered in a Day

Today was kind of tough. I should have done more school with the kids, and they probably should have been sent outside. Instead I became a referee all day. My two boys and the two girls could not resolve squabbles all day. I did.

This morning I had more questions than I have this evening. We have had a little boy for the past month. He has another home that he should be going to with his teenage mother. We've done the whole teenager and child foster care, and it's not a good fit for our family. A friend of ours, though, is willing to open up her home, so she was emergency licensed today. I found out that he should transition into her home either today (obviously not) or tomorrow. I am hoping for something more stable for the little guy.

But perhaps, the most unexpected news is that the two girls we've been fostering for the past 6 months, are going to be transitioning into their mother's care in the next few weeks! There is a clear time table, and date even!! This is what I have been praying for, but as is the norm, I have a lot of mixed emotions over the process. The girls deserve to be with their mom , if she can parent. And truly the answer will only be answered sufficiently, by reunification.

I will need prayer. My desire is to support this mother, with all that I can. And my hope is that we can maintain communication with the girls. Lord willing. It just is not simple or easy. I have had birthmothers that I have loved instantly, with this mother it is has been touch and go. I do believe that she truly loves her girls and she has done everything that has been asked of her. She has earned this chance.

But the idea of our home going from 7 kids to 4, is strange. We'll see what God has planned, after today, I can say, I have no idea. But I know that He is good and faithful. This I know

Tonight, the weight of all the shifting makes me tired. I find myself at the mercy of my Jesus. Foster care is nothing like anything you picture. The kids are always different than the kids you picture in your head.   I'm not even sure if it's a conscious thing I do, picturing them, but I do.

I am dealing with each case one at a time. We will say goodbye to the little guy in the next few days, maybe even tomorrow. I will focus our attention on reunifying the girls, and giving all the support we know to. I am gearing up for a roller coaster ride of emotions for the next month. And then we will focus on our adoption of Silas.

Silas' case just got transferred to the adoption specialist. Our final adoptions day should be a matter of months I am starting to plan for it, as one plans for a wedding). Will we take any placements during this time? I don't think we will take any while we transition the two girls. And maybe after they are gone, we'll take a few weeks to breath, and do something as a family. But our local office knows that we would like to adopt. They know our preferences and so if we get a call for something permanent, I'm taking it as a queue from God. But if not, it will be a much needed rest for our home.  Only time and God know. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Vacation

A New Year.

A New Month.

A New Week.

A New Day.

We are only given a numbered amount of these. Then we will die. The few that remember us, they too will go. I have never understood the person who is okay with us just dying and that is it. I simply cannot be okay, with that being it. It is not because I want anything more, it's because deep, deep within me, more real than my own sure death, I know that there is more..... why does that matter? Because it is that belief that births hope in me. The hope that allows me to preserve, when I want to stay in bed, because I am sad.

These past few days, I have realized my struggle with God. As I have struggled with being a foster parent. Struggled with this journey NOT being what I wanted. It has not looked neat, or sure, or fulfilling. It has been uncertain, messy, and difficult. I have had internal toddler fits, with my Maker. I have made demands and tried bartering (God I will _____ if you only allow us not say goodbye to ___), I have begged, and pleaded, reminding Him of my intentions!! (to grow our family).

I am not pretty on the inside. If you could read my thoughts, you would know, for certain, its true. So these past few months. I have been shown how much of my life is about me. And that is not what I want. I want Him. I want His will for our family. I can't compare the story He is writing in our family to the stories He's written in others. All my demands and fits get me nowhere, for He doesn't nudge, when He has a better plan. A plan better not just for me, but for everyone else involved.

So these past few days, have been days where I remind myself the true purpose of being foster parents. Obedience. Its been a time for repenting for bringing my motives and agenda to the table. Yes, I can voice our desire to adopt to our local office (much to their horror), but I still believe in God's true call and sovereignty over the children that are placed in our home! Who knows for how much longer, or what the result of the placements will be....

Our family took 6 of our kids with us to vacation. And when we came back we became a family with 7 kids, again.

Want to know something incredible that I get to witness?  The little boy that we were not a good fit for that I wrote about? Well Mr. J found a more permanent placement with dear family of ours. And he is thriving! We get to see these great updates and see how God cares for these kids, better than we can.

I also received a few photos of our little girl, who is now out of state with her family. She is doing well. Her mom, who is still here, is living with family, and trying to get her little girl back. It made my heart sing to hear that not only is our baby doing well, but her mother is being loved on by the family, as well. Who knows how this story will be told?

We have a little toddler now, who is so very sweet. He won't be with us very long. But I am thankful that he is with us. He has a lot going on, and God is faithful to not put him back in the situation that he came from. There was talk of this being a. possibility. We will see what God does in his case.

Sometimes, God needs to remind me what is most important. The beginning of this year. I am glad He did.

Maybe loosing a child, after caring for them for a year, is what I needed to be reminded, that it really is, and has never been about me.













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