Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Glee and Delight

I wish that I come to the blogging world with glee and delight, but I come to release, and process. My world of foster care doesn't have much glee or delight, currently. The school year began with so much hope in my heart for our two girls. Their story continues to be written, mostly in a language, that I cannot read. The case has been all over the place.  A month ago, we got a new caseworker, the goal was going to change to adoption. Today, we are mentally, packing up the girls, as we have done so many times over the year, and preparing to say goodbye. The new caseworker sees no red flags in their return to their bio-mom, and her new husband. None. And I cannot, for the life of me, make any sense of that conclusion. How can two caseworkers have completely different takes on the same case? How can one see many red flags, while the other see none? It makes me question their return, all the more. I have no assurance of them being in a safe home. In our state's current layout..... that seems to not matter much. It's a cross your finger sort of arrangement.

But I am confident in my God, and His love for our girls. His unrelenting pursuit of them. I believe in prayer. I know He knows, what I do not, and He is good. My confidence rests solely on Him. I hold on to hope...I continue to pray. That is enough.

Our 7 year old has been through so many emotions, in the past 15 months, with us. I cannot imagine our family without her. She and my birth daughter have grown, through much struggle, close. The sad reality is that my daughter will most likely be the one that feels the greatest loss, because our 7 year old has had enough of it, to cope. Her sister, who turned 2, yesterday, does not know any other mother. She's had visits, but that is not the same, I have been her mother. She will not understand why.

Do we prepare for Christmas without them? With them? We don't know. We have been here before.

The reality is that loss is a part of life. And these painful lessons teach me to rely on the only stability, truth and hope. May you find comfort, in the greatest days of need. Goodnight.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

How Much Is Too Much?

Today I was having a conversation with one of my most favorite people, in the world.... my mother in law, and the topic of "how many children is too many children" popped on the string of conversation that we were having. In context, she was telling me that someone else mentioned that maybe having as many kids as we have, is not okay. Maybe we have too many kids?I smiled, as we continued the conversation, both on the same page of that issue.

 A few days ago, I had a bad day. One of those days where everything and everyone seems to take and take, and not much is giving (except for maybe that cup of coffee).  I found out that my 6th grader had been cheating on his math for months (and consequently, he could not tell me where the place values were for a  number), that my daughter, who is perfectly competent in math, was not willing to try, I had another child bother me incessantly to change the "no electronics during the week" rule, also a toddler whining, and newborn fussing, mixed in with screaming....... it was one of "those" days. I finally did loose my cool and did yell at my pestering son, because I wanted to do the bible study with my girlfriends who had just showed up, at my home(the irony is not lost on me)... only to have the person that transports our girls to visits... show up..... it was a parenting fail. Honestly? I am tired. Having an 8 week old baby is taking it's toll..... I like sleep, and I am not getting enough of it.

During quiet/nap time, that day..... I thought about how different my life was. I am approaching what should be the downhill side of parenting.... the part that is mid-way..... I could just have 4 kids.... place them in schools.... and have many hours to myself, pursuing whatever I deem worthy of pursuing ..... it could be a notable, worthy cause, something that doesn't tax me, the way that parenting does.... Instead, we have chosen to have more children. Why?

All around me I see what our culture holds valuable..... Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... and I get it. But because I am a believer of Jesus Christ, that just won't do. The pursuit of my own happiness, my own comfort, and the easy more pleasurable life..... just will not do. My life is not my own. Yes, I can choose to live my life the way that I want. But I choose not to.  I choose to lay down my life.

It is difficult. I have parenting fails. But all my children are growing, just as much as me. We are all learning about apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Our Christian home does not mean that we are perfect, it means we admit our sin. It means we fear God.

Every time I think of why I should not have more than 4 kids, I can only come up with selfishness. It is easy to spend time doing what I want. It is difficult serving my children, teaching them, and not pursuing what I want..... daily. But each one of my children is the gift. They are the reason, I am here, not my own happiness. And truly, we have the room in our home, car, and lives for each of the children God has given us. But yes, it's not easy...... not at all... if it was, I may be inclined to take some credit.

Now on ward to some current events:

Our family has increased to 7, which is the reason for my lack of sleep. I got the call for Phin, a couple of days after we came home from vacationing with all the kids, in Seward. The crazy truth is that God had been preparing my heart for a little baby for a few months. Phin, is nothing what I expected (non of our permanent children are). I was praying for a non white girl, and Phin is a very white.... boy. So I have had to let go of that phantom child, that is not. He was 7 weeks..... and in need of a family to love him. He was super quiet that first day, and slept a lot.....Ureeka, I thought!!! Turns out, Phin, was not being fed sufficiently, so he was too tired to stay awake, and his cry was super weak. He is growing and chunking up! His case looks like it will not be complicated and that he will be adoptable. But they will still have to give his bio mom a chance. We wait, but have great hope.

Perhaps the most amazing update is regarding our girls. We have had a 7 year old and her half sister (who is 22 months), in our care for over a year now. It has been a very difficult and emotional journey. We have a new case worker and a new supervisor..... and the goal from the state's perspective is changing!!!!!! The goal has been reunification for the entire time, even with 3 failed reunification dates..... but on Tuesday, it will change to adoption!!! It must still change in court... which can take 4 months.... but...... for the first time, since we have had the girls.... there looks like a possibility to adopt them. And for that, we will celebrate. I will rejoice because the state is advocating for them. Tears well up, thinking about God's faithfulness...... to them... and to us.

And as we look for a new car, and I reflect on our journey as foster parents.... I can smile, with a deep, deep, sigh...... I have no clue what will happen.... but there  is a very real possibility that we may be at the home stretch. It makes me feel a little sentimental.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bring On The Rain

For the past 4 days, we have been living in a camp fire..... literally.  There are so many things about living in Alaska that are unique. One of the unique things is that in the summer, our state burns up. There are currently over 100 fires in our state. And those fires have engulfed our air with smoke. It is wretched and pretty nasty. I would like it to stop. Please, bring on the rain... no lightning please. That is how some of this mess started.

It's been several months, so much has, and continues to happen in our home, family, and lives. One of the most significant is that our girls remain with us. The goal remains reunification, but there is no date set for that to happen. Nothing looms over our home.... just uncertainty for them, and as a result, us. We are approaching the one year anniversary of their arrival, and I must say, that there is something powerful about one year. For me, after a year, my guards, which are pretty strong and resistant, come down. I no longer keep the children, emotionally, at arms length. I can no longer picture our home without these two girls in it. I am not sure any of us, including the girls, would survive a permanent separation. The thought breaks my heart into million of pieces. No matter how much The Lord grows me up in my walk, I find myself trying to barter with God for these children to remain. I plead not just with a broken heart.... but approach Him with a "let's make a deal" attitude. Am I alone in this? It's pretty embarrassing to admit. Here is a loving and good God who says to His children.... come, and talk to me..... and I, mostly wait, till I need something.... and I come with the notion that I may have something to offer...... and really, my pleading is often times, for my own heart, not to break again. He hears... He listens..... He comforts... He is faithful..... But He does not play "let's make a deal" with me.

Right there, next to the drama that surrounds our case with the girls..... is a life changing even that occurred on Friday June, 19th......I wondered if some of the crazy that I felt over the case with the girls, would somehow overshadow the complete joy and miracle that had finally arrived... the adoption of our son. As I share this, tears flow, freely. I don't deserve this little one's love, but he has chosen to give it to me. He is our son.....IT IS LEGAL..... though he has been in our home, for almost two years.... adoption day is really a miracle. It is the difference between being engaged, and having the ceremony, signing the paperwork... standing before an official... and making it legal!! Being married, is way better. And in my heart, there is the assurance that he is ours. We have many bumps in the road, but he wants to be ours. He accepts and has taken his place boldly, much to his older sister's disapproval (our 7 year old is not adopted, so the day was full of many emotions for her, and sometimes, she seems to demand that he acknowledge her in the hierarchy of birth order). The day was full of many friends and some family..... Our church family stepped in and blessed us, simply by sharing the day. There is this strong desire to have your child, who came in with much brokenness.... see, visually, how very much they are loved..... and it was beautiful. We finished the day with a BBQ. The kids all waded in the kiddy pool, played on the swings, and snuck in a zip line ride.

Oh, and we also had two more kiddo's join our home,  right after court. They are not permanent. They should be quite temporary. And we are all adjusting to 8. Sleeping is a tad bit touch and go.... there is a lot of repeating and food issues galore....I am praying for these littles.... the first few weeks are traumatizing, with just them being away from everything they know and that is familiar. They are effected.... and I have no answers for them. And we now have to use 2 cars, if we want to go anywhere.

Also, we may be getting licensed through TCC.... to take in placements. It would mean, instead of going and dealing with the state. We would be dealing with the tribes directly. We know we are not the preferred placement, but I wonder, if dealing with the tribes, is the better idea!!! Will let you know................. Pin It Now!

Friday, May 15, 2015

I'd Really Love to See You, Tonight

It has been a rough few months for me emotionally. I went on a date with my husband, last night (Gasp, I know!!). He looked at me, as I was just sharing how hard it has been to just get out of bed! It is hard to face the day, everyday.... and I can't peg when this became a struggle. It didn't happen just one day... Boom! But I feel like I should know why, and when, and certainly, how to make the struggle end. But I do not know.

As Toby shared with me his own struggle, he looked at me and said "it's ever since we said goodbye to K" and that idea has been rolling over in my head today. Has it really been since then? He seems to think that we haven't grieved properly, and that is the cause of the emotional lead, that  leads me to dread each day. But I am not sure that I know how to grieve properly. How do I MAKE myself process a loss that I can justify, in my head..... but still ache for in my heart? And I wonder if I loved her properly?  As I was washing the dishes today, I wondered if she still drooled when she got mad and cried....I know that it's such a weird thing to think about... but it was distinct... it was her! I wonder what her life is like.... if she is loved....I believe she is! But sometimes, I wonder, still. This is the part of foster care that makes people run..... but life is full of loss, you can't out run that.

So we face another immanent loss looming before us. We were supposed to say goodbye to the two girls that we have had for 9 months now, twice. Yet tonight, they sleep in our home, safely. The girls have been through an emotional beating, as the back and forth, and back and forth, have taken a toll.... without reunification. Honestly? I am tired!!! I am ill equipped for dealing with the effects. I need prayer. There is a review call in a few days regarding this case. I am essentially just going to be asked "how are the girls?"..... and I want to say the right words, I want to honor God, and not just say whatever I want, or speak out of my frustration, and anger. I want to convey the damage of the uncertainty in these girl's lives, after 9 months in care. At 9 months, this case is a mess. I have no answers but the back and forth can not be, the way it has been. I hold my 7 year old, while she cries, having no answers. She cries because we "leave her out", when she is not with us. She cries because she "does not remember". She cries because she doesn't know, and I think really that is as honest as it will ever get.  But it could be so much worse. She could be acting out.... instead, she feels. both girls are a bottomless pit of needs. So much need for safety, love, constant affirmation, hugs, more affirmation, and yet, more hugs..... and I love you's, which I echo back. I know this is truly a gift, but some days, my eyes are blurry and I can't see that gift.

Every part can be difficult, but that hope... the strong desire, for the kids, that I know God will put in our home..... that doesn't fade. I have moments of wanting it to all go away, but they are moments. If I got a call tomorrow, asking for us to take another case on...I would. This may be a strength... or it may be a weakness.... it depends on the day. Pin It Now!