Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trust and a Court Date

In the movie, Adjustment Bureau from 2011, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt try to thwart "the Bureau", really the agents or angels of God who make adjustments to people's lives to help them to stay on the "the plan".  It turns out to be a thriller in which Damon and Blunt frantically try to take control of their plan despite the controlling efforts of God's agents.  How very different from the biblical picture of our loving Father.

Our foster son has a court date today.  It could be and probably is no big deal.  Most likely it will be just a review of his case that won't change much.  Although I cannot discuss the specifics of his case, I was hopeful the judge would decide to move in the direction of us adopting him.  I was looking forward to going to court with my husband and see how this process unfolds.  Our family has been praying for this day.  Last night, our oldest came down with a stomach bug. A really bad one.  It became clear that one of us was going to have to stay home.

Intellectually I know that my presence will not change the outcome, but I want to be there.  Even if it is nothing, I want to be there while strangers discuss our family's future.  We decided that Steve will represent our family while I struggle with being at home with a very sick kiddo.  I find myself with the same struggle that Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were battling in the movie...trying to control the outcome my life.

Puking was definitely not in the plan for today, God!  I had arranged all the childcare weeks ago (which is a miracle with four kids).  Besides Steve and I were going to experience this together and even get a lunch together.  I don't want to be home doing laundry and cleaning up messes!

Luke 12:22 Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
But He is a good Father.  It's His good pleasure to give me His kingdom.  It is when I make a plan in my own mind that I think is better than His that unfolds that I am forgetting who He is.  When I remember that He is a good Father and I am His daughter then the result in me is trust.  When I hold onto my plan and fight His the result is fear and then anger.  Because no matter how this court date ends up, I know that He is the one in control and his plan is ultimately so much better than mine.
Trusting is so much better.

Friday, February 1, 2013

All in

One of the questions I am asked as a foster mom is if I can hold part of my heart back with the reality that this little guy might be taken out of our home in the future.
I love with my whole heart, knowing that grief is a possibility.  Just like any foster child he is in our family.  He is loved.  He belongs.
I think he would eventually know the difference if I held back.  He has already had too much rejection in his little life.
How?  So many ask "How, can you do that?".  There is only one thing that would make it possible to love without reservation.  It is the One who does the same to me.  The One who adopted me into His family.
Ephesians 1:5-6:
...he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace...

He is the one who gives this to me because He loved me first.

Friday, April 13, 2012

When Are We Really Ready?

Since Steve and I started dating, I have felt ready before him.  I was the one that professed my undying love for him first thus thrusting us into a relationship instead of just a friendship.  No wonder he got freaked out.  I was ready to talk about marriage long before him, and kept my nails nicely manicured... just in case.  When we were married, I quickly tried to overturn the "five year plan" baby plan and suddenly just wanted to be a mom.  After each baby, I remember feeling "ready" for the next one pretty much when I stopped nursing one.  So, when Steve was the one that led our family into foster care, I was happily surprised.  It was something I always wanted to do, but so was going to Africa and adopting babies from all over the world.  It was something that I had surrendered to God and trusted Him with.
When we said "Good-bye" to Little Man, I was exhausted and ready to wait.  Steve was even more so.  After two wonderful respite opportunities with a precious little guy, I am feeling a little more ready. Steve and I had a chance to talk about that a few days ago and he is not feeling ready. 
So, when are we really ready?
I am convinced that God will move through Steve for this.  I trust God with this.  I am not anxious or forcefully trying to push my desires.  I know that God will lead us together.  I trust Him.  He knows what we need and what is best for all of us. 
I may need to be reminded of this when we are offered a tiny baby and Steve says, "Not yet."

Saturday, March 10, 2012


We agreed to take this little bean for the weekend, and he is an absolute joy.
Although we are not quite ready for a long term placement.  This respite weekend has been a lot of fun, and it reminds me that not all babies cry all day.  What a sweetie!


Little Man did not last long in the next foster home.  Please pray for a "Forever Family" for our Little Man.
This is the day we said, "Good-bye". 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grace in Goodbye

So, Good byes are never fun.  Lifetime Goodbyes are the hardest.  Little Man joined another family several weeks ago. He has been missed, thought of, and prayed for since he left.  When the "Good-bye Day" came, we had all his toys and clothes packed up for him.  He had three big boxes full of stuff.  We wanted to send him off well.  He got kisses all morning by all the big kids.   We did our best to make the good bye as positive as possible for him. 
After he left came the tears from the kids.  Hannah especially had no words for how she felt only tears.  Grace explored the implications of him leaving verbally and thoroughly.  Jack wanted hugs and worked out things physically (ei....touching everybody).  After processing the initial "good-bye" together, I took the kids for doughnuts and then to school. Everyone in the family thought that Little Man going to a "forever family" was a good one, but we all miss him.
The time of rest and rejuvenation as a family has been worthwhile.  It is great to process this goodbye together, and I'm sure there are benefits that we still will discover from it.  We still love Little Man and will continue to pray for and love him even though he is not in our home.  And in that way, he is better off than before.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

10 ways you can support Foster Families

There were baby dedications at church today.  It was touching to see dads reading scripture and declaring their hopes for their new babies.  It was a joy to watch families promise to lead their children in the way of God and train them in the way they should go.  It struck me that Little Man never had that.  He started his life drug affected, and will probably always struggle under the bad choices his parents made during the first several months of his life.  He didn't get a good start.

I believe his life can be redeemed.  That's why we're foster parents.  Sometimes people don't know how to support foster families. I know it can feel unnatural and temporary.  So here's a list of suggestions that  communicate support and love to foster families that are dealing with the fallout of some other parent's sin.

1.  Throw a baby shower or party for each foster child.  It's not about the presents, but rather celebrating the life of the child when they come to a new family.  If it's an older child, just a present can do the trick.  The stipend foster families receive is helpful, but it doesn't cover all the costs of a child.  Utilities, food, clothing, formula, diapers, wipes, and other staples are all expensive.  So, a shower is very nice.  Plus the new things will go with the foster child wherever they go. 
2.  Bring families meals when they get a new baby or child.  Adding a person to your family is always an adjustment, and it's hard to cook when you're adjusting.
3.  Bring a meal and pray for the family after they say good-bye to a foster child.  It's never easy.
4.  Offer to babysit so the parents can have a date and look each other in the face.  The emotions can take a toll on a marriage if the husband and wife don't keep their priorities straight.
5.  The most important thing you can do is pray for foster parents every day!  Some days are a battle. It's the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that produces every positive lasting change.
6.  Don't treat the foster child as a second class member of the family.  While they're in the home, they're just another child and should be regarded as that, temporary or not.
7.  Offer to take the bio kids during the foster child's visitations.  Visitations add another thing on on top of a busy schedule.  If there are bio kids, they would love to do something fun while mom is transporting for visits.
8.  Invite foster parents out to do fun things.  Even though their lives are more complicated and they might say "no", it's still really nice to be invited and pursued by friends.  It communicates that we're valued friends even though our family has changed.
9.  Offer to take pictures of the foster child to give to bio parents of their newly formed family.  I have a photographer friend who continually tries to capture moments of our foster kids for their bio parents.  It's nice to give the bio parents something and to document our ever changing family. Surprisingly, most bio parents really appreciate the gesture.
10. Celebrate with foster families!  Little milestones mean a lot because they may be all we get to share with that child.  So, if a child starts walking, really make a big deal of it. If you get to celebrate a holiday with a foster family, try to make it special - the child may not be there for the next one.

I hope this will encourage you and give you some ideas to support foster families.  It's hard work and can be draining to families, but having the support of good friends makes it easier. Even if you're not ready to become a foster parent, you can have a significant impact in foster kid's lives by supporting foster families.