Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Coming and Going: ever changing: always the same

This last month has been one of change for our family. Two weeks ago on Saturday- Lenny left us. He was with us since the very day we got our foster license.

The following Monday Mr6 and MrT3 joined our home. Last Tuesday our Miss14 went back home.
Christmas has come and gone and the new year is upon us! I look forward to seeing our little family bond with the new additions while we mourn the loss of those gone home.

For the children that remain in the home I find it helpful to not change a bit of routine. Things need to be the same. The children that aren't going anywhere, including my son Michael, need to feel just as safe as the new ones coming in.

Routine makes toddlers and young children feel safe. We still eat at the same time, put our clothes in the same place, shower before bed, lotion up, and go to church on Sundays. The list could go on with things that are important. Rules also need to stay intact and the new children will quickly catch on when seeing the others do what is expected. What things are important to you and your routine?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He reached for my hand

Last week two new boys came to our home. One is 6 and the other 3. Sweet children with a violent background. Within minutes the little 3 yr old was clinging to me and calling me mommy. He has been ever sense. He is very attached and does not want me out of his sight. Things were a little different with the 6 yr old. He really didn't want anything to do me. He told my daughter that this was not his house and that the toys were not his toys. I told him he was being so brave for being in this situation. I told him that he was safe. I would hug him, and be consistent with patting his head and shoulder the next day. I spoke kind words. I wanted to SHOW him he was safe.

For two days he would not look at me. His communication was limited.However, He bonded well with my son Michael. Then ,I drove him to elementary school. We filled out paper work, and waited. After walking him to his classroom we went inside and greeted the teacher. Just at that moment he reached for my hand! My heart jumped and I felt relief that he might be feeling safe with me!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saying Goodbye


Its one of the first words we teach our little ones. They wave their chubby hands and say bye,bye.

On Saturday my husband and I will be saying goodbye to our "Toddler L". He has graced our home with giggles over the last 18 months.
I'll never forget the first moment I saw his full head of curly hair and big eyes and he came into the house being held by the social worker. He was 7 months old.

He was failure-to-thrive and yet became fully thriving within weeks.
We taught him to walk, and talk, and use a cup. We taught him to pray and hug and say sorry.
I hope he takes a small bit of us with him, as he will leave a big bit of himself in our hearts!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest Post: Does Scripture Matter in Adoption? Engaging Orphan Care Theologically (Part 1)

I wanted to start this post by thanking Rachel for the invitation to post on her blog, and also for the amazing commitment she and my little brother Jacob have made toward orphan care. If all goes well, and with Rachel’s continued invite, I will hopefully contribute to her blog more than just this one time.

Rachel requested that I write specifically on “adoption” from a theological perspective. Though her blog distinctly deals with issues related to foster care, adoption and foster care fall under the larger umbrella of “orphan care.” In an effort to communicate some of these things clearly, I would like to share a little bit about myself.

My wife, Elisabeth, and I had always had a desire to adopt. Even before we were married, we knew that the question was not “if” we would adopt, but “when” and “how.” Our motivations at this point were perhaps a bit mixed. I cannot speak for Elisabeth, but my motivations in the matter were sourced in simple compassion. I felt bad for orphans I saw. I had Christian compassion on them. I hurt for them because I knew their life was hard. And I knew that one day, I would help.

After Elisabeth and I were married, we began to explore how God would have us build our family. Since adoption was something we were both committed to, we began to research with great diligence. It was during this time I ran across some major evangelical figures that were engaged in orphan care. Together, Elisabeth and I began to reconsider our motivations for being involved in orphan care. As believers, it was vital for us to understand properly what Scriptures teach about the issue.

As we looked at passages like James 1:27 (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” [niv]), we asked ourselves if this is why we were adopting… Was it because we saw it as something that believers ought to do… as a responsibility placed on us from the “father to the fatherless”… from God himself….

Needless to say, the Spirit began to rip off old “band-aids” of Elisabeth and I together, as we contemplated our own status before being saved by the God of Heaven. What kind of state were we really in when God saved us?

Over my next posts, I want to unpack some of what the Bible teaches about orphan care and some of the motivations to be involved. A careful distinction that I will try to be sure to reiterate from time to time is this: God is calling believers to be engaged in orphan care. By this I mean that those who are not “children of God” cannot understand the spiritual things of God (1 Cor 2:14) and they cannot obey the commands that God has given because their relationship with him is nonexistent. I do not say this to be mean; I say it because it is the truth. A relationship with God, through Christ, is the only way to have true hope. Hope that this life has meaning, and that the life to come will be spent with the God of Heaven, the Creator of all things, the “Father to the fatherless.”

For those believers that may read these posts, my hope is that you will (1) come to appreciate the salvation you experience because of our great God, and (2) that you will seriously consider becoming involved in orphan care.

For those of you that may read these posts who do not have a relationship with God – I beg you to consider what I say. This life is so short: please grant me an audience to communicate to you what the Scriptures say about God. There are an estimated 145 million orphans worldwide. In most cases, their situation is dire. But for all men, a much more grim reality must be addressed. Without Christ, there is no hope for this life, nor the life to come. Please listen to what Scripture teaches about being a “child of God.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

They are MINE

It is very easy for me to be "preachy" about things I am passionate about! I think most people can get up on their soap-box at times!

I get frustrated when individuals don't look at my foster children as my " real" children. "Oh, well its different for you, because they aren't your real kids,". Really, what does that mean? Do I feed them less? Do i only give them one hug a day?

Recently my Miss Sweet 16 was in a Saturday morning drug counselling session. They were all discussing how drug use has affected their relationships and trust with their parents. The instructor looked straight at my girl and said, " Although , I know it isn't the same for you because you are in foster care and your mom is paid to trust you."

I love these children with every bit of my heart! I worry about them! I cry over them. I struggle every bit with jealousy over their biological parents! Even if i have to say good bye one day, I will love them, care for them and call them "MINE".

Thursday, November 25, 2010


There are many misconceptions one hears when discussing foster care. Some people have said they can’t handle teens. Some people think it is too invasive. Some people think it is the end of life as they know it. What do you think about foster care?

Have you heard the term “check-casher”? Do you think foster parents do it for the money? How do you feel when the foster system is portrayed negatively on your favorite Tv show?

Educate yourself. Call your local foster agency or the Dept of Children and Families for your state. Find someone knowledgeable and ask!

Are there BAD foster parents. Well, yes. Are there fabulous healthy homes for these abused children? Well, YES.

Here is a summary that I think changes a few misconceoptions.

As a prospective foster parent YOU can decide the age, race, gender, and levels of care of the children to be placed in your home. If you have small children, you can CHOOSE to have other similarly aged children in your home! Your biological children and foster children can share a room. As far as levels of care, you can increase to more specialized care such as medical foster care as you believe it is fitting for your family!

Is it invasive? Maybe, at times. There are social workers, and guardians, and therapists in and out of our home daily! But , we have 7 children. If you foster one, you will at least have monthly visits. Your childs social worker can help you with taking the child to dental appts and visits with biological parents.

There is Support for foster parents. You aren’t left out in the cold, with no resources.

Don’t assume, find answers to your questions!

Is the foster system flawless, by all means , NO.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Emphasize Forever

Last week a case manager(social worker) and I were chatting around the island in my kitchen. She is hoping to become a foster parent in the near future.

I love hearing that.

She asked me what was the number one thing to remember when raising teens. First of all, I have never raised a teen from birth. I have cared for and loved on three teen girls. Two, which presently live with me. I have a combined 12 months of parenting teens experience! That being said I understand why you might take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

I have learned so much in this short time. The one thing that stands out to me most is the essence of forever. Foster children have a very limited view of unconditional love. When the going gets tough they are moved. When they are labeled with ADHD, they are moved. When they run away, foster homes might not take them back. Knowing this, I have realized that talking in terms of the future and forever are vitally important.

“For your sixteenth birthday we should take a trip to the beach.”

“What do you want to do for Spring Break next year?”

“What kind of dress do you want to wear to your prom?”

Any comment that takes the child into YOUR future reinforces stability. Giving a child a foundation for trust makes it so much easier to build a relationship! Relationships include hundreds of factors, but without a forever foundation it is near impossible.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Foster parenting is a temporary solution to an ongoing problem. The problem is the abuse and neglect of sweet children across this country. I watch the news just like each and every one of you. I see movies. I know the general consensus of negativity towards foster homes. I am not naïve but I am trying my best to simply provide care for a child in need. Is it really that simple? Yes, for me it is.

The most recent information that I can find shows there are over 423,773 children in foster care. I find the most reliable information to be on the US dept. of Health and Human Services Website.

These children will be placed SOMEWHERE. If not in a healthy, happy, loving home then elsewhere, where only you can imagine. I have been blessed to reside in a residential facility as caregiver and am proud to say most caregivers try their best to provide a fabulous environment. Needless to say a group home is not a family. This topic is one for another day.

Each state has different laws and requirements for becoming a foster parent. It can be a long journey. The journey is worth it when you hold the tiny baby in your arms or take the teen to get her drivers license.

Imagine if you could take one child. What if 200,000 healthy families opened their homes this year? Helping to stop the cycle of abuse and neglect and allowing a place for healing to happen is a key part to foster parenting.

Who could you help heal? Could you help heal a family? Could you train a teen to be a productive citizen? Could you provide the nutrition that a child needs to be able to function and grow?

Thankfully, I am in a place here I get to see growth. Our home is not dead. Today, myself and my husband included, there are 9 people, learning, discovering and growing! Even if this is only a temporary haven for some, they have been shown how to love and how to live.