Monday, June 22, 2015


It has been awhile! Anyone who has been through the foster care process can understand that it is easy for your life to become completely consumed by it. We are about a third of the way through our classes, and I have already learned so much. It's uncanny, really. I arrogantly walked into the first class thinking I had the slightest clue, (spoiler: I do not) and that arrogance was quickly dealt with! While I most certainly deserved a lightning bolt to the chest for being so self assured in the midst of uncharted territory, I am supremely thankful that my God is gracious and opted for the "pie to the face" approach instead. I'll take chocolate cream, thank you Jesus. It has taken me until now to pen a reaction for several reasons. First, information overload. The sheer volume of data that is given is enough to make your head spin, but in the best way! When I began classes, my parenting toolbox had maybe three tools in it (tragic, I know), and now my eyes have been opened up to entire hardware stores of approaches, disciplines, psychology, and perspectives. At the most perfect time, as is always the case with God. My husband and I were in a rut. Struggling to find solutions to our children's behaviors and not sure where to find inspiration we were frustrated and tired. We definitely were not being the best parents we could be to our children, which brought forth a lot of doubt about whether or not we had any business doing foster care at all. Man, am I glad we stuck it out! Our experience so far has been nothing but encouraging. For that I am so thankful. The second reason it has taken me so long to write is because I choose to only write on things I feel the Lord is calling me to share. When I can feel His spirit tugging at my heart and pruning me for growth is when I pick up the pen. Quality over quantity, right?

There are two words resounding in my heart as I reflect on our course work thus far. Two tiny, yet intensely powerful words...

 I am

Here is why: there has been no mention, reference, indication, or advocacy for God throughout these state run classes, and yet, I see Him everywhere. I wasn't even looking for Him.... In an environment that by law has to be void of religion and laden with case studies and facts, He is there. In the classroom He goes by names like Needs, Strengths, Attachment, Disciplinary Practice, and Case Plan Support. I hear those titles, I read their definitions and understand their applications. Great stuff, totally useful. But when I really stop and peel back the layers of this onion I see a different and more accurate list of names. I see Patience, Good, Discipleship, Grace, Forgiveness, and Fellowship. I see Love. Unadulterated, painful, sticky, unfailing Love. 

I am.

 I will never understand why God allows terrible things to happen to children. I will never be able to explain to them why this is their life. But I have a feeling that at least a small part of it may have something to do with this resounding testimony to hundreds of families across the country. They are all hearing His teachings and beginning to understand His heart. I say this because you either believe God is sovereign over everything, or sovereign over nothing, but it cannot be anything in between.

 I am.  

He knows these children, He knows these families, He calls each one by name. Now perhaps I am way off base, it wouldn't be the first time, but I know I see God is those classrooms. I know the other wonderful people choosing to help these children and learn these tools see Him too. They just might call Him something else. 

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, April 26, 2015


I have been mulling over this topic for a while now. I wasn't really sure how to approach it and I was having trouble organizing my thoughts, so I finally decided that perhaps my brain waves in their raw form were necessary to convey my message. Recently, my husband and I were beginning to tell a family member about our decision to become foster parents and eventually adoptive parents as the Lord leads us. This person's response was no more then a couple blinks and then, "Ok.......why??". I was completely caught off guard. The question is valid and simple enough but my brain just froze. It went into overdrive and then crashed within seconds. Naturally my mouth flooded with a million reasons why...because the Bible commands us...because I saw from experience the good...because it's right...because we are helping children...because we want to make a difference...because we have the means...because why not?? But before these things came spilling out in incredulous fervor my heart stopped me and turned my focus inward. Why?? The check list of justifiable reasons that I was clicking through were just that; justifications. Justification in it's nature is not a cause or reason, it is defense. It is a resume of qualifications. In our flesh we are constantly under pressure to prove ourselves. I think especially in the world of "Church-ianity" it becomes a need to be spiritual and anointed. To appear legit. God chose me for reasons x,y, and z please see attached references. To speak "christianese" and quote scripture. To give a well thought out speech of inspiration and adoration. We desperately seek approval and applause from our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers at the grocery store. Why is that? Do we trust God so little? Do we trust Him at all? How feeble and helpless are we that can't begin to fathom that God's awesome love for us is enough. If we lived our lives truly knowing deep into the nuclei of each cell in our body that we are loved without condition, how differently would we think, feel, act, love, breathe? We wouldn't need the approval of grandma, and Mr. Jones, and Pastor Bill, and the lady at the deli counter. Not because we "don't care what anyone thinks", because that is a purely selfish and self preserving statement, but because we would already know we were loved before and we will be loved after by the One who created it all. By the One who already died.


Earth shattering. 


Although I may take one step forward in living loved and a hundred steps back again (at least), I can cling to the hope that God can use my weak and fearful flesh because He already has. So now, when someone asks me why we are taking this path I will have an answer resting peacefully on my tongue. 


"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

Monday, April 13, 2015

Clocks and Sweat

Time, it never likes to cooperate nicely does it? It just flits by, on purpose, out of spite. RUDE.
Honestly though, no matter how hard we try to be organized and plan time is always there as God's quiet constant reminder that our attempts at control are just adorable.
This reality came barreling down on me as I realized that our foster care training begins in a few short weeks and I desperately needed to iron out our childcare. You see, we don't have either sets of grandparents near by, and so finding any kind of trustworthy and affordable childcare for three littles can be very difficult, let alone for 11 weeks straight! I was feeling burdened and worried that I wasn't going to be able to clear this hurdle, especially since we had already had to push back our training after we weren't able to lock down childcare for the initial session.
So as I was wiping my brow in worry making contacts and asking for help I was praying fervently, while simultaneously sinking into doubt. Complicated enough for ya? If this is what we are called to do and meant to do then why are there so many obstacles? Why wouldn't He make our path clear? Maybe this isn't what we are supposed to be doing. Maybe this is all my own vanity and need for self importance. What do I do??

Yes, whiny baby.

 Thank goodness I am loved by a King that just pats my head like I have done many times to my own children as they fret over a broken potato chip. There there. If you only knew what is to come. This thought can be disconcerting. But, also beautifully reassuring. Just as I know I will be there for my babies as they over come obstacles much larger and more heart wrenching then broken chips, I know God will be there with me through trials in ways that dwarf my futile attempts at Love. God doesn't mark out a landing strip for me with lovely pressed instructions waiting on the sides. I'm glad. I grow in my need for Him and I notice His embrace more when I don't know what to do or where to go. My wobbly steps are the opportunity for Jesus to catch me just as the wobble turns into a face plant. For that I can only be thankful. 

So of course, to pat my tender head the Lord came through and I was able to find childcare for all 11 weeks of training.
I have renewed confidence in our path, and I am so grateful that our most immediate need has been met. Now to get through the classes themselves!

March on, friends. 

"I will instruct you and teach in the way which you should go: I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Psalms 32:8

Monday, April 6, 2015

Paperwork Peaks

We have finally finished the last of our paperwork, and can I just say...HOLY BANANAS. My hand is cramped and limp from writing, and my brain is feeling quite overloaded. While I completely understand the necessity of the task I must admit I am taken aback at the emotional detail! My dear husband at one point exclaimed, "What is this? eHarmony??" Ha! Certainly feels that way. It's not that the questions are terribly invasive, it's more that it forces you to consider yourself, your family, your marriage, and your life in a way you probably never have before. How does your family express happiness, frustration, disappointment, love, etc. etc. I wanted to write something like, "I don't know, like most regular people? We smile when we are happy and we cry when we are sad?" Of course I did not respond that way and indeed did think about it at length and respond appropriately. While the exercise does force you to take the time to evaluate your life it can also trip you up because above all you want to be honest, but on the other hand you don't want to sound like a lunatic! But I suppose all I can do is be completely honest and leave the rest to God! As if this entire venture isn't His anyway, but you know we in our flesh love to pretend we have an idea of what is going on. Silly earth dwellers!

The other part of the questionnaire that threw me a little was the section concerning religion. Perhaps this was short sighted of me, but I had never considered the thought of fostering a child from a different religion. That one was a tough one for me and took me a while to pen. We are a Christian family and our faith defines our relationships and certainly our parenting. Naturally, the old "WWJD" mantra came to mind, and (surprise surprise) I had no idea! Jesus asks us to love unconditionally as He loves us. I could absolutely love a child of a different religion, of that I am sure. But the question goes further and asks about raising the child according to his/her religious practices. Would doing so contradict my own beliefs? How would I explain this to my other children? What happens if this child becomes available for adoption? So many questions. So many unknowns. In the end we decided that for our family it would be best to submit that we feel most comfortable taking in a child with parents that have either no religious preference, or Christian preferences. We have to trust that God will work out the rest. If we believe that God is sovereign, that can only mean he is sovereign over everything, or sovereign over nothing. His sovereignty cannot be fragmented. For me, this is a comfort because I know my life is only a tapestry weaved out of faith, relationships, and obedience by the Creator, and I am blessed enough to be considered a thread.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Still Small Voice

This blog is a diary of my journey, with my husband and children, through the fost-adopt process. My goal here is to document and work through my own humanity, while hopefully providing those walking the same path a sense of companionship and understanding. We are at the beginning of our journey, and I thought it might be prudent to share how we arrived here.

My husband and I are a relatively young couple, married five years with three young children. Yet even before our first child was born we had both expressed an interest in adoption. As Christians we knew we had been blessed with so much more then we could ever hope to deserve, and felt it good and right to share those blessings with another child. That is how the seed was first planted in our hearts. However, as life goes we were whisked away into the hustle and bustle of daily survival. We were in need of community, of fortitude, and growth. What grace and provision! God pruned and trimmed our hearts, sometimes rather painfully! And I have no doubt He will continue to do so, I know I can always use a good weeding! Even so, some time after our youngest was born we both began to feel that itch. There was something we were being prepared for. There was something we were being called to do. Unbeknownst to us, the still small voice inside had begun to whisper in our individual hearts. Before long the whisper had turned into a wind that blew the dust off of those original seeds. This idea of adoption begin to spring up into conversations, subtly at first, until we both had the "you too??" epiphany and we knew it was right.

Next came the questions and research. Private adoption? International? What about Foster Care? (Now, I will interject some personal history here. My parents fostered children for the better part of my childhood so the idea was not foreign to me, especially with one of my brothers being adopted from foster care. I saw the immense good, the struggle, and was absolutely grateful for that part of my upbringing. However, at the time I only had experience with older children and we were looking at adopting a baby.) It became clear very quickly that private and international adoption were going to be too expensive for us with three other little mouths to feed. That is just our reality. I must admit the inquiries into fost-adopt came somewhat hesitantly for both of us. To put it plainly the prospect was frightening! There are so many unknowns. So many variables. So much risk for pain. We didn't know if it was even possible or realistic to try to adopt a baby But ultimately we knew. We always knew. We only needed to close our eyes and trust that God would guide us and catch us when we fell.

We took that leap and contacted a recommended case worker to begin the licensing process. We are filled with so many emotions but in this blog I will speak only for myself, unless I can directly quote my family, for I can only speak to what my heart is experiencing. I am excited, hopeful, anxious, curious, awed, and humbled. The only thing, for now, that I am not is doubting. I know this is right. God doesn't need me, but I am blessed to be used by Him anyway. I am an ill equipped green horn soldier, but a soldier nonetheless.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11