Maybe we’re a table for six.

We never really went out to eat all that much when we had Little Man.  He didn’t do very well in crowded restaurants or with anything out of the ordinary, really.  He preferred to stay home and that was fine with us.  We got used to ordering in and enjoying our family time.  But, the few times that we did eat out and the greeter asked, “How many?” it just felt right saying, “Table for seven, please.”  I got used to it.

It is coming up on five months since Little Man left.  I still accidentally say, “Seven please,” but then have to correct myself and say, “I mean six.”  It stings.  We’ve kept our home open for potential foster placements.  We took a month off to make sure that our hearts could handle it again.  We talked to the children in depth and made SURE that they would want to do foster care again.  We especially talked with our son (he’s our only boy now) and made sure he didn’t feel like we’d be replacing his brother by accepting another child into our family.  We asked him what he wants.  His answer?  “I want a brother,” he says.  While playing at church or the park he always picks the role of “big brother” when playing with the other kids.  He helps the little guys make baskets on the court or puts them up on his back in church when they can’t see what is going on.  He is a “big brother” by nature.  Yes, he has three sisters and yes two of them are younger, but its just different.  There is just something different about having a brother, he says, someone who plays like you.  So, we’ve waited.  But, after five months, I’m thinking it might not happen.  We might be a family of six.  It might not be meant to be.  After all, we put this in God’s hands and I trust Him!  We gave it over to him.  I haven’t meddled or been obsessively calling our fostering agency.  I’ve sat back and let God, and this is what He’s seen fit to do.  Maybe I’m supposed to be a mother of four.  Maybe that is my number.  After all, foster care is about the child, NOT about the foster family.  Maybe we are just not the right family for another little guy.  Maybe our purpose was to be there for Little Man and Baby Girl and only them.

Maybe, we’re a table for six.

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No digital device for a while

Okay, so yea, I can’t exactly give up my cell phone right now.  I’m a military wife, with a husband serving overseas, I am NOT going to miss his calls.  But, I am going to give up the IPAD and any non-essential digital device applications for the rest of this month.  I had the idea when I realized that when I am stressed, worried, or panicked even (I’m a foster mom, this happens daily) I reach for the device.  I post on Facebook asking for prayer before I even pray for the situation myself.  Something is really very wrong with that!  I’m not doing it anymore!  I KNOW that our situation with our foster babies needs prayer!  I KNOW that the ONLY answer to my worry and frustration with their case is to bring it to God and to lay it at the feet of Jesus.

So, instead of posting, texting or messaging for the rest of this month, I’m going “old fashioned” and journalling my “conversations with God.”  I’m going to keep track of my thoughts and prayers and give them to Jesus.  I’m going to create a notebook where I can keep track of my prayers and witness the answers that God gives me.  Even if those answers are not the ones I’m expecting or anticipating, I want to keep track of them.

I want an amazing testimony when this is all said and done and I can’t have that if I don’t MOVE MY BEHIND over and give God room to work!  I absolutely HAVE TO LET GO.  So, here it goes!  I’m gonna try!  Wish me luck!

Lawyers…

Joshua 1

I received a text message from a good friend (who is also a foster mama) today warning me to “be ready for the lawyers to try and trick me with nasty questions at the permanency hearing this Friday.”  This is not the first time that I’ve been warned about this possibility.  You see, the same lawyers that represent abused and neglected children in one case turn around and represent the abusers and neglecters in the next case.  They, in essence know how to play both sides.  This scares the poop out of me!  (Pardon my language, but it DOES!)

I have been around since day number one when our foster children came into the state’s care.  I have been the one caring for, losing sleep over, tending to the every need of these precious children who legally belong to someone else.  I literally have NO RIGHTS when it comes to these little ones and protecting their future.  Nobody cares what I think.  Nobody wants to know my opinion, but the lawyers would just love to get me to say something degrading or unsupportive of the birth family in this case.  They would love to try and show that our family has not supported reunification or that we have in some way hindered it.  This makes me so MAD!  I cannot wait to get asked these questions.  I cannot wait to be able to say without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that our family has bent over backwards trying to help this family!  I cannot wait to tell them how many HOURS upon HOURS I have sat with Little Man on my lap waiting for a family member to call him.  I cannot wait to tell them about the picture books I’ve made, the photos I’ve framed, the artwork I’ve saved to give to birth family members.  I cannot wait to tell them about spending time talking with family members and encouraging them to do what the social workers are asking them to do.  I cannot wait.

But, yes I am still scared.  I have never been to court before.  I want to be strong.  I want to do the right thing.  I want a positive future for these babies.  I want the best for them!  My whole world has been wrapped up in their little lives for 11 1/2 months!  They mean the world to me!  Of course, I am afraid!

Then, today in my Facebook feed, I saw this Bible verse and it reminded me of who is going with me to court this Friday.  It reminded me that I do not have to be afraid!  I have the Lord of heaven and earth with me wherever I go and surely He will go before the babies and I and prepare a way for them to have a bright and loving future.

“Be strong and courageous.  Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Eleven months ago, I was a mess…

Eleven months ago, I was a mess.  We had been “approved” to be foster parents for like A WHOLE MONTH AND A HALF and we had not yet gotten “the call.”  I cried at the drop of a hat.  I sat and questioned why, why, why we didn’t have foster children yet.  Were we not “good enough?”  I cried out to God begging for, “today to be the day,” yet those days were never the days… I was sad, I was worried, I was anxious.  We were ready!  We had been ready!  We had done everything that the government had asked us to do, TWICE!  You see, we had already completed an international adoption home study and then again completed a foster care home study, so in reality we had been through everything TWICE!  How much longer must we wait?

I am here to tell you this, those of you out there who are still waiting… YOUR TIME WILL COME!  Our’s did!  We were chosen on this day eleven months ago to receive the two most precious little angels into our home.  These two came with hurts, they came with trust issues, but I can say this without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that they were meant to come and live with us.  God had such a perfect plan!

And, as I sat on my deck this morning taking pictures of my three youngest holding hands and going on a “treasure hunt” in our backyard, I realized something.  I am SO GLAD we didn’t get the call sooner, I am so happy we had to wait.  Because, the two we have in our lives right now are the ones God meant for us and we were meant for them.

Thank you, Lord Jesus for making me wait.  YOU HAVE A PERFECT PLAN!

jer2911

Sharing a room

I just walked down the hall to get the laundry from baskets (who am I kidding, it was on the floor) and overheard the sweetest conversation between Middle Girl and Baby Girl.  Middle Girl is 7 years old now and is the best big sister!  She loves Baby Girl so much and is so excited to see her every morning and every day after school!  The girls play well together and slowly, but surely Middle Girl is teaching Baby Girl about all things “girlie.”  Baby Girl is 17 months old and still has not slept through the night completely, so she still sleeps in a crib in my room.  Middle Girl; however is so anxious for the two of them to share a room.

Conversation Overheard:

Middle Girl- “When you are a big girl, like maybe three of four you’re going to come move in with me in my room.”

Baby Girl- “da, ba…boo… ba, da.”

Middle Girl- “We’ll put our beds next to each other and both of us will sleep in here together.”

Baby Gril- “ooo, ba, da, ba.”

My heart swelled with pride at Middle Girl’s willingness to share and then dread filled my heart… should I correct her?  Should I tell her that there is a very real possibility that Baby Girl will not live here long enough to share a room with her?  We’ve always told the big kids that this situation could be for just today or it could be for forever… I’ve made it clear many times, but kids just don’t think like that.  They are sisters.  They always will be, so for now I will let her tell Baby Girl all of her dreams about the future and about sharing a room.

Fear

Why is my reaction to “news” always fear?

We’ve been enjoying our summer for the last three weeks, just enjoying life.  Swimming every day has been our favorite activity and we don’t usually go a day without taking a dip in the pool.  When my kids swim, they also eat and a LOT!  So, today running low on snacks, I headed to the local discount food store, ready to stock up on popcorn, cereal, juice boxes, and of course gummy snacks.  As we parked the truck and I got three of the five kiddos out, my cell phone rang.  I noticed that it was the children’s social worker.  Because I had a baby in my arms, a toddler holding my hand and a ten year old asking me questions, I let the call go to voicemail.  I didn’t think much of it as we entered the store because the last time I heard from the children’s social worker, he had told me to “relax and just enjoy our summer.”  After shopping and picking up most everything we needed, I got the kiddos into their seats, locked the doors, and decided since everyone was safe and quiet for the moment that I would check my voicemail.  The message was vague, but the worker mentioned, “changes in the case” and needing to “talk to me about these changes.”  Also, he left me several numbers where he could be reached.  That’s weird, I thought.  He never gave me his private phone number before.  Why is it so important to him that I be able to get ahold of him right away?

This is where fear stepped in.  Like a mighty elephant sitting upon my chest, I immediately felt squished by fear.  My pulse quickened and I began to sweat.  Really, I thought?  What is my problem?  This has happened before.  There have been changes in the case before.  I can handle this.  But, the truth is, I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t call him back, I was frozen with fear.  What if they are taking the babies?  What if we are losing them?  What if some mysterious relative has surfaced out of nowhere and is a completely wonderful human being with fabulous child rearing capabilities and they are getting the babies now?  (I should be happy if that is the case, right?)  What if I have to prepare for them to leave tomorrow?  I knew that I had no control over what the “news” was that I was about to hear.  I knew that I can’t control the future.  I knew that no matter how much we love them, no matter how long they’ve been with us, no matter how much I long for them to have the most amazing life with love, family, health, opportunities, safety, and security, at this time I cannot do anything to make sure these things happen.  Right now, everything is out of my hands!  How thankful I am that I know the ONE who holds these little ones in the palm of HIS hands, though.  So, right there in the parking lot I stopped and I prayed.  I prayed that God would give me strength.  I prayed He would help me to accept the “news” no matter what it was.  I prayed He would help me deal with my emotions and keep them in check.  I prayed He would be with me and our precious babies and that He would take care of all of us, and then I made the call.

Turns out the “news” was that some of the cases in the office have been reassigned.  Our case was one of them.  We will have a new social worker who is brand new and has only been with DHR a couple of months.  We learned her name and that she will be out to the house next week to meet the children and to introduce herself to us.  All of that fear, all of that worry was for nothing.  Nothing has changed.  Our babies are still here.  They are sleeping under our roof tonight.  But, I learned something today.  I have GOT to stop letting fear creep up on me like that.  I know the Master!  I know the Provider!  I know the Giver of life!  He has got this!  I need not worry!  He loves these babies more than I ever could!  God is in control!