3 years ago on this date at 9:00 p.m. an unknown car pulled into our driveway. Three social workers and two of the most beautiful babies that I had ever laid eyes on were in it. We RAN to the car to welcome them into our home and I can honestly tell you without a shadow of a doubt that my life has NEVER been the same. I don’t EVER want to go back to the person I was before meeting my angels. They changed my view on everything! Jesus used two little babies to show me my own faults, where I needed to be humbled, where I needed more patience, and what was truly important in life. 16 months flew by and then I was faced with my worst fear (losing Little Man). I had told God I could not survive it, that He would have to change the circumstances because my heart wouldn’t be able to take it. God taught me something again… that JOY comes in the morning after grief and suffering. He taught me I could survive my worst day ever because I did. Now, I just pray pray pray for the little boy, I once called my son. Our babies were and are gifts from GOD! Today, one of those babies is my forever daughter! Baby Girl fills our house with JOY! She is growing into a very independent, loving, sensitive, daughter and sister. When I am asked about what I am most thankful for this year it is HER! She is our answer to YEARS of prayer. Thank you Lord JESUS for November 13th, three years ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
“The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
As happens with Army life, we may have to move. Because of this, we had to temporarily close our home to new foster placements. We had to put a hault on our plans to hopefully adopt again soon. Now, we wait. Will we indeed be moving next spring? Where will the Army send us?
One thing is FOR SURE. I am praising GOD that Baby Girl is our’s always and forever! I NEVER would have left this state without her! Now, that isn’t even a worry! She goes where we go!
Our fostering agency is getting more calls than ever from the state to place children. The rise in need for quality foster homes is rising faster than funding and available homes. Children are being separated into state homes, group homes, or homes in counties hours away from where they came into care.
At first, I got mad about the fact that our agency couldn’t do more. I wondered how in the world this was happening and children were suffering because adults and groups of people who were supposed to be taking care of this problem seemingly to me, weren’t. Then, one night we got a call. There were four children, did we know anyone who could take all of them together? Calls were made, foster parents from our agency were frantic to help, but in the end the siblings were separated. It broke my heart! I could NOT imagine a 4,5,7, and 8 year old being placed separately because of a shortage of funds and homes that could take all four of them together. It broke me. I wrote a long email to our agency begging for help to fix this problem! And, guess what! All of the anger and frustration I was feeling about “why nobody was doing anything about it,” turned into me asking, “can I help do something about this?” After many emails and phone calls, I was given the go ahead to spread the word! I’ve created a group of area foster parents, adoptive parents, churches and individuals who want to help! I’ve written our family’s testimony about fostering and how God has used fostering to change our lives. I’m traveling to area churches, sharing and asking for help! I can hardly express the joy it brings me to be part of the solution. Bringing more people into awareness about the crisis we are facing. After all, aren’t we all in this together!?!
T told me after his visit with his mom and brothers today that he was sad. I asked him what was making him feel that way and he said, “I’m sad because everyone always leaves me.” I turned the car off and turned around in my seat. “Oh T,” I said, “I’m so sorry you feel like everyone always leaves you.” I know someone who will NEVER leave you.” He looked up at me skeptical and unknowing. “God loves you so much T! He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you. He is the ONE who will never leave you. All you have to do is call out the name Jesus and He is right there. He is holding your hand, sitting beside you and He wants a relationship with you.” T put his head down. He looked at his pants and fiddled with his book. I didn’t say anything else. Neither did he. I turned the car back on and we drove home in silence. Heavy stuff, foster care. He is right, the “people” here on earth who were supposed to take care of him have always left him. My hope is that T will find a personal relationship with Jesus and have that to hold onto his entire life!
Last night as I tucked my middle three kiddos into bed, I asked them if they had anything they would like me to pray and talk to God about for them. My daughter wanted kids to be nice at school, my son wants his dad to come home safe from work and T asked me to pray for his mom. He wants her to “get the house fixed” and he told me she had a runny nose at the visit he had with her yesterday. I said, “of course I will honey! I have been and I will continue to pray for your mom.” And so as they closed their eyes and bowed their heads, I prayed with the kids and I thanked God for each one of them, I thanked Him for our house and our warm beds to sleep in and our school and then I lifted up each of my children’s prayer requests to the Father. And with T listening I prayed for his mom. I felt so honored that he trusted me enough to ask me to pray for the desires of his heart with him.
We got the call! We will be adding two precious souls to our family tomorrow… Brothers! One is 6 and one is 7. I know this will be hard at times and overwhelming at times too, but I am so excited to serve God by loving these brothers! God is so good!
I’ve started reading this new book. It’s called, “Choosing Joy,” and it is written as a devotional book by one of my favorite Christian authors, Angela Thomas. I love doing devotions. I really like having a guide to help me with my Bible reading and it helps me stay focused. A fellow foster mama gave me this book. She bought it for me the other day after I asked for prayer during this “waiting period.”
We have had no movement in Baby Girl’s case for months, although there is seemingly nothing holding things up. We are just waiting. Not really sure what for, but nevertheless we are waiting. Then there is the waiting to see if we will be adding another little life to our family through adoption or foster care. Then there is the waiting while my husband and I do this whole long distance life thing. My life is just filled with a whole lot of waiting lately. Have you ever put the two words waiting and joy in the same sentence? I’m pretty sure I’ve never said something like, “Gosh, I find joy in the waiting.” Nope! Never said it. But, I want to. I want to find joy in everything! I want to be joyful. Not the silly dancing around the kitchen kind of joy, but real joy. The kind of joy that surpasses circumstances. The kind of joy that lasts. A God given joy.
A year ago I looked horrible. My hair was always in a pony. I never had time for make up! I only got a shower when everyone in the house was asleep, but was usually so tired, I’d put it off for sleep! I had bags under my eyes. My skin was pale. I was SO happy!
Never in all my life had I ever felt more in God’s will. Never before did I feel like I was doing exactly what God had called me to do.
Foster care, it’s in my heart now.
My favorite thing to do for dealing with stress these days is to dig in the dirt. I pull weeds, yanking them out of the ground and tossing them into the trash pile. I plant seeds, water them, check on them several times a day waiting for them to grow. I love capturing some of it all on film too. So, here are three of my favorite pics from my garden so far this summer.
Look at the bee! He’s been working very hard in my garden this summer!
This lovely sunflower is just beginning to bloom!
This is my absolute favorite one! God is so amazing! He put such care and attention into all of His creation! Look at the detail He put into designing this beautiful butterfly!
I really hope the pumpkins, carrots, lettuce, and kale all work out too! If so, I’ll be sure to take pics of the harvest!
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.