A Home for Every Child

26
Aug
2013


After sharing last week that our family was doing respite care for a 9 month old for another foster family, I was led to share more on Fostering – so today and tomorrow I will give you some information, some food for thought and also prompt you – are you ready?

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:3-4

I’ve shared about our journey with foster care before, but our story gets lost in all the posts.  For those new or unfamiliar, you may want to read these posts:

The Beginning of Trusting God

Opening Our Heart Again

Adoption Success

This will give you some background on how we entered into this God ordained journey and how we also fought it along the way.   [Read more…]

Hidden Blessings

17
Nov
2012


We left off yesterday with the arrival of Jacob coming into our home just shortly before Christmas.  What a Christmas gift he was!

We finished construction in the nick of time to add a fifth bedroom in order to accommodate one more to our family.  In the storyline of this entire journey, everything has just been in the nick of time – funny how that works!

I was thrown back into parenting like I had not been in years!  Having a little one around is a big change and a lot of things had to change for me.

I had to learn to slow down and take the time needed to be more than just the laundry person, house keeper and short order cook.  My role as a mother is so much more in the eyes of this little guy.  It brought me back to understanding my role and what even my older kids need from me.  You see I had gotten caught up in the routine, the busy day-to-day life that keeps everyone going in different directions and I missed some of the good stuff.  That was a big eye-opener for me – yes, even though I coach other moms and have been through different seasons of parenting, you forget sometimes!  God has a great way of reminding us what is truly important.

Now the waiting game began.  If you foster-to-adopt, you obviously are looking for an adoption for an ending, but the main goal the entire time the child is in care is to re-unite with the birth family.  It is a roller coaster ride and not for the faint at heart (or someone who doesn’t have The Lord to rely on for strength).

Just as soon as you think things are headed to termination, something happens and you are delayed.  The clock starts over.  I would love to give every last detail about our experience, but I choose to keep some of the information private for the sake of Jacob as well as his other family.

After a long journey of 20 months, Jacob finally became a ‘permanent’ member of our family.

A few fun tid bits about our journey with Jacob, about a month before Jacob came into our home I had done a small couponing party in a local woman’s home nearby, someone who had found me on my website.  She had a group of friends, we talked, shared couponing strategies and she even mentioned about a family in her church who was caring for a member of their family in foster care.  I didn’t think anything more about it.

Well, on one of the visits before Jacob was permanently placed in our home (3 weeks after that party)  his aunt dropped him off with a friend of hers, they were going to go out for  a bit while we visited with Jacob in our home, a transition period before he came permanently.  Well, this friend……she was one of the ladies at the couponing party.  Seriously!  I was completely overwhelmed – I do not believe in coincidences – I believe God orchestrates everything in His timing and was just astonished at His work.

We’ve also been very blessed with contact with his biological great aunt and uncle, cousins and his great grandparents.  Not only did we gain a little boy into our family, we got some extended family too.  His aunt & uncle who cared for him before our placement are Christians, which is such a huge blessing.  To know they are praying for this little guy and we can share our faith together during this journey was extremely comforting.

Oh, and about that one child of ours who was not in favor of us adopting or fostering?  Um, I would say this person loves this little guy the most!  It is truly amazing how God works in peoples heart, even when they don’t want any work to be done.  God is still performing miracles today!

There is nothing that could have brought our family together like this little guy has done.  Being a blended family brings it’s own challenges, but this little guy has united us like nothing else could.

You see, he is not a “hers” or a “his”, Jacob is an “ours”.  He is connecting us together in a way none of us ever could have on our own.

Change is good and in our case, He did come bearing gifts – even more than we have even begun to imagine.

Jacob has blessed our family beyond measure – bonded our “blended” family like nothing else could.  I am thrilled that we will be dedicating him at church in a little over a week.

Had I not listened and obeyed, I don’t know where we would be, but I know I would feel regret and I am glad that God helped change my husband’s heart and help him make the decision rather than me manipulating his decision or forcing him into it.

I know that my gifts are being used to glorify God – I may not be out saving hundreds of people, bringing them into His kingdom, but I have the one that God had in mind when he laid that thought of adoption on my heart nearly 4 years ago.

Who knows what the future will bring for our family, maybe we will expand again – maybe not.  But my husband has learned to never say “never”!  Just when you think you will ‘never’ do anything, God begins working. 

Photo Credit

The Call……

16
Nov
2012


We began the process to get licensed through a private Christian Agency in the local Seattle area.  We also started a bathroom remodel for our upstairs bathroom that would be shared by ‘more’ kids.  We knew it needed to be done, but now we made some specific changes to accommodate more kids in our family as well as considering making one more bedroom.  It was an exciting time – waiting in anticipation.

In the midst of our bathroom remodel we got our first placement, a newborn – straight from the hospital.  I thought God had answered my prayer, the one I had been praying intensely – my desire of a newborn/very young baby.  This is unusual in foster care, but I learned further that a newborn is just nearly unheard of!  My husband felt it was not our time, since we were in the middle of the remodel – but after a few hours (you do not have long to make these decisions!) we made a spur of the moment decision to say yes, even in the midst of our bathroom being torn apart – I mean the baby didn’t need to use the bathroom! 

Baby – Oh Baby

We were so excited and our world turned upside down.  Imagine within a period of 4 hours going from our youngest child being 10 to now a brand new 3 day old baby in your house!  Before baby M arrived, I ran to the local store and grabbed some diapers, bottles, blankets and clothing.  I remember the terrified feeling I felt when I opened the door and there was this little boy – so small and just waiting to be loved.

Normally you have a few months to adjust to the life of a newborn – not a few hours.  And even though I had been a mom a few times before, there is nothing you can anticipate about being thrown into this type of situation.  I was scared, excited, motivated and thankful.

This particular little boy was actually #5 of his siblings that had already traveled through the foster care system.  So unfortunately the likelihood that he would stay and end up awaiting adoption was pretty high.  The odds were already against him and his mother. But, we were excited, yet cautious, because we knew we wanted to adopt and if he could come into our home and stay we would feel ultimately blessed.

I cannot give a lot of details out, but the forecast for this little boy was up and down during the time we had him, whether he would eventually be free to adopt was a long way down the road, but we had indicators that led everyone to believe that it was highly likely.  So we prayed, waited and nurtured this little guy – Matthew.  Which by the way means, Gift of God.

As the weeks went by, the indicators were revealing more and more that Matthew would be with us for the long haul.

Baby Matthew was in our home for a total of 3 weeks.  We sadly experienced first hand the withdrawal symptoms of a baby who had been exposed to Meth while growing inside a mother who could not overcome her addiction.  An agitated little guy to say the least.  He could hardly get settled, required constant holding and the sleep I ended up getting was only a few hours at a time while he slept on my chest.  (Not my finest moment for a photo!)  I had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.

I struggled to survive – especially taking care of the rest of my family.  My husband was traveling for work and I was left at home to deal with the child in our family who had been adamant about not doing foster care.  The tension in our home was intense.  I was exhausted and hardly able to function.

But, what I was able to gain was the knowledge that I could truly fall in love with a child that I did not give birth too, honestly I had questioned that in myself.  But just as we began to get ‘used’ to this new little guy in our home, we got a call telling us the state wanted to move Baby M to another home closer to his other siblings.

Devastation

I could not believe this was happening, the one thing I knew I could not handle, having a child in our home and them leaving.  That is why we were cautious about placements and truly only wanting to take a foster to adopt type case.  I felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut – I didn’t know what to do, I was angry at God – He knew this was the one thing I told Him I couldn’t do – letting a child go who was in our home.  I felt betrayed.

The day we said goodbye to Baby M was one of the hardest days of my life.  This was the first time I had seen my husband cry – we were devastated and grieving just like we had a death in the family.  My husband even took the time to write a letter to this little boy, who hopefully he would read one day – who knows, but it made his heart feel better to share our hearts with him.

We were to leave on a family vacation traveling in our RV to Yellowstone, Glacier National Park and Mt. Rushmore.  We felt this was a time that we would use to grieve, heal and find our strength again. I wrote a post during the midst of that time and shared my heart.

But you know, God brought us through it all, helping heal our hearts and showing me that yes, I could survive a child leaving our home, that He would be there walking alongside us as we clung to Him for strength.  I kept hearing very clearly, “It is not about you Susan.”

We waited…nearly 4 months with very few calls for possible placements……it was very hard for me, I was ready ……then got a call about a 12 month old little boy.  Were we interested in him.  I said yes!  I met him, his biological family (great aunt, great grandma and mom) and we began the process to transition him into our home.  He came into our home permanently shortly before Christmas.

What a gift.  {To be Continued….}

Come back tomorrow to see what happens next! 

Photo Credit

Just One…..

15
Nov
2012


In honor of November being National Adoption Month, I thought it was time to share with you our journey to adoption.   This is a rather long story, so I will break it down into 3 posts, today, tomorrow and Saturday.

Everyone has their own adoption story, journey and path – that is how an Amazing God works and leads us – even to things we could never imagine for ourselves.  That is our journey – to a place I would never in a million years have imagined.

Redemption

My story is one of incredible redemption – when I truly look at where I have been and where God has led me now, I am almost brought to tears.  You see, I made a mess of my life years ago, going through a divorce when my kids were 3 and 7.  I was not a follower of Jesus, but my heart was aching for something more. I made a number of huge mistakes during this time, yet He took me in, with all the mess and disgusting trail I left behind.  During my years as a single mom, I came to know the Lord and made huge strides in my walk with Him – forever changed.

I met and married my husband in August 2007 {that is a whole different story in itself – being a single Christian mom looking for a Godly man – whew – but God is good!}

At that time we felt our season of parenting was to blend our families and then spend our years after our kids left home to share time together, that ‘dating’ time most have in traditional marriages ‘before’ they have kids.  We kinds missed all that.

I was really looking forward to that time.  We had three children between us and we felt our house was full. We felt this so clearly that before our wedding my husband had a vasectomy.  We didn’t even know how hard blending a family is, no one ever tells you that and we are led to believe it is just like the Brady Bunch episodes.  All fun and games – NOT!  yet, we survived.

Those Mothering Feelings

About a year after we were married I started having feelings of wanting to be a mom again.  Yes, I was still a mom, but I wanted to be a mom again to a small child/baby.  It really hung heavy on my heart and Don and I even talked about the possibility of a reversal, but in the end we just felt that was not what we were suppose to do.  I was very disappointed that it appeared we would not be having more children.

Several months later I was looking at the newspaper on Saturday and ran across the “Saturdays child”, where they show a child in need of adoption.  Something hit me when I saw that picture and read his story.  It kept entering my mind…..I kept thinking about it, so I began to pray about what God was trying to show me.  Never in my life had I thought or considered adoption before.

Just One

I remember feeling guilty many times that I had no desire to be a missionary, going abroad to further God’s kingdom – I am not an evangelist – yet God spoke to my heart, saying that I didn’t need to save hundreds….just one.  I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but it stuck in my mind.

After a few months of praying and still having this thought of adoption on my mind I knew I had to mention it to my husband.  I was scared because I figured I would be disappointed, my idea or leading was certainly not within “our plan.”  I mean, we were looking forward to our years doing our own thing.  It was not going to be long before our 9 year old was off to college.

We sat down for lunch one day and I began sharing with him what I had been feeling, then he told me about a dream he had recently while at work about a month earlier about adopting a child.  I was shocked and so was he.  He wasn’t sure what it meant and we decided we would just pray about it.  He was overwhelmed to say the least.

So we sat on it.  We talked about adoption versus foster to adopt, the how none of it made sense and how it was illogical, but we  prayed and waited, not sure what to do.  He spoke to an uncle who had done foster care before and he began to get very hesitant to the idea…..

I am more of a spontaneous person, my husband is a planner – one who thinks about every angle of things, so I was getting inpatient.  This is where I like to often take control instead of wait on God’s timing – it is so hard for me!

We decided after about  6 months to mention it to our family while on vacation.  Our oldest,  who was 16 at the time was not in favor of it and downright adamant against it.  One of our other kids was very excited and the other was more cautious.  So we  decided to continue to pray and wait.  We knew forcing this for our family would not be a good outcome.

We waited…  during my time as a parent coach I suddenly came into contact with parents of adopted children.  I had never had known a family that had adopted, but here I was working with these families and learning from their experiences. Some were foster to adopt and some were open adoptions.  It was clear that God had something going on here for us.

In my job as a parent and family coach, I kept getting clients who had adopted kids, I mean not just one or two but 5 or 6!

After more prayer, exploring and discussion we knew we were not suppose to adopt foreign, we were meant to reach out to a child in our area.  I kept getting this strong feeling of being disobedient to God and what His plan was for my life – because we were not moving forward. Yet, I knew I could not go above my husband and orchestrate this to happen, my husband  had to be the one who agreed and led our family into this journey.

Being Obedient

We struggled with our one child’s  adamant refusal to agree or accept this idea of adding to our family.  It was so hard. Finally I had two different mentors we respected greatly tell us that our children  do not get to make decisions like this for our family.  If we knew this was what we were supposed to do, then we needed to move ahead.

After months of feeling so convicted that we were not being obedient and struggling with those feelings, I got the advice of very smart Godly woman who told me to tell my husband that I was feeling and once he was made aware of my feelings then I would be kinda off the hook – it would then be between my husband and God – he would have to answer to why we didn’t pursue this leading.

I felt relief after I conversation, I shared from my heart.  There was no pressure, just raw emotion – explaining what I’d been hearing from The Lord and how I had been feeling.

Interestingly enough, 30 minutes later he said we should call the agency and begin the process.    {To Be Continued…..}

Come back tomorrow to see what happens next!

Photo Credit

Last Day for Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas for $.99

 

Looking at Adoption Differently

8
Aug
2011


Written by Sarah Thacker

“It’s a hard knock life for us. It’s a hard knock life for us. No one cares for you a smidge when your living in an orphanage.”

This year the children’s theatre in my town is performing the production of Annie. I went with my daughter. We knew many of the people in the play, and it was fabulous. I haven’t seen Annie since I was a child and I definitely had not thought about it with my new set of eyes as an adoptive mom. It was very thought-provoking to see it knowing what I do now.

Three things I noticed:

1) The catchy little tune,“It’s a Hard Knock Life” is probably true in many orphanages, but I also know many, many orphanages that love kids well.

Not as well as a family, but as close as they can. We adopted our fifth child from an orphanage in Haiti. There is no way I want my Reese to ever think that “no one cared for him a smidge”. No way.

They cared for him deeply.

They nursed him back to health both physically and emotionally.

They taught him how to bond.

They saved hair from his first haircut.

They had preschool classes with him. [Read more…]

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