Of Foster Adoption and Stage Fright

Occasionally, I have a reoccurring dream in which I am on stage for a dance recital and have no idea of the choreography. In full costume and makeup, several thoughts fly through my mind while butterflies race through my stomach. I haven’t practiced this dance. I wasn’t taught the choreography. I can’t wing the whole number!

This may not sound so bad as far dreams go, unless you have years of dance training and performance opportunities as I had in over 16 years of ballet, tap, and jazz lessons. Then, with this knowledge, it will conjure a feeling of abject fear at such a scenario.

Venturing into the foster and adoption world can seem much like being pushed onto a stage full of bright lights and an audience made up of expectant smiles only to realize that you don’t know the steps, you weren’t taught what to do, and you can’t wing the whole thing. In short, you feel overwhelmed and ill equipped.

Six years ago, when my husband and I began the training process to become foster, and, ultimately, adoptive parents, we felt as if we didn’t know exactly what we were doing. We knew God was calling us to adoption, but we decided that He revealed the need for us to foster as well. We were not sure how to love with an open hand to relinquish the children we would foster back to their families should reunification become a reality. We had no idea the system, with case managers, court dates, and guardian ad lietms, would be so taxing on our schedules, emotions, and everyday thoughts: on our family. Quite frankly, we never imagined we would still be in the thick of adoption six years later.

Although we no longer feel as if we have been shoved out on a stage sands choreography, we do feel that the stage hands and the lighting crew aren’t always at the ready. We feel like, to further this scenario, we have the steps of the process, but our production crew doesn’t always have our backs. We aren’t winging it, but we are wondering why with so much practice the production isn’t yet executed with precision. In other words, we are dancing the steps but weary of the show.

But God.

We can testify and do so repeatedly of God’s faithfulness and goodness throughout this entire process which includes one child adopted and one more awaiting adoption. Bringing our child count to a total of four. God has worked in ways that can only be attributed to Him. He has provided for us in gifts from His people. Didn’t he say something about owning cattle on a thousand hills (see here)? We haven’t, nor can’t out give God, and we haven’t, nor can’t frustrate His plans and timing in adoption matters.

Foster care and adoption is not like my reoccurring nightmare because God equips us for every good work before we are presented with the opportunities to carry them out. In fact, it may be more like another real life dancing experience I had.

A lifetime ago, when I was a young 18 years of age, I tried out for the dance team at two universities. The first, which also happened to be my first choice in schools, I did my best and didn’t make the team. The second university, I had a full scholarship but lacked a desire to attend. At that second tryout, I knew the dance and picked up on the choreography quickly. However, that afternoon when it was my turn to perform solo, my brain froze. Unlike any other performance in my life, I completely forgot all of the steps. The school representatives were gracious and let me try two or three times with the same results. Even though I flopped the audition, I still received a call later that evening that I had made the team!  That was 18 years ago now, and I don’t remember the timing of everything, but I do remember that I turned them down, turned down the full-ride, and ended up at my top choice school with a meager scholarship and the chance to meet my husband my freshman year.

Foster care and adoption is more like the second story in that you’ve prepared, failure isn’t fatal, the process will be trying and frustrating at times, but God’s ways are higher and His knowledge beyond ours. He sees the bigger picture and knows that bumps along the way shape our character and faith in such a way that we look more like Him when we finish our performance and we end up right where we need to be.

If you or someone you know is considering foster care and foster adoption, you might want to check out these past posts here. Also know, cold feet are a natural part of the process!


 

 

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Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale

Once upon a time, there was a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy in need of a place to call home. He needed a mom, a dad, and a few siblings to grow alongside.

A few miles away was a family looking for a child to love forever. The family had a mom and a dad and two children searching for a child to coddle, wrestle, chase, kiss, and teach about the love of the King.

One day, after several months of seeking out such a child, the blonde-headed, blue-eyed baby bounced into their place of worship. He was safely held, that is,  in the arms of a family caring for him until such a time as he was matched with his forever family. For the daddy of the family in search of a baby, it was apprehensive love at first sight. For the mommy, it was a bit of confusion because she thought they were called to love a brown-haired, brown-eyed baby girl. More about her later as she wouldn’t come along for another year…but that would be getting ahead in the story.  After one visit with the baby boy in her home, the mommy, also, was forever in love with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy.

In fairy tales, evil always ensues before the damsel is rescued, the family reunited, or the kingdom saved. Real life mimics fairy tales because fairy tales mimic real life. This little boy’s story had many a dark and looming cloud.

For nine months the boy and the family grew to know and love one another. They shared firsts and celebrated milestones. The mommy and daddy, and the boy’s temporary family, sent e-mails, made phone calls, attended meetings, and petitioned judges before the blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy bounced into the family’s home to stay. (Only modern day stories include phone calls and emails, but they are no less valiant, mind you, than decrees and messengers riding through the night to save the kingdom, rescue the damsel, or reunite the family.)

All throughout these months, and the ones which would ensue, a host of people within the Kingdom began to pray and petition the King for the boy to be placed with this family. Countless men, women, and children throughout the land would ask the King to place the boy with the family forever, and, quickly! The petitions of the people were being heard and would be answered in time.

Shortly after the boy came to live with his soon-to-be family, the court discovered an error that had to be addressed for this story to turn a final page into the second portion of its tale. This error would take ten more months to come to light and, thereafter, be rectified.

All this time, the months were accumulating  while the boy was waiting for the royal proclamation to give him a family. It would be thirty months until the proclamation would be granted. Thirty months before the blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy would be given his royal name–that name which his family prays is already written in the scrolls of the Kingdom as in this kingdom. Thirty months until…forever.

Thirty months came and went before this big day arrived…

As the boy and his family experienced the declaring of the proclamation that would unite them for all of their life in this kingdom, they thought of how quickly the thirty months passed in retrospect. Like thirty balloons being lifted to the sky and released in a moment’s time with the wave of a hand, the loosing of a grip, the relinquishing of power.

The weight of the wait was intense and a load, at times, seemingly unbearable. But upon the royal decree, the weight instantly became as light as air. All the cares of the past were lifted away to be replaced by a focus on the future and on raising a knight for the Kingdom.

Lest you forget, fairy tales are full of woe before wonder, and this fairy tale will be like the others and, similarly, unlike. Good days and gloomy days lurk ahead, but this day was a day two kingdoms celebrated with thirty balloons and triumphant shouts filling the chasm between. Maybe, just maybe, one of those balloons reached the other side and greeted others who have waited in like fashion.

*This story is a prologue to another story still unfolding. If it weren’t for this one, the later would never be possible. Woe lurks, but wonder is on the other side. The Kingdom prays and the King whispers, Courage dear heart.


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The False Summits of Adoption

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In hiking, a false summit is the portion of the mountain that appears to be the highest point; however, upon reaching it, a mountaineer sees that the summit is higher. Unless prepared for such false summits, the effect on a hiker’s psychological state can be damaging.  So much so, that the she may give up and begin a disappointing descent.

In the summer of 2015, our then family of four hiked the majestic Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs Colorado. It was the most difficult hike to date that we have hiked as a family, and it has proven to provide so many parallels to obstacles we have faced in our adoption journey. The two-thousand feet gain in elevation over a mile at the front end of the hike was almost paralyzing to my psyche. I wasn’t sure we could complete this hike with success, but we ventured forth anyway. The people along the journey were so encouraging. They couldn’t believe that our five and seven year old children were attempting such a hike.

The real kicker came as we were approaching what seemed the top of the incline. Another hiker told us, its a false summit. The top is still a ways up. What? There was more? We had already had to make accommodations for one child to poop while on the trail (that was a first and only so far!) and our other child started off battling a bit of an asthmatic episode and had to be carried for part of the initial portion of the hike. A false summit! Okay, time for a snack and to regroup and prepare ourselves for the remainder of the journey to the summit.

In order to complete this hike we were on all fours, lifting children, encouraging children, and taking multiple breaks. The good news is… we made it! The victory welcome at the top from the other hikers is something our children will never forget; and I am almost positive, some of our fellow hikers will not forget either. In particular one man named Don.

Our adoption journey which we had temporarily laid down for nearly two years was reinitiated after we returned from that family vacation. That summer multiple videos were released which exposed Planned Parenthood for selling the body parts of aborted babies and killing them in such a way as to gain the most profit from their organs. These videos were the tipping point for us to take another step towards adoption. We had fostered for 13 months in the hopes that we would foster to adopt. However, our hearts were so wounded  and raw after the reunification of our foster son, that we knew a time of refreshing and regrouping as a family was necessary. As we all know, the Lord will not let us rest forever. That summer He was calling us back to the work of adoption and orphan care.

In July of 2015 we decided not to recertify as foster parents but to ask that we go straight into the adoption process. In short, much misinformation was communicated to us which has further complicated our adoption journey there on out. However, in September of 2015, through the fostering of a baby by friends of ours, we met a beautiful blonde-headed, blue-eyed boy that we are now in the final stages of adopting. For ten months we daily made multiple phone calls, sent numerous emails, and advocated on behalf of the best interest of this child before he was placed in our home as a pre-adoptive placement in July of 2016.

You may rush by that last sentence; but for us, the living out of those ten months was long and arduous.

With high hopes that the adoption would be finalized in October of this year (2016), we awaited the go ahead from the attorney to schedule the court date. We inched closer to the anticipated court date only to discover that our son was not yet free and clear for adoption, but that a paperwork error had occurred and we were essentially back to a holding period.

Was this a false summit, or merely a strenuous portion of our hike?

With that knowledge in mind, I boarded a plane in late September and went hiking for two days in breathtaking Washington State with a dear friend. No false summits in sight on our hikes, and so far, none our adoption journey.

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Until…

Two days after my return home, we were told that our adoptive son’s mother was pregnant and would give birth to his sibling within a month.

False summit identified.

Stunned, is probably a good word for our reaction to this news. Overjoyed, is the word for our children’s response! Little had we known that Emily, our oldest daughter had been fervently praying for a baby sister. Now, she saw that her dream was within reach.

So today, we find our family expanding–at least at present, and Lord willing forever- to a family of six. Emily was right, the baby is a girl. So as we ascend this (what we perceive to be) the final portion of the adoption summit, let our story be one that encourages and informs you. Few adoptions are expedient, and none are without loss and pain. False summits happen all the time in hiking and perhaps with more frequency in life.

We are looking forward to that mountain-top view. The summit shall surely be worth it. We anticipate sharing in the joy and telling the God moments. To God be the glory!

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Valuing Our Children’s Unique Pasts

Please welcome my new friend, and fellow foster-adoption mama, April Swiger, as she shares a part of her family’s foster-adoption story. For more information on the foster-adoption journey, please see the links below to her blog and her new book, Dignity and Worth: Seeing the Image of God in Foster Adoption. Welcome, April, to This Temporary Home!

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Upon meeting someone a few years ago, Adam and I shared our adoption plans with her.

Without missing a beat, she replied, “You’re not adopting from foster care, are you? All of those children are damaged!”

I didn’t know how to respond. At the time, we were trying to adopt an infant, so I probably mumbled something about that fact, hoping to appease my new acquaintance and end a terribly awkward conversation.

When I recall the thoughtless things that people have said to me, that interaction strikes me as unusually devastating. The issue isn’t that the comment offended me personally—although it did—so much as it is that the comment promoted the faulty belief that children in foster care or from orphanages abroad are not worth adopting, that their lives can’t be redeemed.

Many of the children who have been in foster care or orphanages have experienced neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, homelessness, hunger, and/or domestic violence. The trauma they have experienced often leads children to cope through unusual behaviors. They may rock themselves to sleep in silence because no one is there to hold them and meet their needs, they may use feces to ward off an abuser, or very young children may begin to parent even younger siblings because no one else will. Suffering has trained their brains to respond to events in certain ways, ways that the child who is born into a loving, structured, and stable family has never had to learn.

In addition to abnormal behaviors, children’s responses may take the form of developmental and cognitive delays, attachment disorders, learning disabilities, and other challenges. These challenges likely won’t disappear as soon as a child has been moved into a safe home. Foster children often need to learn how to trust other people again, or for the first time. This learning journey requires time, effort, and thoughtful parenting strategies that may differ from the status quo.

Over the years, I’ve received a handful of comments similar to the “damaged kids” remark. When I find this happening, I try to draw attention to the gospel and to the way that God values human life. My goal isn’t to rebuke others but to remind myself of this truth and to be an ambassador for children who can’t advocate for themselves, who can’t explain that they are not too “damaged” or “too far gone” for adults to invest in them.

Isn’t that the gospel? We were dead in our sin, totally damaged by the effects of the fall, separated from God, and unable to save ourselves. Without Jesus and the resurrection, sin makes us “too far gone” in the sense that there is no hope for salvation through our efforts. God sent his son to live a perfect life, die for our sin, rise from the dead, save us, and bring us close to him. Salvation makes us new creations who have access to the Father’s throne through divine adoption. There is eternal hope in this gospel and immense hope for foster children because there is one God who restores relationships in this life and the next.

To be clear, I’m not advocating that foster parents take on a savior mentality. Adoptive parents are not Jesus, and we are not doing our children any favors by “rescuing” them from foster care, as if adoption is strictly about charity. These children owe us nothing. They are welcomed into our families, fully and completely, regardless of where they come from, how they behave, or who they grow up to be. Adam and I never expect our children to be grateful that we chose to parent them and, ultimately, adopt them.

On a related note, Christians are instructed to care for the fatherless, specifically in James 1:27, which says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Caring for the fatherless is a practical way to live out our faith in Christ. Life is valuable and full of purpose, and foster children, with everything they have lost, deserve a family where they can experience that life.

I say it all the time: We have the best kids. Adam and I often pause in the kitchen, look at each other, and ask, “How in the world did we get such great kids!?” God has been very kind to us.

To be honest, though, I didn’t exactly experience love at first sight when Jayda arrived. In that moment, fear eclipsed love. Jayda had no obvious flaws, but we had never been parents before and were terrified.

After only a few hours, this little boy was winning over our hearts with his high-pitched toddler giggle, extensive vocabulary, and love for eating ketchup on everything. Our affection for him hasn’t waned a bit; it’s only grown since those first few days together. We knew the importance of committing to Jayda, and parental affection flowed from our hearts as we made the choice to attach to a child we might lose.

 

Excerpt from chapter three (Valuing Our Children’s Unique Pasts: Learning How to Honor and Respect Their Losses) from Dignity and Worth: Seeing the Image of God in Foster Adoption.

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April Swiger is a wife, mother to two awesome little boys (Jayda and Zay), homemaker, and blogger. In 2013, her family moved to her home state of Connecticut, where her husband, Adam, serves as the worship pastor at Christ the Redeemer Church. Living in a 100-year-old farmhouse, being debt-free, cooking nourishing food, and enjoying introvert-friendly activities are some of her favorite things.

You can join her for more “Faithfulness in the Mundane” at www.aprilswiger.com and Instagram.com/aprilswiger/.

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Children and Spiritual Warfare

Children and Spiritual Warfare 

When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” ~Mark 10:14, HCSB

Why is it so hard to adopt mama? This is a question that one or both of our children have posed over the past eight months in which we have actively sought to adopt. The adoption process started almost five years ago for our family, but we ventured the path of foster care initially.

Why is it so hard to adopt? Why indeed?

I believe the answer which Russell Moore gives in the simple, short, and pertinent read, Adoption What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice,  is true, the protection of children isn’t charity…it’s spiritual warfare. Satan hates children. Jesus loves children. In fact, He came the first time in the form of a newborn babe. Protecting children, be it through foster care, adoption, or advocating and working to end sex trafficking or abortion is recognizing the Imago Dei in every life.

The demonic powers hate babies because they hate Jesus. When they destroy “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40, 45), the most vulnerable among us, they’re destroying a picture of Jesus himself, of the child delivered by the woman who crushes their head (Genesis 3:1;5).

Children also mean blessing–a perfect target for those who seek only to kill and destroy (John 10:10).

When we adopt–and when we encourage a culture of adoption in our churches and communities–we’re pictureing something that’s true about our God. We, like Jesus, see what our Father is doing and do likewise (John 5:19). And what our Father is doing, it turns out, is fighting for orphans, making them sons and daughters.

~ Russell Moore, Adoption What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice

It only takes a glance at some of the day’s headlines to realize there is a war on children. Planned Parenthood advocating not only abortion, but involved in the selling of aborted babies body parts. The molestation of young boys in Afghanistan which our military has been ordered to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to (see here). The gunning down of a 10 year old boy –who had left fighting in Afghanistan to return to school–by the Taliban. The reported 10,000 missing migrant children who may have been trafficked and lost in a world of abuse. The headlines ream on.

The devil has it out for children (listen to the fourth section of Albert Mohler’s Daily Briefing for more on this topic); the church must stand ready to fight the good fight of faith on their behalf. How are we as the church and as individuals promoting a culture of life? What are some ways in which we can take up our shield of faith, sword of the Spirit, and go with our feet shod with the Gospel message? Let’s stand guard and defend the children of our day.

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When Plans Fall Through

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We have been told reunification was coming for over 6 months now. Little E has had four days of over night visits for the last 7 weeks. It was all set. We would stand before the judge in just a week and a half and wait for him to declare reunification of our foster son of over 1 year with one of his biological parents.

I have mentally made a list of all that I should pack and send “home” with him. How do you pack up a two year old who loves you as a mom and dad, and whom you love as a son, in any way that he will understand you are not another person to walk out of his life? That is a question I have mulled over for 4-6 months.

All the planning, all the crying, all the disciplining and decision making was to culminate and we were to find a new normal in a few short weeks.

That all changed with a phone call yesterday.

In short, one parent’s bad choices caught up with them and thank goodness before reunification had taken place. As these plans fall through we can shake our head at this adult’s repeated poor decision making, or we can say “thank God He revealed this before E was reunified.”

My mom told me earlier this week that her Sunday school class had a special time of prayer for us. Thanks be to God! The prayers of the saints are being heard and God’s will is going forward. We have seen the protective hand of God upon this child even and especially a midst all the pain that life has dealt him.

When plans fall through, when expectations stop short, when what we had anticipated dies, God is there with every twist and bend. He is there in every valley and mountain peak.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

When plans fall through His arm is outstretched so that we do not fall but have hope,  joy, and peace that passes understanding though they may ebb and flow as the ocean tide.

What plans have fallen through for you today dear one? Have you entrusted your requests to God? Have you enlisted the prayer support of even one or two other individuals? God is not silent when your plans fall through. He uses the Body and His Word to speak love over your situation and grace in the presence of pain.

Take heart this weekend friends.

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The Salt and Light of Fostering

Salt and Light of Fostering

We continue to pour into the life that God has allowed to grow and flourish within our home for the last year. We, and those in our sphere, have sought to be the salt and light of Jesus to our child.  Today we await yet another decision on reunification with his biological parents. In the waiting, I would like to pause and remember our foster care journey as documented at This Temporary Home, and invite you to join me over at iBelieve to read my confessions as a first time foster mom. Click here to read this post.

Thank you for your prayers for our Little E. and thank you to the over twenty-five new e-mail subscribers of This Temporary Home in the last weekend. Your presence is an honor and a trust. Enjoy this look back with us at our foster journey from the earliest days to the present.

  • Tomorrow’s Race (here)
  • Pour Another Cup (here)
  • Simple Addition (here)
  • Lessons for Everyday (here)
  • Moments Bathed in Thanksgiving (here)
  • Who Is Accountable? (here)
  • Lord Give Me Eyes to See (here)
  • Glimpses of Our Everyday and Thoughts on Rest (here)
  • I Must Remember This (here)
  • The Changing of Seasons (here)
  • Confessions of  A First-Time Foster Mom (here)

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Finding Grace

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When we dropped Little E off for one of his weekly visits with his biological father, my heart broke once again over this little boy. If and when E is reunited with his parent(s), the difficult circumstances that he found himself in the first two and a half years of life will not vanish without a trace. Our stresses of three children will return to only two, our frustrations with the state and its ways and regulations will momentarily be put on hold until we feel  we are ready to serve and love another child, and our contact with this precious child will be primarily non-existent.

As our car pulled out of the gas station where we meet his dad, tears filled my eyes and I told God once again, “This is not fair.” Only weeks before I had written a post for iBelieve on the subject of fairness.  I am linking to it below. Once you have read the article in full, please come back and see if you would add anything to the list of God’s grace in E’s case. If I think on it, I know there are multiple graces in the face of a seemingly unfair situation.

Even if we have not verbalized it, we have all thought it, “That was not fair, God.” Someone else was rewarded the promotion at work, the date with the guy, the house that we bid on. Another friend tells of her unexpected pregnancy when we have labored in prayer over just one child. Children are born with disease, into poverty-stricken homes, or left as orphans.

It’s simply not fair. He is not fair. Or is He? If He is, do we sincerely desire God to treat us fairly?

Think for a moment, what our lives would look like if God treated us as we so often demand: fairly. What if that which we worked for was all that His hand allowed; if people, including our families, treated us only with the kindness and respect which we have shown toward them void of mercy and forgiveness; if our religion was based on merited works?

My life, for one, would look drastically different if God treated me tit for tat. Would yours?

Click here to continue reading the entire article over at iBelieve.

God’s grace is demonstrated to E in his placement into a loving, Christ-filled home. Yes, he is separated from his biological parents, but he has received the best medical attention we could give him, he sleeps in a safe environment, and has two great siblings. Had it not been that he was taken away from his family he may have gone much of his childhood void of the message of Jesus and God’s great love for him.

This all reminds me of a Laura Story song that I am sure you have heard. If not, click here, or on the link  below and close our time today in reflections on the grace wrapped in pains of life.

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Lord Give Me Eyes to See

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In life, when  looking at something from a distance we often cannot make out what we see with exact clarity.

 “Circle, hand, flag, stable, cross…” Emily stated as she labeled each picture for the nurse administering the vision screening. The stable, really a cup, was discussed more closely and even revealed to Emily, but as she covered the other eye and read the symbols from right to left this time, she continued with, “cross, stable, flag, hand, circle.”

Perhaps it is the same with us adults? We see a situation looming in our near future or planted square in front of our noses and we have this ominous presence of anxiety about that which may happen.

Uncertainty can be a ferocious devourer of peace.

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For five months we have welcomed Little E into our family and hearts. We love and understand him more and more with each passing day, as he us. Recent progress made on the part of his family lead us to believe we will have him for only two months more. Right now we have many questions and concerns for him, for our children, and for ourselves:

How will the transition back to his own home and family affect him? How will it affect our children? What amount of time will we need a break before we invite another child into our home through foster care? How do I cope with the guilt of looking forward to some relief as a parent of three back to two and yet handle my own mixed emotions about losing the little one I have come to love? What if we need several months “off” before we are ready to again become the orphan’s advocate that foster care requires?

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These questions only target this one facet of our lives…we know many more people and situations that require constant prayer.

The anxiety levels can build as we look at the mess and needs around us. Its presence can pervade our days without our expressed knowledge but rather a feeling, a heaviness, that we desire to be freed from.

Thankfully, as both the nurse and I clearly saw the stable was a cup, God sees the struggles in our view as whatever cup they may turn out to be: cups of grace and mercy, deliverance from or deliverance through, or cups of pain and purification for His glory and our ultimate good.

He who was born in the household stable came to drink the cup of God’s wrath on our sin so we wouldn’t have to. Lord, please give us eyes to see, as your Son, the cup poured before us and let us say as He did:

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.

My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.

~Matthew 26:39, 42 (emphasis mine)

As we pray the Father’s will let us also claim His promises found in Philippians 4:6-7:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God. And the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Lessons for Every Day

Every day there are lessons to learn, truths we must remember, and His promises that we must cling to.

Our lives have significantly changed adding a third child to the mix. It feels we are in constant motion trouble shooting one situation after another. Ron and I joke that I need to start wearing black and white vertical stripped shirts and have the kids call me “Ref” as I referee most of their waking hours.

The verses from last week’s post need to be printed out and referred to daily in our home. In fact, perhaps I simply need to staple them to my forehead?!  I am constantly reminding myself not to complain, to use kind words, to treat others the way that I want to be treated while simultaneously pointing the finger at the children and instructing them to do the same.

The lessons that I want our kids to learn first need to be modeled in their own mom and dad before they can adequately take root. This is true for everyday lessons and in missional, intentional living.

With our step into foster care there have been multiple people who have told me, “I think it is great what you are doing. I wanted to foster, but I couldn’t bare the goodbyes. It would be too hard for me to say goodbye.”

I felt the same way initially. Ron and I were only open to adoption in the beginning. We didn’t think we were “made” to foster. The change in our attitudes came when we realized that there are more children than homes with foster parents. We learned that many of these kids were living in group homes or separated from their brothers and sisters.

We were reminded that all of our children are with us temporarily. The truth is, there are only finite days that God gives us to parent our children before they leave the nest. We decided that we will take the days given us with as many children as we choose to foster over our lifetime; be it one or twenty.

The final kiss goodbye to our sweet Little E is not something that I look forward to with anticipation. I am still relying on today’s grace for today’s race and will leave what remains to God. We continue taking our fears and frustrations to Him as often as we need to in prayer.

My emotions are no different than the next person. I, and all of my family, get attached. We love deeply, we apologize often, we forgive one another and live alongside each other with the love God has given us. This is no less true in foster care.

His love never changes(Hebrews 13:8), the people in our lives in which we can share His love do change.

If you or someone you know has any interest in foster care or adoption I encourage you to take a step in faith. It is a wild and difficult ride…one that our family has only begun. Perhaps hearing from a couple that has adopted multiple times would help? I encourage you to join us at our church to hear guest speaker Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, as they share their adoption story. Click here for more details.

You might think that learning everyday lessons every day seems elementary, but mastering everyday lessons isn’t. Keep at it friends…every day.

With love,

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