Foster Parent Prayer for May 8

It was a long weekend at Casa Smallwood. I wasn't able to post prayers on Saturday or Sunday because I was dealing with a situation with one of my kids. That situation led me to this prayer for today (I had it scheduled for later in the month but I myself need to pray it today).   The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4 These kids have seen things they shouldn't have, had things done to them that shouldn't have been done, been exposed to situations their little hearts and minds weren't ready for and had their hearts broken by the people that are supposed to love and protect them. Heartache has one cure and that is the everlasting love … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayers Day 5

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 hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 When I was an adolescent in foster care, I remember thinking that God had abandoned me. That if He loved me and cared for me like I had heard He did, I wouldn't be in foster care, separated from my brothers and feeling utterly alone. I gave up on God for several years and it took several more years after He found me again to understand and accept that He had not abandoned me to my circumstances but rather was there with me all along. Many of the foster children that have entered our home have done so feeling a similar way toward God that I did all those years ago. "Some help God is" or "I don't want anything to do with a God that would … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayers Day 3

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1-2 I have discovered there is a lot of worry that can accompany the foster care journey. Our kids come to us with sad and sometimes scary stories. Sometimes they are reunited before we think they are (or their bio family) ready. Sometimes a judge orders contact with a parent that hurt them physically. Sometimes they are exposed to domestic violence. Sometimes-- heck, most times-- we don't get much of a say for their safety or well being outside of the walls of our home. I have also discovered that worrying and fretting doesn't serve a purpose other than to work me up and stress me out. A wise friend reminds me frequently that fear and faith can't co-exist. So, the next time you are worried … [Read more...]

My Real Children

One of the questions that annoys me {and many other adoptive parents. I'm sure} is "are you her real mother?" Or, even better, "are they real brothers?" Really? They share the same parents and the same last name, what do you think? For the record, real moms come in a variety of packages.  Some carry their babies for nine months, only to make the brave choice that the best way they can parent is to let someone else parent their child.  Some travel thousands of miles to the other side of the world to bring home a child from an impoverished, desperate situation and literally love them to life.  Still others provide homes for children temporarily, until the child's parents begin to make better choices or an adoptive family is found.  Many feel called to parent older children, about to … [Read more...]

When Parenting Teens and Young Adults is Hard

Wouldn't it be nice if our kids could look at the replay of our lives and consider our mistakes a lesson learned on their behalf, thus saving themselves from anguish and heartache? If you read here regularly, you know I write a monthly column for The M.O.B Society, a popular website just for mama's of boys.  As a writing team we try to watch the Facebook page and give advice and insight when we can to questions that moms post there.  Yesterday, a mom posed a question about her 14 year old questioning his relationship with God and not wanting to go to church.  I've been down that road once or twice with my kids and quickly typed out a response for this mama that went something like this: One of my boys was 14 when he went through this same type of issue. I was so scared and sad but our … [Read more...]

Homecoming

We don't always realize how beautiful the tapestry of our life is turning out to be.  We get caught up in the busy of everyday life and fail to take note of the extraordinary way He weaves things together.  Friends, even when life doesn't make sense or you are left wondering why God lays something on your heart but doesn't explain His plan, trust that He has a purpose for ALL things in our lives.  Seeing those things come to fruition is truly a beautiful thing. I have always had a special place in my heart for children with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome.   I worked as a case manager for children with developmental disablities back in 2007 and LOVED it.  Many of you that read here know I advocate for Reece's Rainbow, an agency that assists in the adoption of children with … [Read more...]

God is Bigger Than Statistics and How We Feel

Sometimes the number of orphans across the world can leave me feeling helpless and useless. Sometimes the cost of adoption can make families afraid to even begin the process. Sometimes parenting the children I already have {and failing miserably on a daily basis} makes me think I must be certifiable to consider adding more to our family. And, sometimes I find a Scripture or an inspiring story or a video like this that reminds me that one person, one family can make a difference to one child. And even if we only ever help one, that one matters to God. What did this video say to you? … [Read more...]

Moments Like This

Sunday, my daughter will become a wife.   I will return with regular posting {actually a 31 day series} October 1st. Appreciate your love and prayers in the meantime! … [Read more...]

Dear Sweet Pea

You were unexpected. The best kind of surprise. I remember the first day I met your mommy.  I was visiting teen moms at a local high school and she shyly showed me her ultrasound picture.  Her belly was barely swollen and she was already in love with you. Little did I know that 3 months later, your mama would move into our home and our hearts.  It was originally a temporary solution but God had bigger {and better} plans. At 31, you made me a Mimi.  I had no idea the amount of sheer joy you would add to our lives. Your mommy filled an empty spot in my heart and you created a place in my heart that holds a love I hadn't experienced before. People have always said grandchildren are a gift and now I know that is the tip of the indescribable truth. Watching you grow and learn and laugh and … [Read more...]

God’s best laid plans

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. ~Revelation 12:11 Shayla shared part of her story with our local newspaper for an article about the teen mom ministry I volunteer with {and that I met her through}.  I didn't know she was going to share so much of her heart and painful past in the article and I am both proud and protective of her right now. She has reassured me that she shared her story because she wanted to let others know what God has done in her life the last few years, specifically through YoungLives. And in her words "haters gonna hate".  I wish my skin was that thick. Some have attempted to make the article about them, whether it be their opinions of teen motherhood … [Read more...]

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