Foster Parent Prayers May 10

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to their eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. Psalm 19:8-10 … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayer for May 9

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28   … [Read more...]

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 4

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 Sleep doesn't always come easy for children in foster care. That should really come as no surprise given how chaotic their lives have been before they come to us, but it doesn't make it any easier for foster parents to handle. Insomnia, interrupted sleep, nightmares and night terrors are just a few of the issues our kids face.Tired foster parents and tired kids end up creating a recipe for crankiness and hurt feelings. Some things that have worked for us include consistent bedtime routines, limiting screen time before bed, weighted blankets and night lights. What has helped you when your foster kiddos have trouble with sleep?   Follow along for the month of May as we post … [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...]

Foster Parent Prayers Day 2

I'm excited about this month of daily prayers for foster children. Sometimes, as a foster parent, I feel helpless to effect change in their situations. But, God. He is there with me, with them and already knows the outcome. What He wants and expects from us is to love each child in our care for as long as they are with us. I know that the ones that have left my home leave with a piece of my heart, even when they exhausted and frustrated me with behaviors or when their case didn't turn out in the best case scenario. Today's prayer asks God to help these kids feel wanted and chosen. I don't know that people give much thought to how the foster care system makes kids feel. When they are removed, their belongings are often carted around in black ugly garbage bags. As the workers make … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayers

May is National Foster Care month. If you've ever visited my blog, you know that foster care is a personal passion for me for many reasons. I spent time in the foster care system as a child and my husband and I are currently licensed foster parents. In addition, we have adopted children from foster care. Parenting kids that have been exposed to the trauma that is typical in foster care situations is challenging, rewarding, exhausting and fun, all at the same time. I am brought to my knees daily by the magnitude of the responsibility and the realization that I can't give these precious kids what they need apart from the strength and grace of Jesus Christ. There are many unknowns in the foster care journey. The fate of children you love and the biological parents you are rooting for is … [Read more...]

A health update

This space came to be back in 2008 during a difficult year, filled with health challenges including the pulmonary emboli that almost killed me and led to the diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder and later, a diagnosis of systemic lupus that vacated a previous diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I've long been a medical mystery and 2016 proved to reinforce that fact. I wanted to chronicle all that has happened here on the blog so that subsequent posts that refer to this years health journey are provided a frame of reference. 2011 was another difficult year health wise with lupus attacking my liver and causing autoimmune hepatitis, a fall that blew out my right knee and required surgical repair of my ACL and medial/lateral meniscus and having my gallbladder removed. Things have been … [Read more...]

Finding Your Identity in Christ (Part 1)

**I had the privilege of sharing at my church's monthly ladies brunch on Saturday. I had a rough week leading up to the brunch (hubby out of town for the week, foster care stress, etc) and had planned to just use a talk I already had prepared from my speaking/teaching days but God had other plans. He led me in a different direction, one that spoke right to my heart and my situation. It resonated with the women present on Saturday so I wanted to share the main points here in hopes it will encourage others as well. Enjoy** I rarely have time to watch the morning news but last week I had the news on in the background and a story about a runaway chimpanzee caught my eye. A chimpanzee in China had escaped from the zoo and taken those trying to catch it on a wild chimp chase including … [Read more...]

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