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...]

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...]

May is…for moments and memories and miracles

May is National Foster Care Month. This thirty one day month contains Mother's Day as well. A day both bitter and sweet. Then, there is tomorrow. May 22nd.  The day, sixteen years ago, I physically became a mother. May brings a mixed bag of feelings to this heart of mine. A desperation to help, heal and hold foster children across the country {and orphans across the world} that need and deserve a mama. A desire to connect with my own mother while understanding relationships take the effort of two. A deep gratitude for the child that saved me from myself. and each amazing, beautiful, unique child God has gifted me with since. A profound sense of surprise at the joy that being a "Mimi" brings. And, a thrilling heart song of joy that God can take the mess of me and produce … [Read more...]

Giving Up On God {part two}

Read part one here. Why was God letting this happen?  What did I do wrong?  This isn't how it was supposed to be. It didn't take but a few days for my family and the authorities to find me when I ran away.  The family court judge deciding my fate took my "strong feelings" into account and allowed me to attend a boarding school close to my paternal grandparents rather than return to foster care. That decision did improve my immediate circumstances. From the outside looking in, I had a good life.  Friends, good grades, acceptance to an elite academy, grandparents that loved me, material possessions-- you name it, I had it. But I also had a heart of stone.  A determination that no one would hurt me, a desire to manipulate before I could be manipulated. An entry from my journal at the time … [Read more...]

Giving Up On God {part one}

I remember the day I gave up on God. I held the phone to my ear while angry, hot tears streamed silently down my face.  As I listened and realized that I had been lied to for months by those closest to me, I made a rash and defiant decision.  If no one was looking out for me, I was going to have to look out for myself. I gently depressed the button on the phone so that my grandmother would not know I had listened in and started to pray. Prayer was an automatic response to crisis for me.  Prayer had been my constant companion in my brief 13 years on the earth. This time the prayers felt empty.  It was as if my heart's cries were not being heard and I determined God must not be any more trustworthy than the rest of the adults in my life.  Right then, in that moment, hurt and confused I … [Read more...]

Safe at Home

We traveled 942 miles each way last week to Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Jason graduated as a military police officer for the US Army and this mama breathed a sigh of relief as we loaded his {very heavy} bags to bring him home. Is there any other place we, as mama's, would rather have our children than safe at home? It has been a wonderful weekend of family time, movies, snacks, laughing, and re-acclimating. On Mother's Day, my family and I will walk to raise awareness for children in the foster care system. Children that don't know what it is like to be safe at home. I was that child. Jason was that child before he came to us. Shayla was that child. The value of a safe and loving home is never taken for granted in my heart.  Millions of children around the world and in your own … [Read more...]

The least of these

I have much to write about and tell you. Yet, when I sit here all I can think about are the 143 million+ orphans around the world that need forever families.  The over 1/2 million kids in the US foster care system that need their families loved on and repaired.  The over 100,000 that can't go back home and need new families to step up and love them, despite their tough exteriors.  The teen mom's that I serve on a daily basis that need mentors to help them become the best mothers they can be.  The medically fragile children that lay dying in orphanages. The children that go to bed hungry in our country and abroad.  The 30,000 kids that die every day of preventable, treatable illnesses. My heart bleeds.  My eyes leak. The Bible makes it very clear that these children are precious to the … [Read more...]

What lies beneath

Emotions are raw. Tears threaten to spill over. Good bye is never easy, even if it is a perfectly normal part of life.   Shayla leaves for nursing school tomorrow {her first plane ride} and Jason leaves for basic training on Monday.   As my pastor's wife {and good friend} pointed out on Sunday, a mama is supposed to space these traumatic events out a tad better. As I have been journaling and praying through this difficult week, I noted that I am taking these harder than many moms do. I begged God to ask me why I was filled with so much fear surrounding the departure of my two precious kids.  Sadness I understand.  Apprehension even.  But terror is not from God. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. ~Psalm 139:23 Through a … [Read more...]

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