Why take this journey with me?

As my friend, my family, or a stranger who has come across this blog because you are seeking answers.....this is a journey that God has sent me on. I can only guess it is to help His children, and also to offer support to others who are contemplating taking this journey themselves. We can all help and support each other as we do what the Bible has commanded us to do!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  For 24 years, this has been a very difficult day for me.  While I am VERY blessed to have a Godly mother, I am brought to tears each year.  On this day, I don't get to hug my daughter.  She doesn't look at me with love in her eyes and wish me happy Mother's Day.  She hugs another woman.  She wishes happy Mother's Day to another woman.  The woman God chose to be her mom.

But for the past 5 years, I have been humbled.  People wish ME a happy Mother's Day.  This year, someone even sent me a dozen chocolate covered strawberries and said they were from all the children who can not tell me how much they appreciate me.  While I am NOT the mother to these children.....I do like to think of myself as their "middle mom" (There is a book of this title that I highly recommend you read immediately).

This year.....the mothers of all of these children (30 so far) are heavy on my heart.  Only 2 moms have earned renewed custody of their children.  So, there are many moms out there who will not get to hug their children tomorrow.  Their children will not wish them happy Mother's Day.  And, while many people have said...."well, its their own fault, their own doing"....as I have stated before...their sin is no different from yours or mine.  They are still moms.  And they will still weep over missing their child on Mother's Day.  So, this year....please join me in lifting these mothers in prayer.  That God will grant them peace.  That they will know His forgiveness, and be able to forgive themselves.

Because.....giving birth to a child DOES make you a mother.  I love my daughter more today than I did the day she was born.  And these moms, while they are not able to mother their children....ARE the mother to these children.  They carried them for 9 months.  They gave birth to them.  And, while not shown in the same way you and I would show it...they LOVE these children.

So, remember to pray for them.  To love them.  Because....its Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Oh, what we can learn from them!

This has, personally, been a very difficult week for me.  And, I allowed it (to be completely honest and transparent) to steal my joy.  I have spent a lot of time in tears, and questioning God's path for my life, and in prayer.  I have felt sorry for myself.  Beyond that....I have pretty much wallowed in self pity.  Woe is me....why did this happen...whaaa whaaa whaaa.

This morning, before getting all of us ready for Church, I was sitting in my chair watching my 2 precious girls play together (17 mos and 12 mos).  They were laughing and playing, and joy was just pouring out of them. The 17 mo old has been with me almsot a year.  Her bio mom is Bi polar, and would terrify this precious baby when she would transition into a manic phase.  The 12 mo old has only been with me for 2 months, and came to me burned, and having never connected/bonded with her bio mom.  Yet, these 2 little girls can find the smallest things to just DOUBLE over in laughter about.  They smile at the simplest things.  They look at me, and just BEAM with joy.  If anyone has the right (not sure if this is the correct word, but its the best I can come up with right now) to wallow in self pity, to question WHY their life has gone this way, to spend hours in tears......these 2 girls have it!  But, no......they choose to look at me, their "parent", their care giver, the person whose job it is to keep them safe.....and KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt that I have their best interest at heart.  That I am going to always do what is best for them.  That I will not allow any one/thing hurt them.

Why then, do I not remember to look at my Heavenly Father with that same trust and faith??? What a wonderful way God chose to remind me of this fact.  No matter what happens in my life....He is my Father.  He will keep me safe.  He has my best interest at heart.  He is always going to do what is best for me.  And, while there are things I allow to hurt me......I have allowed this pain because I am not trusting 100% in His plan for my life.  He will never leave me nor forsake me.

The joy of The Lord is my stregnth!  And, The Lord watches over ALL His children.  Some He entrusts to me for a while, but He is always watching over them and showing them His joy!  Oh, to have their innocence! Oh, to have their ability to trust completely! Oh, to remember that the joy of The Lord is MY strength!

Thank you, Father, for this reminder.  For allowing me to see their joy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It ain't all bad

There are a lot of things you hear during training....scary things.  Bad things.  Really, the worst case scenarios.  But, I just want you to know.....it ain't all bad!

Romans 3:23 says....."For ALL have sinned, and fall short of the Glory of God".  We are all sinners.  How these bilogical parents have sinned.....its no different than our sin.  Different consequences? Yes.  Different outwardly appearance? Yes.  But, we have all sinned.

And, let me tell you something.  These babies....these children.....God is looking out for them! Their ability to laugh, to smile...to grow, to excel......in the face of all they have been through??? It should teach us all a lesson.  God has a plan for us! Nothing that happens along the way can deter anyone from what God has in store.

When a child shows up, and is failure to thrive due to neglect.......God is there! When a child arrives, and is addicted to heroin.......God is there!  When a child is brought to your home with broken bones......God is there!

Remember, it ain't all bad! God has made SURE that we are there to love this child through its darkest hour! He has made sure that we have the training, the heart, and the ability to bring them through their struggle! We ARE God's instrument! What an HONOR to be here for these children!  What a huge responsibility! But, what an honor.  He has entrusted us, and equipped us for this!

So, remember....it ain't all bad!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The first time I chose to say goodbye

I have been a foster parent for 4 years now.  As of today's date, 21 children have passed through my home. While I have always felt God leading me to foster (adoption not being my ultimate goal), I did become licensed to adopt.....JUST in case.
oAfter 2 difficult cases in a row, I had (withing a week) 2 little girls placed with me.  These girls came to me as sweet precious babies!! First, a non verbal 2 year old.....then, 6 days later...an almost perfect  month old.  I will be honest enough to say that these 2 girls have been the EASIEST foster children I have ever housed.  If every case was this easy...people would be lining up to be foster parents, and very little training would be required!! And, then it happened.....

After being in my home for around 7 months, the case worker for the baby (almost 1 at this time) told me the case was going to termination.....and they really want me to adopt her.  I was overjoyed! We had bonded so well.  I had experienced every first with her.  First tooth, first word, first step.....everything.  Here it was! IF EVER God wanted me to adopt a child.....it just HAD to be her, right??

So, the prayers began.  I had so many people praying alongside me.  All I requested from God was a peace about what He would have me do.  And, I waited...and prayed...and waited....and prayed.  My heart broke the day I realized that God had other plans for this little girl.  That I had been all that God needed me to be.  Her middle mom.  The one who would love her until He had prepared her forever home.  The one who would give her the foundation of God's love, my love, security, peace, strength.  But, I was not to give her a permanent home.

Now, as I said, I have been a foster mom for 4 years.  And, many kids have come and gone.  And, many more will come and go.  But, NEVER has a child left.....when I had the option to have them stay.  This was the hard part.  This was where the faith my parents instilled in me, the knowledge that God is in control, that He has a plan.....this is where I had to (pardon me for using a pat phrase) "Let go, and let God".  And, I did. On March 7th, 2013 at 9am....this little girl whom I loved with all my heart...left my home.  I cried, the caseworker even cried.  And, I could sound like a really good Christian girl and tell you that I cried tears of joy because I knew she was going where God wanted her to be.  But, no.  Those tears will come later.  The tears I cried that day were tears of sorrow...heart wrenching sorrow.  That I could have said yes, and she would still be here.  That just one word from me, and she would be mine forever.  Then, I remembered something my parents have told me many times.  I am not theirs...not because I am adopted, but because I am God's child, and He has simply loaned me to them.  So, whether my precious girl stayed here, or left to go to another forever home....she will always be God's precious girl.  Therefore, I have a peace about making sure HIS child is in the home He has chosen for her.....and will continue to pray for her.  Daily.  Forever.  Because He loaned her to me for a little while......she will always have a piece of my heart.

Maybe I should change the title to this post.....maybe I didn't say goodbye.  Maybe I said, I will see you in heaven one day my sweet precious girl.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What is success, what is failure??

I have now been a foster parent for over 2 years, and had 10 children over a period of 1 year, 9 months.  I have 2 children who are currently in my care, 2 children who went to live permanently with their biological fathers (the mother's rights were terminated), and 6 children who went into kinship placement (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc).  The 2 children I have in my home right now (6 mo old boy, 2 yr old girl) have been in my home for almost 6 months.  The state has changed the plan from reunification with the parents to termination of BOTH parents' rights.  AND, there is no one in the family the state considers suitable for placement.  So, the children will be available for adoption soon.

The question I ask myself with every placement is.....what outcome would be considered a success?!?! My dream is to have parents use this removal as a wake up call! To do everything they need to do, get their lives in order, and earn their children back.  But, when this happens, what is the success rate?? Will the children end up back in care?? What chance can these parents have, when obviously their entire family is considered unsuitable?

So, how do I judge success? How do I know if what I am doing is really making a difference in the long run? I don't get follow up information on these children, so how do I know that they lived happily ever after?

This is where faith in God comes in. This is where I know He has called me to watch over His children.  This is where I leave them in His hands, and trust that He will give them the strength they need to thrive.  This is where I count on my friends and family to remind me that....as long as I am following in His footsteps, and am in obedience to Him.....it is a success.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To love another's child

As I deal with the emotions of my daughter's (the one I place for adoption) 21st birthday, I am so grateful for her family! She is their daughter, and they love her as their own. Just as my parents love me!

And, how odd that I am now the one who is loving another's child.  While it is not the same, because I only have them short term....while they are in my home they are MINE! I love them as I love my own. My heart breaks for them when I think of all they have gone through. When I hear the stories of how they came into the system. Their bodily injuries. Their emotional pain. As their "mom", I want to take all of their pain away.

The hardest thing to deal with is the anger towards their biological parents. How, I wonder, can anyone do this..or allow this to be done..to their child? Is there any job more important than a parent protecting their children? What goes through their minds as they watch their children being removed from them? As they see them for 1 or 2 hours each week? As they hear their child call me Mommy? (I call myself Ms. Jennifer, but every child has ended up calling me mommy) And yet, not one parent has yet to have their children returned to them.  They have allowed their drugs, their lifestyles to win the battle.  They have chosen this over their children.

The thing I have to pray for most, and often ask others to pray for, is forgiveness for these parents. Patience and understanding.  The strength to support them.  To show them WHY they have to be strong, and fight to win the battle to get their children back.

And, in the mean time.....I love another's child.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Would God open or close the door??

The pastor of the Church I was attending at the time gave me some advice. Advice I had heard more than once from my parents....but, you know we never take what they say seriously! We always have to hear it from someone else.  He said, if you feel this is something God is calling you to do, start working towards it.  If this is not His will for you, He will close the door.

So, off I went! With no one in my circle having ever been a foster parent, I had to do a lot of research on my own.  I am single, and work full time.  How was I ever going to find time to do all of the things I assumed you had to do to become a foster parent?!?!  I went to the DFPS (Texas Department of Family Protective Services) website.  It turned out they were having an information meeting in a couple of weeks, at a church not far from me! First Baptist Church McKinney was trying something new.  They had just decided to start a foster ministry and were allowing DFPS and a group of foster placement agencies to hold their meeting there.  OK...this will make it easier! So, off I go! All excited! Whew, you wouldn't believe the paperwork we were handed right off the bat. Information on each agency.  Information on minimum requirements. One of the speakers was Travis, from Covenant Kids.  I felt a real kinship with him, and loved what I read about the agency. So, I decided this would be the agency for me!

They sent me a HUGE packet of paperwork to fill out.  And, requirements for letters of recommendation.  And requests for financial information. And, vials for drops of my blood (OK, this is an exaggeration, but not by much). Then comes the request that I KNEW meant God was closing the door.  A copy of my social security card. Years ago, my purse was stolen.  And, in those days I was dumb enough to keep my SS card in my wallet.  Ever since then, I have taken all of my information (notice of birth abroad, what we thought was my birth certificate, and transfer documents from the US Navy) each year to the social security office and tried to get a new card. Every year I have been told that I do not have the necessary paperwork.  So, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to get a card, off I went to the social security office with the same folder I took with me every year.  I waited about 10 minutes, went up to a lady's desk, and heard her say the same words I have heard for years. I am sorry, but you don't have the necessary paperwork....only to also hear her say WAIT, here it is.  You card will be in the mail in 4-6 weeks. Can you believe it?!?! God not only opened the door, He threw down a red carpet and escorted me through!

Now...how am I going to find time to take the many hours of classes that are required? Maybe this is how God is going to close the door...nope! For the first time, Covenant Kids decided to do an intensive FULL weekend, plus Friday and Monday night licensing classes. In one long weekend, I was able to get every class I needed to be licensed! Thank goodness for my friend Marla who brought me food and snacks! In 4 days, I had taken every class, including CPR/1st Aid, that I needed to get my license.

As we continue,  I will share with you the amazing ways God provided as I was readying my house for the state's home study.  I will also share stories about the classes I took, the videos I was shown, the tears I shed at what some of these children go through.