A baby is born with a need to be loved - and never outgrows it.
Frank A. Clark

Our family

Our family
October 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

soul searching

It goes without saying that we love this baby. The walk across glass, lay down in traffic for this person kind of love. I tried to put up a brave front for a long time and say that we were just doing it for the good of the child...which is true. But almost from the beginning, we became bonded to this child. I say almost b/c it took me about 1 week to admit to myself that I was completely attached. But after that, it was all down hill. For me this transition from young married couple(yes, I still consider ourselves to be young married's)to parents was as natural as breathing. Kris might have a little different version of our transition but he's already asleep tonite. :)
I know some people would worry that they would not love an adopted/foster child as much as they would a biological child. And I guess if you aren't familiar with the concept I can understand.

For me, I grew up with this being a natural part of family lives. We knew many families who were foster parents and even more that had adopted children. I knew from a young age that I wanted to adopt children..more than one. I remember watching those 20/20 specials when they would go into the orphanages in Romania & Russia and show all those kids packed into beds and rooms. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to adopt a child from Romania back then...I think I was 10. In fact when Kris and I were dating, we had the typical discussion of how many kids do you want someday, and so on. I informed him that I was going to adopt and if that wasn't ok with him then maybe we shouldn't continue dating...ha!

I think this is something that God had stamped on my heart from an early age. I'm not sure why...but I do believe all those influences helped me be ok with not having biological children first/or right now/or maybe not at all.

Maybe that's why.

And...or maybe it's because this child at this time needed a good home, and that home needed to be mine. And that's perfectly fine with me.

I feel like I've known about him and loved him forever. And truthfully, I have. I've loved this baby since I was 10. And...I guess I just answered my own why.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

a common theme

Before baby H came into our lives, our only child was our black pug, Harley. Pugs are people pleasers and are known for having curious little expressions when you talk to them. Harley tilts his head and just stares at you like he's listening intently and knows exactly what I'm saying to him.

That's the way people look at us when they first find out we're foster parents. It's funny once you know what to look for. Most everyone will tilt their head and then touch their hand their chest and say, "oh that's so great. Good for you." Then their next sentence is always one of the following:

"I could never be a foster parent. It would be too hard on me, I'd never be able to let them go."
"I would love to be a foster parent, but what if you get a kid that has...issues? I just couldn't handle that."

Our answer to the first statement is this: It's not about I/me/you/us.
We had to decide that this is not about us. This is about doing what is best for the child. It's about giving them a safe place to land for however long they need it. It's about pouring Jesus into their lives, b/c they might not have that opportunity again.
Kris is alot better about this than I am. Especially in the beginning, I was constantly reminding myself that this was not about me, it's about baby H. He needs to bond, he needs to learn to cry, he needs consistancy, he needs love. But I wanted it to be about me so bad, I wanted everyone to know that our home was the best place for him. Is it hard?...absolutely. Do you get attached?...how can you not. If you are going to love these kids the way they should be loved, then attachment is inevitable.

Our answer to the second statement usually looks something like this:
Isn't that the point? I mean, we are not guaranteed that our own biological child would be born without problems or issues. Why should this child be rejected based on something he/she had no control of? Someone has to be the person brave enough to say, "Enough! I will help you no matter what you're going thru." ...isn't that a picture of what God did for us anyways?

My friend Joan did exactly this. She took in an older child(7+ is considered an older child) that had been bounced around from home to home. Labled as too hard, moody and difficult. She made the decision that no matter what this child would not see another foster home, except for hers, until he was adopted. It was hard, and sometimes I know she thought she had made a mistake. But slowly this child opened up and became a different kid. He needed someone who would stay and not push him away. He needed someone who would set the boundaries and not give in. He needed someone to love him no matter what and teach him how to be loved. He needed someone to get him ready for his forever home. And when he was ready, he was adopted. Yeah, Joan's a rockstar.

Somewhere along the line, those fears went away. I'm not sure when or how, but I came to a point where they just didn't matter anymore. I knew that what was more important was that the child in my house was loved, safe and being cared for better than he/she had been cared for previously.

Sometimes that old fear still creeps in...that one day this baby, that we have loved for 7 of his 8 months of life, won't be with us.

Sometimes that fear is paralizing.

But if I let it over take me, then I wouldn't be doing my job as his foster mom.

Even as I write the last sentence, I had to stop and re-read it to make sure it was me saying it... Sometimes I feel my brain says things that my heart just doesn't believe yet...just add that to the list of things I'm working on.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We're All In This Together

Found this video on Hillsong United's site. It beautifully puts pictures to the words that I fail to express. My favorite line is about the widow & orphans. Kris and I have a vision for our church...that we will be outward minded, not expecting people to come to a building...to an event. but that we would care enough to meet their basic needs and take Jesus to them...where they are...this moment.
Are we perfect?...no. Do I still buy bottled water?...yes. Are we working to change?...yes.
A change that starts with the 2 people in our home. Foster care is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg...tomorrow I'll work on tackling the world. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

everyone loves a re-run...

This is the note I first posted on facebook back in June(2010) about our very first placement. It actually preceeds the previous blog and should catch you up to speed with everything before Baby H. So technically this is blog #2, but really it's the one that started it all. For some of you it's a repeat, for everyone else...Enjoy!
so here's the story, or atleast the parts I can tell you...
We got a call last nite(monday) at 830pm about two girls needing an emergency placement. We said we'd take them and were notified that we were chosen at 9ish. Our case worker arrived at 930, and the girls arrived at 1045. Two sweet sleeping girls, bi-racial w/a big mop of curly hair.(I knew kiki & raven would love this) We were told that we were getting a 3 yr old and a 17 mth old...which we did, but our case worker didn't know that the 3 yr old was special needs. In our classes they always told us to be prepared to be flexible, so that's what we did.

After briefing us on the situation and the girls all 3 caseworkers left around 1130 and the 3 yr old decided she wanted to read book, watch movies and generally be awake. The caseworkers had said to be ready to keep these girls long term, atleast thru the starting of school, so as I sat and watched Monsters Inc. and fed her puffs(which are the greatest thing ever!) I started re-arranging our daily lives, our summer, our finances, etc... Soo, no one told me that watching movies does not put a child to sleep, it puts kris jones to sleep, but not a 3 yr old. So I told her we were going to go lay down in her bed, I sat down besider her and rubbed her back and she was out in just moments. That might be one of my greatest accomplishments yet. :)

At 430 the baby woke up. Not used to hearing cried in the middle of the night, I jumped up and went to get her. We rocked, and rocked and rocked and after about 30 min when I thought she was asleep I started making my way back to their room when she lifted her head off my shoulder and said "HI." I knew she was not going back to sleep anytime soon. At 6am Kris woke up and came in to the living room. She went right to him w/out hesitation. And for those of you who know kris well, he does not do slobber, snot or sticky. So for him to reach out and take this baby, sticky and all, just did my heart good.

The more we watched these girls we realized that they have been loved. They were not the neglected type. They were very affectionate with us, with each other, baby dolls and Harley. The 3 yr old, even with being special needs, knew sign language(see Ashley it does come in handy!) and would tell me when she wanted more and such. So we were not surprised when the social worker called and said that she was on her way to pick them up. We don't know the whole story, but somewhere/sometime during the nite the judge decided to give the parent(s) another chance. We were sad to see them go, but relieved to know that their situation was being worked out...and selfishly I was relieved to know that I was getting a shower today. ha!

We now know that we can handle this whole parenting thing, and that we will work at this as a team...and that kris can do sticky. :)

Thanks to all of you who texted, prayed, called, offered help and brought clothes. You know who you are and you all are rockstars! (You should have seen us before the kids got there...running around like crazy people.)

Thanks for being our support system, we love ya'll!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beginnings and such...

According to my New Year's resolution, I'm supposed to start a blog on foster care and adoption and our experiences with that world. So here it goes...Blog #1.

My Husband is big on change. I am not. It's funny how God puts completely different people together. Kris loves change and thrives in it, it's almost like he's good at it. Usually change happens to me. I don't choose it, it chooses me(kinda like a tornado chooses a trailer park). It makes me feel like I'm walking through mud or have an elephant sitting on my chest...but I am getting better. And after this last year, I would almost have to say that I like it and am getting used to it...almost.

In the summer of 2009, Kris and I came to a conclusion that maybe we were going about this baby thing all wrong. Having a baby the old fashioned way didn't seem to be working for us. We always knew we wanted to adopt kids and even be foster parents, but it was always something we had talked about doing down the road. In our minds our first child would be a biological child and then maybe our 2nd one would be adopted and so on. This was big change #1. I think God is amused by my plans for my life. I also think he gets a little giggle out of changing them for me. I however grieved this change like I had lost a loved one. And theoretically I had. I was grieving the loss of the way I thought things should happen and the loss of the plans I had made for this unknown child...the one I thought should come first. I got to the point where I even told Kris that I just wanted someone to leave a baby in a basket at my door with a note saying, "Please take good care of my baby. I am not able to care for it anymore. I've watched you and I know you'll be great parents." Yeah, I think I was delusional.

Anyways, with that hurdle behind us and after deciding that the whole infertility route wasn't for us at this time, we began looking for other possibilities. It was really Kris that posed the whole "what are we waiting on" question. This was big change #2. We always knew that foster care was in our future. The more we prayed about it the more it was just confirmed in our minds and hearts that we weren't supposed to wait. We were supposed to do it NOW!
You know that verse in the bible that says, "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few..." that verse paints the perfect picture of foster care in America. The more we learned about the need, the more we wanted to take as many kids as possible into our home(all you experienced parents can laugh here).

We were licensed at the end of May of this year. Our first phone call for possible placement was 3 days later...and the calls came steadily(8 in all) until we were finally placed with 2 little girls, exactly 2 weeks after we were licensed(that's another blog for another day, I posted it on FB and will re-post it here). The girls did not stay long, as can be the case with emergency placements. When the caseworkers saw our home and met us they complimented us on how nice our home was and how kid-friendly it seemed(for those of you who have not seen our home...it is cute, small, warm and ours, but definitely small) They said we seemed very ready for a placement. We assumed that every house was ready for a placement...I mean when you're licensed isn't that the point? We found out that not all homes are ready for kids, or nice or even clean.

Anyways, because of that first placement we were called by the caseworker 3 days later on Friday, June 11th. We were told that they had a 3 month old infant who they would like to place in our home. She mentioned she was specifically calling us because she was impressed with us and wanted to place this child in a good home,(Yea us!) would we take him? Now, let me preface my answer with this...Kris was leaving the next day for a week at youth camp and I had 2 open houses scheduled for the weekend. But without thinking or even stopping to call Kris(sorry babe) I said "of course".
Really, she didn't even have to finish her sentence, she had me at 3 months and infant. She said, "great, I"ll see you in and hour". They were at our house in an hour with a 28 day old baby boy.(yes, sometimes caseworkers mess up on ages, race and even the sex of the child. They are busy people!) He was small and a little under-weight, but other than that he was perfect and it was love at first sight.

The scary part was when they left him with us. We hadn't had 9 months to plan and prepare. We hadn't read all the books on what to do, when to do it and how to do it. The miracle is that we did what came naturally. God is amazing at the peace he gives us in normally stressful situations. We also have amazing friends who upon receiving our text about the baby started showing up with clothes, diapers, a swing(which save my sanity), wipes, blankets, etc...stuff we didn't even know we needed. Big change #'s 3-200 follow in the next 6 months. ha!

So, this first blog ended up being a long one...and I didn't even put in all the stories that I could have. But I think it gives a good picture of what we went through and how we got there.

I have many hopes and prayers for this blog, but today my prayer is that this blog will open the eyes of Christians to the huge need of good, Christian foster/adoptive homes.

Is there risk?
Yes, but there is also risk in driving your car down the highway in the morning.
But this reward out weighs the risk by so much...I can't even count that high.

This world of forgotten children is one that we seldom mention in our churches today.

That needs to change.

And in our family, church and city, that change will begin with Kris and I.