Not perfect

In case I hadn’t told you I’m not perfect and our family isn’t perfect. It’s so easy to write about the good times. I mean who wants to read a depressing blog about all the ugly imperfections of our family. Not me! Its not fun to write about either. But we do have them, imperfections.

I wrote yesterday about how well our first placement is going. Which is completely true. But I didn’t mention that, though she is a delight, and very easy to care for and love, she’s still a child and children require work. So we have 4 little ones that all have different needs and all require different levels of work. We also have a marriage that requires work. And so, a lot of my posts will be about happy times and sweet moments but don’t be deceived. That’s not why this blog is here. I would never want you to read it and think everything is always Lolli pops and gum drops around here. Sometimes I just want to cry because I feel like I can’t do it. Sometimes I have moments of weakness and satan pounces on me with all kinds of lies to devalue me and make me feel like I have no business being a mom or wife or fostering. But what’s that verse everyone loves to quote? (Rhetorical question obviously) Yet so quickly we disbelieve, which is evident by our actions and behaviors.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT)

I believe this! I believe him! He put that there because its true.

Earlier in the book of Philippians Paul writes “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14 NLT)

When I talk about those moments that by worldly standards we might be “falling apart” it’s to encourage you. That you may feel at points that you’re falling apart and maybe you even think you have no business serving or meeting the needs of others because you feel so broken. As a visiting pastor once told our congregation “Serve out of your brokenness”. Because the fact is we will never reach perfection so if you are waiting on that or to have it “all together” you’ll be waiting forever.

Right now in the midst of all these changes that have so much potential to honor God satan wants to destroy our efforts. So we have moments of amazing grace and blessing and we have moments on our knees in prayer for strength. But it’s Him that meets us and reveals to us all the grace and glory and love we need. And I’ll tell you, before I started this I was praying for strength and discernment and when I hit publish I will begin again in prayer. And forgive me for being repetitive but we are so grateful for all your prayers on our behalf. Thank you. Seriously, THANK YOU. πŸ™‚

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Week 1 at a glimpse

It’s been 1 week and 1 day since our little gal came to us. I can’t put her name on here. I need to think of something creative to call her and our future foster children. “#1” sounds so cold. Anyway, she is quite an amazing little girl. I know God had her for us and us for her during this difficult time. She fits right in. She is so bright, so happy. Things truly are going well in regards to her. She is not an inconvenience or a problem in any way, she is simply a delight. I’m not exaggerating. I mean yeah she’s 2 and today at the pool she tested some boundaries but she can be reasoned with and learns quickly.

She also sleeps great, which is a huge blessing for this momma. πŸ™‚

Tonight I was taking water to the girls upstairs and the baby gate was locked so I called for them to come get it. They were playing and not really listening but that sweet gal came bouncing out “what mom?” (Yes she calls me mom and mommy and Jason daddy but also Steve from blues clues is daddy so… ??:-/ ) in such an innocent inquisitive manner. I asked her “can you get Ryann?” And she grabbed the drink and called “Wyann, dwink! Here!” Then she came back to deliver Micaila’s. πŸ™‚

She picks up her toys when asked, she brushes her teeth, she listens super good in public, she just is incredible.

She’s eating cereal right now. She spilt a little milk and grabbed the scrub brush from the sink immediately and started to “clean”. I mean seriously? She is 2! This isn’t the first time she has taken the initiative and attempted cleaning her mess.

I can’t help but smile at her. Even when it’s 5 o’clock “the witching hour” our house is a disaster, I have no plan for dinner, and by worldly standards we just might be “falling apart”, she laughs with the girls and baby boy and they dance to the Watchkins on an old cassette player.

She really is special.

Stand firm, especially in parking lots.

For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12 NLT)

Today we had to run to a quick appointment. Before we left the house I let the girls bring a few dolls and stuffed animals to have in the car. They know that there are few places we will go to that I allow them to bring play things in with them. For example they aren’t allowed to bring toys into Walmart where there could be a similar item and mommy could be accused of shop lifting. Another reason I have boundaries with toys is with 3+ children, it’s enough to keep track of them, let alone their toys. I feel like it is easier to establish the rule that toys belong at home where we play with them versus the meltdowns of losing a toy in public ect. And to be perfectly honest I feel like children should learn to behave appropriately in certain places with out requiring some form of entertainment attached to them 24/7. I mean seriously, what has our society come to? Maybe some of you think I’m mean and depriving my kids of fun and “happiness” but I refuse to breed entitlement and attention deficit disorders because I gave into every demand and manipulation tactic. I just think our children should be able to make it through a grocery store with out a video game, I did!

Anyway, despite all my best efforts we still have our moments. Like today for example. We arrived at our destination and this time I was going to let each girl bring in 1 item. Yes I have boundaries but I’m not legalistic with them and I try to be flexible when I, the parent, deem appropriate. Micaila was not satisfied with one doll, she wanted to bring two. I explained to her that she could bring 1, that 1 would be plenty to be responsible for. She threw herself into an emotional fit. Normally I would be very impatient with this kind of unreasonable behavior. I explained to her that she had a choice, she could compose herself and take 1 doll or if she chose to continue with the attitude she had we would leave them both. At this point I had to come to terms with what I had to follow through with. Meanwhile this is all going down in a parking lot, I have all the kids out of the car and everything. And I have to admit it was so obvious to me that the Spirit was completely equipping me with all the self control (of my own emotions) the patience and the guidance. It was a miracle and once again I’m so grateful for the Lords provision. (thank you for praying for us!) I felt confident that I was approaching this parenting dilemma with a Biblical mindset. If you think giving into an emotional outburst is best for your child I think you’ll be in for a painful awakening down the road. Okay, so she’s crying, wont pull herself together, won’t agree to bringing 1 doll, so I shut the car door and very calm and collectively round everybody up. I told myself in my head “she can cry all she wants, people can think what they want, but it is not okay to give into manipulation and unreasonable demands.” At that point I was okay with not caring who thought what. I made myself ok with sacrificing my “image” and what people thought of this young woman with 4 kids, one whom is crying hysterically. “Think what you want, we’re learning valuable lessons right now and I’ll probably never see you again!” Y’all she cried the entire time we were there (and the whole ride home). And let me tell you it is not easy sitting there being subjected to the looks, the thoughts. It truly was a sacrifice. It would have been much easier for me to give her the dang dolls but tell me what would that have taught her….. “Throw a fit and get what you want.” Umm, not on my watch. And again, let me reiterate, I typically would be hyper sensitive to what everyone is thinking of the drama going down in our corner of the lobby. I can only credit God for the peace and confidence in the midst. I just knew “this is right, this is love, this is important”. She sat in the lobby and tried pulling the “daaaaadddyy” cry which I then asked her “would you like to call daddy, and explain to him what’s going on?” To which she then quit requesting him. I snuck a picture of her which I really would like posting for a laugh, but out of respect for her I won’t.

When we got home after she calmed down I had her sit down with me and talked with her about her behavior. I explained my responsibility as her mommy, that its important for her to learn that emotional manipulation is not how we get things we want, especially things that we are privileged to, like toys and entertainment. Yes, that’s a privilege in our house, not a necessity. I’ve been exposed to impoverished countries on mission trips, our kids are over privileged in some of the worst ways. But my hope is to breed gratitude and generosity, not entitlement. These are all topics Micaila and I discussed. We talked about the motive behind her reaction and the motive behind my decision to not allow her bring the dolls in. I read to her the scripture above and also this:

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).

I explained to her how much I pray for her and how to parent and that I love her so much that I sometimes have to make difficult decisions that aren’t fun, but truly have her best interest at heart.

We finished up our talk and she then requested to play some UNO. πŸ™‚

Despite all that went down, all the tears, Micaila still wants to be with me. She still wants to engage with me and spend time with me. Don’t for a second think that disciplining your child will result in them not liking you. Not only will they like you but they are learning HOW to love and also respect your authority as the parent.

Once again I share this with you, especially any fellow moms or future moms, to encourage. Stand firm in truth. Especially with your kids. Don’t allow the world view to obscure what the Bible instructs us to do as parents. Don’t give in because in the moment it’s easier. It’s tempting! But it’s not going to produce “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” It will produce a demanding unpleasant manipulative child that isn’t even enjoyable to be around. I love my kids, I also like them πŸ™‚ and like being with them. But it’s not a product of being lazy or indulgent and just giving them every little or big thing they want. Sometimes it’d be easy (initially and temporarily) to sit around read a book (or blog!) and feed my kid sweets and ignore their belligerent behavior and indulge them and myself in unhealthy activities. (physically and spiritually) it’s hard to stop whatever I’m doing and talk things over and redirect and correct but hello that’s called parenting and I will stand before God one day and I pray he smiles on me when the topic of parenting comes up. Not to mention I want my children to grow into confident, spiritually healthy, adolescence and adults.

Lets stand firm, be confident, lead, and LOVE.

We have to teach our children how to love and instill in them the fruits of the Spirit by demonstrating with our own actions, motives, and attitudes. It takes time, patience, talking and exemplifying.

Dr. Dobson is dead on, parenting isn’t for cowards.

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A more joyful moment later in the day.

Our example is Jesus.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them] (Revelation 3:19(a) AMP)

First timers

We got the call yesterday around 4. Little girl, 2 years old. Linda, my mother in law, and I were at the mall shopping for bedroom essentials to get everything re arranged and set up. I called Jason to alert him and make sure he was definitely ready and responded to our agency with a yes. At that point they then have to call DFACS back and see if the child hasn’t been already placed. She wasn’t so she was coming to us. I can’t give any detailed personal information about her but I did want to share our first evening.

She bounced right in our home and gave Ryann a big hug. She really connects with the kids. She was all over the furniture, jumping off tables, and the fire place. She was mesmerized by all of our things, going from one play station to the next. Pulling out toys and baby dolls, throwing some here and there. I thought “bye bye clean house, nice knowing you.” πŸ˜‰ She is going to make me a better person.

Going to bed was interesting. After our consultant left, everyone ate and had baths, it was 8 something, so I initiated her bed time. We first tried the crib which she quickly revealed she could climb in and out of no problemo. She ended up in a twin bed. In the interim we rocked and read a book and I ended up sitting on the floor next to her till she fell asleep around 11.

I wouldn’t say I personally slept great. I stayed on alert. (which being a mom we already do to some degree) but all in all I’d say the first night went well.

Today has been pretty calm. She’s quite compliant and teachable. She listens fairly well for being 2! She is gaining all of our affection and capturing our hearts.

Obviously you contemplate a lot. She’s so little. What is she thinking? Is she scared? Does she miss her family? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but I’m determined to love her however I can.

She makes it easy so far. I feel spoiled. πŸ™‚

I think about her mom. I feel sad for her as she wonders who has her baby girl. I didn’t know what I would feel (humanly speaking) toward the parents and I haven’t met them yet but right now I wish they would know that I’m not against them. That I don’t want to take their little girl. I would hope they’d understand that we don’t want to replace them we just want to help. I’m praying for her mom and dad and I don’t know the extent of their situation but I’m praying Faithbridge would touch their lives deeply. That the Love of Christ would reach this family.

I’m already learning so much. Even in regards to my own children. Like how to be more gentle with my words. Consistently. When you have a child who you look at as fragile you are so intentional with speaking to them gently. Sometimes we are so familiar with our own kids that we don’t consider our tone as being harmful. I just have noticed that with my emotionally healthy kids I tend to be a little more abrupt with them and don’t really think about how things come out. I’m seeing how effective gentle tones and words are and know that I must be more conscious with my own children and how I speak to them. (Proverbs 15:1)

I know it’s only the first full day with many more to come. Whether with this sweet girl or some one else. Taking each day as it comes and relying fully on Him. Thank you thank you thank you for the support and prayers! Sorry this post is a little all over the place. Just a depiction of our state of life right now πŸ˜‰

To God be all the glory forever and ever!

Overwhelmed by His love,
Katie

Waiting

Hey awesome people! I sent out an email to all my prayer warriors but realized there are some of you that follow my blog that are my prayer warriors as well! And since beginning this post much has already transpired. My title still fits though πŸ˜‰ It’s hard to get a whole post out on the fly sometimes!

I have been meaning to sit down and update y’all on what’s going on. Our approval was delayed because we had to get CPR certified before being approved and receiving any placement. The states old policy was you had 30 days after being approved to get trained in CPR but they changed it right in the middle of our approval. How dare they! We jumped on a class ASAP and now have our certification. Sweet paper cards and everything, thinking we should maybe laminate them. I spoke with our gal at Faithbridge and she said she is waiting to hear from the state for our approval but in her words “pray for the state, it’s a hot mess!” She also said “the devil must be intimidated by y’all and is working hard to prolong this process”.

This is what I was asking earlier today:

Pray with me that the state would get it together! That we would get our approval so we are available to any kids in need. We are confident in Gods timing and his sovereignty. We are also aware that satan IS intimidated by our efforts to further the kingdom.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:12-18 NLT)

The good news, God has ALREADY answered this prayer! I received our very official email this evening stating that we are definitely, 100% approved! God is so good, he is so faithful and his timing really is perfect.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

Speaking of Gods perfect timing, I had mentioned the anxiety I was experiencing after our final visit. These delays have really been a blessing because the extra week and half I feel like I needed. The time getting back in our family routine, doing some organizing tasks around the house, getting the girls ready for school and also it enabled us to meet some foster families at our CPR training, which was a HUGE encouragement. I can honestly say, WE ARE SO READY!!

Again, THANK YOU! I have full confidence that, even with out getting to request this prayer from you earlier, y’all are certainly praying for us and this journey. The best is yet to come. May His name be glorified and His love be spread to these lives we will touch.

By Him and for Him!
Katie

Final visit!

Well, after getting home last night I emailed the gal with Faithbridge and told her we were ready to wrap this home study up. We have had a lot going on the last few weeks and even though I completely trust Gods timing I can also see where it’d be easy for satan to sneak in and tell us “not yet, finish this first.” or “wait till this is over.” We needed the R&R last week, no doubt. But I didn’t want to pro long our home study any further once we were home.

She came this morning! I had a LOT of cleaning to do last night.

My fellow cat lovers, does your cat shed like a maniac when you leave town??? Good gravy, I filled up our Dyson (in one cleaning) for the first time ever vacuuming all Marley’s hair. I don’t know why but she seems to shed twice as much when we’re gone. Maybe I just don’t notice but in my crazy mind I think it’s a by-product of her missing us so much. Yeah, you can call me crazy.

Anyway, our Faithbridge lady came and basically by the end of our visit eluded to the possibility of getting a call tomorrow.

Wowza!! This presents all kinds of very REAL emotions. But honestly before I give into any feelings which can be so unstable, I am opting for a more secure foundation in seeking my Rock and my Redeemer. The One that has blessed us richly through infinite love, that surpasses all understanding and human comprehension. My God, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, He has given me life and has allowed our family to partner with him and care for orphans right here in our home. Say no more feelings, I know in who I trust.

There are SO MANY scriptures on trusting God and how he is so worthy to be trusted. I could probably sit here all night quoting the Bible on the topic. But for sleeps sake I have narrowed it down to one,….

Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.