I wanted to write a post more specifically on how fostering is going. Before I get into this though I wanted to express that I really want to be open and honest about it all. Once again, I don’t want to give off a false notion that makes our experience seem like some sort of fairy tale dream world. I also don’t want it to come off negative and pessimistic. Blogging is a funny world of its own. Some times it can be tricky to convey the real life thoughts on a post that are clear and understood how you meant for them to be. So, as I write this post, about our journey so far, the laughter, the tears, the challenges, the revelations, and everything outside and in between just know that I’m trying to write from the “heart of it” if you will.
When Jason and I first started to consider adoption before we had Caleb, admittedly I was in la la land. The whole idea of “taking in orphans”, in my mind, was a very precious, magical, unrealistic view. Its not that I thought it would be perfect and with out challenges, I guess I just imagined that the difficult moments would always be followed by a beautiful embrace of sorts. “Good night sweet heart. We have learned so much today. Such goodness came out of that challenge.” It’s just not like that. And that’s okay that doesn’t always mean “We must be doing something wrong!!”
This is a lengthy emotional process. The redemption, the healing, all of that is not going to come at the end of every day at bedtime. The good news is that we know it WILL come. That those nights when we finally get everyone to sleep and I crawl into bed so thankful for the quiet and opportunity to close my eyes, I know that tomorrow will bring us one step closer to God redeeming it all.
But we have moments when we struggle. We get frustrated and lose our patience. I personally have times where I just LONG for night to come and it be time for bed. (Are you picking up on the fact that I love sleep?) 😉 There are also times when I just desperately want to be alone and yet FEEL so alone when I am very clearly NOT alone. Like….hardly…..e-v-e-r. Anyone feel me??? I give Jason major props for being my advocate and encouraging and providing me time by myself or me with other adults and no little people. There are even some days where Jason will advise all the kids to NOT say “mommy” any more, lol. “Daddy only kiddos!” Only because I very likely already heard it 1,767,493 times that day.
Now, maybe you are thinking “Why do you have all these kids if you want to get away from them?”
Trust me, I have thought that!
I don’t usually, always, want to get away. 😉 We mommies need the break to recollect so that we can just be good moms. Becaaaauuse there are also times when I’m rested and encouraged. When I get to read Hope “The Jesus Story Book Bible” and my heart feels REALLY full. When she gets back from a visit with her mommy and is happy and I know it went well and her mommy wants to be with her and there is His HOPE of restoring this family. And then the times with our kids. Like seeing her and Caleb laugh and play together while the girls are at school. Or Micaila and her walking sweetly hand-in-hand across the street to the beach. Or when Ryann and her sit in their beds before lights out and read stories. I wish I could share some photos of these moments that God graces us with to carry us through. The small parts of the story that will make up the whole story. Every time I start to feel defeated and discouraged, God sends something, a word, a friend, a memory, a thought, a NAP that lifts me up and says “I haven’t left you, you CAN do this WITH Me.”
My memory verse from last week was Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You. All whose thoughts are fixed on You.”
Right now I would say our biggest challenge is discipline. The age that Hope is at, 2 years old, is just beyond the crucial starting point of implementing discipline and boundaries for a child. I don’t know how she was disciplined before, but when she came to us she was very well behaved and obedient. Within the last 2 weeks she has regressed. Jason and I do not view spanking as the only way to train up a child however it has proven in our own children to be one of the most effective ways to discipline from the age of 1-3. As you know, you can not use corporal methods of discipline/punishment on a foster child. I understand why they have this boundary in place. In a perfect world parents would discipline their children in love (not anger), but as you know this isn’t a perfect world and there have been individuals who went way beyond merely disciplining and have physically harmed and abused foster children. So, they have a few blanket rules but primarily it’s summed up “do not spank”.
We want to be proactive in learning creative ways to discipline and teach Hope. It’s new for us and it’s hard because it goes against what we know and have always done. Needless to say, we abide by the rules, we press on and we PRAY. I know in Him we can overcome this. But that is the key: In HIM, through HIM, by HIM. Not us. Not our own strength. Not our own understanding.
This weekend we have 3 hours of training that I am really looking forward to. The training is required; each foster parent has to have 15 hours of “Continued Education”. I know it will be encouraging to hear from a professional and to be around other foster parents.
Common with most toddlers you do feel as though a lot of your day revolves around instructing. But we do have some more fun, laid-back, moments. I wish I could post pictures or video of the kids from last night. We were playing in the backyard and they brought around their “rock n roller” and the little tykes red and yellow flinstone car. Everyone calls it that right? 😉 Anyway, the girls did a lot of this when we first moved here so it was fun to see them at it again. Our yard slopes just enough so they can start on the porch in their little cars and roll all the way down, screaming the whole entire way, and stopping just before they hit the big tree. It’s completely safe. And they L.O.V.E. it! They also fight over the toys, ram each other like bumper cars, laugh, cry, cry some more, fuss, whine and laugh again.
To sum up how I feel right now about being a foster parent would go something like this: Any person, place, or thing, that draws me closer to God, that compels me to spend more time in his Word or in prayer with him, is exactly what I want in my life. God has me, personally, in a season of learning. Something like “Dear daughter, you don’t know it all.” 🙂 I am realizing and learning a lot of things; new things to apply, old habits to change. In Sunday’s sermon Brian spoke on Spiritual Growth. He said a lot of really good stuff, but one thing that I just LOVED was how he (or maybe he quoted) a “definition” of Spiritual growth:
Developing into the TRUE version of yourself.
Only when I am living by the Spirit, am I who God intended me to be. When I allow my flesh to control me or dictate my actions and words it’s not who God meant for me to be and since that is the case it’s not who I WANT to be. You can find that sermon HERE. It was really good.
Things are in a state of stirring and changing around here, but I feel like it’s good change. The kind of change that is just getting us to cling more to Him. Can’t complain about that. Thank you for putting up with the ramblings here. I know it’s typically all over the place. Can you even imagine what it’s like inside my head! Never mind don’t. 😉
We need your prayers. I know I definitely need them. I need an abundance of sympathy, compassion, self control, grace and wisdom (just to name a few) and that comes from the Lord. I am grateful for the work he is doing in us and what he is letting us do with him. At the end of every day, no matter what has happened, one thing always rings true and it is that God is good.
A psalm of praise of David.
1 I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
2 I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
3 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
5 I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 The Lord is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
and your faithful followers will praise you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they will give examples of your power.
12 They will tell about your mighty deeds
and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps his promises;
he is gracious in all he does.
14 The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
15 The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.
16 When you open your hand,
you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
he is filled with kindness.
18 The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
20 The Lord protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked.
21 I will praise the Lord,
and may everyone on earth bless his holy name
forever and ever.