Saturday, January 29, 2011


With foster care loss is inevitable. You keep kids for weeks, months, and sometimes years. You raise them, you laugh with them, you clean up there vomit, you kiss their boo boos, you cuddle them when they are scared, you make memories with them, you bond, you get attached... then they go. Often times you hear nothing of how they are doing, you never see them again. It is abrupt. It is hard. It is heart breaking, gut wrenching pain like I have never experienced. When the girls (our first placement left) I collapsed on the floor under the weight of it. Then I cried out to Jesus. It looks as though the two children we are fostering now will be going home soon. We are struggling to complete the work with these children, because every time they do something funny it stabs at my heart, my chest tightens up because I know the memory of all of this will break my heart. People often ask "Do you get attached?" I have no idea how I could do this effectively and not get attached. I am parenting little amazing human beings. I knew when we were called to foster care that it would ultimately break my heart. But I wouldn't trade one second I have with the children that come through our house to wipe all that pain away. All that being said it is a strange life one that sometimes feels heavy. I read this quote by C.S. Lewis the other day and it comforted me about my impending grief.

"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

Yes it is definately better to have a broken heart than a hardened heart.


.....nuff said

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kingdom Stuff

For the past two years we have had the privilege of attending our foster agency Kornerstone's Christmas party. This is an interesting celebration comprised of a show choir , some awkward MC-ing (is this a word?), chicken wings, the Rangers mascot, and foster families of all shapes and sizes. The last thing on that list is what makes it special. I know that the life we have been called to is not the norm and because of that it can get kinda lonely. People don't understand. In public strangers stare at you. Your friends say things like "But don't you want kids?" as you have three attached to your body. I am not saying this to get pity don't get me wrong I want NO other life, but sometimes it is lonely. But for 3 hours a year in Pantego, Texas we are part of the norm. I look around the room and see all these families a potpourri of colors, many with kids who have disabilities, and no one is staring, no gaping mouth's, or whispering, or glances, or insensitive questions and for that 3 hours I don't have to explain myself to anyone. I don't have to bite my tongue and pray for grace because these people get it. They look around and see what I see. That maybe the table we are sitting at looks like The banquet table. Maybe for that 3 hours Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.


Being a foster parent gives you an different perspective on time. You live a very temporary existence. You often times have no idea when children will be coming or going. You don't plan birthday parties or vacations in advance, you don't finish your Christmas shopping early. You don't fill out baby books because a bunch half filled out baby books are depressing. You carry on family traditions with a completely different family every holiday, so they don't so much feel like traditions. When we were was driving to Christmas Eve service this year I thought I did this with a completely different family last year (except for Matt) and I will do it again with a completely different family next year (except Matt and Isaiah). Your life is very temporary and abrupt. Rooms must be able to transition from age to age or from one gender to another. You have a just add water family. In the last year and a half I went from zero children to two back to zero back to two then up to three and now it looks like we will be back down to one very soon. You live in the temporal from court date to court date to mediation never knowing when you will get the call that they will be going home or to kin. You parent in spurts only seeing some of the harvest of the seeds you have sown. If you have had a placement for awhile the people in your life (who mostly exist in the permanent) forget that your family exists in the temporal. They are shocked when nine months later you announce that your (foster) kids will be going home. They ask "Why now?" they are confused and even outraged. And sometimes you may feel that way too. But you remind yourself that you don't live where they do, you live in the temporal. This has become even more obvious to me recently. I have an adoptive placement a little piece of permanent in my temporal world. But I am having a hard time adjusting. I have not been keeping a baby book. Some one asked me if I was going to through a big birthday part on his 1st birthday my first thought was "If he is still here". All of this can be super frustrating and confusing but thankfully as a believer there is another kind of time that is of the utmost importance the eternal . In those moments where you feel like you are spinning your wheels in a broken system you can rest in the fact that your work does have eternal value.

Hebrews 6:10 (New International Version, ©2010)
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Witty Insightful Guest Post

This was written by my friend Jaklin you should read her blog. She and her husband are becoming licensed foster parents. YAY!

Everyman's Guide to Talking with Foster Parents

We have been so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support from our friends and family about our new foster parenting journey! That being said, Nick and I have noticed that not everyone knows what to say when we share that we are going to foster (or rather, people don't know what questions to ask). Understandable, because it's not a subject most people know about -- that includes us up until a few months ago... and we're still learning!
So we've put together theEveryman's Guide to Talking with Foster Parents. You can use these phrases below to easily communicate with those in the foster process.
Conversation Part 1-
Fostering Fred: Hi, Alex.
Average Alex: Hi, Fred.
Fostering Fred: We are starting the process to become foster parents.
Average Alex: That's neat. I grew up with a foster kid down the street who shot at cats with a BB gun.STOP HERE! While this might be true, maybe wait a few minutes before you drop this bomb on them.Instead, you can reply with…Congratulations! That’s so exciting. May God bless you on your journey.
Conversation Part 2-Fostering Fred: Thanks. We are really excited.Average Alex: You know, my best friend's neighbor adopted from Guatemala too.
STOP HERE! This can be a confusing one. Adopting internationally and fostering domestically are very different.
Instead, you can reply with…Are you planning on straight fostering? Or fostering to adopt?Conversation Part 3-
Fostering Fred: We are planning to straight foster children that need a safe place to live while their biological families are in crisis. However, we will be licensed to adopt should the opportunity present itself.Average Alex: Wow. I could never do that because I would love the child too much to give them back. I would get too attached.
STOP HERE! While this can come from a well meaning place, this statement implies that the foster parent doesn't love them enough and will not get attached.
Instead, you can reply with…Wow. The Lord is going to teach you wonderful things about grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Conversation Part 4-Fostering Fred: We are going to have to start turning the guest bedroom into the children's room.Average Alex: Wait, so are you guys having fertility problems?
STOP HERE! While God has different paths for each family, we recommend getting to know the couple's story more before you assume they are having fertility problems.
Instead, you can reply with…
What age range are you going to take?
Here are some other helpful questions to ask when talking to foster parents.
Are you fostering through a private agency or through Child Protective Services?
Do you have other preferences such as race and gender?
How many kids will you be licensed to have in your home.
HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION - How can I help?Now practice these phrases a few times with a partner. In no time you'll be talking to foster parents with ease.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blogs of Note

I came across this post while I was reading my regular adoption blogs and thought I would try it to drum up readership so here goes nothing. Also hop over and check out this blog this family is the real deal doing real kingdom work!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Triage (pronounced triːɑːʒ/) is a process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately.

That is Wikipedia's definition of triage. As a foster parent you have to be good at triage. Assess the damage determine priority needs and treat. Sometimes your logical response is to focus on the material because they come with so little. If this is the case ignore the logical, go with your gut. I mean provide for basic needs clean pjs, bed, bath, food. Asses the damage. These kids have been traumatized and not just by their home situation but also by the removal itself. Imagine it. A stranger comes to your home, or school or daycare picks you up your parents may be there crying or screaming or fighting or maybe they are not there at all. This stranger then takes you to an office where there are more strangers you sit. then you are taken to a house where there are more strangers and then the stranger that picked you up leaves you with more strangers. This only compounds the trauma that got the children into the system. You will receive very little info at placement as to what they have been through. So you have to use intuition and decide what would make them feel as safe and secure as possible. You have to apply pressure and stop the bleeding. It is different with every kid sometimes it is lots of hugs and reassurance, sometimes it is allowing for space. Sometimes it is providing items they ask for, having someone who can run to the store for you (will talk about this more in the next blog) and get some pull ups with their favorite character or a favorite book. It usually means limiting the people that come through your house and the places you go for a little while. I usuallly try to establish routine as quickly as possible while allowing flexibilty for adjustment as needed. It is finding a balance between normalcy and dressing the gaping wound that is there. I have had kids come to my house with no problem come in climb right on my lap and start talking. I have also had kids come to my house so traumatized that they can't eat or speak they had to be hand fed and coached through everything for a couple days. Asses the damage, prioritize, apply pressure, stop the bleeding as best you can.

Why I started this blog...

I am a foster/foster to adopt mother. My husband and I became licensed foster parents in August of 2009. We have parented five children in the last year and a half or so. We had two little girls six months and eighteen months that lived with us five months before being reunited with their family. We currently have three children living with us, a sibling group of a two year old girl and a four year old boy, and a legal risk placement that is a six month old little boy that we intend to adopt sometime between April and June. I always knew that I wanted to adopt but four years ago when we decided foster to adopt was how we were going to go about it I had no idea what we were getting into. I tried to look for books and websites that would help me and I found not much. While I am not claiming to be an expert I started this blog to share my experiences, opinions and mistakes on this journey. I know one this my life now looks very different than I ever thought it would, it is messier than I ever could imagine, but also my heart is fuller than I could have ever dreamed. So when I am carting my three kids under five into the grocery store, or when I am putting them in there respective car seats (infant,transitional, and booster), when at a restaurant I ask for two highchairs and a booster and someone says "Man you have your hands full!" I just smile and say "Better than empty."