Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Un-Romantic view of foster care

Recently, I was asked to give an unromatic view of foster care. I thought: "well, just come eat dinner at my house. Or, even better - come to a restaurant. But honestly, maybe I do write more about the beautiful or spiritual side of foster care than the hard or ugly parts. I would dare to say that foster care is not romantic at all. You are stepping into a life that reveals the brokeness of the world and of yourself. So here it goes.

It is lonely and isolating sometimes. Especially in a roomful of moms or families. The truth is, you don't ever feel like you completely belong. Your life is similar in so many ways, you may be in the throes of potty training or sleep training, or any other normal parenting issue, but the differences are glaringly obvious and huge. You maybe doing all that only to send the kiddos home in six months and then to start all over again with the next ones. Even the most sensitive and supportive friends sometimes say hurtful things because the truth is: they do not understand the life you are living and they have no point of reference for it.

Also, with every new placement of kiddos comes the inevitable basic skills that have to be taught. Toilet training almost-four-year-olds. Sleep training children of all ages. Teaching them to eat with a spoon. Trying to teach children to exist on more than chicken nuggets and fries. Every time I get a new placement, I wonder: how many kids will I toilet train in my life? How many will I sleep train?

This is a life where you willingly hand your heart over to be pulvarized time and time again, knowing full well exactly what is going to happen. A life where every other week, I pull a screaming child out of his crying mother's arms, strap him in a car seat and drive 60 miles away from an exchange that was never part of God's design. All the while, there is a chorus in the back seat of "No mama! Mommy!" Meaning: I do not want you mama Rachel! I want my mommy! Or the unending grief over the kids who have come and gone before. The lack of closure. The not knowing how to grieve because how do you grieve the loss of someone who was never intended to stay and who hasn't passed away? There's the knowledge that often times, you are sending kids back to situations that are not much different than the ones they were taken from.

Here is the clincher: The enemy he doesn't want you to be a foster parent. He doesn't want you to adopt. You will come under attack. Your marriage, your career, your finanaces, and any other area he can get to. You see, Satan is already having his way in these children's lives, their families. His mission is to rip them apart. He hates it when you step in and speak Jesus over them. When you start praying and contending for a family that, maybe, no one else is, he hates that. Orphan care foster care...whatever you want to call it, it is not romantic it is war. A necessary war.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The difference in a year

This picture was taken one year ago today. The day I found out that I had a son. The day on which God fulfilled a promise. Today I finished reading his CPS file. One of the final steps before we get to adopt him. God is so good. There are no words. One year later and I think my heart may burst. All glory to God who works all things together.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Some days the sun catches things a little bit differently and it is just sweeter. I mean when you look around to see what the difference is you can't put your finger on it. Your still scrubbing grease out of the same pan. your kids are still only moderately getting along. You jeans are still too tight. Your bank account is still barely in the black. Your minivan still smells like burning plastic. But none of that matters .Not only does it not matter but you are thankful for it. The bacon grease, the muffin top, the scrappy kids, the stinky van. You put on a Bon Iver song and scrub your pan with your kids fighting in the background, and your heart is so so full that it spills over and out of your eyes. I think this is what it feels like when my eyes are on God, because in the light of Him it is all so much better. When I have these days I think if I can just hold on to this nothing else matters. I know He is always there I just get distracted sometimes, I look away from Him and turn to my circumstances, and when i do that no matter what they are I feel sad, empty, and overwhelmed, and when I turn back I wonder why I ever looked away because He is just so stinking good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


If you pray. If you believe at all. If you know Abba Father. If you know Jesus the healer. If you believe that all things are possible with God. If you believe that God is relevant and still works. If you believe at all in miracles...Please read this story and get on your knees petition our good Father to do his thing. I love this family and I am standing with them in faith that God will heal their son!

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Seasons and traditions for the transitional family

To me, the Texas State Fair kind of kicks off the holiday season. I know that is strange, but in my mind it goes: State Fair, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I love seasons. Not that they really happen in Texas. I love to celebrate the changing of the seasons. I love holidays. Since I have become a foster parent, they have become somewhat bittersweet. We are coming up on our third holiday season as foster parents. We take different kids to the fair every year.

On Halloween, for the past two years, my family has looked almost completely different, save for Matt and I. Although, for two years in a row, I had a Dora. Two different toddler girls, same costume. I am happy to report that this year there will be no Dora.

My niece has had different "cousins" at every birthday party she has had. We carve pumpkins with different kids. We do Thanksgiving with different kids. We decorate the tree. We do Christmas Eve. Christmas morning. Playing in the snow. Then in the new year, or the Spring -- they leave, we rest, mourn, and recover. Then we start all over again. I love introducing kids to new experiences. I love taking them to the Fair when they have never been. I love giving them a completely extravagant Christmas. I love taking them to pumpkin patches and going trick-or-treating. I love loading them up in the car in their pajamas, drinking hot cocoa, and looking at Christmas lights. I love introducing them to who we are and how we do things. I get to make special memories with each of them. I am thankful...and a little bit sad. Because every year when all these things roll around while I am taking my new babies to do all of these things, I remember all my babies who came before. My heart aches a little remembering. Remembering Abby sitting in the back seat of my car holding a pumpkin as big as she was. Thomas's face when he was scooping out pumpkin guts. Joy's delight at her awful Dora wig. How Panda looked in her panda costume. Each of their reactions to Santa.
Each of them handing me ornaments. Each of their faces glowing in the lights of the tree. Each of them on Christmas. Each of them on Santa's lap. Each of them in their Christmas Eve wear.

With every new memory, there is residue from the last and the one before that. There is the haunting it a tradition if no one says, "Remember when?" Is it a tradition if no one giddily anticipates it? Is it a tradition if almost a completely different group participates every year? This year will be the first time that we have a child for two seasons in a row. I am thankful for the permanency of Isaiah and yet, I'm simultaneously considering if next year I will be wondering how Eric and Carolina are doing. If I will be remembering their faces as I take pictures of some different kids.

I remember my first Christmas as a momma, driving to Christmas Eve service and having the harsh realization that most of my first Christmas' with kids in my life will also be my last with them.

I always pray that during these magical times, that even for a second we drop the "foster" and somehow we are just a family. That when, and if, they remember that they can look back on this ultimately scary, sad, and traumatic time in their life and say, "Even though I was away from my family, I was with a family."

Traditions and seasons as a transitional family are messy, ever-changing, and achingly bitter sweet. People, places, things, songs, and activities seasoned with thebitter grief of remembering and the sweet joy of experiencing.

1 comment:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All about Isaiah 15 months

I know I haven't kept these updated but here is more about my love!

Food: Pickier and pickier every day. I have no idea how you maintain your almost 30 pound frame on a diet of green beans, corn, carrots, cheese sticks, yogurt,cereal, apple sauce, the random bean, stray noodle, and occasional cracker.

Activities: I though you were busy before but you are really all over now! You run and climb. You love books right now and being outside. I will find you sitting in one of the rooms reading a book, making little noises. You especially like books with animals in them. You climb the step stool in the bathroom, in the window sill, in the laundry basket, and on the furniture.

Things that make you laugh: peek a boo, when I run in place, you still love wrestling, and being splashed or sprayed with water.You also love going down the slide (contrary to documentation)

New stuff: Well since my last post you have done so much started walking, and running. Your newest trick is stairs. Moved to one nap in the afternoon. Got your first haircut, got your one year molars.

Stuff that makes me swoon: Still your kisses, when you say "boo" when you are trying to sneak up on me. That you love music especially worship music, you dance and sway your arms. The way you sleep most nights with your booty in the air and your legs tucked up under you.

I love you for these reasons and countless others. So thankful that you are my son!

PS In nine short days you will be legally free for adoption!!!!
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