Bio Kids and Foster Care

The scariest part of entering the realm of foster care as a parent is what the effect will be on your bio kids.  People often ask me how mine are doing.  They probably don’t believe me when I assure them the kids are thriving.  Let me share a story with you…

Tonight, as I was tucking my five year old into bed, he asked me to tell him a story.  I glanced around the room for inspiration, and quickly spotted two ducks and a goat. “Once upon a time…”, I began…”there was a duck.  He wanted to have more kids in his family, so he set out on an adventure.  As he walked along, he came across a strange-looking animal.  He said to the animal, ‘Hello!  Would you like to join my family?’ and the strange-looking animal replied, ‘How did you know I have been wanting a family of my very own?’  The duck responded, ‘I don’t know…I think God told me!’  So they walked home together and the duck asked, ‘What kind of animal are you, anyway?’ ‘I am a white goat!’, responded the goat.  And they lived happily ever after as a family.”e2f6b601cb191782200d2663eb13b59c

The very first thing out of my son’s mouth was, “He should find a foster family!” and my heart swelled!  When I say my kids are thriving, I honestly mean it.  They love their sister.  I check in regularly with them, and the conversation always is the same.  They wouldn’t have it any other way.  She is in and out of our home each week and they do great with that.  Our family is not the typical, conventional family, but it is our family!  We love it!

We talked some more.  I assured my buddy that the duck family was the goat’s foster family.   He asked questions like, “Why didn’t he get a goat foster family?” and “Did he stay there forever, since he didn’t have anyone else to be his family?” and “How many ducks were in the family before the goat came?” As he lined them all up on the pillow, he realized there was no room for him to lay.  He said, “Where do I sleep?” and I said, “Sometimes you just give up your bed so others can sleep there” and he said, “I have a better idea!”  As he scooped the two ducks, the white goat, and their puppy into his arms, flopped onto his pillow, and snuggled under the covers, he said, “I will snuggle them and we will all sleep together!”, my heart swelled again and I thanked God for all he has blessed us with.

Being a foster family is good.  When God says go, and we go, there is much to learn and blessings to experience, and always enough love to go around.

Christians Are The Answer

I adore Focus On The Family.  Today, I was listening to the most recent broadcast, and they are talking with Robert Glover, a man from England who was called to start a Foster Care system in China! How cool is that?  The thing that struck me most was a story he told about 20 Chinese families.  They were the first group to step forward and open their homes to kids without a family.  At that time, it was very dangerous to be a Christian in China.  As Robert went with a Chinese driver to meet with these 20 families, he warned Robert that the families would be mostly buddhist or some other religion.  Of course, Robert just wanted these kids to have a family, so he assured the driver that it was okay with him.  When they got there, this man told a joke.  Something to the effect that Robert was very large and also a Christian.  When no one laughed, he told the joke again, and one lady spoke up saying, “I don’t understand.  I’m a Christian too.”  Come to find out, ALL 20 families were people who had come forward out of the great love they knew from Jesus.

As they drove home, this man asked Robert how it was possible, and Robert told him, “This is the very foundation of the Gospel message!”

I am often overwhelmed by how huge the need is in our world – millions of orphans!  How can one family made a dent in that?

last piece of a Puzzle

But Robert said something else.  Sometimes we want to be the whole jigsaw puzzle, but we must understand that we really are only one piece.  But each piece is vital to solving the entire puzzle.

Why I Love K.A.T.

The other day, a friend mentioned that she hadn’t heard much about our foster journey lately, and asked how things were going.  I haven’t written much about it for two reasons:

  1. There’s not much to tell.  This is a good thing because it means things are going really well.
  2. Most everything is either confidential, or not my story to tell.

There have been several times I wanted to add to this previous post, Teenagers Are Better Than Babies, but then I realize that it’s actually our teenager who is better than a baby.  All of the things I love about her are very specific to her.  She is kind and helpful.  She is strong and independent.  She is generous and caring.  She knows what she wants.  She is able to express her emotions.  She rarely complains and when she does, it’s not malicious or bratty, it’s just things like, “Can I please have a different daily chore?  I hate the way soggy dinner dishes feel on my hands.”  And when I say “no”, she shrugs and says, “ok”.  I mean, guys…there’s really nothing to tell.  No issues, no problems, no question on whether we should have brought her into our family.  She’s great with the boys, they love her.  I even like her Mom!

So, I guess what I have to say is this:  Teenagers are still my calling!  I’m thankful I got a great one!  God is so good!  I love following his plan.  And thanks for caring enough to wonder how things are.

teenage-brain

Our VIP List

I have been thinking a lot about all the people who have made our journey to foster care a reality.  Celebrities have nothing on these people in my world.  This list is, by no means, a complete list of people who have been involved with us, but among the many who have cared enough to ask regularly how it’s going, who have prayer for us, who have offered advice when asked are these people:

Bob and Ronnie G. – Full days with our boys while we did our certification training.
Katie V. – Took P to school and picked him up after school, as well as occupied O for a full day while I had a weekday training.
Kamie and Mark W. – Kept the boys all evening and put them to bed at their house during another training.
Cinda and Brad B. – Kept P and O for a full 10 days while we brought in our first placement and got settled with her.
Kimberly B. – Included K when she took the boys to a movie.
Tom and Sue B. (aka, mom and dad) – Still coming to visit, even though it meant sleeping on the couch!
Janell and Kyle R. – Take K to school 3 mornings a week.
Britany and Anthony C. – Pick K up from school 2 afternoons a week.

I’m sure all of these things feel very small to each of these people, but when they say, “Not everyone is called to foster care or adopt, but everyone can be involved in some way”, THIS is exactly what they mean.  If you can come along-side a foster/adoptive family in any way, please do.  It really does matter!  It takes a village, right?  Well, thank you all for being my villagers!

Gosh, I hope I didn’t forget anyone!

VIP

101 Reasons Why Teenagers are Better than Babies

Okay, I might not have a full 101 yet, but maybe I will just pop back in here from time to time and edit this post.  And maybe the things on this list don’t apply to your teen.  If that’s true, you should consider trading her/him in for one in foster care.  OH COME ON – I’m kidding!  But in all reality, if yours isn’t like this, I would recommend reading Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk and/or running yourself to the first Love and Logic class you can find.

  1.  You can have an intelligent conversation without whining (and if you can’t with your teen, go find a Love and Logic class FAST!  It will change your LIFE!)
  2. The can hike much longer than the little ones.
  3. They like to watch shows like The Walking Dead, instead of Ninjago.
  4. They can teach you things like how to longboard.20160327_194256
  5. They know how to express their feelings.
  6. They can help with dinner. (and if you yours doesn’t, go find a Love and Logic class FAST!  It will change your LIFE!)
  7. You can share clothes with them!!! (this is super fun – one of my faves so far)
  8. They are another person for your little kids to connect with. (another one of my faves so far)
  9. Their rooms are super messy (Okay, I know this is a weird one, but there is something about walking my my teenager’s messy room, knowing it is fully her problem if she can’t find something.  The little kids have to keep theirs clean or they can’t find things, and it becomes my problem.)
  10. They carry groceries in from the store and put the food away. (and if you yours doesn’t, go find a Love and Logic class FAST!  It will change your LIFE!)

What I really want to say here is that things are going great.  We love our teen.  If you’ve ever thought about opening your home, please do it.  Here is a quick little list on what you have to do to become a Koinonia Foster Parent.  Going forward, it’s a dual certification for Foster Care and Adoption.

And…no I haven’t had to use Love and Logic with my teen yet.  I’ve just got it in my back pocket.  All the love keeps spilling out, but I just leave it laying around like confetti.  It’s pretty to look at 🙂

LL

Parents Again!!!

We are about to become a family of FIVE!  I know many of you have been wondering about our visit last weekend, and I am happy to report that it went amazingly well.  We had the best time hanging out with a pretty fantastic teenager!  She’s great with the boys, and just really laid-back and easy going.  She thinks the way we eat (no animal products) is great! She moves in next week 🙂

We are thrilled and excited and so glad to be bringing home a teen, and not a baby!  YAY FOR US!  Seriously, this process has been a little bit emotional, but so far, we are very happy with how things are working out.  Now pray for me, because I have no idea how to be a parent to a teenager, lol.

In anticipation of questions….
– no, I won’t be able to post a picture of her
– no, I can’t tell you her story
– yes, you can invite her over for dinner when she needs a break from plant food
– We don’t know if this placement will turn into adoption, for now she is our first foster child, and we are thrilled to be her family for as long as God keeps her with us
– If you want to get involved, Koinonia has a  HUGE need for teens right now.  They are closing down all of the emergency shelters in the future, and YOU could be the answer to someone’s prayer.  Let me know if you’re interested.

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No News

Well, here I go with assumptions again.  But, no news is probably not good news.  And that’s okay!  God totally has this!  I did get a call on another girl.  Very different from this one.  And, can I just say I have the most amazing husband ever?  When he heard her story, I thought he would be an immediate no, and he was totally open to talking through it and praying about it this weekend.  He is always the realist, so he had great questions to ask, and we got a lot of answers, so now we pray pray pray.  Please join us!

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