Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Eight years ago, when I was struggling heavily with miscarriage and secondary infertility, I was in a very deep dark place. God was able to meet me where I was, and eventually, helped me move from that pit of despair into a more functional life, day by day. After I wallowed in all that pain and suffering and loss, after time healed me just a little bit, I was able to push through and move forward, one tiny baby step at a time.

It seems like a lifetime ago, when I was struggling in that way. After all, I haven't had a miscarriage since December 2007. I've also birthed two babies since then. Life has almost come full circle. For the most part, time has healed those wounds from 8 years ago. Yet the emotions that overwhelmed me then, are still very real to me now.

Now I am in a despair of a different kind. I am discontent and discouraged by certain things of this world, things over which I have absolutely no control. I am looking for answers where there are none, asking for certainties when no one knows what will come tomorrow. I want promises, security, definites. I want to hear "yes" or "no", not "maybe" or "wait". Yet I must deal with the uncertainties we face. So I struggle with the unknown, waiting to see what the future will bring.

Being a foster parent has sometimes put me in an emotionally overwhelming place... so much so, that I just might end up back in that manic, obsessive state that I was in eight years ago, as we were trying to get pregnant again. For different reasons, I am again crying out and asking the same question of God: "Why?"

I sometimes search through the photolistings on, but tonight I had to close the website and put it away from my mind. I just couldn't deal with the heartache, all the loss and pain wrapped up in those little lives, their life stories abbreviated to a few sentences on an online directory. You can often see it in their eyes, what they've been through, how strong they are. Overcomers.

I don't know about you, but I've heard of the trend to pick a word, one word, to describe you for the year. I don't really like resolutions, so one word seems easier to me than making a list of goals that are generally unrealistic and/or unattainable. (To me, resolutions read more like personal shortcomings in my mind.)

Last year, my word was faith. Have faith.

This year, it will be HOPE.

My favorite verse in the whole Holy book is Hebrews 11:1, and it contains both of these words. (You can look it up here if you don't know it.) I think this year, in 2015, I'm going to rest on His promises, put emphasis on new things, and have HOPE that He who started a good work in me, will see it to completion.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

merry broken Christmas

Christmas is often called "the most wonderful time of the year." But sometimes, it's really not. Sometimes the tragedies and hardships in our lives, and the injustices of this world, weigh us down. Sometimes our families are broken. Sometimes we lose our hope.

That is when we need the Christmas message most of all.

If you are feeling worn-out, tired, joyless and broken this Christmas season, please read this message: 

Here is another message of hope by Ann Voscamp:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Click to help

Here is an easy way to help kids in foster care!
For each blog post shared, Bloggin' Mamas is donating a toy to a foster child. 
Click below for more info about how you can help waiting child in your area.

Today, 402,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States. Nearly 102,000 children (under 18 years of age) waiting for adoption. During this holiday season, there's an extra push to help them find homes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council recently unveiled a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to continue to encourage the adoption of children from foster care with an emphasis on the importance of keeping siblings together. Check out this PSA video from the Ad Council: Since the launch of the campaign in 2004, more than 22,000 children who were once photo-listed on the AdoptUSKids website are now with their adoptive families, and over 35,000 families have registered to adopt through AdoptUSKids. Many times, there are siblings listed. Approximately 23% of children and youth actively photolisted on the AdoptUSKids website and waiting for placement in adoptive homes were registered with one or more siblings. Sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationships for children in foster care. For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit or  Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I am donating this space towards sharing this message. Bloggin' Mamas and Element Associates will be donating a toy to a foster child in exchange for my post, in support of AdoptUSKids.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


An occurrence that happened earlier today: I was speaking with a new friend and had the baby with me. The friend's 6 year old suddenly ran up to me, and said in the loudest voice possible: "You have a BROWN BABY! And you are A LIGHT MOMMY!" I said, "yes, that's true." I mean, it is pretty obvious.

The mom-friend was completely mortified, embarrassed beyond belief. She admonished the child and started to explain adoption. The mom was saying that sometimes, mommies and daddies can't always take care of their babies. Not wanting to mislead, I had to clarify and explain fostering. I said that I am the "extra mommy" who is taking care of the baby until the mom and/or dad gets better.

I thought the incident went pretty well. I mean, the baby and I do look different, and young children without filters are apt to point out such differences. It did not insult me. (should it have insulted me? I really don't think so. The child was simply stating a fact.)

However, it prompted two lines of thought for me:
1. My children, and others in similar situations, are growing up thinking that "un-matching" skin tones are fairly normal, if not the norm. I'm glad that they will not be ignorant or close-minded in this regard.
2. It gave me a teeny tiny glimpse of what might happen on the playground in a few years if the baby is adopted by a "light" family. In this case, there wasn't any kind of bias or prejudice, the child was simply stating a fact. What if there was prejudice? How would I have reacted? What would have been the appropriate thing to say to a six year old then?

I know that the best way to combat prejudice and hate is with kindness and love, so I guess I will try that next time.

That is what I will be thinking of, going forward.

I try to be aware of what it is like for "brown" people, how they are sometimes viewed differently.... and it just makes me sad that there have to be such great distinctions and divides in our society. Why can't we all just be one race, the human race? Of course we all come from different backgrounds, we have varied cultural and religious experiences, and that's all fine and good. But I wish with all my heart that people could be more colorblind and less prone to judgement. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today I am thankful for many things. One of the top things on my list is family.

One of my little people is celebrating a birthday this week, and we are so very thankful for him.

Thanksgiving is often a time of reflection. When I was growing up, my granny had a tradition that she called "pass the corn." She'd place dried corn kernels in a dish, pass it around the table, and have everyone say out loud, what they were thankful for. Usually she'd ask us to say something nice about the person sitting next to you as well. This year, as in the past 10 years since I've moved away, I missed out on that little tradition.

As our extended family grows, so does the distance between each of us. (I do have two dozen cousins, after all.) And although we are all spread out, don't always keep in touch, and too often miss or forget the details of each others lives, we are still family. We still care about each other. We rejoice, weep,mourn, and celebrate with one another. Especially this time of year.

So, whether you are celebrating this thanks-filled holiday alone, with a small group, or a large one, be happy.You are privileged if you have an abundance of food on your table, a comfortable bed, warm clothes, along with all the other American amenities and freedoms that we take for granted. There are so many others in the world who don't have as much. These are the people I am thinking of tonight.

Take care.
Drive safely, everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Today, the hardest question posed to me is not "why?", but "when?"

My 5yo just asked "Mommy, do you know when the baby is going to leave?"
"Well, she's going to have a visit today, so she'll go with Ms. ___ for a little while, and then she'll come back."
"But do you know when she is going to leave and never come back?"
"No, I don't know."
"Did anyone tell you what day it would be, when she will leave and not come back?"
"No babe, no one told me when that day will be."

I was tempted to add "or IF that day will come", but I didn't.
We'll cross that road another day.

We have told our kids that "foster" means "for a little while", but it's something I've said a few times to them, not every day or every week. I didn't know that it was so firmly entrenched in the 5yos mind.
And although there has been mention of "adoption" lately, I try not to get the children involved in the complex adult details, setbacks, and legalities of foster care, so as far as I am aware, they don't know much about the baby's case, except that she is with us. For now. For today.

As the old saying goes: Today is a gift, that's why it is called "the present". Really, if you think about it, who of us has been promised more time than the present? Sure, we all think that we are going to wake up tomorrow, and then next day, next week, month, year, etc, but life doesn't last forever. We don't know what tragedy or hardship awaits us in the future. Foster parenting has taught me to hold ALL my kids, not just the "foster" ones, with a lighter hand. Because in the end, they are God's children, not mine. He has ultimate control over them. So, while I think that I have some measure of control in their day-to-day lives, it is really He who is the ultimate authority, over all of us.

I can take comfort in this fact. Even on the days when I get supremely angry, I am PMSing, I am running on 4 hours of sleep or less, and I've been so busy taking care of other little people's needs that I have neglected my own.... HE is God, His ways are not my ways, and His plans are far better and grander than my own. Nothing I say, do, or think will change or hinder the God of the universe (no matter how royally I mess up on any given day).

And that, my friends, is a truth that I will rest in.

So, for today, I will be patient and not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own. Now I'm off to read Matthew 6 again....

Monday, November 10, 2014

How many kids do you have? Are you done having babies?

I felt that I needed to share this today.
This other mom's post reminded and convicted me that 1) God has a different plan for each of us, 2) there is a God-ordained reason why each of our families and each of our stories are different, and 3) that we should encourage and celebrate these differences, instead of acting as if we are in constant competition with one another.

And as for the size of your family, it is really is up to you, your husband (if applicable), and God.

For quite a few years, I thought that God was only going to give us one child. Even though my season of miscarriages happened over 7 years ago, I still remember the sting when people would ask "So, how many kids do you have?" or "How many would you like to have?"

Over the past 13 years, beginning with our engagement, Mike and I have spent many hours talking and dreaming and imagining and preparing for what we thought our family might be like. We've been through tough times and have had to make some difficult decisions as to whether or not we should limit our family size. Through an unexpected and high-risk pregnancy, secondary infertility, several back-to-back miscarriages, a baby in ICU, 2 kids under 2, losing a dear friend to SIDs and another friend to stillbirth, and now foster parenting, we seem to have run the gamut of issues faced during the "early family" years.

In this stage of our lives, some people wonder why we have more than 2 or 3 children, and some people seem to expect us to keep adding to our family indefinitely. Either way, I hope that we would not be judged about our family's size, and I would hope that no one else feels judged by their family size either.

We are not in competition with each other. Instead, we need to live in community, with compassion.

Here's the heart of the matter, an excerpt from the original post, and it is exactly what I needed to hear today:

"And so the question for me... and for you, is this:
Can we lay it at the altar?  Can we trust in the outcome being glorious no matter what? Can we relinquish control?
Can we walk into the next season with thanksgiving for the baby years? Can we be content in today?
Because if that is what God is asking, go in obedience. And go in grace."

Here's the link to the full article:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I am so frustrated. I am trying not to let my fears, insecurities, and anxiety get the best of me... but some days, and some moments, it does. As a mother (and a foster mom), there are days when I wake up, and before my day even starts, I am bombarded with negative thoughts. Thoughts such as "I can't accomplish half of that to-do list. I certainly won't get a shower today. That mountain of laundry is too much for me. I can't even feed these kids a healthy meal!" I feel like I am failing before I even begin!

It's a good thing that each day gives us a new start, or I don't know how I'd get through the horrible ones.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

In case you didn't know, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is a day when women break the silence and stigma of suffering through a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. In fact, some people dedicate the entire month of October to this cause.

I want to share this article today by Nance Davis Johnson: The Other Quiet Mom
"The quietest mom may be the one whose children aren't always included in the answer to "how many kids does she have?" Maybe you don't know what it feels like to have been through this kind of loss. Maybe this woman's words will give you some insight, or resonate with you somehow. Ans with this article, maybe you will learn something to say, or not to say, to a person who is grieving for their child. 

It's been 7 years since my miscarriages. The pain has certainly lessened, and it is no longer something that I think about every single day, every single hour, but the loss never really leaves you. I have several close friends who have had babies born too soon, babies who left this world long before we thought they should.

Tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7pm, and as it flickers, I will be thinking of all the little lives that ended far too soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Six months ago...

Six months ago today, a little person unexpectedly came into our lives, leaving a big mark on our home and in our hearts forever.

We are so glad that we've gotten to know her, and have had the privilege to love and care for her.

And yesterday I realized that we no longer think of or refer to her as "foster child"....
we just think of her as part of the family.

It's been a little over a year since we received our foster parenting license. We've had 3 respite cases come our way and one long-term placement. I am so glad that we listened to God's calling, took the leap of faith and did this crazy thing called foster care.

We could have easily missed this opportunity. I could have ignored the tugging in my heart, the dreams and specific things that God put on my mind and brought into my life. I could have given up on the whole idea of adoption when Mike said "no" in 2007, in 2008, and again in 2011. We could have stayed in our smaller home, could have remained comfortable with three children, could have been complacent and apathetic. We could have left it up to someone else, expected that someone else was going to take care of local foster kids, not us. We could have given up the first or second time we were bumped out of training classes, two years ago.

But we didn't.... -I- didn't!
I didn't give up. I kept praying and searching.
We were obedient in this calling.

And we pushed on, even though at times it has been difficult, unconventional, inconvenient, even heart-wrenching. Foster parenting certainly has its rewards and challenges. It has stretched and grown each of us in different ways, enlarged our hearts for foster kids and orphans, and grown our family closer as a whole.

I am so glad we said "yes".
And now I am waiting in expectant hope for whatever comes next.

Friday, September 12, 2014

dirty windows

To be honest, cleaning windows is something that I don't do very often.

I'm not great at scheduling household chores on a daily or weekly basis (or scheduling in general, for that matter. But that's another story). In fact, last week I swallowed my pride so that friends could minister to me by cleaning some of the more neglected, harder-to-reach places in my home. I thought it would be insanely uncomfortable, the idea of a friend coming over to clean my house.  ("I mean really, what does that say about me and my housework?! How will these people view me if they REALLY know how dusty and dirty it is under the stove?! Oh no, she is wanting to fold my laundry! She might see someone's undies! How embarrassing!!" etc. These were the thoughts in my head.) But despite my doubts and misgivings, I let them come over and help clean my house. It was like a cleaning party! All the kids helped too, wherever they could reach. And it wasn't really awkward or uncomfortable at all. It was good, all of us working together. Plus, I don't remember the last time my bathrooms smelled so nice :)

Anyway, back to the windows. My kids have special window markers, and we let them color all over the windows at our house. I have been known to leave their drawings and window stickers and other artistic tendencies up on the walls and windows for months or maybe a year or two at a time. But yesterday, I cleaned the windows and wiped off their artwork. Except... I just couldn't erase this one window pane.

The particular little person who drew this has made a big impression on me, and I can't seem to erase it until I know the direction that God has for them in the next chapter of their life.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day

I know several people with birthdays at the beginning of September.
My MIL has one. Mike's brother, one of the kids' uncles, has a birthday this week.
MIL was telling me how it took over 48 hours of contractions before labor really got started.

And it made me think of my own birth stories. I love how each of our children begin in different ways, right down to the day and hour and manner in which they are born.It is just another way that proves how God is in the details of our lives, both big and small.

Sometimes I need to just sit still and remember all the details that He has orchestrated for me.

If you have a Labor Day story (or more than one!), I'd love to hear it.
You can reply here or send me a message.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It should be illegal to get up before sunrise.
I am running on 3 hours of sleep today.
I'm afraid I'll turn into "Mean Mommy" fairly quickly.
All month Ive been praying for more patience.
I have the feeling I might use up my reserves of patience today.

Any tips for getting through a sleep deprived day with 5 little people?

I'm all ears.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Isaiah 1:17

Isaiah 1:17  (NIV)

17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

This week, I am working on memorizing this Bible verse.
I thought I knew almost every verse in the Bible that had to do with orphans.... and yes, I know a few. But earlier today, I realized that I don't: primarily because they are not usually called "orphans". In the Bible, they are most often referred to as "the fatherless." In our American culture, being "fatherless" is much more commonplace than being "an orphan". This seemingly small nuance changed the message in my mind somewhat.

The above verse also reminds me of Micah 6:8, which says

"...what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God."

That is the verse I think we most often see, on tshirts or cutesy bags or even etsy necklaces. I've seen it on missions and/or adoption fundraiser t-shirts as well. It is a good reminder of how we should live, and how we should think, talk, and act. 

So, as Christians we proclaim it - there's even a song written about this verse by a popular contemporary group - but is that really the way we live? Are we humbly walking with God every day? Are we just and merciful to everyone we meet, without bias or discrimination? Is this truly how others see us?  I don't know. I would hope so. But I know that I fall far, far short of the expectations set before me. That's why I'm so appreciative of God's grace and mercy.

I don't know what I was trying to say here.... just my random thoughts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tough Decision, part 2

Two and a half months ago, when I wrote about a tough decision that I had to make for our family, I was really struggling with what was the right thing to do. I felt like whichever way I went, there would be loss, or unfairness, or unhappiness for at least one of us, if not more. Mike and I talked about it at length, but ultimately he left the final choice to me. (Why?! Why do I have to be the one to make the final call?! I hate having that pressure, but he's right, it's something *I* had to decide.)

Well, since that tough decision was made in May, our circumstances have changed somewhat. We have the baby back with us, indefinitely. Everyone has adjusted really well to having the baby around. We are comfortable in our home. We were thinking that four kids under our roof was a pretty good number. A "comfortable" number, if you will.

Then last week we got a phone call. There is a boy who needs a home and a family. No one else is willing to take him. Would we be willing to meet him? We're going to meet him on Friday, and see how it goes.

If you pray or think of us over the next week, please pray for this young boy too. He's been through so many tragedies and transitions in his young life already. I don't know how he will handle these latest changes. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Say "yes"

I want to share another woman's words with you today, because they really spoke to my heart.
"No Greater Joy" is a blog that I follow. Here is an excerpt:

"'s just as well God only reveals today to us--one tiny second at a time. We're not meant to know tomorrow. We're not meant to understand next week. When we place our lives at His feet and surrender all into the Potter's faithful hands, tomorrow is HIS concern, not ours.

...If there's one thing that I have learned as God has gently led us down such an uncertain road over the past year, it's to be ready to say "yes" when He calls our name. In season, and out of season too. Be ready to say yes when we feel like we have life all figured out and all of our sweet ducks in a row. Be ready to say yes when we feel so content with the way life currently is and we don't want it any other way. Be ready to say yes when all things are wonderful and we cannot imagine life any more beautiful.

And be ready to say yes when we cannot see our way out of the thickest forest...but we know that He is near. Because a simple yes spoken in obedience is worth so much more than any earthly wealth or great gain."

You can read the full message here:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Looking for the wrong thing

Some nights, when I can't sleep, I scroll through the photo-listings and profiles of foster children on 

These are children waiting, searching, and hoping for a forever family. The kind of family that won't give them up again, make them move away again, or say goodbye again. 

I look at the pictures of these orphaned, outcast children and pray for them. I pray that they will be safe and loved. I put our family's parameters into the search engine (less than 9 years old, no more than 2 siblings) and consider each of the little faces on the list. Could we care for her, or him, or those two? Would they get along well with our other kids? Could we be a family?

Tonight, I realized that I am looking for the wrong thing.

When we completed our home study and foster parenting paperwork, we were asked what kind of child/ren we would like to be placed with us. We were asked about our expectations. Frankly, I didn't have many. "What do you think a foster child placed with you will look like?" I think I wrote down "big eyes, big smile, multiracial." We were willing to accept anyone younger than our oldest child.  Special needs would be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on what we felt we were equipped to handle. We didn't talk much about specifics, Mike and I, because there weren't any. How can you prepare your heart and mind for a fictitious little person who may or may not be coming to live with you for an indefinite period of time?!

But in my heart, I did (and still do!) have expectations. I expect a child to "fit in" with the rest of the children we already have. Not necessarily by birth order, more like with their temperament or energy level. If I have one child who requires 150% of my patience, then I won't have any patience left to share with the rest. So when I read words in profiles like "would benefit from being the only child in the home", I have to rule them out. They would not be a good match for us.

Sometimes children have severe mental, physical, or emotional needs. While these children certainly deserve a family, we do not feel called to take on a severely handicapped child. Someone who would require 24-hour nursing care would also not be a good fit for our family.

Yet, my expectations go a little farther. All of my biological kids names end in the same letter. If we ended up falling in love with a child whose name was completely different, would they feel left out? Would they want to change their name? Would we? I know the name thing might sound trite, but it is something that I consider.

A few years ago, I had a dream about a child that we would adopt in the future.
In my dream, I got a glimpse of the child's face.
The name of the child sounded like "Isaiah."
 Ever sine then, I have been looking for an Isaiah.

Over the years, several Isaiahs (they all seem to have different spellings, different baggage, and different cultural or ethnic backgrounds) have come up on the website. After a few months or maybe a year, they will disappear from the database. Which is good for them - it means they are no longer available for adoption. They have found their Forever Family. And that is the ultimate goal for these children.

But, it also means that they are not available to be part of OUR family.
So every time one of them disappears, I feel a little bit sad inside, because it wasn't meant to be for us. Because we are still waiting... and so is a child out there.

So... Why am I looking for the wrong thing?

Well, this is what I realized tonight: I am not going to find the "Isaiah" of my dreams on a website. I can look at those photos all day and night, but it won't help me find the child who is meant to be ours. Do you know why? Because, as foster parents, Mike and I signed up to be available to children in our own state, in our county of residence. We are not going to find our future child halfway across the world, or even across the country. Others do, but we won't. The child for us will probably not be listed on one of those Heart Galleries or "Tuesday's Child" adoption awareness news clips they have out there. It will be less public, more slow-moving. Not nearly so dramatic, I don't think. We feel strongly that the little person(s) who will grow to call us Mom and Dad is (are) right here, in our local area. In our county. In our neck of the woods. In our backyard, so to speak.

I'm not saying that the right child for us is just going to show up at our house one day... but then again, who is to say that they won't?! We don't know. Those social services "people movers" could come knocking on our door any day now... or any night.

What I am really trying to say, what I have also realized tonight, again, is that I need to throw away my own selfish ambitions, my own goals, ideals, and expectations, and do whatever it is that God asks me to do. Whether that means learning more patience, or practicing still more patience, I need to do it. Cheerfully, obediently. With a loving heart.

This over-arcing theme of surrender has repeated itself to me many times over the past year.

I need to continue to pray, open-armed, empty-handed, heart wide open,
that He will lead me - and I will follow Him.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back and forth

I can't sleep! We have so many things happening this week...
I am a big huge ball of nervous anticipation, excitement, and dread.
I really don't know what to do with myself.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day rearranging furniture, washing and folding laundry, and cleaning out closets. I was so preoccupied that I forgot to make dinner!

I don't know how this will all play out and I don't have a lot of details to share, so for now I have to stay quiet and just internalize everything (or talk it over with Mike. And I certainly am grateful that we've been able to do that this weekend). I am NOT a patient person by any means, so this "wait-and-see" approach is definitely NOT my favorite way of doing things. However, when working with the foster care system, we do a lot of waiting and seeing. Therefore, I must wait. And maybe, during the process, I will develop a teensy bit more patience.

Hoping I can calm down and get some sleep soon.

Friday, August 1, 2014

"Wait No More"

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a foster parent, or if you've ever considered domestic adoption, and you live in North Carolina, like I do... there is a great opportunity for you coming up in a few weeks.

On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, Focus on the Family and NC Dept. of Health and Human Service (DHHS) are teaming up for a FREE event in Charlotte, NC.

"Right now, more than 100,000 legal orphans in United States foster care are waiting for adoptive families."

"So... why are these kids still waiting?"

"We believe that every child has the right to a family."

That is the heart of the "Wait No More" campaign.

For more information, please visit

If you are not in NC, there are other events going on across the country. See if your state is participating at

Friday, June 27, 2014

I want proof!

Yesterday we had another worker visit us in conjunction with the foster baby. They talked with each family member, and asked normal questions about the child's growth and development. 

They also continue to ask, at each visit: "Would you adopt if you could?"  

We've made it perfectly clear that we'd be very happy to adopt the child, if possible

Why can't we just leave it at that? 

We all cherish this child and act like they are part of the family. I think it just bothers the stuffings out of me that they are insinuating that this child will be "ours", when there are living relatives around, and that adoption is clearly not happening anytime in the near future.

I am really trying not to get my hopes up about adoption in this case because the birth family is such a wildcard... and I know that the whole legal process can take a long, long time. It just bothers me that they keep dangling the possibility of adoption when no permanency plan has been established yet.

I am preparing myself, my heart, and the minds of my other children for a long wait, and I'm trying my best to be patient in this situation.  But when they throw around words like adoption, and continue to bring up concepts such as permanency planning, terminating parental rights, etc.... It kind of bothers me. You know why? It bothers me because there is no certainty. I think that's the heart of it. I want proof! I don't want a carrot dangling in front of us. I want something concrete. Something that says this little one can stay with us. Forever, if possible. (My girls vote for "forever" too.) I don't want to voice the possibility of adoption if it will end in disruption or failure, especially if the biological family reunifies.

But that's just the thing.... Being a foster parent is anything BUT certain or concrete or permanent. I can't get answers, because really, at this point there are none. So again, God must teach me to be patient and wait. Why did I sign up for this again?! Oh, right, to help children.... so that's what I'm doing. Trying to live life in the moments, one day, one hour at time, and cherish every single one of them.

Thanks for listening to my little rant.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

spiritually stagnant

"I'm tired, I'm worn, my heart is heavy..."
Do you know that song by Tenth Avenue North?
Do you ever feel like this too?

Yesterday I realized what it is that's lacking at the church we currently attend: No one hangs out after church. Oh, once in a while there's a Sunday lunch or potluck dinner, a few times a year. But for the most part socialization only happens during holidays or church-sanctioned functions. People don't go out of their way to spend time together. For instance, after the service this morning, I let the kids run around on the playground for about 20 minutes before we went home for lunch. Who stopped to say hi? Who came over to play with us? Nobody.

And when someone says, "Hi, how are you?", how do I know they really mean it?
Do they really care how I'm doing, or is that just a nice greeting?

Also, not that I need to have friends -just- like me, but.... everyone works. There's nothing wrong with working and getting paid, don't get me wrong, but the families at church are all two-income households. No others SAHM's to be found. It's really hard to spend time together when you have completely different schedules. Mike finds it difficult to relate to others for similar reasons - who else has his schedule?! It's hard to relate to each other when you only see each other for an hour or two a week.

It's been MONTHS since I've been able to sit through a sermon without interruptions, and it's been more than 6 weeks since someone's updated the church website and posted the audio of the sermon online. How in the world am I supposed to catch-up!?

I want to encourage and minister to others, but the only place I see to do that, with the time I have and the kids that have to come with me, is.... the church nursery. Which means I miss yet another chance to listen to a sermon and socialize with others. I still serve there once every 4-6 weeks, but I don't particularly enjoy it anymore.

I'm burned-out and spiritually dry.
There are no Bible studies or small groups meeting over the summer.
This means less opportunities for me to find spiritually encouraging friends.

I remember another time I felt like this. I was seventeen. I was giving and giving and giving my time and talents to others, and not getting anything in return. My youth group leader said I had 2 options: keep going, or step back and take a break.

I'm not ready to step back. I feel like I haven't even really started doing anything yet!
I don't want to give up on this church entirely. No church is perfect.
I guess that means I need to dig deeper - I'm just not sure what that looks like at this point in my life. Pray more? Bible study more? Outreach more?

Am I missing something?

You know what? I must be. I can't hear what God is trying to tell me over the noise of our everyday life and the restlessness in my heart. I wish I could find a women's retreat, or even a few hours of peace and quiet to figure this out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

opportunity knocking?

Last week, I was invited to participate in a mission trip that is happening later this summer.
An in-country mission trip? Low travel costs? Helping others in a poor rural community, physically, emotionally, and spiritually? I immediately wanted to jump at the chance.

I talked it over with Mike, and his reaction was... "No way. Bad idea. Don't go."

I went to a meeting a few days ago, to get more info about details, logistics and travel plans.
I would be allowed to bring the kids! Other parents were bringing their children. There were plenty of beds. We'd cook meals together. We'd work on different projects in teams. It sounded great!

Then I came home, and thought about it some more. How could I meaningfully help others when I already had four kids to drag around with me all day? How would I be able to assist in projects if I was constantly feeding and changing a baby, and hiking with preschoolers back and forth to the bathroom? Ok, so it would be kind of challenging. But if there's a will... there's a way. Right?

Mike still said "No. I don't want you to go."
But this time he qualified it.

He told me that I am needed more at home right now, during this season of our lives with young kids. He thinks the preschoolers are too young to stay overnight with friends for 3-5 days while he works the night shift and their mommy is away in another state. He thinks it would be too stressful for me to balance the typical everyday mom-duties and drag all of them along with me on a week-long missions adventure trip in the middle of the mountains. And he isn't willing to let them stay home without me. In his line of thinking, if there are already dozens of others signed up for the missions trip, why do I need to bend over backwards to include myself? I almost think he found it selfish of me, that I would be willing to "neglect" things at home to go on a missions trip elsewhere. He said that taking care of a foster baby is a full-time job in itself (true). "Isn't THAT mission work? Aren't you doing missions every day?"

While I could have argued, I decided to be a good wife and respect his wishes.
Maybe he is right on some points.  :)

So, I won't be going on a missions trip this summer, even though I think it's a really great opportunity.
But I will continue to look for ways to serve, whether they are in my own home, down the road, in the next town, or donating gifts, money and resources to ministries in other places/countries.

There are so many ways to help others...  Are you?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baby is back

Less than one hour after I wrote my last post ( see "tough decisions"), the phone rang.

The social worker called again.

The foster baby needed to be moved.

Would we take the baby back?

I didn't hesitate: "Yes!"

I really think that God put that other situation in front of me so that I would put my whole "yes" on the table. God does not like lukewarm or half-hearted followers. He wants us to be fully devoted. We can't sit on the fence and remain wishy-washy! I need to give up ALL of my own selfish desires, all of my doubts and worries and little earthly plans, throw them all out the window, and go where He leads me, with open hands.

I KNOW that He has orphans on my mind and in my heart for a reason. We still don't know exactly why we, as a family, have been called to this type of ministry. We might never fully know. But for now, we will care for the children that have been entrusted to us. Because no matter where they come from, no matter if they are in our home for days, weeks, years, or a lifetime... they are, first and foremost, children of God.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

tough decisions

Last week, I was faced with a major, life-changing decision. The sort of decision that would greatly impact each member of our family, as well as others. This decision would completely change our family life, our daily schedule, and everything in our household that we currently take for granted.

It is a big deal.

Whichever way I chose, I felt like someone would lose.

There would be sacrifices and heartache and hard times.
There would be greater demands on me and my time.
There would be shouts of "unfair!" from the kids, no matter what I did. 

I wrestled with this decision and thought about it a lot.
I prayed about it night and day for 2 solid days.

Finally, with tears and some fear, I said yes.
Yes Lord, I will obey what you are asking me to do.
Yes Lord, I will do this difficult task that you are putting in front of me.

I am still nervous about what He has planned for us, but I will choose to walk by faith, not by sight. Because the things of this world are fleeting. Our time here is short and precious. And how we spend our time and our resources should impact eternity, not the popular opinion.  I can't stay the same and take the easy way out. I can't refuse to change, yet still expect to see God continue working in me.

One of the first Bible verses I memorized as a young child (after John 3:16 and Psalms 3:5-6), was Hebrews 11:1. I remember my youth pastor quoting it often, challenging us, asking "What is faith?" I'm not sure exactly what version I was taught, but in my mind, the verse says "Faith is being SURE of what you HOPE for, and CERTAIN of what you DO NOT SEE." That's what I'm striving for. Being certain of my hope and my future, even in the midst of uncertainty. (also see Jer. 29:11)

It will be a few months until we see the impact of these changes in our family.
I can't share a lot of details yet, because none of it is quite certain.
For now though, I will trust in God alone, and prepare my heart and mind for whatever is coming next.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Help Orphans in Haiti!

A friend of mine recently returned from a missions trip to Haiti. They are raising much-needed funds for 46 orphan children in Titanyen, Haiti. You can read more about it at

I would love it if you could help with this worthy cause.
Even if it's just a few dollars, it is much appreciated.
Every little bit counts!

On Monday night I couldn't fall asleep, so after a couple hours of laying down and staring at the ceiling, I got up and started praying for foster kids. I actually stayed up until 3am praying for the children under 10 years old who are listed on 

I am still not entirely sure why God brings these children to the forefront of my heart and mind, and what it is exactly that he plans to do about it in my life specifically...  but I will continue praying and helping where I can.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

tough love

This morning we said goodbye to our first foster placement.
The baby left our home, but she will never leave our hearts.
It is bittersweet... For us, we most likely won't see ever the baby again. For the baby, she gets to be reunited with family members. I don't know anything about these relatives, but I know that they've been thoroughly checked out and that the baby won't be placed in a situation that seemed dangerous, neglectful, or unsafe.

I have to trust that she will be safe and happy with them.

As author Kathy Harrison put it, I am "being forced to imagine the end." Because of confidentiality laws and privacy issues and such, we are not allowed to have contact with the biological family. We won't know when she learns to walk or hear her first words. She will not remember us.

It's amazing how quickly you can bond with someone, even though you know they aren't your child. We knew we weren't playing for keeps. But now that she is no longer with us, I am really feeling that loss.

The kids are sad. The preschoolers know the baby had to go back to her family. but it's difficult for them to process and put into words what they're feeling. The oldest is 9, and acting out horribly. She's definitely not herself right now. I completely gave up on trying to get any schoolwork done today (another plus for homeschooling - "mental health days" are allowed sometimes).

It's strange - this kind of loss is beyond my scope of experience up until now. It's not something that many other people can relate to. It's not the same as a pregnancy loss. I didn't have a miscarriage or suffer the death of a child. There was no tragedy or accident. There was even some forewarning. But it is still a loss. We are grieving because we love that baby, but she is not ours. We can't keep her, even if we wanted to. We can be her for-a-little-while family, but we can't be her forever family.

There's an empty place now. (It's true that there was an empty place before - there's been an empty bedroom here for 12 months, but this time the emptyness has a name and a face.) No more infant carseat to lug around, no more diaper bag to carry, no more buying formula or cleaning those darn bottles.

I took one last picture of the baby before she left, and in it, she is smiling as big as she possibly can.

That is what I want to hold onto and remember.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Goodbye to Beth

My words are inadequate, but I feel the need to express them anyway.
I have so many fond memories of Beth that they won't all fit here. I'll just share a few:
When I met "Maude" at age 2 or 3, I was scared stiff. I ran and hid behind a bush. It took me a few years to understand that Maude was just a character. But I love, trusted, and respected Beth.
I remember eating honeysuckle in your driveway, pirate birthday parties, New Years Eve celebrations, babysitting the boys, and eating barley soup with Beth on a cold winter day.
When I was 9, I helped Beth with Rainbowland Week. "Peter Pan" was the theme. She let me be "Smee", made me an eyepatch, and had me walk the plank. It was a tiny role, I might've had one line, but at that time it was a huge boost for my confidence. It meant a lot that she chose me to play that part.
Karl, your marriage to Beth withstood good times and bad, in richer and poorer, in sickness and in health. It is a testament to your love for each other. It transcends time.
Peter and Nathan, your mom loved you so very much. She was very proud of you, and often said how blessed she was to have you as her sons. Nate, I'm thankful she could see you graduate from college. I know that meant a lot to her (and to you, I'm sure).
Beth was a wise, intuitive lady who never met a stranger. She was always encouraging and enthusiastic, always teaching, always showing God's love to others through her actions.
The last question Beth asked me was "Are you happy?" I know that's what she wants for you: Happiness. Of course it won't happen right away. Especially with Mothers' Day and her birthday coming up. Those will be hard days. But she wants you to be happy and enjoy life to the fullest, as she did.
I am sorry I can't be there on Tuesday to celebrate Beth's life with you in person. Instead, I will continue to remember her in my heart. As another friend said. "Heaven just got a whole lot more interesting with Beth in it." I can only imagine her singing with the angels in perfect harmony, and dancing in God's presence, as if she was never sick a day in her life.
Until we meet again, Beth....

Monday, April 28, 2014

foster parenting

This week, I am reading an excellent book about foster care: "Another Place at the Table" by Kathy Harrison. The subtitle: a story of shattered childhoods redeemed by love. It is an honest, genuine account of one family's foster care experiences in Massachusetts in the 1990s.  The stories she shares will make you laugh and cry.

This is my favorite paragraph so far:
"....finding families willing to open their doors to the rigors of foster parenting is hard. Fostering means knowing about things that most of us would prefer to forget. It means recognizing that our best is often not good enough. It means only knowing the difficult beginnings of a story and being forced to imagine the end. It means loving children who will ultimately leave us, and then drying our tears and letting ourselves love again."

I think that sums it up pretty well.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Update to "Waiting Game"

Three days after I wrote the last post, we had a training meeting with other local foster families, our licensing worker and others. It gave me a fresh perspective about why we are trying to do this fostering stuff.

When we told our social worker that we were seriously considering giving up on DSS and adopting from another agency, she said "oh, well whenever people say that, they usually have a placement within a week."

Sure enough, 4 days later, she called us.
A baby needed a safe place to stay.
Would we be willing to take a baby?

Well, how could I say no to a baby?!

So yesterday we brought home a new baby.

We don't know how long the baby will be with us, and in this particular case there are certainly more questions than there are answers... but for now, we will take care of that baby the best we can, sleepless nights and all, and leave the worrying up to God.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More of The Waiting Game

I'm weary, worn-out and wondering "why?"

I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

I'm not sleeping well.

I'm not Super-Mom.

We are frustrated with waiting. It's been 12 months since we finished our MAPP classes and 9 months since we've become licensed foster parents. Why are we still waiting for a placement when there are over 500,000 children languishing in America's foster care system? It baffles me. We have an empty room with 2 beds in it. It is collecting dust, completely empty. It's a bit frustrating.

I'm not doubting God's plans, don't get me wrong. I keep His promises in my heart. I know He has good plans for me, for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I just wish I could break-through all the bureaucratic red-tape and help get children out of neglectful, abusive, unsafe conditions and into a stable, loving home.

So if you happen to see me teary-eyed, staring into space, or a little disgruntled at the world... I'm just having one of those moments.