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....