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:

"...it'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: http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2014/08/the-testing-of-our-faith.html

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 www.adoptuskids.org 

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 http://icareaboutorphans.org/north-carolina/

If you are not in NC, there are other events going on across the country. See if your state is participating at http://icareaboutorphans.org/whatwedo/waitnomore/