It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s supermom?

Welcome back to my dearly neglected blog. If you are interested in reading posts more than once in a blue moon please head over to http://www.onehope27.wordpress.com and check it out. 

I often have people call me “supermom” and always feel the need to inform them that I most defiantly am not. Some days it is good just to get everyone dressed and out the door even if one of them has “crazy hair” or is missing a sock, or forgot to brush their teeth, or is wearing red skinny jeans with a green t-shirt and a Christmas necktie. Trust me, there is just no super in that!

There are days where I am just tired, where one of the kids work up 12 times the night before. Days when I don’t want to wipe another runny nose, or change another diaper, or deal with the insecurities and demands of a child who has experienced neglect inflicted upon them by another. In those days I do not feel super at all, and it is in those kind of days where I realize my selfishness. You see when I am thinking only about me, I don’t want to wake up 12 times a night to put a scarred child back to bed, I don’t want to wipe that runny nose again, or change one more poopie diaper. I get tired of constantly assuring and comforting a child who has previously been neglected. That’s where my job as a Momma  begins, when I put aside my own feelings, my own tiredness, my selfishness and I  meet my children’s needs. It’s nothing super, I assure you. It is simply a choice to think of my children first. Isn’t that what every good Momma does?

Honestly, I think the only reason people think I am super at all is because I am doing something they think they could never do. I am a foster momma, opening my home and my heart to kids who I may have to let go. A friend recently posted a great response to this: Dear Person Who Said to Me Today,”I could never be a foster parent like you. I’m afraid I would love them too much to give them back.” You’re probably the 999th person who’s said that to me and I’m pretty sure you won’t be the last. I’m also pretty sure you didn’t mean to imply that because I’ve ‘given them back’, I couldn’t possibly love them as much as you would. I’m concerned that you may misunderstand love so let me describe for you what it is to love a foster child. Love stays up all night rocking a crack baby in withdrawal. Love keeps a vigil over the little boy in the crib flailing from shaken-baby syndrome. Love privately cries over the heartbreaking goodbyes and then love is just crazy enough to get up and embrace the next battered child with open arms and an open heart. Love is a verb. It pours out, it bleeds,it cries, it sacrifices. I’m absolutely certain that love does not withdraw to safety and comfort while congratulating itself for ‘loving too much’. When you say to me that you’re afraid you would love them too much to give them back, you’ve said nothing about protecting a child whose well being is threatened, only about protecting yourself. You’ve actually told me nothing about love, only about fear. written by an unknown Foster parent”

So maybe putting aside our own selfishness and fear is supermom material. I think it is just God’s Love in us, helping us to do more than we ever could on our  own. I am not supermom, but I do serve a super God!

To God Be The Glory

We all have weeks, days, moments in our lives that we will never forget. This was one of those weeks for our family as we saw God provide miracles right before our eyes! I am overwhelmed with awe and amazement of our God. There is just nothing like praying earnestly and desperately for something, and watching as God provides the answers in ways beyond what you could have hoped or expected for.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3: 20-21

Our Great Privilege

Chilly, rainy, fall has officially arrived in Wisconsin… winter unfortunately is inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, I Love all things Christmas, but the frozen-toed, snowy, winter days I could certainly do without. In preparation for this season, we have begun collecting winter jackets. Yikes, all 5 needed winter jackets this year! 

We were blessed to be able to pick out new jackets for the 3 littles from a great local non-profit that cares about foster children. I was amazed at the quality and selection they had to offer us and was ecstatic about the adorable jackets I found. When I brought them home and had the girls try them on, I instantly saw their little faces light up! This was especially true for Stella who is still new enough to be surprised when she receives new, pretty things. 

That expression of surprise and pure joy at receiving something new and “just for me” is one of the things I Love about being a foster parent. Being able to provide not only new clothing, but stability, safety, family, and the Love of Jesus is our great privilege! 

A Foster Momma’s Job is Never Done

Lately I have been pondering the question; is a Foster Momma’s job ever done? Does a child leave your home, with you saying “goodbye” never to think of them again, never to be involved in their life again?

I have thought about Baby almost every day since she has left our home. I have kept in touch with bio Mom, been able to encourage her and receive updates on how Baby is doing. Baby recently “graduated” from her therapy program, and is growing big, talking up a storm, and as most preschool girls are, is crazy about Dora. She is healthy, happy, and safe, and we are forever proud of this sweet girl who spent several months as part of our family one year.

Now Baby’s Mom finds herself up against a challenge. When she shared this information with me, my heart instantly broke and I was filled with guilt. Guilt that we hadn’t done enough to help her. Guilt that we had failed her. All I could do in that moment was pray. That’s when God helped me to see that my job is not done. We have not failed this family, there is simply more we need to do for them. God has provided this connection between us for all that needed to be done to help Baby and all that still needs to be done in her family.

So I say; “If you do it right a Foster Momma’s job is never done.”

Are You Kidding Me???

I want to tell you a story, one that saddens and angers me to say is in fact a true story.

It begins with a Momma and her 3 young children out on a beautiful afternoon running errands. They made it through their first stop quite well. Everything on the list was bought, baby was sleeping, kids were happy, no one threw a tantrum. That’s what I call a successful trip to the store.

The second stop started off much the same. One of the children found a “car cart” and helped her sister inside while the Momma put the baby in. The two girls were having a great time “driving” through the store, making car noises and honking sounds and giggling all the way. Maybe their laughter and joy is why the Momma was caught so off guard by what happened next.

A man dressed in uniform blue, presumably picking out his cut of steak to grill for dinner turned to them and said “You need to shut up those N$&@ers”! The Momma stunned and shocked tried to pick her jaw up off the ground, looked around for someone, anyone, to come to the defense of these precious kiddos but there was no one in sight. All she could manage to say was “Are you kidding me? Do NOT talk to them that way” To which he responded “well that IS what they are” Momma was left speechless (which was probably better than spewing what she could have said) and walked away shaking. She turned a corner into the next aisle and kissed her kiddos telling them they were beautiful made perfectly by God.

“Are you kidding me” pretty much sums up my thoughts on this story. This is 2013, wars have been fought, rally’s have been led, people have given their lives so their children and grandchildren could be treated better than this. There is no excuse for that kind of language and that attitude to be shown to children, to anyone with different colored skin from you. It baffles me that even still today someone can actually think they are better than someone else because of the color of their skin!

On Adoption

As I begin this post I want to make it very clear that I am a FOSTER parent. Although we originally began this process out of a heart to adopt, I have grown to understand and see the good in reunification. I have seen how a child can safely and quickly reunify with their biological family through the help of the Foster care system. I have seen Foster families become a part of that child’s extended family and provide a great support system for the biological parents. I believe reunification is possible and wonderful when appropriate.

I have also seen reunification unable to happen. In spite of best efforts made on everyone’s part sometimes the Bio parents can not safely and effectively parent. That is when adoption comes into play.

Adoption is not a second-rate chance at life. Just the other day someone close to us told me that the court is so hesitant to terminate the rights of biological parents because they have done research to prove that a child is better off left in the very worst biological family then a good adoptive one.

Go ahead and read that last sentence again… As you can imagine I was fired up by this and spent quite a while looking for “such research” once I got home. I found nothing even close.

What I did find is this: Adopted children do as well as or better than their non-adopted counterparts, according to a 1994 study by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based public policy research organization.

Their Data indicates that adopted children:

Do better in educational attainment than single parent children and children raised by grandparents.

Enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all the other groups.

Have superior access to health care compared to all other groups.

No, adoption is not a second-rate chance at life. Adoption does not set a child up for failure it sets them up for success they would not have had in their biological circumstance. After all didn’t God set the most beautiful example of Adoption when we choose us for His family.

Updates from the Abyss

Well our big court date for Girl-girl has been postponed again! Am I disappointed, yes of course, but I have to say with each postponement it gets a bit easier to take. The waiting, as time goes on, is simply waiting for the inevitable. It becomes less of a question of IF it will happen and becomes more a matter of WHEN It will happen. 

The most difficult part of it all, is watching Girl-girl struggle through it. Watching how she doesn’t understand when we send her off to visits, and why we don’t protect her from the pain she may experience there. I want to fix all his for her, but I can not so we Love Girl-girl with all we have and we wait, knowing that our God has plans to use all this for her good in the end. 

Bubba is doing well, getting HUGE, ready to surpass Girl-girl in size any day now. He is smiling and cooing and laughing and has once or twice rolled over on accident, not yet realizing how he did that. It won’t be long before he is rolling all over the place. 

Stella has integrated with the family quite well. All the kids Love her and are enjoy playing with her. She is a sweetie and her smile would melt your heart. 

It will sure be a different around here when the big boys start school next week. There will be a bittersweet change in volume and energy and the girls will miss their big brothers like crazy. I will miss my big boys too, but might actually get something accomplished during nap time now. 

 

7th Heaven

7th Heaven
When I see their happy faces,
smilin’ back at me…
7th heaven
I know there’s no greater feelin’ than the love of family…

Yes, I still know all the lyrics to the theme song. It’s hard to say if watching this show as a young girl sparked my interest in a large family or if it was a God ordained desire put inside me to fulfill what He planed for us.

We recently added one more little sweetie to our family (making us a family of 7). She is an even tempered, quiet little girl – almost the polar opposite of Girl-girl. Aidan has insisted on calling her “Stella” although that is not her name, not a part of her name, in fact not even close to her name (but that’s our Aidan for you)… 

We approach “Stella” being here as we have with the 3 others who have come before. We will welcome her in as family and will Love her, protect her, fight for what’s best for her for as long as she needs us to. 

 

Aside

Transform

Recently I met someone who had been a foster parent for a number of years. As I spoke with her about our shared experience, I quickly realized that while we did share a similar experience, we did not share the same perspective. It is very easy to become negative about the system, I have inadvertently found myself being negative at times when trying to explain the realities of the system. It’s not an easy system to navigate and the children who come through our doors are broken in need of healing, but that is why it is so important to have Christ filled foster homes!

I had the great privilege of speaking at a baby shower today that was thrown for a soon to be foster Momma. The outpouring of Love for this couple was amazing – from words of advice, to an adorable themed shower and prayers offered for this Momma and the children who will come through her door. This is one couple who I know will be supported by their church and I have no doubt that any child who comes into their home will be equally as Loved.

I know that if more Christian families would take up the God-given mandate to care for “the least of these”, and more churches would support those families and show the Love of Christ to foster children and their families, then we can transform the foster care system in our country!