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One More Month

09/30/2013

There is one month left in our self-imposed 90-day break from foster care following Buzz’s return home. The first month was a blur of catching up on life. The second month we fell back into rhythm as a family of three and life got really comfortable and easy again… Foster care was kind of a distant thought. In the final month I want to start preparing my heart and my home to enter the foster care world again.

october2013preptime

Here’s a little reflection on my 90-day to do list from the beginning of August.

Here are my goals for the next 3 months:

• Take Ali to visit our friends in Cincinnati

• Visit our previous hometown Erie, PA and introduce Ali to her only great grandparent – Jason’s grandma who she was named after (and other friends and family, too!)

• Clean out and organize the garage. More. Again.

• Clean, rearrange the kids room

• Organize and store extra kids clothing in the closet for easier access

• Reorganize the playroom (pack up or give away toys that Ali has outgrown)

• Stock the freezer with meals again. More.

• Celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Ali’s adoption day

• Transition Ali into a big girl bed (AKA take the side off of her crib)… And then reverse it.

• Potty train Ali

• Clean out the van

• Clean and store spare car seats

• Sell the Mercedes and get another van (we love our van so much that we want a second one!) … Jason tells me there is no hurry for this.

• Take Ali to Dollywood while Jason’s playing there

• provide respite for another foster family … We were getting lots of requests over the summer through our family service worker but I haven’t seen any since the beginning of August. I guess it’s more of a summer thing.

• decide what I want to do with the rest of my life

In the month of October I’m going to take a step back from blogging, maybe all together but for sure less than my usual 5 days a week. I plan to spend that time reading (I’m halfway through One Thousand Gifts and loving it…so poignant for this time), preparing our home (I’d love to have more meals in the freezer…cooking is nearly impossible for me when we have a new kid), praying (for my fellow foster mamas who are in the trenches right now facing the really hard stuff, for myself, Jason and Ali, for Buzz and his mom, for our next kids) and doing my best to stay on top of work and keep myself healthy emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

If things are quiet around here, I’m off resting and restocking for the next big adventure. See you back here soon!

My email address is posted in the right column. Feel free to send me a message if you want to check in. I’ve connected with lots of lovely people all across the world that way.

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“If you live your life too safely…”

03/08/2012

I was trying yet again to bring it up subtly, to work foster care statistics naturally into conversation. I don’t remember which freshly learned fact I was offering. Maybe I said, “Did you know there are half a million kids in foster care in the US? And over 200,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.” Or I may have been explaining why the Adopt US Kids lists rarely showed infants and young kids on the waiting-to-be-adopted lists—because they were usually adopted by their foster parents; because the foster parents the kids already know and trust are typically offered the first opportunity when the kids become legally free to adopt. Perhaps I was mentioning how it doesn’t cost anything to become a foster parent, the government even pays a small daily board rate to help with expenses, and that adoption through foster care is practically free.

Jason looked at me from across the dinner table with tears welling up in his eyes and said, “I can tell this is something you really want to do. Why don’t you go ahead and take the first step—call whoever you need to call to find out what we need to do to get started.” After our previous foster parenting conversation (when we talked about how heartbreaking it would be and how it wasn’t really in our plan), he had agreed to think and pray more about it. Maybe this was something God was putting heavily on our hearts for a reason. I was amazed at how quickly Jason had warmed up to it. I had expected more resistance to this crazy idea to become foster parents and now I was wondering if I really was ready to practice what I had been preaching.

This is what I tweeted that night (3-10-11):
“On the precipice of something big and feeling equally excited and inadequate. Thank you Lord for lighting the path… one step at a time.”

Later that evening an intense headache came upon me—the kind that makes me want to just curl up in bed and do nothing. What if I had a child right now? I wondered. How could I care for someone else who is dependent on me when I don’t feel like I have the strength and energy to do anything for anyone else besides myself right now. What was I thinking? How in the world am I going to have the energy to not just care for a child, but care for a child who is coming from a difficult past with the potential for all kinds of behavioral and emotional problems? I have no experience as a mother. I’m not good enough… I’m not strong enough… I’m not selfless enough… Those thoughts rolled around in my head as I tossed and turned all night.

When my alarm clock went off, I slipped out of bed, made my way into the bathroom, slid my Jesus Calling book off the back of the toilet and opened it to that day’s passage, March 11. It said…

Walk by faith, not by sight.
As you take steps of faith, depending on Me,
I will show you how much I can do for you.
If you live your life too safely,
you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you.
When I gave you My spirit,
I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength.
Thats why it is wrong to measure your energy level
against the challenges ahead of you.
The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless.
By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength.

My feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy melted away as I stepped off the ledge into the unknown and started the most challenging, rewarding, stretching, joy-filled, faith-building year of my life. Thank God for giving me the courage to take that first step in obedience and for working through me despite every shortcoming.

(The picture above is from the day we said goodbye to Ladybug, our first foster placement, on arguably the most difficult day of my life.)