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Guilt-Free Waiting

11/14/2013

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It was on October 29th when we got our first call. Based on past experience, I expected the calls to continue coming every other day at least, until we got a “yes” call. But the phone hasn’t rung again. I was relieved. More time to rest. More time to prepare. More time to enjoy life as a family of three. But then the guilt started creeping in. I have a slew of foster mama friends (through social media) and many of them are in the trenches right now, doing the hard work of foster care. I started feeling guilty about all the sunshine and rainbows over here and wondering if some kid across town is suffering, waiting for a foster home to open up. On Friday, due to that guilt, I sent our FSW (family service worker) an email to make sure we are indeed on the call list and that the first call wasn’t a fluke.

On Tuesday morning, I opened up my Jesus Calling devotional to November 12. Once again, God used that little book to speak directly into my situation. In case you can’t read it in the picture above, here’s the first half:

 This is a time of abundance in your life. Your cup runneth over with blessings. After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine. I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment. I delight in providing it for you. Sometimes My children hesitate to receive My good gifts with open hands. Feelings of false guilt creep in, telling them they don’t deserve to be so richly blessed. This is nonsense-thinking, because no one deserves anything from Me.

If that wasn’t enough to relieve my guilt, our FSW wrote back on Tuesday afternoon to confirm that we are on the list. We’ve done nothing wrong but calls have slowed down drastically as they’ve changed the way they do removals. I suspected this already because I read this news article. In short, they’re waiting until they hold a hearing before taking kids out of their homes. I think this is mostly good. I’m not at all in favor of the government being able to come and take away a child without a valid, proven reason. On the other hand, I’m concerned about kids languishing in rotten situations longer than necessary. Calls have slowed way down. Where are all the kids? Are there that many cases that don’t justify a removal? Or are there kids who are being left in abusive situations due to lack of evidence? Not much I can do in that situation but pray.

I’m doing my best to move forward into this time of ease and refreshment guilt-free. Thankfully, God has been speaking a lot lately (or is it that I’ve been listening better?) and He keeps assuring me that He knows what He’s doing, who He is bringing to our family next and when.

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Three Little Words

07/18/2013

Have all my fellow foster parent friends read this? I think it should be required reading. It is a memoir by a young woman who was in foster care from ages 3-12 until she was adopted. She lived through some horrific foster homes and has become a voice and advocate for foster kids. Rocked my world. I finished this in 2 days while we were on vacation.

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I borrowed a copy from the library but you can buy it online here.


Gifts for New Foster Parents

08/11/2011

Let me make it clear: THIS IS NOT A PLEA FOR GIFTS!

(The baby doll and stroller was a gift from my parents.)

Today marks 2 weeks that Jason and I have been foster parents. I mean, technically I guess it’s been longer since we’ve been certified, but it’s been 2 weeks since we welcomed our first placement into our home, our precious little Ladybug. That means we’ve survived our first 2 weeks of parenthood. Yay! A lot of people asked us right away what we needed and how they could help. We were in a whirlwind of exhaustion…physical from carrying around a big toddler, but more so mental and emotional exhaustion. All we really wanted was a nap and people were offering us play dates and toys and clothes. We initially turned down offers for clothing (and toys and play dates) because we weren’t sure if L would be with us longer than a week. What we really wished someone would have offered was to bring us a meal or to come and sit with Ladybug for an hour so we could clean the house or run to the grocery store—things that we would have done before her arrival had we known when it would be. Thankfully, a few people said “Let me know if you need anything!” And I sheepishly responded, “Could you bring us a meal?” We were so drained at first, all I could muster the strength to make was pasta for several days in a row. Thankfully, two friends brought us 2 meals each, which really turned out to be enough food to get us through a week. Praise the Lord! After we found out we’d have L at least several weeks, I started accepting offers for clothing and toys since she really didn’t come with much of anything. So with my limited experience, here is my list of suggested gifts for new foster parents, should you happen upon some in your circle of friends:

• meals! Have I made this point clear already? Gift certificates for take out or pizza would be nice ideas too

• a date night. My parents offered to babysit one night after we put little Ladybug to bed, around 8pm. My mama said, “The best thing you can do for your child is love your spouse.” We went out for dinner and then went clothes shopping for her.

• toys. Ask the parents what they need or want though, because some kids might come with a lot of things or the parents might already have a big collection. Kids music, DVDs, book, games, Target and Amazon.com gift cards, are all great ideas.

• clothing. This is a sticky one. Some kids come with a lot of clothing. Ours came with a random hodge podge of items with hardly any matching outfits, some of it 2 sizes too small, some of it a size too big, no pajamas, no socks, no long pants. If it had only been for a week, we would have been fine. However, once we knew we had more time with her, we definitely needed some more items. (With toys and clothing keep in mind that anything you buy for the child, belongs to the child.)

• gift certificates for photography or getting prints made (Snapfish, Kodak, etc.) to capture and keep memories for the parents and for the kids to take with them

• offer to babysit, even if it’s just for an hour or two while the kid is napping. Figuring out when to clean the house, mow the lawn, etc. can be challenging for new parents.

• space. Visits with close friends and family were great but bonding, building attachments and trust with new parents take a lot of time. Meeting tons of new people can be really overwhelming for a child. For children who haven’t learned healthy attachment with adults, meeting a new adult that is instantly kissing you and telling you he or she loves you is not teaching the child healthy, normal relationship boundaries.

After writing this post, I realized I actually wrote about this before… from the other side of the fence. No contradictions but there is are also some ideas for gifts before the first child arrives.


Click, click, click…

07/14/2011

It’s the rhythm of anticipation.

A roller coaster carries us upward toward the peak of the first hill.

Fear is mingled with excitement and adrenaline is rising.

We’ve been on roller coasters before and we’ve seen this one in action but no amount of readying can fully prepare us for this ride.

No turning back. Here we go…

Our official letter of approval as certified resource [foster] parents arrived in the mail on Saturday. Now my heart leaps a little every time the phone rings.

I’m honestly relieved that the timing for this is completely out of our hands now. I trust God with the timing of bringing kids into our home. I do not trust myself… sometimes I hope they’ll call today, sometimes I feel so inadequately prepared.