All of the Feelings

04/23/2014

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I have the best community. Seriously, the best. So many people have been praying for our family and were anxiously waiting for news about the custody decision for Ali’s little sister. When I got the news first thing Monday morning, I sent the first texts with trembling hands. It was so much to process and wrap my brain around. I was dreading telling everyone who was waiting with us…because I knew it would open up a flood of texts, emails, phone calls, conversations…support. I just didn’t know if I was ready for all of that. How silly to think that way. I’m tremendously thankful for the tender words I’ve gotten from everyone, including you: my online community. Some of my very closest friends I have never met face-to-face.

The follow up question to my sharing of the news was what I was dreading: “How are you feeling?” I just don’t know. It’s cliché but the best answer: I’m feeling all of the feelings. I actually appreciated the “You doing okay?” question better because it’s more manageable. Yes. I’m doing okay. I will be okay. Then a dear friend (the kind of friend who will just hug you and let you cry) who invited us over for dinner and/or to drop Ali off for dinner so Jason and I could talk—I can’t even express how much that means to me.

After the initial shock, the first thing I felt was relief that the waiting was over. We’ve been waiting, putting our lives on hold in some ways, for 8 months. It’s been a long and exhausting fight. The last 10 days of the wait between the trial and the phone call were the most difficult.

Then I imagined her current caregiver—who I’ll now just refer to as her mom—getting the phone call at work on Monday morning just like I did. I imagined her weeping with relief and joy that the baby she loves so deeply and has poured her life into the past 7 months is with her for good (most likely…permanent custody is a tricky matter). I felt joy for her. And joy for baby girl who will go about her day just like any other day without any disruption.

But the grief and loss of the sibling relationship—a real, living-in-the-same-household-everyday sibling relationship—is intense. I feel the weight of it for my daughter who doesn’t really understand it all yet. She prays at night, “Thank you for baby [Trust] to come here and be with us.” She’s going to keep praying it every night and I’m going to have to keep reminding her everyday that it’s over; she’s not coming here to be live with us. Ali has had so much loss in her life already—both girls have—and I had hoped we could alleviate that one for them.

I won’t unpack all of my emotions here but suffice it to say I have disappointment, anger, frustration, confusion, grief, hope, trust, love… and it’s changing by the minute. I know that God has a good plan for our family and for baby Trust. I’ve never doubted that for a minute. I know He could have moved her to us. I believe that one day we’ll look back and it will make more sense.

This journey was not all a waste of time, money and energy. I can think of three significant, very personal things that God has taught me through this process. I know our involvement also sped up certain parts of the case that led to faster permanency for baby Trust. And now we have the confidence to look our daughter in the eyes when she asks, “Why didn’t you try to get my sister?” and we can answer her, “We did everything we could do.” When I hold her and dry her tears, I’ll cry too because I’m familiar with sorrow and I’m acquainted with grief, just like the One who holds me now and dries my tears.


The Wait is Over

04/21/2014

The wait is over. We did not get the news we were hoping for. I’m devastated for our daughter and her little sister and what this means for their future—visits a few times a year rather than spending everyday together. But I also have peace knowing that littlest sister is deeply loved and wanted where she’s living. I trust that God has a plan and it’s a good one. I have a lot to process and I need some time to do so. Please forgive me in advance if I don’t respond for a little while as I’m letting go of 8 months of praying, hoping, fighting, phone calls, letters, hearings, trials, research, preparations…


There’s an Anchor for my Soul

04/16/2014

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well”

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
[x2]

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

 “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin

anchorbracelet

My dear friend Leslie sent me this bracelet. I’m so thankful for my Anchor, and for this lovely reminder that He’s got this—every this.


Trust and Wait

09/18/2013

I want to write from the heart, to pour out and sort out all that’s swirling around in my mind, but blogging requires a balancing act between public life and private life that’s tricky to manage. Perhaps it’s especially tricky as a foster parent, because a child in state custody is never legally mine and their stories are not mine to share. I say all that because I have a lot of heavy stuff going on in my heart and my head and I don’t know what, if any of it, to share here. The complexity of that stuff makes writing a blog post about sewing a toddler purse or making a peanut butter pie seem terribly superficial.

Here are a few random bullet points from my brain swirl:

• On Thursday we started getting placement calls again out of the blue. I was under the impression we were on hold status because we hadn’t gotten any calls since…well, since May 3 when Buzz arrived. I had a discussion about that with the third placement worker and she said she would be glad to make a note on our file that we’re not available until the end of October, when Buzz’s 90-day home visit trial period is over. Placement workers are the sweetest people working for DCS and they have one of the most discouraging jobs. All three of the placements we were called about—4 kids in total—were under the age of 2. That’s extremely rare in our county. I’m sure they were able to find homes for them but it’s still heart breaking to say no. If it were November I would have said yes to any of them. I’m now officially hoping for a baby next time after mentally imagining saying yes to each of those placement calls.

• I called back the sweet placement worker on Friday morning to clarify that we would make an exception to the hold status for any previous foster kids or their biological family members.

• On Saturday morning Ali and I met Buzz and his mom for breakfast. It was the first time we had seen them since the beginning of August when they were reunited. It was also Buzz’s 3rd birthday. I’m so glad we could celebrate with them. I got the impression his mom has had to close their world in so tight that they really don’t see many family and friends. Both kids ask about each other a lot. Apparently Buzz asks to see pictures of “Mama and Ali”…it really means a lot to me that his mom told me that because I was afraid it was hurting her that he calls me Mama. He calls her Mommy, thankfully, so he has a different name for each of us. Buzz was quite nervous when we walked into the IHOP. I’m sure it stirred up a mess of emotions. We both assured him that he was going home with his mom and we were just visiting because Ali and I miss him. (Jason too but he’s traveling.) He was pretty quiet through breakfast. It looks and sounds like they’re doing great. I’m so proud of them both! We all got hugs when we said goodbye and tentatively made plans to get together again next month. I’m blessed to get to keep in touch with them. We’re certainly not required to but we both just want to keep in touch. I love that!

• I keep coming back to the word trust, over and over again. Trust. With all of the unknowns. WIth all of the maybes. With all of the secret hopes. With all of the dreams for the future. WIth all of the worries about situations and individuals way outside of my control. With all of the confusion and mess. TRUST. I started looking up Bible verses related to trust on Sunday afternoon. “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5. That verse has been popping up in my head for several weeks. And the follow up to trust is wait. Be patient. Wait. Trust.

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God Bless This Home

04/04/2013

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I had a blog post written that I was going to post on Monday about how the processes of Ali’s adoption and building our new house had been occurring simultaneously since November 2011 and both got completely wrapped up last week when we received our daughter’s new birth certificate in the mail AND closed out our construction loan and began our conventional mortgage. BUT. The latter ended up not happening for a million frustrating reasons. It’s not going to happen this week or probably next week, either. It’s been a busy, stressful week around here and I’ve had moments of wanting to pull my hair out.

I needed to stop and remind myself of the truth. 

We live in this beautiful home—a blessing we never expected to experience at this point of our lives. God has given us favor over and over again in this process, just as He did with Ali’s adoption and back when she was in state care. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He never gives us more than we can handle. We have so much to be thankful for. In addition to our beautiful girl and our home, Jason and I have a great relationship, we have wonderful family and friends, we have jobs that we love, we have a kitchen full of food and closets full of clothes. We have more than enough; overflow to share. We are abundantly blessed.

We haven’t received any calls from DCS regarding foster placements yet. I’m surprised. Also, I’m relieved. Mainly because of the mortgage stuff. Also because of some upcoming travel. Even if we did get a placement, I’m sure we could overcome those challenges with a new temporary family member along for the adventure. It’s comforting to know that God’s timing is always perfect.


We’re All Praying…

09/01/2011

Including this little guy who was on our front door yesterday morning. He turned around and looked at me for the photo.

Today is the day.

The day that Ladybug’s future is decided by some robe-wearing guy in a court room.

At least that’s how it looks from the outside.

But we know the Truth.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

He knows what He is doing. He doesn’t make mistakes.

He has good plans for us (all 3 of us), plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans for a hope and a future.

Will you join us in praying? For His will to be done, not ours. We know what we want but we don’t truly know what’s best for Ladybug. He does.

And if we’re led into the valley of suffering, we don’t have to be afaid because He is with us.

He is near to the brokenhearted.

When we cry out, He will save us. And He will be glorified. 

His grace is sufficient for me; His power made perfect in my weakness.

When I am weak, He is strong.

We may weep all night, but joy will come.

We will press on.

We will persevere.

Nothing can separate us from His love.

Do you have someone who can give you that kind of reassurance?
That’s My King. I wonder, do you know Him?


Hope is Rising

05/10/2010

I took this picture because I was going to write a reflection on the kind of week I’ve had, based on the contents that I’ve been accumulating in my purse (rubber coated work gloves, bandaids, augmentin for dog bite injury, receipts for groceries, cleaning supplies and tools for our friends, medical tape, iron supplements, journal of thoughts on scrap paper, disaster area supplies list …) but the explanation of these items would sound like complaining. Perhaps discouraging.

And I was going to share about each of these photos

… something sad about my friend sorting through her drying photographs

…and why my husband is sleeping on a bare mattress

But the truth is, though it was a very difficult week, things are looking up around here. Energy levels are returning, the sun has been shining, smiles are back, there are blessings all around and plenty to be thankful about. The pain is not gone but there is a new level of joy coming. We’re going to be OK down here. 🙂

Thank you all for the prayers and encouraging words!


Wise Words

01/13/2010


“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” — Psalm 103:2-5

On Saturday my cousin had a baby. On Saturday my uncle took his life. A birth and a death in the same day. One lifetime of full potential and one hopeless end to a sad life. I have a lot on my mind this week. I’m thankful for the never failing hope I’ve found. It makes all the difference.


“Worry makes you sound like an atheist and look like a coward.”

10/26/2009

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Worry is self-focused, self-centered; it’s about self-preservation. It’s an obvious lack of trust in God’s provision, his Word, his truth. As a follower of Christ, if you’ve accepted Christ into your life, worry is a sign that you are too full of self. Jesus requires us to die to self.

“He must become greater; I must become less.”  John 3:30
“To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Worry opposes hope. Jesus is hope. It makes sense for those without Christ’s power to worry. Living with the fruit of the Spirit is often irrational, illogical and unnatural. To be filled with the Spirit of God is to be exude HIS love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. It’s not something we can manufacture. We can’t just try harder. We need more of Him and less of us. To have peace and faith and joy in the midst of a storm or facing an unknown is only possible through the Spirit,

Christ in you is the hope of glory! Colossians 1:27
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

If we choose to worry and focus inward, we make the enemy’s job so easy. He doesn’t even have to do ANYTHING. We’re choosing our human nature, rejecting all of the hope, faith, and freedom that Christ died for. Jesus didn’t die just for us to be able to go to heaven when we die. He was beaten and crushed for us to have life ABUNDANT now, not just after we die. He died for us to have life and forgiveness and freedom from iniquities and emotional & physical healing NOW. Don’t cheapen what He did by only accepting part of His gift.

“The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
He was pierced for our transgressions [all Christians believe that], he was crushed for our iniquities [simply dying would have saved us from our sins], by his wounds we are healed [most Christians don’t believe this] Isaiah 53:5

Worry makes you look like a coward because you act as if you are powerless. If you know Christ, if you know his Word, you should know the power of the Living God and the authority we have through Jesus. Worry makes you look like an atheist. When you worry, you look just the rest of the world; like you believe there is no God, like there is no reason to have hope for things unseen. Christians, we should know better!

“Hope that is seen is no hope at all.” Romans 8:24
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

On August 9th I twittered the title of this post, a quote from Pastor Lindell from his sermon on “The Test of Trust” about Abraham. Someone I don’t know, @LilHappyHeathen, replied “How are atheists worried?” I never had a chance to respond because I always forget to check my twitter responses. I hope this clarifies. It’s not that atheists are worried, it’s that Christians who worry are denying God. It’s not circular.

key: direct quotes, paraphrase, [interjections]

If you want to find the Lindell Cooley’s podcast from 8/9/09 on trust and worry, try this link to subscribe through iTunes. If that doesn’t work, search for Lindell Cooley podcast in iTunes.