#wearethefosters

Life has been an adventure around these parts the last 3 weeks or so. We got our license to foster parent in writing just about a month ago. Dec 4th.

It was a Wednesday.

Then we spent the entire weekend wondering if we would get a call. And we did not. It wasn’t disappointing of course, it was just nerve-wracking. We had our dear friend’s oldest daughter who goes to college in a nearby town over to our home all weekend so she could rest, eat real food, and I could do her laundry and buy her groceries. Just loving on her. So we were busy. But it was on our minds.

Then the call came. Tuesday, Nov 10th.

Our sweet, sweet littles came into our home that night. Late that night. They were tired and for sure a little bit scared. I fed them some animal crackers and milk and whether they were stress eating or really hungry, I couldn’t quite tell, but they munched for a long time while we got to know each other a little.

“Princess” is 4 1/2.  But really she is more like a very young 2-3 year old. She is verbal, but can be very hard to understand. She does not have most of the developmental markers of a 4 year old. We have no idea yet if this is due to an actual delay, or if she just hasn’t had the right stimulation/environment to nurture her along. She is also in 2T clothing, so it helps to remember her developmental stage, since she is so tiny. She is truly delightful and we are enjoying loving on our little Princess.

“Dash” is 2 1/2. But he is really more like a young one year old. He is also very small – wearing 18 month clothes and even they are roomy. He is smart as a whip, just like sister, but when he came to us he only said the following words:

bye, hi, drink, no, and he could sign ‘more’.

Since living with us, his speech has improved dramatically and his vocabulary has increased by at least 100 words. It’s been awesome to watch.

Highlights:

Emma & Timmy adore Princess & Dash. They dote on them and snuggle with them and tell them how much they love them. This was exactly what we were hoping for when we made the decision to bring children into our home for whatever season God had in mind.

Princess & Dash are both incredibly happy. They have adjusted really well to life in our family. It’s been kind of ridiculously easy. Natural. Right. Even things like family prayer every night, they each get settled in for it and can’t wait to bless everyone. Tonight we skipped because we did evening mass & devotions around the Advent dinner table and at bed, Princess couldn’t stop blessing me and asking for blessings. Beautiful.

Everything is just more fun with littles around. Going for a walk, going to the park, going to the store. Everything is more fun. They are so adorable, and so easy that we spend a lot of time giggling. Giggles are a balm to the soul.

and

Lows:

All.The.Diapers. I mean, for real, that’s not really a low, but kind of. I mean, we haven’t had diapers in our home for nearly 8 years and so this is just a bit of an adjustment.

All.The.Plastic. I am working really hard at doing some things differently than how we did with our littles – you know because you learn some things along the way. And as we get older, you know, things just shift. I love wood toys and soft felt things and creative experiences instead of plastic and lights and sounds. But then life happens and people are generous and give you things and you pull out the toys and they love them so much, that you just clean them up again and stick them on the shelf and you acknowledge that perhaps you have bigger fish to fry.

Mom. The kids call me Mommy. And mama. So when I talk about Mom, I am talking about the dear sweet woman who gave birth to these two sweet souls that sleep in the other room. Those sweet souls who call me Mommy and look to me for comfort when they are sad, or for just an extra touch of security when we are out of the house and they want to know I am still there. Friends, this is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. I still simply cannot wrap my mind around this reality. It seems so completely impossible to me that some where tonight there is a woman whose children are absent from her life, from her home, from her sight and that she is so broken that she doesn’t seem to care. I am not saying she doesn’t care. But when you are supposed to have the first visit to see your children the week of Thanksgiving and you cancel, it really makes it seem like you don’t care. And my brain? It CANNOT figure that out. This tragic world has got me completely wrecked. And so I just do the next thing: I feed the children, homeschool the olders, fold the hundredth load of laundry, bathe the children, rock them to sleep, sing them all the songs, and pray my guts out over them. Then I crash into bed and do it all over again the next day.

Because really, I can’t wrap my brain around it. So I just live it.

All in all, our season of life, our experience of foster parenting thus far has been nothing short of miraculous. While I cannot wrap my brain around the tragedy of the situation itself, it is not lost on me that I am participating in the very real work of the Gospel and that is humbling and encouraging in a way that is just so authentic. I have never felt more fully alive. We are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing and for that I thank God every moment.

This video speaks to what foster care means when lived as a calling for the Kingdom.

You are not foster children, you are engrafted into my home.

I am your Mama. Everything that belongs to me, now belongs to you.

Same way with the Kingdom. Now you’re engrafted into the Kingdom of God and everything that belongs to the Kingdom of God belongs to you.

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An Open Letter to our Family about Foster Care Part Two

Dear Family –

As you know, we are in the process of getting licensed as foster parents. If you would like to read more about our decision to pursue fostering, please read:

https://justameasureofgrace.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/a-journey-of-love-heartache-and-hope/

And if you are just tuning into this series, you can read part one HERE

Thank you for all of your support and love through this process. We are so blessed to have family and friends who have helped see us through to this point. Very soon the real work begins, and we’re going to need that love and support more than ever.

We know that our decision to foster will affect you as well, and we are hoping that this series of letters will help to answer some of your questions and set us all up for success in helping these little people through this rocky patch in their lives. In fact, YOU are one of the reasons we are doing this in the first place. We know that any child who comes into our home doesn’t just come into our little home, but rather, they step into a large, loving family and suddenly their bench becomes very deep. They will forever have a humungous team of people on their side, ready to cheer them on when they succeed, cry with them when they hurt, and pray for them when they struggle. Thank you for being our ‘bench’ – and thank you for opening your hearts to the littles that need you so very much to be on their bench as well.

Here are more details about what to expect:

Pictures
DCFS policy is that pictures of foster children may not be posted online. We won’t be able to post or email pictures of the kids, and we’ll need your cooperation in not posting pictures that you may take of the kids. We will ‘get around’ this by taking pictures from behind or of just their feet, etc. And we just ask you to err on the side of not posting anything of our kiddos who are in care.

Inclusion in Family & Gift Giving Policy
Other than confidentiality issues, we will treat these children as members of our family. We must insist that everyone respect this policy. The kiddos who come into care in our home for a season  will be treated equally to how our biological children are treated, especially when it comes to holidays, birthdays, or other gift-giving occasions. We never expect gifts for any of our children. But if you choose to give gifts, you’ll need to plan to give equally to all of the kids who are in our care at that time.

Behavior and Discipline
While we are taking in relatively mild-mannered kiddos, you may still observe unusual or seemingly alarming behaviors from them. Accordingly, you may also see us utilizing some unusual discipline techniques (varying from very easy-going to very strict). We ask you to remember that we’re working with a team of professionals on a behavioral and discipline plan tailored to each individual child. If you have concerns that you feel the need to discuss with us, please bring them up in private, away from the child. Comments like “Oh, can’t she just have the ice cream,” when said right in front of the child, can result in a major setback that may make very little sense to you, but for all you know the child may have MAJOR food triggers due to having gone for days and weeks without food at home. Again, trusting us to take the lead here is key.

Also, DCFS law states that ONLY the foster parents are allowed to discipline the foster child. If you’ll be spending time with the kids, it will be very important for you to understand and adhere to this policy.

Meeting Their Needs

It is very important for these kiddos to learn healthy attachment. To make a long story short, this comes down to bonding through the hierarchy of needs at the most fundamental levels in order to promote healthy psychological growth. We as their foster parents need to meet all of their most basic biological needs. We must be the ones to feed them, clothe them, rock them to sleep, tuck them in, discipline them, hug them, hold their hands, and take care of their personal hygiene needs. When all their needs are being met through us, bonds of trust form that can actually begin the healing process for much bigger wounds they may have endured. We have taken many classes on this subject and Stacey has completed training on Trauma Parenting and would be happy to answer any questions you have about this.

Holidays and Special Events
We LOVE seeing all of our friends and family for holidays and special occasions and certainly hope to be able to incorporate any new kiddos in our family into these cherished events. However, some of them may have difficulty with the stress of large groups, new people, new food, and higher expectations for behavior. We ask for your patience and understanding when we may have to miss an event, arrive late, leave early, or perhaps one parent has to stay home with a kiddo who isn’t going to have a very successful time at that event.

What Do They Call Us?
Any new kiddos that come to stay with us will have the option of calling us Ms. Stacey & Mr. Tim, or “mom and dad,” or something similar. We’ll invite them to address you with the same terms that our biological children use (grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, etc.).

What Do We Call Them?
This is so important. No child wants to be known as “the foster kid.” We will refer to any children in our care as our kids, our son, our daughter. We ask you to please be sensitive to this, and do not refer to a child or introduce them as a “foster child,” particularly in that child’s presence, and to your own children – as that would get repeated. If you could refrain from using that phrase at all, that would be awesome. Feel free to refer to them as you would with our biological children (my grandchild, niece, nephew, etc.). Or, if that isn’t comfortable for you, you can refer to them as our child (my brother’s son, my friend’s daughter, etc.).

About Building Attachments
The question is sometimes raised with foster care if it isn’t detrimental to encourage children to become attached to their foster family. In fact, there was a time about 20 years ago when foster children were intentionally moved to new foster homes on a regular basis to avoid this attachment. We now know that learning to build attachments is one of the most important elements to living a happy and satisfied life. As children bond with us they gradually learn the joy that comes from bonding and how to trust safe adults, and it builds their sense of self-worth. If the child can learn to attach successfully, they can then repeat that attachment process with others throughout their life. This is a vital process, even if they are not with us forever.

The challenge is for us to bond, fearing the pain of losing the relationship when they leave. We expect that you may have this fear as well, but we ask for you to keep the children’s best interests in mind, and open your heart to them.

Stay tuned for Part 3: How you can help!

An Open Letter to our Family about Foster Care

Dear Family –

As you know, we are in the process of getting licensed as foster parents. If you would like to read more about our decision to pursue fostering, please read:

https://justameasureofgrace.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/a-journey-of-love-heartache-and-hope/

Thank you for all of your support and love through this process. We are so blessed to have family and friends who have helped see us through to this point. Very soon the real work begins, and we’re going to need that love and support more than ever.

We know that our decision to foster will affect you as well, and we are hoping that this series of letters will help to answer some of your questions and set us all up for success in helping these little people through this rocky patch in their lives. In fact, YOU are one of the reasons we are doing this in the first place. We know that any child who comes into our home doesn’t just come into our little home, but rather, they step into a large, loving family and suddenly their bench becomes very deep. They will forever have a humungous team of people on their side, ready to cheer them on when they succeed, cry with them when they hurt, and pray for them when they struggle. Thank you for being our ‘bench’ – and thank you for opening your hearts to the littles that need you so very much to be on their bench as well.

We’ll tell you now that we’re sorry this is so long, and we’re sorry it sounds so bossy. We were trying to keep it as brief as possible, so it may sound a little “short” in some places. But know that we love you, and we don’t mean for it to sound “short.” If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask – we love talking about this stuff! Otherwise, we’ll let you know as soon as we get our first placement!

Placements to Expect
We anticipate being fully licensed and waiting for a placement in the next couple of weeks! We are open to one to four kids, ages birth through ten years old. We’re open to any gender or race. We could get a call for a placement the day that we’re licensed or it could be several weeks or even months before we get a call. The kids could be staying with us anywhere from a few days to several years.

Confidentiality
When we get a placement we will of course share with you the children’s names, ages, birthdates, personalities, and other such details. However the family history, reasons for placement, medical status, and other aspects of the children’s lives are confidential and we will not be able to share these details with you. It’s just not our story to tell. We ask you to trust us when it comes to this information. We would never knowingly put any of our biological children, or yours,  in harms way. The screening process is incredibly detailed and rigorous, and we have been very clear about what types of behaviors we would be willing to parent. Of course this list is pretty personal, but to give you a basic run down, here is how we have classified things:

We will accept green flag behaviors/situations

We have to think/discuss/pray about yellow flag behaviors/situations

We will absolutely not accept any red-flag behaviors

So what are these flags? This was Tim & I’s personal classification system that we came up with while we were in the 13 week formation of foster parents/adoptive families. Here is a sampling of our flags, which will give you an idea of what types of kiddos might be placed in our home:

Green Flags: wetting the bed, lying, ADD, asthma, not sitting still in school, talking back, swearing, wears glasses, etc.

Yellow Flags: more serious medical needs, stealing, hitting, subjected to physical abuse, etc.

Red Flags: abusive behaviors, sexually acting out, starting fires, harming pets, destruction of property, inability to attach, etc.

So as you can see, we are really on the list to take in larger sibling groups who have suffered (typically) some form of neglect, as opposed to severely abused children with extreme behaviors – we know that there is a need for these types of foster homes, we just don’t feel as though we are in a place to provide that right now.

What Do We Tell Our Children?

This is where we let the kiddos really amaze us. It can be quite simple.

You: Uncle Tim & Aunt Stacey and the kids are coming for Thanksgiving and this year they will have 2 new kiddos to spend Thanksgiving with us! They are 6 & 7 and they love to play sports & legos.

Your kid: Well, who are these kids? Why are they coming?

You: They are just two little boys who needed a family to spend Thanksgiving with and isn’t it great that we have so much family that we can share it with others?

Your kid: Yep. Wait…. are they adopting these kids? Will they be our new cousins?

You: Well, we don’t know anything about adoption so lets just not worry about that. For now, you can treat them like you would your cousins because they are living with Aunt Stacey & Uncle Tim and they are being loved and cared for just like they are family – so that’s how we will welcome them, okay?

Your kid: Sure. Where are their real mom & dad?

You: That’s a tough question, kiddo, and one I don’t know the answer to. Maybe we can talk about that some other time. But I do know this, it might make them sad to talk about it, so do you think you could not ask them about it while we are at Thanksgiving dinner?

Your kid: Yep. Can I have some goldfish?

Kids amaze me at how very wise & resilient they are. And they can ask questions directly to the kiddos that are placed with us – we often take their lead and let them answer – it’s important if you overhear a conversation like that to just send me a text or let me know privately what you heard – so that we can know what ‘story’ they are telling – gives us a LOT of insight into how to best love them. Like if mom is incarcerated but they tell everyone she is dead, I would need to know, obviously.

What about you & your interaction with the new nieces or nephews? It’s simple. Just introduce who you are (how you would like them to address you) and what your role is. And then be super casual. Please don’t offer them food. Let us do that. But offering to show them where to go play is perfectly fine.

You: Hi, Wolverine, my name is Aunt Susannah, and I live here. I am Tim’s sister. These are my kiddos: Spot, Daisy, & Willy. My husband is Uncle BillyBob and we are really happy you are here. Would you like to see where the toys are?

Wolverine: Hi. Yep.

I have many books that I will send links to if you are interested in getting your kiddos more comfortable with the idea of temporary cousins. 🙂

Flexibility is the name of the game – more than anything, just know that we are all going to navigate it together.

Stay tuned for the next in the series…. with some more practical tips.

Superheroes

We have not yet received our license.

It’s been weeks.

Still, we have gotten a call about providing respite for 2 little boys over Thanksgiving. For 9 days. Two little boys that have one more little brother. The agency is hoping we can get to know them over the course of those 9 days and let them know if we think they’d be a good fit in our family….forever. We will call them Wolverine & Ironman & the youngest one we will call Flash.

superhero-kids-day-1

Wolverine is 7. Ironman is 6. And Flash is 2. (this is NOT them in the picture above) 

From all accounts they have been in care for 2ish years and their biological parents rights have been terminated. They are looking for their forever family.

We said yes that we would be happy to provide respite for Wolverine & Ironman over Thanksgiving while their foster parents go out of the country. We wish Flash could come as well but we are not sure about whether or not that will work out. He is in a different foster family and I think we will at least get to meet him, and maybe even have him come over night just to see how it goes.

But all of this hinges on us getting our license in time. It’s the craziest thing I have ever experienced, this slooooooooow moving train.

Because they say there are so many kids who need foster families. And yet they seem to take their sweet time licensing those of us who are willing and able to take kids yesterday. Meh. Stupid broken system.

And in the meantime…

We have been matched for adoption with yet another sib group – this time there are 5 of them. We wait the long wait now as they compare us on paper and in pictures to 2 other families who would love to give these kiddos a forever family. Praise God there are 3 families to choose from that legitimately WANT these sweet kiddos. So on that we just wait.wait.wait. Always an adventure.

***Edited to add:

Well today we got a call for 4 littles. Could they come tonight?

Um, sorry, we still don’t have our license.

What in the world?!?

So I actually called DCF and the lady there checked on our license and it was actually being worked on “right that minute”. Hmph. Convenient.

So now, we wait for their person to come out to ‘survey’ the inspection that has already been done on the house, and then we should have a license in the next week or so. Ha. Who wants to bet it takes another 2 months?

Paper Pregnancy

waiting

There is no question.

Pregnancy is hard. Gestation. Growing a human. Your body is pushed to the limit and your mind races with worry of the unknown, and add to that the excitement and anticipation of the day that baby FINALLY comes into the bright shiny world and you hold her in your arms.

No one would argue that those days and weeks near the end of your pregnancy are the hardest. Every day it’s own marathon. The slow-walking waddling, the never-sleeping, the hungry-but-full, indigestion, leg cramps, get-this-baby-outta me, when-are-you-due days….

The days are filled with last minute getaways with your husband, washing and folding and prepping of the layette, stocking the freezer with meals, and praying… lots of praying.

Some people call adoption “paper pregnancy”. It’s a catchy phrase that helps to bridge the gap in understanding between what it’s like to wait on a biological child to be born into the world and waiting on an adoptive child to be born into your home. There are so many similarities, really.

While we wait for our adoptive children to be born into our home, we prepare just like any other parent. We paint rooms, we pray, and we lose sleep both in excitement and in anxious anticipation of the unknown ahead. I remember a conversation with my mom when we first explained what we were going to be doing and she asked us if we were sure, because you don’t know personalities and what if you don’t really gel?? I remember it being like a lightbulb that went off in my head: how is that any different from biological pregnancy? There are no guarantees. Plenty of biological families have struggles and personality differences and things that they face that they never would have said yes to when they were pregnant. That’s just life. More and more our passion grew for the children who, through no fault of their own, have lost their family.

As we wait to foster and adopt kids from hard places, there are a few marked differences, however.

Instead of prepping a layette, we wash & fold 20 bins of clothing of every size for boys and girls.

Instead of doctors visits and hearing the heartbeat, we have interviews and unending paperwork.

Instead of stocking the freezer, we measure ballusters & windows, lock up medicines, collect  “stuff” for every age and fill our homes with 5 twin beds and two cribs because you never really know what life is going to bring, and count smoke detectors for our homestudy house inspection.

Instead of people asking when we are due, folks stop us in church to ask us if we have adopted yet. I can’t help but look around at my crew and think to myself some sarcastic remark: “Yes, but we left those other kids at home since they aren’t really ours.” But that really wouldn’t help anyone and I am afraid my sarcasm would be lost on them.

Instead of allowing us to be “paper-pregnant” and let God do his thing with bringing us the child we were meant to parent, people see sibling groups up for auction on facebook (which is almost always bogus, by the way) and think that perhaps we’d like to peruse a catalog and shop for some kids…. “Um, I like this one, but do you have it in any other colors?” (Insert sarcastic eye-roll here)

Instead of a baby-shower and a meal train, we get intrusive questions and patronizing pats on the arm: “At least you have the two you have,” and everyone feels the need to share with you the most horrific adoption story they have ever heard of: “Are you sure you want to do that?? I knew of a family who adopted this one child from foster care and he set their house on fire and killed them all in their sleep.” Awesome. Thanks for sharing. I will keep that in mind when I am catalog shopping: “No murderous arsonists, please.”

Instead of congratulating us on the gift we await, they tell us how lucky that child will be to have us. I.can’t.even. If they only knew the redemption and grace that these children will be for us. We are not saving anyone but being saved ourselves. This is going to just have to be another whole blog post in and of itself.

Perhaps the most marked difference is the timing. Those last days and weeks of a physical pregnancy are excruciating because you are counting down the days and hitting a wall of exhaustion. You may feel impatient, but objectively, we all know that you will give birth and that baby will in fact be in your arms within a week or two of your due date. There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But imagine if there was no known end? Imagine if you got to the 9th month and your doctor called and said “I’m really sorry to tell you this, but there has been a small delay on our end while congress is out of session for the holidays and we are going to have to put off delivering your baby for at least a few months. We’ll be in touch.”

We have been waiting to adopt, with many kinks and turns in the road for the last decade. We have announced our paper pregnancy countless times and waited for the child to be born into our home. We know now that this broken road is one that God brought us on to prepare us for the mission he is calling us to… which is to adopt not an infant, but a sibling group. Of 3-5 kiddos.

Cara and Eric Taylor's Christmas card and adoption announcement

You read that right. 3-5 kiddos. We are pregnant with quintuplets. Of varying ages and unknown genders. Kids who are coming from chaos-ridden homes whose stories of loss and trauma we will never fully comprehend. When it comes to the nesting instinct, which is in overdrive… I am at a loss. I don’t know how many children we are waiting for. I don’t know their gender or ages so I cannot prep their bedrooms. I cannot buy them clothing. I don’t know their personalities or their likes & dislikes, and I don’t know their story that has brought them to our front door and into our arms & hearts forever. These unknowns creates a tension deep inside and is a universal experience for adoptive mothers.

But perhaps the thing that unites us to our sisters who will only ever give birth from their bodies, is the prayer of a mother’s heart.

A biological mother is…

Praying the baby comes soon but not too soon.

Praying that she is healthy & whole. And that if she is not that you will be equipped to carry that cross.

Praying that your body can do what it is supposed to do during labor & delivery.

Praying your body can withstand the trauma of being torn open as you release this new life into the world.

Praying that your family receives the new babe with as much love as you have had grow in your heart these last months.

Praying that your heart doesn’t break when that baby’s heart no longer beats beneath yours but out of you in the cold, hard world.

Praying that all this child’s hopes & dreams come true.

Praying big things over this new life that came from love.

An adoptive mother is…

Praying that her child will be home with her before his next birthday… a milestone which marks another year without a forever family. 

Praying for the woman who has given birth to the child that will call her mom.

Knowing that your child will come to you broken. Perhaps physically, but almost always emotionally. So you pray you will be equipped to carry that cross.

Praying that your body can withstand the physical ache of a child who will undoubtedly utter the words: “You’re not my real mom.”

Praying for grace for the everyday.

Praying to be made worthy of the privilege to raise another woman’s child as your own.

Praying your heart can withstand the trauma of being torn open as you recover this tenderheart from the hard places and walk with them towards towards healing.

Praying that your family receives the new child with as much love as you have had grow in your heart these last months.

Praying that your heart doesn’t break when that child’s eyes reveal the hidden tapestry of pain and abandonment that only a child who has been taken away from his parents can know.

Praying that you will one day genuinely love this child that has been entrusted to you.

Praying that you will be able to get out of the way and not be an obstacle to them experiencing the joy & healing balm that awaits them in a home full of people who are committed forever to this messy beautiful thing we call family.

Praying that your bio children will accept and love these new people in their lives that we are calling their siblings.

Praying that calling them siblings will make it so.

Praying that all this child’s hopes & dreams come true.

Praying big things over this new life that came from love.

B-3_FJtUsAAbwFl

United in prayer for my sisters and friends who are expecting a child in their womb, and a child in their hearts. Motherhood. Any which way it finds us, it’s a blessing.

Prayer & the Practicals

Mother Theresa said “Some give by going, and others go by giving.”

We are very much GOING on this journey to care for the orphaned. If you feel led, consider joining us by giving. Primarily, we covet your prayer. Beyond that, to be Christ’s hands and feet to the least of these. To be the one who clothed the naked, gave shelter to the homeless, and fed the hungry right along side of us.

In that light, many have asked to be a part of what we are doing, by blessing us with prayer & the practicals. THANK YOU!!!! We need both! Many people have asked about what we might need for the changes about to go down in our house, so behold:

The LIST is long (and ever evolving!)

We are outfitting 2 rooms with basically everything & anything one could need to raise & care for up to 6 kids ages 0-10years at the drop of a hat. Literally, we could get a call at 10:43 at night and have a boatload of kids move in within the hour. It happens. For real.

With that in mind, here are where things stand for us. We are working every day on the gigantic list of thingsthatneeddoingaroundthehouse  and we are scouring the internet for good deals on the following, but perhaps you have a sister in law who wants to get rid of a dresser? Or great aunt louise wants to finally be rid of those bunkbeds in her garage? Think of us, would you? We have a pretty nifty way giving new life to old things and are happy to give that old piece of furniture a whole new story!

Room 1 – We need:

Bunkbeds – the metal kind with a full on bottom & twin up top (thanks to dear friends, this is fulfilled!)

Trundle- for underneath

Dresser – preferably a 6 drawer dresser (the ones that sit horizontally)

and

Room 2 –

Bunkbeds – twin over twin – they need to be able to separate.

Dresser – preferably a 6 drawer dresser – on our Amazon wishlist

Portable Crib –  on our Amazon wishlist

and for anyone wishing to bless these kiddos in ways that you feel led, we will always humbly accept Target gift cards which we can use for Formula, diapers, clothes, toiletries, books, and yummy healthy food! And Ikea gift cards we can use for bedding, storage solutions, furniture and super cool toys for the kiddos we will be caring for! And Amazon gift cards for everything we can think of that we can have shipped right to our door the very next day.

We have an Amazon Wish List here full of more practicals:

http://amzn.com/w/1VFC44M23IIK1

*You’ll notice an awful lot of pjs & cinch bags on the Amazon wishlist – more on that soon – hatching a plan to bless MANY local orphans!!! 

If you feel led to give in any way, big or small, just leave a message here with your email address and I will happily get in touch with you.

Blessings!

xo

Stacey

Walking through Fire

foster care

The compelling call of the Gospel. Open your homes.  Practice Christ-like hospitality. For many years for us, this has meant throwing parties and always saying yes when someone asked for help in big ways or small. Welcoming people of all ages into our home – even if it meant some amount of personal sacrifice. It’s the charism of hospitality that is intrinsically linked to our adoption story. Our adoption journey has very little to do with our secondary infertility and more to do with a heed to be Christ’s hands and feet here & now. To love in the messy. To care for the orphaned.

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I am not going to go into all the details of our adoption journey here now because that post is a longer one to write and I am just not there right now. But, sufficed to say, God has been a relentless hound in placing the call to care for the orphaned on our hearts. Through all the ups and downs He has called us back into the fire time & time again. Some would say “Enough is enough. You guys have been through the ringer. Aren’t you just tired of opening yourselves up to hurt?” To that I simply respond, “Our pain is nothing. There are orphaned children who have been through a ringer much more excruciating than anything we could ever fathom. They haven’t asked for this pain. They haven’t asked to become orphans. No, we are not done. We will walk through fire to tend to the hearts of the orphaned. Period.”

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So we continue on our journey towards adoption one day. And in the meantime, we heed the call of the Father to open our homes. To the least of these. To the orphaned. For a night, for a week, for a year. We will give them everything and they will transform our lives. We are joyfully expectant, waiting on the children He would have us to care for. We are becoming FOSTER PARENTS! Some might ask: “So are you giving up on adopting?” To that we answer a resounding “No!” And further, “We just know that we are broadening our own scope of what it means to care for the orphaned. Foster care, adoption, service, and prayer. It’s more than just opening our home & family to a child we can give our last name to. It’s opening our home and our family to love those He entrusts to us, even for a short time.”

today, in this moment

We believe that this is what He meant when he asked us to welcome the children in His name. So we are being obedient to the call He has laid on our hearts.

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So if you need me anytime soon, I am up to my ears in to-do lists as we navigate all the paperwork and do all the hundred little things to get the house ready to pass inspection to prepare for licensing.  More on how we are preparing to be foster parents on another day.  For now, this made me chuckle:

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