Laundry

So, we have been back on the foster placement list since after Thanksgiving. It took a lot to work up to the moment when we said yes again but now surprisingly we haven’t had one call since then and here we are in 2018. The extra room became Santas workshop during the holidays, and as a result got a little trashed. The other day I went to work in there cleaning up and preparing for the ever present reality of a seventh entering our home at any time. Put all the Christmas wrapping paper away, swept it, tidied up, and then I noticed it. I noticed that in the laundry basket there was one last load of laundry from Little Miss Mercy. Then I looked on the dresser where I’ve kept all of her things that we found, all of her our projects that got handed to me, and her photo book that I made all in the hopes that I would see her again. That we would get to stay in her life. I took a big breath in, a breath of I’ve got you girl, my ways are higher than your ways. I scooped up all of her special stuff that I’ve been saving for the past four months and put it into the top shelf of the closet. I grab the laundry basket and washed her clothes as quick as I could, but not before I sniffed her sheets to see if I could smell one last lingering memory of her. My younger kids will say all the time that they can smell her. I wanted to see if I could too. But I sniffed and sniffed, like a weirdo, and it was gone. I pulled it out of the dryer yesterday. Maybe it was the fact that her mom let me talk to her last Friday for the first time in 4 months, maybe it’s the fact that it’s a new year, or maybe because I was encouraging myself with my letter board message (haha), but in these moments I felt strong. I felt ready for Love. Yes, a sting of pain but the hope that comes from trusting in the one that loves me.

I folded those sweet memories and put them in that empty room ready to make more. As ready as I can to face the next adventure knowing that all of our past placements are in His hands just as much as we are. And that’s the best place we can be!

“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms‬ ‭63:7‬

Disappointment

Once I heard that disappointment takes you off of what your appointed to do. And when I heard that really impacted my thought process. We have a goal or a dream, that is our appointment. Once we experience something that is contrary to the way that we thought was going to go disappointment sets in. We can either keep going forward where we feel that we are called or we can get stuck looking back at how it didn’t work. What I’ve been coming to realize is it’s what we do with that that matters. We have not seen or heard from her a little foster daughter since the first week that she left. Although, not what we hoped for or expected, extremely disappointing, and difficult we are healing, moving forward, and even talking about when we will open our home up again to love the next placement. We will go into it feeling stronger more prepared and love replenished. Thank you for your love, concern, tears, prayers, and support. We are doing well and we love you all.

Choose Your Song- One Year Later

One year ago I got a call about a 21 month old baby girl that needed to be moved from her current foster home. After about 1 minute I knew that she needed to be in my arms. In my … Continue reading

Moving forward

Empty bed, full heart.

Moving forward is hard. But that’s our job. Our job as a foster home is to create a stable loving home that feels like family. That’s what we did. The pain is the proof of that. Words can’t explain what my heart feels like. If you have seen a foster child leave your home you can understand. The pain that I feel is a mixture of pride for a job well done and pain with the loss. The job of loving her well has not been on my and Matts shoulders alone. My sons have shown unconditional love to a hurting little person who has pulled their hair, slapped and punched them, bit them, spit at them, rejected their hugs and kisses and screamed at them. Their resilience and commitment to loving her (and even moving forward to take another placement) shows me so much of what love is. They have reaped the reward as she has learned what love is and reciprocated those kisses, hugs, and I love you’s. They have watched a fighter turn into one who knows love and stability too. If you’ve seen them talk her down from a fit you would know how much they have stolen her heart. Reminding her to take a deep breath to calm herself, reasoning with her, giving her two appropriate choices, telling her they love her forever. I’m so proud of them. My extended family loving her so hard and showing so much grace. My entire church and community close and far, stepping in to shower her with gifts and hand me downs, the offers of babysitting, dinners, and especially the tears, concern, encouragement, and prayers. Thank you all. Job well done. But today I grieve.

For the past almost year I have documented, observed, watched, shared, every detail of this person’s life and now I have no idea how she’s doing. I have no idea what her room looks like or what she ate. I have no idea if she’s crying for me, her dad, or her brothers. I have no idea where she’s going to go to school. Basically I have spent so much time energy, money, thought, heart, loved and fed and loved and held, like I’m supposed to, and now it’s just supposed to end. It’s really strange. Being that I have four boys, it’s also hard to gauge how they’re feeling. I’m sure I will see some behavior issues and the next months with my little guys as a result of their heart not being able to communicate in words how much they miss her besides the occasional, “I wish G___ was still here.” And just when we get that settled down we will probably be ready to introduce a new adventure to our house.

As I drove away with my precious little thing crying for mama dada, my heart shattered into 1 million pieces but I had to stay strong, at least a little strong, for the other four kids in my car. Strong but vulnerable so they can see the loss but feel secure. The four kids that are my forever kids. The four kids that no one can take from me. One of my wise children at age 7 said that Faith is trusting. Today I find that so true. Today I have to have faith that there is a bigger plan from a good Father that I can’t see. A plan that includes her not living with me but still thriving. I pray that this plan includes me being a part of her life as Auntie Mama. A plan where she is a game changer, a voice, and an advocate in a place that I can’t reach. A plan so much bigger than what my heart can see. This is Faith. Thanks for lending your heart to journey with us. Well done and my heart is full from a heart of love. Love that cost me something.

Jeremiah 29:11 MSG I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

The whole Starlight Bethel Album has really been so good for me but this song keeps tearing up my heart.

When sleeping means waking up.

I’ve got that feeling tonight… the feeling when you are so tired but you don’t want to sleep because you dread what waking up means. It means tomorrow is a fun Blessing Party for missy miss but also it means I have only 2 more days with me as her mama. I hoping I will change to Auntie and by that I mean stay in her life forever. Tonight we told her she’d be sleeping somewhere else in a couple days. She asked if #browneyedbabyj would sleep there too, I told her no. Then she told me #levibrealitytv no sleep there. She told me a funny story about how dad told her that she needed to sleep in her bed not somewhere else. I told her it was the judge boss who decided, not us and that I wanted to keep her forever but that her relative really wanted her to sleep at her house now too. That the boss said she has to.

She didn’t talk after that. The lights were out after that and as I rocked her she wrapped her arms around me so tight and still until I could feel her silently crying. Then she grabbed my face and wiped my tears and fell asleep. It’s almost like she’s done this before and kinda understands. So young and so much ahead happened in her short life. It hurts.

I finished her huge photo album tonight but left out so much I wanted to say and 1,000 pictures I couldn’t fit. Finishing it made it seem so final. Marking termination of placement on a form felt so surreal. Picturing the future all I can see is her. She’s a fighter and has a bold voice. She has a servants heart and seeks justice. We’ll never be the same but I know we’ll be ok. Hope lives inside us. It lives in her now and it lives in me. Adventure awaits for both of us.

#fosteringishard #fostercare #fosterlove #fosterlife #lilmissmercy #loveyousomuch

My eyes.

These are the eyes of crying myself to sleep from a heart that literally hurts with pain. Today I can't hold in my tears either. Say tears or cry and watch out. I'm crying over summer ending and then remembering that my tears are really a mixture of my kids growing up and knowing that when summer ends #lilmissmercy is leaving my home, maybe even as early as Tuesday. Foster care is being the home, heart, hands, kisses, correction, comfort, cook, nurse, brothers, dada, mama, and protector but loving hard means hurting hard. We aren't mad at anybody but the system who has let it drag out so long. She's a ball of cute and fire. She's a tornado and loves to serve. She a lot of work and patience but I love her. We all do. I understand her language. She pushes the limits and comes back because of almost a year of trust and love.

But today I'm sad and have to keep pulling myself back into the present moment to enjoy my 5 Tribe's last day of summer and reminding myself that being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Clinging to these.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

Today I'm her mom and she's my daughter.

Another Day, Another Try at Court

So it’s been almost 7 months. We have really watched a baby blossom into a preschooler. She talks so much, has very strong opinions, and really wants to learn. By that I mean every positive and negative thing that she sees around her. So basically she’s a  2 year old. We have our ups and we have our downs.  We have days that are fun and days that aren’t so fun. Lot’s of laughter and joy to tantrums, tears, and time outs. So basically she’s a 2 year old. She asks for food and throws half on the floor. She empty’s her cup onto her tray and then complements me on my smoothie skills the next. So what I’m saying here is she’s a 2 year old and having a two year old is hard work. Adding all the other complexities to that is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes I feel like the faint of heart and in that moment is when I am the most strong and really relying on the Lord to strengthen me and get me through. Also, it IS for the person with a love and compassionate in their heart. That part is easy most of the time and there is so much reward with the extra joy and life that Miss Mercy brings to our lives. All that to say she is such a part of our hearts and lives.

Tomorrow is another attempt to resolve something in her case. Please pray with us for the judge to have eyes to see, wisdom, and mercy ready to dispense to our littlest member of the family. The song my sister posted on FB today is such the song I’ve been going to through this wild ride. img_6243

img_6311-3

Hello, Goodbye

There are many feelings as we wake up this morning. Today is Miss Baby Doll’s Court date for placement. We’ve only had her for a little over 3 weeks but its half her life and it feel like so much longer. We love her so much and the whole family has really stepped up to care for her. We are patiently waiting to hear the results of court, that we are hoping results in reunification for the little princess. There is no reason why she shouldn’t be with her birth dad and that’s what we are praying for. Although, her going back to her dad means her leaving our family. Last night the little boys cried themselves to sleep and I painted this for her to take home. This foster journey hasn’t started off the way we thought with an overwhelming amount of parent visits and knowing that she was probably going home but we are honored and blessed to have had her in our home. The best thing for her is not to stay with us and get totally bonded with us. The best thing is to move her now so she is not confused or brokenhearted as an older baby. But now, it’s in the court’s hands and not mine. Let’s be honest, it’s in the Lord’s hands and he loves her more than anybody on this earth. I know that he has great plans for her and she has a bright future. My prayer is that all the love that we have poured into her with sleepless nights, bottles, feedings, chats, prayers, songs, and snuggles will penetrate deep into her heart to give her an added foundation of love to stand on. I pray that she will know the love of God all her life and be a mighty tree for him.

People always say how can you do it? You pour out your heart knowing it might be hurt but we’d rather love and lose then never love at all. And knowing how well cared for she was over these weeks is a blessing.

img_8142