Category Archives: Heather

Waiting

It’s been awhile since we updated so I’ll do that quickly…

We’ve had several foster kiddos come and go. Some cases were easy, some cases were hard. Some were quick and some took a bit longer.  It’s been a learning experience through each case. None have been the same. None have gone as expected.

More recently the baby we had from 3 weeks old was moved to another home and is soon to go live with his grandma. I hope and pray they understand the delays and needs he has and are able to provide as he gets older. We had him about 18 months before things started moving/changing.

While we had the above little guy we took in another kid. A kid whose case was supposed to be closed a couple months later and reunited with his family.

That didn’t happen.

Bio mom disappeared for awhile and so the case basically started over when she came back on the scene.  We’re now 18 months past him joining our household and we are still in limbo.

Waiting seems to be how it’s going to go for us now.  There are lots of moving pieces to this case.  Will the family step up? Will we adopt? Will it be quick? Will it take months to a year? Will the judge be deciding factor?

I know, I KNOW God has a plan in this whole mess.  I just wish it was a bit more clear. Or didn’t take so long.  The two people affected most by all of this are little kids. A 3 and 4 year old shouldn’t have to live through so much uncertainly in their world. Whichever way this goes – to the family member or with us – I just want it to go quickly.  They deserve better.

I’ll hold close to this verse as the waiting continues……

Psalm 27:14 ” Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”

 

I have a confession…

Parenting sucks. 
And not just in the trenches of gross and dirty (like my nephew spilling milk all over my sister’s car, including his current favorite stuffed animal) but also in the daily questioning of how the choices you’ve made in your parenting style is working as you try to raise a decent human being. I, like you, am right there. In the gross and mundane life of littles but breaking out into a new realm of a child that can understand more than basic boundaries and trying to figure out how the best way to parent this stage. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself a little. I need to be honest about me. I’m not perfect. (Shocking I know) But seriously, I’m not – and thankfully God has decided to show me how not perfect I am and meet me in this place of brokenness.  

I have a control problem. 

Recent studies in Judges and about Lent (and a class for our fostering license) have caused a microscope to be directed at me and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen. Specifically relating to some aspects of how I parent my kids.
See, when you want to be in control and that control is taken from you and or faced with 5 year old stubborn, for example, you yell. And it’s never the straight to the point logical yell. It’s the over the top, I’ve started and I’m going to finish this, I’m in charge and you’ll listen to me or else yell. The problem with this yell is it doesn’t do anything but relieve (for about 5 secs) the anger and frustration of not being in control.

Because after this yell you look at your child and you see their countenance fall and you feel the guilt of crushing their little heart a little and then…then you feel horrible. Then you feel guilty. But although you’ve reached guilty your still holding on to that control.

The scenario above has happened too many times in my house. And in those studies I’ve mentioned of Judges and Lent God showed me how wrong I was. And that although my flex is to respond that way I don’t have to anymore. And that control I long to squeeze tightly to my chest, doesn’t belong to me either. 

The day I realized I was a sinner and gave my life to Jesus was the day control was given to Him. Technically it was always His; But that was the moment the old ways of my life were no longer a part of me and I was a new creation in Him. 

It took until a few weeks ago for me to realize that new creation doesn’t have to yell. That yelling wasn’t just “who I was” and therefore my cross to bare. It was  another piece of my life I needed to release to Him. 

So recently – I’ve stopped yelling. I’m having to re-train my brain to stop and use the tools given before communicating with my kids. Tools like counting to 3 before responding, being sure to actually talk and listen to them, to get to their level by sitting next to them or kneeling down, and more but you get the picture. I’m not 100% successful but I’ve been able to stop myself in the middle of yelling and take a break so that I can return to a calm state before dealing with the kids.

How can I expect them to respond rationally and logically if I’m not doing that either?!

The hard part of all this is my kids have learned to ignore mom until she yells and to yell at each other, so they are being re-trained too. To communicate their anger, frustration, sadness. And to learn their own ways of finding their calm state before continuing the conversation. Or to come and get mom or dad if their try at working it out hasn’t worked. 

I want my kids to grow up responsible, kind, caring, willing to stick up for others, with integrity, and so on human beings. But if I crush the little parts that can grow into those characteristics I’m not doing it right. And now that my oldest is 6, he’s old enough to start thinking of the “why” he did whatever he did from the heart aspect. And yelling at him leaves no room for communication. Just makes him defensive and closed off. The same thing it would do to an adult. This is what needs to change. 

It’s a process. And it’s tough. Now that I’ve been shown this fault of mine I can’t ignore it. Their face when I started to yell is etched in my brain and is what I see when I feel my anger rising. So I keep at it. I pray daily for God’s guidance and help. Each day is a new day. And with every new day of a this new mom, my kids can become the little humans they are intended to be. Learning the tools as kids I’m learning at 31. 

What to do?

Last night around dinner time we got a text asking if we were willing to fill our other “bed” with a 1 month old little boy.  No one in our agency had an open bed and they wanted to give CPS an option. What you think would be an easy decision of helping where it’s needed was surprisingly difficult.

The heart hurts for this little person and wants to take him in and snuggle and love on him.  But on the other had we have a 5 week old already.  Could we handle twins (basically)? Would the chaos be too much?  Can our kids handle another little person in the house and even less of mom’s direct attention?

See.. Hard…

C sat down with the kids at the dinner table and explained what was going on and wanted their input.  Each of them immediately said, YES! C explained they would have to be uber helpers and simmer down on the fighting.  They said they would and were excited to meet the next baby.  We were asked several times what his name was? When is he coming? Is his mommy sick too?  Will she get better?

Their open, honest, unconditionally loving little hearts melt me into a puddle on a regular basis.  They seem to get the foster process better than I ever thought they could.

We weren’t chosen for this little guy, another family that was just certified get to love on him.  And 20 minutes later another request came out for a 7 month old little boy. Now 1 month to 7 months is a little bit different.  Similar worries are brought up, and with help from a certain late night owl as a sounding board, we decided to sleep on it and decide in the morning if our assistance was still needed.  I like to think I’m superwoman but that spread of ages had me worried.  They were able to find another home for him as well.

However, this morning, I almost feel as if we didn’t do what we needed to.  I’m sure another little one will come up soon and we can help then, but maybe we were supposed to take that leap of faith last night and let God do His thing without our concerns getting in the way.

Maybe we should have had the trust and understanding of a 4 and 5 year old.

Changes

As of 3 weeks ago, C and I, became foster parents. What a journey of time, prayer, and trust to see come to fruition.

Maybe I should back up a little bit…

AZ1.27 is an initiative that the state of Arizona started a little over a year ago.  Calling people to help the kids in the foster system that have no place to go.  At the time they started there were so many kids in the system they didn’t have enough homes to place them, often they spent the night in the CPS office or were sent to group homes; neither an ideal place to go, specially for the little ones.

My husband, C, and I attended an orientation and our hearts were pricked for all these little people that just needed someone to open their home. So after some conversations and prayers we decided to go for it.  That included 30 hours of training, meetings with an agent through our agency to get our package together, background checks, fingerprint cards, home study, and more.

Most of the process was straightforward.  Hard because of the time requirements but nothing to crazy.  We hit a snag with C’s fingerprint card.  He was denied because of things he had done in the past.  But this didn’t mean the end of our journey it just meant we had to appeal the decision by gathering all records, explaining every charge, and how he has changed since.  For more people to think about this process it would be one or two stupid nights to explain and very little time.  What you might not know about C is that he was pretty goofy in his teen years, which earned him a 12 page list of charges.

After contacting each court and requesting specific records, he then had to write out an explanation of each item. This process took a good 2-3 hours.  A lot of memories and a lot of pain in the events around the charges.  The beauty in the ashes was the ability to see how God called him to Himself and has changed his life so drastically.  While his past isn’t the prettiest, he survived and is now a tool for the Lord’s work.

Once that was complete the package was sent to the review board, where it was expedited through as an appeal.  Amazingly they considered the our package complete, required no further information from us, and it was approved.  The surprising thing is that in talking to some people they have never seen a history as close as C’s was (10 years) get approved.

Once we had that piece approved we met with our agent for the final information gathering. And our file was then sent before the state’s board to see if we could be certified.  The file was sent Wednesday. We were approved Friday afternoon.  That was a huge PRAISE THE LORD!

The end of this glorious story is 48 hours later we had our first sweet placement, a beautiful baby girl – who has stolen our hearts already.

Confidence

Today is my birthday. 

It’s the big 3-0.  As daunting as this seems to some I take it as a challenge.  I’ve survived, no persevered through 30 years of life.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the insane, the beautiful, the surprising, the unbelievable, the loving, the forgiving.  I feel wiser and a bit more prepared for the next chapters of life.  And ready to share the little lessons I’ve learned along the way with others.

The beginning of life was easy.  Wake up, eat, play, school, more play, eat, bathe, sleep.  Simple. Routine.  During this time I had the privilege of having a mom that continually imparted the knowledge that I was “fearfully wonderfully made”, “knit together by a loving God in my mother’s womb”, “with a plan and a purpose for my life”, by a “God that knew me and made me, even down to the numbers of hairs on my head.”  It was her mantra, said when needed and sometimes when not needed.  And it was the best thing for my skinny blonde haired self.

I remember in high school, although I was not content with the body I had, I was confident in it. Not only with my body, but with my brain.  I wasn’t brilliant by any means, but I didn’t have a problem sharing my opinions and backing up what I believed; both spiritual and general.  This continued on through the rest of my school life and into my adult years.  

Do I know everything? No! (my thirty year old wisdom has thoroughly taught me that much) But there is one thing that I learned early that I wish every woman would learn.  

It’s important, beautiful, powerful, visible, and empowering.  A woman who can walk out her door and know that she is amazing is the confidence I wish for every woman.  It’s the ability to push past our doubts, fears, insecurities and be the woman God created you to be.  Does that mean you don’t have those doubts, fears, insecurities? Not at all.  But instead of lingering on those thoughts and ideas you lay them at your Father’s feet and let go.  

Sounds easy right?  I realize it’s not.  I realize that it’s a daily, sometimes hourly struggle to get past whatever trouble that is holding on so tight. I realize it’s not going to go away overnight and sometimes it never does.  

But friend –

YOU are beautiful!

God made YOU!

He has a plan and a purpose, for YOU!

God knows YOU!

It’s true.  Hard to believe.  But true.  Say it to yourself.   Repeat it.  Believe it.

Because what you don’t see that I do, is His amazing touch on you.  He loves you, and wants you to be able to walk in the world around you confident in His love so that you can be confident in all areas of life.