Learning Lessons about Love

God is teaching me tough lessons about love. Isn’t love supposed to be easy? The warm fuzzies…the puppy dog eyes…No. We know in our heads it isn’t, but it seems like it is something we can do. I can show love to the unloved. Somewhere something whispers “there’s a need that can be solved by love and you can do it…”

Our classes taught us that we’d face many challenges in the upcoming months of foster care/adoption. I remember thinking “this is going to be tough” and that we’d have to learn to love like our Father more than ever before…but today, I am shocked at my inabilities. I’m perplexed at how hard love can be. In the middle of my conversation with Steph about the struggles we are facing, God reminds me “love is a sacrifice…love is an action”. Love cost God EVERYTHING. It was a devestating kind of love. Love keeps going when the emotion isn’t there. It is action…it is hands…it is feet…especially ones with scars to show. In society love can be cheap. People fall into it and back out like it’s a hole in the ground.

“Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.”-I Cor 13:13

If love is the greatest, and the truely great things are the ones that will cost the most, then is it any wonder that love may be the hardest to learn and truely show? And, if it is the hardest to display, is it any wonder that it is the most powerful thing in the world? Genuine love sometimes will hurt because you give and don’t get back. Sometimes, it will ask for more than we feel we can give. Sometimes, love is in the whisper when you feel like a yell.

Dear God, help me show your love without expecting my reward…

James

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FIVE is FABULOUS…and exhausting!

Our first week of foster has been amazing and exhausting. All three littles as well as Daddy have had the flu. Nothing says “Welcome to our family” like mom cleaning up your puke at 1 AM! Our new littles have been amazing! They came to us as little balls of uncontrollable energy but as they have become more comfortable in our home they have settled down!

We have been so blessed at how well they have bonded with us! Kobe and Claire are having a blast with two littles who look up to them! Last week they held “camp” with tent making (in the play room), mountain climbing (up the stairs), and art time! Everyone plays together really well….well, almost everyone…Lilly Kate enjoyed the first week but has had a hard time since Sunday. Yesterday she declared this is “My House.” Hopefully some one-on-one Mommy time will remedy that! The newbies started preschool this week and are loving it so far. I am using their preschool time to homeschool Kobe and Claire. I have the option of putting Lilly Kate in a Mother’s Day out 2 days a week but I haven’t decided whether or not I will.

Last Thursday we went to court and the judge changed the plan from Family Reunification to Adoption. I am still learning exactly what this means. Here is my best understanding: Parental rights are not terminated yet so we will still do visits with Mom and Step-dad once a month (so happy! I thought it was going to be every other week!). DHS is still working with Mom and Step dad to better themselves as parents but at the same time they are processing all the paperwork to terminate their rights. I know…seems so weird to me too! But at this time the home is still unsafe for the children and they have made no big changes to make it better in a year a half. We will go to court in 6 months to update their case file.

Whoever said “After 3 they’re just numbers” LIED! I have never been so busy in my entire life! I have lost 8 lbs in the 3 weeks we have had the newbies because I never sit down and I don’t have time to eat!

FIVE is FABULOUS when…

1. You are playing outside!

2. You are out in public (These kids know how to behave when in the store)!

3. You are riding bikes!

FIVE is EXHAUSTING when…

1. You are trying to get a meal on the table.

2. You have to bathe everyone (and Daddy has the flu)

3. You have to put them to bed!

The only weird issue we have had is with their obcession with food! I wonder if they had to go hungry before coming into foster care because they are constantly asking me when our next meal is and what we are going to eat. BoyK eats more than I do…scrapes his plate clean at every meal and then asks for a snack! James and I wonder if he had unlimited supply would he just continue to eat until he was sick? I have had to stick with regular scheduled snacks and meal (we eat every 2-3 hours) and not allow anything to eat inbetween. That still doesn’t stop them from asking!

This week we are working on the appropriate ways to greet a stranger. Both kids run up and hug everyone they meet. We are teaching boundaries…you shake hands or high five new friends. But we hug our family. So if you see us out and about please extend a hand not a hug!

Lastly, please do not donate any of your clothes, toys, etc… to us! We greatly appreciate the generosity but these kids came with a van FULL of stuff and with FIVE kiddos we are busting at the seams!

First Day Fostering

Wow! We are busy! This has been such a blessing already! K and K (cannot use their real names so I’m using their initials for now…will come up with something more creative later…when I’m not so tired!) Arrived yesterday about 4:00. They immediately went to playing with the other kids and haven’t stopped since! We spent most of evening outside (thank you Lord for our beautiful weather!)…we played ball, jumped on the trampoline, played on the swingset, and ended it all with a bike ride around the block. Thank goodness we have a bike trailer…k&k loved riding in the bike trailer behind James! They call us momma and daddy…not because we asked them to but because that’s what the other kids call us!
They are very obedient and very helpful! They always clean up after themselves after eating or playing….maybe they can teach the other kids! Lots of energy and very busy but very sweet.
Bedtime was difficult…took 2 hours to get everyone to stay in bed. They are use to having a tv in their rooms and falling asleep watching it. They were a little nervous too…imagine your 3 and 4 year old sleep over at a complete strangers house!
I know we are still in the honeymoon phase so we will wait and see…so honored to be able to provide a home for them…even if its only temporary. Oh…did I mention they have blue eyes!? Sweet sweet babies!
By-the-way…they do not know that they may be moving in with us. Dhs wanted to do a trial to make sure all the kids get along ok and we can handle 2 more. So if you see us out or at church they are just new friends staying for the weekend.
Please continue to pray for us…for energy, strength, and wisdom for me and James, that all kids will continue to get along well, and that they would feel comfortable and welcomed here.

Adoption…WHY?!?

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

This is the recurrent question we have heard since we have trickled the news that we are going through the process of adoption. I have heard this question so much that I decided to start a blog so you can share with us in our Adoption journey!

James and I have always talked about adopting but not seriously until November 2011….Wait…let me back up…

It all started with Lilly Kate! She is our 3rd (biological) child. She was born in May 2010 after a somewhat difficult pregnancy, Lilly Kate was born at 35 weeks and had a short little NICU stay followed by a 2 week stay at LeBonheur for bacterial meningitis (that is a whole ‘nother MIRCALE story I’ll save for another day!). Because each pregnancy  has been progressively harder, with babies being delivered a little earlier each time, we decided more biological children was not a wise option. So we assumed we were DONE…but God had other plans…

In November 2011 I was listening to a Focus on the Family radio broadcast on adoption through the US Foster Care System and my heart was broken for the vast number of children that need a home! I prayed about this for several days before talking to James about it (for fear he would freak out!). When I finally got the courage up to tell him I felt like God might be saying we should look into adoption, he was all for it! I was shocked! We agreed together to start looking into domestic adoption…no pressure…and no strings attached…just praying God would lead the way and if he said “STOP” we would go no further.

So we researched, watched videos, read books, listened to radio broadcasts, and most importantly PRAYED! In January 2012 God lead us to an agency called Harden House and they have been a God-send! Over the last few months we have filled out paperwork, done physicals, taken classes, been interviewed (for 4 hours!), and have gone through home inspection! As of yesterday everything from our end is DONE!! Now we wait for the official approval and the quest for our new child begins!!

Another question we have had is “Do you want a baby?” The answer to that is “No…well, maybe…” Our search criteria is infant-8 years old and up to 4 in a sibling group. Yes, you read that right…up to 4 children at once!!! We are just praying God gives us direction on which child or children he would have us love and care for.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord!” Psalm 127:3a

So…in a nutshell…that is our “story” so far. Many think we are crazy…honestly, we feel crazy at times! But all we are doing is following where God leads. We know He is in control and His plan is perfect!

We would love to hear from you and hear your stories as well! Please feel free to post a comment or contact me by email, facebook, or twitter!

Also, please pray with us as we WAIT for our new child! (I have a hard time with the Waiting!)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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