Thursday, May 21, 2009

Week #6

Tonight will be week number 6 in this journey we are taking and boy is the time flying. Of course it is because each week seems to pack itself before we have a chance to blink. Right now our schedule looks a little like this:

Monday: 5:00-7:30--YMCA soccer practice
Tuesday: 5:00-7:30 Soccer games
Wednesday: 3:00-5:00 Swim Team, 7:00-8:30 Midweek Church Activities, 9:00-?? Nate plays basketball.
Thursday: 6:00-9:30--Parenting Classes for Foster/Adopt
Friday 3:00-5:00 Swim Team
Saturday Morning: 7:30-12:00 -Soccer games

Somewhere in between all of this there is over 50 pages of paperwork to fill out, about 30 documents to locate and copy. Recommendation letters to solicit from creditors and friends. 3 children to raise, 2 acres to mow, one large disastrous landscaping project to fix, a house to keep somewhat in order, more laundry to do than should be reasonable, Nate's full time job (he has been averaging 60 hours this month) and my part time job. Phew...

By the grace of God we are getting it all accomplished, even with time for a few parties here and there.

Last weeks class was a really difficult and enlightening class to attend. The main theme of the class was attachment issues. The exercise for the evening was a reflective meditation where you closed your eyes and placed yourself in your mind's eye in the crux of your home. She then shared that there was a knock at the door and a "people mover" took you from your home, your family. You had 30 minutes to pull any belongings you wanted to take and you could only fill a paper sack. Once in the car as you were being transported from your home and your family, you were told there was another family who would be so happy to see you; they had been waiting a long time for you to come live with them. You are dropped off at this new house, it is a lot nicer than your other house. But standing on the front stoop is a man who is telling you to call him HUSBAND, and children who are calling you MOMMY. How do you feel? You are to go into this home and start living with them. You are not allowed to see your real husband, or your real children right now, but maybe, just maybe you will get a visit later. You have to begin their routine--of course first you need to figure out their routine. This family loves you like they have known you all their lives, but you just want to go home.

On and on it went. How hard for this to happen in your mind, as an adult. How much more difficult for this to happen to a child. Perspective. We are about 2 weeks away from having all of our packet complete, and then we will have our home study. We have about 10 things to do to the house before the homestudy--minor things (fix the handrail on the stairs, cover outlets with child-proof doodahs, put a lock on the door of the pantry which houses the cleaning supplies and medicines. We also need to get another twin size bed for Noah's room. I bought new sheets and comforters for the "boys" room last week. Looking forward to getting that all arranged and complete.

It is interesting as our recommendation letters come in to read them. It is a bit like hearing your funeral sermon. How sweet and gracious our friends have been in these letters. It is such a blessing to have such a great amount of support in this endeavor.

Well... off to pay for summer camp for the kiddos.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Filling in the blanks

Nathan and I have been working on filling out all the paperwork required by the state. It has not been a tough chore, just a bit time consuming. It has struck me the questions that are asked in the personal profiles are very difficult to answer in two very small font lines allowed. Questions from name a time you were dissappointed and how it impacted you (2 lines) to what is your worst childhood memory (1 line) are a bit difficult to pair down in an economy of words. We have about 2 more hours of work ahead of us.

The children have some paperwork to fill out as well. Their assignment is to draw a picture or write a story about our family after we adopt. The children are very excited about this little task. The girls have already drawn a family portrait (family of 6 style.) I found it interesting how they chose the hair color of the people in the picture. Nate and I have black hair, N, M and M all have blond hair and new brother has black hair. I asked them why they chose the hair color for the new child and they had no explanation. Interesting.

I am going to have to order a birth certificate for Nathan. I have no idea if we have ever had a copy. I will call and ask his Mom if she has a copy, but I should order one for us. I have mine and the children's. Funny how little pieces of paper are meant to represent so much.

It is nice to have this little project to work on, makes me feel like we are actually doing something. Little steps closer to our goal. That certainly feels good.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Today I had a conversation with an amazing lady from church. After raising her two children, she has been opening her home to foster children, teenage girls to be specific. Her job by day is to be a teacher for teenage boys who are in an alternative school. She is always so great to talk to because this woman is daily walking the walk of loving others.

Due to her experiences, I have found myself sitting at her feet lately trying to get some wisdom and understanding from her.

At this point, it is not our plan to foster children, but instead adopt. But seeing her and talking with her, I can imagine Nathan and I fostering in the future. This is her ministry. She is touching the hearts of girls who have been deeply disappointed by the world, sceptics to a loving God and rejected by families.

A couple of years ago I wrote on another blog how I truly believe that Christian homes all over the world should be opening their doors to orphaned and neglected children. Today our conversations stemmed from seeing how the current Child Placement and Permanency systems are fact perpetuating themselves. When you begin to discuss how to make improvements to a failing system the debates could be endless. But the reality from a Christian worldview is that the only solution to the system is for there to be no need for the system. Imagine the euphoric world where all parents loved their children and the community embraced children and always looked out for the best interest of those children. Hard to imagine? What about a world where even if parents and the community let down children, the ADOPTED children of God rallied and did not let them down. What if every christian home took in one child--how many children would be left in the system?

I praise God for the challenge this sister in Christ lays before us as she tackles and overcomes the challenge day in and day out. I am glad for her friendship and humbled by her service. I am so glad to have her wisdom and support. I found a blog by Tom Davis that I will spend many weeks meditating upon.

From Tom Davis' blog:
Today, I wanted to post some scriptures to meditate on. It tells some of the story of why orphans are so important to God and why we are supposed to care for them.

God calls Himself the Father of the fatherless.
· Psalm 68:5, “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.”

God considers spiritual service the purest when His people are taking care of orphans. (and) A religion that does not care for orphans is no religion at all.
· James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

God’s people are commanded to care for orphans. To see an orphan afflicted, and to turn a deaf ear, is sin, even rebellion.
· Exodus 22:22, “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.”
· Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
· Isaiah 1:23, “Your rulers are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless.”

We can be the hands and love of Christ Himself by providing practical care.
· Deuteronomy 10:18, “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”
· Psalm 10:14, “But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.”
· Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.”
· Matthew 25: 45, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

Orphans are to be taken care of with the same honor and provision as a Pastor or Priest.
· Deuteronomy 14:28-30, “The Levite (priest), because he has not portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”

A portion of all that we possess is sacred and belongs to the orphan.
· Deuteronomy 26:12-14, “You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”

Friday, May 1, 2009


Last night's class, like last week's, really started to give some perspective as to what to expect and what every member of the family is going to be going through--birth parents, the child, the case worker, the foster families. What a truly amazing thing to think about a child being torn from their home. In the scenerio we played out last night, the birth parents had lost their jobs, and in a moment of stress made a very bad decision which led to their child being removed from their home. I think it is so easy to think about these birthparents as monsters who are killing their children, but this exercise helped to point out how these parents could be good people who made a bad choice and it is spiraling into a nightmare around them.

In the scenerio, a child that was placed in the foster home had experienced abuse which was being acted out with the other children of the home. This is really something dear to my heart. The one part of this journey that gives me the most pause is the protection of the children I already have. It really has been what has delayed our steps forward up to this point. I think in ways my fears about putting my now children in danger were both revisited and calmed in last night's class. The reality is that if our child to be has been abused, the chances are great they will exhibit behaviors as a result of that abuse. BUT there will be plenty of services and help in getting each child counseling, therapy, and treatment to help that child heal and overcome such abuse.

I again realize what a precious bubble of naivete I live in and am continually thankful for the lack of knowledge of such things. But the reality is that bad things are happening all around us, to the children all around us.