Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Facial Karate Chop (the Jesus way)

So much has happened in the past few weeks that I feel almost as if I have been picked up by a tornado and dropped into the land of Oz. 

Numero Uno:
Not only has summer ended and school started, but I am approaching the end of my first season in Foster Care. Little Man, who has been with me 3 months now, will be leaving me in the next month or so. The situation is truly a great one and I am so very thankful for a family who has a large amount of both faith and love to share. They have stepped up to the plate and taken the challenge of raising two boys because they see it as their calling, their ministry, and their responsibility. To Aunt L and Uncle P, I cannot thank you and your family enough for setting my mind and my heart at ease. After meeting you, I have no doubt that this is God's BEST for Little Man and his brother. To Mama M, you WILL beat this. You will be free to be who God has called you to be. You are a phenomenal woman and you are capable of whatever you set your mind to do. And above all, you are Mama to two of the most precious children on God's green earth... and you always will be! You will all certainly be a part of my extended family... united by love for a child whose name will forever be etched into my heart and mind.

Numero Dos:
I have had to come to terms with the fact that I have been karate chopped in the face by Jesus. Has that ever happened to you? It's not exactly pleasant at the moment, but it has been an experience that has rocked my world for the past few days. Sunday morning my Sunday School class was reading and discussing this passage from John:

Now my soul is troubled.  And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?  But for this purpose I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.  (John 12:27-28)

Am I to give up and run away from my calling as soon as it gets tough? Am I to get frustrated and negative about my situation simply because it isn't easy? Was Christ's calling easy? Was it even pleasant? No. He came knowing what was in store for Him... He didn't shy away from the hard and the unpleasant. He sought it out. He overcame sin and death because He chose to.

Therefore... I am committed. I am called. I will stay.

And in 30 years? They'll have to bribe me to leave. (And it better be a good bribe!)

And during these next 30 years? I'll laugh and cry. I'll teach and learn. I'll hug and LOVE. I'll hit my knees and pray. I'll be who God has called me to be while following the path He has set before me. I will do everything I can to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the precious children and families that God has placed in my life and in my community... and I will thank Him for EVERY minute of it!

So in conclusion... on August 28, 2042... ask me how it went. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Who holds their history?

Those of us who come from a home where the same people; whether it was our parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, have raised us from birth... we have absolutely no concept of what it is like to look back on our own life history riddled with holes and gaps that leave one guessing about who they truly are. This is simply one problem that comes from being raised in the system.

My family (especially my mom) likes to laugh about how I remember things. The memories I have from when I was a kid are very real, but my mom swears up and down that things just didn't happen that way. I still think I'm right, but I guess a stalemate is always awarded in favor of the oldest, right? ;)  However, imagine that you were born and lived with your birth mother and older brother for a while, then you were taken out of your mom's home and placed into foster care. Your mom is no longer the keeper of your memories. And you were only a baby... you can't remember what you looked like, the experiences you had... and what about your health history?? After finally being reunited with mom, you were again taken away and put back into care. Only this time, you stayed in the system for well over a year, living in four different homes within that time period. Each family that cared for you has a piece of your puzzle, but actually being able to gather that information later is, for the most part, impossible.

Just the thought of this impossible chore makes my stomach turn into knots. I had an experience today that made me truly appreciate having a mom and dad who are keepers of my history, and made me mourn for those who are not able to say the same. I sat in a doctor's office today filling out a form for my little man. The majority of the questions were pertaining to the here and now, which I can easily fill out. I came to a page that stumped me, though... Every question was about the child before the age of 3. Well, I can't answer those questions, for I was not there. I am quite blessed in this situation to be able to call bio-mom and ask her the questions, for which she was able to answer most. What about the ones who can't do that? What will happen when I am caring for a child who is in their fifth foster home at the age of three? Who will answer the questions then?

My heart breaks for these children who, not only are having the "present day" of all that is familiar ripped away from them, but in the process, they are also losing their history.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Love me some Lifeline!!

If you are interested in foster care or adoption, check out Lifeline. They are amazing!!

The Lifeline Blog

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Friend for All Seasons

"Hey, E, what do you think about Mrs. Erin?"

"I feel freshy..."

"Umm... What does freshy mean?"

"It means... I love her."

"What do you love most about Mrs. Erin?"

"Everything. And giving her kisses!"

People, the majority of the time, tell me that they couldn't do what I do when it comes to foster care. They couldn't love and care for a child for a season, and then let them go. I, however, beg to differ...

I have an amazing group of friends. Some I know from church, work, school, and some from other random ways. All, of them, however, have accepted E into their lives without question and without hesitation. From Sarah K. who dotes on E at every turn, to Kim L. who has taught E how to splash every mud puddle he sees in his immediate vicinity. (Been meaning to thank you for that, Kim.), they all love him and show him that love freely.

One friend, Erin H. (well, now it's Erin P.), has kept E for me when he was sick and I had to work. Not only has she done me that huge favor ("flavor" as E calls it), but she has also gone out of her way to spend time with E, like picking him up from daycare and hanging out with him, just as a special treat. These things she does knowing full well that in a short time from now, she will say goodbye to this child and more than likely never see him again.

If you know a child in care, please know that every moment you spend pouring into their lives is a moment they will very likely remember and keep with them... always. Children in foster care are prone to low self-esteem issues. Imagine that you are ripped out of your home; away from your parents, siblings, toys, pets, bed, clothes... everything. The majority of kids not only have adjustment issues (wouldn't you?), but they also place every bit of blame for their situation on themselves! Can you imagine feeling that you were the cause of ripping your family apart?

We, as foster parents, have the responsibility of caring for these children and helping them heal from their hurts... which includes dealing with their low self-esteem and misplaced blame. You, as friends of foster parents, have the responsibility of showing these children love and acceptance so that when they're asked about what they think about you, they will reply, "Freshy!" You are loving them for the season, and showing them that they are worth the effort...