court

it’s been a long time, 11 years maybe, since i’ve been to juvenile court.  being an ongoing caseworker for a children’s services agency in a neighboring county, going to court was a regular part of my job.  i was an agency representative, telling the court the status of my cases.  letting them know if the parents or guardians of children in foster care were complying with their case plan objectives.  their case plan provided them with services to ensure their children could safely return to their care.  services could include parenting classes, alcohol/drug treatment or counseling, anger management if domestic violence was an issue, secure stable and safe housing, secure employment-any number of things to address any issues that were preventing the family from being together.

today i am on the other side.  i’m not the one on the witness stand.  i’m not the expert. i am on the sidelines listening to the status of the case.   i am the one taking care of the children.  the one hoping and praying for a good outcome because these children desperately need good in their lives.  i’m the one with the wide open doors and wide open heart.  the one whose heart has been broken for the innocent children.  the one who has a 17th month old trying to stick an aspirator up my nose as i type this.

overwhelmed

this morning was hard.  the now 17 month old was up too early, shortly followed by his 5 year old brother.  and i could not stop thinking about all that is on our plate right now.  we need to move into a larger home, but we still have to finish up some projects in our current home.  and we need to sell it.  well, first we need to list it.  we need to secure loan money.  we need a bigger van.  in a month possibly.  we are going to a wedding in maine in june and there is talk about taking a vacation immediately following.  along with finding a new van?  and a bigger home?  and oh yeah, a baby is coming.  a. baby.  um, a baby.  to us.  to our home.  to our home where we hardly fit now.  a. baby.

the kids and i were on our way to one of their visits.  they wanted to listen to the frozen soundtrack.  i needed a bit of Jesus music.  i turned on the radio.  “i am, holding on to You.  i am, holding on to You. in the middle of the storm, i am holding on, i am.”  just what i needed to hear.  and then it got to this part. “love like this, oh my God to find! i am overwhelmed what a joy divine! love like this sets our hearts on fire! this is my Resurrection Song, this is my Hallelujah Come, this is why it’s to You i run.  there’s no space that His love can’t reach, there’s no place that we can’t find peace, there’s no end to Amazing Grace.”

“this is why it’s to YOU i run”

my voice started to fade, the tears started to fall.  all of the thinking, planning, wondering-He already knows.  i am amazed that i can have the faith it takes to bring in 3, likely 4, more children, but i can be quickly overwhelmed by everything else that needs to happen.  that will happen because God will make it happen.  and do i believe that?  i do, but sometimes i forget.

i turned my mind to run straight to Jesus.  to lay it all down, to give it all to Him.

i run to Him because there is nowhere else i could go to find love, peace, Amazing Grace.

 

 

i am-david crowder

go fund me

we need YOUR help!

it’s hard for me to ask for help.  it’s hard for me to admit i need help.  many of you have asked how you can help, many of you have been helping.  over the past week or so, i realized the exact kind of help we need.

we need a 12 passenger van.

we need a larger home.

right now, the kids and i all fit in the van.  we take the van and josh’s car when we all need to go somewhere together.  only, we aren’t really going together, we just end up at the same place.  this is okay for now, except my van isn’t expected to make it through the summer.  and, well, we’ve been told to prepare for the arrival of a newborn sometime end of june.  this means the kids and i will no longer fit in our van, making it impossible to go anywhere during the week-the grocery store, doctors appointments, family visitation, on and on.

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we are in a four bedroom one bathroom home.  that’s currently 8 people, possibly increasing to 9, in four bedrooms.  it’s tight.  and all of our children are growing.  three of our boys share a room right now, but once they are teenagers, that’s going to be impossible, at least in this house.

we have a couple of fantastic guys helping us finish off a bathroom in our basement, but that doesn’t increase our living space.  we were thinking maybe we could add on to our house, but one of these guys is a professional builder and he does not think adding on is a good idea.  too much money, and possibly wouldn’t be approved by our city.  so, we need to move.  this is exciting, but also sad because we love our home.

we have a go fund me page up and running.  some of you have contributed and we are so grateful.  some of you have been wondering how you can contribute to what we are doing.  some of you have been praying about it.  could this be the way?

we have our own little mission field here-reaching families and children in our local community who are in need of stability, safety, love.  we don’t know how long these little ones will be with us.  if it’s not for good, there will be another sibling group filling in their spaces.  this is a crazy calling and it’s one God has given us far into the future, as long as we are here on earth and able to fulfill it.  would you join us in this mission field?  be a part of our team?  would you consider helping us do this more?  better?  longer?

these are big requests, but we serve a big God.  we know He wouldn’t call us to parent 6, possibly 7, children without providing for our needs for a larger vehicle and a larger home to accommodate our large family.

you can easily contribute via our go fund me page.   please consider posting a link to this blog post on your FB page or sharing via email or twitter.  also consider sharing the link to our go fund me page.

thank you so much for wanting to help and join us on this journey.

 

 

on mother’s day

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i love this quote so much.  i’m actually a bit jealous, i wish i would have come up with it on my own.  it so clearly sums up being an adoptive and foster mom.

i am a mom.  but there’s a big difference between being a mom to your own children and a mom to children who came from another woman, another mom.  so often people want to argue this, “but you are their mom!”  i am an adoptive mom and i am a foster mom.  i am not a biological mom.  i am not a birth mom. me being “mom” to any of our 6 kiddos, doesn’t change that.  and that’s okay.

it is okay, but it is strange.  and it is sad.

adoption is not a cure for infertility.

holding a child in my arms doesn’t take away the sometimes ache of never carrying one in my womb.

parenting children with my husband doesn’t take away the fact that none of our children look like us.  there will never be a combination us.

i have 6 brown children.  all different shades of brown.

i have them because their birth mothers weren’t able to care for them.

this is tragic.

this is so utterly devastating-for them, for her, for me-that i can barely put words to it.  we have each other because of tragedy.

mother’s day is a day to celebrate me being a mother to these precious children.  but it’s a day of sadness because they are tied to two other mothers they can’t be with right now.  the mothers who conceived them, carried them, delivered them.  mothers who couldn’t keep them.

how heavy for their little hearts.  how heavy for their birth mothers.  how heavy for me.

how strange that the little girl who dreamed of being a mother has become a mother this way.

we will celebrate my role in these little lives.  we will go to church.  we will go out to eat.  i will open cards.  i will hear “happy mother’s day” and while it will bring a smile to my face, it will also bring a little queasiness to my stomach and put a little lump in my throat.

i will shed tears over my infertility.  i shed tears over my children’s birth mothers.  i will shed tears over their loss. i will shed tears over the loss my children have experienced.  yes, i believe there is great gain in being in our family, but that gain comes from great loss.

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on one month

four weeks ago today we became a family of 8.  four weeks.  it’s hard to believe.

i still feel like i am living the life of someone else.

i’m still very, very, very tired.  but, the exhaustion i felt in the very beginning is gone.

the falling limp on the floor at any sign of discipline has faded.  eye contact is improving.  a certain little girl still wants to act like a baby sometimes, but these days it’s more for play than love and affection.  and there’s no more baby head banging.  well, except for the attempt today when he was pulling a sharpie off of my desk and i told him no no.

the days are long.  balancing schooling our boys and caring for the three littles is challenging.  i still haven’t written about homeschooling and we’ve already decided to send everyone back to school in the fall.

16 month old kiddos don’t always nap when you want them to.  i knew this.  i’ve lived through it.  but living through it again is tiring.

trips to the store are getting eaiser.  yes, i’ve taken all of the kids by myself.  we did this the first week they were with us.  they were loud.  there was crying.  there was attempted choking-one of the littles with one of the other littles.  i was involved in no way except to stop it from happening. there were rude comments made to passers by.  there was disrespect given to the cashier.  once we were all reloaded into the van, i stood outside of it with tears in my eyes wondering what the heck i was doing.

you have to keep doing these things, these normal things, over and over again.  they have to become normal.  going to the store, the gas station, the bank, out to eat.  it’s all new.  it’s all strange.  it’s all hard work.  i want to quit every time but i know unless we keep going back, they’ll never learn.

this life, this foster care life, is not easy.  there is so much unknown.  we have no idea what the outcome will be, but we are called to be here anyway.  there are bio-family visits.  there are learned behaviors that are sometimes terrifying and sometimes inappropriate.  there are simple things, like eating at the table-not laying on it and putting your plate on top of your head, that need to be worked on.  there’s crying out for mommy, but a mommy who literally can’t help right now, so it’s useless but they don’t understand that.  and honestly, neither can we.  there is the day in and day out work of trying to create a life for children who’ve only known abuse and neglect, and it’s hard.

a mystery gift giver (this is a post in the making) has left two gifts at our home for me.  recently i was wearing this one
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and our little 16 month old muchkin kept grasping it.  he wasn’t trying to yank it from my neck, rather, he was holding on to it, as if he knew it meant something.  something big.

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and it does mean something big.  the Lord is allowing my heart to be broken every day for these little ones, for their circumstances, for their birth family.  this little hand was holding on to my heart.