Our Journey To Foster Care

 

Back in May, during my quiet time one morning the Lord kept pressing foster care into my heart over and over. This is not the first time this has happened.

When Chris and I first got married we had already started the process to become foster parents but when I became pregnant with Rhett and was crippled by severe nausea and exhaustion, we stopped.

Children who are without love, protection, or a safe place ALWAYS weigh on my heart…especially since having my own. Feeling the movement and kicks in my belly and giving life to a precious human being created a permanent soft spot in my heart. Abortion keeps me awake at night, orphans make me catch my breath and swallow hard.

I am a doer. This is what Jesus commands of us as Christians.

“But prove yourselves doer of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:23, 25

Because abortion weighs on me, I am a counselor at my local crisis pregnancy center to be there for women in their moments of fear. I don’t want to just say “Oh that’s so sad that there are so many children in foster care.” And never actually DO something about it. But at the same time, I have a 4, 3, and 2 year old at home and at that time we lived in 1,490 square foot home. I felt like I had legitimate excuses for not now.

That is, until the Lord told me that day back in May, “Stop making excuses and just do what I ask you to do.” *gulp* Well alrighty then.

So I googled foster care agencies in Columbus and called two of them.

One never returned my call, and the other called me back almost immediately.

Enter Hope Foster care. This faith based agency was brand new to our city. They had been in Macon, GA for awhile and decided to open a branch here in Columbus. I can’t remember the exact timing but I feel like it had only been up and running for a month or two before we called.

We went to an orientation meeting to have all of our questions answered and at the bottom of a sheet of paper they handed us at the end of the meeting it said “If you are ready to move forward and go through our 10 week training, sign here.” Wait….make a decision now? I figured we’d go home and talk in depth about it and analyze everything to death on why this probably wouldn’t work right now, etc etc etc.

I looked at Chris and he looked at me…and we both signed it.

We went through the training, and it was 3 hours once a week for 10 weeks. There were supposed to be three groups going through it, us, another lady, and another couple. But by week three it was just Chris and I.

We absolutely loved our trainer, Alyssa, and we had a blast with her. She brought us snacks and candy each week to help us make it through the training and even tacos several times (I think those were a peace offering for the nights we had to go over sexual abuse and neglect cases haha). We learned soooo much in those weeks. Practical things and some very heart heavy things about what these kids go through.

We were always reminded that if at any point we didn’t feel like this was a good fit, we could walk away, no hard feelings. That helped take the pressure off a ton, because honestly the more we learned the more I felt “I DON’T KNOW IF I’M THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THIS.”

In the middle of our training, we bought our current house and moved and that was SUPER fun for Alyssa to have to do two home studies (still sorry about that girl haha). So our certification took a couple of months longer due to that and due to the fact that I’m forgetful and slow when it comes to paperwork.

But we had prayed that the Lord would bring us a bigger home for a while. We wanted more space for ourselves, but mainly to have guests more often and to have room for foster kids. It was an answer to prayer, just weird timing.

So right before we moved into the new house, we got a huge curve ball thrown at us. My Krav Maga instructor approached me about becoming a business partner with him and another guy. I had wanted to become an instructor for awhile now and I would be in charge of the women’s program and teaching other women to defend themselves really appealed to me.

But there was NO way we could do this and foster.

We spent a week asking the Lord what He would have us do. And He opened doors and gave us peace about buying into the Krav Maga school. So in my mind foster care was something we would do later. Our tentative plans were to try it around February or March on 2019, so not terribly far off, but would give us the time we needed for me to settle into my new role at work. I still had some last minute paperwork to wrap up before we were certified anyways.

Then about two weeks ago I get a call from Alyssa.

“I have some exciting news! Your home is now officially open and in the time I was waiting for you to call me, DFCS has already called with a two year old boy. Talk to Chris and y’all decide if you want more info or if you want to pass on this placement.”

I think my text to Chris went something like this “GKUHIFHWRRGKJEBFTJWHWRKFJWK CALL ME.” haha

We prayed and asked the Lord for direction and honestly I felt a lot of conviction because I think in the stress of me starting this new job, I just made my own decision about the timing of foster care out of logic. And the Lord just made what He wanted to happen happen in HIS timing in HIS way.

We were terrified and said yes, having no clue what we were in for. We had very few details about the little boy who was about to enter our lives for an unknown amount of time.

But when the Lord says “Yes” so do we.

If Kids Annoy You in Public, This Post is for You

 
I used to know so much about raising kids. I knew how I was going to discipline them. I knew what I was going to feed them and not feed them. I wasn’t going to let them watch television and I sure as heck wouldn’t let them watch it on my phone. I had it all figured out.

I was also super judgy of other moms in public. If a kid was loud in a restaurant, I would think to myself, “Good grief. Why can’t parents just discipline their kids?? How hard is it to spank them and tell them to be quiet? When I have kids they will NEVER act like that!” If a child had a meltdown at the grocery story, I would shake my head and wonder what kind of disaster this next generation would be. What a bunch of brats.

Then I had kids.

And good grief, have I been eating some crow since that day!

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I would love to make a public service announcement to all of you people out there without kids: Kids are not robots and you cannot control them the way that you think. Yes, I believe discipline works wonders. But they still respond however the heck they want in the process.

You cannot control or even be prepared for your two year old to shout (nay bellow) “ALL ABOARD!!” in a restaurant because a train passed by. We are just as startled as you, my friend.

You cannot control the way your small child will respond to being told no. They may cry, they may only furrow their eyebrows. Or they may fall to the floor and act like you just ruined any chance they have of future happiness. You. Just. Don’t. Know.

This is not a reflection of bad parenting, it’s simply a child learning how to deal with life. They have no boundaries and do not know what is socially acceptable. They have lots of big emotions that they haven’t learned how to control yet. But we are doing our very best to instruct them along the way.

When they do have meltdowns, we will correct their inappropriate response and teach them how to correctly behave. When they are loud at church or restaurants, we will tell them to be quiet and speak softly. The point is: we are trying!

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So I encourage you to remember this whenever you are tempted to become annoyed with a child acting like a child in public. As a mom, I see all of the rude looks and sighs that people give. As if I didn’t notice my child was being loud or making a scene. Usually I am mortified and just want to get the circus back to the house!

Please have grace and remember that despite what you may have perceived or been told, there are parents out there who are trying their very hardest to raise respectful kids. It just doesn’t happen overnight like you expect it to.

Next time you see a toddler having a meltdown, maybe instead of becoming irritated, give her a smile. Tell her she’s doing a good job or that you think her child is cute. You have no idea how good that feels to a mom in the trenches.

If Kids Annoy You in Public, This Post is for You

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I used to know so much about raising kids. I knew how I was going to discipline them. I knew what I was going to feed them and not feed them. I wasn’t going to let them watch television and I sure as heck wouldn’t let them watch it on my phone. I had it all figured out.

I was also super judgy of other moms in public. If a kid was loud in a restaurant, I would think to myself, “Good grief. Why can’t parents just discipline their kids?? How hard is it to spank them and tell them to be quiet? When I have kids they will NEVER act like that!” If a child had a meltdown at the grocery story, I would shake my head and wonder what kind of disaster this next generation would be. What a bunch of brats.

Then I had kids.

And good grief, have I been eating some crow since that day!

I would love to make a public service announcement to all of you people out there without kids: Kids are not robots and you cannot control them the way that you think. Yes, I believe discipline works wonders. But they still respond however the heck they want in the process.

You cannot control or even be prepared for your two year old to shout (nay bellow) “ALL ABOARD!!” in a restaurant because a train passed by. We are just as startled as you, my friend.

You cannot control the way your small child will respond to being told no. They may cry, they may only furrow their eyebrows. Or they may fall to the floor and act like you just ruined any chance they have of future happiness. You. Just. Don’t. Know.

This is not a reflection of bad parenting, it’s simply a child learning how to deal with life. They have no boundaries and do not know what is socially acceptable. They have lots of big emotions that they haven’t learned how to control yet. But we are doing our very best to instruct them along the way.

When they do have meltdowns, we will correct their inappropriate response and teach them how to correctly behave. When they are loud at church or restaurants, we will tell them to be quiet and speak softly. The point is: we are trying!

image

So I encourage you to remember this whenever you are tempted to become annoyed with a child acting like a child in public. As a mom, I see all of the rude looks and sighs that people give. As if I didn’t notice my child was being loud or making a scene. Usually I am mortified and just want to get the circus back to the house!

Please have grace and remember that despite what you may have perceived or been told, there are parents out there who are trying their very hardest to raise respectful kids. It just doesn’t happen overnight like you expect it to.

Next time you see a toddler having a meltdown, maybe instead of becoming irritated, give her a smile. Tell her she’s doing a good job or that you think her child is cute. You have no idea how good that feels to a mom in the trenches.