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Learning to Live…

When we were going through the certification process, I was extremely comfortable through the process.  I was able to plan and had a fairly clear cut calendar of how this would all play out.  We were fortunate that things went according to plan and we had one very minor hiccup that delayed us a total of a week.  Anyone who has been through the certification process knows that is a rarity and we understood that this was all in God’s timing and we were comfortable with that.

Now that we are certified and are in the process of fostering, I have found myself struggling.  Yes, this is hard for me to admit.  I very typically have things together and feel that when it comes to children, this should be very natural given my previous experiences, degree and love for children.

One thing is for certain… nothing prepares you to become a parent!  While I do well with the day-to-day experiences I find that I almost innately refuse to allow myself to enjoy anything.  I find it difficult to walk away and let my husband deal with things and will sometimes take my frustration out on him.  It is unnerving to me, to be in this position.  I crave calm, structure, I like when things are black and white and there is no in between.  I also understand that this is a rarity and that life does not go this way.  Though I have become less structured in my life, I still have a tendency to want those things.

So where does that leave things?  Well, I am “learning to live” within this new lifestyle.  I am learning, and need to do a better job of trusting God in a whole new way.  I am also learning to be more open and to communicate better with my husband.  I am learning to let go, let God, and to simply roll with each punch.  For me this is not an easy task.  There seems to be more self-dialogue going on in my head and I have to tell myself to enjoy the moments.  My husband is reacting differently.  He is making memories and taking in each moment.  I admire that in him and know that he really gets it and is committed to what we are attempting to do in this journey.  Not that I am not, but this comes more naturally to him.

When he comes through the door, he is ready for dinner with his family and ready to take the children and do something with them.  He enjoys walks, trips to the park and whatever else he can think of in making memorable experiences with the children.  I am learning to back off and let him take the lead in this role.  I truly believe that there is much power in his role.  I look at it like this… most often children have a strong connection with a mother figure in their lives, but the father figure is not always and most often not present.  So within his role, he has much power to be a positive influence with the children in our home.  So I will gladly back off.

Learning to live within this new journey is not easy.  I will be the first to admit that.  Visits, phone call after phone call from everyone involved in the lives of these children, appointment after appointment, and all that is entailed in being a parent can be a daunting task at times.  Keeping court dates, planning meeting dates, and everything else in check keeps us on our toes.  All while attempting to lead a “normal” life.  I am not complaining.  We are blessed, but today I was reminded of this one thing.  I need to learn to live ALL the time and in the world of foster care, I live three months at a time.  So, when there is a court hearing and it is determined that the children will remain in our care, I can begin to prepare for what is to come in the next three months.  Whether that is a birthday, holiday or other events, I can allow myself to stop and enjoy these things, because for this moment, and it may be for only a moment, they are in our care and it is our job to love the children beyond measure and to be their safe place.  Simply put, to share God’s love… after all, He sent his ONLY son for us!

 

John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

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Forever Changed…

It has been a while since my last post because life as we know it has changed completely!  So forgive the long post, but here we go…

G.L.A.D. Bag Update

Two weeks ago today, my hubby and I were very honored to attend the Awesome Pittsburgh party.  We were excited for an evening out and a chance to share with others our journey and our mission as well as learn about the other awesome projects being done in and around Pittsburgh!  We were thoroughly impressed with everyone and their initiatives on ways to better our community.  We were also honored to be the most recent winners of the grants they offer for “awesome ideas.”  As you may have already read, we have been working on putting a stop to trash bags being used as suit cases or duffle bags to remove children’s belongings from their homes.  This is a practice, while no fault of anyone, that is just not acceptable and we must change it to keep integrity and respect intact.  We were also very humbled to hear that we were the first project in the twenty-six projects to have a unanimous vote.

Since receiving the grant, we have been blessed with people wanting to help.  Companies have stepped up to help with ordering bags at a discounted price, individuals have offered to host drives to fill the bags and others have offered help with establishing a website.  While we are eager to see all of this come to fruition, we agree that we are in no hurry to just spend the money to get a quick fix, rather look at sustainability for the long term.  The goal is completely eliminate this problem. We choose to start here in our own county and then hopefully expand to impact all children in foster care.

We look forward to the future with this project and we understand that it is a small gesture to say we care.  In the months to come, we will have more information, hopefully a website and a way to really help friends that want to help our children in need!

Thank Heaven for Little Girls…

I always say that when God pours out His blessing, He does it in a huge way.  On our way home from the Awesome Pittsburgh party we were reflecting and my mind was running at the speed of light.  I was dreaming up more ways to bless these children and my husband was right there encouraging and offering his thoughts as well.  We were about to pull onto our street when the phone rang.  I immediately looked at my husband because it was our case worker on the phone.  She asked how we were and said she had a possible placement.  So with anticipation we sat and listened to all of the details and asked all of our “standard” questions.  Of course our answer was yes, we would take in these two beautiful children.

Waiting with much anticipation to greet them, we were warned that it could be a long evening.  Like normal my hubby and I swung into action and prepared for little girls.   From the first night with us, they have slept well, ate well and have adjusted very well.  They have been with us almost two weeks and have been a pure joy!  Yes, they have their moments and are testing the waters, but we have remained consistent with love, safety, structure and discipline.

Throughout this process we have learned so very much and continue to learn.  We have learned that what children need the very most is to feel safe and secure, to know they matter and that we care for them… that we love them.  We understand the importance of those first few moments in our home and letting them know that they are safe and secure.  We have also learned that there are many uncertainties of how everything plays out.

We continue to learn to roll with each punch and the roller coaster ride of foster care.  There are no guarantees as to how long the children are with us.  We are learning that for a single child there are many involved in their lives.  One thing is a common thread, while opinions may differ, the common thread is that the child is first and all involved in their journey have a job to do.  That is to keep them safe, secure and to act in their best interest.

One thing is for sure, we are forever changed in this process.  We are thankful that for the most part that the children that have come into our home have adjusted well.  As adults that have chosen this journey into foster care, we have had our struggles, and while we guard our hearts, we also know we fully give them away for the sake of a child.  We have our moments and we question things sometimes, but we also know that this calling is greater than ourselves and we are willing to be used for HIS glory!

 

Proverbs 11:25 ~ The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.