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Nobody’s Momma…

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the morning cleaning and preparing to host lunch for our mothers on Sunday!  It has sort of become tradition for us to host our mom’s for lunch on Mother’s Day.

As I crawled into bed, slightly more exhausted than usual, my mind began to wonder and I found myself restless and full of questions… had things worked out according to “our plan,” I would be a momma and this may have been my first real mother’s day celebration.  Tears flowed down my cheeks as that ping and pain in my heart ached so badly.  I admit, I felt stupid for feeling this way and thought that the fulfillment I have felt these past couple of months in our foster care journey, would have filled the void I was once again feeling.  After all, we are in process and in essence expecting, although we know not what to expect!  There I was in bed and for the first time in a long time I felt my heard break a little more.  I did the only thing I knew to do… I began to pray.  Although I know that some may look down at falling asleep while praying, last night I found comfort in knowing I was talking to my Savior, my constant friend in times of need and would like to think that He held me in His arms and rocked me to sleep.

I awoke this morning with a different attitude and change in thought.  It was not me with the void, rather these children.  Yes, my heart breaks because of my deep desire to be a mom, but that feeling is nothing in comparison to a child in need of a mother!

I can’t imagine growing up without my mom.  She made everything in life special!  She loved, supported, encouraged, and disciplined me when needed.  She had the full support of my father and our home was a place of love.  Looking back, I feel blessed that God chose my parents for me and my two brothers.  I never questioned whether I belonged, if I was loved and where my next meal was coming from.  I never questioned my mother or father’s love for me and never worried that my every need would be met!

This year there are more than 104,000 children in the U.S. who are waiting on forever and there are more than a half a million waiting in the world!  These children have no “permanent” momma.  Those in the US are mainly housed in foster homes and the remaining children are in group homes or facilities that meet their special needs in a better way.  Gone are the days of orphanages in our country and for good reason.  While orphanages served their purpose, they did not entirely meet the individual needs of children.  Rarely if ever did they meet the need for attachment and love within the confines of the orphanage.

Outside of the U.S. waiting children are housed in orphanages and it is often a large child to caregiver ratio, where the most basic of needs beyond food, shelter, and clothing aren’t being met.  I should note, that I do believe that in most cases, these children are cared for by those that work or volunteer at the orphanages and the intentions are really good, but there is power in one and power in meeting needs beyond food, shelter and clothing!

So today, instead of wallowing in my own sorrow of not yet being a mom, I choose to celebrate the amazing strength, love, and care that our moms gave us.  I choose to be grateful that both my husband and I are blessed by the gift of our mothers and that we are privileged to be called into this foster care journey!

Today, we honored all of the children waiting on forever with prayers and an awareness ribbon pinned to our clothing!  We took comfort in the fact that over the next couple of weeks we will continue in our process to becoming foster parents and know, that even if in a small way, we are attempting to make a difference… if for only a moment!

Proverbs 31:26-29 ~ She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches of the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  

Psalm 46:1 ~ God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.    

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Rooted!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote how my morning devotion had confirmed our desire to become foster parents.  I was thankful for that and realized that if I am being realistic, I must admit that my devotions stink!   No, not God… but ME!  I do not spend nearly enough time in the word.

Like many, I have become an instant gratification person.  I like things now and not a moment later, but that’s not reality.  Some things in life are a process, or a continual journey of growing.  For the first time in my life, I feel I am learning to enjoy this process of becoming a foster parent.  When I went to college, bought my home, and planned my wedding, I never really enjoyed the process.  I just wanted to get to the good stuff… now, in this stage of my life, while I would love to have a child in my home yesterday, I realize that in this process God is working.  He is revealing to me the type of parent I desire to become.  He is also allowing me to be somewhat realistic and not such a dreamer of this fairytale life I thought I desired.

This week leading up to Mother’s Day has been obviously focused on moms!  Our local Christian radio station has been doing a series on motherhood and there have been countless other things throughout the week that have brought thoughts to mind.  I said earlier that I wanted to be a creative mom.  I wanted to parent my children in a way that respected them as individuals and instilled safety, love and a sense of belonging in our family!

Today, while reading my daily devotion, the writer spoke of how she didn’t want to make life easy for her children by giving them all the answers and providing them with their every need.  I really appreciated this viewpoint.  As an educator, having worked in special education for most of my career, I pride myself on the fact that I do not give answers and that I make my students think for themselves.  As a daughter, I now see why my mom and dad parented me the way they did.  They desired that I be a strong and independent woman.  In essence, they wanted me to think for myself and to make my own choices in life.

My devotional today was reinforced again while listening to our local Christian talk radio station.  The preacher was talking about various mothers in the Bible and said that as moms we need to be rooted in God’s word.  I couldn’t agree more.  Between the radio and the devotional, I realized one very important thing.  If you are rooted in His word, you have a map.  No, not a handbook on parenting, but a map.  As I read it became real that it is my job, our job as parents not to “give them fish” but to teach them to fish!

The other thing that became strongly apparent was that while I feel rooted in the word, I need to become even more rooted.  In the past couple of years, I have learned to draw on the word of God in different circumstances.  For example, if I find myself complaining, I remind myself that the Bible says to do all things without complaint and to count it all joy!  It doesn’t make me perfect, I struggle like everyone else.  I have just found that it helps me to put things in perspective and to deal with things.  So as we move through this journey, my wish is that as I grow in becoming a parent, that I also grow even more deeply rooted!

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV):

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many…”

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Momma Mode…

In preparing for our child or children, I have found myself really starting to think about what it is I would want to accomplish with the children that will be coming into our home.  We have had several conversations over the past couple of months about what our expectations are and what reality might look like.  Truth of the matter is, we are preparing for what I like to call a “beautiful mess.”

When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I felt like everything was a mess.  It also explained a great deal of what was going on in my body and up and to that point, I blamed it on stress of different situations of my life.  In that “mess” I found a great deal of comfort and peace.  There were things I had absolutely no control over.  Now, anyone that knows me, knows that is a problem.  I found myself anxious and anticipating the worst and when that didn’t happen, I was better able to deal with it.  At that point in my life, I felt that I had learned to love my beautiful mess.  No, I didn’t like the circumstances, and no, I didn’t enjoy the process, but I did find a blessing in each day and each stage of the process.  I feel that I really learned how to find the good in each situation, even when you are scared beyond belief.  I also learned that my husband had become the most amazing man I had known.  His love, care and strength was amazing and brought comfort in how he took care of me.  I think it is safe to say that we both learned to love our beautiful mess.

In the past couple of months I have noticed that my thought patterns are changing.  I have begun to think more “like a mom” than ever before.  I have also, in my head, developed the type of mom I would like to become.  In essence, I have switched from wife and teacher mode, to momma mode.  Watching television, cooking meals, activities and other things have new meaning.  Instead of wanting to go out to buy a new outfit, I would rather buy a game that we could play together… and I know, the child isn’t even here yet.

I am also learning to appreciate this time of preparation as well.  I enjoy my freedom a little more, my ability to sleep a little more (although that doesn’t seem to happen often) and am enjoying this process with my husband discovering the dad in himself.  We often talk about the things we would like to do with the children.  We want to expose them to the wonderful city we live in and have family time whether it is put-put golfing, movies, bowling or a trip to the museum, or participating in events with our church.  We are walking in a season in our lives that is a dream transforming into a reality.  It’s real this time… there are no thoughts of having the “perfect child” or being the “perfect parents,” rather an attempt to be realistic as to what we will encounter as foster parents and what our expectations are.

A few things stick out in my mind!  First, I want to be a parent that does not jump down my child’s throat for doing something that is a result of their journey in life.  I will use this as an example because reading this truly helped me to understand things on a different level.  While reading a blog about a former foster child, she explained that she had been hoarding food in her bedroom.  Her foster mom had discovered this because of rotten food.  Now foster mom had a choice in how she reacted and while most would have punished the child and expressed their true anger, this foster mom decided that she would take a bin, place it in her child’s room for her to have a special place to keep her food and they would go through it a couple of times a week.  To me, that was creative and it promoted so many good things for this child.  It also sent a strong message of we love you and accept you just the way you are.

The other thing that has stuck out came from Pinterest.  I found a pin that really caught my eye.  This mom had decided to have Disney family video nights leading up to their trip to the house of the mouse.  Being a big fan of all things Disney, it sung to me and the wheels began turning in my head.  We could do the same in our home with our children.  So I decided to take the ideas from this pin and create my own.  I chose forty of my favorite movies and created a “poster” for each one.  Each poster included pictures found online and a themed dinner menu to go along with it.  I have been working on finishing these up and the last thing to do will be to create some sort of activity to go along with it.  With lots of help from the internet and some really great websites, I am almost finished and am excited about using them.  Even my husband has kicked in a couple of ideas.

I do not desire to be a perfect parent, but I do desire to spend quality time with each child that comes into our home.  I get excited at the thought of planning these things and look forward to actually using them.  I pray that I am a creative mom that is able to pour all of God’s best into each child.  I pray that they know, no matter what, they are loved in this home.  Yes, there are rules, expectations, rewards and consequences, but above all, despite the trials, there is love, and in this home, love covers all!

 

1 Peter 4:8 ~ Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Corinthians 13:4 ~ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:13 ~ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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A Weekend of Blessings!

Since we have decided to become foster parents, our weekends have been filled with classes and other things all centered on completing this process and being ready to welcome a child into our home.

The first Friday of each month our church offers First Friday services.  We have attempted to attend in the past and have always seemed to have something conflicting with us going.  We were excited to attend service.  The guest speaker was teaching on the five types of ministry and having a calling within the ministry.  This was something we had prayed for several months ago and were excited to learn more.  What was interesting was that God confirmed in my heart what I already knew I had been called too months earlier.  The confirmation came in knowing we were where we belong in becoming involved in our orphan’s ministry.

On Saturday we completed our first aid, CPR and AED training and are now officially certified in those areas.  It was nice to be able to take the class with my husband and learn the changes in CPR.  We were both (separately) trained years ago under the old model.  As we completed the course, I prayed we never needed to use this, but feel better knowing we can do something if needed!  Once we completed our classes and enjoyed our dinner, it was back out to the church for a special service!

Usually, the first Saturday of each month, we go with our Inner-City ministry to serve the homeless downtown and my dad goes with us.  Actually he is the reason we started serving.  No matter when we go, life always seems to get put into perspective when we serve those in need.  This Saturday would be different.  My dad went downtown and my husband and I felt led to attend this special service.  In the beginning they prayed for those in need of a healing miracle.  I cried and prayed for those that stepped out in faith and went to the alter and found myself thanking God for the two miracles in our own family!  The service went on and one of our pastors preached on revival and we were blessed by his message.  At the end of the service, they had special prayer for couples having fertility issues and those wishing to adopt.

My husband and I knew this would happen and so we stepped forward.  We had tried to have a child on our own, and though our fertility is undetermined at this point, we do struggle with it in very deep and real way.  I find that it is not something that people easily talk about and we have chosen to remain very private about it.  Our pastor wanted to know specifically why everyone was at the alter without embarrassing or making everyone feel uncomfortable.  He also knows that we are in the process of becoming foster parents.  A woman at the other end of the line said that she desired to adopt.  I felt led to tell our pastor that we were there because we desired both.  My husband and I do desire biological children as well as adopted children and I have to say that both desires are equally as strong.  I have never believed that a child has to be birthed by you to be your own and believe that we are receptive to how God chooses to build our family.  We know we will find joy in whatever He chooses to bless us with… after all, children are a blessing and a heritage of the Lord!  My husband and I also found it a blessing that my dad returned in time for him to come to the alter and support us in prayer!  We felt so blessed and know that he felt our pain as he prayed over our lives… there is power in a parent’s prayer and we thank God every day for praying parents!

Our weekend rounded out with our usual Sunday morning service, lunch with the family (not without my drama of leaving my iPad at church – LOL) and then home to work around the house.  I took a nap while my husband mowed the lawn, then we finished a few projects together.

All in all, it was a weekend of blessings and we are humbled by God and His presence in our lives.  We know he is in control and his plan is perfect…

Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

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Learning…

“The more I read, the more you know.  The more you know, the smarter you grow!” 

~ Dr. Seuss!

As a child growing up, I hated to read!  I know, I know… a teacher that hated to read!  I was a strong reader, but did not like to be told what to read!  I wanted to choose my own topic, on my own terms and read on my own time.  To this day, I remain the same way.  While I love to read for entertainment, I find fiction books and romance novels a total bore.  I would much rather read something based on reality.  If I read fiction, it is realistic fiction.  I also have a tendency to read books about education and like to  dive into biographies and an occasional autobiography.

I also find that my reading is cyclical.  I am a huge fan of Karen Kingsbury books.  Her books are realistic fiction and I find that I can totally get lost in her world, in her books.  I will spend months reading whatever she has written, and then I will put them down and dive into other genres or topics.  Lately, I haven’t found myself buried in a book, rather the internet and learning.  When I do pick up a book I am reading A Chance in the World by Steve Pemberton, which is a beautifully written biography about his life in foster care.

I find myself struggling with what I read on a daily basis, and I find myself wanting to solve all of the problems of the foster care system to help these babies find forever!  Most recently I have been reading a blog written by a former foster child.  Her insight and wisdom are far beyond her years.  She may not know it, but she has touched me deeply in many ways.

As my husband and I prepare to bring a child into our home, we are concerned with the many aspects of that transition.  Her blog helped with the simplest of things, right down to things to do on the first day the child is in your home.  The hardest part or most striking part for me was the trash bag “suitcase.”  REALLY???  Children are removed from the only family they have ever known and their personal belongings, often times only clothing are dumped into a trash bag?  That is completely unacceptable to me, so that story led me to another blog which led me to searching for ways to help every child in foster care to have their own suitcase or duffle bag.  I also found other charities or organizations that are committed to helping children to have a better experience in foster care.

So today, as I learn more and more, I am adding a new page to my blog.  This page will focus on ways to get involved and make a difference in the life of a child.  You don’t have to become a foster parent to make a difference, but you can in other ways.  I hope that as this page develops, you will find it helpful.

In addition, God has placed several other things on my heart and I am in the state of praying and seeking His will for these things.  I want to make a difference, I want to change a lifetime, and I want to be in God’s will.  This involves learning, listening and lots of prayer, but I want to know at the end of the day, at the end of my journey that I have done something positive in this world.  That I fought the good fight, kept the faith, and finished the race, for the sake of a child… for the sake of love!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ~ 2 Timothy 4:7

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9

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Provision…

To say that today was an awesome day is a complete understatement.  There is a feeling of being overcome with the goodness of God and knowing that your expectations are nothing in comparison to HIS blessings!  It leaves you speechless in tears and standing in awe.

Today we had the privilege and honor to be a part of our Arts for Adoption event at our church.  So much thought, hard work, love and prayer went into the planning of this day and God completely honored every effort that was made.  Guests had the opportunity to support our orphan’s ministry in many ways, whether it was our food, bake sale, vendors selling items, raffle baskets, silent auction items or pampering donations people were active and involved.  We also offered information about adoption and foster care and had three agencies on hand to answer questions and talk with interested families.

On several occasions we witnessed the provision of God today.  We were blessed by so many different things and amazed how it all worked out in the end.  Our biggest blessing of provision came from our agency today.  While they may not know it, we are honored to be a part of the agency and truly believe that God has chosen them for us.  As we concluded the day, we were talking to our representative from the agency and the supervisor.  You see, we had to miss our last class that would was held today because of this prior commitment.  They recognized that the Arts for Adoption event was to honor the children, promote awareness, and help families in need.  Because we were participating in the event, we were offered the classes to complete our training time in a way that will allow us to not slow the process of getting approved/certified down.  With the exception of one clearance form and the completion of our medical forms (which will be completed by weeks end) we are ready to proceed.

When this was offered we stood in awe of a mighty God once again.  We knew at that moment that His provision is part of His perfect plan and that He certainly has called us into this season in our lives.  That He has replaced our broken hearts with abundant joy!  When asked about my favorite part of this journey… I could list many things, but the greatest most wonderful thing has been, knowing that we are in the will of God!

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

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Loss & Grieving…

There are many times in our lives where we grieve over many things, while some of those losses are visible, such as the loss of a loved one, others are not.

Today as my husband and I were getting ready for our day, he mentioned that today was his father’s birthday.  My heart broke in that moment, because I know that at the age of 27, my husband lost his father and days like today aren’t easy.  At some point we have all experienced this type of loss, and although painful and heartbreaking, it is a part of life.  I usually ask my husband to tell me a story about his best memory of his dad, they usually brings tears for us both and often a smile of remembrance for him.  I never had the opportunity to meet my father-in-law, but I know he would be so very proud of his son and the wonderful man he has become.

I think back over the years and the many different types of losses we experience collectively and personally and we talk of most of those losses, but the ones that are unspoken are the most difficult.  In my personal journey, the greatest “loss” has been watching my mother battle cancer and the horrific aftermath that has ensued.  In my eyes she is the most amazing person I know and it is an honor and privilege to be her daughter.  God has truly blessed me with amazing parents.  Watching her go through all of the treatments, and the now two year battle with the after effects of the radiation have brought me to a point where I feel that I lost the woman I once knew to be my momma.   While I am blessed beyond blessed to have her here with us, I see how, over these past few years their lives have changed so dramatically.

While I could spend page upon page detailing personal losses and the grieving process, I instead find myself beginning to focus on these children that will be brought into our home.  How do I as a mother, help them through this extremely difficult time in their lives?  How do I honor them, love them and help them to heal?  They too are going through a huge and rather unnatural loss in their lives.  Some may never heal from this journey and some may never get the answers they seek.  I find myself reading blogs written by former foster children and taking notes on ways I can help them to adjust and begin to heal the hurts they cannot possibly express.

Children often will not come out and say that they are mad because their mom and dad left them and they don’t feel they belong anywhere, they often lack the ability to express themselves in spoken word.  Instead of speaking their frustrations they often act out and manifest behaviors that are considered problematic.

Having served as a special educator for the past eleven years, I have daily dealt with behavioral issues.  In some respects they have become second nature in how I react.  I tend to stay very calm and not show any reaction.  I try to analyze the behavior and begin to work towards a solution or healing that is positive and protective to the children.  While I know that we are not prepared for every situation that we will encounter, I know that establishing a support system and resources is a key component in this journey.  I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God never gives you more than you can bear and that His plan is always perfect.

Psalm 34:18 ~ The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.    

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This Little Light of Mine

As a child my father would sing the song This Little Light of Mine almost every night with my brothers and me.  Looking back, I cherish those moments of holding up our little (finger) light and singing with much love and laughter.  Because of this cherished memory, this song has become our song.  Even on my wedding day, I was able to find a beautiful ballad version to dance with my daddy!  What I didn’t realize was that this hymn became a seed that was planted as a child, that one day, God would give a specific light to be shone.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won’t let Satan blow it out. I’m gonna let it shine. Won’t let Satan blow it out. I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Let it shine til Jesus comes. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel – NO!  I’m gonna let it shine.  Hide it under a bushel – NO!  I’m gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine over the whole wide world, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine over the whole wide world,

I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 

If there has ever been anything I have felt truly called to in my life, it has been my work with children.  From a young age I knew that I wanted to become a teacher.  I am thankful each day that I get to go to work and do what I love.  Now this new desire has been rooted deeply in my heart, it is a desire I never really knew I wanted.  For me, I can’t ignore the statistics and I can’t let opportunities to help children become missed opportunities.  I can’t let circumstances and other situations become a barrier to helping these children and spreading the word.

Matthew 5:13-16

 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. 

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Nobody’s Child

These past couple of days, I cannot get the “statistics out of my head!  I am easily brought to tears, and dreaming of ways we can save every child, because in my opinion, ONE child lost is one too many!

This year, 28,000 children will age out of foster care, meaning at the age of 18, they will be sent on their way, to live their life.  These 28,000 children do not have forever families, forever homes and technically have no belonging to anyone.  There are few that are blessed to be able to stay in the system until the age of 21.  For those 28,000 aging out, 21,000 will in the first year find themselves in jail, homeless or dead.  70% of these women will find themselves pregnant.  They are technically “nobody’s child.”  They have no place to call home, no family birthdays to be celebrated, no holidays or any of the other things we often take for granted.  While some keep in contact with their foster families or even attempt to reunite with their birth families, most will try to go it alone!  They are, at the very young age of 18, on their own.  The statistics push a little further to say that 1% of these children will attend college.  That is 280 children out of 28,000!

These statistics keep me awake at night, they keep me fighting and wanting a change.  I want to be the change in these lives, if it is empowering other families to explore foster care, or adoption, then I am up for that challenge.  I find myself in constant conversation with others about our journey and about these children.  I have come to one conclusion tonight.  Whether it is serving in our orphan’s ministry at church or beyond those wall, I have come to the conclusion that I am called to advocate for these children… until the whole world hears.  I know that alone, I cannot do this, and I know that God places these desires in our hearts to bring change and fulfill HIS purpose.  Nobody’s child is unacceptable!  We are all somebody’s child, we are all children of the one true king and I am grateful that He is breaking my heart for what breaks His!

Please, take a moment and listen to this beautiful song… Nobody’s Child by Amanda Williams ~

 “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

 Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (NLT)

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Expecting…

My husband and I have differing opinions about a certain website where you can pin ideas onto a board!  He jokes that it is costing him a lot of money, while I say that I am inspired almost daily on ways to improve organization, help others, recipes and other such wonderful ideas, thoughts and inspirations!

While on the website, I will often type in foster care and adoption to see what new information and inspiration I can gather.  Yesterday, (Sunday) I came across an article on expecting women, and how different it is for women when they are expecting a child through adoption or foster care.  There is no visible bump, morning sickness, cravings and all of the other things pregnant women experience.  Instead there is an undefined waiting period from the time of approval to placement, anticipation of the possible age and race of the child. There is a huge unknown as to whether or not the process will be successful or if it fall through.  There are even the thoughts of healing the hurt child, and honoring their birth family and the child’s heritage.  The article mainly talked about being recognized as an expectant mother, whether it is mother’s day or other ways that moms are honored and how others can make the “adoptive/ foster mother-to-be” feel honored as well, while they are in the process of this journey.  For me, it is a non-issue.  I fully respect both sides and opinions and while anxious to become a momma, I am learning to enjoy this process and time before children enter our home.  Am I an expectant mother… Yes I am an expecting mom, even though there are those that feel foster care is merely babysitting.

Choosing to foster children was a very deep and personal decision for my husband and me.  I have said lately, that we did not “choose” foster care, God has chosen it for us.  We truly believe in our hearts that we were called into this ministry or “mission field.”  Otherwise I believe we would have first attempted to try for biological children or attempted to adopt a baby.  While we still plan to try for a baby when we are cleared in July, we feel no less called into foster care.

I have heard on two occasions since we have begun this process that fostering is equivalent to babysitting and both times have found myself overwhelmingly bothered by the comment.  I refuse to think of myself as a babysitter in this respect.  Having babysat since the age of twelve, I believe there is a huge difference and while there are some similarities in the care that is given, there is more to fostering children, you are expected to treat them as you would your own.  The words that immediately come to mind when I think of fostering include; advocate, nurturer, unconditional love, consoler, and healer.  The list goes on and while there are rules and policies in place that we will have to abide by, I will think of myself as that child’s mother, if for only a moment.

So where does that leave me?  I am an expectant mother and while I am not with child, this beautiful child is forming in my heart.  I am beginning to think as if I were a parent and what exactly I would want for my child.  I am beginning to think and wonder if we have what it takes and how we will meet their needs.  When I look at the room we have created for this child or these children, it is what I would want for my own.  In this room, in my heart, I see what my husband and I have longed for over the past year, I see the tears of frustration in infertility – although undetermined at this point, and I see the tears of joy and sense of satisfaction that comes from the preparation.  I see a sense of wonderment and worry and I see a husband and wife that have been joined together for a purpose far greater than our own.  We are not perfect, but we are perfectly His, and we while we sometimes consider ourselves weak and imperfect, we are strong and more than conquerors in the eyes of our beautiful savior.  His grace is sufficient for us all, His mercies are new every morning and His love endures forever and ever!

Psalm 136:1 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.