Chronicling the joys and challenges of fostering and adopting.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

A Letter to T

My awesome sister, Beth, blogs. If you don't read her blog, you should start. She's pretty amazing and very well spoken/written. She has inspired me to begin writing a letter to my children. She has done quite a few and they're beautifully sentimental. I have this ideal world that I won't forget any moments with my children, good or bad. That my brain will remember it all. However, I am already forgetting simple things that were so "monumental" during Abby's first year of life.
So, I will begin writing letters to my kiddos.

My first is to my beautiful five year old, T. She begins kindergarten on Wednesday, and I'm nervous, but excited for her. We went to her "Back To School" night last night and got a whole slew of paperwork to fill out. One was a sheet asking me to tell the teacher all about her. I love that I was forced to sit down and think about so many different things concerning just T. We fill out so much paperwork on these girls that I get lost in completing the task. But this time, I got to stop and think about this precious daughter of mine.

To my T.,

I am so blessed and honored to be your mama right now. You are determined and dedicated. Fragile and faithful. When you are encouraged and praised you keep trying until you finish and master it. We bought you a bike for finishing preschool and within five minutes you were riding with no training wheels, no help, no reserve. Your feet don't even touch the ground, but that doesn't deter you from riding it.

You are the best little mommy, and Abby just adores you. Abby may be naughty sometimes, ok, a lot, but I think she would be completely heartbroken without her big sister/mommy. There are way too many times when Abby cries out, "Mommy!" to receive my, "Yes Abby." Only to be returned by, "No, you not my mommy. T is my mommy!!!" You're kind, compassionate, and so loving towards her.

You are mommy's little helper and cell phone finder. I can always count on you to be more than willing to jump on a task that I ask of you. You're constantly looking for ways to receive praise, and I fail you too often by not giving you that praise, but you still help and do awesome things none-the-less.

You are Daddy's little girl. From the moment we got you, you wouldn't let go of him. Wanting to be held, wanting to hold hands, wanting to sit on his lap for stories and prayer. I sometimes feel as though you would trade me for Daddy any day, but I know you need me and love me too ;-)
I even think you sometimes have a lot of my genes. You take criticism really hard, are willing to eat anything for a treat, and love putting Leo, the cat, in a stroller for a walk. All summer long you have been asking to ride a horse. Did you know that I have a deep sense of love for horses? Nanny and Pa even let me have horseback riding lessons during middle and high school. Pa grew up above a barn for awhile and even Great Grandma Carol has worked with horses almost her entire life. It's in our blood. AND... for our mother/daughter date I knew exactly what you and I should do. Go riding! I think you were in Heaven.
T, I know you have so much to overcome and that there are hurdles that seem like mountains that you'll have to jump over. But I've already seen you do so much. You came to us not recognizing any of the alphabet, not knowing how to write your name, not drawing in the lines, having nightmares, not looking me in the eye or telling me you love me. Now, now you know the entire alphabet, write your name, color pictures, button your jammies, brush your hair, have sweet dreams, ride a bike, love me, and most importantly love Jesus and tell others how He now lives in your heart. You even say that when you grow up you want to be a Ballerina Missionary. Are you just the cutest thing??

I so desperately want Jesus to let me be your forever mommy, but I know He loves you so much more than I do. That you are His little princess, now and always. That He will be by your side when I am and when I'm not. 

You have a beautiful heart that you are so careful to guard and keep safe. I am so honored that you have chosen to share some of it with me. I promise you that I will do my best, and prayerfully even better at taking care of it for as long as I can. There is more to you than you know. You will be the light and appearance of God like you've never known or expected.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your life right now. I love you dear T.


P.S. If you want to be apart of little girls and boys like T, you can donate to our agency that helps hundreds of foster and adoptive kids here

Monday, August 5, 2013

Moving Mercies

Or I could title this blog "Moving Mayhem." Both describe the past few weeks well.

Over a year ago I was walking through my parents neighborhood looking at all the gorgeous homes and property surrounding the homes. We had just begun the fostering paperwork process and I was anxious to help as many children as possible. Our home only enabled us to take in two, and our car only one. God handled the car. I began praying that if God wanted us to take in more kiddos He'd have to be the one to pretty much give us a bigger house.

I didn't doubt that God could do such a thing. I just didn't believe that He wanted to do such a thing.


About six months ago my parents approached Sean and I with the gift of their home. They'd been trying to sell their Bed & Breakfast, home, and cabins for nearly three years now. With many prospective buyers, none of them were able to purchase all the properties or even just the business. I guess my parents just felt pressed by God to gift us their house! Crazy right?! Essentially we'd be getting our inheritance early. They'd move into the Lodge and make that their home while we would be their neighbors in my mom's dream house she'd built twelve years ago.

You'd think we'd jump on the offer and immediately say yes to being given a house. However, it took us about five months to say yes. We had just recently gotten our two other daughters and were learning all about being parents to three kids and learning the system of fostering as well. After a lot of discussions and fine-tuning a deal with family, we said yes! God directly answered my prayers in giving us a bigger house. I so LOVE how my God works like that. I get to see Him tangibly through His servants everyday. I get to see how He provides for His kids when they walk in His will.

We really are pretty terrified of moving to a house where we could easily take in two more kids fairly soon, and with an extra seat in our van we could take in three more. Being a mommy of three has been pretty exhausting. And being a mommy of three very needy children is even more tasking physically and emotionally. But how can you say no to our God? How can you say no to bringing a child from an abusive and neglectful home to a home of crazy love chaos?

I have been so encouraged by reading Katie Davis' book Kisses From Katie and her journey of adopting 13 children in Uganda, as a single woman, of 22! She talks about how people so often tell her God will never give her more than she can handle. But God will most certainly give you more than you can handle so that He is the only possible reason you can get through the situation He put you in.

That is the type of situation Sean and I feel like we are about to enter into. My two oldest are about to start a new school, in a new home, in a new city, with new friends they have yet to meet, and I am nervous for them. Transitions are so difficult for children from hard places. And there are a lot of transitions they're going to have to go through because what God told us we could do. But it makes this mama's heart nervous!

And I know I can't handle more kids, but I also feel as though that is exactly what God wants us to handle. We do have a few months or so before we can actually take more kiddos, but will I be ready for more kids by then? No. But do I know God is ready for more kids through me-yes. I love how I can look back over the past seven months and see God's fingerprints all over these three girls. Truly, the days have been long but the months and years have been short. If we can get more kids and see God's fingerprints all over them, then it will all be worth it-no sleep and all.

I wish I could say I've entered into this house agreement with total grace and gratefulness without letting my flesh get in the way. That is not the case. I've belittled my parents and my spouse. Been annoyed at God and my children. And we've practically begrudgingly accepted this gift. My heart is so terrified of what God wants me to do that I feel like I'll do it but not without some kicking and screaming and whining on the way. I'm sorry Mom and Dad for that. I'm sorry Sean for not being your encourager. And I'm sorry girls for taking that frustration out on you. I feel as though I am now at the point to let the Lord do His work in my heart to become joyous and gracious for this gift-it's just taken six months to get there.

Our God is such an awesome God, and the fact that He lets me be used is so humbling. It truly brings tears to my eyes that He looks so favorably on Sean and I to use us at all! Thank you, Lord, for letting us be your light to a dark world. Thank you for using us despite our flesh and our sins. Thank you for even giving us the opportunity to house more of your children. And thank you for giving us a family, even beyond blood, that will let us be used by you.

Here's to more car washing experiences at our new home :-)

P.S. If YOU want to be involved in helping orphans or foster children just like our girls, consider supporting our agency, Hope and Home. Every year they do a fundraising event to raise money to help provide more and more for foster children.  You can participate by praying for us, walking with us, or donating financially here.