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Adopt | Foster Now Found Blog

Are You a “Chosen One” to Foster or Adopt?

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So, the raw truth…at first I didn’t want to be a foster mom.  As in, I said, “Never!”  A string of excuses ensued…

“I don’t want to deal with government bureaucracy.”

“What if I fall in love and can’t let them go?”

“What if we can’t afford it?”

“What if it’s dangerous to our family?”

“How can I explain this to our extended family?”

What if an angry bio-parent follows us home from a visitation with their child?”

Anyone else know what often happens when we say, “Never!” to God?

I’ve already shared several major steps of our journey already…our vision prior to becoming a foster family…our reality while in the midst…and our trust in God when it came time to say goodbye to our foster daughter.

But there were two things that helped me overcome all those excuses and doubts and fears.  God spoke…and He gave us a community of support.

I was preparing a list of questions to ask Randy and Vickie Akins who run a non-profit support group in our area called Chosen Ones.  As I readied myself to ask every question in the universe so I could convince myself that fostering was NOT what God had for us, God spoke so clearly to my soul, “You’re going to foster…and it will be okay!  Trust Me!”  That was it.  I knew.

And “Trust Me” would become the theme of what He would speak to me throughout our entire journey of becoming licensed and living in the reality of fostering and, later, letting go.  Trust Him.  Not what I thought I knew…Not what I’d seen on T.V….Not what fear whispered in my ear…Just Him.

Then came the community of support through Chosen Ones…an overwhelming outpouring that I never could have imagined!  Information on local agencies, answers to all my questions and more, real-life testimonies of other foster families, regular support meetings, fun events with other foster/adoptive families, a closet filled with anything we might need to fill in the gaps…clothes…toys…baby monitors and car seats for FREE, meals when we got our first placement, prayers over the phone, prayers through our Facebook group, prayers during monthly support group meetings…and more than I can even recall!  The way they embraced us was amazing and so full of love and an eagerness to support us through this journey.

When I first heard the name of the group, “Chosen Ones“, I thought they were referring to the children that would come into these foster and adoptive homes.  But after getting more information, I understood that the “chosen ones” were actually the foster or adoptive families!  These families would be chosen to care for children who needed a home, either temporarily or forever.  To be one of those chosen ones was one of the most humbling things I’ve ever experienced.

The scope of this amazing grassroots organization is immense…their vision huge and continuing to grow!  They have expanded from just one support group to several and they continue to meet with local churches to establish new Chosen Ones groups throughout the area.  Randy and Vickie amaze me in their willingness to serve and go wherever God has called them to go.

If you are a family considering foster care or adoption, I encourage you to pray for God’s direction and timing.  Read our story here and here and here.  And, contact Chosen Ones for more information to help answer your questions!  If you are in the DFW metroplex, come to an informational meeting or visit a support group for families considering or already actively fostering or adopting.

If you’re already a foster or adoptive family and you need some extra encouragement, support and resources, consider checking out Chosen Ones!

If your church is looking to begin their own foster/adoptive care ministry, contact Chosen Ones for information on how to do that!

If you just want to help in some way by volunteering your time or resources, here are some of their needs!  You don’t have to become licensed to foster or adopt to make an impact!

 

As for our family, for some health and other reasons we have taken a break from fostering and are waiting for God’s direction on returning to it anytime soon or perhaps further down the road.  In the meantime, we will continue to be a voice of encouragement to those considering foster care or adoption.  We were definitely and immensely blessed to be “chosen ones”!  We miss our foster daughter…keep her pictures up…talk about her often with our kids, family and friends…and continue to pray for her health and safety and blessing!

 

In case you haven’t heard, I am publishing my first book, entitled Refining Identity: Now Found in Christ which will be released this Fall!  To see more about this resource, be a part of the publication project or pre-order your copy, visit our FundRazr campaign!  God bless!

 

 

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Adopt | Foster Finding God Everyday Now Found Blog

Taking a Stand

All Rights Reserved / Photo Source – Summer Hoover / Used by Permission

I awoke to a flurry of excitement on Facebook and Twitter proclaiming that the Texas Senate had passed House Bill 2 (HB2) which places some hefty restrictions on the abortion industry in the State of Texas.  Those restrictions include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation except in situations which threaten the life of the mother or in cases of severe fetal abnormalities.  Being a Texan, I can only say how proud I am to see this movement towards the protection of life.  (And, yes, there is still more movement to make!)

Now I’m sitting here…at my usual 5am writing time on Saturdays…reading through the chatter and discussion and hearing God say to me very simply, “Stand for Life.”  In my heart, I always have.  I believe, as evidenced not only by the Bible, but also science, that life begins at conception.  Period. Not birth…not the point of “viability out of the womb”…not even the first heartbeat…but at conception.  But I haven’t been a very vocal presence on the issue…I’m not too fond of confrontation, especially of the political sort.  But, on this issue, I see that I too need to take a stand that is noticeable outside of myself and my comfortable circle of friends.  This is, after all, not merely a political issue.  This is life and death.

One day while I was reading Genesis 1, I was so struck at how God first created and then formed His creation.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

Just to be clear…since Genesis is written in a narrative style (and intended to be read that way), not to mention the Hebrew references to the literal 24-hour day, I believe “a day” actually means “a day”.  So…Day 1, God created light.  But it wasn’t until Day 4 that He organized that light into the sun, stars and reflecting moon.  It’s like a master sculptor…except God also created His own clay!  God created the “clay”, unformed, un-molded creation and took the time to form and fashion it.  He took the chaotic, cosmic mess He first spoke into existence and then created order and amazing beauty over the next six days of time.

So it is with us…from tiny cells, just blobs of DNA (who happen to miraculously come together from two separate beings).  God takes His time to slowly form and fashion our bodies.  The creation is an amazing miracle in and of itself…But to see how He molds and intentionally forms that creation is like what David said, “Too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139: 6)

When was “light” actually “light”?  Day 4 with the formation of the sun?  Or Day 1 with the formation of “light”?  This seems like a simple question to answer to me.  Just because the light wasn’t in the form we see now doesn’t make it any less “light”.  It just hadn’t been sculpted yet!

When is a “baby” actually a “baby”?  Birth…when our eyes looking on can see and fingers can touch?  Or conception…when elements from two parents merge into one substance which bears all that is necessary to be formed into the familiar presence of a baby?

“You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them yet.”  Psalm 139:13-16

This incredibly miraculous and complex “blob” of cells and DNA, He takes and forms.  And then, throughout the course of life, God continues to form and fashion our souls from chaos into beauty and order.  He isn’t done with us.  His work is not complete in us while we live on this planet.  God sees the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end.  His design is beautiful!

As for me…I had two very high-risk pregnancies and I am so thankful that I didn’t make a choice that was more “convenient” for me.  I have two beautiful kiddos that remind me every day of the miracles God works!  I stand for adoption, not abortion…I have been a foster mom and was so blessed to be!  I was born (as were you) and I am thankful that my parents chose life.

I, too, stand for life.  Will you?

 

“…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live…” Deuteronomy 30:19

 

If you are pregnant and trying to figure out what choices you DO have, please visit Real Choices for FREE medical services, accurate information, referral services and countless resources.

If you are considering adoption or fostering, I encourage you to visit Chosen Ones  to get some information on starting your journey!  You can also read about some of our personal journey…our vision…our reality…our trust even when it came time to say goodbye.

Categories
Adopt | Foster Now Found Blog

THE Question Everyone Asks

Continuing along on our journey of being a foster family, I wanted to chat about THE question that inevitably always comes up when talking to someone unfamiliar with or new to foster care: “How will you be able to let them go?”

Well, last week was our first personal experience with this, so I feel like I finally have a credible answer to give.  First of all, every family is different and every child’s case is different.  Some kids end up going to places that are less than ideal in the eyes of the foster parents.  Others go to safe, loving homes.  And still others go to places that have been proven unsafe and unloving, with a good chance that this child could end up back in the system.  So, I will not presume to touch on every varying possibility, but I am more than happy to share our own experience and hopefully it’s an encouragement to you.

Last week, our sweet little foster daughter left us to go live with a relative.  We had the privilege of caring for her and including her in our family for four months.  We got to see her first steps, teach her new words and smother her in love.  In return, we were blessed with her smiles and kisses and the peace of knowing that we were exactly where God wanted us to be.

Looking back over the course of those months, I see God’s favor everywhere!  We worked with some amazing people, from CPS workers (yep, it’s true!) to hospital staff to our agency, support group and more.  The people on this case cared about her well-being most of all and it was such a blessing to see that happening.  It was a crazy mixture of emotions that swept over me when we were told that she would be leaving “next week”.  Suddenly we had to think about gathering all her possessions and inventorying them, all the while feeling so grieved and saddened that we may not ever see her again.  I vacillated between peace and mourning, relief and deep sadness, excitement for her and fear about her transitioning.  Up and down for days!

But one thing helped us the most: from the very beginning of this journey for us, we kept in mind that until God tells us otherwise, these children that we invite into our family are not “ours”…at least not yet.  We are the caretakers standing in while their forever home is prepared.  Our hope has always been to adopt, and that is still the case.  But until that is legally available as an option to us, God has helped us give love freely and fully, while still holding them loosely in our hearts.

People often say, “I could never do that!  I’d get too attached and wouldn’t want them to go!”  I get it…we got attached too.  She was so unbelievably precious, it would’ve been a lost cause to even try to avoid attachment.  And that’s exactly what I said when I tried to avoid walking this road two years ago.  But God dropped peace on me, over and over and over again.  I knew that it was okay for my heart to get a little bruised and it’d be worth it if I could be a safe place for God’s little princess.

Along with peace and favor, God just showed off in so many little ways!  Without seeking it out, I was invited to meet the out-of-town relative that would be the new guardian for this sweet girl.  That meeting alone dispelled fear and gave me reassurance that she’d be safe and well-loved.  I was thanked profusely for everything we did and was assured that we would be able to maintain contact and hear updates as she grows.

So, when the day came to say good-bye, along with the rest of her things, I tucked in a scrapbook with pictures and prayers to say how wonderful she is and how much she touched our lives.  We had one last dance party in the living room, watched her shake her little booty to the rhythm, shared tons of hugs and kisses and waved bye-bye as she was driven away.  The house was noticeably quiet that day (even with our two kiddos)!  I looked around at the baby things and felt her missing.  But even as we started to pack those things away and go on with the business of life, like the excitement of grocery shopping, God drenched us in peace.

Peace amidst the heartache and sadness.  Peace that helps me enjoy the back-step to two children in the house.  Peace to trust that God knows better than I do.  Peace that I am confident this adorable little girl is safe, loved and getting comfortable in her new home.

As for us, we are taking a break for a little while to rest and rejuvenate and most importantly to listen to what God has next for our family.  His timing is perfect.

 

You may also like: Room For One More and Overflowing Love

 

If you’re a foster/adoptive family or are considering it, visit Chosen Ones!  God brings special families together and this amazing ministry provides support and encouragement to make these families successful.  They have immensely blessed us in our journey and I can’t imagine having walked this road without them!

Categories
Adopt | Foster Now Found Blog

Room for One More

Pixabay-baby shoes-505471_1280

Years ago, Steve and I discussed our shared vision for adoption. I haven’t included this in my bio or posted anything about this subject up until now, I suppose, because this is still an “in the works” heart’s desire. But in the midst of our preparations for our lives to change, I felt a need to share our heart for foster care and adoption.

We get the question “Why?” a lot…sometimes in words, but usually just through people’s eyes.

Why go through the hassle to open your home to kids you don’t know, possibly face danger or hostility and be inconvenienced like that?

Why, when you have two amazing kids already…why do you want more?

Why, when you’re homeschooling and your schedule is already so full?

Why, when you aren’t overflowing with wealth and have to watch your spending very carefully?

There’s some truth in those honest questions: it won’t be convenient…we are content with the kids we have…our schedule is full…we are very prudent with our finances and don’t often get “extras.” But when God spoke to us, His voice of invitation trumped all the objections.

He gave us a desire years ago for a house full of kids…not really a specific number, just a bunch. He also gave us a clear vision statement for our family: There is always room in our home and our hearts for just one more.

One more child…one more friend…one more family member…one more son or daughter-in-law…one more grandchild…one more person who is searching or lonely…one more.

So, where are we at in this process right now? We are at a place where we are unable (aside from a healing miracle from God) to have more biological kiddos. We have kids who are amazing helpers and love babies, who are intelligent and caring. We have completed the classes, the required reading, most of the forms. We have a few hoops to jump through before we are certified to be foster parents, as our agency assures themselves of the safety of our home and the character and readiness of our family.

The kids ask several days a week, “When will a baby come?” And I reply, “Soon…just a few weeks…whenever we’ve finished our requirements and God says ‘It’s time.'” Soon…

So, why? Because God has adopted us. He is willing to deal with our messes and be inconvenienced. He is our Provider and isn’t concerned about what money is or isn’t in the bank at this moment. He knows that kids aren’t a burden in life, but a blessing. He is our Protector and will keep us safe in every situation. He has given us the calling to homeschool our kids as well and He will give us the strength and wisdom to adjust our other commitments as needed. Why? Because He loves us. He has invited us to partner with Him in loving those who have been neglected and abused, forgotten, and cast-off.

“Religion [A spiritual life] that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

Perhaps He is inviting you in some way too. Maybe He’s asking you to say that you are willing to be inconvenienced…to trust more in His power than your own…to set aside the plans you have that make perfect sense by the world’s standards and be open to His plans that are beyond your own logic. Maybe we can turn our “why’s” into “why nots”. Just a thought.

 

You may also like: Overflowing Love and THE Question Everyone Asks

 

If you’re a foster/adoptive family or are considering it, visit Chosen Ones!  God brings special families together and this amazing ministry provides support and encouragement to make these families successful.  They have immensely blessed us in our journey and I can’t imagine having walked this road without them!

 

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