Monday, June 28, 2010

Silence...

Sometimes I struggle with the lack of communication from my Creator. I can't explain it...ebb and flow is normal in a relationship but as of recently its just been a little quiet. I found this poem on a blog tonight, and it was...to say the very least, appropriate for me. Right here. Right now.

Silence by Bradley Hathaway

What’s happening here?
I was once so alive and now I’m so full of dread and almost dead
Show me Your wounded head that is lead to communion with the Father

But where did He go?

His presence seems farther and farther away each day
but I’m trying so hard to steer His way
Yet still lonely and confused on this cold hard ground I lay

Speak to me wise mouth and say “it’s all good kid, it’s nothing that you did, and though it feels like I’m not here with you right now just be still and silent and listen for that sound..

Shhh..
Did you hear it?
Listen again.
Did you hear it?

That silent voice that just spoke nothing, that is Me, I’m listening to your plea with open ears
Counting all your tears flowing from your irritated eyes
Searching the skies looking for that hope that beyond there lies.

Oh you young worrisome sparrow, find rest
Lay your battered head upon My omnipresent breast and make it your nest
No strong cold wind could ever blow and carry you from this your home

Look around, see the life shooting up from the ground
Spring colors springing fourth and celebration of your trusting

It’s a constant process this is
Growing you into the person you are to become
But when you sense the setting of the sun know it is only rising and has just begun
Now go fourth, sing songs of faith, and lift up others in the midst of this race

And if you can’t keep the pace or lose sight of My face
Know that I’m always near so you need not fear

But don’t worry about all that right now

Just sit here and enjoy the peace I offer in My silence
When I am silent I am listening, and not abandoning.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tonight I cried...

Our class tonight was heavy...to say the least. I know I've shared in the past that I'm a crier, but not in front of people. I clam up, but tonight I realized that I was in the company of friends, new friends, different friends than I've ever made before and I cried during a video. I was so overtaken by what loss actually means for these children and it really affected me. Not to mention the entire video was just us reading text as it appeared on the screen (with bagpipe music in the background) and different children's voices reading the text out loud as well. I don't know what it is about bagpipes but they either conjure up an image of Mel Gibson with a painted face or give me the chills and make me cry. Either way I look like a crazy person I'm sure. We discussed different types of loss that our kids will suffer, and how their grieving process will really be extended throughout their entire life. We also discussed how much they will unknowingly rely on us to help them through the process and not try and replace the family that they've already lost. Our other teacher Stephanie led us through what's called a guided imagery, which is kind of creepy at first but I understand why they're helpful. Basically you close your eyes, take a deep breath and she reads a script that brings you through a particular situation. Obviously the benefit being that try and take on the experience as much as you possibly can without actually "taking on the experience". Tonight she had us imagine ourselves in our homes, in our favorite room, surrounded by our favorite people....then someone shows up at the door and they inform me that I'll be leaving this house and going to another place where the new family has been waiting a long time for someone like me. I don't have a lot of time to pack, and I can only take a few things. It's not communicated to me when or if I'll return to my old family, but my new family sure is excited to meet me, they've been waiting a long time. I get to my new "home" and I'm greeted by my new children, my new husband and my new belonging's. They are so excited to have me and my new house is so much nicer than my old one. I spend a year with my new family, and I never hear from or visit with my old one, no one ever set that up they were too busy. After a year the "people mover" shows up at my new home and tells me that it's time to go back to my old home again. Will my old family remember me? Will they have moved on?...you get the picture. It's what these children deal with on a daily basis, removed from their familiar surroundings (even though it might be a negative situation), and placed with a family that's excited to be their new family. The fact is, I'm not going to be their "new family", I'm going to be their "for a little while family". Their innocence lost, their stability shattered.
I'm really going to miss this class when it's over. I love nothing more than to be in a room surrounded by people who get why it is that we're agreeing to do this. I love that sense of community.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I just don't think I can blog enough about this...

You know that one thing that you're super passionate about? The one thing that you research, engage in, learn and grow in? The one thing that you could do/talk about for hours on end? For me, that one thing is foster parenting and adoption, and what's so strange to me is that I technically haven't done "it" yet but at the same time I feel like I have. Every Wednesday night I jam my ADHD self into a stuffy room for 3 hours and 15 minutes so I can learn how to be the best foster parent to these broken babies and I'm telling you...time flies. I wish it were six hours long. I can't soak up enough info or ask enough questions or share my passion for this enough in 3 hours! What's even better about the whole thing is that the other 10 people in my class feel the same way. Most of them are going straight adoption but that's ok because we all get "it". We've all answered the call to foster or adopt and we're excited to be around other people who are doing the same. My heart literally aches for these children who are abused and neglected or might age out of the system, but when I look around the room at all of us there is such hope! That at the end of this class there will be 11 viable parenting options. People who are willing to go through the nitty gritty of the foster care system in order to be "parents" to these damaged children.
Right now I'm freaking out. I'm freaking out because the place we're supposed to move into isn't going to be ready by the first of July like it was supposed to. We have to be out by the first because someone is moving in right after us. I'm panicking because I'm packing boxes and arranging things without any knowledge of where me, Tyler and the pups will go. I don't know where I should forward our mail to, whether or not I'll be able to get into the new place before we head off for vacation in July. I just don't like the unknown when it comes to our living situation and it really has me thinking the last couple of days....in some small way I can relate to my future "for a little bit" children and how they must feel most of the time. What will the foster parents look like? Will the bed be comfortable? What kind of food will they be feeding me? Will they have other children? What if someone needs to get a hold of me? How long will I be here? They have to deal with so much unrest in their life, for most of their life and here I am freaking out because I might have to find some place to stay for the first two weeks in July. I honestly can't imagine laying my head down on my pillow at night and having it not mean "home" to me.
Tyler and I both said to each other tonight that we are more excited about foster parenting than we ever were about international adoption. We still love the idea and want to do it some day but the path we're on right now seems so much clearer than any path we've been on in the last nine months.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This is not our backup plan...

Sometimes when I look at where we were in the beginning of this process 9 months ago, I start to think that if someone doesn't know us and our situation they might think we're scraping the bottom of the adoption barrel. I hate that. Adoption is not a "second best" alternative. At this time, this is our "first choice" route to adding to our family. Why is this so hard for people to understand? Foster care is not the "easy way out". In fact, I think it's the harder option, the most challenging and unpredictable option.
I can't control what people think about us when they hear we're adopting. I can't, without making myself look completely insecure and weird, tell them that "I'm not barren". That's just weird, and none of their business. I can only speak volumes of how adoption has changed Tyler and I and we haven't even completed the process yet. I can only tell them that from the start our goal has always been the same, no matter the country, age, the color, or the family that he/she comes from, they still need US, or they need US to love them until their families can take care of them again. I'm excited to be spent at the end of the day with my foster kids. I know I won't always feel that way but at least I'll know that sometimes at the end of a difficult day I've given my best to a child who hasn't ever gotten anyone's best.

Please continue to pray that Tyler and I make the right decision regarding our domestic adoption. We still realistically have a few more months before our home is licensed for foster care and we start incurring some costs (i.e. supplies, extra furniture for the bedroom, clothing etc.) and we really honestly want to make the right decision. If you know of any millionaires who'd like to do a good deed, please by all means point them in our direction.

1 John 4:19
"We love each other because He first loved us."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another one bites the dust...

We got another grant refusal in the mail on Friday. This was the very last one that we were waiting on and truthfully since we began our foster parent classes I hadn't really given much thought about it, which was nice. The other three I was psycho about. I'm struggling here. I'm wondering if the fact that we haven't gotten any assistance from any of the grants means we should can it all together. At what point do you say, ok this is a definite no. We are at a completely different place today with adoption than where we started. I mean seriously? We started with these grandiose plans of international adoption, then we moved on to domestic infant adoption, and now we're doing foster care. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I think foster care is the bottom of the adoption food chain, it's just such a different animal than what we started with, it's kinda crazy. Truthfully I've always had this thing for helping the kids that no one else wants. In any situation that I was involved in with children I always gravitated towards the ones that caused the most trouble or looked the least loved. That doesn't make me a saint, it makes me....me.
So the question is, do we continue or don't we? Do we use the resources we've raised to create a a suitable temporary environment for our future foster children? Do we save it for the future children we hope to adopt? Do we save it for a.....I can't believe I'm typing this....MINIVAN!
Our foster parent class was changed from Wednesday to tonight (Tuesday) and it was, as usual, informative, thought provoking, excitement inducing, poignant, inspiring....and the list goes on and on. I feel like I can be really open and honest with the Anna as well as the people in our class. We also met with our Licensing Specialist from Children's Home Society and she gave us a little bit of a rundown on what to expect when we actually have her come by and inspect our house. She was so nice and so excited that we were excited to be foster parents! Overall our experience so far has been completely enriching. It has put so many different things into perspective for us...I love it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I was spared my worst nightmare tonight...

SO, we have our weekly foster parent class on Wednesday's right? The first couple weeks were my ADHD self's worst nightmare. The classes were very dry but SUPER informative, our instructors kept telling us they would get better and more interactive. I picked up on interactive and discovered this would mean role playing. Which I loathe. I don't understand how it really helps you understand something when you're pretending to be a part of the situation. I had to do it for a training at a job once and I just get so embarrassed by the way certain people really "blossom" in their acting careers. Last week Anna, fab foster mom/teacher, told us that this week would be role playing. Ugh. I was dreading it. Well as it turns out, my worst nightmare class was actually my favorite class so far. It was super informative and took us through an entire scenario from the reason why children were taken from the family all the way to reunification. There was obviously a lot in between most of which would be too hard to explain via text but overall it really just made me more excited for this journey. It showed me even more the desperate need our county has for foster homes and how desperately these children need to be in a home that is excited to have them, and able to offer them a lot of stability in a super chaotic time. It gave me more confidence that WE can really do this! I'm ready for a lot of things both positive and negative to come from this, and I know this will provide huge growth for me personally. I mentioned before how I've been reading this book, "Another Place at the Table" and here is something else I came across that put things into perspective a little more, for me. "I whispered a prayer and a promise, my mantra, my mission: You are safe. I will keep you safe. You will always be safe". That too will be my mission when broken children come into our home. This book has taught me a lot about the way foster care will look for our family. It has taught me a lot about how many situations and scenarios my own parents protected me from, and how much impact that has on me as an adult. How often do we take that for granted? I can answer that question for myself. A lot. When I was little I laid my head down on the same pillow in the same bed every night. I woke up in the same house with the same siblings. When I was scared I crawled into the same bed with the same parents who offered me the same comfort that I was always used to. Those little things add up and are considered very major things to these children in foster care. I promise these children that they will indeed wake up to the same foster mama offering them the same promise that my own mama and dad offered me, a safe home and unconditional love.