He's So Lucky

He's So Lucky

Little Man is not lucky. He’s not lucky to have us. He’s not lucky to be here.

If he was lucky, truly lucky, he wouldn’t have been ripped from his mom’s arms. If he was truly lucky, he would be with his family who looks and sounds like him. He’d be learning how to be a man from men who look and sound and smell like home.

Instead, he was ripped from his mom’s arms. He was thrust into a home of two very white people. While Little Man doesn’t remember his former home, the trauma still exists and we deal with it on a day-to-day basis. He is clingy. He is overly attached. He is needy. He doesn’t let us out of his sight. He likes to be held close, very close.

He isn’t lucky.

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Four Years to Beauty: How Pain and Heartbreak Brought Me Here

Four Years to Beauty: How Pain and Heartbreak Brought Me Here

Someone asked me today, “How’s it going being a foster parent?”

I kind of chuckled and looked out the window as I tried to think of something to say. Because of all days to be asked that question, today was not the right day.

After a moment, I turned back and said, “This is the hardest but also the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done.”

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A Year and Some Change

A Year and Some Change

One year ago, I was stuck in a hospital bed with a PICC Line (permanent IV) coming out of my arm, a drain coming out of my stomach and way more questions than I had answers. I didn’t know the next several months would include multiple, painful and traumatic medical procedures. Or that I would be driving 14 miles every day for IV infusions. Or that I wouldn’t take an actual shower for close to five months. Or that I would experience a miraculous healing. Or that I’d be back in the hospital just a few months later with the same issue, the aforementioned healing seemingly not complete.

One year ago today, I thought it was another closed door. I thought our last viable option to build a family was no longer going to work out. I was writhing with anger. I was grasping onto whatever hope I could find. I started posting daily updates on Facebook and Instagram as a way to make the hope and grace tangible to myself.

And it was through these posts that this site came into being. My husband and I realized my writing needed to have a more official home. We realized we’d been given a story to share and this site was one way to be good shepherds of that story.

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Learning Through the Quiet

Learning Through the Quiet

And this is foster care. It’s taking part in a broken system, doing what we can to make it better. It’s a roller coaster of uknowns and heartbreak. It’s curve balls being thrown at us from every direction. And it’s ultimately about self-sacrifice and self-progress, constantly learning about ourselves and learning how to change in order to bring about progress and grace.

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I Signed Up For This

I Signed Up For This

I’m terrified. I’m terrified of opening my heart again. I’m terrified of what it will feel like on the chance he never makes it into my arms. He’ll be another notch on the rope of babies I knew and loved but never got to hold.

And then I’m forced to realize that this is exactly what I signed up for. Foster care is loving kids who aren’t ours. Foster care is going to battle for children we may never get to call our own. Foster care is loving and letting go. Foster care is sacrifice and obligation and hard.

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Preparing Your Nest: How to Gather Supplies for Foster Care

Preparing Your Nest: How to Gather Supplies for Foster Care

I have seen many posts in the various foster parent groups I'm in on Facebook about how to prepare for placements, especially when you have a wide age-range. Preparing for such an expanse of ages and sizes is overwhelming and REALLY expensive and we simply wouldn't be able to afford buying and stocking up on brand new items. So I set out to find ways to get what we needed for as little money as possible. 

I wanted to share the ways I have prepared in hopes that the resources I've found can, in some way, help you or spur you on to find similar resources.

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The Art of Letting Go

The Art of Letting Go

My husband and I recently learned the baby boy we were hoping to bring home would, in fact, not be coming to us. It is a unique situation, even for foster care, and is too detailed and intense to post here. In the months we were given to hope and dream about him, we fell in love. I knew of him and loved him so much longer than I ever knew and carried my only biological child. We may never meet him or see him, but he became one of our own. This is a letter that flowed from the depths of my heart as I sat to process the outcome of our time with him.

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Three Ways to Thrive Through Your Chronic Illness

Three Ways to Thrive Through Your Chronic Illness

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. And I also believe that everything that happens to me is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to better myself. I had to learn these truths quickly once my health started on a rapid down spiral about years ago. I was being hit with one trauma, injury or illness after another. I sometimes felt like I wasn’t even being given time to catch my breath before the next challenge overwhelmed me.

There was a lot of opportunity for me to grow bitter. In fact, I spent a good year and a half depressed, angry and bitter. I had experienced a lot of loss, a lot of trauma, a lot of change. My life as I knew it had changed drastically and I longed for what it used to be, unwilling to grab hold of what I had been given and to make it worthwhile.

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From Infertility to Foster Care

From Infertility to Foster Care

The husband and I have based our marriage on two values that we hold dear: hospitality and generosity.

When we first got married, that looked a lot like opening our door to our small group from church, or inviting people over for dinner.

I never, ever thought it’d look like foster care.

My infertile diagnosis was a hard pill to swallow. I had made motherhood an idol, something I pined after, something I aspired to. I was going to be a mom and I was going to be good at it!

And then it seemed like God stripped that away from me, from us. I was so angry with him. My life verse has always been,

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

What I saw happening was the exact opposite of His promise. And I was angry.

It took me years to be able to look back and see the indescribable beauty and blessing that came from that diagnosis.

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How I've Dealt with My Diagnosis: Living with Chronic Illness

How I've Dealt with My Diagnosis: Living with Chronic Illness

My journey has been made bearable through a few different means. The main one is my support system. My faith in God has held me up, but in the deepest moments of pain and discomfort, I have struggled to see His goodness. When that happens, my husband has been diligent to point me back to the Truths I know. He never signed up to be hitched to a sick wife but he has never looked back or wished for something else and often tells me he could never imagine another better life.

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It's Not About Me.

It's Not About Me.

I read the Purpose Driven Life when I was maybe 18 or 19. One of the first things I read in it was, "It's not about you."

I bristled at that statement. I was just emerging into adulthood, but still clinging onto some facets of childhood, one of them being that life, is in fact, all about me. I'm the baby of the family. It was always all about me. Who did Mr. Warren think he was telling me it wasn't about me? 

Since then, life (a.k.a. God) has shown me over and over again that nothing, not even the very breath I am inhaling right now, is about me. 

Everything is ultimately for His glory. Every. Thing. Everything. 

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Twenty Questions: The Placement Phone Call

Twenty Questions: The Placement Phone Call

I've always been a list person. My computer desk in college was covered in post-it notes containing quotes, lists, random numbers for different accounts and passwords. My life was altered forever when I got my first iPhone. The Notes app became my most-used app. I have everything from recipes, meal plans, gift ideas and, my most recent addition, pre-placement questions to ask the case worker before we commit to bringing a new child into our home. 

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Hope Not Forgotten

Hope Not Forgotten

We have seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows this past week. It's been a terrible roller coaster of emotions that left me kneeling on the floor of the nursery, phone dropped in front of me, tears streaming down my face and an ache settling deep into my heart after learning some unexpected and hard news about the little one we've been waiting to bring home. 

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The Moving Staircases of Expectations

The Moving Staircases of Expectations

When we signed up for this, I had the sense that we were saying good bye to the life we've known. It's been just Chris and me for almost 5 years. We managed to add two fur babies into the mix, and they've seamlessly become part of our routine and comfort. But now, now we are at the mercy of an agency that decides who we gave the power to decide a lot of things for our lives for the foreseeable future. 

Do I buck against the restraints and unmet expectations? Or do I throw my hands in the air and go along for the ride? 

I'm learning to go with the flow. It's hard. I like to know what the next hour, the next day, the next week holds. But this is where we're being lead. This is the life we know has been waiting for us. It's been a wild ride and there's no end in sight. 

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: DCFS or a Private Agency

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: DCFS or a Private Agency

While this was not a comprehensive overview of DCFS vs. Private agencies, I do hope our personal experience is beneficial in your decision on how to do foster care. I can only speak from what I know and, at this point, it isn't much. But I felt like our experience was one that should be shared. 

This has not been an easy road. We are a year out from our decision to pursue foster care. The road has been physically and emotionally painful. It's been bumpy with lots of roadblocks and speed bumps. It's already been ravaged by heartbreak and dashed hopes. But it's also been a journey of healing, hope, beauty and love. And that is what makes this journey worth it. 

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Four Ways the Church Can Support Foster Parents

Four Ways the Church Can Support Foster Parents

These four steps are seemingly easy. But they require sacrifice on your end, sacrifice of time, money and your comfort zone. They require you to dive into a messy situation and to get involved in coming alongside a family fighting for normal. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to get your hands dirty and your heart bruised for the sake of hurting families and children? 

I hope you say yes. We need you now more than ever.

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Don't Forget the Nanny!: An Insider's Take on Holiday Gifts

Don't Forget the Nanny!: An Insider's Take on Holiday Gifts

Giving gifts to your child care worker can often be a bit awkward. What do you give your nanny? How much do you give? Is it even appropriate to give them a gift? What if I can't afford to give them what is deemed appropriate?

Let me put you at ease. 

Yes. It is more than appropriate to give your child care worker a gift. In fact, it is expected, no matter the capacity. 

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