Friday, June 28, 2013

Knowing your Limits

I am a little sad today...okay...I am a lot sad. (Bad grammar helps cheer me.)

First, let me bring you up to speed. I received my license a few weeks ago and have been waiting, waiting, and waiting for "the call."

Well, last night I got it. My case worker called (whom I have never actually spoken to) and wanted to set up a time to come visit. Then it happened.

She uttered the long awaited words, "We have a placement in mind for you."

(Pause for a jig).

She began to share a few details about a teenage girl that needed a home. My heart began to drop. My caseworker wasn't even giving background details, but I immediately knew from the diagnosis that the child had experienced some tough stuff!

The internal wrestling match began and continues. I don't even need a definite decision until next Friday, but I think I already have one which brings me back to sad.

My heart says, "Go for it!"

My head says, "Stop."

If I leave my emotions out of it and ask myself the question, "Can you accomplish the necessary aspects of life and still offer this child what they need?," the more I start to worry that I can't. This child will need constant attention and discipline, a schedule like none other, and an emotional rock as a parent.

I can already hear some of you asking, "Well, isn't that what every child needs?"

To you I say, "Multiply the normal attention and discipline by 100 and you have this kiddo."

I am worried that I can't help this poor girl at this point in life. I feel like I am giving up on a child I have never met. I have already stayed awake at night worrying what will become of her if I don't at least try. I am not in this for easy, right? I signed up knowing that the chances of "normal" are minute.

Of course, you hear how hard it is to watch them walk or be carried away!

No one told me how hard it would be to do the walking.

In reality, I have to remember that I am limited. I cannot be the rescuer to every child. Oh, how I long to be, but it is not my job. Christ alone is the Saviour of this child. Jeremiah 29:11 is good for her too! He already has a plan for her young life. Plans for a future. Plans full of hope! And that is my comfort today. I am limited, but God is not.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What was I thinking? Part One

There are a variety of responses one receives when they share their intentions to become a foster parent. Add that you are going to be a SINGLE foster parent and people can really start twitching.

The most common response is a list of questions or exclamations. "Wow! I could never do that!" followed by "How are you going to be able to give them up?" Bring on the questions! The fact is that foster parenting is my favorite topic! I could talk for hours about it. If you have any questions post them as a comment and I will do my best to respond! For now I will attempt to address some of the responses I have encountered.

"Wow! I could never do that!" - Yes, you could. I am not an emotional superhero nor do I have some kind of heart made of metal to block the emotions of watching a child I have loved and called my own return to their biological family. It's quite the opposite. I am simply too sensitive not to do something about the thousands of children in need of a safe place to call home while their parents sort through their own brokeness. I am not trying to imply that you are not sensitive if you are not adopting or fostering! For me it has simply become harder to choose NOT to foster than to choose to act in a tangible way. Everyone has a niche (1 Cor. 12:12-20) and this happens to be mine. If God called you to foster you could do it too!

"How are you going to be able to give them up?" - Honestly? I don't know! There are some aspects of fostering that I will not be able to explain until I experience them. Reunification with the biological family is just one of those. I do know that I agree with the goal of fostering: reuniting children with their primary family if at all possible. Will I always agree with the system and the decisions it makes? NO! It makes me unbelievably disheartened to think that some of the kiddos that come through my home will return to less than reliable homes and will likely return to care or experience more trauma. I will most likely cry when they leave. I will miss them like crazy. And the reality is that I will question if I can handle the heartache any more. Ready for the positive side? I get to love a little soul that is hurting. That alone far outweighs the negative for me. I will have the opportunity to be a small part of reuniting a family. Just thinking about that possibility makes me smile.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Love Makes Us Family

A few months ago an old dream began to surface yet again. This time I allowed it to linger in my heart long enough to think it might actually be possible. It began a long time ago when I was introduced to a book in the Elizabeth Gail Series by Hilda Stahl. Libby was a young girl that grew up in the foster care system. She was shuffled from home to home, abused and neglected in
almost every placement. That is until she was placed with the Johnson's. There she learned about Jesus and the unconditional love He and His followers offer. She learned of redemption in horrible circumstances. She learned that she was chosen.

I don't know how many times I read those books. There were twenty-one in the whole series and usually I would finish the last one and start over at the beginning. I would write little notes to my parents and put them on their pillows asking if we could adopt. I even used scripture to back me up!

Fast forward to this November 2012. A college friend announced her family's intention to adopt from Bulgaria. Immediately I began to ponder the possibility of being a foster parent. I even started researching requirements and agencies. Finally I attended an orientation meeting just to have more information. Before I left that meeting I filled out an initial application. A week later the "big" application was in my mailbox and I was assigned a home assessor. Absolute craziness ensued! I filled out the application, met with Paula, had a background check, and received more paperwork. This was all before Thanksgiving!

At Thanksgiving I announced my intentions to my family and sought their advice and support. (And also accidentally posted it on FaceBook through a support group's page that didn't have privacy settings as high as mine!) I also spoke with my closest friends and a few other people "in the trenches" just to confirm that my current support group would hold true. And of course they did!
So where am I in the process now? Well, after Saturday I will be six classes away from finishing the pre-service requirements (there are 12) and Wednesday Paula is coming to my house for the first home study interview. The end seems so far away and yet so close. When I started this process I thought it would be at least six months before I finished the classes and that the home study was far out. As with most things in life, there is still a lot of uncertainty. I have come pretty far, but I haven't finished yet and there is still a possibility that it will not work out. I suppose Paula could come Wednesday and see the dust on my ceiling fans or find out that on most days there are dishes in my sink. (Neither of which will be present by Wednesday. Oh, no! I just had a flashback to dorm life and white glove room checks!)

All in all, I am excited about the upcoming changes and challenges, but trying to stay a little detached in case it doesn't happen. I am just so thrilled that I have reached the home study portion of this process that I had to share! You are welcome to join me as I journey on.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Perfect Ending

I was attempting to write a paper this evening.....

The Integration of Psychology and Theology.....da da dum.

At this point in the class I can give you the five models of integration, which happen to be Enemy, Spies, Colonialists, Neutral Party, and Allies (from David N. Entwistle's viewpoint). These five models can be placed in three categories: Antagonists, Intermediate, Integrative.

Entwistle believes that before one can effectively integrate psychology and theology one must have a Christian worldview. This worldview is based upon the foundational truths of creation, the Fall, redemption, and consummation. Stop. Consummation.

I know all about creation. I have been able to tell that story since kindergarten.

The Fall. Yep, got that one covered. It goes with the story of creation.

Redemption. I have a hard time comprehending the concept in its entirety, but I am thankful we don't have to understand all of God to be His child.

Consummation. I was introduced to the word at the Creation Museum, and I know essentially that it refers to the resurrection and return of Christ.

I looked it up. Do you know what the word consummation means according to the Microsoft Works Word Processor dictionary? Very first definition...allow me....perfect ending: the bringing of something to a satisfying conclusion, or the final satisfying completion or achievement of something

In every fairytale we are promised one and as a human in this fallen world, I long for perfect endings. Sometimes my perfect endings are simple.

I want my checkbook to balance.
I want to go to bed early.
I want my car to run without a noise.
I want my class to walk down a hall quietly, just once.
Simple everyday things.

Other times my perfect endings require a little more.
I want every child to know a parent's love.
I want all the hurt to stop.
I want war and destruction to cease.
I want my faith to overcome my doubt.

I have been told, "Life's not a fairytale. We don't always get a perfect ending." The Fall effects us and causes us to sin, but God, through His consummation, redeems us and provides the perfect ending for our humanity.

22 Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ. 23 But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming, 24 the grand consummation when, after crushing the opposition, he hands over his kingdom to God the Father. 25 He won't let up until the last enemy is down - 26 and the very last enemy is death! 27 As the psalmist said, "He laid them low, one and all; he walked all over them." When Scripture says that "he walked all over them," it's obvious that he couldn't at the same time be walked on. 28 When everything and everyone is finally under God's rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God's rule is absolutely comprehensive - a perfect ending!---The Message

As I wrote the last sentence in my paper tonight I smiled knowing, that despite my humanity, I am gonna get my "perfect ending."

Entwistle, David N. (2010) Integration of psychology and theology, Cascade Books: Eugene, OR.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Good Ole' Days

First things first, I AM POSTING FROM MY OWN HOME! Yay! We have internet!
Okay, I am done.

Last weekend a dear friend, Jenny, came for a visit. We were roommates the last year in college and the good times just rolled! From late night chats to walrus impersonations we had a blast! One of my favorite times was making pancakes and breakfast parties. In honor of this tradition......

 I usually make the pancakes. Fun, fun! This time we decided to add blueberries.
 I am getting hungry.
 And the winner is.....!
 I did the cookin', who's cleanin'?

I didn't take pictures of us was morning! It would not have been good!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just Thinking....

(I found this post and it was a soft reminder. One day I just might finish it.)

There are so many good and wonderful thoughts that I have been mulling on lately. This post will most likely be random and not a bit organized, but....oh, well!

I have been faced with a few very blatant reminders of how "different" a Christian's worldview is from a secular worldview as of late. How we see situations and circumstances are just the opposite in most cases.

My apartment is not, nor will it probably ever be, a mansion in the world's eye, but my Father is building me a dwelling in a place that no mind can imagine.

My checkbook can be balanced without a calculator, but my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

My chosen profession will not put my name in lights or on a billboard, but my Father knows my name and it is written on the palm of His hands.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Love Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. It is the one time of the year that our family gets together with no real expectations. No one has scrambled to find that perfect gift for the gift exchange. No argument over who gets the kids in that morning. Everyone is invited, family members, friends, or enemies. No hurry for families to scurry over to the in-laws because we are already together. There is laughter in every room. The cousins play card games, uncles cheer for their favorite sports team while the aunts discuss Black Friday tactics with store ads scattered over the floor. Christmas music plays in the background with the occasional group joining in at the top of their lungs. Food lines the counter, table, stove, and kerosine heater.

But my favorite part this year was sitting at the table, sharing. My brother had arranged the tables and chairs in "normal" fashion and you could see everyone. We all stood behind our chairs and gave thanks before heading to the dining room to fill our plates. The TV was turned off and we all just talked. My aunt started a new tradition this year by naming one thing she was thankful for this season. Everyone took a turn. Jokes and stories were shared. We laughed. Grandma cried as she shared that she had decided to give her heart to Jesus. This lasted all day. I love Thanksgiving.
(Did you think I was kidding about food on the kerosine heater?)