Looking back at 2017

It’s been a lil too long, my fingers and brain have been itching to write but my heart doesn’t always know where to start. So, we’ll just start.

 

2017 is over and gone, just memories remain. I’m pretty much okay with putting that year behind me and looking forward to what is ahead. We started out the year as just the 2 of us, not really expecting it to change or adding any foster children anytime too soon, to give us time to heal and process from our twins leaving in December.  But by the end of January we had the twins back, 11months old,  and had said Yes to their 2 sisters, coming in the month of February. A 3 year old, and baby from the hospital.

We also started an organization called Blessing Basket, a clothing/items closet for families associated with foster care. We accept & give everything for free, basically just a bridge for the community to help out. Needless to say, with 4 toddlers I was a little overwhelmed and sold my fudge inventory, said goodbye to the business part of my life and tried to learn how to embrace this busy mom life.

 

We fought through lots of sicknesses and visited way too many Dr’s for our baby girl, but she came out ahead and strong by the end of the year! I learned pretty quickly I needed my people and family for support and accepting it was the key to making it through. I accepted help from my nieces for wks and food from friends all the time, breaks were granted to me by my husband and so much more.. I hired babysitters and cleaning ladies as needed. Even with that there were times it felt we were just surviving instead of thriving.. We did quite a bit of ‘necessary’ travel, but not nearly the recreational travel we thought we might 😉

Seriously, I don’t really know where the year went, it seemingly evaporated. It was probably a year I will always look back at as a blur, but I am thankful for journals and photos that help me remember the little moments that truly made it into a fun and amazing year. Not gonna lie, I wouldn’t choose to go through it again, but I learned a lot and would say yes to those 4 babies all over again. However, I probably ate more words and ideals than I thought I would, its not all roses being a needed human 24/7!

I clearly remember when we started this journey of foster care, secretly thinking and hoping that we’d have so many kids hanging at my legs I wouldn’t know which way to turn and I wouldn’t have time for anything else. But then there were times this past year I wondered what kind of fantasy I was dreaming about. I love loved the experience and the kids, but it was exhausting. Not only being a mum but navigating thru the visits, co-parenting with the legal, bio and grandparents, searching everywhere for answers to trauma added to the whole picture. Even though I still sometimes say, imagine what we’d be doing tonight if ‘no kids’, there is no way I would trade it for being a mom!

 

Spiritually I spent a lot of the year fighting God and learning how to do things on my own, because without realizing, I quit ‘really’ trusting Him. Oh I said I trusted Him and I thought I did. But He became the God who does what He wants, brings all this pain and turmoil into my life and no matter what I ask, He does what He wants anyway.. Graciously He showed me all of that and who He really is towards me. Lets just thats another post for another day, that changed my life. I think that’s why I am so grateful for all of last year and it bringing me to the end of myself so many times, and allowing me to truly find my Father’s heart. My word for 2017 was love, and it was definitely taken to a whole new level in a way I had no idea it could be..

 

So, anyways, as 2017 drew to a close, we said good-bye to our 3 year old, #divagirl moved in with her Grandma in November. In December #miraclebaby, now 10 1/2 months old went to live with another Grandma. If you follow me on social media, you know that it’s been pretty hard on all of us. We still get to have sibling visitation once a month, so that has helped. Christmas was quietly spent in TN with family and at home with our two lil remaining boys. We closed out the year by being taken out with a stomach virus, then the kids got strep. I think the word best used to describe 2017 would be ‘full’.

 

Whoops, I started out wanting to write about the New Year, but see what happened? When I start writing it just kind of spills out. I don’t really want to make this post super long, so I’ll divide it up and share a little how I feel about 2018 next time..

 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one.

Not your Ordinary Wednesday

I was outside watching the kids play & the baby right inside the door watching me, because it was just a tad too cold outside for her. Buddy was pushing around his dump truck like he does everytime they go outside, filling it with rocks and dumping them out immediately, in his own little world. Big sissy was trying to coax Bubba into running out to the trees with her to no avail, he’d rather stay close to momma. With my suggestion of playing Hide & seek he took off running with her right beside him, hand on his back. Buddy’s attention was interrupted and he goes running after them, not wanting to miss out on the fun.

Then it hit me. These days of them being siblings that are living together are coming to a close. In fact, with this weather it may be one of the last days I witness this bonded outdoor innocence. Big sissy will be moving to her respective Gma in less than 2 wks.

And I start reliving the reality of a phone call just a few hours previous. “Everything has been approved for lil MiracleBaby to be moved to her Gma, so we want to start overnight visits this wknd while we wait on the paperwork. If all goes according to plan, we should be able to move her mid December.” I really thought I was handling it quite well, asking all the necessary questions until my FSW asked, “Are you gonna be okay?” I don’t even remember what I answered because her next words, “yea, I can hear it in your voice” did me in.

Y’all I knew this was coming for months already, but the reality never hits till it’s right here. Partially because the system is famous for delays so it’s just not a good idea to plan that a “plan” is happening until it happens. Also, because I just need to be in the moment. I can’t prepare for what it’s gona look or feel like, but trust that Jesus is going to hold me each step of the way. I can’t plan for the grief, but embrace it as it comes.

As I sat there on the porch breathing it all in, the love, the joy, the grief. I took comfort knowing that my Father is weeping with me. His plan was for the family unit to be complete. And yet it’s wrecked so we as mortals try to patch it up, family with family, or family becoming family. It’s not perfect but it’s redemption. It can become beautiful. But here in the messy, how can I feel you here with me Jesus?

I remember exactly a year ago we were preparing for our twin boys to be leaving in December. Now they’re back, with no plans in place of them leaving, which we are more than ok with! And yet we hold it with open hands because it only takes 1 phone call to change it all.

I begin picking up their toys and look up to see this one perfect, very sweet smelling rose blooming in my rose garden. I was completely shocked because I thought those roses were long done for the season. Be that as it may, I immediately heard a soft whisper, “It’s for you, see, I’m right here. Find the beauty among the thorns.” And as I’ve pondered that, gazed at & smelled the rose, I know He just wants me to know that I don’t have to love or appreciate or be happy with the thorns. But to search for His beauty & find joy in that (Him). 

We had our last Sunday outing as a family of 6 and didn’t even know it. Thur night was our last night with just us, so we tore it up, laughter, plenty of rides and a few pictures. We still have a few more days and we will still see each other, but it’s gonna be different. As much as I’m stressed from this crazy busy few months that turned into a year. My heart still breaks because pieces of it are leaving. I don’t know how it’s gonna be, but I know it’s ok to not always be ok.  And in case you wonder what I meant about it being our last night alone, my 17 yr old niece has been wanting to come so she’s here for the week and I’m definitely NOT complaining about that! 🙂

This is foster care.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one.

The Perfect Balance

Hard things are hard to do. Culturally we want the easy way out. You guys, being a foster parent is hard. So. so. so. hard. And pretty much all of the time I want to sugar coat it and tell others and myself that it’s just part of life, it’s really not that difficult. I wish I could say we do it because it’s so easy. But. In all reality, we do it because it IS hard. We, as the church, as God’s people need to be willing to do hard things. Sometimes God asks us to do the hard things that we cannot do on our own, so that He receives all the glory! In our weakness, people can see it is only because of HIS strength! Back to admitting that it is hard… From personal experience I can testify that it is key to embrace the fact that this IS hard. It’s something I just really didn’t want to do. But I needed to embrace it for myself. Acknowledge it and be honest with others. As Christians, we can do hard things. It’s ok that it’s hard and ok to admit it. We need to support and encourage each other in those hard things. I’m still learning but it has been really humbling and uplifting just to embrace this fact. As a fellow foster mom wrote; “Not all, but most days, are really hard. The kind of hard that makes you never want to stop crying. There is HOPE and redemption and grace here, but in the middle moments, it’s just hard.” So if you are in a hard season of life right now, my encouragement is that you embrace it and not shy away. Only with, and because of Jesus can we truly come out shining.

For the past few months I have grieved and cried and lamented over the extremely sad situation of our 4 little babes.. How is it that perhaps they will end up in 3 different homes?! How their biological could choose the life of party and fun over being a responsible parent? My heart aches for grandparents, I know all too well how it feels to have a child disappear from my life. The completely helpless feeling of not being able to control or change the situation. My heart breaks for a family that is broken apart and yet I know it is their choice to step up and be the change. I sense the deep sorrow of what these babies will feel as they walk through rejection in their growing up years. It’s their story, and they will have to walk thru it. I know what pain and heartache feels like and I just want to fix it and change their beginning. I want to see redemption, I want to witness a happy reunification. I want to save them from walking through a story they didn’t choose. But I can’t. One thing I do know, is that I can point them to the One who heals, who redeems the pain, who creates beauty from ashes. I can and will walk along side them as long as possible and hold their hand. And I will never stop praying for them.

In the midst of allowing myself to feel the pain and embracing this journey [again]. God gently laid some truth from the other side of the coin, very plainly in front of me. Embrace the joy. This life of mine, being a foster momma, is filled with soo much joy & love.
Perhaps the best gift that I can give them today is to let them know how happy they make me today. What an incredible beautiful gift it is to be their momma. The wonder is not lost on me and it truly is not something I take for granted. I absolutely adore and love them to bits n pieces. I am so grateful for the opportunity and gift of being their mother. Watching them grow and play fills me with so much joy and I’m so proud of them. Caring for their needs is something I have dreamed of doing for years and it truly is a privilege that I enjoy. Being needed and chosen and adored by them makes my heart swell so much it feels like it could burst. I prayed for twins for many years and it’s been a dream come true to bring home a baby from the hospital. I used to tell them everyday, “I love being your Momma”, but the weights have smothered it the last while. I want them to know the joy they bring to me, how much I want them and celebrate the gift of them. Even if it could bring pain of parting in the future. It’s totally ok for me to experience that JOY and speak it. In fact they need to hear it. I need to embrace the joy that they give me and how happy it makes my heart to be their momma for today. Allow myself to feel happy in us being a family. It just felt wrong, almost a guilt to rejoice in them being in my heart and home when it meant that they were ripped apart from their mother and life is not how it should be for them. The confusion and fears they face everyday. How can I be ‘happy’ in the midst of that? They need my empathy not my sympathy… (don’t we all?!)

It feels like I could constantly be crying. I look at them and feel all the pain that is involved with them being in my home and the next minute as I watch them play, learn and laugh with innocent childhood perfection, I am overcome with joy that I get to witness it. Of course I can’t, and won’t, just gallantly go on my way and pretend the ugly doesn’t exist, but neither can I sit here and let the heaviness engulf and overcome us. With God’s help I want to find the perfect balance of embracing what each day holds.

Clearly, farming is our number #1 focus these days. 🙂

 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one.

Expect the Unexpected {life update}

Been pondering what to share this month and I suppose it may be time for a bit of a personal life and family update.. Fittingly so with this being the month marking 1 year ago that we received twin baby boys into our home. Seems a bit surreal and sorry if you already know all the stats, but I wanted to write it down for my own remembrance 🙂 

Last July 5th we said good-bye to our first lil boy #MrSunshine and a few days later we welcomed twin 4 1/2 month old boys into our home on July 11th. Because it wasn’t any legal or criminal issues, but merely a lack of proper support, as soon as birth mom was back in shape the boys returned home, no questions asked. I won’t say how many questions and doubts I had, but I chalked them up to me being overly sensitive n attached to the boys in wanting to keep them. In those 5 months we had definitely fallen in love with Bubba & Buddy and were heartbroken telling them good-bye on Dec. 7th. We were not in any rush to take new placements in allowing ourselves proper time to heal (more on that another day.) Also I kept somewhat in contact with mom and told her we would like to support and help her with the boys when she delivers new baby girl in February.

On a personal life level, just prior to the twins leaving we felt led to do a few tests and check out why I have been having such severe menstrual cycles. Crippling to the point of vomiting and, well, I’ll just end it there. We didn’t really receive the quick fix we had silently been hoping for, except that the Dr. recommended I double or triple my pain meds and swap off with tylenol and ibuprofen. My body had become immune to ‘2 advils’.. He, however, felt pretty strongly that I probably have endometriosis. And if you know anything about it, the only way to confirm it & repair it is through surgery. He suggested we check out the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and do some blood work as cheaper alternative ways to definitely track what is going on with my body. So during this kid-break, we took the opportunity to take the classes & learn the CrMS charting. We have been really impressed with it so far. God opened and closed some doors pretty clearly to us in what to pursue, and at this point we are happy & at peace where it led us.  If you have any questions feel free to ask, & hopefully we will have more answers in the future.

December & January We took a Florida vacation, celebrated the Holidays with family, partied in the Smoky Mountains and just did life TOGETHER..  Emotionally we just really needed each other. And I didn’t see myself being ready for another attachment in quite awhile. The end of January, I was in contact with the twins’ mother and we ended up watching Buddy while she was in unexpected labor with baby.. she was not early but with many complications, it was prolonged and we ended up getting Bubba a few days later and were so enjoying babysitting them! They seemed kind of in shock but definitely recognized us and our home. Baby made it, but by a series of complete miracles and would end up having a month stay in the NICU.
And then the text came…I was actually rather shocked and my heart was kind of confused with all of it: “The boys’ trial home visit has been disrupted and they will be staying with you again for awhile.” Babysitting was suddenly placement. Of course I was excited to see them, love on them and watch them grow again. But so much had happened in those short 8 weeks and my heart was not prepared for this at all.. They turned 1 a month later & we got to celebrate their birthday with them! But at the same time, it tore me apart. So confusing and traumatizing for them. So disappointing for the bio mom & family.  That’s not all, we also got 2 more of their siblings, aka sisters. Two days later 3 year old Glitterbug came & a month later we brought Miraclebaby home from the hospital. Yes we are busy and yes it can be overwhelming. Also YES, our hearts are full!

Look at all those hair!

 

There are so many things I wish I could tell you about them and their lives.. But obviously it is not my story to tell. Just know that these are some of the sweetest and most beautiful children around. 3 out of the 4 are high energy kids, and cause me pure exhaustion by the end of the day. They have adjusted to us and life here quite well, perhaps better than what we have!

It has been over 4 months now being a family of 6. Let me tell you, becoming an instant family of 4 kids, ages 3 and under is no joke. And 1 year twins in the middle?! Of course the first month is all fun and everyone is doing great. Month 2 the crazy is high and the real is coming out, turns out 8 wks can raise alot of insecurities for babies. Month 3 we all just want to quit; but we keep reminding each other of that moment we knew God wanted us to say Yes and we keep pushing through, verbalizing that we embrace this life and family. Month 4 we have found a new normal and most days we feel like we are ready and ok for the long haul this appears it is going to be. And we are learning how to specialize in each individual to bond with them instead of lumping them together in an overwhelming sense where no one feels valued. We actually love doing this again & treasure having a family. Routines have definitely taken shape and bring security to us all. I don’t know how I do it most days, but have discovered that the best way to not become overwhelmed is to not ‘plan’ to accomplish anything. Lessen my expectations. Be satisfied in playing on the floor most of the day. Feel full and accomplished without crossing off a to-do list. Believe me, it is still a work in progress, that last one. But I have to constantly remind myself what is most important and not just in a cliche type of way. FOR REAL. Currently I am learning how to carve out time for what God wants me to do on a personal level and am in search of soul rest even in the daily ‘crazy’ schedule.
Recently I was kind of berating God, why He had brought us to a place of peace in saying Yes, and then just left us sit and fend for ourselves in this difficult journey? Why does it suddenly seem like a heavy burden to bear?! He reminded me of the verse my yoke is easy and my burden is light and that I had been trying to carry this yoke alone. I need to come away with Him, into His yoke and it will be free & light. That takes intentionality. Time to stop. Rest. Commune with Him and allow Him to guide every footstep and not just go go go…. In the midst of 50 things pounding in my head that need to be done, schedules & appointments nearly colliding, visits being rescheduled 5x in 1 day….I am learning to literally lift up my hands and say, You control it God and make it work out. Show me what I can cut out or do to make it work. I know You care & You will make a way. 

I just really wana shout out to my amazing husband & partner in all of this, he pulls more than his share of the load. He changes just as many poopy diapers as I do, bathes the boys 99% of the time, does the nightly ritual of putting baby to bed & 100% cares for the boys if they wake during the night. Not only is he the entertainer of all things play in the evenings, he is also the first one out of bed & has coffee brewed for me when I drag myself out 10 (or 20) minutes later. He often cooks us breakfast, or half of it at least & never complains about helping me with last minute meal prep. He never leaves the kitchen until the table is cleared. If it looks like the dogs may fare too richly under our table he will find the broom & remedy that. He washes many dishes, and loads/unloads the dishwasher whenever there is a need. Many laundry-day evenings will find him helping me clear our bed and put away what I didn’t get folded yet. If I’m feeling like I need space, he usually figures out a way for me to get groceries alone or takes the kids on a drive or takes them outside. Anytime there’s even the slightest opportunity that one can ride along with him, he will be the first to suggest it. My chocolate stash stays well supplied. I am so grateful that he helps me around the house until the toys are picked up and things in order so that I can sit with him after the babies are in bed. There’s alot more, but you get the picture, he is Super Amazing & I wana be more like him. I’m seriously so humbled how well he loves me in word & action. 

We were very grateful to family for watching our brood so that we could celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary in May. It was seriously one of the cheapest and best vacations we ever had. Originally our plans were a bit more elaborate to celebrate the big five. But then when we had to downscale we knew right away it was the perfect opportunity to relive our first dates and part of our honeymoon in MO. Something we had often talked about doing, and I’m so grateful circumstances led us in that direction. While it is awesome to make new memories, it is so soo good to stop and remember where we came from and how it all started. Even experience those first heart flutters again. 😉

We took the kiddoes to the zoo and the parade.. felt like big accomplishments and they loved it! They spend many hours on our swing set Dan built and the pool has been brought out of storage. We also added 2 baby kitties to our family and thankfully their airways seem to handle frequent squeezing quite well. They absolutely love pizza, so Lil Caesars has seen us quite frequently! We have had more than our fair share of sicknesses, Dr. appointments and teething irritability and are always so grateful for the few days of good health! And we have gone on multiple road trips, we love traveling and the kiddoes do fairly well with it as well. So yeah, its been pretty interesting around here.

And just like that we are halfway through 2017 already and it feels like it was just January. I’m presuming the rest of the year will evaporate just as quickly. One day blends into the next and the months slip away without us hardly noticing. We hope to look back at these days with fond memories and not just a blurred image. Are you saying Yes to what matters today?

If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one.

Dear Community with a Foster Parent in your Midst

As usual, when there is something brewing in my heart, it comes out eventually. And I’m not really sure how to share all of this because it can be pretty personal, however, I want to try to express it with lots of grace. & as a means of educating people and being a voice for so many foster Mamas that feel misunderstood or alone, or just like people don’t ‘get it’.
disclaimer 1. this post may get long.
disclaimer 2. This was a compilation of my personal experiences & feedback from other foster mamas.

Number 1. WE NEED YOU. We need your support, prayers, hands & feet, encouragement, acceptance, hugs and coffee. But first, let me clarify some things and then I’ll try to explain…

Yes, we signed up for this. In a sense we knew what we were signing up for, the unknown, the heartbreak & emotions of reunification, the trauma, the dirty, the sweetness of innocent children[& some not innocent enough] but in another sense we really couldn’t prepare or truly know what it was all going to be like. In reality tho, that didn’t matter, we signed up because of a calling, a nudging we heard from God. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t so much a choice of something we really wanted to do, but a choice of being obedient to God the Father. And sometimes we really really wish you would get that big picture. It is not something we are doing for ‘ourselves’….it truly is about and for the kids, something bigger than us. And we want you to see this as a ministry, not just our family of sweet lil kids. [If it would be just about us, I doubt we’d last very long.] We would love your help in being able to give the best possible picture of Jesus to these souls in the short lil span we have them. Its a bit of a crazy whirl and can get overwhelming to just get the basics done at times, much less all the spiritual tools & love we want to give them. We really do need you.

Less you be thinking, oh they are just raising a family like I am with mine. It probably appears like that & we try to lead a mostly “normal” life. But here’s a few things you may not have thought about it. We probably did not even have 24 hour notice before a new child or children were in our home. We had no idea what gender or age.  In less than a day we were an instant family, BAM! We don’t know their sleeping or eating likes/dislikes. I remember with different ones, we didn’t know if they could sit, crawl, or walk. Juice or water? Rock or go to bed? Paci or no? Sing or silence? Obviously we can start our own traditions & routines, but we feel so helpless knowing how to ease their level of comfort or what they were used to. Within the first 24 hours they need to be examined at the Health Department, where we generally meet the Foster Support Worker. In the first 7 days there is a Child & Family Team Meeting. Within 30 days there is generally court to be attended, Dentist physical, drug physicals, their worker visits our home, our parent support worker visits, GAL visits, shots up to date, birth parent visits begin (usually weekly), developmental evaluation & many are qualified for a weekly in-home therapist, therapist supervisor monthly visits, or if older possibly a weekly counselor, if babies they are qualified for WIC vouchers for formula, milk etc, so that’s another appointment. These are just my experiences and I know that it varies by child & state, so it could be more or less. I have discovered to not expect anything remotely normal for at least 3 months.

We would absolutely love if you would sign up and become foster parents as well, welcoming even 1 child into your home, but we also understand that not everyone will. But there is something you can do! In fact many different things. There is a big need for respite families, meaning you would do some paperwork & training and be licensed to care for emergency placements while they find a foster family, perhaps a wknd, a few days or months. & you would be able to provide a legal bed & place to babysit for foster families if they have trips or just need a wknd breather. Also open up your home to babysitting possibilities. We have lots & lots of mandatory meetings & appointments and sometimes we need to take some or all or none of the children with. Suddenly we need to fully fill a wardrobe or two, and we also need alot more groceries, plus we have no idea what they like or dislike. So perhaps you could offer to do some shopping or babysit while we shop & have a moment of quiet to grasp all the changes that are taking place. Another wonderful way is to check in and offer babysitting while we go get our training hours in. We are not allowed to take the children with and oftentimes the classes are for 2 or 3 hours in the evening or a full Saturday. Contact DCS & get fingerprinted and legal to transport children or sit with them at the office in emergencies.  Find a local foster parent association, provide meals or childcare once a month for them. Donate time or things to foster closets that are aiding foster children with free much-needed clothing. Maybe you have space or funds to build or re-do a playroom for your county…delightful spaces for visits are SO RARE. Caring for the orphans in our own communities is really a ministry where everyone can do something

Ok, so on to some practical ways that might help you understand how to better rally around the foster parents in your midst. And I might throw in a few tips about some things you may not have realized..

Your support. This can be a hard one. Oftentimes we feel like you are more curious in knowing the case history and the dramatic of sad & terrible. We really aren’t allowed to share details with you, so in being vague and not expressing a whole lot to you, we are not trying to keep you out of the loop. You are just asking the wrong questions. Perhaps ask how the child is adjusting and things about their current life with us versus what all has transpired in the past or what will happen in the future. We can have our speculations and info about what will happen, but I’d say 95% of the time the turnout isn’t exactly what we anticipated & can change drastically with one phone call. So it is easier for us to not have to guess the future in order to try and explain it to you. The unknown part is the absolute hardest part of this whole journey!! Having to answer “I don’t know” to those type of questions doesn’t make it any easier for us.  Like I said, its hard, because we love when you show interest and care about them, but we don’t always know how to answer! Also, please keep in mind that our job is to show Jesus to the birth parents, so hearing you bash them doesn’t give us ideas of how to better show love.

Your hands & feet… literally 🙂 On the night of a first placement, help out with immediate needs or food that night/week/month. Come clean our house while we are at a visit. Bring us a warm meal when we have been in meetings & gone all day. Drop off a frozen casserole that we can use on a day when the unexpected comes up and we completely forgot that it was also important that we feed these kids. and ourselves, we tend to forget our own needs sometimes. Share a bucket of cookies. Offer babysitting but keep in mind that perhaps our kids are going through traumatic visitations and insecurities and babysitting isn’t the best option. Suggest a play-date, grab our weekly groceries. Offer your pair of hands at an outdoor adventure to the zoo. Or maybe sit with our kids after they are in bed so we can go out on a late date night.
Throw a shower. Especially if these are first time parents or when we get newborn babies. I still fondly look back at my Welcome to Parenthood/Fostering Shower that was thrown for us before our first placement. And the boxes, gifts and thoughtful items that were sent to us. Also Birthday parties, umm yeah, they may not be here next year or even remember us, but they deserve to be treated with love and showered with gifts. These babies and the families should not be cheated out of these experiences & they should be treated the same way as if they were born into our family. Celebrate these children with us!! 

Encouragement… So  we know we are amazing, (insert curtsy here) we hear it alll the time! However, we really want you to know that we are not some super-human, extra-ordinary saints or angels. We are human, doing something [that should be] ordinary & normal, saying yes to helping a child in need. It is hard, we don’t always keep the big picture in mind. So your heartfelt encouraging words, texts, & notes really mean alot. They help keep us focused.

Prayers… I cannot stress this one enough. We neeed your prayers. We love to hear you are praying for us. We don’t want to bother you with our many ever-changing prayer requests, all-the-time. But. It literally can change lives and we are so grateful for every prayer warrior on our team, praying for the BEST interest of the child and not our selfish desires.

Acceptance… We want you to know that these children are not all lil’ heathens and terribly bratty kids prone to trouble. They are normal children, with normal training needs, but from not-normal situations. They may act out because of trauma and they may not. We don’t always know what they have seen or experienced or are feeling, so it can be a challenge knowing how to parent at times. But it really doesn’t help if you are constantly trying to analyze their behaviour, especially in front of them. And yes, our parenting techniques are different, some because legally we are bound to, some because of their unstable background, but all because we chose to parent them here & now like this. So please be respectful & understanding. Maybe you can even learn something. Our plea to you is to accept the decisions we make in nurturing our children & to educate your children in how to relate to them, & to include them without awkward hesitation & stares. The last place ‘foster children’ need to feel & hear that they indeed are ‘foster children’ is from their friends. It cuts my heart every-time. Be understanding & gentle around the young ones, they are not super trusting, or maybe too trusting sometimes, but we are trying our best to be a stable trustworthy person in their life. So, keep that in mind before you come whisk them out of our sight. Or perhaps it looks like we have super strict boundaries on our toddlers, remember, you don’t know their story and we aren’t allowed to explain it to you. But we know how much they can handle & we truly have their best in mind. Here’s a fun tidbit, [I wanna say fact, but haven’t done an actual research..]  ??% of foster children are brighter, smarter & more aware of comprehending situations & comments than your bio child. Sadly, oftentimes because it can be a mode of protecting themselves. So keep that in mind when you make remarks in front of them.
It may shock you, but we also actually love these kiddoes as much/the same as our bio children. Obviously, this one didn’t come from me, but I will add that I can understand your surprise n disbelief about this one, because I was you. I did not expect to love them as much as I did/do. There are many times I stop n think, there is no way I could love a bio child more than I love this child right here, right now. God grows them in your heart & it is amazing.

Hugs & coffee… and all the other impromptu lovings. Somedays we just feel sad. We may be trying not to stress about the unknown future or perhaps we’re remembering a child that left [quick insert, we love when you remember all of our children and not just the ones we have at present, they never replace each other in our hearts].

Those comments…we know you mean well, and we truly want to give you grace for them, but just in case you didn’t realize, they feel really insensitive. — “I could never do that.” “I would get way too attached.” “How in the world do you do give them back?” “Aww, I would just love them too much to let them go again.”   …Umm, we don’t have stone hearts, it hurts us too, but Jesus. 🙂 And all the comments about them looking just like us. It’s sweet & we smile & agree, however, that really isn’t as important to us as you may think. What about the other toddler who hears you and is also ‘our’ son but knows his color is different, even though he may be too young to understand, or so you think. I can’t speak for all, but in general I’m pretty sure we’d be super ok with you blessing the kids for who they are instead of trying to make us feel like we birthed them.

I guess in conclusion we just want you to know that it is a ministry, a mission. We need your support just like a pastor, a missionary and those in ministry who are often thought of as being in direct line of the enemies fire. 

I am extremely grateful for the wonderful community surrounding us and the love of Jesus they have shown to me and to our family. They have taught me so much and I hope this helps you understand how to step in and lift up the foster families in your midst. GOD BLESS.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to connect on a more personal level, please connect with me. Or if you need prayer, I would love to be in touch with you! Email me at capturingjewels@gmail.com -Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. To follow along on our journey and not miss any posts, subscribe to the blog [top right corner] or follow my blog Facebook page, not just my personal one.