Thursday, October 30, 2014

God's Got It, Mom

I have never in my entire life been this angry. Nothing has ever made me this mad. 

I've never yelled so much or cried so much in a single day as I did today. 

I received a call this morning that Baby A and his brother would be placed with a family willing to take both them tomorrow. 

That's when the yelling started. Tomorrow? Seriously? 

And they were serious. So serious that every person I talked to acted like I was an insane person for trying to get the boys some much needed transition time to make the move to this new foster home. 

Here's the thing, our intent is not, was not, has never been to keep this baby forever. We love him like he's ours because that's what he deserves and if it came down to, we would absolutely adopt him. But that's not what this is about. 

We believe that it's best for these boys to be together in the right situation. They're brothers. That bond is one that they will hopefully have their entire lives. A sibling bond is so very important, especially to a child in foster care. 

Last week, there was a potential placement for the boys. It was with another family in our agency. We met with the foster mom and her daughter and niece at Chic-fil-A. She held Baby A and asked questions about him and his brother, and we answered. And we told her the truth. 

That same day, she called our agency and told them she couldn't take the boys. I don't know what she said. I've heard so many versions of it at this point that I don't know who to believe anymore. 

And ever since that day, everything has been different. Our worker told Brian today that we sabotaged the placement and because of that, they couldn't risk us meeting these new foster parents and having another failed placement. 

So basically, if you want the cliff notes version, because we met this mom and told her all about these boys, and she decided not to take them, we became the bad guys, and we have been ever since. 

I have felt like a criminal today. Like I have done something wrong. The last time I checked, all I did was love this baby like he was my own. Loved him. Fought for him. Invested in him. Invested in his momma. And now, because I might sabotage the next placement, we can't transition the boys. 

That's what's happening, and I'm not one bit okay with it. 

I've never been this angry. I don't know that I've ever felt righteous anger until today. 

Brian was driving Addison to church tonight and telling her that Baby A would probably be going to a new home tomorrow and that we might not get to see him again. And she said that she knew because "momma was really mad today." 

My kids saw me fight today. They say me cry. They heard me yell. And then tonight, Brian got to tell Addison about what righteous anger is. He said it's okay to be angry when your angry for the right reasons. That's what righteous anger is. He told her about Jesus coming into the temple and being righteously angry at the vendors there selling their goods. Jesus was angry, and He had every right to be angry. 

And even though everyone involved keeps treating me like I'm crazy because I'm asking for a healthy transition for these boys, I know I'm angry for the right reasons. 

I've talked to so many people today and heard so many sides to so many stories that I honestly don't know who to believe anymore. 

I've also made new friends today and learned that everyone involved is somewhat bound by these crazy policies. (Did you know that because we haven't had these boys for 3 months, we don't have to have any notice before they're removed from our homes? None at all. It's a real policy. And it's insane.) 

I'm so worn and so exhausted and so lit up at the same time. I'm not okay with things like this happening. From the outside looking in, it may seem trivial to you. So he's moving? So you didn't get any notice? He won't remember any of this anyways. 

Really? Do you know how vital infant bonding is for lifetime attachment issues? It's the most important thing. This baby was taken from his momma....one minute she was there, the next she was gone, and then all of a sudden, the same thing will happen with our family. We've loved him, taken care of him, made him feel safe and secure for the past 6 weeks, and within minutes tomorrow, we will simply be gone. Do you have any idea what that does to a baby psychologically? It's detrimental. DHS takes children out of bad situations and then allows for emotional situations to take place that are no different than what they experienced when originally taken from mom. The emotional toll is substantial and serious. How will he ever learn how to love and trust if we just walk out the door? 

It's crazy to me. Simply crazy. 

I keep telling everyone that I'm 100% on board for him going to a place where he can be with his brother. 100%. But not like this. Not overnight. He's not in an unhealthy situation. He doesn't need to be rescued from anything. But that's how everyone is acting. 

Go take him from them quick! They love him too much! What if they want to keep him forever? Really? What's the problem people?! I thought I was supposed to love him like that. I thought I was supposed to fight for what's right for him. No one else is. 

What's best for these boys? A healthy transition. I'm not asking for weeks. Even a few days will do. 

Not only is there no transition, I was also told today that we would not be able to meet or talk to the new family. I was assured tonight that was not the case, but I'm not sure who to trust anymore. 

I don't know what tomorrow holds. I do know that this child was never mine. My children aren't even mine. They belong to the Lord. I know that He will protect them, cover them, and make a way for them. His promises are true and have been prayed over each of my children...including Baby A many, many times. 

Tonight in the car when Brian was telling Addison about what righteous anger is, she asked for a piece of paper, and she wrote me these words: 


And before I could publish this post, that sweet baby woke up (he never does that!), and I got a text from the Founder and Executive Director of our agency (at 11:00 pm) saying that she wants to make this transition slower. 

I was honestly shocked and impressed. We talked earlier this evening, and I felt like I was finally being heard, and I feel like she went to front lines for me and with me, and I'm impressed. 

Now we trust that the Lord has it. That he'll make a way for her to convince the people who need convincing that these boys need a transition. 

Tonight, a little bit of hope has been restored. God's got it.  God will take care of it.....yes, baby. Yes, He will. 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Hard Week

I know that I've been quiet lately....both here and on social media, and it's mostly because, we've had a rough week. 

Last week was just hard. There aren't any other words to describe it. 

We thought Baby A was being moved to a new placement with a new foster family that was willing to take both him and his brother. It ended up not working out. 

I'm not sure if I'm glad that I was silent thru it all or if I wish I written thru it. I'll probably wish I had written about it later, but I didn't. 

There are details and issues that probably don't need to be discussed here. There were things that happened with this potential new placement that simply made me angry. Righteously angry. 

We met the new foster mom last week. She was great. She'll be a great foster mom. And here's the thing, I agree that our boys need to be together (if and only if, the situation is better than the one they're currently in). If we're going to break bonds that have been made, it better be for the absolute best case scenario. 

And this new foster family was not that scenario. Not because there was anything wrong, but because I could see it all over her face......she was going to be overwhelmed with these boys and her child. I would have been. And that's the last thing we want. We do not want families taking children because they feel forced or backed into a corner, and that's sort of what happened. She felt like her hand was forced, so she said she'd take them. 

But that's how we lose foster families. That's how we get failed placements. 

To say that it was a hard week is really an understatement. 

I've questioned so many things this week. I've thrown my nose into God's word because I don't know the answers to all this mess. 

But last night, we had the opportunity to hear Bob Goff speak at the Angels Foster Family Network annual auction and dinner. He was amazing. There are really no words to describe him. 

He talked about Jesus and loving the way Christ loved. Actively loving. 

And then he said this: "If you love that extravagantly, Jesus will carry you." 

And I cried. Right there at the table with the fancy dessert and that stupid satin napkin that wouldn't stay on my lap. Tears fell from my eyes because I couldn't keep them in. 

He's right. All I can do is love. All I can do is love him like he's mine. All I can do is love his momma like she's family. 

Yes, that means hurt will come. Yes, that means this road will be long and rocky, but it also means that I'll never be the same, and if it all crumbles one day....whether it turns out best case scenario or worst, Christ will catch us. All of us. Because we chose to love. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I hardly ever know what I'm doing

My kids think I pooped in my panties, and I hardly ever know what I'm doing. It's been a rough day, folks. 

I wish those were exaggerations or lies, but both statements are very, very true. 

My children do very much believe that I pooped in my panties a little today. My daughter found a pair of panties soaking in one of the sinks in my bathroom. She was horrified and wanted to know what on earth was in my panties. My son, of course, knew exactly what it was....has to be poop. What else could it be? 

I really hope you're laughing and not completely grossed out, but this is life people. Sometimes you need to soak your panties, and sometimes your above mentioned children conclude that the reason you are soaking your panties is because you pooped a little. {For the record, I didn't poop.} 

"Mom, did you think it was just a toot?" questions the 5 year old. 

"Yes, baby. I thought it was just a toot." 

Things are not always what they appear. Very rarely are things the way they appear actually. The more years I spend on this crazy planet, the more I understand that. 

I really hardly ever know what I'm doing. I mean, does any parent really have any clue how to do this successfully? And not even in parenting or foster care, I very rarely ever know what I'm doing in business or life either. 

Really. Hardly ever am I sure that I'm doing the right thing. 

I've observed that many successful women operate in the same belief. They don't know what they're doing....they mostly just fake it until they make it. That phrase is popular because it's real. 


I was talking to a girl who I would absolutely love to have on my Scentsy team today. She reminds me of myself. 100%. She doesn't want to misstep. She wants to do it right if she decides to do it, but she has everything it takes to be a successful business owner. I was telling her that I really had no idea what I was doing when I started as a Scentsy consultant. I just always acted like I knew exactly what  I was doing. 

To be successful, you don't have to have all the answers, you just have to be willing to find them when they arise. It's really pretty simple. 


If we always waited to do things until we thought we were equipped or ready or fully qualified, we would never accomplish anything. I think that's why so many people sit back and wait for things to happen to them. Maybe when they lose 10 lbs or when they have more time or when they feel better about their circumstances....maybe then. 

What about now?

I fail everyday in so many areas of my life. I have no idea how to parent 3 kids and a foster baby. I have no clue how to be the best wife for my man. I don't know how to inspire other people or lead them to success. I really don't. But I do it all. Every day. Somehow, all those things happen. 

We can't just sit around waiting for things to be perfect. 

Perfection doesn't exist. 

Maybe today is the day. Maybe today is the day that you hit the gym for the 1st time in months or maybe today is the day you start a new business. Maybe today is the day you love your spouse the way he deserves to be loved. Why can't today be the day? 

You're never going to figure it out. I'm never going to figure it out, but that isn't stopping me. Get up and do it anyways. 



Whatever it is. You don't have to know what you're doing. I hardly ever know what I'm doing. But that doesn't stop me from charging the darkness or doing things that I think are bigger than me. Fake it until you become it. You can. 

And even if you have a day when your kids think you pooped in your panties, pretend you did (even if you didn't) because maybe that's easier than explaining the truth to a 5 and 7 year old.  



Saturday, October 18, 2014

An overdue update on all these babies and us

There's a handsome guy living with us who celebrated his half  birthday this week. He's getting bigger everyday. And louder too. Baby A is quite comfortable around here now, and he's good about vocalizing that. 


The other littles living in my house are awesome. They each come with their challenges, but that's the fun of parenting isn't it? 

Addison is a big helper around the house (most of the time). She's also stubborn and sassy, which I'm actually glad about. She's going to be one amazing leader one day. 


Luke is learning so much in kindergarten. He comes home spelling new words everyday, and he's gone from being a shy little man to a guy with quite a lot to say. He can also be stubborn in a strong, silent way for which I am also grateful. 



And Wyatt.....well it's a good thing he's cute. With just a couple of weeks before his second birthday, he is giving me a run for my money. He's entertaining and funny and a true joy, but he's also learning how to stand his ground, how to use the word no, and how to raid the pantry and refrigerator without permission. 



And then there's us. 

Brian has been traveling this month. He took his annual hunting trip and brought home an elk that filled our freezer full of good meat. Now he's in Vegas for his best friend's bachelor party for the weekend. 

I have been here. Adjusting. Attempting to survive life as a single mom of four. (It was only a week, but it was challenging!) There are all the normal mom and wife and business owner things and then there are all the foster care things. And there is this heaviness that won't seem to leave. 

The past few weeks has left me feeling like I'm pretty crappy at all the roles I currently hold. I've allowed the devil to lie to me over and over again. 

I'm not good enough. 

I don't have anything meaningful to say. 

I don't have time to workout. 

I don't have the time or energy to effectively lead. 

Date my husband? What is that? 

Lies, lies, lies. But it's easy to let them creep in and let them begin to settle into our hearts as truth. 

I know that allowing this baby into our lives has changed things. Of course he has. He's a new life and a new little love that we have to give time, energy, attention, and love to. He's changed everything. That's what babies do. 

But I haven't allowed myself the time to be still, to study, to remember what we're doing here anyways. 

I have let myself stop writing. I have let myself stop running. I have let myself stop studying God's word, and I'm a wreck because of it.

All the things that keep me healthy and normal and functioning have gone to the wayside. How does one let that happen? How could I have let all those things go? Those things matter so much. 

But I did. And I have. And I need to get back to a place where I feel like me again. 

It's slowly happening. We're adjusting to Baby A. We're adjusting to a new schedule and new responsibilities. 

And I'm re-evaluating everything. I'm re-evaluating my time and money and resources. I need to work smarter, not harder. I need to question everything. Every hour. Every minute. Every responsibility. Every Yes. 

I need to be intentional again. So it's coming. I'm coming. I'm on my way back. I'm allowing myself some grace in the midst of the mess of life, and I'm on my way back to a place where things make sense to me again. I'll be there soon. 

Oh and I'm taking a photography class because it feels good and sometimes we should do things that feel good. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Would you pray for us?

I ate chocolate cake and a bowl of grape nuts for dinner, and now it's 11:30 pm and I'm sitting in my office attempting to catch up on work un-done this week. 

That worn feeling hasn't left. I still feel heavy and burdened from the weight of these babes. Specifically the newest addition. 

The foster mom who has Baby A's brother called today to tell me that our social worker called her on Friday asking if they (she and her husband) had seriously considered taking Baby A, because if they weren't willing to take him, the boys were going to be moved and moved soon. 

It's almost been a month. Four weeks of this baby's life have been spent with us, and they want to put them together. Baby A and his brother are both thriving where they are. Why move them? 

This is the part of foster care that is so incredibly hard. It's the reason we almost said no to him....I knew this would happen. I'm honestly a little irritated that our agency took the case and said they could place boys when they knew that they did not have a single family that would or could take them both. 

So, because of that, the boys were split up. And now it's complicated. We love Baby A. His brother's foster family loves him, and DHS policy says they need to be together. 

I understand the sibling bond. I do. I would want my kids together. But in the same breath, these boys are happy, healthy, thriving. And they are both with families who are willing and anxious to work with bio mom towards reunification. And we're committed to doing life together so these boys will continue to have a bond while they're in care. How does it make sense to move them? 

My heart is just heavy. This part is hard. I don't believe it's in the best interest of either of the boys for them to be moved at this point, but no one else seems to care. Policy is policy. Individual circumstances apparently don't matter. 

And I'm beginning to wonder where our advocate is. No one is standing on our side watching the way we love these boys. No one is fighting for what's best for the boys except for us. 

Maybe I'm being selfish because I want him here. But I don't think I am. I can see the way he responds to my voice. I watch him turn his head when I walk in a room. Why would we continue to break bonds that this baby has established? That's where the system is broken. Let us love him. Let us love his brother and his brother's foster family. Let us do what we can to help this momma gain the knowledge and skills she needs to get her babies back. We want to be a part of that process. We are willing to do the work. 

My heart's heavy. That's all. I want it to be different than it is. 

And at the end of the day, I will choose to trust that the Lord knows the end of the story and that He will guide the decisions of every person involved whether they stay or whether they go. 

Would you pray for our babies? We would so greatly appreciate it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Meeting Mom


I have to admit. I over thought what I should wear to meet Baby A's bio mom. 

Should I go with my daily uniform of skinny jeans, a v-neck tee, and flats or should I go more casual? (yes, the before mentioned is dressing up for me....don't judge me, I work from home. I can wear what I want.) 

I seriously thought about these things. 

I went with workout clothes because I really did have every intent to go run, but it didn't actually happen. (Don't judge me again.) 

I wonder if she thought about what she should wear, about what she should say, about how she should react. Did she consider those things? 

Was she as nervous to meet us as I was to meet her? 

My heart raced as I carried this tiny baby that I have come to love across a rainy parking lot into a DHS building. As I made my way thru the metal detector, I couldn't help but wonder if she was on the other side of the glass in the waiting area. Was she here? Would she show? 

I hoped she would. Please be here. What will I think if you don't show?

We made our way thru security with Baby A still sleeping peacefully in his carrier, and as I got my wits about me, I saw the worker come around the corner with mom right behind her. 

Hi. It's great to finally meet you. My name is Allison. He is so wonderful. 

We shook hands, and my heart stopped racing as quickly as it had started. 

She is just a person. Just a person with no resources, no support, and no one to help when she needed it most. Any of us could have been her. I can't judge her. I can't be mad at her. I can't even blame her. 

What I can do is commit to loving her the way I love her baby. 

At the end of the day it's not DHS's job to make sure these families get back together. It's the job of the church. 

I could care less about DHS's policies and regulations and "plans" (although I will follow them), what I care about is giving this young momma hope and the resources she needs to get back on her feet. She needs people in her life who will love her not because of her past but because of her future. 

That future is unwritten at the moment, and yes, she will have to do the work necessary to get her babies back, but we signed up to help re-write stories. That's what foster care is really about. 

It's about breaking the chains of generational poverty and generational abuse and generational drug use. It's about providing resources and hope to people who have none. It's about charging the darkness in pursuit of life change. 

I promise I'm not overly optimistic. I made that mistake last time. I thought I could help our bio momma change. In reality, I was the one who needed changing. 

I'm not that naive now. I know that only she and Christ can make that change. But I can support her. I can believe in her. I can give her hope in a situation that may seem hopeless. 

I can pray for her, with her, over her, and I can love her baby while she can't. 

That's what I'm called to do, and that's exactly what we'll do. 

I know that Christ can make beautiful things from dust. And I expect nothing less. Lord, give us something beautiful out of this dust. 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

When being worn is a gift

I know I haven't been writing a lot lately. 

Here's the deal. I'm usually a very positive and uplifting person. I can see the good in most situations and for the most part, I believe in people. 

But lately I have felt worn. Incredibly worn. 

The lyrics from the Tenth Avenue North song titled Worn are exactly how I've felt lately. 


If you've never heard it, listen to it now. 

But I'm not surprised that I feel this way. I believe that there is more to this world than what we can see. I believe that there always has been and always will be a spiritual battle to be fought, and we are often in the midst of that battle.

When life is easy and comfortable, the devil usually leaves you alone. Why would he bother with mediocre. He's after people willing to charge the darkness in the name of Christ.

Doing hard things. Doing things you feel called to. Stepping out in faith to walk outside your comfort zone.....those are the things that tick the devil off.

And that's where those feelings of heaviness come from. The little daily attacks on my mind, body, spirit, and household, I'm over them.

I am changing though.

Once again, the Lord is using a circumstance like foster care to make me different and new. And change is hard, but ridding myself of selfish desires, that's good. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.

This heaviness....this feeling of being worn, even before the day begins is a gift. It reminds me that we were not made for this world. This is not where we end up.

The lack of comfort I feel in my day-to-day life makes me yearn for heaven, and that is the greatest gift of all. I know I'm not done here, but to understand that this is not our resting place is a gift, and for that I am grateful.