Monday, September 24, 2007

Please judge my heart

Being a parent is exhausting. Whether you have one or twenty it's a lot of work. Parents of toddlers should be compensated with hazard pay. I look around my house at the artwork on the walls, and the stains on the furniture and wonder if I'll ever have a "magazine" house. My car has permawhif of McDonalds fries, and you could wipe out hunger with all the food underneath the cushions.

I have never been a matching outfit, button down, hair perfect kind of mother. If you can dress yourself around here, it's encouraged. If it's backwards or inside out, I applaud your effort. Our eight year old used to put on shirts and check for the tag up front, if there was a tag he didn't ask to help turn his shirt around, he asked for scissors to cut the tag out. I'm sure I missed a teaching opportunity there, but you'll be hard pressed to find a sweeter eight year old, so I know my intentions were blessed.

There are days when I get discouraged, frustrated and dead tired. I rarely want to get up and get back in the game. But I know I've been richly blessed. When this season seems too much I thank God that He entrusted me with so much, and I pray for the mothers who go to sleep each night praying for children they do not have.

I'm hoping that when their pants are on backwards they've learned that I love them. I hope that underneath the jelly faces they are truly happy. I hope that they know they can do more because they can eat cereal off of a plate. When I hear them say "I lub you mom," I know my intentions are blessed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It's the national anthem in the land of two year olds. They sing it loud and proud. Mine, mine, mine. I'd like to say that I've left the home country and declared my cititzenship as an adult. The truth is I like to sing the familiar song of home, mine, mine, mine.

I sing it in my heart every time an issue comes up with the babies. I've had them since their lifespan was calculated in weeks, not years. They have spent their entire life in my home; they are not mine.

It would be nice if I could take comfort in the fact that I do have children that are mine; I can't. I have no more control over the actual life and death matters of the children that I bore. The fact of the matter is that I cannot truly claim another as mine. Not my parents, not my husband, not my kids, and certainly not my foster children.

I know that there will be a day when there are no children in my home. It is the way it was designed. Whether they were born of my body or born of my heart, they will leave. It is statistically most likely that either my husband or myself will spend some time on this earth after the other has left it. All we know for sure that we have is today.

I can take comfort in the fact that they are with me. Today, when we woke, we had six happy (that term is relative), healthy children in our home. Many children have come and gone through our house over the years. Each one spent a season of their life here, each one has taught me something. I hope that they say that their time here was positive. I hope that there is more good, than bad. I hope that they know that I am only human, and that I tried. I hope they know that there was a time in their life, that this mom sang the song of her childhood for them. You are mine, mine, mine.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I know that my redeemer lives

This past week I've been singing a song, the problem is I only knew one line. My version of the song is "I know that my redeemer lives, and I don't know the other words." Joyful noise, right?
So, I was very happy when the second song this morning was that song. I've been battling this cold for the last couple of days and was not terribly excited about leaving the house, wrangling the babies across the parking lot, yada yada yada. So even though my heart was not into it, I went to church, and that song was God's way of saying "I see you."

This is not a unique experience for me, I don't think I've ever said "If you're there you'll...." but on many occassions I've had a mental checklist of things I've wanted, an overly detailed checklist and to the finest detail it has happened. I am ashamed to say that I didn't trust God on the front end. It was MY list and didn't give it over to God, but the completed list was God's way of saying "I see you."

When it became obvious that my first marriage was ending, I made a checklist of things to look for so I wouldn't end up there again. The final detail being "Chris in the morning," my dreamy dream man/morning DJ from Northern Exposure. And although my first outing with my current husband could not be classified as a 'date', his parting words to me were, "I'll be at the radio station tomorrow if you want to call me."

I'd given up on having my boy/girl twins that I'd always wanted. Statistically rare in life, let alone in foster care in south Texas at the time we were foster parents. Well, in February 2005, I got the call. Did I want a 6 year old boy and a 1 year old boy? We already had four boys in the house, only one full time girl, and one part time girl. I told the caseworker, I can't take anymore boys, but if you ever have a girl... As it turns out they had a five week old girl, but she had a twin brother, and we'd have to take him too.

So, just know that even when your heart isn't in it, and you aren't expecting God to fulfill your wish list he has many ways to tell you, "I see you."

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No, would you mind taking them?

It's what I feel like saying when people ask "are those your kids?" Of course I've stolen some children and decided to take them to the mall for shoes, huh? I know we've been taught not to assume things, but let's make the following exceptions...

1. A woman is pushing a kid around in a cart. Regardless of the possible racial or age difference between the two, let's assume the woman is in some way responsible for that child. I get annoyed at the question, but I can't imagine how my kids will feel when they get a little older. I would think that they would question the fact that everyone seems to question whether or not they belong to me.

2. There is a couple having dinner with eight to ten children. This could go either way. It could be a birthday party, or an extended family, or a foster family. If it is the first two, you'll look silly, if it is the latter you could do some serious damage. We at one point had eight kids, the older foster kids had some serious attachment issues from being in a dozen different homes. Do you really think they need to be reminded that they don't belong anywhere? I think not.

3. There is a couple with a couple of children, they personify the red and yellow, black and white. Let's assume they are a family. Even if they turn out not to be, it's better to be safe than sorry.

I've spoken to people about this, not anyone who has said anything, but friends, trying to figure out if I was just being crabby or what. It's been suggested to me that non-traditional families are noticeable, and that people are tyring to be nice by noticing. Here are some things you could say instead.

"Oh, what beautiful children." Works every time.

"you have a lovely family." Yes, I do thank you.

So, unless there is an active Amber Alert in place, don't ask if their mine. They are. Regardless of my age, or race, or the fact that I have three kids born the same year, we are family. And now that they are two I might be tempted to turn them over to you for awhile.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

How would you like it?

If you were at work one day and official type people came in and spoke to your boss. It seems that someone had heard that your husband was a no good such and such who wasn't very nice to you. That someone had reported your husband to the proper authorities, and they had investigated. These people had come to the conclusion that your husband was indeed in need of some husband classes and when offered them he refused, so they came to rescue you at work.

Now, you can't go home to get anything, but they were nice enough to pack a bag for you while they were there speaking with your husband. And I'm sorry, but you won't be returning to work until this matter is "resolved". They have found a new family for you, unfortunately this family didn't have room for you and the kids, so they were going to have to split you up. You can not call anyone you know, you can not see anyone you know, the clothes that they picked up for you were actually clothes that no longer fit.

How's your day going?

After driving around for hours and hours, dropping off members of your family one by one all over town they bring you to your new house. Inside is a family that has been praying for a new mom, and they believe whole heartedly that God has brought you to them.

Aren't you excited?

You'd always wish that your hubby would pick up his socks, or not watch basketball during dinner. Well, your new hubby is perfect for you, on paper. You go to bed thinking that this matter will soon be resolved, but weeks pass and you are still there. You get to see your old family once a month for two hours in a cubicle in someones office, with three specialists looking on. Months turn into a year, someone tells you your old hubby never did take those classes he was supposed to. You think it sucks, but you're kinda liking this new family. You're new job is nicer. Things are working pretty well. When you get home that night, those people are there again.

What are you thinking?

"Good news," they say, "we've found your forever family." What, I have to do this again? Seems like while the family was a 'perfect match' for you, you didn't really live up to their expectations. You were moody, and withdrawn, and didn't really make friends, and just weren't what they were hoping for.

Now, I ask, how many times does this happen before you completely lose it?

We've had kids in our home that had been in ten or more homes. I can't imagine what it feels like to not belong anywhere. 'Get what you can from this family because you're gone in two months.' I will be the first to advise not to keep a kid for the sake of keeping a kid, but if you take a kid do all you can. You are not a babysitter. You are a surrogate parent. If you think a teenager is out of your realm, don't take teens. If a toddler will impose on your lifestyle, don't take toddlers.

Remember that while you have been prayerfully waiting for this child they are about to bring over, he's known about this for moments. He knew his family wasn't the best, but they were his family. His stuff may smell and be infested with bugs, but it's all that he has that is his. He may have been the one to tell someone about what was going on at home, and now all he ever knew is gone. He isn't going to run into your arms, crying thank you mommy for saving me. You have been saying to all of your friends, "I'll be so happy when they bring me a child," this will be the worst day of that child's life. The beatings and neglect have all run together, but he will always remember the day he lost his family. Do all you can keep it from happening again.


There has been a case here locally that involved the death of a child. The accused were foster parents trying to adopt the child. The woman has just been convicted of capital murder. I read of the verdict on our local newspapers website. The judgement from the public is harsh.

I do not know this woman. Most of you do not know her either. Apparently we've all forgotten the lesson of "those of you without sin may cast the first stone." The jury convicted her because she "failed to act". That to me does not say she meant to harm him. She made a poor choice and will pay a great price. But if you have ever made a poor choice and gotten away will a small price, then THANK GOD. If you have ever driven drunk and not killed anyone, THANK GOD. If you have ever hit your kid and didn't have CPS bust down your door, THANK GOD. (Go kiss your babies in bed), and THANK GOD. If you are out sleeping around and haven't caught something or gotten pregnant, THANK GOD.

Each and every person on this planet has made bad, awful choices, time and time again. THANK GOD that the price you pay does not cover the bill. THANK GOD that he cared enough for you to pick up your tab.

Romans 3:22-24 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


So you are waiting for God to answer your prayer for the child that you know you've been called to raise. You have taken all the classes, (in our case twice), and you are still waiting. In my case by beginning of year number two waiting for a child, I was mad because I could've gotten pregnant, had a child, and been well on my way to feeling like a normal person again. But I still had nothing. And God forbid the ten o'clock news has a story about someone beating their kid to death, it just makes you want to scream.

Becoming a parent involves pain. Whether by body or by heart. Having done both I'd say the physical pain is better. They have some mighty good meds, praise God. But sadly there is no epidural for your heart. I doubt child placing agencies would be in business if they opened up their "Fostering 101" class with "This will break your heart, you will cry, you will scream and there is little we can do for you."

Whatever route you take into parenting children born to others it is heartbreaking. Your child may be in an orphanage half way round the world, and you can't go get him because you forgot to sign page 47? Or worse, you get to hold him, kiss him, love him and then leave him there. That doesn't seem right. Your baby may be inside of a 15 year old girl who is scared to death, maybe she could get an abortion and no one would ever have to know. Throw in a little abuse and neglect and this whole thing will make you sick.

My favorite illustration of God's will is the puzzle. It hardly ever makes sense until it's complete. How can a squiggly piece of green cardboard with a blotch on it ever turn into something beautiful? By joining with all the other nonsensical pieces: bit by bit coming together. You'll get glimpses of the beauty along the way, but not until that 5000th piece is in place will you see it as the creator intended.

I hope that this is encouraging to all of you waiting for your children. Being reminded of "God's timing" makes me want to choke people. I know they are right, but it makes me feel lacking in my own faith. That is not my intention.

1 Corinthians 13: 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then shall we see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Whenever I talk to my babies about Moses I point out the similarities between them and Moses. His mama (what we call their birth mother) loved him very much. Just like Mama loves you very much. It was not safe for Moses to stay with his mama, but Moses' mama loved him so much that she wanted him to grow up and be safe so he went to live with his mommy.

I've recently been reading more about Moses. Not a perfect man. Not a very confident man. God had equipped him for the life God had planned for him. He was the right man for the job he just needed convincing. When Moses asks God "Who am I that I should go?..." I know exactly how he feels.

I feel like a whining Isrealite at this point. I've gotten complacent in my captivity. It's been pretty good being paid to be a parent, why bite the hand that feeds you. God is clearly very big on adoption.

Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

We know that it is right that we adopt these children. We are no longer complacent in our captivity, we are tired of wandering; knowing where we are going, but not knowing when we'll get there. We can look over and see the promised land, wondering if we'll be allowed to enter. Wondering if we have it in us to overcome the obstacles that lie ahead.

We know the battle is the Lords. He needed to grow us into the warriors that would fight the battle. We need to demand that Pharoah let our people go. I pray that God doesn't harden the heart of the judge twelve times, but if he should, it will be to the glory of God, right? We have grown, we have shepherded, we have hemmed and hawed. The fact that we are not perfect, or confident is also to His glory. If he can use a couple of screwed up people like us, how could he use you?

Hebrews 13:20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I'm tired of shacking up

With my babies. I want to be their mommy. I want some legal protection from the state deciding after 2 1/2 years that this no longer works for them. Today our pastor challenged us to make an ask of ourselves. So here I am asking, and believing God to deliver

The dream:

To adopt my three babies.

The do:

Find an attorney this week who will file a case for me under Texas Family Law

§ 102.005. STANDING TO REQUEST TERMINATION AND ADOPTION. An original suit requesting only an adoption or for termination of the parent-child relationship joined with a petition for adoption may be filed by:

(3) an adult who has had actual possession and control of the child for not less than two months during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition; or (4) another adult whom the court determines to have had substantial past contact with the child sufficient to warrant standing to do so.

To challenge the appointment of permanent managing conservatorship was illegal under Texas Family Code 263.404 stating that pmc may only be granted if the child has been deemed unadoptable, or that the child is of age and has expressed a strong desire against adoption.

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen
Ephesians 3:20-21

The dream:

To have this done by Thanksgiving.

The do:
Be an ask until...
Proverbs 6:4 Don’t put it off; do it now!Don’t rest until you do.

Thank you all for your prayers for our family.