Friday, December 31, 2010

Its a New Year.....

I've got a few things in mind that I want to "give to God" this year but I'm really struggling with letting go and letting God.  I have a very type "A" personality and it's one of my major character flaws, you could say, that I have to be in control.  This year I want to give "that" first and foremost to God.  He has to be in control.  Less of me more of You.

Another thing I'm kicking around is giving up buying ANY new clothes for myself in 2011.  This will open us up to be able to give more freely to situations that God puts in our lives.  Which is 100 times better than ANY clothing I can buy.  However, if you know know how hard this is going to be.   Another problem with this commitment is that Brett and I would like to get pregnant this year and if that happens I'm not sure what that will mean for my no clothes rule.  I gave away 100% of my maternity clothing after I had Ella b/c I honestly never thought I would want to be pregnant again.  Guess I was wrong haha.  I'm SURE I will be able to borrow my friends old clothing but I always hate asking things like that. This is just another case of the "what if's" and this must go into God's hands.

Speaking of getting pregnant.  This paragraph could be PAGES and PAGES long but I'll keep it short (maybe).  We are currently in cycle 5 of fertility treatments.  I just had lap surgery done to get rid of my stage 3 endo and we are praying that this will be our "fix" and things will happen quickly now but there is no guarantees.  After this month we will start on a new drug I have never used before and also do a trigger shot to make sure things are timed 100% perfect.  After just a few of these tries we will move forward with IUI's and maybe if all else fails back to IVF.  I pray that God has better plans for us than IVF but I also know that HE is in control and HIS timing is perfect.  We are so blessed that we have good insurance, great doctors and a MIGHTY God.  =)

Now onto our foster situation.....
With the Holidays things have been put on hold until the new year.  I'm planning on calling our social worker to set up our first home study on Monday.  I also need to get all the info for the other things that must be completed.  Such as, finger prints, federal and local background checks, CPR classes and pool safety.  We also have to have our home tested for radon fun.  Another thing we have to do is get together a few pay check stubs and all of finanical statements from last year to prove that we are not in this "for the money."  It's hard to believe people do this "for the money" considering you don't get hardly ANY money but I guess with any goverment program people take advantage of it.  Makes me VERY sad.

Well thats all for now.  Praying for two miracles this year.....please continue to keep our growing family in your prayers! =)


Friday, December 24, 2010

"I believe God is saying to us that real success is found in radical sacrifice. That ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of him. That the purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. That meaning is found in community, not individualism. That joy is found in generosity, not materialism. And that Jesus is a reward worth risking everything for." ~David Platt

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beautiful Exchange....

Holy are you God, Holy is your name, with everything I've got - my heart will sing - HOW I LOVE YOU....

Tomorrow, December 9th, 2010 we will finish our Mapp classes.  This will take us one step closer to our final destination of becoming foster parents. It's been a wonderful 10 weeks.  We have met some pretty amazing selfless people in our class.  People full of hope and love for others, people full of joy and happiness but most of all people who love Jesus.

If I told you I wasn't scared of what is to come, I would be lying.  I lay awake some nights thinkings of all the what if's.   Thinking of how I will handle certain situations.  And sometimes I go to bed grieving a life that I know I will be leaving behind for the sake of the kingdom.  However, the bible doesn't say to step out in the faith - but only if you are 100% confident you will not be hurt, that your family will not be hurt, that you will not lose some sort of self in the process.  No, the bible says to take care of the orphans.  In David Platt's book Radical he says this "Why do we assume that if it's risky, unsafe, or costly it can't be God's will....when in reality it just might be?" Taking care of others is not simply a choice we are 'aloud' to make.  It's a command.

Over the last few months I have heard the good, the bad and the ugly from many people.  Some have been burned by the system and some have only wonderful and joy filled stories to share with me.  I have no idea what our story will be - I just pray that God will use us to love on some of his precious children.  I pray that our story will inspire others to open up there hearts and their homes.  And maybe - just maybe - I will lose a little bit of "me" in the process.

What's next?  Well we have a mountain of paper work to get started on.  Then once it's finished we will start the home studies.  Our social worker would like to have us finished with everything by the end of January.  We are asking for your continued prayers and support as we take the biggest steps of faith we have ever taken.  God we trust you....


Friday, October 22, 2010

And so it starts....God you are in control....

Well, MAPP classes have officially started and my heart is broken before the Lord as we learn more and more about the system....but being broken before the Lord is a good place to be.

The classes are on Thursday nights from 6-9pm and there are 8 couples in the class.  The class is divided almost equal with parents looking to adopt from the system and parents looking to foster.  We adore everyone in our class.  To say they are "good people" just might be the under statement of year ;).  Everyone comes to the class for different reasons but everyone who comes there is there for one central goal in mind - making an impact on a child in the name of Jesus.  It's beautiful, wonderful and heartbreaking all at once.  It's a twist of emotion that lays heavy on my heart - for one mans biggest gain is another's biggest loss.  There are no winners in the children's sad stories but there is a big God who is in the business of making things right and healing old wounds.   He is meeting the children's needs at Florida Baptist Children's Home and he's using us.  That's a huge honor....

Getting into what the classes are like I'll do a simple run down and go into detail in the next few weeks.  We started the first class off by doing an ice breaker.  We met one person by a card matching game and had to introduce them.  It was a great way to hear about everyones story, find out why they there (to adopt or foster) and a little bit about their personal life.  After that we were giving a big packet of papers that we use as an outline for the class.  The first class was mostly a lot of legal information and identifying what "needs" are and how we as foster and adopted parents can meet those needs.  And identifying what our own family "strengths" are.  It was very interactive and we had great class discussion.  Then of course there's the was reading about a case and assessing the situation.   It's very important to see each situation for what it is and also seeing it from the child's point of view.

The reality is this, even if a child is being abused they don't usually want to be ripped away from the only home they know...from the only parent they know.  It seems crazy to think that a child would want to stay in a home life where they are being abused or neglected but the reality is...that's all they have EVER known.  So what do you expect?  Taking them out of their home is about the most traumatic thing that can ever happen to a child who most likely blames themselves for their abuse in the first place.  It's hard to wrap your mind around this but as a foster parent, in most cases you are providing a loving home for a short while and at the same time encouraging the parents to make changes so that they can get their children back.  The goal is reunification when at all possible - I truly get that.  No matter how I feel about the parent or the situation at hand the true goal is to love the child and parents through the storm.

I'm going to finish this post up by answering a few questions that people have asked me recently regarding fostering...

1.  Some people say to me "Won't it be too hard to give the child back...I know I couldn't do foster care because I would get too attached to the child?"
A - This has been something that I honestly can say I'm not struggling with at the moment.  Maybe it's because I haven't had a placement yet but I feel like the Lord is preparing my heart in many many ways.  He is working on my heart to provide a loving home for a child and all the while helping me TRULY understand its NOT ABOUT ME.  It's about the child and once it becomes about me and about my feelings I'm not doing it for the right reasons.  That's when we will need to step back and take a look at the situation we are in.  Now with that I'm not saying I won't be attached to the child.  I'm SURE I will be but if I didn't love them like my own child then I wouldn't be doing my job.  I expect it to sting...that's the point.

2.  How long will the child be in your home?
A- This all depends but typically there is a plan in action for either reunification or TPR (termination of parental rights) within a year of the child coming into the care of the state.  So at the year point we would know what direction the case was going - either the child going back to the parents or being adopted.  However, it could be as short as only a few months or weeks that the child would stay with us.  It really is all a case by case situation.

3.  Can you choose what type of child will be placed in your home?
Yes and no.  You can have an idea of what you want - say an age range, a sibling group or a single child  and maybe a gender but you can't exactly hand pick the child for your family.  I believe that God has that under control and I have to give that control up to the one who brought us to this point.

Okay well this is long enough Ill answer a few more question and keep you updated on the MAPP classes in a few days!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homeless....Our story loving the "least of these"

Lord, never stop breaking my heart for what breaks yours.....

I know this is far off the topic of fostering children but I wanted to share from my heart a few things that we have been doing recently and what it has done for us and our children.  We won't have much to update on the foster situation until we start the MAPP classes (which start in 2 weeks - October 14th).  We are anxiously awaiting the start to this wonderful new adventure.  In the mean time we are striving to do what we can to love on God's beloved people - "the least of these".

After we read the book Radical a few months ago we felt a desperate sense of urgency to get out there and be the hands and feet and to share Gods message.   A family friend of ours asked us about going downtown about 2 months ago to bring some food down to feed some people.   What was suppose to be a one day event has turned into a weekly/biweekly ministry that has blessed not only a few homeless people downtown but also our family in ways that could never be expressed in words - it has blessed our hearts.

We have formed a friendship with a few homeless people downtown in the past 2 months - Carolina and Joe to name a few but the one who has stolen our hearts is a precious man named Rodger.  He sits on a bench in Munn Park the whole day until his bench is hit by the hot summer sun.  It is then that he moves under the shade of a special little coffee shop downtown (God Bless those owners they have truly shown compassion on this sweet mans life).  I will never forget the day we first met him.  He was in the shade of the coffee shop with his personal items lined up against the wall as he looked up at us from his work with his glasses on the edge of his nose.   He had been working away drawing with the only pencil he had on the only paper he had - drawing the most beautiful drawing I have ever laid my eyes on.  My heart pounded in my chest as we asked him if he wanted something to eat and drink.  Thinking he might reject our efforts because he is passed by, by so many people that reject him on a daily basis I was surprised by his kind voice as he spoke with a soft sweet "Yes, thank you, please sit."  So thats exactly what we did.  We sat with Rodger as he ate that night, we learned about Rodger, we loved Rodger.  Our girls loved Rodger.  God loved Rodger.

As we learned about him we asked him about his life, his family and his situation.  He has many health concerns that we were able to pray with him about that day and some personal items he needed that we are able to meet on a weekly basis.  He asks for things like socks, jackets, jeans, bug spray and of course food and water. It sometimes seems like what we do for him is far too little but God knows his needs and is meeting him right where he is.

A story comes to mind of a recent encounter with our friend Rodger.  My friend Ashley, her husband and their twin 2 year old children were with us this past week downtown.  Rodger wasn't at his normal place but all of his "stuff" was so we knew he was close by.  We went in search for him and we found him.  We told Rodger we had food for him and he said he was just at a near-by restaurant trying to get a meal that night but didn't see the right person and had no luck.   That is, he said, until he saw us.  God is so good isn't he?  He was starving that night as he ate two of the sandwiches we brought.  He was full, we were full, God was full.  It was beautiful.  On this night Rodger had a concern about his finger that seemed to have an infection.  My friend Ashley said, "is it warm to the touch?" and he said, "I don't feel."  And she did - she didn't even flinch she just reached out grabbed his clearly infected finger and did what most people wouldn't do in a million years, felt for the warmth of an infection.  That day I saw Jesus in her actions complete and utter disregard for her own health and I don't think she even realized what a beautiful thing she did.  To some it may seem like nothing, to most it would be too gross even look at but to her she was just loving a man the way Jesus would have loved him and it was beautiful.  I will never forget her kindness that day.  She is a beautiful person, inside and out.

Rodger tells us he doesn't want to be off the streets.  He tells us that it's his life, it's what he knows and what he loves.   That seems hard for any of us to wrap our minds around.  To accept that his simple life is condensed into two big bags and that's the way he likes it?  I'm not sure what the future holds for our sweet Rodger but I do know that God loves him and so do we.  Our children pray for Rodger every night and so do Brett and I.   I say none of this boast of what we are doing but I speak from my heart to open up the blind eyes of those who walk by these people everyday.  Those scared to death of what it might mean to actually form a relationship with a homeless person.  To be Jesus to one person that needs to see Jesus.  My heart pours out with love for God as we love Rodger I am full of faith in my big God when I see Rodgers needs, on the street, being met.  He is a big God isn't he?  We give you all the praise Lord.  You alone are worthy.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

We have a MAPP class start date....sweet!!!

Another call from our sweet social worker to tell us that the MAPP class has an official start date of October 14th.  It's every Thursday night from 6-9pm for 10 weeks and one Saturday in the mix that is 6 hours long.  We should be finished on December 9th.  In it we will be learning a lot of skills to deal with the children and Im sure many legal things as well (I can't wait to share with everyone what we learn).  We are so excited we can't stand it.  Its just one step closer to God's precious children.

On another note, I've made all comments on this blog private until I can read them.  I had a crazy on facebook say some pretty nasty things to me.   And I suspect there are more who don't like what we are doing and will most likely make that known so I'm going to head those attacks of Satan off before they can even get started!

I also wanted to make one thing very clear: This blog is in no way intended to make anyone feel bad about what they are or aren't doing for God's kingdom.  That is between you and God.  But I do hope that this blog will help people get an inside view on what it takes to become a foster parent and/or what it looks like to take a leap of faith in any area of your life.  Maybe you are dealing with a big life changing decision and you know all you have to hold onto is God - I pray that this blog will help you take that leap of faith to fully trust in the savior of the world.  Because in the end it's not works that get you into heaven it's your faith in God and your trust in him and him alone.  I pray that God will move like he never has in Lakeland, Florida and I pray that he starts with me and my family.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


I got an email today from our sweet social worker to tell us that our initial application has been looked over by the supervisor and is officially approved.  I knew it would be but its good to get it in writing.  We should know in the next few days/weeks when MAPPs will officially start.  I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear.   We have a desperate longing for another child in our home - it's pretty indescribable and even if I was able to articulate what I needed to say it wouldn't quit do it justice.  So I will just say thank you Lord for choosing us to foster your precious precious children - we truly are the lucky ones in all of this.

We are asking our family and friends to please keep our future foster children in your prayers.  Prayers for protection, prayers for acceptance, and prayers for their future and safety.  We ask for support during this time in our lives.  We have had nothing but awesome people encouraging us to take this leap of faith...we are truly blessed by all of our beautiful friends.  We pray that not only are we touched by these children but that all of you who will come in contact with these children will see the face of God.

I know I promised a few question and answer's over the next few posts so Ill go ahead and do a few questions here;

1.  Why did you choose to foster children and when?
My husband and I have felt a very strong connection to adoption after we adopted our first beautiful baby girl, Kate.  We knew we would open up our home again but we weren't sure in what way and when.   About a year ago a friend of mine in ATL told me she and her husband were going to be foster parents and it hit me like a mack truck.  For a full year I tried to talk myself out of God's plan for our lives before I started a book called Radical (by David Platt if you haven't read it - READ IT).  In it were really harsh but true words (that I won't go into detail about) that truly changed how I felt about what it really means to be a Christian.  We knew we could no longer deny God's calling on our lives and thanks to my wonderful friend in ATL who has been praying for our hearts the last year we have finally stepped out in faith.

2.  Are you trying to adopt any children from the system?
The goal of Foster Care is reunification with a biological parent and/or family member.  We are doing our best to remember that our goal MUST be to love the child while we have them and live day by day KNOWING that the child will most likely be reunified.  If something comes up where a child in our care becomes available to adopt we would strongly consider it - but it is NOT our intention to adopt out of the system at this point.  We want to help as many families as we can be put back together.

3.  Can you have any more biological children?  If so, will you have anymore?
Yes, my husband and I can have more biological children.  We adore each of our children not because of biology but for who they are and how they were giving to us on this earth.  As far as us having more biological children yes I believe we will have one more biological child.  At what point? Maybe as soon as a year or maybe in 5 years we will leave that timing up to God.

Okay I think that covers the big questions....I'll answer a few more questions in the next post!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


For the last few days (of course we sent the application over a holiday weekend, dumb planning) I have been trying to get a hold of the foster care social worker for FBCH.  They are currently in the process of hiring a new social worker for the Lakeland area. So for now the poor social worker in Orlando is taking care of her area AND Lakeland...I can't imagine how over worked she must be.  Anyways, she was able to find time yesterday to send me an email and she was SO sweet.  She told me that as soon as she gets the application she will review and present it to the supervisor for "approval" once approved we will be in the holding pattern waiting for MAPP's classes to start.  Im feeling so anxious to get the ball rolling and I have about a million questions in my head for this poor lady.  However, I know that  the MAPP's classes will answer ALL of them so Ill just keep letting them pile up and see what happens during training.

I know a lot of you might be thinking we are a little bit crazy for doing this.  And maybe somedays I think we are a little bit crazy too but in the next few posts Ill answer some general questions that people have been asking me.  I figure it will be easier to keep everyone updated on here than re-telling the story over and over again! =)


Monday, September 6, 2010

God's Will

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 we mailed in our initial application to become foster parents. We will be fostering through the Florida Baptist Children's Home. So far we have prayed, sought God's will for our lives, and came to the conclusion that if we truly wanted to be followers of Christ we can no longer deny his calling:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this to look after orphans and widows in their distress -James 1:27.

We don't know where this journey will lead us but we do know that God is there. We now will be waiting for MAPPS classes to start (a 10 week training course) sometime in Oct/Nov and then we will move forward with home studies, background checks, finger prints and whole list of other things. It's a long process and at times I'm sure a scary and demanding one - full of set backs but also full of glorious triumphs.  

Once we have the child in our home, we will not be able to post anything about the child directly but we hope that this blog about becoming foster parents will help answer questions people have about our decision to be foster parents and about becoming foster parents in general.

We ask for prayer as we start this journey. We are praying for protection over our family and for guidance as we bring children into our home who need special love and attention. We hope that our journey will inspire others to open up their homes to a child who is in need as we have been inspired by another family who has opened up their home to a little boy. Their journey of faith and trust in God is nothing short of life changing and we pray our story will change someone else's life path to truly be the "hands and feet" of Christ.


….once our eyes are opened, we can not pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act. –Prov 24:12