"I will not leave you as orphans - I will come to you." John 14:18

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trial Run?

So I get a message today from a friend that she needs to speak with me. I call her and she says that she knows of a 1 year old boy that needs a foster home for 16 months. Would I be willing to pray about it? I nearly choked.

Long story short, the boy is from a ministry that is run by a woman that goes to my church, Jonahs Journey. It's a ministry that cares for children of imprisoned women so that they don't have to go into state care.

My head began swimming. So many questions flooded me. Am I what this boy needs? Would we be a good fit? Would I be able to return him when it was time? What if the situation with his mother hadn't changed? What about daycare? What about the plans that I've already made for Spring Break? What about my upcoming knee surgery? Wait! I'm not even wanting to foster! And he's ALOT younger than I am mentally prepared for and willing to take in.

But I prayed. I begged the Lord to show me what He wanted me to see.

For an hour or so, I was on the phone with a whole host of people trying to ask questions, and get my prayer warriors on their knees. I surely didn't want to make a snap decision, but didn't want to draw it out longer than it needed to be drawn out.
I went to a doctor's appointment for a routine check up and sat with a blank stare on my face. My doctor, who I consider a friend, immediately knew that something wasn't right when she walked in the room. We ended up talking more about my current "situation" as it had panned out in the last hour than we did talking about my health. As I left the doctor, I received my answer from the Lord. This sweet boy has serious allergies, and asthma and I have two dogs.

I am so grateful that God gave me a quick and clear cut answer. I am sure it'll never be that easy again, but I am grateful for what He showed me and so grateful for the opportunity to entertain the thought of a little one in my home. This experience gives me some insight on what it might be like when I receive a call from the Department of Children's Services to place a child with me. I now know some of the questions I may need to think through and some of the emotions that I will feel.

And it's all because of these rascals that I don't have a little boy with me now. . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prayers for the Overwhelmed

On the eve of my second PATH training class, I put this post out there to ask for your prayers. I have been quite overwhelmed lately by busyness in my life. It's all stuff that I've chosen to do and that I feel passionate about, but it's taking up a lot of time none-the-less. With that comes a deep feeling of panic. I feel as though I'm starting to dip below the surface of the water and can not get enough breath. Just when I make it to the top to gulp in, the waves push me down again. Is this an indication of things to come? Is this a glimpse of how my life as a mother will be? Heavens, I hope not. I am usually pretty busy doing "stuff" and pretty bad at saying "no". But even in my busiest times, I sit for an evening and feel guilty because that time is not full. For the first time in a long time, I am ready to admit that at this time in my life, I am officially over-committed. I don't feel like it's appropriate for me to go into details of all of the irons I have in the fire right now, but trust me when I say, it's got to be pretty bad for me to even admit that I'm over-committed. So, things have begun to fall by the wayside. I've had to look carefully at the things that I'm doing and decide what is most valuable. The things that are far down on the list and take much of my time have to be put to the side. I've already dropped one of my classes that I was working on for my Plus-30. At this point in my life, finding my child is more important than furthering my education. I am still in another class, but the class I dropped was going to be too much work for this season on my life and I wanted to be able to take more time to fill out my foster parenting paperwork. I knew that if I had the choice to fill out my PATH paperwork or do homework for my class, the PATH paperwork would always rise to the top and I wouldn't be working for excellence in my schoolwork.

So yes, as you see me at church, around town, on Facebook, or through the phone you may find me with bags under my eyes, a blank stare on my face, a quiet voice, an exhausted tone, or at loss for words ~ but I am ok. Please just pray that I will be obedient to what God wants me to do right now in my life and in the path that He's chosen for me. Hugs are great. Pats on the back are welcome. Gift certificates for spas are lovely. (just kidding) Please just keep praying that I can work through the necessities of life. . . that I can do what God is truly asking me to do and say no to the other things.

Thank you for praying friends. . .

Oh yes, and by the way, I went with the blue sharpie pens. . .

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sharpies, Post-it notes, and favorite pens

People will probably think I'm nuts, but I'm one of those individuals that junk mail was created for. I love to read junk mail, and will fill out virtually any survey or form that comes my way. I have even been known to fill in forms for other people just so I can have the pleasure of filling in those little blanks. I ooze over the sight of a sharpie marker. I crave sticky notes. I am tickled pink with the thought of a bubble sheet to fill in an answer sheet. Give it to me. . . multiple choice. . . fill in the blank. . . true/false. . . whatever you have. . . give it to me and I am in heaven! The mere thought of being able to use my fingers to communicate my feelings on a piece of paper makes my heart soar!

So now that you know that I'm officially crazy, tonight's PATH training was such an interesting experience. The meeting started at 6pm and I was there early so that I could be sure I knew where I was going, and didn't walk in late. I was nervous to go because I didn't know what would happen once I got there. The thought of meeting new people doesn't scare me. The thought of sharing my story doesn't scare me. The paperwork doesn't scare me. It's simply the "unknown" that puts me on edge. Will the instructor be boring? Will I feel like I know the most out of anyone, instructor included? Will I feel like I don't know ANYTHING? Thankfully, all of my fears were put to rest. The room was half full when I got there, and by the time the class was 15 minutes into the session, I was grateful that I was early as they had to pull in chairs and other tables. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I wasn't the only single person there. The mix of people was interesting. Single people, married people, retired people, people who have been through training before, and people that were as green as I! The instructor, Marcee, was extremely pleasant, but not sugary, and very professional. . . even through some pretty persistent people.

The meeting tonight was basically an orientation to explain the "resource parent" to everyone and to give information so that people could decide if this path was the one that they should be traveling. I was extremely surprised and super excited to learn that the home study process starts as soon as next week! I was under the impression that the home study would take 3-6 months to complete and the process wouldn't begin until the conclusion of PATH training. The truth is that I can start filling out my paperwork next week, and by week three I will be contacted to start my home study meetings. For those of you who aren't fabulous at math, like me, that translates into me possibly having a child placed with me as early as June! Apparently, DCS and the home study case workers only have 90 days to write (finish) my home study from the conclusion of PATH training. WOW! Can you believe that??

Of course, there was information that was presented that was initially disheartening to me. Marcee told us that the goal of the "resource" parent is to give the child a stable home while they are waiting to be returned to their birth parents. She said that last year 67% of kids in foster care were reunified with their birth parents after their stay in foster care. Only 14% of the children were adopted. My heart sank at that number. But, just as quickly as it sank, my heart rebounded when I was reminded (by the Holy Spirit, no doubt) that my God doesn't pay attention to numbers. My God is MUCH bigger than 14%. My God is even bigger than 1%. I believe with my whole heart that God is leading me down this path of fostering to adopt and I do not believe that My God would lead me down a dead end. God will make it happen. How will it happen? I have no idea. Will it be easy? I'm betting not. How will the details work out? This may sound flippant to you, but that's not my problem. I don't have ANY idea how GOD is going to work it all out. All I know is that He's asked me to be obedient and I'm doing my absolute best to follow His leading.

So Marcee kept mentioning this "binder" of paperwork that we will be receiving next week with all of our information in it that we have to fill out. My heart started racing. My eyes darted around the room. Why can't I have it tonight? Why do I have to wait a WHOLE week to get my hot little hands on it?? I even packed my favorite pen in my purse tonight so I could get started!!!

But, I must be patient. I filled out the three forms that I was given with gusto. She commented to the group that it was ok if we had to take it home, fill it out,and return it next week. Are you nutso!!?? No way!!! I'll sit right here with my favorite pen and fill out this paperwork. I even started texting friends for their addresses and permission so I could list them as references! The faster I turn this paperwork in, the faster I find my child, right? Well. Take it now. Process it in the morning. Get busy helping me find my child!!

So, my plan this weekend is to make a trip to Office Depot. I've had my eye on those new sharpie pens. You know, the ones that don't bleed through the paper? They're a bit more costly than the other pens I have, but I can think of no better reason to spend an extra dollar or two on a pen than to be able to fill out ALL of my paperwork to bring my child home. Now the only question I have left. . . blue or black?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mommy from Downstairs

There are few things a teacher likes better than a snow day. There is something crazy exciting about your superintendent saying "It's okay teachers, take the day off. Oh, and yes, we'll pay you!" As much as I adore teaching, snow days are fun stuff! But, for the first time in my life as a teacher, I was torn. Oh to have a day to sleep in! But, will my PATH training class be cancelled? If it will, I can brave school! I can make it!! But, no, the snow fell. The temperatures stayed frigid. The schools closed. And my first PATH class (Parents As Tender Healers; foster parenting) was cancelled. **sigh** I guess you take the bad with the good. I'll call early next week, but I am thinking they'll just push the classes back a week and we'll start next Thursday instead.

I had a delightful visit with a friend last weekend. I met Stacey on Facebook (of all places!!) through a couple of mutual friends. She lives on the other side of the state and has a wealth of knowledge that she has shared with me regarding fostering and adoption though the foster care system. She adopted her two precious boys, "B" and "R" several years ago. She sent me a message a few weeks ago that said that she was planning on coming to the Nashville area for a visit. I immediately offered that she and the boys could stay with me. So, she took me up on it and I was so blessed! Her boys are such sweet babies. . . They heaped me with hugs, and loved on me like I was family. They stayed the night on Sunday, and Stacey smiled as she told me that "R" made the comment when he woke up, "Where's the mommy from downstairs?" What a precious comment!!

I was able to stay up chatting until 11p (for those who know me well, (!) 11PM!!) and her encouragement for my journey was an enormous blessing. She is a fantastic mother, and those boys are taken care of in amazing ways.

So, my adoption journey is still on its way although it's been a little slower than I had hoped. I am trusting that God is preparing me for each step and that He is caring for my child in my absence.