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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Knees, Roommates, and WHAT???!!!

It's been a whirlwind of activity here in my world in the last few weeks. I have been having knee problems (again) the last few months and have been consulting with my orthopedic surgeon to try to get them fixed. After steroid injections, physical therapy, and a round of orthovisc injections (the fat from the rooster comb), it was evident that surgery was going to be my only option. My doctor couldn't see anything on the MRI due to the large amount of scar tissue present, so exploratory orthoscopic surgery was scheduled. This surgery was to take place on a Friday so that I could go back to school on Tuesday without any complications, but it wasn't to be. Instead of walking to the car after my surgery (which is what happened last time I had knee surgery), I received a walker and strict instructions to be completely non-weight bearing for 4-6 weeks. Gulp. Did you hear that? Four to six weeks on crutches, a walker, and a wheelchair. Initially she also told me to be off of work 3-4 weeks. Yeah right. Like I have that kind of time. Now, mind you, this is knee surgery number 5 for me. . . 4 on my right knee, one on my left. I am no surgery infant. I know what to expect. I know when I can push it. I have learned, through this surgery, when not to push it. I took off an additional 3 days (thanks to President's Day and a snow day) and returned to school this last Monday in a wheelchair that a friend let me borrow. That wheelchair has saved me. Literally. March 18 is the big day. Not only is it the day after my birthday, but the day I can start to walk on it again! This week has been a slow downward spiral for me culminating in today's break down. I am completely exhausted physically and emotionally.

My best friend, S, and her boys, T and R, moved in this last weekend. While it is not a permanent move for them, it is an adjustment for them as they've had some pretty major changes in their lives in the last 6 months. So, I've gone from living by myself to living with 3 other people, 2 of which are teenagers. I absolutely love having them here, and it has been such an incredible blessing to have them here.

And of course, in the midst of all this craziness, DCS calls. They have decided that they want to move forward with my home study. WHAT?!?! You mean, I'm not a lost cause because I don't feel called to parent a teenager right now? I guess not. So, now the panic starts. My case worker will be here next Thursday to complete the second part to my home study, my first actual home visit. So you can just imagine the mad dash for the bottle of Fantastik! Oh my gosh! Throw me that Magic Eraser! Could you please fill up the bucket with Pine Sol? Quick! Install the carbon monoxide detectors! Lock up the medications!! Oh yeah. . . Did anybody remember that I CAN'T WALK!!!??? I can't even carry a glass of water down the hallway! How in the world am I gonna clean this house spotless!? I know, I know. Everyone I've talked to about home studies say that they're not looking at the cleanliness of your house. But, by a show of hands, how many of you would feel comfortable with a stranger walking into your house to evaluate it with dirty dishes in the sink, stains on the floor, and dog hair all over the place? Go on. Anybody? See. No hands. Yeah, me neither.

So, this week, I hobble around on crutches around the house. Truth be told, when no one's looking, I dance from one wall to another just so I can walk around without those stupid wooden appendages. And no. I don't want any help. Don't you dare offer to come over and help me. I don't want anyone else cleaning up my mess. I won't allow it. I'd be horrified.

Oh yeah, and on top of all of it. . . my right pointer finger is infected. No idea how that happened, but the antibiotics I'm on hopefully will clear it up. Currently, it's the size of a Bob Evans sausage. When it rains, it pours.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

First of many

Today I experienced the first of what I'm sure will be many heartaches on my journey of obedience. I have eagerly anticipated my first meeting with the Sumner County DCS workers for about 10 days now. Today was the first meeting of what was to be my home study. I was told that three meetings would be the make-up of a home study. They asked me to tell them about my motivation for wanting to be a resource parent. After I explained "Crazy Love" to them and a passion that my Savior has placed on my heart, I was greeted with this statement; "I see here that you are interested in a child 4-8 years old. At this time, we are really in need of foster parents for teenagers. How do you feel about that?" I replied with the fact that, although I'm not closed to it, I don't feel like that is what I've been called to right now. I did tell them that I would be willing to open up to a child as old as 11.

In a nutshell I told them:
** I want to foster to adopt (meaning that I am not too keen on fostering children that will never be adoptable)
** I am willing to wait as long as I need to find the child or children that God has for me
** I understand that this is a journey, not just a one time deal
** I fully expect that children that I foster may ultimately return to their parents or families
** I fully expect that I will have a broken heart at sometime in this journey

The interview continued, but not for long. I felt very confident that I shared my heart with them to the fullest, but I neglected to remember one fact: They are not interested in my heart. They want to find good homes for kids that need them. I am more of a business transaction than a human being that has wrestled, prayed, cried, and hurt over the decisions that have brought me to this point. Their job is to find homes for kids. They will do this by any means.

At the end of the meeting, which only lasted 25 minutes, the statement was made, "In the past we started PATH training meetings by telling people that we were only looking for people who are willing to take in teenagers. But we've changed that because people started to not be honest in the process. We are at a point now where we don't even start a home study unless people are willing to take in teens." I hope with all my heart that the disappointment that flogged my heart was not evident on my face. They had mentioned to bring my binder with me and turn in any paperwork that I had ready, but by the end of the meeting, they hadn't even asked for it. I offered it at the end, proud because I have finished well over half of it and have collected what I need to get, and they smiled, and kindly took it. I feel like it was just to be nice.

As I left there, I wanted nothing but to go to my house, crawl into bed in my dark room, and cry. I wanted to let the tears flow for my naivity (is that even the right word??). I wanted to let the tears flow for the boys and girls that need homes that I can't get to. I wanted to let the tears flow for the DCS workers that obviously see this as a job and not as lives that you're touching. Oh yes, they said the right words. . . but when the rubber met the road, I felt like I was a number.

Oh Jesus. . . thank you for the reminder you just gave me. . . literally as I was sitting here. . . "Take heart, I have overcome the world". I don't even remember the reference, but thank you Lord for bringing it to my mind.

So where do I go from here? I don't know really. Just the other day, I had a moment of panic and asked my best friend, "Am I doing the right thing? Am I ready for this?" Maybe this was God's way of preparing me for a different path. Maybe I shouldn't be going through the state. Maybe I need to pursue a private agency for adoption? Oh boy. Dollar signs flash before my eyes. But so does the fact that God still moves mountains. God still performs miracles.

I will trust. I will allow the tears to flow. I will continue to work hard physically to lose this weight. I will fight to find my children.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How are the classes going?

This is a common question I hear several times a week, and let me try to explain. The classes are called PATH training - Parents As Tender Healers - and they are for people considering foster parenting. The classes are each Thursday night and last for about 3 hours. The instructor and the participants are the same from week to week. I have received two massive binders; one of which I carry to class, and the other I leave at home as it is my home study forms and information. The classes consist of discussion through the book as well as short videos to help train. Explaining the requirements and steps to foster parenting is a huge task.

During each session, there is a topic of discussion. For instance, last week we had a panel of four girls that have been or are currently in the foster care system. They answered questions and talked about their experience so that we could gain information to be the best parent to children in the foster care system.

The second topic was on abuse. All types of abuse. Physical, emotional, sexual, neglect. The whole kit and caboodle. We discussed how to best parent a child that comes out of that situation. The statistics broke my heart. Seventy five to 95 % of kids in the foster care system have been sexually abused. Ugh. That makes me sick. But the reality is, if I am to be the mother of a child that spent any time in the foster care system, I have to be aware and know how to help my child through those terrible, gut-wrenching memories.

So, when someone asks me, "How are your classes going?" it's not a matter of just saying fine and moving on. These classes are changing my life. They are changing my view of the world. These classes are placing a burden on my heart for the children in a new and fresh way. They are not happy classes. They are not light-hearted. They certainly do not give you "warm fuzzies". All that to say - if I do not seem gushy about talking about the classes, it's not because I'm not open to talking. But really, how much detail do you want? Do you want me to say the classes are fine? Do you want to know that each Thursday night when I go to bed my heart breaks for children that are in that situation?

I love talking about what I'm learning, but I totally want to be positive about my experience and to be totally honest with you, the things that I am having to learn in my class are not positive things. They are sad, gross, disgusting, violent, and frustrating. Don't quit asking how things are going. Please. I need your support. But please don't think that I'm crazy if it's not all bubbles and rainbows when I answer. Thanks again for your interest in my life and in what God is doing. Thanks for joining my journey.

On a lighter note. . . the weight is coming off! You'll see that I've added a weight loss ticker on the bottom of the page so that you can help me in my quest for skinny motherhood! I know that many people have become interested in my weight loss and I will be preparing a post soon to help you understand what it is that I am doing to lose weight and to prepare myself for the life that God has for me.

Enjoy your weekend!!