Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Hannah's Story

Image
I write this post with the hope that it personalizes the children in the foster care system. In Oklahoma, there are over 9,000 children in state custody right now. They are more than a name, a number and a file. They each have a story that deserves to be heard. This is Hannah's.

In October 2011, as we were finishing up our foster parent certification, I read a news story about a baby girl named Hannah, who was missing. I saw her picture and read that Hannah's mom was mentally ill and needed to check herself into the hospital, so she left Hannah with a woman she had just met. Once she was admitted to the hospital and asked where her daughter was, she couldn't remember. 10 month old Hannah was officially a missing child. I stopped what I was doing and prayed right then for this baby girl and her mother, who seemed like she was doing the only thing she knew to do at that point in her life.
By God's grace, the woman that Hannah was left with, was a good woman and took good…

Trusting GOD

Image
So, we have been INCREDIBLY blessed these past couple of weeks. Baby sis came to join us and OH MY GOODNESS, she is a tiny miracle disguised as a baby. Our adoption of Hannah was finalized!! God is good! People have been blessing us with money for Christmas, toys for the kids and stacks of diapers! We are humbled by the generosity of our friends and family. Please know that we are constantly thanking God for you.

In the midst of all the blessings, Satan is coming on strong trying to discourage us. A couple weeks ago I felt like God wanted me to fast and focus on the fruit of self-control. I was successful for part of the fast. lol I did find some great scriptures and teaching on self-control though. Now it is easy to see why He laid that on my heart because I have really needed to use some self-control the past few days when it comes to DHS and other people involved in our sibling case. Just like the fast, I have been only partially successful in my self-control and have yelled at and…

1 church, 1 family, 1 purpose

Psalm 68:5-6 says, "God sets the lonely in families," not "God sets the lonely in shelters." I've seen this video multiple times, but can't help but break down every time I hear the part about the 2 year old crying for his bubba. I put my children in their shoes and it just feeds the fire in my soul to help these children and these families. Please watch and share. For more information, visit 111project.org



111 Project from Shawn McEntyre on Vimeo.

Psalm 20

I've been starting my day this month with a Psalm and a Proverb. I just love it and I look forward to it every day. I really enjoyed Psalm 20 this morning and thought I'd post it. :)

Psalm 20 "May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!" 

It's been 1 year??

Image
Oh my goodness, in so many ways it feels soooo much longer and in other ways, it's hard to believe it's been a year already. A year ago today, we sat in the DHS parking lot waiting for Hannah's visit with Mama D to be over. We sat with hearts pounding in our chest as we saw Mama D come out and get in a friend's car. We walked into the building, went up the elevator and as we went around the corner and walked into a bright yellow room, we were greeted by the biggest smiles you could ever receive from a baby you'd never met before. I truly believe that God had showed her our faces, because the caseworker even noted in her observations how comfortable she was with us instantly. She laughed and smiled as soon as we sat down to play with her.

Dear Hannah Grace,
Sweet girl, we love you so much. You have grown so much this year, as have we! I had no idea how long we would get to keep you, love you and protect you, but God did. Your adoption should be finalized next month…

Snapshots

Image

So...

Image
Has it been 90 days yet?? Since court 10 days ago, I've been trying to remember how to "enjoy the journey" in regards to our sibling set and our preggo birth mama. I need to be enjoying my sleep filled nights and the somewhat normalcy of our day before baby sibling graces us with her adorable presence, if and when that actually happens. You just never know. I am banking on my history with God though and all of my "I would never statements..." For example, I've said the following in the past: "I would never become a foster parent. I would never take a child older than 1. I would never invite the birth parents over to our house." And most recently, "I would never take a newborn now." I think God hears me say these things and He's like, "Oh ye of little faith, EVERTHING is possible with God. I'll show you." :) Because then I can give all the glory to HIM, because I never desired it in the first place. He put those desires …

John 13:35

Image
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:35
In this journey as foster parents, this verse is our inspiration and our constant reminder of why we do what we do. Thank you to everyone for such wonderful compliments on our love towards these parents. I give all the glory and honor to the One who called us to this, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, our selfish, sin nature would undoubtedly take over every day. 
What a blessing this is to get to minister and love these hurting people. What an honor it is for Seth to be asked to speak in front of hundreds on the importance of birth parent relationships. I still cannot believe this is our life. There are hard parts, no doubt, but please know that they do not compare at all to the joy and the blessings that have been bestowed on us during this journey. We thank God every single day for every part because we are certain that He will work it all out for His good and His glory.…

God's timing is definitely not my timing.

Mom gets 90 more days to prove herself. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I feel like she's had ample time to show her concern and love for these children. I love her and care for her a whole lot, but she cannot safely and effectively parent these children. She needs a parent, for goodness sake. DHS wants this new baby to be born before they make any rulings so that it will apply to her as well. I understand that, but I am so ready for this to be over. God is gently reminding me though that His ways are not my ways and I am grateful and accepting of that. My heart is sad for mom. She had a rough day, parts of which I'm not comfortable blogging about, so I will leave it at that. Please pray for her and this unborn baby's safety.

Butterflies

Image
It's about that time. Court is next week for our sibling set and my belly is doing flips. As a reminder, this court date could decide whether rights will be terminated or if she will get more time to work her plan. In addition to that, it will also likely decide whether or not unborn sibling enters dhs custody when she's born. I have no idea what to expect since we have had 5 different caseworkers in 9 months. I'm not sure what I even want to happen, there are so many options. I can't believe it's already here. I told their birth mom I would go to support her, and I will go, but I really don't want to. I like to send my husband as the rep for our family. I hate court. I feel like I'm going to puke the whole time I'm there. Please pray for peace and understanding for everyone involved. Thank you.


House pictures, finally.

Image
I have 5 out of 6 kids napping right now, so I thought I would take some quick pics since my kitchen is clean. I am going to show before and after so that you can see how incredibly hard my hubby has worked on this house. The house was completely gutted, as in there were no walls, ceilings, floors, etc. Due to some serious structural issues, it all had to be torn down and replaced. If you haven't seen the upstairs pics, here is the link to those. We still have a few things to do and finish, but we are so happy to be here and seeing Seth more!! It was a long 5 months without him!

The yellow that we painted most of the house is a soft, buttercream yellow. The camera and the light in the pictures don't do it justice, just an fyi. :)















Now the rest of the pics still need a little work and I have a napping child in one of the pictures, but if I don't post them now, it will likely never happen.

Issues

We were notified yesterday that our 4th caseworker had quit in 10 months for our sibling group and we were being assigned another brand new caseworker, fresh out of training. We are having some issues with that and are actually having to contact supervisors of supervisors for the first time, knowingly angering someone. So many people use the excuse of not becoming foster parents because of DHS and the flaws in the system, which is a valid excuse for most. I just have to keep reminding myself that we didn't get into this to help DHS, we're in it for the kids. We do it so they can have a stable, safe and loving home while the court figures out where they will live permanently. We are their advocate. They are not just a name and a file to us. I was always told to make sure not to tick off anyone at DHS. Well, unfortunately, the time has come to tick someone off. Please pray that our concerns are addressed and remedied quickly.

Praying and Waiting

Image
I almost titled this the other way around, "Waiting and Praying," but that has a totally different meaning! We are on the verge of some decisions, ones to be made by us and others to be made by a judge. I am seeking God and His will and trying to push my own desires and fears down, along with the expectations of others. I am waiting to make any big decisions until I have a peace in my heart that can only come from God and His Holy Spirit.

We have court in less than 4 weeks for our sibling set and I am expecting it to be a BIG day. It will not only affect us, our sibling set and the bio mom, but the unborn child she is carrying right now and the father of that baby. Unfortunately, DHS has not kept her as informed as they should and I think what is going to happen will be very hard for her to understand and process. I don't feel as though it is my place to let her know things that I assume are going to happen, but don't know for certain. We have been surprised many ti…

Sad, sad day.

This morning I got a phone call that left me sobbing the rest of the day. Mama D, Baby H's birth mom, ended her life yesterday. She was supposed to come visit us at our new house next week. I just can't believe that she's gone. She served in the Navy for 8 years, left due to PTSD. She has since struggled with depression and other mental illness. The meds that she was on, left her unable to sleep more than 1 hour a night. She loved her daughter so much and she loved my other children too. The last time we saw her, two weeks ago, she brought a huge bag full of toys she had once again bought at a thrift store for all 6 kids. Oh, Mama D, we will miss you and we will share what a wonderful woman you were with your daughter, our daughter. I believe that you are finally at peace and resting with Jesus.



"There will be a day with no more tears No more pain, and no more fears There will be a day when the burdens of this place Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face.&q…

Moving day...

Image
looks awfully similar to every day. Pray for us!! :) 
.

Brighton's BIG News!

Image
On July 26 my oldest son, Brighton, gave his life to Christ!! Sitting at the breakfast table the next morning, he told me that when he was lying in bed the night before, he had "given God his heart." :) We talked about it to make sure he understood what it meant and Seth and I were so excited to find out that he made such a big and wonderful decision at such a young age. We celebrated with Pink Swirls for the whole fam and we can't wait to find out when the next baptism bash is so that Daddy can baptize his firstborn! God is so good!



Lifechurch.tv's videos starring Dot and Bouncy did such a great job explaining the whole salvation and baptism thing to Brighton. He had watched the ABC's of salvation a week or so before making this decision.



My Tips for New Foster Parents

Image
As a seasoned foster parent of 9 months, I thought I'd share some tips for the newbies. :) You'd be amazed how much you can learn with 3 foster children, 2 birth mothers, and 6 caseworkers in 9 months.

1. If you don't have peace about a placement when it's offered, wait for peace from God. He will give it to you. Don't just jump at the chance to take any and every child, even though your heart may desire it. Pray about it with your spouse and seek God's will before giving an answer.

2. Document EVERYTHING. I cannot stress this enough. Initially I would email the caseworker and copy myself about every little thing, probably contributing to the demise of a couple of our caseworkers. lol You must remember that even though these kids and the outcome of their case is vitally important to you, many of these caseworkers are dealing with extreme situations regarding other children and most likely won't get back to you about a scraped knee or a dirty look from a bi…

Trusting Him every day.

Image
"God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

2 Minutes

Our 2 minutes in front of the judge went something like this:

Judge: Ms. D, I have in front of me a piece of paper that states that you are relinquishing your parental rights to H. Is that correct?
Mama D: Yes, sir.

Judge: Ms. D, do you understand that by giving up your parental rights you have no say in medical decisions, where she goes to school or anything else in the future? Mama D: Yes, sir.
Judge: Ms. D, Did anyone threaten, coerce or bribe you to sign this document? Mama D: No, sir.
Judge: Ms. D, do you believe that this decision is in the best interest of H? Mama D: Yes, sir.

Judge: By order of the court on July 26, 2012, parental rights of H. D. are terminated. We are off record now. Ms. D, I can tell that this decision did not come easy to you. I wish you the best of luck in life.

No doubt, the hardest moment of Mama D's life and one I will NEVER forget.

Rights relinquished.

Image
We had court today for our 19 month old foster daughter, Baby H. It was a long morning. There was a misunderstanding about the time, so we had to wait until all the cases were heard and luckily the judge said he would go ahead and hear ours. The waiting area was filled with beautiful children. The morning consisted of finalized adoptions, joyous reunifications with birth parents and birth parents weeping at the outcome of their hearing.  A few months ago Baby H's father's rights were terminated and today her mother relinquished her rights. I am not quite sure how to process this event and my emotions. To look into a mother's tear-filled eyes after she signed papers to terminate her parental rights is absolutely heartbreaking. I have so much respect for this woman who by no fault of her own cannot parent her daughter. How do you explain to her God's plan in all of this?  It was stated in our paperwork that I am the only friend she has. How is that possible? Thank you J…

Don't Quit

Image
Seth and I have a lot of friends right now that are going through the process to become foster parents. It is such a blessing to have friends that would even consider going through this unknown journey to help a child without a family. It is a huge step of faith to take and currently, some of them are entering the doubting phase of the certification process. Is this the right time? Can we risk everything? Could we give them back if we had to? I wanted to write this blog to reassure them and anyone else in a similar situation that these feelings are completely normal. God is stretching your faith and you're going to have growing pains. Seth and I quit the fostering process twice. That's right, two different times. Praise God in heaven that He wouldn't let us give up though and we finished with a stronger faith and clearer calling than when we had begun.

Dear friends, I know what you are going through right now. We were right there this time 1 year ago, so consider this me s…

I can't imagine how Jesus must feel

As a parent to 6 children, 3 foster and 3 biological, I am trying to figure out how I can get more kids into my home. People think I'm crazy. I want more children because they deserve a stable and loving environment instead of an abusive, neglectful one or one in a shelter where their "mama" is a paid worker. How can our family be only 1 of 1000 in Oklahoma? We have 9300 children in foster care in Oklahoma right now. That number has gone up 1000 since January. Where are the rest of you when these babies are sleeping on cots in a conference room at the shelter because there are no more beds? I just can't imagine how Jesus must feel watching these innocent children sit there and wonder when their parents are coming to get them or when a family will choose them. So many "Christians" are more consumed with the size of their house, their T.V. or the newest iphone. I don't get it. You know that you can't take this stuff to heaven with you right? I hope so…

Kingdom Work

I never knew the joy of Kingdom work until this year. I am so incredibly thankful that the Lord called us into foster care ministry and that we eventually obeyed after many arguments with Him about it. (He always won, fyi.) :) There truly is no greater joy than serving Jesus by loving these children and their parents. It has made me more compassionate, understanding and most importantly, more like Jesus.

We had one of our birth moms over for breakfast this morning. I went and picked "Mama D" up because she can't afford transportation. She came out wearing a shirt with our church logo on it that we bought her a few months ago. She's worn it the past 4 or 5 times I've seen her. Mama D doesn't have any family here and her friends consist of the staff that works at the building she lives in. It was such a blessing to see the joy in her eyes this morning. She had gone to the thrift store beforehand and had bought a bag full of toys for all 6 kids. May God bless t…

New house update...

Image
Well, we put the offer on our new house in February and after almost 4 months of Seth working full-time and trying to finish renovations, we are nearing the finish line. Once in there, Seth discovered that there were serious structural deficiencies. The whole house pretty much had to be gutted. Walls were knocked down, sheet rock was taken off of most of the house, plumbing and electrical had to be re-run. You name it, it was done, mostly by my extremely intelligent and talented husband. We have been so incredibly blessed by great friends and our new church family in Kingfisher who helped tremendously as well. I have a few pictures that I want to share and I can't wait until the whole house is done so I can show you how hard Seth has worked and how much God has blessed us!

Below is before and after of the kids' rooms upstairs. We recently got new windows as well, so some of the rooms look even better now than when the pics were taken. :)








Talk about extreme makeover! :) So ex…