Showing posts from 2014

Foster Parent's Rights

This was taken from Oklahoma's Foster Parent Bill of Rights.

For the full statement of rights see 10A O.S. § 1-9-119
A foster parent's rights shall include, but not be limited to, the right to: Be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration; Be notified of and be given appropriate training; Be informed about ways to contact state agencies to assisst in accessing supportive services for children; Receive timely financial reimbursement; Be notified of any costs or expenses for which the foster parent may be eligible for reimbursement; Be provided a clear, written explanation of the service plan concerning the child in the foster parent's home; Receive additional or necessary information that is relevant to the care of the child; Be notified of scheduled review meetings, permanency planning meetings and special staffings; Provide input concerning the plan of services for the child; Communicate with other foster parents to share information regarding the foster child; Com…

Welcome to the Roller Coaster, A Story of Grace

Below is my contribution to the book. Thank you for reading and sharing our book!

Amazon link: click HERE
A s a mother of three young children, I felt overwhelmed at times, but so incredibly blessed. Our life was busy and full, but happy and content. Then I felt God pulling our family towards orphan care. I looked into overseas adoption, domestic adoption—any option besides foster care. I thought, “I could never be a foster parent. There is too much risk, too much hurt involved.”
However, God firmly told me, “It is NOT about you.” So we submitted to His will and began the process of becoming certified as foster parents. I understood that God wanted us to sacrifice our comfortable lifestyle for the sake of a child who had no other options. What I did not realize was how our decision to foster would impact the other side of the arrangement—the biological parents—and how I would be affected by that relationship.
The process that we thought would take 90 days took nine months. My husband …

Turning Point

I have a heavy, heavy burden for those who have heard false messages about salvation and think they are saved, yet they are not. I used to be one of them. I believed the message that all you have to do is pray a prayer, raise a hand and you will be saved. Salvation is so much more than that. The gate is narrow my friends. If you follow Christ, you should not look like the rest of the world. I have been drawn to the subject of true salvation for almost two years now. Parts of it have been very hard for me to swallow, but I do believe and accept what the Bible says regarding it. Please don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s for that matter. It is all in the Bible. Seek Him and He will reveal Himself to you.

Recently, I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan regarding salvation, repentance and receiving the Holy Spirit. My 8 year old listened to it with me and afterwards he asked me what it means to repent. I told him that it means to turn away from sin and go in the opposite directi…

Former Foster Mama...

2 weeks ago we closed our home. I had fought and wrestled with this decision for months while we waited for our adoption to finalize. Initially we decided to stay open, even taking another 2 year old for a month. While we had this placement, our newly adopted children were a little confused with DHS at our house and their foster sister leaving for visits with birth parents. They began to ask when they were going to have more visits and if they were going to be leaving as well. My husband and I were both stretched very thin. We were just in survival mode. After a Saturday morning of cleaning up diarrhea on walls and bedding, we made the decision to close. I cried writing the email and wondering where this 2 year old would end up while praying that we were just a stepping stone to the perfect family for her. The new foster mom contacted me and we talked and I had so much peace. This little girl is getting so much more attention than I ever could have given her. When she left and we offi…

Sibling group of 3... their story.

I share the stories of my children to personalize foster care for those not yet involved. When you hear a child's story and can see their face, it changes them from a depressing statistic that you can just ignore to beautiful, innocent children that you can help. "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Prov. 24:12

Lord, for every person who reads this, speak to them. Make this story real for them, help them to walk a mile in the shoes of a child in foster care. All children are of equal importance to You and they should be to us as well. Reveal to them their next step in being Your hands and feet to orphans. Amen.

We had 3 biological and 1 foster child all under the age of 6 before Ellie came to live with us. It was never our plan for her to join our family, but God's plan always trumps ours. I thought we were maxed out with 4 c…

In Search of a Better Way

One of my absolute favorite parts about being a foster parent is the ease at which teachable "Jesus" moments come unexpectedly. We had a newborn and a toddler join us for the night this past week. As soon as they were dropped off, everyone started doing their part. The big kids welcomed the toddler, fetched baby gear and watched as I fed the baby. Everyone was just giddy to be the hands and feet of Jesus for these 2 little ones.

One new thing that happened with these placements was that my oldest daughter was very concerned about the birth parents, mentioning often how sad they must be that their kids were taken away. How precious for her to realize this aspect of foster parenting when most adults don't. It's easy to forget that most birth parents haven't lived a privileged life like us. A majority were raised in foster care themselves and/or abused and neglected by those that were supposed to protect them. Many have aged out of foster care because they were con…

Best Friends and Forever Sisters

Only God knew that these two girls, born 29 days apart in the same hospital to different mothers, would become forever sisters almost 7 years later. They love bugs, dresses and arts and crafts. Thank you Jesus for my "twins."

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up." Eccles. 4:9-10

Opened Eyes

When Seth and I were seeking God and His calling for our life, we knew that adoption would be involved somehow. I researched international adoption and domestic adoption and was met with closed doors. I knew absolutely nothing about foster care, but was drawn to look into it after reading an article about how when children are removed from their home, they are often given a black trash bag to put their things into. By this small act alone, we are basically telling these children that their possessions aren't valued and neither are they as they are bounced around from placement to placement. It broke my heart. My eyes were open just a little bit. Then I discovered the crisis that we call the foster care system in Oklahoma. As followers of Christ, Seth and I were outraged at what was going on and the fact that NO ONE was talking about it, at least no one that we knew. Once our eyes were opened we could not be silent or sit passively by while innocent children were treated like sta…

A New Beginning

After rights were relinquished, we had 3 visits, 3 weeks apart with the birth parents. Our intentions were to continue these indefinitely, but as of now, we have decided to bring them to a halt. Our decision has been influenced by many things, but ultimately we believe this is what God wants us to do for the mental and emotional health of not only our adopted children, but for the whole family. We loved, prayed for and reached out to the birth parents for almost 3 years, many times when we did not want to, but because we felt prompted by God to do so. We have offered job help, parenting help and spiritual help countless times, with no acceptance on their part over the years. This quote that I read recently really encouraged me to re-assess and pray about their involvement in our family's life. "It’s part of my DNA to love others. Love them and not disappoint them. But I have to realize, real love is honest. Real love cares enough about other people to say no when saying yes w…

Find your life.

Today is the last day of Foster Care Awareness month. As I read Matthew in my Bible today and watched two of my adopted children play together in the front yard, God placed it on my heart to remind others of how we got to where we are today. God didn't bless us with a 7 bedroom house, 12 passenger van, financial resources and Seth being home part-time BEFORE we became foster parents. No, He blessed us in response to continued obedience, fulfilling this promise found in James 1:25! "But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." We lived in an 1100 sqft house with 6 children for a year while Seth worked full-time in another city and then after work he would gut/remodel our new house until 11pm. If you are waiting until you have a bigger house, more money or more time to serve God, you are missing out on experiencing His miraculous provisions in respon…

New Placements - Questions Foster Parents Should Ask

This is such a great list, one that I didn't have when I first became a foster parent, so I wanted to share it with my readers. Thanks to the Foster Care and Adoptive Association of Oklahoma for providing it. A lot of workers, will most likely NOT know the answers to all of these questions, but hopefully they can get you contact info for someone who does. 
Why is this child being placed?
What is the previous placement experience(s) of the child?

What is the child's legal status?
What is the family situation?
What is the plan for the child? Expected length of placement? (most probably will not know the answer to these questions upon initial placement)
What will my role as foster parent be in the reunification plan? (Should always be to support reunification in every way possible if adoptive placement, ask about mediated agreement visitation/contact with birth family)
What is the child's understanding of why he has been mov…

Love like I've loved you.

I've been waiting for this journey with 3 of my foster children to come to a close now for almost 3 years. I'm not sure what I expected if and when it did happen, I guess no more visits, no more stress, knowing they are mine would ease any heartache and worry I had about the situation. I knew and prayed that if the birth parents relinquished, it would be an open adoption, but with an open adoption, especially the kind that I feel God is calling us to, there's not a lot closure for me. It's just more growing pains as I continue to learn to love like Christ and "share" these children that I've been praying to not have to share all this time.

We had our first visit since relinquishment recently and it went very well. We met at a park and we all hung out together as one big family. All 7 of my children hugged and interacted with the birth parents, which surprised them I think. They brought us diapers that they had leftover and mom thanked me many times, some…

The Process - Foster Parent Certification in Oklahoma

Foster parents are referred to as "bridge parents" by OKDHS. From OKDHS publications, Bridge Resource Parents are: "Oklahoma parents who foster a child, have adopted a foster child or both. Bridge Resource Parents keep a child/children connected to their kin, culture, and community and mentor the child's family whenever possible." It's important to know what is expected of you when you begin this process. The process is intensive for good reasons. There is a high rate of abuse for children placed in foster care. Some foster parents should NOT be foster parents. It's a good thing that these safeguards are in place.

If you are a complete newbie to foster care, you need to know that no matter what agency you choose, you will still have to deal with/partner with DHS. They are legally responsible for the children and your agency is responsible for certifying foster parents. You will have a caseworker from your agency and each child/case has a caseworker fro…

Wonderful Things

"O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them." Isaiah 25:1

The Lord gave me this verse today to meditate on, and as I watched these 2 forever sisters brought together by God, I praised Him for the wonderful things He has done, that He planned long ago! Thank you Father!


Through the eyes of a foster child... You MUST watch this 12 minute film. Please.

ReMoved from HESCHLE on Vimeo.

"I am small and young, yet I have sustained the greatest loss ever known to humankind for I have lost my birth mother. Good or bad, right or wrong, she was all I had and now she is gone. Before I was ever placed in your arms, my heart was broken into a thousand pieces because the only voice, the only touch, the only heartbeat I have ever known has gone away. I will spend the rest of my life reconciling this loss and I will need your help. My pain has nothing to do with you because you did not cause it. When I work to ease the hurt, do not feel rejected because this is merely my effort to feel whole again. You cannot heal me. That is my job. Just know that healing is required from the very start of my life. Accept me, love me, adore me, see me, and let me be the person I was born to be." -Amy Ford

Approaching the end.

Nothing is official yet, but we are very close to closure for our children. Be in prayer this week for everyone involved as things are explained and decisions continue to be made. God is GOOD! 
"Lord, you are my God;  I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1