A few people have been asking some specifics about what we plan to do with fostering and adoption. And, I’ve realized, I have no idea! I really don’t know the difference between being just a foster family and one that fosters to adopt (other than the obvious). Do we have the same kids? Do we only have kids that are able to be adopted? Why do some families choose to be certified in counties outside of the one in which they live? Will I be taking our foster child to visits with his/her birth parents? How long does the foster child live with us? Our first visit with our case worker is on Monday. NERVOUS. I have no idea what to expect.
We plan to have our training finished by March 25th. If the Lord allows this to happen, we would have completed our 36 hours of training in less than a month. We were told that the entire licensing timeline would be no more than 6 months, from the date of our application. By completing the training that quickly, it seems it would be substantially shorter. My family will have grown by at least 1 by THIS SUMMER. Actually meeting the foster child for the first time felt really far away. But, when I write this all out, it’s not.
We do not have a car big enough for all of us, plus another child. We do not have another car seat. Our extra bedroom is currently our “garage sale” room; thus, there is no place for a bed, dresser, etc. We do not have another crib. We’re not prepared enough. We’re not ready. ETC ETC ETC
What in the world is the Lord doing?
I want to move. Out of Ohio.
I really want to adopt internationally.
I can’t imagine working full-time with my kids PLUS more.
We have FOUR MONTHS LEFT of Grant’s certification. Translation: We have FOUR MONTHS to find a job that covers both our salaries.
It would certainly seem that going through the licensing process in our county makes zero sense. But, I know that’s what the Lord wants. Trusting He’ll tie all these seemingly disconnected, straggling lines up.
*Grant wanted me to add…He’s really excited about the Monday meeting but no so much about the extensive cleaning that must take place on Sunday.
Gratitude #22. It was 68 degrees today.
We just got home from our first foster/adoption certification training. We happened to start with “Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused.” This is #9 of 12, so I’m sure it’s a little less of a shock for those who have gone in order and taken 8 other courses previously. When we arrived, the instructor said several times, “I’m really sorry that this is your first class. This is the worst class to take first.” I already felt like I was going to throw up. This just amplified it. I knew going in that this could really scare and discourage us from fostering. I was wrong! It TOTALLY confirmed that this is what the Lord wants us to be doing. Thankful, so thankful for when the Lord says, “yes,” when it feels like you have no idea if what you’re doing is what He wants.
One of the first things the instructor said was that between 50 and 75% of children in the foster care system have been sexually abused. BUT, this is the most underreported abuse, so that percentage is most likely much higher. She told us, “Go ahead and assume that every child that comes to you has been sexually abused.” Sobering. I waffled between crying out to Jesus to come back soon and end this suffering to screaming mother f-er. (All in my head, of course.)
Grant and I agreed that this was actually a good class for us to have first. As I mentioned earlier, it did settle our hearts and minds that we are on the right track. Are we more scared now, though? Yes, for sure. The worst was when the instructor discussed the risk of sexual abuse between the foster children and our girls. I know I need more time to process all we heard tonight. Tomorrow, I may wake up and think there’s no freaking way we can go through with this. But, for right now, I have peace.
Gratitude #22: I’m thankful for coffee. (Did I already say that one?) This deserves two days of gratitude.
This has been the best day I’ve had in 6 days! 🙂 I had the most delicious cup of coffee ever this morning. For dinner, my sis and I had tacos al pastor!!! Perfect way to break the fast. Grant left early this morning for Michigan State to see Ron Paul and is still not home. I’m pretty sure that today was the first time that I’ve had both girls by myself all day long. It went pretty smoothly, but several things “went my way” to make it so. My work meeting and Bible study were cancelled, and both girls took a nap at the same time. My precious baby took her first two steps this morning. She just started standing on her own two days ago, so I’m not sure what she thinks she’s doing by walking already. I was really hoping this could wait until at least 18 months.
Our first foster/adoption training course is tomorrow night. We’re required to complete 36 hours of training for our certification. Tomorrow night’s course is about children who have been sexually abused. Tomorrow’s night post will probably be titled: I quit.
As I was nursing Evie tonight, I thought of two things. First, I am so incredibly grateful that the Lord has allowed me to nurse this long. The first few months with Evie were really tough, and I don’t want to ever take for granted this gift. In the beginning, it would take me over an hour just to get her latched. Thank you, Jesus!!!! Second, I can’t believe how ok I am with adopting next, rather than trying to get pregant again. I know the Lord has completely overhauled my heart, as I really did want to try for more biological children. Maybe He’ll bless us with another in the future, but for now, I can’t imagine doing anything else than pursuing adoption.
Gratitude #21: I’m thankful for COFFEE. My five days caffeine-free showed me how dependent I am on coffee. And, I’m fine with that.
We made it for five days. Daniel Fast ends tomorrow! What I was expecting: glorious communion with the Lord, improved physical and mental health, our family singing kum-bah-yah each night. What actually happened: a terrible migraine, caffeine withdrawal, anger and depression. Neat! We probably needed to prepare a bit better for the fast, instead of eating everything in sight and tripling our caffeine intake the night before. We’ll know for next time, I guess.
I think it’s a really good thing that I feel ok about stopping this fast. Usually, I’m a pedal-to-the-metal type of person when it comes to these things. In the past, I could see myself shrugging off all the negativity that surrounded the last five days and pushing through, just because I had committed to the fast. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Any of you reading who have given up something for Lent, please do not take this post as me saying, “Quit!” But, I can quickly go super-legalistic and shatter any hopes of growing my relationship with the Lord. So, I’m thankful for the grace I feel in stopping.
Here are a few reasons why we will not be participating in the Daniel Fast for a long time:
- We went over budget with our grocery money. I hate this! It doesn’t make sense to me to take money away from our “giving” account, so that we can fast.
- I spent 5ish hours a day cutting vegetables. I’m not sure if it was that long, but it sure felt like it.
- Grant and I are trying to be up by 6am most mornings. Without coffee, this is. not. happening. I rarely drink, don’t smoke, have curbed my cussing, no longer shop. But, I drink a heck of a lot of coffee. So, sue me.
- I turned into a scary monster while on this fast.
I seriously respect those of you who have completed the Daniel Fast or others like it. However, Jesus and I will be enjoying our quiet time tomorrow with a cup of coffee (or five).
Gratitude #20: I’m thankful for my brilliant Ezra. Here’s a little nugget of wisdom from her today. “If we don’t listen or (we) make a mistake, Jesus is still in our hearts. No matter what, He is always with us.”
Day One. Lent. Daniel Fast. This is the first morning that I have not had coffee in…a really freaking long time. Today’s 5:30am wake up was really hard, as I was sipping lemon water, rather than my usual cream and sugar soaked deliciousness. I was reminded of Isaiah 58, a great passage on true fasting. The Israelites want to know why the Lord is not paying attention to their fasting, “Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?” In the midst of their fasting, they are treating their workers terribly. I definitely thought that my caffeine withdrawal could mimic that behavior with my family! Look at me, Lord! I’m doing this fast for You. Why aren’t You blessing me? All the while, I am in a terrible mood and being mean, due to my lack of caffeine. Jesus, help me!
Isaiah goes on to say what true fasting is: “Is not this the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” I hope that, through this fast of food, we are better able to see exactly HOW we can loose the bonds of wickedness. Where should we focus our time, passion, money?
I had my second migraine today…ever. I have not had a migraine in 31 years. Yet, in the last month, I’ve had two. This one really knocked me out. I seriously contemplated calling an ambulance, after Grant left to pick up Ezra. Gracious. It’s interesting that this occurs right in the midst of the Radical Experiment and on the very first day of our Daniel Fast. I also missed the first call from our social worker, regarding our foster/adoption certification paperwork. I hate that.
How was your first day of fasting? Was it as hard for you as it was for me?
Gratitude #19: I’m thankful for the delish food we’re eating on the Daniel Fast. The whole family enjoys it, too, which is awesome. Evie gobbled her dinner of 4 bean/rice casserole!
Lent starts tomorrow, and we certainly ate like it tonight. I have never given up anything for Lent. To be completely honest, I thought it was just something for Catholics. Grant and I have decided to try the Daniel Fast. The fast, based on Daniel 1 and 10, is described as a vegan diet, but more restrictive. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and water to drink. Fasting is definitely one of those spiritual disciplines that I have completely ignored. I’m nervous but excited about how this will grow us as an individual/couple/family. We were not planning to discuss in detail the fast with Ezra, but I found a few good resources about fasting as a family, so I think we’ll talk through with her WHY we’re doing the fast.
A few close friends have completed the Daniel Fast, so they’ve shared a lot of great recipes and tips with me. My precious friend Molly also suggested being sure of our purpose of the fast, before we begin. For me and Grant, this is a perfect time in our lives for a fast. We’re in a season that has many more questions than answers. We are hoping that this fast might enable us to rid our lives of distractions so that we can best hear from the Lord.
I would love to hear your thoughts on Lent, fasting, etc. Have you given up anything for Lent? Have you fasted before?
Gratitude #18: I’m thankful that our foster/adoption certification paperwork is IN THE MAIL! Several obstacles arose again today, but Grant got to the post office at 4:59pm and was able to send it out. We’re planning to complete our first training on Tuesday.
Jon Acuff tweeted today, “When I write, I write quickly so that fear can’t catch up with me.” It reminded me of what I’m trying to do with this dang application. I fully intended on mailing it today, but I completely forgot about the holiday. I had several questions that needed answered, before I could send it, but the office was closed.
I have been plagued with fear today. Fear of long-term negative effects on my family, specificially Ezra & Evie. Fear of not having any idea of how to handle whatever issues the kids will have coming in. Fear of still having my day job and not being able to juggle that and more kids. Fear of being hurt. Fear of growing attached to these children and then they leave. It’s interesting that this fear has come at me full-force today, the day in which my application is complete and ready to be mailed. You’re an a-hole, Satan.
For those of you reading who pray, Grant and I need some, please. We know this is where God’s leading us. It’s plain as day. We’re still scared out of our minds, though. After this constant barrage of fear attacks today, I came to the spot of asking, What next? If we don’t foster or adopt, what do we do? Go back to ignoring the issue and do nothing? Absolutely not! God planted this in our hearts, and we have to move forward. We’ll be directly disobeying, if not.
The only positive about these crippling fear fests? They confirm that we’re on the right track. At the Quitter conference, Jon said, “The voices of doubt get louder the closer you get to doing what you’re called to do.” They were SCREAMING today. We have to be doing something right, yeah?
Gratitude #17: I’m thankful that I don’t have to teach in a classroom tomorrow. Or ever again, Lord willing.