Thursday, October 13, 2016

The reality of foster care

I would like to make an honest effort to keep up with this blog. I've got lots to say, just can't figure out how to put it into writing.

Here I am, officially licensed for one year. My first foster placement has come and gone. I just re-read my previous post about her. Whew, to think that things actually got way worse after that post. In one month after that post my previous foster's daughter would change forever by a traumatizing experience. She would never be the same. I learned to trust on God way more than I ever thought I could. She has turned 18 now and is out of system. I still keep in contact with her, but have needed to step back a little from the relationship for some personal reasons.

On top of the trauma that happened, a good thing happened. I have bought my very first house. Yay! I'm so proud of my small, but perfect little three bedroom house. One of the first things I made sure was ready was a bedroom for a new child in need. May 20th, I got my call for my second placement. She's been with me almost 5 months now. She's 12, quirky, fun, and very intellectual about a lot of things. Having her has shown me the reality of foster care though. My first placement was a weird, complicated situation all around and NOTHING like I had imagined. My second placement is more of what I imagined situation wise, but she's such a great kid! Is she traumatized by her past and the reason why she is foster care? Yes. But the way she has handled it has left me amazed. The only way I can describe how she is handling it is  with grace.

There are days where I'm silently angry at the situation she is in and why she is with me. Times I'm frustrated that mom cancels visits. Times I'm having to explain things to the kiddo in a way that she may understand, but censoring some of it because she shouldn't hear all the details of her case. Questioning why the kid does things that I find odd like eating dry pasta. She has siblings in the system as well, all in different homes. Of course, I never say anything out loud to her. Her love for her mom is so unconditional despite the fact that she completely understands what is going on. And I love that about her. I love her unwavering love for her mom. She is at a fragile age, 12 almost 13, puberty, hormones, middle school. Her love for her mom could honestly change in a matter of minutes, but for her, I don't think that will ever happen. Although I admit to times of harboring angry thoughts, God takes those thoughts and completely fills me with compassion for her mom when I see her. It is not okay how things happened, but we as Christians are to just love. It is not my job to judge. And if I do, I try to keep it to myself and pray to God about that. I believe in reunification with the family, that is the goal of foster care. I have included her family in a few things because the kiddo's life is still going on and I don't want them to miss it. After all, it is not about me at all, it's about that great 12 year old that God has blessed me with.

I find myself in a very unique place right now. Years ago, I vowed I would never return to my home state of Indiana. I would go to school to be a nurse and later become a missionary in another country. But now I moved back to Indiana 5 1/2 years ago, just bought a house, stopped school and now I'm a single foster parent. The place I am in is a place of peace, a place that God has placed me at the exact right time. I'm doing what I can, loving on kids who need some peace in their life amidst the life of chaos they have come from. It is a great place to be.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Crying Out to God

November 24, 2015 @ 12:35am, my life changed forever. I received the call for my very first foster placement. I had originally requested ages kindergarten through 5th grade. But this call was for a 17 year old girl who was coming into the foster system for the first time. They needed someone to take her and was having a hard time finding a place for her to go. Without hesitation, I said yes. I mean, isn't that why I am in foster care? To love the kids, including the teenagers, no matter how scary they are?

Teenagers in general are moody, unpredictable, awkward and did I mention moody? But a troubled teen is a whole different can of worms. And let's add being in foster care to the whole troubled teen thing and you have the situation I'm currently in. We spent the entire first night talking. We talked till 3am. I began to love her the second she walked in my door. It's a strange feeling to love someone you literally just met. But God's love is never ending, He loves us even before we were formed in the womb. I am in no means God, but I began to love this broken teenager as God loves me, unconditionally. All flaws set aside, just love.

I have tried to love her to the best of my ability and to the extent that she would allow me. And through this entire experience, I choose love. All the problems aside, I always told her I loved her even when she disappointed me over and over and over again.
Did she make me angry? Oh yeah.
Did she frustrate me to the point of belief? Yep.
Did she take advantage of me? Many times. 
Have I spent many hours worried about her whereabouts and what she was doing? Yep.
How about the tears? Yes, there have been plenty on my side.
Things are complicated in that this is her first go round in foster care, she's almost 18, and she has been allowed to spend time with a family member. Her and the teenager have taken complete advantage of me, unfortunately.

Last night, I had to call the police and report her as a runaway. A runaway. My worst fear. I had an inkling I knew where she was, but when me and the police went over there, no one answered. I feel as though I have failed as a parent. Today, she has called me and said she's not coming back. She's decided to make the rules and not follow the ones put in place for her safety. It doesn't make the fact that my heart is breaking for her hurt any less. It honestly hurts like hell. I feel as though my heart is constantly being stabbed numerous times a day.

People have said to me today that at least you don't have to worry about her anymore. Or she's no longer your responsibility. You can breathe now. As of right now, this moment in time, she is considered a runaway. Which gives me all the more reason to worry. I'll admit, there has been many times where I wish the situation would just change and perhaps she would go to another home. I can't express how being a single foster parent and having to deal with as much as she has got going on makes you feel very, very alone. But I would never want bad things to happen to her. I had the option to send her to another foster home a few weeks ago, but after I prayed about it for a few days, I just kept hearing God say, "Just love her. She needs you." But at some point, you break, and you know that tough love has got to kick in. She's going to hate you for it, but you have to do what is needed.

The thing I have learned about foster care so far is that you keep giving and keep giving. Most of the time, you get nothing in return. And just when you don't think you can give any more, God sustains you to get through one more day. Because God is full of mercy and grace. And his love can overcome anything. But at one point, you have to realize you can't save them all and hope that maybe one day they wake up to see how hard I tried to just love them. If anything, my faith has grown. As stubborn as I am, I realized I simply cannot do this alone. I need God and I need people around me to pick me up when I'm sobbing uncontrollably in the church bathroom because I am so overwhelmed.

Any regrets? Yes, some.
If I had the option to go back, knowing what I know now, would I still take her in? YES. Because after all, it is what Jesus would have done.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A little bit of everything.

Oh blog, you are so neglected. :( I really need to get more diligent about updating this. I don't even care if anyone reads it. I just need to get my head empty.

Do you ever get the feeling you're just missing out on your life? There are some days where I just feel like a zombie drifting through days, one day running into the next. Somewhere along the line my life has gotten completely off track. I feel like I am just going through the motions of life. Doing what I can to get myself through to the next day. It's a viscous cycle that has been constantly repeating itself And to be honest, I'm just tired. I can't sit here and blame anyone but myself. I've got to find a way to get out of this rut. I'm in a rut with my weight loss, rut with my faith, in a rut with everything.

Why is it so hard for me to motivate myself when it comes to losing weight? People can help me all they want, but until I change the way I think about a lot of things, I'm never gonna change. The change needs to start from within to change my outer being. I am working on some things mentally. I can't keep running around this hamster wheel. At one point, I need to suck it up and get off. More about that later.

Update on my last post. One of the things I wanted to accomplish my 38th year of being alive was to start the foster care process. I have started that process and I'm almost done with the licensing. I'm about 8 weeks out from receiving my license. I feel like it has all happened quickly. I don't fair well being overwhelmed. And there were many times I became overwhelmed in the process. Between all the classes, Red Cross Certifications, mounds of paperwork, and two of three home visits I've had, it is a lot. It overwhelmed me constantly and there was times when I would have to just push the paperwork away and go take a walk. But I've stuck through it. If you personally know me, you know how much of a worrier I am. I know God will take care of anything that comes before me, but that doesn't stop me from worrying myself sick sometimes. I worry about so much stuff. But I mainly worry that I will fail as a parent. I am praying to God constantly about this. Everyone says I'll do fine because I'm great with kids, but the things will be different when I have a child full time in my house. I will have another human being that I'm responsible for, that's a big responsibility. And I want that child to have a peaceful environment where they feel nothing but love. I don't want to have anything in their life that may further traumatize them. There will need to be some changes made and boundaries set with some people in my life. My number one priority is that child. I'm not gonna lie, I AM SCARED FAR MORE THAN I CAN EVEN WRITE. But deep down, I am trusting God, and there is this little voice telling me it's going to be okay. It's crazy to think I am going to have a placement soon. Little things like shopping the day after Thanksgiving (Something I despise) may become part of my life. Lol. But also watching their excitement at Christmas as they help me decorate or open presents already just makes me tear up. Thoughts of helping them with homework, meal planning, spending time with them brings a smile to my face. I was meant to do this, this much I know. And when they go home to their biological parents, I will cry. But I know it's what is best. I will keep in contact with them. I will never sever that bond we formed. And if a child comes into my house and the parental rights of their biological family have been terminated and given the option to adopt the child or let them go back into the system, of course I will adopt them. I have already decided that.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

38th Year

Yesterday was my 38th birthday. Eeeekkkk, I can't believe I'm 38 already. It seems as I am getting older, the years are going by faster. People tell me constantly I don't look like I am anywhere near 38, which is such a compliment. I love when people tell me that. I don't know what my secret is, but I am going to keep doing it!

As I contemplated what this new year had ahead of me, I started thinking of some things I wanted to accomplish before my 39th birthday. I guess these could be resolutions of sorts. I generally don't do New Year's Resolutions.

For my 38th year on earth, I hope to:
  • Cross at least two things off my bucket list. My list can be found here. I suppose this list needs to be updated as well. There are a few things I have changed my mind about.

  • Start Foster process. One of the things on my bucket list is to adopt a child. Which leads into something I want to accomplish this year. God had blessed me with a great apartment, a great 2 bedroom apartment. This year, I want to look into taking some classes to foster a child. I have accepted the fact that I may not birth a child in my life and I'm perfectly okay with that. However, I know there are plenty of children right here in Madison County who need someone to love them. I would like to think I would be a great mom. I absolutely love kids. And they love me as well. So, why couldn't I foster a child or even adopt one? I feel like I am ready for that step.

  • Get healthier. My last few posts have been about me dealing with some back trouble. I am not saying I am going to diet and start exercising like crazy. I honestly couldn't probably walk on a treadmill right now if I had to. But I just want to get healther, yes that involves me to make some eating changes and to exercise. But the goal is to hopefully lessen the need for surgery. Although, I have been told it is probably gonna happen, I'm gonna have some faith and see if things go in another direction. But I gotta have more than faith, I gotta put some things in action as well.

  • Memorize scripture. Why am I so horrible at doing this?!? I have gotten better about reading the Word, but memorizing is a whole different story.

  • Attend Covered Bridge Festival. Every year in Southern Indiana, there is a Covered Bridge tour that visits different bridges. Oh, I want to do that. I love covered bridges and I love photography. So I am adding that to my list to accomplish. 
So, there you have it. Some things are big, some are simple. I'd better get moving.

STOP wishing.
START doing.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nothing happens without discipline

A few weeks ago, I was reading an email and saw this phrase that struck a chord with me, “Nothing happens without discipline.” I wrote that down on a post-it note and put it near my monitor at work. Every day I stare at that piece of paper silently hoping to find my motivation, to find my discipline. I used to be a disciplined person about a lot of different things. I feel as I have aged, that my lack of discipline has disappeared. As I sit here 12 hours before my 38th birthday, I know I need to find the discipline in one area and I need it ASAP.

My discipline to read the Bible every day is way better than it was. I am at least reading every day or every other day. I feel my faith growing stronger during a dark time. I have been reading the Bible out loud and I am gaining a better understanding of the Word. Digging into God’s Word is better enhancing my prayer life. I started reading a daily devotional as well.

My discipline is seriously lacking in the weight loss department. Yesterday, I met with neurosurgeon. And although he understood about me starting a new job and not being able to do anything right now, I was told that surgery is not something I’m going to be able to avoid much longer. He has referred me to therapy for six weeks. But surgery will have to come no matter what. I know in order to alleviate this extreme pain I’m in, I need to lose weight and I need to be serious about it. I have a pretty high thresh hold for pain and to say I have been hurting for the past month and a half is an understatement. It has been immense pain. Pain so bad that brings me to my knees and makes me sob uncontrollably. I don’t want to live life in pain. This past month has been eye-opening.

My pastor has asked me about a book called the Daniel Plan. I have this book, but honestly never took the time to read it. He asked me if I would be interested in doing a group regarding this plan. I am going to research the book some more, but right now I need all the help I can get. As stubborn as I am, I simply cannot do this on my own. In the back of my head, I’m thinking back problems now…heart attack in the future? I know I shouldn’t think that way, but the thoughts are there.

Nothing happens without discipline.

Nothing happens without discipline.


Please Lord, I need the discipline to lose weight. I know the only way I am going to do this is to trust you more than I have before. I know for my health, this HAS to be done. I don’t want to live like this, in constant pain and needing pain pills to function. Please help me not to be so stubborn, please help me to accept the help of friends and family.