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The Struggle Is Real!

When you are a Foster Parent the struggle is REAL!

There are days when you feel immensely alone.

When you think you should give up.

When you think nothing is working with this particular child.

The thoughts of failure and wondering where to turn next, are real.

I remember when my first foster children came.  Twin boys, for the weekend.

They had clothes on that were too small, and held on tightly to their bottles, which looked grimy.

The stared almost vacantly at me as I pasted a smile on my face through the tears I was trying to hide.

They screamed every time I put them in a car seat, every time I put them in a bath, every time I went to change their diaper.

It was exhausting, and frustrating for all of us.

But even though it was hard work, those boys turned twenty-two last week.  Handsome young men.  It sure was a long week-end.

As a foster parent, or a foster to adopt parent, there will be struggles, but there will also be immense rewards.

I had a conversation with a client the other day, a foster parent, who was really doubting herself, but she had no need to do so.

Did she have a difficult child!  Yes, the struggle here was real!

Was she doing all the right things even though the child was protesting?

Absolutely!  She needed to be re-assured.  She needed to hear affirmation that “going with her gut” and being consistent in her parenting, really was working.

There are so many stories that are heartbreaking, yet end up be a joyful testimony to yet another young life turned around.

When children remain in the foster care system for years, or get bounced around from home to home, the statistics of failure for these children is very high.

Dave Thomas said, “it is better to build a child, than fix an adult.”

He was right.

Cycles of abuse and neglect can be broken.

Love can be restored, and build a child up instead of tearing that same child down.

Are you a foster parent?

Or are you thinking you might like to know more about foster parenting or foster to adopt a child?

I would love to give you a complimentary coaching session and answer some of your questions.  Go here!

Let’s continue to seek out and find the “lost children” in our world.

See you next blog!

When Hard Looks Like Impossible

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Ok, revealing truths here, to some, but probably most.  We rescued a child from Liberia some seven, yes seven years ago.  I wrote a series of blogs about that, which I will rescue and retrieve so you can have all of the back story.  But, now, seven, yes, seven years later I am back in rescue mode.

This young man, now not quite twenty one, was thirteen and a bit when I rescued him from Liberia, after being “left”  there by his adoptive parents who lived in the USA.  I have never prosecuted, or condemned them, but I do NOT approve of their parenting decisions.

So, I get him back, angry, with layers of PTSD along with RAD (Attachment issues with reactions) and know I am his only advocate, and his only hope not being abandoned again..  He has been previously been abandoned on more than three levels.  Hence trauma, leading to PTSD, on three layers, one for each abandonment.

I have a rule here guys.  No one who comes after gets to interfere with the ones before.  Hey, broken!!!!!  BROKEN!  Well, no choice really, another rule broken!???  Yup, because when kids need you that desperately, you step up.

My amazing family said, “break it” meaning the rule.  We did. We spent finances we didn’t have, we relied on God, but we did bring him back, in a state of fear.  Here is the link to my book “Finding Friday” where you can read the whole story, told in fiction based on fact.

His fear was that genuine.  He was afraid he would be condemned again, sent back to living in raw survival mode.  A desperate person.  He survived, and right now he is trying to survive a terrible car crash.  It is only a miracle that he is even alive, but God did not rescue him from certain death in Liberia, twice, for his life to be ended in the wreckage of a car.  I could feel somewhat desperate because he is in another state, and I am having trouble getting updates for several reasons.

But, desperation leads us to so many things.  I could name it and claim it.  Been there, got the crown.  Cause I didn’t really believe in the Law of Allowing, or, in other terms, unconditional love . I thought I did, until I was challenged.  If you don’t understand what I am saying, please sign up and email me.  I will give you a free coaching session that will clarify this for you.

Last mention, cause I will write another blog about this.  But, dang, whatever, one of  my other children  had another seizure in her sleep on the couch today.  So how do I feel?  What am I thinking?  Am I destroyed?

Ah, no.  Contact and find out why.

To be continued……..

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Do You Have The Heart To Foster Or Adopt?

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I didn’t want to be a foster parent.

I thought my heart would be broken.

I also thought I didn’t need training.  I had four grown kids.

Fostering seemed scary and transitional, not permanent.

But, they were thoughts, not the actuality of my experience as a foster parent.  I’ll explain a little more.

The thought (note I said thought) of children coming and going was a little off putting, something I did not think I would like, or be able to parent/cope with.

When in fact, it was the complete opposite.   When we had finished our training and were waiting for our approval to become adoptive parents, I was called about fostering twins for the weekend.  I had to make a decision quickly, and the first thing out of my mouth was we weren’t approved.  Well that was done in an hour.  That happens when there just aren’t enough homes and it is late Friday afternoon.

That was quite a story but it was the first of many.  Those twins that came for the weekend turn twenty-one in August.  They became my forever children, birthed from my heart.

Not every child stays!

But, not every child that you foster stays forever.  Some are re-united with their birth families, some go on to be adopted by other families better suited to the child’s needs.  You see, my heart was never broken because I quickly realized every child that came had a broken heart, a broken spirit, and was confused, sometimes angry, but hurt, and definitely broken.

How would you feel if you were suddenly uprooted?

I mean, just think about it.  How would you feel if you were suddenly taken away from everything you ever knew?  A child doesn’t know whether they are living in poverty, neglect, abuse or in the biggest shiniest house in town.  They just know their surroundings, and the people who are feeding them, looking after them.  They don’t judge.  The don’t have that choice, or that freedom.

They become lost.

I have had a lot of children that I have had the privilege to care for.  Some for a few days, some for a couple of years, some for a month or two.  All were lost.  All had lost everything they knew.   And, unfortunately, some become lost in the system, staying there until they age out.

At eighteen we send our kids to college, but not so for most of the foster children who are “set free” at eighteen.  They are suddenly transitioned, if you can call it that, into fending for themselves.  Sadly many end up on the street, or in prison, not having the skills or education to survive.

This becomes a generational cycle.  I ask you the question, “what can we do to intervene?  What can we do to love and help these lost children?”  In this day of internet, social media, and a lessening of face to face interaction, these children are becoming invisible.

I wonder how many people I could ask on the street, if they knew about the growing numbers of foster children waiting for forever homes?  I am sure most of the general population, and most of the congregations of our churches are oblivious, and uniformed.

If this information has you thinking about being a foster parent please don’t hesitate to contact me.  You can leave me your email address and I would love to answer your questions.

Some of you know that I not only speak about adoption, I write and sing about this as well.  I would to give you a free download of the title track single from my last CD.  If you would like a copy of the song “Broken Hearts And Broken Wings” please download here.

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When Foster meets Biological

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I haven’t been in the system as a foster parent for several years, but, it doesn’t seem to stop teenagers in need of a place of respite from coming to my door.    When all of my family was much younger, it was pretty easy with most of the foster kids who came into care.

Of course, we had rules, which, of course, we broke often in an emergency.  Most of the rules I broke, I was blessed by.  But, there were rules we had for ages of foster children for a reason.  Good solid reasons, like teenage boys coming into a situation with teenage girls.  Not a good mix.

One of the primary rules we had, and mostly stuck too, was that our foster children needed to be younger that the permanent or biological kids in the house.  When we started that was easy, our youngest in the house were fifteen and sixteen.  But then our first boys, twins, came at twenty months old, and we had to start to think about who or what ages could come in and melt into the potluck, or God given, family that He was creating.

I have to say here, when our teenagers that were resident in the house were asked about bringing foster kids in, they were very reluctant.  They had the same arguments that I hear every time I talk about fostering.  “We will love them and they will leave!”  But, love, is exactly what all of the children coming into a foster care situation need.  Even if they have layers of PTSD, are angry, unloving and yell at you, they are the ones needing your love.

I can say without a doubt, there were times that children came into our home and were not a good mix.  I always trusted my instincts on that one, and made sure I collaborated with the caseworker to find them the appropriate placement.  Ah, the good old days.  I think it has changed a lot since then, but never give up finding a child the right placement.

We have always had a rule in our house about kids coming in.  It is simply this: “Father God, we will take anyone you send as long as they are not a problem to the ones we have.”  We have stuck to that rule.  In fact we had to put that rule into place just recently when a young man just out of his teens proved to be a serious problem to the family.  It is always heartbreaking when this happens, but when it is obvious and clear, protection of the ones that came first is imperative.

Our last desperate young man was seemingly without family at first glance and needing so much, but unfortunately he mistook kindness for stupidity.  Drugs, alcohol and deceptive behavior is not acceptable in our house.  If he, or anyone else, is honest and open to help, I am there, but denial is a part of addiction and not what I can have in my home with my children.

So, accept and believe, nurture and love, but keep your eyes open and understand what is beyond your ability to change or fix.

IGNITE YOUR PASSION_FIND YOUR PURPOSE

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The extras we are thankful God sent to our table,

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Thanksgiving is a day but it is also a word that means give thanks for everything and everyone.

I am not only thankful for my family but the “family” not related but know who are, and trust they can come and be accepted, loved, laugh, cry and be exactly who they are, warts and all, and not be judged.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, I was honored to have not only my amazing large exuberant loud family, but others who I feel like family and trust they can come in grief and sorrow, in loss, in rejection, and be loved and not expected to be anything but “RAW”.

They know who they are.  The young wife with two babies whose husband left, with her mom who has struggled through her own life and I am sure was totally in shock at the thought and experience of the Thompson family.  She didn’t leave, and although looked a bit shell shocked from time to time, did converse in the end.  Young wife had a blast, was gracious to ex when he showed with the children, and overall felt like she did not have to pretend.  RAW!

The next were precious friends who lost a husband and a dad, suddenly, and couldn’t face putting on a pretense for anyone.  They all were here together last year, and to come back and know their loved one’s spirit was here with us was hard, but they knew no matter what emotions they came with, they would be accepted.   We let them take the lead on that.

My grieving friends laughed, ate, talked, cried, remembered and were glad they came.  The were accepted just where they were, RAW.

Then there was the young man who lost his father too early, had led a troubled life, and has no real family as his mother is on the streets.  He came, ate heartily, sat by the fire pit with the others, was accepted, in spite of his past (not too good) and stayed until the end.  He felt accepted.  He came RAW, not expecting but spilled his heart to amazing hubby at midnight while we were cleaning up.  Not only up for being RAW, but feeling accepted enough to do that.

And just when we thought most were gone was the young mother of two who lives in an extended stay motel.  She knows my daughter through work and has not always done the right thing by a vulnerable teenager with her own issues.  But, she found herself at a church because she was desperate and invited the vulnerable teenager.  God at work.

It turns out they could not remember their last home cooked meal, and the children were enthralled with my piano which I taught them to revere, hold gently in their fingers and not bang, but love.  Their eyes were shining, their minds were open and hearts receptive.

They ate, they played my piano that I have had since I was seventeen, and their eyes were not just shining, they were hopeful, trusting and grateful.  And then the sad part.

There were a few, too vulnerable and not able to trust, who committed but couldn’t come.  Too RAW!.  They have built walls, large ones, that prevent happiness, love, and the biggest thing, being able to give out of themselves more than having to be stroked, cajoled and making others feel  responsible for their feelings.  The saddest and the hardest to help because they will not help themselves.

I hate that these miss the love, the family that is available, but that is the wall they choose to hide behind, the love they choose to miss, and all we can do when they are adults is love them and let them be. Allow them to be who they are and love them unconditionally without letting them own us and make us enter their sad world.  We pray and hope they can find their own path to happiness through loving God more than loving where they are.

But my own, my family, my twelve plus grands.  You are awesome, you accept, you love, you do not judge, you just roll with what happens and who comes.  You are my heart, and you give out of my heart and your own to those who need our love.  I’m blessed by you.

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BELIEVE IN

The Night Before Thanksgiving when all goes awry!

 

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Woke early, tis the eve of Thanksgiving and there is so much cooking

Got breakfast, and washing, and toasted the GF bread for stuffing.

Final list on my phone, including Vet trip and medicine for the dog.

Got Brandy, egg nog and finally stopped.  Driving.  End of rhyming.

I couldn’t possibly  begin now to outline just what can happen in a house as full as mine when you really need to get some things out of the way before the great day.

I left before some were up including one that had a red patch on her calf last night which I was lead to believe was bite.  She is the one that attracts the very last mosquito and has welts from every attack of the flying creatures.

But then also on the menu for today was the seventeen year old who had a red “mole” grow suddenly on her butt, that had been removed the week before.  Call from the dermatologist and it is a dodgy “juvenile melanoma, not dangerous, but has some oddities.  More butt surgery for her at 2.30.

Rog takes the dermatologist and I take the pediatrician.  Noon, still no cooking.

Then child with butt surgery informs, which is a way of asking without getting a no, that she has eleven people over for a fire pit at five thirty and would like to learn to make an apple pie, to impress them of course.

So I go to the pediatrician who orders hot compresses, and medicine to be picked up of course, for the cellulitis that is now forming around an infection, commonly called a boil.  Of course she is so incapacitated that she needs my crutches from knee surgery.

Arrived home, now the home made apple pie which I realize if I don’t start peeling granny smith apples we will be here all day and she has to leave for surgery in less than an hour.  Well at least I bought the pastry crust otherwise we would have never got done.

Enlist the other nearly seventeen year old to help and as I go to empty the peelings into one of the three sinks in my amazing commercial kitchen which I need, I trip over the sleeping blind, or nearly blind dog and in an effort not to damage the post surgery knee, slam three fingers on my right hand into the edge of my most amazing granite counters.

I am dropped to my knees.  I am crying, no yelling crying, not even ugly, just howling from the pain in my fingers which feel like they are severed from my body let alone my hand.  It wasn’t until later I realized there was a big bump on the bone of my arm where I somehow slammed it.  But, my knee is fine.

So, the wonder of family here is, that although they all wanted to, and were sleeping on the couch, watching TV etc, the moment I got hurt, they all rallied.  Butt surgery child reprimanded her father for not acting fast enough, and got the ice pack.  Made me sit and fussed over me.  Rog watched on, somewhat in shock, because he had never heard me howl like that.  He’s outside right now making sure there is not a full moon.

So now with fat fingers, I directed the cooking and we made a flourless chocolate cake, excellent, scalloped potatoes, cornbread for the dressing, peeled and cut up all the butternut squash for the roasted brussels sprouts, squash, pecan and cranberry warm salad with maple syrup of course.  Thawed the turkey for stuffing, the other gets fried, the hunk of rib-eye, and cleaned everything after cooking and prep.  Just remembered to get out the salmon!!

So fat fingers, a stitched up butt, and a swollen impending boil, is just how we roll.  Thanksgiving will be just that.  Thankful for all of my family and the ones that surround it.  The ones that don’t have family like the kids around my fire pit who I am feeding pizza on the eve of Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow a mere 35 or so.

Be thankful guys,  even when it doesn’t quite go how you want it to.  Make lemonade!

I am not a perfect person, I pick up the

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