Reflecting on 2016 : What A Year it Was

The new year is right around the corner.  And as many do,I have started wondering what 2017 has in store for our beautiful chaos.  In thinking about the new year I find myself looking back at 2016.  All the ups and downs, the laughter and the tears, the joyful new beginnings and the sad goodbyes.  Lets look back…

At the beginning of 2016 I found myself living in WV surround by my little loves and their older brother. We are trying our best to keep things normal while my husband is gone. My oldest daughter is in Cuba taking in the sites while earning her science credit.  My husband was almost 300 miles away for work trying to decide is the job transfer would work for our family. Our wild man was in preschool, diva was in kindergarten and Big Al and Elmo were in daycare two days a week just to socialize with other kids and so I could run errands and clean house.  Baby girl was just a few months old and we were still getting use to being a family of 9.

February  brought us one of the worst winters we had ever seen.  Over 28 inches of snow blocked our driveway and closed the schools. My husband was still working out of state and by this time we had bought our new house.  We slowly started moving things that were not used daily to the new place so that he would have some dishes and furniture to use.  We made a family decision that I would stay in WV until the school year was over that way our oldest son could graduate with his friends and our wild man and diva could finish out the year with their friends.  Paying for two homes was not fun or easy but we made the most of it and saw each other every four to six weeks when he could come in for the weekend.

March started off our birthday season.  My husband came in to see us and his parents for his 40th birthday.  We had a small family birthday at his mom’s house so we all could be him.  March also brought colds and stomach bugs that seemed to stay around for weeks.  We also got word that baby girl would become part of our forever family, we just had to get through a few more court hearings.  Our oldest daughter came home for spring break and for that one week I had all my children under one roof.

April was a busy month. We celebrated our oldest daughters 21st birthday, wild mans 5th birthday and I turned the big 4 0.  Sis was wrapping up her junior year at college while bub (our oldest son) was trying finish out his senior year of high school.  Wild man was doing well at OT and Speech therapy and was loving music therapy.  Our pediatrician had recommended us taking diva to see a therapist to try and figure out why she was acting out and behaving badly.  Everyone had their own opinions on what they thought her issues were.  I tried blocking all the negative comments out and focused on her needs.  I am after all her mother and know when something is not right.  By the end of the month I believe I had eaten my weight in birthday cake.  Time to start up that diet again.

May brought sadness to our family as my dads only sister passed away and also great joy as our oldest son graduated high school ( barely but he pulled it off) We celebrated my moms birthday and had a small graduation party for bub.  We started making summer plans and moving even more of our things to our soon to be new house. Our daughter finished up classes and came home for the summer.  Life was about to get crazy.  Moving date was a month away.

June the month we had been waiting for.  Diva, wild man, Big Al and Elmo all finished up with their school or their preschools and we were officially on summer break. Elmo had surgery for his sinuses. We got it approved to take baby girl on vacation with us.  Our destination our new house.  We spent two full weeks all together in the new house with my husband.  I hated to go back but we had to we had an adoption that needed to take place.  On June 28 baby girl became forever ours and we were officially allowed to leave the state of WV and move to our new home.  We celebrated her adoption, divas birthday and bubs birthday will a cookout in our new home.  Talk about one hectic weekend.cropped-cropped-13516236_1357282730953828_8989822266973074852_n.jpg

July we were getting settled into our new home and learning our way around our new city. Big Al and Elmo both turned 3 and of course we celebrated with cake and a water balloon fight.  It was nice having my parents and nephew down to help us celebrate. I also start a new journey.  I started this blog in July.  I wanted a way to keep everyone back home up to date on things going on here. Also I had several people tell me that I “needed” to blog about our adventures in foster care.  So I broke down and started one.  It may never be a huge success but I enjoy it.

August was busy with getting diva and wild man enrolled in school and trying to get Big Al and Elmo enrolled in preschool ( we are still working on that ugh)   We end up making the decision to place diva in one school and sending wild man to a different school. This way the both get the best possible education to fit their needs. My husband and I spend our wedding anniversary at the race track watching the jet blowers dry the track…..can you say true romance lol.  We also watch our oldest daughter drive away to start her senior year at college and our oldest son decides to go to college back in WV and moves in with my parents.  Part of my heart breaks because they are not here with me but I understand its part of life and I need to let them find their own way.  They know they have their bedrooms here if they would ever need them.   By the end of the month its just my husband, me and our five little loves.  New house new life new journey.wp-1480043831445.jpg

September our baby girl turns one.  How in the world is that even possible??  Hubby received a job promotion and started training to become a salesman instead of a driver.  He works a lot of overtime trying to fill both spots.  (side note they are still looking for a driver to take over his old position s he is still gone all the time)  The kids and I are getting into a good routine with school and we now have diva in dance and have found her a wonderful therapist that is helping us diagnose her problems.  Wild man is doing amazing in his kindergarten class.  He has his own aid that goes with him to both the regular classroom and in his autism classroom.  He is growing leaps and bounds down here in his education.  If our move was for nothing more than to give him a fighting chance in school I’m ok with it.  He would have never received this type of education back there, they were just not equipped to handle his uniqueness.wp-1473340381449.jpg

October was here before we knew it and we had our own justice league for Halloween. Although we did not go door to door trick or treating ( still figuring out who I trust around our kids down here we did have a Halloween party here at the house and the kids still got more candy than the needed.  November we had Thanksgiving dinner a week early so that sis and her boyfriend could come and celebrate with us. Then on Thanksgiving day we watched the Macys day parade and saw the Pride of WV lead the parade off.  WAY TO GO WVU MARCHING BAND.   Let me hear it ” Lets Goooooooo Mountaineers ”  I slowly realize our holiday traditions will not be the same.  Time to make some new ones.

And that brings us to December.  We decorated the house with Christmas lights and a brand new tree.  The presents were brought and our families came down.  We took the kids to see the lights and life is finally starting to feel normal again.  Different but normal.  Our oldest kids are actually on their way here now, our son for a few days (he has to get back to work) and our daughter for a few weeks (she’s on winter break from classes)  It will be nice to have everyone together again.

I am not sure what 2017 holds for us.  2016 was full of changes.  I am not sure if we will continue foster care down here or not. Only time will tell.  I miss my family and my foster parent support group, and my friends but I am adjusting to our new life. Wild man is now reading sight words and is starting to write his name.  Diva is doing great on her new medication and the outburst are growing fewer and fewer.  Baby girl is eating table food for the most part and Big Al and Elmo well they are three so their all over the place lol.  We have settled into a good routine here and we have found a church that works with us.  They don’t judge us for having so many little ones. In fact there are a few other families that have adopted through foster care, so they get it.  The kids teaches are wonderful and so patient.  We could not have asked for a better church. Only God knows why He placed us here, and I guess in time He will reveal to us that reason.  Until then we will take this journey one step at a time.  We will laugh, we may cry, we will get frustrated, we will question why, but through it all we will have faith that God will see us through.  Maybe we sell our WV home in 2017, maybe we take a trip or welcome a new member to our family who knows what will happen. All I know is that whatever God places in front of us we will get through it together.  He will not lead us to something if He does not plan on getting us through it.  Thank you all who have taking the time to read these post.  Thank you for making our beautiful chaos part of your family.

JR getting his praise on

From our beautiful chaos to yours, may you reflect on the blessings your received in 2016 no matter how big or small.  May you find something that makes you smile and be thankful for.  May 2017 bring you peace and joy and blessings throughout the whole year.
























The Bio Mom Fairytale

From the moment we became foster to adopt parents I knew one day the questions would start.  Why was I placed in foster care? What was my mom or dad like ?  Do I look like them?  Did they not want me or love me?  All valid questions and deserving an honest answer.  I just did not plan on them from my six year old so soon.

We have always been open about what we do as foster parents and about our adoption experience. We celebrate our “forever family” dates and we talk openly about foster care and adoption, after all adoption is beautiful. So I guess it really should not have shocked me when a few weeks ago diva said something about her birth mom.  We were sitting in our living room watching cartoons when the first statement was made.  Out of nowhere diva says ” My birth mom and I use to watch this all the time.”  My chin hit the floor as the old saying goes.  I asked her to repeat what she had said, thinking I surely miss understood her.  But when she said it the second time the words birth mom echoed in my ears.  I was speechless.  I didn’t respond I couldn’t. In my mind I knew she could not remember much about her birth mom, she was only 16 months old when she came into our care and for 15 of those months she lived with her “dad” But still I wondered.


A few more days go by and again she brings up the subject of her birth mom. This time it was ” My birth mom and I use to have so much fun together.  We danced and played games and went to movies.  We always had so much fun. I sure do miss her.”  This time I found my words and asked  “What do you remember most about her?” To which she replied “I remember everything about her.  She loved me so much that when she could not take care of me anymore she gave me to you and daddy.”   And that’s when I realized our “truth” about her birth mom is what she remembers, not her actual birth mom, and that is what she was using to create this fairytale world between them.

Diva understands that we have adopted her, her brothers and little sister.  She understands that we did so to keep them all together because we love them so much. What she does not understand is the how that came to be.  She asked me about peanut’s (our youngest baby girl)mom before her adoption earlier this year and I stated that her birth mom was not able to take care of her (baby girl) anymore and that other people had made a way for us to become her forever family.  I figure in her six year old mind that means their birth mom (same mom for four out of five of our little loved) loved them so much she wanted a better life for them and she found us.  That’s not exactly true.

Their birth mom was not mother of the year.  Did she love her kids? My answer would be she loved them the best she could or the best she knew how to.  But she loved the drinking and the drugs a little more.  From the few times I talked with bio mom at court hearings and MDT meetings I can make that assumption. Deep down she wanted what was best for her kids, however she thought that was for them to be with her moving from one drug fix to the next.  Not ideal circumstances to raise four small children according to the court system.  After our adoption of diva and wild man was final their birth mom told the judge she was “okay” with her (the judge) taking her (birth mom) kids away because she (birth mom) knew they were going to a good home (our home)so she could just keep having kids because they would be well taken care of. Does that sound like someone thinking clearly or someone in their right mind?  I didn’t think so either.

No one wants to tell their child that their birth parents were drug addicts that lived on the river bank.  No one wants their child to think about the lack of food, the neglect  or filth they lived in before being placed in state care.  You want your child to feel loved and protected so you kind of tell small truths so they can sleep at night, not lies just not the whole story. That will come when they are old enough to process the situation.  In her own six year old way of thinking she has made up this whole world that makes her happy.  In that world she and her birth mom went to the movies together, danced to silly songs together, ate pizza late at night together, and watching her favorite tv shows together……none of which ever happened.  The truth is her birth mom split the day after she had her and left the supposed daddy to raise her.  She only saw her here and there throughout those first 16 months and then after the state took over she received weekly visits until her parental rights were terminated. That “perfect” mom diva is talking about or as she says “remembering” is me. No I am not perfect but  I am the one that takes her to the movies,  I am the one she dances silly with in the afternoons after school, I am the one that slips her pizza late at night, and I am the one who watches endless hours of her favorite tv shows. Me. Not the birth mom.

With her RAD she does not always show the affection that most children her age do. I don’t get the hugs and kisses from her like I do from our other little loves. So instead of being upset that she has created this fairytale world with imagines  of her birth mom I am going to count it all joy. Its good that she is using her imagination to think of positive things. And even though she “remembers” these thing happening with her birth mom, somewhere in her mind maybe in her heart, I know that she knows all of the good things all of the happy things come from mom….and that my friends is me. I will take this as her way of showing me she loves me instead of the negative spin I first placed on it.  As she gets older I will explain more to her about the circumstances that surround her situation. And as she asks I will tell her more about the woman who gave birth to her but for now I will let her play out this fairytale.  I know she knows I love her and I will choose to let her work through this her way.  Until the time comes for her to want to meet her birth mom I will continue to watch her tv shows, dance to silly songs, slip her an extra slice of pizza and love her as only a mom can.

From our beautiful chaos to yours remember all fairytales can have great endings if we allow ourselves to believe in all good things








Taking a Day for Me

I woke up at 6  this morning (thanks to two of my little loves) The three of us went downstairs and prepared for the morning.  One wanted his morning grape juice and Coco puffs while the other wanted milk and strawberry pop tarts.   I pulled the laundry out of the dryer and fold it (I was to tired last night to mess with it) and place another load of laundry in the washer.  Little diva heard us up so she came down with her dirty laundry in tow and a smile on her face. “See mommy, I remembered it was Saturday. Here’s my dirty clothes. Gotta be good Santa comes in 8 days”  She places them in the laundry room and goes to the table to await her breakfast.  By this time the theme song to Dinotruxs is playing on the TV and matchbox cars can be heard crossing the hardwood floors.  Our weekend has started.  

Today though, instead of hanging out with my little loves I am taking a day for me (well as soon as the hubby gets up) Over the last few weeks I have felt like I am failing at my one job….being a mom.  I have spent more time fussing and a little time cussing at our current situation and it has rubbed off on my parenting skills.  With the way my husband works most weeks I feel like a single parent.  He gets up in the mornings and goes to work and many evenings he comes home after the kids have went to bed.  That was not part of our plans when he took the new job. In fact he was suppose to work a “8 to 430” but we should have known that was not going to happen. He is training for his new position but also still doing his current position because the company has yet to higher a replacement. So he has been alway alot.  If I were still back home it would be fine.  There I had help a support team, I had my oldest son, my parents, and my friends to help me if I needed it.  I mean everyone needs a little time for themselves right? Now I am not downing my husband or saying he is a bad  dad or a husband so please don’t read that into this. He works very hard to provide for us and when he is home he is involved.  It’s just most days he is not here in time to be involved.  It’s my job to pick up the kids from school, go to the store, to get the kids homework done, play referee after all five are here, make dinner, do baths and everything in between.  I don’t know how single parents do it all.  And lately a few of our little loves have been having trouble sleeping so when my day shift is over my night shift starts.  Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, or the problems our diva is having at school and on the bus, or the fact that we still have not sold our old home, or just the stress of life in general but this momma has been cranky lately….just as any of the kids (or my husband)

So today I am taking a day to refocus and readjust thanks to my husband. Today it’s a kid free day.  After the hubby got up ( thanks to baby girl crying) he stumbled down the stairs carrying our smallest little one.   I had his coffee ready for him and prepared baby girl her breakfast.  Now that he was “awake” he could watch the kids while I got ready to go to town.  

I make sure there are plenty of diapers and pull ups in easy reach, baby wipes are in plain sight and there are plenty of juice boxes ready to go. Kisses goodbye and out the door I went.  The peace and quiet of the car….priceless.
First stop was the mall and to get my hair touched up for the holiday season. Next I was off to do a little Christmas shopping for the last few gifts we needed to pick up.  It’s not a spa day but I will take it.

 It’s important for us moms to take a day every now and then to just be ourself.  Somewhere in the mist of this beautiful chaos I have lost me.  I am T’s wife, the mom of our 7 crazy kids, the daughter to my parents and my brothers big sister.  Crystal does not exist.  So today I want, no I need to, find her again. 

In order to be a good mom, I must take care of myself first and that means admitting that every now and then I just need to be alone. I love my kids don’t get me wrong. Anyone that knows me knows my kids are my world. But we all need a day to unwind and regroup, even me. I need to go shopping without little loves adding goodies to the buggy (shopping carts for my northern friends 😉) I need to be able to get my hair fixed and “get prettied up” as my 5 year old calls it, for some reason other than going to church Sunday mornings.  I want to be able to eat a candybar without having to share it and yes I want to be able to go to the bathroom without 5 sets of little eyes watching 👀.  It’s the little things in life I long for.   

I need this time so I’m not so grumpy. I know I’m not perfect, but I am trying to be the best I can be.  I miss my foster to adopt support group, they get it.  If you have a child or even two people are willing to babysit for you so you can get out and have a date night or so you can run errands. But if you have more than that you get the “You did this to yourself sorry” look or the “You wanted them figure it out” look. Those of us who have stepped out and adopted large sibling groups understand. Yes I wanted them, yes I wanted to help when others would not, yes I love them more than anything, and yes I am tired but would not change it for the world. Super mom I am not (I have heard that more than once if people only knew) even I need a few minutes to just breathe and be noone else but…..well just me. That does not make me a bad mom it makes me human.  

It was nice to have a few hours to myself. I needed it…my family needed it.  As I drove home I called the house to see if they wanted me to pick up something to eat.  Steak-n-Shake was unanimous.  My husband told me to take my time but I could here the “please hurry home” in his voice.  Our diva and Big Al had fought from the moment I left, baby girl and Elmo were fighting sleep, and wild man needed to go poo but will only go if mommy is home (autism at its finest) I told him I would be there as soon as I picked up the food. 

 Thirty minutes later I pull in our driveway and open the door. Kids run from every direction, “Mommy he is going to say I hit him…but I didn’t” “Mommy we missed you” “Mommy daddy let me play the tablet….I forgot to tell daddy I was grounded from it” “Mommy get me presents please” and one tired looking husband that simply said “Glad your home” and kissed my forehead. And you know what? I was happy to be back home. I took a deep breath and smiled. I’m back to being momma. My day was relaxing and enjoyable but this is what I’m meant to be. And I would not have it any other way.  

From our beautiful chaos to yours when life becomes overwhelming stop and take a few minutes  (or a few hours) and relax, refocus and reflect. It will do a world of good from both you and your family.

How did I Get so Lucky?

I lay here tonight with a thousand different things running through my mind.  I need to go to the store tomorrow, need to make a car payment, need to buy gifts for the kids Christmas parties for this Friday, and wondering what I can make for dinner tomorrow (it’s church night so it needs to be quick, easy, and not messy) And then I look over and see two of my little loves finally fast a sleep without a care in the world. How did I get so lucky?

Answering the call to become a foster mom has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  With every placement with every courthearing, and with every tear God was preparing us for you. There are days, most in fact, I feel like a complete failure at this mom thing. However when I see them cuddled up so nice and warm, one in his magical pajamas and the other with his blue blanket, my heart melts.  I have to be the luckiest mom in the world.

And God did not stop there, he saw fit to bless us even more with two more sisters and another brother.  How did we get so lucky?

  I never thought I would get the chance to be a mother again after my oldest son, big bubby (brother), was born over 18 years ago, but God found a way.  And that gift is something I do not take for granted.  I pray that I can be the mom they need me to be: the one who protects them from the outside world, the one who teaches them simple life lessons such as saying “please and thank you”, the one who shows them what a loving family should look like, the one they will fight with, you will kids trust me, but yet know no one has your back like mom, the one who loves you no matter what, and the one you go to when life has you down.  I want to be that mom.

I want to inspire you. I want you to know that you inspire me. On the not so easy days I can look at any of your faces and see why I do this, why I became a foster parent, why I love doing what I do. You my little loves inspire me to be a better person, to fight for those who can not fight for themselves, and to love knowing sometimes I will not recieve it back. You make me want to make this world a better place. When I look at you I can’t help but think of Mary, Jesus’s mother.  No I am saying I am saint like her, but merely comparing our situations. God could have picked anyone to be His Sons mother, but He choose Mary a simple young women, from a small town, with no much to offer. I am a no one. I come from a small rural town, I do not have a four year college degree, my life is simple, I talk with a southern twang, and I am not a great chef, but God looked past all of that and gave me you. He does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Out of all the moms in the world He picked me to be your forever mom.  How did I get so lucky?  I truly do not deserve to be this blessed.

So while my mind races with the thousands of things we moms think of before our day shift ends and our night shift begins I am taking a few moments just to thank God for giving me you. I would not trade a moment of our time together. From the laughs and giggles, to the potty training oh-ohs, to the I’m not eating that, to the troubles with your math homework, to the sweet “I love you bestest mommy”, and everything in between.  Thank you for being my inspiration to get up each morning (all though it does not have to be before 5 every morning) Thank you for letting me know through your smiles and laughter that I don’t suck at this parenting thing as bad as I think I do.  I may not be the best parent but I sure am the luckiest. 

Thank you God for believing in me when I don’t beleive in myself. Thank you for blessing me with not only my two wonderful kids but for making a way for me to be momma to my five little loves. I hope when you look my way you say “Well done good and faithful servant well done”  

I pray our story touches the lives of others so more children can find their forever homes. My hope is to inspire others to step out in faith and not fear the unknowns about foster care and become part of the solution to a problem that is much larger than people realize. I pray that I become a better mom daily to these precious children You have placed in my care. Give me strength, wisdom, and enough love to go around everyday.  Thank you Lord for placing this on my heart. And thank you for my beautiful chaos.  How did I ever get so lucky?  Time to get these two into their own beds.

From our beautiful chaos to yours life happens in small moments, don’t get so consumed with the details that it passes you by.

It’s Almost Christmas 

With Christmas just a few weeks away our house is full of excitement.  We have the tree up and decorated, at least the top half still is (life with toddlers lol), the lights are up outside, and a few presents have been wrapped and placed under the tree.  This year will be fun.  Last year Big Al and Elmo were only two so they did not fully understand the concept of opening up gifts and Baby girl was just a few months old and slept through most of the activities. But this year, this year they are excited just like their older siblings. The look on their face yesterday morning when they came down the stairs and saw a few gifts under the tree was priceless.  I have spent most of my day keeping them away from the tree and the presents.  It’s been an all day job but I count it all joy.

Diva and Wildman have been working hard on their memory verses from church and they are excited for their upcoming school parties this week.  Around the house we have been preparing for our family that will be making the trip down Christmas day and I have also done a little crying knowing there are some I won’t be seeing this year.  I have tried my best to stay positive and upbeat about the Christmas season but some days I fail miserably. I miss home, however our new normal is becoming somewhat easier.   

We drove the little loves over to look at the lights at the track about a month ago. Over two million lights in creative displays allowed their imaginations to wonder.  There was a display for the twelve days a Christmas, a display honoring the aquarium, a display of NASCAR racers, several different Santa’s, the boys favorite by far the dinosaur display, and of course my favorite the beautiful nativity display. As we drove through the kids giggled and smiled the whole way. Making memories with my babies.  

Remembering how much they enjoyed that I thought it would be fun to drive around our area looking at houses in all their Christmas glory.   We loaded up and took off. We did see a few houses here and there that had lights up outside or had the huge blowup Santa or Rudolph in their yard, but I quickly realized that people don’t decorate like they use to.  So we made a game of it. We had two teams.  On our right was team Diva and Big Al.  On our left team Wildman and Elmo. Baby girl was just happy to be in the car.  As we drove around if one of the kids yelled out “Lights over here” in time for the other kids to see them that team got a point. They had the best time yelling out about the lights so much fun we lost count of the points.   I love it when they all get along, with five those moments of peace  don’t happen as often as I would like.  

There is something magical about Christmas lights.  They bring such joy to both kids and adults. Simple Joy.  I love the way baby girls eyes twinkle when she is looking at the tree.  I love the smiles on the boys faces as they take turns each night to turn on the outside lights.  For a few weeks out of the year all is bright and sparkling. I love Christmas lights.  Always have.  I think back to my childhood and remember my grandparents trees and the drives home from visits there. The houses along the  roads were always decorated.  Kids these days don’t get to experience lights like that.  So we will always have outside lights, next here I will be sure to have more.  I don’t care if we are the only house in the neighborhood that does.

  Christmas is a time for celebrating.  We rejoice in the fact Our Savior was born. Yes my kids beleive in Santa but they know the real reason for the season it Jesus.  We will open up gifts that Santa leaves and we will also eat cake that says “Happy Birthday Jesus”  We will be with each other and rejoice in the ultimate gift we have been given, God’s only son.

I want to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to say thank you.  I thank you for taking an interest in our story. That’s truly all my blog is about.   If you read it every time I post or if you just stumbled across it day I thank you.  I thank you for allowing a simple girl like me vent and share my daily adventures with my little loves.  I am looking forward to what 2017 holds for this site and for my book (who knows maybe 2017 will be the year it is finished) I am thankful for all that God has blessed me with and that includes YOU!!!   

From our beautiful chaos to yours enjoy the daily gifts God provides. Dance in the rain, laugh with your kids, and sparkle like Christmas lights.  Life is good when you choose happiness.  

Foster Care… The Calling  of Our Hearts

The message from church yesterday hit home.  I hope you enjoy…..

We all have special gifts and talents that we share in our walk through life. Some are gifted with the ability to teach, some are gifted with the ability to sing, others can build things out of wood, or can preach in front of large crowds, and still others are gifted with the ability to heal the sick through their skills and with the help of medicine.  We all have something we are good at. Something that when we do it the world becomes a better place. We all are also called to do a greater good in this world. Have You answered Your Calling?

By definition a calling is “a strong urge toward a particular way of life or a career.” We are ALL CALLED to do something.  When people think of “those that are called” normally we think of pastors or ministers.  Those that God has chosen to preach His word and to lead His church. And while that is a calling, it’s not the only calling.  God calls people to not only be pastors and ministers, He also calls people to go on mission trips, to feed and clothe the homeless, to sing in church chores, to run fortune 500 companies, to work with troubled youth, to counsel the drug addicts, and yes to even become foster parents.

When I first felt His Calling, I was not really sure what to do.  I had always wanted to work as a social worker but to be on this side was somewhat new to me.  What if the kids that come through our doors don’t get along well with our children, what if the kids don’t like me or my husband, what if I can’t handle their past, what if they don’t like it here,the endless questions all foster parents ask themselves.  All the “What if’s and the Why not’s flooded my mind day and night. They still do.

No one wants to be a foster parent….I mean seriously. It’s not something many wake up one morning and say, gee that sounds fun let’s give it a try.  Being a foster parent is one of hardest things I have ever done.  Imagine loving a child as your own for over a year just to have the court tell you they are going back to the home they were originally pulled from.  Imagine the countless court hearings, MDT meetings, the home inspections and the emergency trips to Walmart in the middle of the night.  And if that’s not enough you deal with all the judgmental people.  At first they say things like “This is so awesome, we can’t wait to help you out” Only to later ask you “Why did you put yourself in this position? This child has some serious issues”  Going through all the red tape to do the simplest of things like cutting the child’s hair or transferring them to a new school, or getting the necessary paperwork so you can take the child to the doctor or to therapy is enough to cause many good foster parents to close thier homes for good. It is definitely not a job for those that quit easy or cave under pressure.  And the comments, oh the lovely comments are not just from strangers or people you go to church with, many come from family members and friends. Hurtful, hateful and down right rude sometimes comments. They never stop. Never.

  When we started out as foster parents the idea of adoption was just a small shimmer of light.  I don’t think we really thought we would ever adopt a child must less five. It was not our plan however it was God’s plan.

  Foster parents are a close group of people.  If you’re a foster parent then you get why others do it.  They understand why you sacrifice for those children that are not really yours.  You understand the love they have for these precious kids, you understand the pain of losing a child you have loved as your own.  You understand why they continue to foster even though the system is broken at best. You understand the desire to want to save them all and you understand the tears falling from their face when they realize it can’t be done.  You get it, you’ve been there, you’ve done that, and yes you would do it again.  Most foster parents would.

God’s calling to serve as foster parents does not simply just go away after you adopt a child or two or five. When He decides your job is done then it will be done.  It’s God’s Will not our own.  I have heard countless times comments like “She (talking about our diva) should have been an only kid” and “Why did you not stop after adopting the first two?” And “Please say your done now”  The truth is I don’t know what are future holds.  Will the move affect our ability to be foster parents? Will we adopt again in the future?  Are we simply done?  I don’t honestly know.  There have been times, many times, I have questioned Why us Lord?  Out of all the people in the world why did You call us to do this task? I have cried myself to sleep on more than one night over concerns and worries for the children He has placed in our path.  I have lost dear friends since the start of our journey, one can not simply drop everything when one has four or five little ones to go hang out at the movies or go out for a quick lunch. I miss those friends, but God’s plan for us is bigger than anything I feel is important.  

Fostering may not have been my plan but through it I have met some wonderful people who’s love for these kids is just as strong as my own.  My family has grown through God’s grace and His faithfulness.   Was it easy to step out and follow His Calling? No, but doing what is right is not always easy.  We have been talked about, we have lost friends, we have been shunned by those that said they would be their to help, and all of that is ok.  It’s not about how people here see us. It’s not about if people here understand why we are doing what we are doing. We don’t answer to them. We answer to Him. And if God feels we are done with 7 kids then we are done, but if He has other plans we will move forward and do His will regardless of what other say about it.

I urge you to listen to God, see what calling He has planned for you. It could be as simple as you spending more time with your family or He could place it on your heart to serve halfway around the world. Whatever it is do it with a joyful heart. Keep your eyes on Him and He will guide your way.  People are going to talk about you no matter what you do so why not do something to glorify God’s plan for you.  Find your part in His big story.  

From our beautiful chaos to yours find your calling and run with it. Don’t let the world stomp on your heavenly treasures. Always keep the faith, love the loveless and hope for a better understanding.