brown skin tone bandages

Our toddler has an obsession with adhesive bandages. She will invent “boo-boos” to wear one. I regularly hear:

  Mom, I NEED a “ban bain”… please, Mommy. See my boo-boo?

She will point to a random part of her body (with no boo-boo evident). I’ll question her, “I think it just itches, Sis.” But she insists.

Basically, she just wants to put stickers all over herself.

The “ban bains” don’t stay on very long. She peals them off and reapplies them until the adhesive weakens or they get folded over. However, every once in a while, she has an actual boo-boo and our options are cartoons or peach colored.

When I saw that Tru-Colour Bandages would be launching this fall, I requested samples right away. And they sent me two colors (one dark and two medium brown shades). They are fabric and nice quality.

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(You can’t even see the darker one here! YAY!! Isn’t that the point?)

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This sassy thing can use both. Right now — at the end of summer — she needs the darker shade. But the skin under her arms is closer to the medium shade (which will likely be the color of her skin in the winter). IMG_0111a IMG_0123a .

Here we are both sporting the medium shade:IMG_0138a .

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I put on a Band-Aid brand fabric bandage to compare (it’s the lightest one below). Moriah did the same thing. I LOVE THE OPTIONS! IMG_0184a IMG_0199a

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I’m looking forward to being able to conceal her boo-boos better!

Seriously. These needed to be invented about 50 years ago.

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

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Zoo Trip

We enjoyed a day at the zoo recently. Moriah was desperate to see an alligator — she talked about it the whole way there! :-) Even after she saw the alligators in person, she did not want to leave. I tried to convince her that other animals would be more interesting to watch (more active), but she couldn’t be convinced.

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She tolerated seeing the other animals mostly. They were not the “main attraction” in her mind.

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She also got to ride the train and carousel while at the zoo. We spent time with friends, too.

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

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Let Justice Roll Down

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When I hear accounts of racial profiling and discrimination across America, I pray hard about how to talk with my brown skinned toddler about injustice. I have the task of training her and imparting certain knowledge that I don’t have as a white woman — and, truly, may not even know I am lacking. (I have written previously about the considerations that we must make as a multiracial family.)

As tensions escalate, I sense that the more significant force behind this unrest is not on whom to place blame for particular incidents, but rather who has the power to change a culture of prejudice.

“How might a transracially adopted black child gain a healthy identity when the world that you’ve created in your home or community does not match this world we live in where . . . [many] don’t care if they grew up in a stable and loving adoptive family? Their skin is still black and according to some, that in and of itself is a crime,” wrote Angela Tucker, a transracial adoptee.

My heart is heavy. All life matters to the Creator.

I am grieved for the mothers of black sons, who — suddenly — upon entering adolescence are no longer cute little boys. They are now profiled as threats.

Thabiti Anyabwile, a father, wrote: “I don’t care about the color of the hands that pull the trigger. They could be pink, brown, sandy. What I care about is the value of my son’s life. What I care about is the dignity and life-destroying devaluing of his life because in this country he is ‘black.’ And the absurdity of it all is that he’s not ‘black’ in every country. Only his own. In Cayman, he was Titus. In Cayman, he was free to be Titus. In the States, he’s ‘a little black boy’ long before he’s ‘Titus.’ And that calculation, the ‘racial’ attribution that happens at the speed of sight, is deadly. It’s deadly.”

Racism and hatred are not new to humanity. Prejudice and arrogance can be inclinations of any culture, heritage, or skin tone.

These are hard, real-life issues of sin. With consequences.

Oh, I long for peace. For shalom – complete peace, wholeness, harmony.

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John M. Perkins writes in his classic book Let Justice Roll Down:

. . . But I think many of us want forgiveness without repentance. I sense this so much as I try to establish relationships with my white brethren in the South. I find that they want my relationship, but they want more to quickly forget the brutality and the injustice that their people put upon many of us . . ..

Ours is not a story of bitterness — it is a story of love and the triumphs of the God of love. But it is a story carved out of the realities of violence and poverty, ending not in some sugarcoated sense of brotherly love but the deep conviction that only the power of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross and the glory of His resurrection can heal the deep racial wounds in both block and white people in America.

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“Reconciliation,” Matthew Henry’s Commentary points out, “is our indispensable duty.”  This ministry, of course, is not possible for those who are not regenerated.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace — Sar Shalom (Isaiah 9:6). I am reminded that reconciliation may be needed in every single relationship at some point (often daily). Christians are compelled to seek reconciliation with one another.

Restoration.

Unity.

Shalom.

The only hope for mankind is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray for the grace needed to train our daughter to be a minister of the Good News and an agent of peace.

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

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almost three

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This is little girl will be 3 years old next month! She is growing and changing every day — we are thankful to know her and raise her.

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This week we had VBS at church. On the first night, Moriah talked all the way home about how great it was. I heard every detail — she even had to mention that she spilled her juice at snack time (and pushed her friend at some point)! Her favorite part was singing, dancing, and watching the puppets.

She decided Daddy is probably “too old” to like puppets. I asked her, “How old is Daddy?” She replied matter-of-factly, “3 ounces.”

Haha! That sure is a big number :)

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

 

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County Fair 2014

This week, we enjoyed a short trip to the County Fair. Moriah attended on Wednesday with Nana, and then returned on Thursday with Mom and Dad. We met up with our cousins in the evening.

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She rode the motorcycles 5 times! It was her favorite ride. (This was the first year she was tall enough to ride any rides — the minimum height is 36″. Thick-soled shoes and her high puff helped!) Haha!aug_fair04 aug_fair05 cut aug_fair06 aug_fair07 cut aug_fair08 aug_fair09

P.S. I look forward to the launch of Tru-Colour Bandanges so her tiny boo-boos are not so obvious! Those band-aids are covering small bug bites that she won’t stop scratching — they are not “wounds”. :-)

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

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pray not for lighter tasks but greater strength

Many nights before bedtime, Moriah will climb up onto her stool so Mommy can prep her hair for bed.

I spritz her head with water, apply a fresh layer of coconut oil, detangle with my fingers, and flat-twist sections into bantu knots. This process takes about 40 minutes. While I work, she watches a movie. (We have worked up to this point! It’s not easy convincing a two-year-old to sit still for anything, let alone to have her hair tugged.) In the morning, the twists are taken down and I can style her soft curls.

Often we skip this nighttime process because it seems time-consuming since I will re-do her hair in the morning. But if I skip it several nights in a row, her hair gets dry and more difficult to manage.

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Last week, as I prepared her hair for bed, I thought about other aspects of life that require deliberate labor only to be undone for another purpose. The temporary “end” isn’t the end at all. The labor was not in vain; moreover, it becomes a step in the process.

Foster care is actually a lot like that.

Last week — within a few days of one another — both of the babies we were caring for returned to family. Since then we have been thinking about them and praying for their families as they transition. This morning I received a text message from a baby’s family member (and new caregiver). She said, “This is the best no sleep ever!”

Yep, that about sums up the last 3 years of my life.

I regularly think my mind and body cannot withstand more sleepless nights with another newborn. After a few weeks of 6 hours of frequently interrupted sleep, I think neither clearly nor quickly. I no longer have energy to [insert any daily task]. AND YET, I somehow love my kids and play and cook and soothe and train and get to appointments on time anyway. That kind of strength does not come from me.

I was moved when I read a quote from W.R. McChesney:

“We pray not for lighter tasks but greater strength.”

I pray for greater strength to live in and navigate this broken world, especially when encountering hurting children who may not know a home with a safe bed nor a table with regular and nutritious meals.

I pray for greater strength as I strive to be a godly parent and caregiver. Parenthood–no matter the path to this position–is often filled with joy and also sorrow.

I pray for greater strength to affirm dignity in difficult people, who may be living with consequences of poor choices.

I pray for greater strength.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

     “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
         his righteousness endures forever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! -The Bible, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (ESV)

Thanks be to God!

He supplies the strength for the tasks He has called us to.

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

 

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Why Not You?

Adoptive families for children in foster care are needed!

This article by Angela Tucker is worth your time.

I certainly understand the challenges that come with foster adoption, and know that not every person is equipped to handle those challenges. However, when I meet prospective adoptive parents who fear the unknowns of foster adoption, I often find myself responding with a variation of – “Why not you?”

summer

The summer has been filled with new babies in the house, HOT weather, and — therefore — lots of time spent indoors. Moriah-bug has felt a bit cooped up. (Mom has felt a bit cooped up.)

We’re making the best of it and looking forward to fall. :)

For now we’re playing inside during the day and Moriah ventures out on the back deck (where it is shaded) in the evenings. Moriah tells me that she’s making cookies for the birds when she’s out there in the sandbox and water table. Haha!

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And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance

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Maddie spent the night this week! It was Moriah’s first sleep over at our house. Every 20 minutes, she told me, “Maddie will sleep in my bed.” Well, at bed time, Maddie was asleep in 15 minutes… and Moriah was still ready to be ornery! She’s was bummed. I was thankful! And I’m thankful for their friendship. I’m sure we’ll have many more opportunities for all-nighters in the future, little lady.

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

 

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Everything To Me — story behind the song

“Everything To Me” is a powerful song by Mark Schultz about his birth mom. I, too, am grateful for the selfless mothers who see beyond today and chose life!

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I must have felt your tears
When they took me from your arms
I’m sure I must have heard you say goodbye
Lonely and afraid had you made a big mistake
Could an ocean even hold the tears you cried

But you had dreams for me
You wanted the best for me
And you made the only choice you could that night

[Chorus]
You gave life to me
A brand new world to see
Like playing baseball in the yard with dad at night
Mom reading Goodnight Moon
And praying in my room
So if you worry if your choice was right
You gave me up but you gave everything to me

And if I saw you on the street
Would you know that it was me
And would your eyes be blue or green like mine
Would we share a warm embrace
Would you know me in your heart
Or would you smile and let me walk on by
Knowing you had dreams for me
You wanted the best for me
And I hope that you’d be proud of who I am

[Chorus]
You gave life to me
A chance to find my dreams
And a chance to fall in love
You should have seen her shining face
On our wedding day
Oh is this the dream you had in mind
When you gave me up
You gave everything to me

And when I see you there
Watching from heaven’s gates
Into your arms
I’m gonna run
And when you look in my eyes
You can see my whole life
See who I was
And who I’ve become

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Love One Another

With each new phone call from Children Services, we have a decision to make: we can either decline or agree to care for the child.

Last week I was faced with establishing whether we could practically and responsibly add a newborn to our clan, which already included two-year-old Moriah and ten-month-old “Baby Bear.” After thinking through sleeping arrangements and testing to ensure three car seats would fit in the backseat of our car, I agreed to pick up “Sugar” from the hospital in a few days.

Although I knew the days (nights) ahead would be tiring, I genuinely looked forward to bringing the little bundle into our home. Sugar would likely be transitioning to a family member in only a few weeks, I was told.

I often say that we love on our foster children when they’re with us and pray for them when they leave us. But, more accurately, our love for the child is demonstrated in how we love the birth family.

Recently I saw a former foster child with her mom while grocery shopping. I was encouraged by mom’s motivation to overcome so much. And she was making positive choices for her daughter’s future!

A few days later Baby Bear’s mom shared that she had been in foster care as a teen. She had lived in three different foster homes. She was “truly grateful” that he was in our particular home. She added, “I’m working on learning to be the mom that I never had. I can’t wait to get my little man back so we can put the past behind us and move forward and never look back again.”

Now, to be fair, we don’t deserve ANY credit for the progress these courageous women are making. And, not everyone sings our praises. Haha! Nevertheless, it is a privilege to witness determination like that – and to know we got to be a small part.

We view our role as foster parents like a relay race. We take our turn running the circuit. There is anticipation as we wait to be handed the baton. There is anxiety that the handoffs might not be smooth. There is exhaustion as we sprint our leg of the race. Yet, in the whole of a child’s life, our turn was just one small part of the team effort.

Plus, as we practice our part, it gets more natural.

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Over the first few days with Sugar, we were showered with love from family and friends. One invited Moriah to spend the night, another brought us dinner, and others messaged me to check in. I was reminded that we are not alone in our care of vulnerable kids – and we really CANNOT do it alone.

That week, Sugar’s case manager asked us to arrange a visit with the family member who was awaiting approval to care for her. I agreed to travel two hours to make the visit easier. Being a guest in the home of your foster child’s family can sound awkward. And I anticipated it would be weird as I sat on the side watching her hold the baby.

Yet, my concerns were eased when I met her. She was kind and welcoming. And appreciative.

She asked me about my faith right away. We shared the same Hope. She was my sister; she was not a stranger after all. She told me that I sounded “calm” on the phone, and she was relieved her grandchild was in the home of a Christian couple.

She shared with me the struggle of not being able to make decisions for your adult children. She repeatedly said, “Every one in the family deals with the consequences.” They were all learning and helping one another, too.

I listened. I shared our story. I listened more. I reassured her that we believe families should be preserved and kept together when possible. But ultimately she encouraged me. I was blessed to spend the afternoon visiting with her.

As I drove home with Sugar asleep in the backseat, I thought about the love I had experienced.

Love is patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never ends.

–The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13

On that day, loving my neighbor did not seem like a “service” but, rather, the truest and most right action. It was fitting to JUST LOVE!

A few days later I was sitting in the local WIC office with Sugar. The nutritionist was asking personal questions related to the baby being in care, and I answered as vaguely as possible without being rude. She did not need to know the details. I finally said, “The babies in our care will likely never remember us. My husband and I believe our real service is to their families. They can trust that their children are safe and loved so that they can fully focus on other things. They can take that time to make changes that will last. Some of them have never been encouraged or given hope.”

Her blank stare was interrupted when she realized I was now silent.

Then she shared her own story.

Nearly 20 years ago, she and her young daughter had left an unsafe home to escape an alcoholic man and his friends. She packed her truck and moved to a college town where she knew no one. She lived in campus housing for families while finishing a degree.

She said she saw her past in many of her clients’ lives. The girls seemed trapped in a cycle. She wanted them to know it could be different.

When she looked up and our eyes met, she said, “I never thought about foster care as a way to a better life for the parents.”

I nodded, and said that we do our best to encourage each mom to press on. We tell her that her child loves her and needs her to be healthy. We try to show her love.

She agreed: “They don’t need to hear more judgment. They already know what brought you into their lives.”

I encouraged the nutritionist to share her personal story more. I added that she might consider becoming a CASA volunteer. As a Court Appointed Advocate, her voice (and experience) might make a difference for teens who don’t want to listen to foster parents. She excitedly took notes and pledged to learn more.

As I drove home from that encounter, I remembered a sign in our home that hangs near photos of each of our foster children. It reads “LOVE MAKES FAMILY.” I think the phrase was originally meant to mean “love is what creates family, not blood.” However–the more I interact with birth families–I am learning that it may mean “love has the power to add people to your family, whether blood or not.”

We have a growing family. And we will continue to say “yes” to new opportunities to love because God enables His people to complete the work to which He has called them.

We pray regularly for birth families — past, present, and future. They are continually on our minds. Moreover, Love has imprinted them on our hearts forever.

 

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Joey and Elaine are a licensed adoptive and foster family in Ohio. They hope to give Moriah a permanent sibling by adopting again. Learn more about their family here.

 

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