moment of unnaming

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Last week I had my “welcome to Holland” moment.  I have been living here for months, but my emotions finally caught up and I was broken.  It hit me like a wave of truth.  This is real.  I have been coping with our different-than-anticipated life for some time.  Years, actually.  This latest twist has been challenging but manageable, I thought.  We have a good routine (truly).  Yet, it’s hard — both physically and mentally.

You don’t have to be a parent of a child with disabilities to know what I’m talking about. It’s the human experience to find ourselves in foreign territory.

Dan Allender calls these “moments of unnaming”:

But the story we are to live and write doesn’t truly begin until we face what we have lost and then turn to see the horizon of uncertainty ahead. Our story will gain momentum and depth only to the degree that we honestly embrace both loss and fear. … If we enter our story’s heartache, we will hear the whisper of the name that will one day be ours. Because we live in a fallen world, we will encounter abandonment, betrayal, and shame. These experiences are inevitable, but they also provide the context necessary for coming to grips with how we will live our lives. In the midst of affliction, we become either our truest or our most false self.

In those moments of unnaming, when we have lost ourselves, we must remember to return to our past redemptions to find God’s marks of glory on our abandonment, betrayal, and shame. We wrongly believe that we will be happy if we can escape the past. But without our past are hollow and plastic beings who have only common names and conventional stories. When we enter into our story at the point we lost our name, we are most likely to hear the whisper of our new name. Remember, God is still writing.

We have often been witnesses to God’s mighty hand this last year.  I wish we could share more specifics but, in His sovereignty, God knew that being foster parents would isolate us.  We simply cannot talk about a BIG part of our lives.

Moreover, we have decided to set up to more barriers to keep our kids healthy the next six months, in particular.  Walls may help prevent exposure to sickness, but they are also confining.  For me, I felt trapped this week: no sunrise coming over the wall.  Just a long, lonely winter ahead.

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I had to mourn that shattering of shalom.  Again, Allender reminded me that “tragedy always moves our story forward in a way that shalom could never accomplish.”

What grace!  Just when I started to think I understood that my life isn’t my own, God took me deeper.  Showing me more of my own weakness.  Showing me His power.

This is His work of conforming me into His likeness.  I am a new creation, yet I am continually being renewed.  I don’t need to see everything to get there.  He is the Author and Sustainer.

I need more of Him.

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home.

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April Eleventh

Eight years ago today, I was returning home after our rehearsal dinner. It was my last night as a single person. Our wedding was the next day! My heart was full of excitement and anticipation about what might lie ahead for me and Joey as a couple.

Five years ago today, we assembled a wooden bunkbed in one of our empty bedrooms. We had just completed our pre-service training and submitted an application to be foster parents. We would begin our home study process in the coming months. Our weary hearts clung to hope and trusted the Lord for what might lie ahead for our household.

Tonight, as my faithful husband studied for an exam in another part of the house, I drank hot tea with our three young kids. We sipped our peppermint drinks from mugs that Joey and I received as wedding presents. My 4-year-old reminded me that, earlier in the day, I had suggested we might bake a cake for what she called our “celebration day”. I agreed that should be on the agenda for tomorrow while Daddy is at work. Then, I helped the two oldest climb into the bunkbed and held their hands until they fell asleep. I prayed for all our kids, with my heart full.

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Lately, my heart is stirring. It’s nestled in a place between feeling “carefree in the care of God” while also restless for the Day our broken world will be made new.

As I wait, I look back on my adult life.

When one’s days are long and a dry season seems to linger, it’s good to step back and remember what God has done (and is doing). He is good! He is orchestrating our lives for His glory. The LORD is sovereign and holds all things in His hand.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

On this anniversary eve, I trust my life to the One who is directing it.

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio..

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problematic Foster-to-Adopt mentalty

Foster-to-adopt is not a term that our agency uses. The licensing specialist who initially worked with us made a point to say, “That doesn’t really exist.”  She emphasized that, in Ohio, a family can be licensed to foster and also be licensed to adopt at the same time. Some people confuse this with fostering IN ORDER TO adopt. Motive aside, the foster parent is obligated to support reunification since the goal of state involvement is typically to reunify the child with birth parents.

To say that a case is “foster-to-adopt” (while the child is still a foster placement) is problematic. And, unfortunately, many less-than-ethical agencies use this term when marketing to potential foster families (hopeful adoptive families).

First, in my opinion, using this term sets up the foster parent (temporary caregiver) to make comparisons. Many caregivers will think, “Life is ‘better’ in my home because this child will have more ____ while here.” That type of thinking is a slippery slope. Realistically, a caseworker is not searching for a better home. She is connecting the birth family with resources so that THEIR home becomes safe, healthy, and stable and – therefore – the child can return home.

I believe kids need foster parents who love without hesitation, who pray for their first families, who dream and empower the children to reach their potential. They need cheerleaders. They need caregivers who focus on the children’s needs, not solely the adults’ desires for a permanent parenthood.

Second, it sets up perspective adoptive parents for “false hope” and heartache. Plain and simple: if you want to adopt, private adoption is the ideal route for you. Not foster care. A foster parent’s job is to support reunification. Foster families are always “Plan B” only AFTER every possible means of reunification (or kinship placement) is exhausted.

I understand those longings for children. And I understand the hurdles to adoption. But foster care is not merely the cheapest route to “forever” families. (I don’t like that term either.) The mission of state foster care is to help the whole family, not just the kids.

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Third, in my personal experience, when a birth parent learns that we are licensed to both foster and adopt, he or she feels insecure about our intent. They often think that we secretly hope they will fail. Our attempts to encourage and support reunification are sometimes met with skepticism. And I get it. I would hate it, too, if I felt like every slip up was quietly celebrated. No thanks!

This last point bothers me most. I know that many birth families WANT to do better. They may not know HOW to do better. They need help. And, for them, temporary foster care will likely do what it’s intended to do: To offer the support they need to change the course of their lives.

For these reasons, when we are asked if we are a “foster-to-adopt” family, I immediately say no. And yet we have adopted from foster care.

And we would like to adopt again, probably from foster care.

But we are NOT fostering in order to adopt only. I struggle to communicate that difference that when we talk about our family’s situation.

I absolutely support adoption if reunification is not possible. Nevertheless, the term “foster-to-adopt” can create division and misconception. And, sadly, it’s often misused for that reason.

This document does a good job explaining the role of a child welfare agency.

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio..

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healing relationships

As I stood in the kitchen, I could hear “M” playing in her bedroom. Little Bubby was playing in the room too. She was talking to him, but he was not listening nor even looking at her. She was pretending she is the mom and he is the dad — and she was telling him all about their baby.

She didn’t care that he’s distracted in parallel play. She didn’t care at all that he wasn’t really playing with her.  But she did shut the door to prevent him from wandering away.  She simply does not want to be alone. She needs a friend.

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Our little 3-year-old needs people near her all the time. She constantly asks if she can get in the pack-n-play with Baby Sis.  If she isn’t near one of them, she is resting her hand on me. She needs community and to connect.

Sometimes, as parents, we operate as if children do not need family.

Humans are designed to need healthy, consistent interaction from Day 1. Unfortunately, many children do not get that care.

This past weekend, Joey and I were able to attend a parenting conference.  In particular, this training focused on children with difficult pasts: any child who had a stressful infancy or childhood; any child who had experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect; any child who was harmed by someone that should have protected him or her; any child who was exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero; even any child born prematurely who was unable to be held while in NICU. Children with these histories, are impacted neurologically. Simply put, their brains do not respond in the same way a child’s brain with a healthy beginning does.

Adoptive parent Terri Coley said: “A child from a hard place needs much more than a safe place to live.”  The premise of the training is this: Relationships heal what relationships harmed.

Deep healing takes intentionality.  Dr. Karyn Purvis said, “There is no quick fix for a child who has been harmed. … If you understand your child’s needs and you’re able to give it, tremendous healing can occur. It’s gonna take time.”  She recommends Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI).  It’s a balance of structure and nurture (Eph. 6:4).  It is purposeful parenting.  TBRI requires me to invest myself in my children.

I recently told a friend: “It’s tough to be an introvert with clingy kids.”  I recognize (and do my best to overcome) my natural tendency to seek Me Time.  Even though I want to connect with the kids, I sometimes get “lost” in the day-to-day tasks.  This is nearly every parent’s struggle, too.

I get it: Parenting is hard.  It’s exhausting, even when you have the resources you need.  For now, I am so thankful for a preschooler who reminds me, “I need you!”  Or when her actions say: I need my family!

I know that she will stop asking one day, “Mommy, will you hold me?”  Yet she will always need connection in an age-appropriate way.  As God enables, I will strive to meet her emotional needs.

Keep up the good (hard) work, moms and dads! Your kids need you. 🙂

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home.

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Of Loss

My experience as a foster parent is limited. We have cared for only nine children and, by the providence of God, we adopted one of those children He placed in our home. During these past four years, though, I have learned that foster care and adoption involve transition and change. And, usually, loss too.

Even though I know it comes with the territory, I don’t always feel prepared for these changes.

  • I hurt with fellow foster parents who are heartbroken for the kids who have left. I hurt with foster families who are doing all they can to allow a child with challenging behavior to remain in their home.
  • I hurt for birth families who are struggling during the separation.
  • I hurt with children who are away from their birth family — whether temporarily or permanently.

The losses are real. The pain is real.

Sometimes I feel completely surrounded by hurting people.

Even in adoption, I know it is not win-win. Our beautiful daughter has been with us since birth. I realize I have that privilege to raise my feisty girlie because her first mother doesn’t. She will always be regarded with respect in our home — I feel a deep debt to her as I raise our daughter. Yet there is a void in our daughter’s life and in her birth mother’s life.

I can’t imagine the sorrow (sprinkled with comfort, in some cases) that a birthmom feels when she sees her child loved and cared for by another woman. That struggle could become unbearable. (I know each adoption is different. The circumstances and agreements are different. Some children enter a new family after relinquishment, others after removal by the state. I’m not an expert. But I am calling us ALL to feel with and hurt for one another.)

Hurting people often act in fear. They do or say things that they wouldn’t otherwise. There’s a common saying: “Hurting people hurt people.”  And it’s true.  Foster families (both the caregivers and the other children in the home) endure it often.  Although it still hurts, understanding WHY a person is behaving a certain way helps us to empathize.

“Everyone needs compassion, a love that’s never failing / Let mercy fall on me …”

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I don’t respond well to accusations, snide remarks, or rude behavior.  YET I know I could be that person making those remarks tomorrow (or today) if I let my focus shift away from what God has done and is doing and onto myself.  I could easily be the anxious one.

In these challenging times, God calms my spirit and reminds me that He is sovereign:

“If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.”  Isaiah 54:15-17

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God is the Sovereign One! He is with me. He cares. My well-being is His concern.

I like what Matthew Poole’s commentary says: “Both the blacksmith that makes all warlike instruments, and the soldier that uses them, are my creatures, and totally at my command, and therefore they cannot hurt you without my leave [i.e. permission].”

My pastor just finished a series in Esther. He put it this way: “Esther affirms the providence of God. Nothing just “happens” in life. In fact, if just one event could occur outside of the sovereign influence and care of the Lord, then we could not trust Him. But it can’t. The Lord is in control of everything” (Seeing God When You Can’t See God, February 1, 2015).

Even in transition. Even in change. Even in the midst of loss, God cares.

Understand this: That difficult person in your life is placed there by God. “His life, his strength, his skill, are all in my hands, and he can do nothing which I shall not deem it best to permit him to do. . . . I bare [i.e. confirm that I] made him, and he is wholly under my control and at my disposal” (Barnes’ Notes).

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Life, in general, often involves loss, death, estrangement, removal, change.  We cannot escape heartache in this broken world.

I am learning to let myself fully feel loss and to grieve with / for my children and their first families. I don’t always do it well. But I know we can learn from one another. We can listen and remind ourselves that God is at work in and through these circumstances. One day He will make everything right again.

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

 

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Perspective of a Christian Foster Parent

 

If you’ve been to SeaWorld, you are familiar with the “splash zone” (a.k.a. soak zone). Part of the show involves a giant killer whale intentionally splashing the audience with water.

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At these attractions, many people purposefully sit close to the action (some even wear rain ponchos). Others sit way up top, enjoying the show while avoiding the water.

A few months ago I told my husband that, as a foster family, I often feel like we are in the “splash zone.”  We are close enough to hurting families that we, too, feel the consequences of their choices.

It can be slippery and dangerous in the splash zone.

It’s interesting to me that in the Bible, immediately after chronicling the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11, the writer says in Hebrews 12:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Sin so easily entangles us all, doesn’t it?

Even in faith and obedience, we need to be reminded that we live in a broken world. Remain on this course while keeping your gaze on the Savior. He is perfect, yet He stayed near sinners while on earth. He knows what it’s like to be in the splash zone.

As the Church gets close to our hurting neighbors, we see first hand that the Enemy devalues family. Satan does everything he can to pull families apart. He is like a giant killer whale. And foster families are getting drenched.

I get weary of being wet.  To be honest, I often want to move to the top row.

So I turn to the One who does not grow weary:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. 

              -The Bible, Isaiah 40:28-31 (NASB)

Our particular family is not anything special. We know we are actually quite ordinary. We are weak, in fact.  And YET the Defender of the fatherless says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

This is where God has called our family for now. To remain in the splash zone.

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Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heartLord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need YouWhere sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in meLord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need YouTeach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stayLord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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Caring for Baby with Prenatal Drug Exposure

In our state, all perspective foster and adoptive families are required to complete a checklist of characteristics as part of the home study.  Couples and individuals must determine the “type” of children they are willing to consider.  Questions include: gender, age, race, family history, medical conditions, mental and emotional health, education, personality, behavior, etc.  It’s lengthy and (for us) overwhelming as every possible condition is considered.

One section that seemed particularly intimidating was related to maternal drug use.  The form distinguished between babies born addicted, babies who had positive toxicology screens at birth, and babies with prenatal drug exposure. At our initial licensing, we did not understand the differences. We checked “will consider” to each.

Now, six years later, we are NOT experts by any means but we have learned what works — and what does not — for infants with these birth histories. The first few weeks are very challenging; controlling the environment is critical. 

I no longer hesitate to accept newborns with drug addiction. We can give them a stable, loving start so they’re prepared to return home when it’s time.

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We were particularly helped by a handbook developed by PICC. We were trained using their therapeutic handling principles, including baby wearing, swaddling, and controlling environmental stimuli.

I’m a big fan of swaddling for all babies! I love little baby burritos..

I am not qualified to offer medical advice. I do, however, want to offer a few suggestions based on our experience. AND I’d love to get feedback from other foster and adoptive parents on what has worked for you! Please comment below!

For these newborns with difficult backgrounds, the symptoms will vary. The type of drug, the length of use, frequency of use, and the nutrition of birth mother are all factors.  Do research on the particular drug, if possible (resources linked below).

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Signs and Symptoms might include:

-tremors /jitteriness

-pronounced Moro reflex (feeling of falling when the baby throws arms out and stiffens to support self)

-increased muscle tone

-sometimes difficult to comfort and settle

-over-active and agitated

-severe colic

-sensitivity to light (hiccuping, sneezing and frequent yawning are signs of over-stimulation)! This can be the biggest tip off that you need to reduce stimuli.

-exaggerated sucking reflex

-loose stools

Finnegan Scoring System is used to assess these babies before discharging home with caregiver. Many are treated with morphine while withdrawing. Ask your hospital about your newborn’s score. (Our local hospital requires score of less than 8 every 4 hours prior to being discharged.)

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Tips for Caregiver:

-swaddle

-wear baby in wrap or carrier close to parent’s chest (frequent skin to skin contact is great too)

-offer pacifier

-dim lights at home

-reduce noise and fragrances in the home (we are SO GRATEFUL when our friends do not wear perfume or scented lotion)

-hold baby in “C position” (bend knees upward toward chest and curl back forward slightly)

-soothe baby by moving him up and down (vertical rock) in head-to-toe movement (keep baby swaddled and in C position); some babies like to be in a swing but bouncers are often too stimulating

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Resources:

Toolkit for Children Prenatally Exposed; distributed by Macomb Intermediate School District. I found the chart most helpful.

Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC), (their handbook was helpful or try these therapeutic handling tips!)

The Happiest Baby on the Block

The Nature of Nurture : Biology, Environment, and the Drug-Exposed Child

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home.

 

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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?”

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home.

 

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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 “M” 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.”

Of course, 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 “M” 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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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home.

 

 

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ReMoved

Any child has the potential to exhibit challenging behavior. And children who have experienced trauma, especially, may act out or try to create drama in their foster home — often because it’s all they’ve ever known. They simply are not comfortable in a quiet, conflict-free home. Other children may be “triggered” by a smell, a room, a person; and, therefore, respond to the memory in a confusing and challenging way for foster parents.

We have been there.

And it was difficult. The challenging behaviors happened (seemingly suddenly) after three months of relative “expected” behaviors. Moreover, we did not feel the child’s case worker understood the situation. She said we were “inexperienced parents.” Yet we knew the behavior was not “typical” and the child needed therapy. We also believed the safety of a younger, smaller child in the home was compromised by dismissing the aggressions.

After months of pleading for intervention, we asked for the child to be moved. We were able to start some services before the child returned to a safe family member’s home.

Disrupting that placement was not an easy decision. We did not take it lightly. We cried over it. We advocated for the child until the very end.

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When I first watched the short film, ReMoved, I thought of our experience.  The couple who created this film were inspired to make it while in foster parent training.

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ReMoved is a powerful film and worth 13 minutes of your time. You can watch the entire piece online — free. You can even download a copy. 

This — my past, my history, my story — is not my fault. It’s not because of me. And it doesn’t have to be what defines my future. I am loveable. I am worthy of care.

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Originally created for the 168 Film Festival, ReMoved follows the emotional story through the eyes of a young girl taken from her home and placed into foster care.

After winning Best Film and Audience Choice at the 168 Film Festival, as well as winning Best Film at the Enfoque Film Festival and being an official selection at the Santa Barbara Independent Film Festival, we’re extremely excited to share ReMoved online.

“It would be impossible to fully understand the life and emotions of a child going through the foster care system, but this short narrative film portrays that saga in a poetic light, with brushes of fear, anger, sadness, and a tiny bit of hope.” -Santa Barbara Independent

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Elaine and her husband are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home.

 

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