Chippin' Away

Moving one day, one minute, one step at a time.

I’m not a superhero February 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 10:31 pm

I have been getting a lot of amazing responses to my latest update about number 5.  You guys are so awesome, and I’m so thankful to have friends and family who are on this crazy ride with us, loving and supporting us through it and in it.

I’ve heard a lot lately something along the lines of “oh, you are so awesome!” or “I could never do what you are doing.”  It’s always so hard for me to respond to those type of statements.  I know the good intention behind it, but I also feel the need to be honest here.  I am no super woman.  We aren’t super parents or super Christians.  We are sinners and we struggle and we screw up.  A LOT.  If you could spy on me during some of my days you’d wonder what in the world type of crazy zoo this family is and what in the world is wrong with that momma???

My good friend, Becky Miller, recently wrote a post that perfectly puts into words what I think when I hear the praise of people.  I’m re-posting it here and I hope you enjoy it.  Becky is a great friend, but more importantly she is a wonderful sister in Christ who fights with us for the orphans in our city.

Please hear me before reading this.  I am NOT offended by anything anyone says to me.  I love all of the support and encouraging words.  This is just for you to ponder and think on and perhaps it will cause you to think about how you can be for the orphan as well.

Foster Parents Are Not Superheroes 

“I could never foster; I wouldn’t have the heart to give a child back after they have been in my home.” This is a common sentiment expressed to parents who are fostering or have fostered, but in saying this, one is making assumptions about something they do not understand. Foster parents are not superheroes; they are not their own breed of people that are stronger than anyone else and thus able to do really hard things and not suffer from it. Additionally, foster parents are not a unique group of people that do not have feelings. They attach to a child just as much as the next person so to assume that foster parents are able to give a child back and not experience great loss is to assume they have less capacity to feel.

Foster care, rather, is an opportunity for the grace of God to be made great in foster parents’ lives.

Most days, foster parents don’t know what the future will hold for the child they love in their home, but they receive the grace they need to trust the Lord and say yes to His sovereign plan. They are not people who can more easily love hard kids, but are given the grace to be able to pour out a parent’s love on a child that may or may not ever respond with affection to their pursuit. Sometimes, on those despairing days, when kids go home, or the effects of trauma have seemed to prevail and win, they are not resilient people, but ones who must bank everything in knowing that their strength is coming from God’s grace to get them through.

Lamentations 3 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Just as the writer of Lamentations is mourning the loss of Jerusalem and being comforted by the Lord, foster parents find solace in the new mercies of the Lord when they are grieving the loss of a child in their home. For twenty verses prior to the author expressing hope, he writes in detail the affliction he faces and the pain he feels. “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.” On and on the author goes, until verse 21 when we see a dramatic shift.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…”

The hard but ever so comforting truth about following the Lord does not mean the absence of pain, but it means that we are not alone in the depths of our sorrow. In the midst of loss, the writer of Lamentations expresses confidence in God. Responding to God’s call to care for the orphan and be a restorer of brokenness does not guarantee a happy ending, but the Lord does promise this: He does not leave you. He is not waiting on a hilltop for you to come out of darkness, but in the valleys, in despair, in loneliness, and during the days that feel unbearable because it is impossible to know when the agony will subside, He is right there with you with his arms wrapped around you.

We are not safe when we avoid things in life that can cause us pain; we are safe because, as believers in Christ, we have the great Comforter in the midst of pain and suffering. As the author of Lamentations writes, His mercies are new every morning and this is the promise in which foster parents stand.

 

Recap: Our Journey February 12, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 11:37 pm

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Heal my heart and make in clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from nothing to eternity
-Lyrics from Hosanna by Hillsong

This verse and this song have quickly become me and Jeff’s heartbeat as we have walked through foster care and adoption. God truly broke our hearts for the orphans that live right here in our neighborhoods. These children, the ones in foster care, need families to love them forever or for a short time, and we believe that we, as Christians, are especially equipped to do that. We have a love given us by Jesus Christ that we can give freely and fully no matter how long a child stays in our home. In fact, we consider it an honor that the Lord of Creation, the One who knit all of these children in their mother’s womb, would allow us to be a part of their story. He allows another mother’s children to call me mommy and it is both miraculous and extremely painful, and it is God’s love to me daily.

Jeff and I were introduced to the foster care system through our church, The Austin Stone. At the time, we were newly married kids trying to figure out how we could serve the church. When the church offered a class to become certified to babysit children in foster care, we thought to ourselves, “of course we can do that!” So, we headed to the church offices to complete our CPR/First Aid training, get our background checks completed, and attend an information session on the foster system in Texas.

We left that training in pieces. We were undone. The numbers and statistics of the amount of children in care, the probability of them aging out of the system having never had a family, and the prospect of these children growing up on the streets or in jail was just too much to bear. The Lord truly broke our heart for what breaks His. We decided at that point we would be certified to provide respite care for kids in foster care. And then, needless to say, it became very clear to us that the Lord wanted us all in on this. We said “yes” to His call on our lives to become certified foster parents and our crazy story began.

We had two boys in our home for about six months. They ended up being reunified with their mother and it was a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive power. He even allowed us to see them recently, nearly 4 years later, playing with their family at a local park nearby. God was so good to give us that peace of mind and affirm that He is trustworthy and good.

A month after the boys left, three precious girls walked through our door. They were 6, 22 months, and 5 months old and terrified, dirty, and traumatized from being removed from their mother and father’s care earlier that day. Ten months later we were able to adopt them officially and three months after that our son was born. The last 4 years with these kids has been full to say the least. Full of love, trials, pain, healing, hurting, learning, growing, and prayers upon prayers. And God has been good just as He promises to be. I can look back and see this amazing story unfolding and I smile as I type this. In fact, just recently, my daughter’s therapist said to me, “Cara. I’m looking at a securely attached girl. That’s amazing.” We’ve put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for sure as a family, but God has been faithful to heal and teach and has proven Himself to be exactly who He says He is.

About 3 weeks ago we got a call that would once again change our lives for the crazy. We found out that the girls’ biological mom was going to be having a baby boy, and the state was going to take custody of him at birth. CPS was looking for a home for him and wondered if we’d take him in to be with his older sisters. Without much thought, we said “yes” to that and a week and a half later a tiny little baby boy came through our door. We are once again on the foster care journey. We don’t know if he will be ours forever, or how long this case will go on, or what is going to come out of all of this. But we know God is good. We know He is faithful. We know that He is in control. We know that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and in Him, we have everything we need.

 

It’s a boy!

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 8:24 pm

Did I get your attention?  Then, keep reading!

I’ve been thinking about dusting off the blog for several months now.  It’s been over a YEAR since I posted here and, well, life has been busy and this has taken a back seat to everything.  But, I think I have the perfect reason to begin posting again….we have a baby!

About a month ago we found out that the biological mother of our three precious girls was having a baby.  CPS called us and asked us if we would be willing to take him into or home since we have his sisters.  Without much hesitation we said “yes” and find ourselves, once again, in the world of foster care.  Today, baby boy is 3 weeks old, and we’ve had him about as long.

I won’t be writing much about his story, his mom and dad, or the circumstances that brought him into our home, but I will be documenting our journey and the many feelings and lessons that are learned from being a foster parent again.

So, friends, I am a mother of 5!  Let the crazy begin! (or continue….)