August 30, 2010


So I’ve been a little MIA as of late.  I haven’t really felt much like posting lately (more on that later.), and things have just been so quiet around here (with the exception of that Hallelujah Corus singing the soundtrack to my life.).

Our little family has been soaking up sharing some undivided attention.  We’ve been enjoying the carefree life that is only having one child – going to the store whenever we want without acquiring a mind splitting headache, going to dinner and just having fun, going to the park, hangin’ with friends – so many things that we haven’t been able to do with such abandon in months.  We’ve even gone on a couple of impromptu road trips – because we don’t have to get travel approval!  Ha!

Needless to say, we are enjoying a little down time.

We have gotten several phone calls the last couple of weeks, but none we felt that we could say yes to.  Most involved either very large sibling groups, physical aggression, or older boys with no background info.  So we’re just waiting, and enjoying life.  Waiting to see what God’s got for us next – because I just have this funny feeling he’s about to pull a fast one on us.

Sylvie’s first birthday is also coming up (how in the world did that happen?!?!) so I’ve been planning that along with two baby showers for friends.  Fun stuff.  Good stuff. 


Anyway – I’m back in business, no more slackin.  Maybe I’ll post some Sylvie videos soon for her Aunties and Uncles.

August 23, 2010

Seeing Fruit

This weekend we got to have a very sweet visit with some of our very favorite kids in the universe.  Mena and Cassandra lived with us from September 2008 through June 2009, and we love these girls somethin’ fierce.  Luckily, they also have two incredible siblings who we’ve gotten to build relationships with too.  The girls ended up being adopted by their aunt and uncle, and we’ve made a strong effort to keep in contact.  They speak almost exclusively Spanish – but we muddle through conversations and try our hardest to get to know them.

I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to get to stay in contact with them.  It is one of the only fostering situations where we continue to get to see the fruit of fostering.  We get to watch four beautiful kids grow up, we get to hear excited squeals when they find out we’re coming to visit, and we get to be a faithful source of love and consistency for them.  What. a. blessing.

We picked the kids up and went to the park.  We barbequed for dinner, played around the lake, played on the playground, and had a few good rounds of hide and seek.  On the way home we picked up some ice cream, and when it was time to drop them off we got questions of when the next time we could visit would be.















It’s been four months since we’ve gotten to see the kids, and we were a little bit afraid that Mena wouldn’t remember us because she’s so little.  But when we got there she lit up and was attached to us at the hip the whole visit.  When I mentioned to her uncle that we were afraid she wouldn’t remember us, he replied, “Oh, no.  She is always going around the house saying ‘Maggie? Maggie?’.”  Melts my heart.

When the girls left our home we were so worried.  We were afraid for their safety and for their future.  But it is clear that they are just where they should be!  They are happy and healthy.  Just goes to show that sometimes (ha!) God knows better than we do.  I’m so happy to get to keep in contact with these four.  I can’t wait to go to Cassandra’s graduation, see Jose driving for the first time, see Mena start school.

As we’re feeling a bit gun shy after our experience with the boys, I keep reminding myself what blessings we have encountered because of fostering.  I would not in a million years give up the relationship we have with these kids and their family.  It is when you get to see the fruit of fostering that you are assured that it is all worth it.

August 22, 2010

Project 365 – Week 26

Major Fail.  We lost the charger for our good camera….so until we get a new one we’re left to the iPhone for pictures.  Boo.  Anyway….GREAT week.


Sylvie girl loves the swings now.  I’m pretty sure we hit ‘em up three times just this weekend.





We got to go to a party for a friend’s 3rd birthday.

Sylvie and her friend Zack had lots of fun in the water.

IMG_0028  ….and eating grass.IMG_0031


Who are those monkeys in that tree?  Can you see them?  Do you recognize those beautiful faces?



My sewing machine broke this week. (Actually my mom’s sewing machine.  I guess I should give her a call and let her know.)  It would be very, very sad – except that my wonderful husband bought me a NEW ONE!


This is me marveling  over this wonderful piece of machinery.

I’ve never been so in love with an inanimate object.


Sylvia has just really started getting into her baby doll.  She gives it to me to pat, hold, and kiss, and then it’s her turn.  It’s really very cute.




And sometimes I get a little snuggle in there too.  Which is just the absolute best.  Love that girl.

August 19, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Having gone on vacation I got a bit behind on questions people have sent me via e-mail and the formspring box (right column).  I thought I’d just do a post answering a few – the rest I’ll answer by e-mail.


How do you prepare kids to return to their birth families?

Oh, this is difficult.

I think that part of it is your mind frame from the minute the kids arrive at your house.  Although we try our very hardest to make kids feel at home, and to let them know that we love them – we also have to keep in mind, these are not our kids.  We try to be extremely open about talking about their birth families, discussing what they miss about home, talking about their favorite memories, and making connections with family whenever possible.  Also in situations where it has been possible, we have tried to form bonds with the family that the kids will be going to – so that we can continue to help with the transition even after they’ve left.  In other words, we just try our best not to let ties with family become any more strained or severed than they already are.

Sometimes we have very little notice of a move.  As in less than 24 hours.  In these situations it is difficult to do any prepping with the kids.  When we have had significant notice we discuss it regularly,  (regardless of our true feelings) we talk it up and make it an exciting move, and we continue any relationship we’ve been able to foster with the next placement or family so that the kids are not afraid of us just disappearing after the move.

I think mostly it comes down to being very open to talking with the kids about their feelings, emotions, and thoughts surrounding their family and a potential move home. Of course every situation is different….and what is helpful with one kid is never helpful with the next.



How do you fit in the bad realities of life when fostering? Let me give an example - What about when you and your husband have a heated discussion? I want to foster, but I know the other trials of my life aren't going to stop because I've chosen it.

This is a hard one.  Goodness knows that life doesn’t pause when new kids come to your home.  I think that one of the most important things that we can give kids who come to us is a picture of how a healthily functioning family works.  This doesn’t mean that my husband and I never disagree in front of the kids – it means that we show them what it is to work through a disagreement, apologize for wrongs, and love each other anyway.  It doesn’t mean that I never get frustrated with the kids when they are being completely annoying.  It just means that when I do get frustrated and I am not loving or kind, that I apologize to them for the way I acted and ask for their forgiveness.  It’s not about being perfect, but it is about showing the kids how to appropriately deal with our imperfections.  Because unless you’ve met someone I haven’t, there are no perfect families – especially when you throw a bunch of transition and change into the mix!

Does this make sense at all?  I hope so.



How does the agency address the fact that you clearly have strong religious beliefs--is it assumed ok to shape the foster kids based on those beliefs?

The agency doesn’t really address this topic much.  I think mostly because if you took out all of the foster parents with strong religious beliefs (whatever they may be) there wouldn’t be many of us left.

There are a few guidelines though.  If the bio parents, or child(ren) have a religious affiliation prior to coming into foster care, then the bio parents can of course ask that the child be allowed to practice those beliefs.  If we had a child placed with us who was Jewish, and their parents, or the child themselves, asked for that to continue to be a large part of their lives, then we would respect that and support that however we could – as would the agency.  Having said that, I can only remember one case from my casework or fostering experiences where this has come up.  It’s pretty rare.

When we have kids placed with us, they do generally have to go to church with us on Sunday morning, because they cannot stay home alone.  However, we not ever, and never will force a child to believe what we do (I’m not sure that’s possible anyway), pray with us, or participate in our beliefs.



On a completely different note…

One of my favorite foster mom bloggers recently gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Her blog is Noisy. Colorful. Lively.  She also blogs about her fostering experiences.  She is super real, love her heart, and she makes me chuckle to boot!  To be honest I don’t usually do these award-ish things, but I have to tell you that I love her blog – and if nothing else, I wanted to give her a shout out!

image So now I’m supposed to pass this on to some other beautiful bloggers I read – which will be hard for no other reason than because I have to narrow it down!  I read a lot of good blogs – no joke!


First, I’ll pass it to Courtney at Storing Up Treasures.  She’s a Mama of 10 kiddos – some via her body, some via adoption, all via God.  I love her perspective and her honesty.  And there’s the fact that any woman that mothers 10 children deserves an award occasionally.  Seriously.


Also would like to hand it off to another fellow foster mom at Fast Times of the Wentzels.  She and I, you’d think we got on the phone and planned out our blog posts some days.  I mean, sometimes they’re so similar it’s a little weird.  But, I love knowing that someone gets what I’m saying!


Third I’ll hand it to Jen at Jendoop.  She and her husband just got their very first foster placement, and I’m very excited (and nervous!) for them.  She’s got a great heart, and they are going to be wonderful foster parents!


Last I’ll send it over to Maura at Fostering Awareness.  Love her photography – and her kids are stinkin’ cute!  She’s also a foster mom, and has a beautiful heart to boot.


So, you should check them out.  I’m sure there are 50 more blogs I could have put on this list – but my baby girl is crying in her crib, gotta go!

August 17, 2010


  The time period after children leave our home to the time new children come to join us always feels like a bit of a crossroad.  For just a few days, or a couple of weeks, we are not foster parents, and it’s during these times that it seems to occur to us that this is a choice -  as opposed to when we have children placed with us and it just is, it is just our life.  But it is during these times that I sometimes come to the realization that I could wake up tomorrow and decide not to do this anymore.  I doubt anyone would question us, it’s not a decision I think we’d have to defend – that would just be it.


Except for that part about fostering being what God has asked us to do.

You know.

Minor details.


But it is during these transitions that I tend to reevaluate.  Is this still what we should be doing?  Is this what is best for our family?  Can we continue to do this?  Would life be easier if we didn’t?  (duh.) 

When in all reality, there is only one question I should be asking.


I just recently listened to this sermon by Francis Chan (love listening to him – incredible wisdom.) where he is discussing a major crossroads in his life.  He talks about how he is only ever about 80% sure of any decision he makes – culminating from lots of thinking and praying (which he calls ‘prinking’, “I just prink, and prink, and prink.” Ha!).  At some point in there, you start feeling more peace one way or the other.  This is how he came to the conclusion to resign as the pastor at his church to leave and do inner city ministry.


He talks about how several people have come to him and lamented about how they wish they could do that.  They wish they could do something that radical for God, but they just can’t.  It’s not feasible, it’s not responsible, it’s not possible.  His response?  Of course you can, and of course it is.

He goes on to share one of his favorite verses in the bible: James 5:17.  Elijah was a man, just like us.  Elijah, who through prayer caused draught and then rain.  Elijah, whose cry to God brought the life back to a young boy.  He’s just like us.


If Elijah could do these things, then I am certain that with God we can continue to foster, that it will be best, that it will be fruitful.  I am certain that the only question I should be asking is,

“Is God asking it of me?”

Yes?  Well, ok then.

August 15, 2010

Project 365 – Week 25

Well, we’re back from vacation.  Always good to get home.

We had an incredible time.  We visited Washington where one of my sisters lives.  We spent a couple days in Seattle, a couple in Forks (but not so we could stalk the poor people who have been run over by Twilight fever), and several on the Olympic Peninsula on the beach.  What they say is true – it’s rarely sunny in Washington, and it rains a lot – but it was still a great trip, and we got a couple sunny days!

I’m going to apologize ahead of time, because I’m going to post a billion pictures of vacation for the family folk out there!



Sylvie’s first plane ride!  And for a busy girl, she actually did pretty well!


Sylvie napping on Daddy in downtown Seattle.





Pike’s Place Market



Sylvie and her Nana



 IMG_8093 On the pier overlooking the sound.



Wild Men. IMG_8104 IMG_8128

Sylvie exploring the woods.

IMG_8131 IMG_8135

Happy Desmond with his Mommy.


Sweet girl.

IMG_8156 IMG_8168 IMG_8217

A bunch of monkeys.



Exploring the Hoh National Rainforest.


All tuckered out.


Our yard overlooking the ocean.



  IMG_8253 IMG_8260

Sylvie soaking up lovin’ from the fam.


…and then deciding to be a little dramatic.  (She’s good at that.)


Desmond and Daddy.




(Believe it or not…there are more to come.)

August 6, 2010

10 Months.

Whew, girl.  You are a force to be reckoned with.

You don’t sit still for more than about 15 seconds at a time.  Even when you’re nursing.  I’m not exaggerating.  You have places to go and things to see – you have lots to figure out in this world!  This month you’ve managed to figure out how to get a twist-top lid off, you opened my phone and dialed 911 (not a joke.  they called me back a few seconds later to make sure all was well.),  you’ve learned how to get out of your straps in your highchair (leading to a heart attack for Mommy when you decided to see how far it was to the floor),  and you’ve figured out how to take the rubber bands off that we use to keep you out of the cabinets – so you’ve taken free reign over those as well.

The thing is – is that you’re just so cute when you’re doing all of these things, that it’s hard for me to even care!  And you’re not even being ornery – you’re just exploring!  Reminds me an awful lot of someone else I know – you know, the one that you now lovingly call ‘Dada’.



Now you call me ‘mama’, and your Daddy ‘dada’, and your newest is ‘Nana’ (which you can be sure, melts her heart every time.).  You also mimic our voice inflections now too – so even when you don’t get the word, you babble with the same inflections and think you are big stuff.  You also love to blow raspberries, and smack your lips.

You can crawl incredibly fast now.  You’ve also figured out how to stand un-assisted, and you can do it for quite a while.  You have also just taken your first steps this week – yesterday you made it four steps!  We’re trying to get it on video, but you refuse to do it for the camera.  When you can’t reach something you get up on your chubby little tippy toes and stretch as hard as you can – so. cute.

Speaking of cute – you laugh at everything.  Anytime you hear someone else laugh, you give a little chuckle.  Anytime you think you’ve done something really big, you laugh at yourself, like a little verbal pat on the back.  Anytime I make a funny face, anytime we do something exciting, anytime someone’s talking to you – you giggle.  You are such a happy girl.  You also love to dance.  Anytime there is any kind of music playing you start bouncing and swaying and look at me like, “Come on mama, let’s get down!”

If I ask you, “How big is Sylvia?” then you throw your arms up in the air – this big!  You love patty-cake.  You’ve also started waving – either a frenzied up and down of your entire arm (which actually moves your entire body) or a little wave with your fingers.

We started having Daddy put you to bed in your crib at the beginning of the night.  I was really thinking it would be a long slow process to get you to stay there all night – but after just a couple of nights you started sleeping through the night in your room!  Very, very, bittersweet.  I miss having you in bed with me all night.  Sometimes I go get you just so I can snuggle you – because after sleeping with you for 9 months, sometimes your room seems so far away!

You will eat almost anything.  You love eating big people food.  Your favorites are yogurt, black beans, and chicken.  At your nine month appointment you weighed 18 pounds 3 ounces and were 27 inches long. (30th % in both.)  You still love to nurse (thank goodness!).  For a few days there you gave me a scare – I thought you were going to wean yourself already.  I’m not ready for that yet!




I love you sweet girl.  You bring me more joy than anything else in the world.  And even though  I know you’re anxious to learn all these new things, it would really be alright if you were my little baby for a bit longer. 


Love you, love you, love you,


August 5, 2010

Making Memories

When we started fostering, Brian and I decided that we wanted to start some kind of tradition with the kids placed with us that would be a way for both of us to always remember our time together.  We decided that we would take any kids that were with us long term to a ceramics studio (similar to this) to paint something to keep.

When we go, our kids get to pick something fun for them to paint that they can keep, and we also have them paint a light switch cover or receptacle cover that we can put in our house.  Our house is slowly becoming decorated with memories, bittersweet.  Everytime I notice one of the covers it reminds me of our time with one of our kids, and reminds me to pray for them as well.

By luck, we happened to take Jae to the ceramics studio the night before he left.



He chose to paint a box shaped like a tank.




And he chose the colors and the design of the light switch cover that he painted.



Which now decorates our hallway.


Miss you Jae.  Miss you Zee.  Love you.


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