July 31, 2010

Sudden changes.

Jae left last night.

Sudden, right?  Yeah, I know.

 

This week there have been about 20 different changes in the plan regarding the boys.  I’m pretty sure I’m not even exaggerating.  We were told he was leaving Friday, and then we were told he could stay with us up until the end of our upcoming vacation, then he couldn’t, then he was going to be with us for a couple more months while they got Zee stabilized…you get the picture.

Then Thursday night at 7:30 we got a call letting us know that the powers that be did not approve the plan for him to stay with us for a while, and that they wanted to move him the next day.  Friday morning I got a call saying they’d be here at 4:30 to pick him up.  So I got busy packing.

 

We are missing them.  It’s so quiet.

We gave them our address and phone number so that they can call us if they want to.  We’re going to get their new address and mail them things every so often.  I think that keeping some form of contact after a move generally helps kids out.

 

There is also a certain level of relief.  Relief from the unknown and decisions that are overwhelmingly draped with repercussions.  It’s a lot to carry, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this morning when I woke up I felt a certain level of release. 

 

But I feel like we did everything that we could for the boys.  In the end it was out of our hands.  We will continue to do everything we can to let them know that we love them and to support them.  Yesterday, in the midst of changes to the case plan that we had no control over, I was talking to our family worker, and she reminded me that this is our job.  We do what we can, we try our very hardest, we give our all, and when the children move on we have to accept it and do the same.  Because, she reminded me, there will be more children who need our help, who are hurting, who will come so that we can help each other through this hard life.

We are leaving for vacation soon – which is really very good timing.  It forces us to take a hiatus from fostering (short, but a break none the less).  We cannot take any children before we leave, so it won’t be until we return that we can start taking phone calls, and we may choose to wait even a bit longer.  It will be time of renewal and rejuvenation that our home is in sore need of.  Thank God for parents who take us on vacation with them (can I get an amen?) (Thanks Mom and Dad!) (I really have the best parents in the universe.)!!!!!!

 

So today we’ve been relaxing.  I’ve done some sewing {=therapeutic outlet.} and some reading.  We’ve hung out and loved on our Sylvie girl.  Brian and I actually had time to talk (gasp!), spend time together (incredulous!), and we did no housework (I guess not so uncommon…).  It is a bitter sweet relief. 

We miss the boys – the worst will be tomorrow when we dismantle their room.  Countless times today I have turned to tell one of them something.  I received paperwork today to register them for school.  And we keep finding socks and legos in every nook and cranny.

But I also recognize this time as a time of rest.  A blessing.  Refreshment like cold water running down a parched throat or a nap in the middle of exhaustion.  The Lord knows what we need.

July 28, 2010

Why Foster?

Reason Number 389:

Because even after all of this,

it is still worth it.

 

Because even with all of the challenges we will

still do everything in our power to make sure the boys

know that we will always love them.

 

Because even after all of the unknown, and the hurt

it is worth every tear.

 

Because even the hard goodbyes only mean

we’ve loved each other well.

 

Because it is worth it.

And they are worth it.

 

And even when things get really tough, and you can’t really

remember why you do all of this,

God whispers in my heart,

There are more.

And they need you.

And they need to know my love.

And it is worth it.

July 27, 2010

Sylvie here.

Sylvie here…

 

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Just wanted to stop by…

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and give a little shout out…

 

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to the birthday girl today….

 

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Happy Birthday Nana!

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I love you!

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nausea.

The last couple of days I’ve really been feeling pretty buried by all the hurt.

The hurt of Jae in all of this, the hurt of Zee causing his physical aggression, the hurt of them being temporarily separated, the hurt of not having Zee here, the hurt of the boys’ fear of the future, the hurt of knowing Jae will be leaving, the hurt of the unknown.

The hurt of feeling so helpless.  I just want to make it better.  There is a clawing at my heart that makes me feel physically ill.

I was wracking my brain all day yesterday trying to come up with some service to implement, some intervention that would help Zee’s physical aggression.  Something that would make it possible for him to stay here.  That would ensure that his physical aggression would not get even worse.

And I just keep coming back to the same thing -

It’s just not safe.  It is not safe for him to be here while he is struggling with the physical aggression that has brought us to this hard place.  I don’t feel that it would be safe for me to be home alone with him and Sylvia when he was really angry.  And I think it is going to escalate.

 

They’ve found a home that is only 30 minutes away from their hometown, where their siblings are placed.  I don’t think that they will try to put them all four together for the time being – it’s just asking for disruption.  The boys will go for a pre-placement visit Friday through Saturday, and if it goes well, will probably move next week.

We’ve always said that we wouldn’t ask a child to leave our home unless it wasn’t safe for them to be there.  We know the effects that disruption has on kids – so we decided that we wouldn’t do it unless there were really no choice.  I just never really thought we’d get there  - where there was no choice, where it wasn’t safe.

 

Please pray for the boys.  Pray for their angry hearts.  Pray for their healing.  Pray for their caseworker (whew, that’s almost hard for me to type.  terrible of me.). 

Pray for their parents.  Maybe a miraculous turnaround – cause goodness knows that if it is safe – we pray that they go home.

July 26, 2010

Daddy's View: A conversation with Jae

(just after we said our good night prayers, I realized I hadn't given Jae a hug, so I went back into his room to find him gently crying)
Brian: "Jae, I forgot to ask if you wanted a hug before you went to bed, do you want a hug?"
Jae: (sniffles a bit) "Brian, I have a question, tell me if this sounds fair: At camp I met a foster kid who has been away from his mom for seven years, even though his brother still lives with his mom.  How is that fair?
Brian: "I don't know Jae"
Jae: "And now he says he gets to go back to his mother.  He's so lucky."

Jae: "Brian, I have a question: who invented foster care?"
Brian: "I don't know Jae.  It was created to keep kids safe though"
Jae: "I hate that person.   I wish it didn't exist to I could be with my mother."
Brian: "Jae, I wish foster care didn't have to exist either."
Jae: "I don't even know why I'm in foster care, it's so confusing.  Do you know why I'm here?"
Brian: "Because it wasn't safe for you to be at your house anymore, Jae."
Jae: "But I felt safe, who says it's not safe?"
Brian: "The people who's job it is to keep you safe."
Jae: "You don't even know how hard it is for me right now.
(eyes well up again)
I'm scared.  I could be adopted by somebody I don't even know.  What if I don't like them?"
Brian: "Jae, when you moved here you didn't know me and Maggie, right?"
Jae: "Yeah, but I've been here for three months now."
Brian: "But now you know us and love us and know that you are loved here.  Whoever adopts you will love you too."
Jae: "I just want to be adopted by my family."
Brian: (now I'm crying too) "Jae, I cry for you guys all the time.  I wish I could just make it go away, make it all go away and just be normal, but I can't.  All I can do is love you, and try to make you understand that God loves you, and that he has a plan for you."
Jae: "God doesn't have a plan for me."
Brian: "Yes he does Jae, he will use you for great things if you let him.

I love you  Jae.  Good night."

July 25, 2010

Project 365 – Week 23

 

One of Brian’s projects for the week….

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After.

 

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I caught Sylvia sneaking in to the pantry – making a mess and getting herself a snack.  She learned from the best.

 

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While visiting Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Richard we stopped by the state capital.

 

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….and stopped for some ice cream.

 

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Jae teaching Sylvie how to play the piano.

 

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Sylvie has started standing on her own!  She thinks she’s big stuff.

July 23, 2010

I don’t even know what to title this post.

Really I’m not even sure what to write.  Where to start.

 

Since my last post, Zee has become increasingly physically aggressive.  Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, this has all become too much for him. 

Night before last he was extremely physically aggressive.  He also seemed to be showing some signs of PTSD – almost like flashbacks.  He was talking about things that have happened in the past, and was looking at us like we were strangers.  We got through that night.

The next morning (yesterday) Brian had to leave early for work.  I had the boys on my own for the morning until their Rocket Camp.  Zee woke up just as aggitated as he fell asleep, and was rearing to go.  Luckily Sylvia was still asleep.  He was becoming increasingly physically agressive as the morning went on and was completely out of control.  Jae, thankfully, was having a good morning.

I ended up having to call Brian to come home from work.  Sylvia was about to wake up, and I knew I couldn’t handle her and Zee the way he was behaving – and that it wasn’t safe.  Brian came home, and Zee continued to escalate.  He was hitting, kicking, biting, and throwing things.  We did our best to calm him down, to talk him through it, but he was only getting worse.

We ended up having to call the police again.  This time the police said they thought it would be best for him to go with them for a while.  They took him down to the detention center. 

Brian and I knew that a decision had to be made.  We had to know when to call it – when it wasn’t safe for him to be with us anymore.  The fact that it only seems to be getting worse, and the fact that I cannot safely be home with him and Sylvia by myself led us to decide that our home was no longer a safe place for him to live.

 

Right now he is in a respite home.  The caseworker is out of town (although she never told us this – and has her cell phone off – and when I called and left two urgent messages at her office, no one cared to tell me she was gone.) and no major decisions will be made until she gets back Monday.

Zee is (obviously) not thinking clearly right now.  But is currently saying that he wants to be moved from our home, and that he does not want to live with Jae.  I know that in time this is not what he will want.  He is so confused.  So lost in all of this.

At this point I am sincerely hoping that they decide to move Jae in with Zee.  Jae has been an emotional wreck ever since Zee left and he bawled himself to sleep last night.

 

 

I can’t really even describe what all of this is like.

My heart hurts for those boys so badly – in such a way that I don’t even know how to explain it.  I hate all of this.  I hate their situation.  I hate that they can’t understand what is happening – even the way they are feeling.  I hate that I don’t think things are going to get better for them any time soon.  I hate that we can’t fix it.  I hate that there is nothing I can do.  I hate that they can’t be here.  I hate that they may not remember that we love them.

I cannot fathom their pain.

I am pleading with God for things to get better for them.  Pleading that their hearts make it through all of this without becoming void of feeling, emotion, love.  Pleading that He would carry them.  Please, Lord.

July 21, 2010

Not really sure…

 what in the world I was thinking yesterday when I said things were back to normal around here.

 

But they are not.

 

Every minute is a struggle.

 

Really, really hoping the boys don’t make decisions that make it unsafe for them to be here.

July 20, 2010

What to do.

  Well, ever since Sunday the boys have been back to the normal routine – I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly good week, but no sign of what went on Saturday.

  Right now my theory is that visits in general bring them anxiety – visits with mom, visits with dad, visits with siblings – this is evident in their behavior prior to visits.  I think that maybe having two visits with their siblings on back to back weekends was too much, causing our little rendezvous with the men in uniform.

 

  I feel so sorry that this is the direction things have taken.  It will make it much more difficult for them to find a home that can take all four of the kids.  However, it only serves as confirmation for us that it is not a good idea for us to do just that.

  It also lends itself to lots of head scratching by all those involved in the case.  What triggered it?  What services are appropriate to help alleviate the behaviors?  What do the boys need to get through this without being violent?  How can we as foster parents best be supported in order to avoid any kind of disruption?  On and on…

  Of course, when anything of this nature happens with kids in foster care, there is always the question of medication.  It has been brought up.

  I strongly feel that the boys are not in need of medication to alleviate behaviors.  Medication doesn’t fix what is going on in their hearts.  I often bristle at the thought of medicating children in any instance – children in foster care are so over medicated.  But I sincerely believe that it is not needed here.

  The boys are mad.  I mean severely pissed off.

And….I would be to.  I think that their anger is fully justified given their circumstance.  I think it is a fair reaction.  In fact, I’d be a little worried if they weren’t just a little peeved.  I’d be really worried if they were going through all of this with a Pollyanna attitude.  I’d say that anger is a pretty normal reaction here.  I don’t want to medicate them because they are feeling the way they should.

  What they need is to learn how to express their anger.  It is ok to be angry.  It is not ok to push Brian down the stairs.  I imagine if I were in their shoes.  I’ve just had my life ripped out from under me.  I’ve lost everything.  It is not my fault, but I have no control over it.  I’d be ticked off.  And if I had never had anyone show me what it looks like to appropriately display my anger?  I’d probably throw things.  I’d probably hit and kick.  I’d probably threaten people I love.  I’d probably run away.  I’d be mad in a way I couldn’t express.

 

  Medication would probably stop the behaviors, but it wouldn’t heal their hearts.  The behaviors are not the core of this problem.  In fact it would probably hinder any progress – it would be like putting a bandaid over a wound that needs stitches.  It doesn’t heal – and in the end may make the scar all that much worse.

  Of course, medication would be much faster than teaching.  Much faster than healing.  I am hoping this doesn’t lead to its use.

 

  I know there are situations that require medication.  And in those situations, I am so thankful that it is available.  But I really think our boys are trying to express what they don’t understand.  They are showing us their hurt in the only way they know how.  It is going to be a long road for them.  We are just praying that it doesn’t get worse – that it doesn’t get bad enough that we cannot safely keep them here.  Until then, we will tough it out – we will try our best to teach them what the hurt is, and to slowly, gently help them to heal.

July 19, 2010

The Po Po.

  I guess you could say we had quite the weekend…

We had a visit scheduled for the boys’ siblings to come and spend the night on Saturday night.  They all already knew about it, so we went forward with it even though we have decided that we cannot take them.

Saturday started out at a normal pace.  Jae was having a little bit of trouble, but Zee was helping Brian paint an old dresser and seemed to be doing really well.  Around 10:00 we had the boys go to clean their room – which seems to be equivalent to us asking them to catch fish with their bare hands for dinner – the most impossible task we could assign.  It is all very dramatic.  So at this point they get upset about how we are the most terrible, slave driving people on the planet because I’m making them pick up their dirty underwear.

This escalates a little for Jae.  He ends up shoving Brian, so he has to spend time in the other bedroom to cool down.  He does not cool down, earning him subsequent time in the bedroom.  This continues until I am sure he’s not going to be coming out anytime soon – and at this point Zee has firmly stated that ‘He is not cleaning his room.’  So, I tell the boys that they can choose not to clean their room, but that if I have to clean it for them, they will have to pay me from their allowance for my time.  Zee ended up helping me – Jae coughed up the cash.

Things weren’t getting any better, but we did not feel like the boys were completely out of control – definitely not enough to cancel the visit.  But, if there is one thing our boys are good at, it’s showing us up right when we think things are ok.

Starting around 2:00 their behaviors began to escalate, and continued to do so until dinner time.  (Their brother and sister joined us around 3:00.)  They progressed to throwing their toys at us as hard as they could, hitting and kicking Brian in obvious attempts to hurt him, trying to throw the vacuum cleaner at Brian, trying to push him down the stairs, screaming threats and obscenities at us, and running throughout the house.

I stayed downstairs with their siblings and Sylvia in an effort to keep them out of harms way, although Zee did come down twice and hit his brother with toys.  He also discovered a bottle of yellow craft paint that he attempted to squirt across our dining room, and they scratched the paint off of their bedroom door.

We tried several times to de-escalate them through talking an listening to no avail.  We are legally not able to lock them in any rooms or restrain them unless it is self defense. 

At around 6:00 we called the on-call worker at our agency to ask her what we should do.  They were completely out of control and were being more physically aggressive then they ever have been in the past.  Her suggestions were that we separate them, get them to calm down, and try to de-escalate their behaviors.  If I didn’t have a filter, my response would have been, “No kidding?  Really?  Because I would have never though of those things.  Thanks SO much for your assistance.”  But I didn’t.  Eventually she suggested that we call the police and have them come out to the house to show the boys how serious their behavior was.

 

So that’s what we did.  I called the police and they came out.  Jae was even disrespectful to the police officer until he required him to respect him.  They discussed how serious their behavior was, let them know that next time this happens that the boys will be escorted to the juvenile detention center, and made them pick up all of the toys they had thrown all over the house.

After the police left, the boys attitudes returned to exactly how they had been prior to the officers coming out, but they were no longer physically aggressive.  They threatened several times to run away, so Brian went up to their room and sat down with them to make a plan of how much it would cost and how they would earn their money.  (In an effort to show them how unrealistic it is for them to run away.)

 

After their siblings left on Sunday, the boys’ behavior began to de-escalate and by dinner time they were back to their normal selves.  We can only figure that their behavior was triggered by the visit.  Generally when the boys lose control it is for a shorter period of time (an hour or so) and it ends with them breaking down in tears and being able to discuss, at some level, what it is that is fueling the anger.  That didn’t happen this time, which makes me nervous that it was never resolved in their hearts and that there may be more to come.

I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with caseworkers trying to deal with all this – putting in my two cents and seeing how far it goes.  We’ll see where we go from here…

July 18, 2010

Project 365 – Week 22

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Who, me?  No, I didn’t steal any of my Mommy’s pudding.

 

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Fun with friends at the Japanese Steakhouse.

 

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Catching our food in mid-air.  (I spared all of my friends by not posting the pictures of them catching their food too.)

 

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The old dresser that we picked up on large item trash pickup day.  After pics to follow.  My mom calls me a dumpster diver.

 

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Sylvie and her beloved domino.

 

IMG_7939 Honk, honk!

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This kind police officer is how we ended our Saturday.

Story to follow.

July 16, 2010

Hard, hard decisions.

So tired of the serious posts.  But that’s been life lately.  Back to our normal program soon.    {Pause}    Did I just say normal, oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to confuse anyone by making them think that anything is ever normal around here.  You know, just less “writing about things that make you say, ‘foster care? me? Why in the world would I do that?’”

 

Brian and I have made a decision regarding the kids.

We’ve decided that we should not take the boys’ siblings.  I can not tell you how much thought and prayer went into this decision.  And we really feel at peace with it, now that we’ve decided.

Both of us wanted to take them so badly.  It was our natural inclination to immediately say, “Of course!  Why not?  We’d LOVE to.”  We tried to consider all the variables – and when we were done, we considered all of them again.  Really it just came down to one simple fact:

We weren’t sure that with four children who were very high need, and one under the age of 1 year, that we could really, fully provide everything that all five of them needs.  Primarily in the stage of life that we are currently in.

 

There were so many ‘if’s’.  If we lived near our family who would provide support.  If we knew how the kids do when they live together.  If we thought it was shorter term.  If we knew the boys’ behaviors would ever really improve.  If, if, if.

We struggled with whether or not these questions were just our lack of trust that God would provide, and we came to a couple of conclusions:

He has not given us a peace about adopting these children, even though we have literally begged for it.  We do know that he has called us to foster – which we would have to stop doing if we were to adopt right now – and we don’t feel like fostering is something He is asking us to stop doing.  He has given us hearts for adoption, and I am confident that at some point we will do just that, but not now.  Saying yes to taking the kids would have been the easier decision for us (I know, that sounds insane.  I never claimed we were sane.).  This is such a hard decision, but because it was so hard and we still feel that it is necessary, and we feel peace about it, tells me that it is the right decision regardless.

 

I’m not sure that any of that made sense.  If not, I’ll work on my next post being coherent.

 

We made a couple of suggestions to the caseworker.  *(Joke, right?  Cause who ever listens to the foster parents?  ….I digress.)*  We said, “What’s the huge rush?  Why don’t you give it six months to see if you just happen to find a family looking to adopt four kids?  If not, then move them somewhere else together, but if so, then it is only one more move for the kids instead of two.”

The caseworker responded, “thank you for your thoughtful consideration and your honesty, but we would really like to move the kids as soon as possible.”  I can see where she’s coming from.  But kind of not.

So the boys will be moving sooner than later.  And it makes me want to vomit.

If you are in the habit of praying for our boys, please pray for their hearts.  Pray for their future.  Pray for their caseworker.  Pray for the family they will go to.

 

*I should say, that before you think I’m all anti-caseworker, that I was a caseworker prior to fostering.  Some of them are great, and try really hard.  I should also say, that while we’ve had some bad experiences with our kids’ caseworkers – OUR caseworker (the one that works with us, the foster families) is fabulous.  She is supportive and helpful and we love her.  So don’t go getting scared off from fostering because of my caseworker talk.*

July 14, 2010

Where We’re At.

We are here:

  • Still praying over and discussing the possibility of the boys’ siblings moving in.  Trying to consider all of the factors, which would be a whole different post.
  • If we decide that we do not feel we can take their siblings, the caseworker wants to look for another home, closer to where the boys are from, that can take all four kids.
  • If we cannot take their siblings, they want to move the boys before the beginning of the school year.
  • If we do take their siblings, we are, in essence, adopting them. (Hence this being such a huge decision.)  Unless by some chance they quickly find an adoptive home for an older sibling set of four (unlikely) then they would be with us for a long time.  If they are with us for a long time – adoption just makes sense.
  • We feel like we could do it.  We just aren’t sure it is best for all of the kids.
  • Maybe I will try to write a post explaining our thinking and reasoning thus far.  But it would take forever, and I’m not sure it would make any sense to anyone but me, so we’ll see.

 

All of this brings me to tears. 

Contrary to what one may think, deciding that we will take their siblings would be the easier choice for us to make.  We don’t want the boys to have to move, we want them all to be together, we want to be able to serve them in every way possible.  It would be much, much harder for us to decide that we cannot do it – but we also want to be responsible in this decision – and in the end it may not be best.

 

Prayers for discernment and for the kids’ hearts is so appreciated.  I wish all this were easier.

July 12, 2010

I am weak. Thank goodness.

I feel like I’m in a better frame of mind today than I have been the last week or so.

Mostly because I woke up to this verse:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it (the thorn in my flesh) away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

              2 Corinthians 12:8-10

 

And also woke up to this song:

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.
We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes;
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end.
He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

 

The past couple of weeks I have been striving.  I have been trying to do this on my own.  By this, I mean being screamed at,

                      consistently, patiently disciplining,

                      dealing with ‘the system’,

                      making decisions that have eternal significance in the lives of five

                      other people,

                      emotionally taking on the burdens of two traumatized children,

                      and keeping up with the laundry. (Not really, but um, yeah.)

By striving to do it all on my own I’ve gotten myself worn thin, tired, burned out.

These last few days I finally got to a place where I was so tired, literally running on empty.  My attitude about all of this has been proof (just ask my husband). 

I’m at the point where I’ve got nothing left.

And then God gave me a gentle nudge.  He loves me enough to give me the straight talk.  He reminded me that I cannot do it.  I am not strong enough.  I am not naturally optimistic enough.  I’m not hard headed enough.  I am not enough.  But He is.

I am convinced that it is only when we reach the end of ourselves, the end of our strength, that we can truly find joy in even the hardest of circumstances.  It is only when we realize that we are not enough, that we realize who is.

And there is oh so much freedom in knowing that I am not enough.

Freedom that gives new meaning to the verse: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

It reminds me that no matter what he asks us to do (we are still working on a decision regarding the boys’ siblings) that he will supply the strength, he will supply the change in these little hearts he has trusted us with, and he does not expect us to do it alone. 

Because of this freedom I can be alright with whatever he asks us to do.  Should we decide that it is better to take the kids, I can relax fully in his strength, knowing there are not impossibilities with Him.  Should we decide that it is not prudent for us to take the kids, I can relax fully in His strength, knowing that He loves them more than we know.

 

I have reached my end.  And at my end I have found infinite strength.

 

 

July 11, 2010

Project 365 – Week 21

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Jae was very proud of his domino people.

 

IMG_7785 Sylvie and her bestie loungin’ at the pool.

 

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Zee and his brother.  You can definitely see the resemblance.

 

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Hangin’ at the park with all the kids.  Super fun memories.

 

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This is currently my favorite Sylvia expression.  I can’t even capture it, because she doesn’t sit still long enough – but she makes this face, like she has just discovered the most exciting thing in the whole world.  (Like the santa weeble, for example.)  No sounds, just pure excitement on her sweet face.

 

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Jae saw me sewing, and asked me to teach him.  I was so excited for the chance to do something together!  We decided to make a drawstring bag for his legos.

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Of course he acted like it pained him to sit at the machine with me.  But I know that secretly he loved the one on one time.

 

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While we were sewing the bag, Brian was making a rubber band gun with Zee.  He was very excited.  (Pending anyone from SRS reading this – it’s harmless.  It shoots rubber bands.  Just enough sting to make it fun.  Ha!)

July 10, 2010

Full House.

We have 5 kids in the house tonight.  Jae and Zee’s brother (6) and sister (11) are here to spend the night. 

We almost had to cancel the visit.  The boys had a terrible morning.  Screaming, yelling threats, calling names, opening and slamming doors, defiance, and throwing things.  I really didn’t want to cancel the visit, but I was beginning to think it was inevitable.

Finally, it was like something snapped, and Jae actually started trying to be civil.  Zee is a follower, and was only acting that way because of Jae – so when he started to make the turnaround so did Zee.

The visit is going really well so far.  I assumed it would – they’re all excited to see each other and we’ve only just met their siblings, so the honeymoon is on in full force.

 

They want to know whether or not we can take their siblings after the visit.

 

Right now I really feel like we need to say no.  The boys are still struggling so much with behaviors – there are days I feel like we’ve made no progress at all.  It’s possible that their siblings would move in and it would alleviate some of their stress and therefore improve morale around here.  But it’s also possible that things wouldn’t improve at all, and we’d have twice as many kids who don’t know how to express their anger.  I’m not sure we’d be very effective (or sane) if that were the case.

So anyway.  More of an update after the visit.  We’re having a good time right now – good memories.

July 9, 2010

Crack.

We have a big crack down the windshield of our van.  Bummer.  It got hit by a rock or something on the interstate.  The boys have had fun watching it make it’s way across the windshield.  Zee swears he can see it move. 

We were driving down the interstate when, from the backseat, Zee yells:

 

“Brian, your crack is getting bigger!  I can see it!  Your crack is growing!  It’s getting bigger by the second!  Wow, look at it – it’s getting so big!”

 

 

Aahhhahahahaha.  Hilarious.

July 8, 2010

Fostering Questions

….Just a couple more questions that I’ve gotten….

 

Have you ever had the chance to adopt any of your past foster kids?  Why didn't you if this did come up.

  We actually haven’t had the opportunity to adopt any of our foster kids.  Mena and Cassandra ended up being adopted by their aunt and uncle – which turned out to be a fabulous situation and we still get to stay in contact with them.  X-man ended up going home – which was completely screwed up, and I completely expect to see him back in state care before too long.  We would have adopted any of them in a heartbeat.  All of our other kids have been too short term to make it a consideration.  So…no we haven’t had the opportunity.  We would love to adopt at some point when we feel like it is a good match for the kids and for our family.

 

Are both parents able to work full time and still do foster care? How does that work?

  Absolutely!  Majority of the foster parents that I know – both parents work outside of the home.  In our state, and in the state that I worked in, the state helped to pay for daycare for the kids in your home.  I know that this is not the case in many states though.  Childcare would be something that would have to be considered before taking placements – but check with your local agency, because it is possible they would pay for it.  If you have a family member who would be willing to watch the kids, {thank your lucky stars!} and then have them do background checks.  It is also possible that they would have to have their home approved before they could do any longer term babysitting.  Hope this helps!

 

 

(If you have any questions about fostering feel free to send them my way via e-mail or through the ‘ask me anything’ box at the right side of the blog.  I will do my best to answer, or point you in the right direction!)

July 7, 2010

9 Months.

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Little lady,

  If there were ever a time for you to stop growing it would be now.  You are as cute as ever and you are so much fun.  There are so many updates, I’m not even sure where to start!  You’re changing so fast!

You are all over the place now.  Nothing is safe, you are into everything.  You’ve quickly figured out how to open cabinets and drawers, and your favorite things to eat are paper and the smallest little things you can possibly find on the floor.  You can crawl so quickly now and are developing your ornery grin – you’ll have it perfected before too long.  You cruise around furniture with ease, and you’ve even started pushing around your walking toy.  Sometimes you will let go with both hands for just a second and test out your balancing skills.  They still need some work.  Now if I do something you don’t like, you are very quick to let me know, but most of the time you are the happiest little girl I’ve ever met.

You’ve got five teeth now – two on top and three on bottom.  Teething seems to be no big deal for you (so sweet of you to do that for mommy).  You LOVE to eat.  Anything that is on my plate must be taste tested by you before it’s gone, or you get upset!  You’ll eat just about anything as long as it isn’t in baby food form.  You’re still a big fan of nursing, though – it’s the only thing that can fix any one of your ails.  We’re still working on the idea of a sippy cup, but you think it’s a great little toy to carry around with you.  Speaking of toys…

Most kids get attached to a stuffed animal, a blanket maybe.  But these days you are pretty attached to your domino.  That’s right.  Six dots on one side, eight on the other.  (How’s that for proving she’s a Popp!?)  You like to keep it halfway in your mouth while you crawl around and do your baby things.  Once in a while it will disappear for a couple days, and then you find it and there it is in your mouth again.

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You love your brothers.  You think they are the funniest thing you’ve ever come across.  Any time they walk in the room you squeal and laugh.

Now when your daddy gets home from work you get very excited and crawl over as fast as you can to welcome him home.  This melts his heart.  He’s in love with you sweet girl.

You say mama when you want me now – and I think you’re starting to figure out dada too.  You make a ton of different sounds now – and you are quite the chatty kathy.  When you meet new people it’s usually one of the first things they comment on.  Apparently you’ve got a lot to say.  You also like to clap your hands now, and you give the sweetest kisses (albeit their slobbery).

I love you baby girl.  I love you more all the time.  You love me too.  I wish you were always going to be so happy to be with your mommy – but a time will come when I don’t know anything and you’d rather sneer at me than smile.  I will love you still.  You’re my sweet baby girl and there’s nothing I’d rather be than your mommy.

Love you, Love you, Love you,

                                       Mama

 

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10!

There’s a birthday in our house today…

 

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A very special person is turning 10…

 

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Lots of present opening….

 

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PiƱata hitting….

 

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Rock climbing….

 

IMG_7704 …and a little water park thrown in for good measure….

 

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Jae, I hope you’ve had a good birthday.  I know this is a hard one for you, and I know that you are wishing you could be with your mom on this special day.  Every once in a while I see a glimmer of the real Jae, and I know you will be a great man when you grow up.  I hope that when you look back on your tenth birthday, you will be able to remember that you were loved, and that we were so honored to get to celebrate with you.  Today I asked you how it felt to be ten, and you wouldn’t give me any more than a “fine.”  But Zee was very happily added on that it made him feel great for you to be ten!  So you’re brother is very excited about the double digits.

I love you Jae.  Even though you hate it that I do.  Even though I have to steal hugs.

Happy Birthday.

July 6, 2010

Project 365 - Week 20





We've been busy this week....
Who needs matching shoes when you're playing baseball?
Not Zee.
Sylvie and one of her best friends.

Watching her brothers play baseball

It was a certain someone's birthday celebration...


And for the birthday celebration....a waterpark was in order...


and fireworks for the fourth...


July 1, 2010

Why Foster?

Good Info To Have:

Money Issues

 

I feel like this is the infamous topic of fostering.  Cause you know that we’re all just doin’ it for the dough that we are undoubtedly rolling in, right?  (right…or….not.)

To be honest, there are people who ‘do it for the money’.  During my time as a caseworker, I worked with foster parents that did.  I’m still clueless as to how they made that work.  But anyway….

 

  • When you are a licensed home and you have children placed with you, the state sends you a monthly reimbursement check.  The amount varies depending on the state you live in, and they will likely be skidish to share much specific info on the topic, as they are trying to avoid said foster parents ‘doing it for the money.’ 
  • Also, while a child is in state custody, they are on Medicaid.  It isn’t an option for them not to be.  So healthcare is taken care of (except it is next to impossible to find good care for kids on Medicaid – infuriating – but all that for another post.). 
  • Also good info to have: if you and your significant other both work, the state also pays for childcare.  You are somewhat limited in what daycares you can use, but there are usually a few to choose from.
  • Finally, most states also have a very minimal clothing allowance that they send out approximately every six months to help with clothes for the kids.  And some states have an additional ‘diaper allowance’ that they give families with children under the age of two.

 

I would say that this is a non-issue.  I wouldn’t even post on it…except that, there have been times when Brian and I would not have been able to foster, or not been able to give our foster kids the experiences that we have, had it not been for the help offered by the state.  For example, last month when we went to Horn Creek and did lots of extra fun stuff with the kids, or birthday months, etc.

What I mean to say is it isn’t wrong to need your reimbursement check when fostering.  If it were, then only rich people could foster.  The money is there so that people who have a heart for fostering and for these kids can afford to do it.

So, long story short, don’t let money be a reason you don’t foster until you’ve talked with your agency! 

 

{ I’m posting on this topic because there are a lot of people who probably assume they can’t afford to foster, when really they’d be really great foster parents!  I’m posting at the risk that I’ll get some nasty comment regarding money in foster care – but please realize that money is not, has not, and never will be a central issue for us in fostering.  It is something that has to be considered, though, in the decision to foster.  And to be perfectly honest, if we didn’t have a heart for it, and if we didn’t love these kids like crazy, then you couldn’t pay me enough money to do this!  Ha! 

So.  The disclaimer has been made.  Please be nice.}

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