November 28, 2011

Answered prayer, aching heart.

It’s been really busy?


I guess that’s my excuse for telling you that Bella had a hearing, and then not updating.

But you all let me know.

So here’s an update, for all the e-mails and questions! 

(I feel very blessed that there are so many people who care to stay updated!)


All reports at court were good!

I knew that Dad was doing well – he’s been very motivated since day one.  Mom I was a little more concerned about – but apparently she’s come around and is doing very well also.

They have planned for Bella to start doing overnight visits every Saturday beginning in a week and a half.  These overnights will culminate in a four day visit over Christmas (hard not to have mixed emotions over that!).

Also, the court approved for them to have a 30 day trial home visit some time in the next 90 days.  I’m guessing it will start some time in January.


Honestly – this is what foster care should look like.

Motivated parents, progress, teamwork to overcome barriers to reunification.  I am so thankful for progress that is cautious.  Progress that includes the agency still keeping tabs on how things are going, and setting the parents up for success.  Progress that is not overwhelming for Bella, her parents, us – but is still working toward home.




With that said, we are headed into a transition back home.

None of our kids in the past have had a proper transition, for several different reasons.  I think a well played transition is more the exception than the rule. 

But even now, being given notice in months instead of days or hours, it seems so fast.  It’s just that gripping realization that before this season has even had it’s last snow, it is likely that our beautiful Bella will no longer be here with us.



That is mixed with an intense joy for her and her parents.  This is what I have prayed and prayed and prayed for them.  Through long nights rocking her to sleep through the tears, this is what I have begged for.

Fix the brokenness, mend the hearts, graft this family back together.  Redemption.


I am so happy for Bella, and so happy for her parents.  I pray the next couple of months are smooth and healing.

And although my heart aches at the thought of her leaving, I know that He gives and takes away for our good, and for His glory.  I will cherish the time we have with her, while championing her family’s new beginning.

November 16, 2011

Our tradition.

With each of our foster children, before they leave, we go to the ceramic shop and have them paint a light switch cover for our home.  About half of our light switches are adorned in artwork and memories – and eventually they all will be.


Bella has court on the 17th (read: tomorrow).  And while I’m told we can expect for nothing big to happen, there is something uneasy inside of me.  I wouldn’t put it past the judge to just send her home.  It’s been done before.

So, with this in mind, I took her to make her light switch cover last weekend. 




I always go with these grand thoughts of artsy looking children’s paintings to cover our walls in.

But alas, every single one of the covers we have done in the past ends up being one color (or several that are so mixed together that they appear to be only one) with very little definition or design.

Bella’s is no different.  It is three colors, all put on one sponge and smeared around.



But when it hangs on my wall, I will always think of this beautiful girl that I have been so blessed to know.


I also had her paint a picture frame for her parents for Christmas.



She is very excited to give it to them. 

I will be answering the same question every day between now and Christmas.

“How long until I can give it to them?”


If you could pray for her hearing tomorrow, I would really appreciate it.  I don’t know what to deem the ‘right thing to happen’ tomorrow – I just pray that whatever it is, that it is truly in her best interest.

November 14, 2011

My broken heart.


"...I think Jesus tells us to love our neighbors, not just for our neighbors sakes, but for our own as well, because he knows what happens inside our hearts when we let in those who are vulnerable, needy and even repulsive near us. WE become vulnerable, needy and dare I say it, even repulsive too. Our own motives and shortcomings and entitlement and laziness come to the surface and stare us in the face. And that IS uncomfortable."   -Sarah Dornbos



This defines so much of what my fostering experience has been.

With every child, God has refined me.  Pruned me.  Poked around in those parts of my heart that I’d just as soon pretend aren’t there.

All of these ugly things start bubbling to the surface.

Trauma tantrums?  Up comes my impatience.

Hours of crying out the hurt?  Out comes my lack of compassion.

Needing to be rightnexttomeeverymomentoftheday?  The hard parts of my heart are exposed, unwilling to love with the intensity of Jesus’ call.


In it all I feel him moving.

I am pruning you.  With my help, you will produce more fruit.  Because I love you, I will not leave you in the state you are in.  Trust me.

Some days it is easier for me to love, to serve, to find joy in the brokenness.


Sometimes loving other people’s children is difficult.  Sometimes I struggle with allowing my heart to love them, forcing myself to be what they need, trying to be selfless in the face of pain, struggle, challenge.

I’m being honest.  Painfully, really.  Literally, painful, to my heart that knows the love that has been lavished on me only to struggle to fully love a child.


Some will choose to judge in the face of honesty.  Those who have fostered, and those who have not.  To that, I say, I cannot blame you.  My heart is ugly.  My only redemption is Christ.


I wish you could meet Bella.  Or maybe you have.  She is beautiful.  Her gentleness and innocence have persevered through so much.  She finds joy after being drug through hell.  She has a loving heart, yet her pain is worn on her sleeve.  She loves pink and purple.  She loves to dress up like a princess.  She loves swinging.  She has her Daddy’s eyelashes.  She HAS eyelashes (!!).  And in His eyes she is beautiful and purposefully created.




Yet in my heart, sometimes I struggle to let her in, to love her, to be compassionate.


I hate it.

And in my brokenness I cry out, “Jesus, prune me! Teach me.  Fix me.”

His love is the only love that will always be enough.  But slowly, he will refine my heart so that my love will look more like his.


“This is my command: Love one another.”   -Jesus

November 8, 2011


  Let’s see.  Where to start?


Well, I caught the Virus From the Bowels of Hades *VFBH* (that’s the proper name.  or maybe just what I call it.  It is definitely the appropriate name.).  You know how lovingly children share their germs.  If we could universalize their willingness to share germs, our lives would be so much easier. 

Anyway – I had the VFBH for approximately 11 days.

Holy. Cow.

High fevers upwards of 103.  My entire mouth swelled up.  I couldn’t eat.  For 11 days.  Have you ever had to drink Ensure?  Avoid it. 


We got the VFBH from Bella.  That’s one of those nuggets that people rarely share about fostering.  Kids coming from *less than ideal* environments can bring all kinds of *less than ideal* ailments with them.  Lice, scabies, thrush, random rashes, VFBH’s.  Sometimes they’re just part of it – and life goes on.

But I’m pretty sure that if I had taken a picture of my mouth last week and posted it on the blog   …..   you would never ever foster.  So I won’t.


In other news, we are in the thick of processing all  that is going on with Bella.

Recently she’s started role playing her situation while she and Sylvia are playing pretend.

She role plays that she has a meeting to go to and that at the meeting they are going to decide if she can go home.

She role plays that she is going on an overnight visit and explains to Sylvia how much she will miss her while she is gone.

She role plays that she is going to court and that the judge has to make big decisions.

It breaks my heart to hear her.  She should be pretending to be a Mommy cuddling her baby.  She should be pretending to go to work, or pretending that she’s going grocery shopping, or pretending that she’s going somewhere with her friends.  Instead she’s pretending things that she shouldn’t even be able to imagine, things much too big for her four year old little mind.

But, I also know that this is how she is processing what is happening, and that it is good for her to work through these situations in her mind.  For her to be able to imagine an end to her situation, and for her to be able to try to make sense of everything that is happening.  When she’s playing pretend is the only time that she has to have any control over what is happening to her at all.



She’s also started asking questions about what will happen to me and Sylvia when she goes home.  As a foster parent it is difficult - I rarely have much more information than she does (which is ridiculous.) – and so answering her questions is usually just some vague bs’ing done in such a way as to aid her healing rather than open fresh scabs.  I pray that we’ll be able to stay in contact when she goes home, and that we’ll be able to serve her family in whatever ways we can to benefit Bella.  We’ll see.


They’ve started having visits in her home, which makes everything about 200% more difficult.  It is a necessary step toward going home, but I wish they would wait until reunification is imminent.  Emotionally this wrecks her.  She pays an emotional toll for it all week long, which means that we do to.  We’ve been dealing with pretty significant defiance and tantrums that are obviously triggered by the visits. 

Foster care and reunification is always a catch 22 it seems.


Her treatment is going wonderfully.  She’s healthy as can be, which is no small blessing.  Seeing how her health has turned around since she’s come to us makes me ache inside at the thought of her returning to an environment that was keeping her sick. 


Anyway – long and boring post, but wanted to get a brief update posted.


Always so much to process.  Always.


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