Our foster care journey – part 8

Below is the final segment of telling how we became a foster care family. To be clear, there will be more stories to come of our adventures, but these 8 parts were the beginnings of our fostering journey.

(Here are the links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 … in case you missed or want to reread any of them before the grand finale!)

September 2011

In the back of my mind, I had the movie quote from the Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”  Well, here we were. We had “built” it, prepared ourselves, and were ready … and they were coming.

During the first month after being licensed we received a couple of phone calls from the Department of Human Resources (DHS). We were being asked if we would welcome some children into our home.

The first call was for 3 siblings ages 2, 6 and 7. In general, when we get a placement phone call, DHS is hopeful to get an answer in about 5-10 minutes. We have a very short window of time to decide whether or not to say “yes” to that placement/case. If we say “no,” they need to move along quickly to call the next potential foster family. Children (waiting for a foster family) are often simply sitting in the office until a home is found. Time is of the essence. In these short minutes, we have to rely heavily on the Lord to show us quickly how to respond.

As Papa and I prayed together over the phone regarding that first placement call, we were able to discern this was not the match for us. We couldn’t put our finger on why that was, until we prayed together. Papa was at work and I was huddled in our bedroom closet as we prayed together over the phone. During that prayer, the Lord brought to mind how it would be impossible for me to leave the house with all 7 kids (our 4 + 3 new kiddos). Our van only holds 7 people, total. In order for me to go anywhere, I would have to do it illegally (without all car seats/boosters and with double-buckling) with 8 people in the car. We knew the Lord was showing us in a very practical way it wasn’t the time to say “yes.”  Praise the Lord for His leading … or rather, putting out the stop sign.

Just a week or so later on September 21, we received our second call. The phone call was similar to the first as we processed and prayed what to do, but we knew this was the one for us. A few days later, I was at the DHS office picking up the most adorable little 2 yr old boy and bringing him into our home. It was the very first time in my entire life I had ever seen another person’s child and instantly felt like I was his/her Mom. It was a strange feeling, but my Momma’s heart to love, care, protect, teach, train, and provide for a precious child welled up within me, even if it was to be just for a season.

What we had prayed, prepared, and planned for over the years, was actually coming to fruition. It’s an amazing feeling to know we are walking in obedience and trust. The Lord was (and is) using our gifts, our passions, our hurts, our struggles, our experiences and our faith to help and love children and their families. God had turned our personal pain into a way to be a blessing to others.

He was making beauty from ashes, and we were just getting started.

As I write this, it has been 5 1/2 years since that first placement call, and we are so very happy to share with you the little 2 yr old boy (our first placement) is now 8 years old. He is doing amazingly well. He is full of life and energy, is brilliant and creative, and is incredibly strong and active. He is in a safe, loving and healthy environment, praise the Lord!

The reason I know all of this, I am proud to say, is because he is now our son, Taz. 🙂

The Lord knew it all. Even when we couldn’t see it, He was weaving our story together.

In fact, we later realized how closely our story and timeline intertwined. The exact month and the exact year Papa and I wept with grief over our decision to permanently stop having more children, an amazing little baby boy was being born in another state. We didn’t know it at the time, but even in those early heart wrenching moments, the Lord was preparing us to meet our son, Taz.

I am thrilled to share with you, our hearts grew 5 sizes that day.

The Lord continues to expand our hearts with each precious child who enters our home. It’s true, love does multiply. There are often intense growing pains in the brokenness, but, there is growth and … more. More love, more joy, and more healing awaits around each corner. Sometimes, we simply need to change directions in order see more clearly.

Foster care is not the journey we had originally planned to take, but following the Lord is the most glorious journey of all. We have learned to wholeheartedly embrace how He directs our steps, so, we continue to step.

We welcome you to join us in the journey. Walk with us on the mountain tops, in the valleys, during the fruitful and dry seasons, and amidst the wonderful and difficult moments in our foster care adventures.

We do not know if or when our story will change directions, but we are in it as long as the Lord is leading us through it.

To God be the Glory!!

“It’s so much easier that way!”

Taz is true to his “Tasmanian Devil” nickname with his high energy, loud noises and cyclone-like behaviors. In addition, his attention span is a bit … short. I might even say it’s about the size of a gnat. Very small, very short, hardly noticeable.

For Taz, math is one of those subjects he excels in understanding, but struggles to slow down in the process of actually doing it. His shortened attention span adds a different level of learning. He hurries through it as quickly as possible, often making mistakes along the way. He typically answers correctly, but he is constantly writing his 6s backwards and other numbers simply aren’t recognizable in his flurry of pencil strokes. To help ease the frustration of correcting many errors, I sit with him in the moment to help him walk (not race) through his work.

Recently, we were working through one of his very basic math problems on his practice sheet, “7-3=__”, he mumbled to himself with lightning speed as he processed aloud the answer to the problem.

“[mumble mumble] … 7 … [mumble mumble] … 10 … [mumble mumble] … 6 … [mumble mumble] … 4!”

I looked at him with utter confusion.

He let me in on a little secret of his and confidently explained, “What I do is I take 7 and I change it to a plus problem so it’s 7+3 which is 10, and then I minus 6 which equals 4!”

[me: blink blink blink]

I couldn’t help it, laughter simply bubbled right up and out as I processed what he was saying.

Taz instantly burst out, “What! What! It’s so much easier that way!”

More laughing ensued. This kid of ours, he is awesome. Truly, one-of-a-kind, awesome.

King, upon hearing what Taz did to solve this particular math problem, chuckled and honestly stated, “That’s really smart, but really confusing!”

I agree, King, I agree.  🙂