Randoms

Nothing too serious or interesting to post today, just a couple updates on our home study, this pregnancy, and our January fast.
It has finally warmed up a little outside today, and I have been trying to work up the motivation to head outside for a walk or a jog. I’m wiped out, though. Usually I get many, many things done on Saturdays, but last night I slept 10 hours, and when I woke up, I got myself out of bed only to plop myself on the couch. I haven’t moved since. So, onto the meat of this post:

1. OUR HOME STUDY! We met with our case worker yesterday for part 1 (of 4) of the home study. Theo and I furiously cleaned the WHOLE house. I even cleaned INSIDE the closets of each of the rooms. I re-folded all of the towels and sheets in the linen cupboard. Theo spent time in the freezing garage organizing it and making sure it was clean. The lady walked it, said “hello”, and sat down at the dining room table. The only rooms she entered were the living room, the dining room and the bathroom. Well, at least I know for next time I can just throw everything into the (now organized) linen closet, and we won’t be judged for it. Ha! The meeting was over 3 hours long, and included going over paperwork, with the case worker explaining the paperwork that most people get tripped up on. We told her almost immediately about the pregnancy, and it didn’t cause any problems at all. She said we will continue the process as before, but we will be “on hold” until we decide that we are ready for a foster child. So, essentially, the ball is in our court. She did warn us, however, that if we wait too long, things will begin to expire. So for now we are praying that the Lord will show us WHEN to accept a foster child into our home. The meeting continued with a very thorough interview, asking us WHY we wanted to foster, WHAT we expected foster care to be like, what we thought the difference between foster care and adoption was. She then asked us a million questions about our childhood, our family history, and nitty-gritty details about our immediate family. It was funny because I doubt the interview would have taken as long if Theo didn’t have 6 brothers! Haha! We also spent a lot of time talking about my childhood, especially the boarding school part.

All in all, it went really well, and I’m much less nervous about the next meeting. We will continue to get our paperwork together, and continue the process until approval. When we get to approval, we will see where we are at in the pregnancy and go from there. Thank you all so much for your prayers and for asking about the home study!

2. This Pregnancy Roller Coaster. Oh. my. goodness. Those of you who know me probably think I am an emotional mess, but so far that has only happened once or twice (Theo finally picked me up and put me in bed, and said “we will talk about it in the morning”- of course, everything was fine in the morning!). Some days I absolutely LOVE being pregnant. Some days I kinda forget that I am. Some days I wonder what the heck has happened to me and how am I only 22 years old and carrying a child, that I will have responsibility for, for the rest of my life???? Ah! The morning sickness has gotten much better, and has gone from 24/7 to just in the morning before I eat something and in the evening when my body is telling me it’s done for the day. I am starting to get a little more energy, but it usually shows itself in brainstorming. “Oh, I would love to cook that recipe!” my brain says, to which my body replies, “But then I have to stand up and go to the kitchen, and get stuff out and cook it and then clean up. Ok, no thanks.” Or, “I should put make-up on and do my hair!” to which my body responds, “But then you have to stand up, and take a shower, and pick something nice to wear and put makeup on and do your hair, and then you will proceed to need a nap, which will make the whole thing pointless.”

Oh boy.

3. This weather- I’m confused. From two and half snowdays earlier this week, to weather in the 50s today. I’m confused. But I’ll take today’s weather over those awful negatives we experienced last week.

4. Our January Fast. Every month of this year, we are fasting from something different. January is our month to fast from spending. So far, it has been more challenging that I thought it would be. We decided that we would allow ourselves to spend only at Aldi, gas and medical bills. So far, we haven’t exactly saved any money this month. But I don’t think that the whole point of the month is saving money. It’s restraining ourselves from spending on this and that. So many times I stop at Wal-mart on my way to grab ONE item, and I leave with 5 or 6 things that I spotted and think I REALLY, REALLY need. Aldi is out of my way, and I have to intentionally make a list and drive all the way there to go shopping. It is really showing me what controls me, and what I don’t have control of (my spending!). It’s also really hard to not stop and get fast food! Since getting pregnant, the easiest thing to do after a long day is pick up that hamburger or that sub that I have been craving all day long. But to be free of spending this month means saying NO and going home to make myself a sub, instead of buying one. So far this month we have not been perfect. Theo needed some books for a class that he is taking, so we ended up ordering some books. We also had to buy some of our groceries at another store when the snow storm closed Aldi and we had just arrived back from 10 days in Michigan, meaning NO food in the house. I can’t believe we are only 11 days into January. I really hope that I make it through January in my regular jeans, though….cause I don’t think Aldi sells pregnancy stretch pants!

And for those of you wondering if we took into account pregnancy when we planned this year-long fast, we did. That is why I planed a fast from clothes in August (the month the little one should arrive), and a fast from food AFTER the baby is born.)

I will try to post 2-3 times a month about our fast, some posts may even be only about the fast. I challenge you to take at least one month of this year and fast from something, too!

Well, I guess that is all for now- and no pictures to share with you all, either! Sad day. I hope that your Saturday is warm, productive and enjoyable!

Foster Care FAQs

 

I posted this picture on facebook and Instagram yesterday, and I got a lot of feedback from it. I promised you all blog posts about our journey, so here is the first “official” one. I thought I would just answer some questions that we have gotten, and hopefully answer the questions that you have that you might not have asked!

Where are you in the process?

Well, if you take a look at the above picture, there are no boxes checked off yet! We are literally right at the beginning of this journey. Yesterday we pretty much finished the application and we will send it in later this week, after we put the last finishing touches on it. It’s all really exciting and really terrifying at the same time. Part of me wants to rip up the application and hide it away and not saying anything to anybody because then we aren’t accountable to it at all. I know that as soon as I put it in our mailbox, our lives will begin to change forever. Change is not bad, it’s just….change.

How does this work?

Well, again, you can look at the picture above. First, we send in an application. They review it, send it back if they don’t approve or if we missed filling something in. Eventually, they file it, and within 30 days someone contacts us and sets us up with a social worker who will do our home study. A home study happens in 4 visits (at least in our county) and can take up to a year, but from how I understand it, it is mostly dependent on how quickly we get our act together. During and after the home study come classes that will make us certified to be foster parents. We also have to compile every important life document that exists, especially documents about background, FBI clearance, and making sure our home and pets are up to American codes. After all this happens, a child will be placed in our home. We have requested a child between 0-8 years old, so this is a broad spectrum here!

When will you officially be foster parents?

We have no clue. Only God really knows. We are hoping within a year, hopefully less. However, only God really knows. It excites me so much that God already knows the very children that will be placed in our home. He knows their stories, he knows their past, he knows their future. He knows how many tears we will cry throughout process, he knows how many months and days they will be in our care. This just blows my mind, and makes me feel so at peace about the whole process.

Can you have kids?

First off, please don’t ever ask anyone this and say “Can you have REAL kids.” (yes, this happens). Foster children and adopted children ARE REAL KIDS. There is a language that comes with adoption, and it is one that is very sensitive. Instead, you can gently ask someone, “Can you have biological children?” And the answer to this question for us is “we don’t know yet!”. As far as we know, we don’t have a problem producing biological children. We feel the Lord leading us to have a big family, and a family that most certainly includes adopted children. So we are beginning that part of the journey now. And don’t worry, faithful blog readers- I will let you know if we are pregnant! Chill.

Do you know what you are doing?

Nope. We don’t have a clue. We both know that the journey into foster care will not be an easy one. We don’t even know if it is for us in the long run. But without a doubt, we feel God leading us to this. We know that if He has asked us to do it, He will equip us. He could be asking us to do it, so that we will say yes, and he will use that more for transforming US than transforming the children placed in our home (what we see as our goal). He knows what He is doing, and we are simply trying to be faithful to his call. Everyone I know who has done foster care or been in foster care has told me how challenging it is. This does put some fear into my heart, but I am hoping that it is a healthy fear. I am not going into this thinking that it is going to be the most immediately rewarding thing. I know that it is not. I know that I will cry a lot, I know that we will have to let some children go, whether their time with us is up or the act of taking care of them becomes too much of a struggle. I know that my heart is about to be blown wide open by love for these children and the pain that marks a heart that cannot seem to make an earthly difference. We don’t know what we are doing. We don’t know how hard it will be. We don’t even know HOW to be parents! But we are stepping out in faith.

Are you sure about this?

Yes. Yes. YES!!! I have never felt such a peace and excitement about a journey that I have embarked on before. It has been coming in a still, small whisper for over a year now. At first, we didn’t recognize it. But all the subtle little clues have led to this moment, and we are leaping out in faith. As I mentioned above, I know that it will not be easy. It will probably be the hardest thing that we have ever done. Maybe it will be the hardest thing that we ever do. But we are SURE.

How can we pray for you?

Well, as you all know, we don’t know how to be parents. Pray for us in that. We are going to become parents of children who may already have their own parents. We might become parents of children who are several years older than our marriage. We might become parents of children who want to make parenting extremely difficult. Just pray for us, that we will learn how to become parents.

– Patience in the process

– Using our time as single marrieds to prepare for the foster children that will be in our care

– Pray for the children that will be in our care. Each one is already known by Him.

– Open hearts and minds to the work that God is wanting to do in us through this process

 

If you have any other questions, please send them our way! Thank you so much everybody for your support in this journey!

5 Things You Need to Read to Know About Foster Care/Adoption

Most of my blog readers know that adoption is close to our heart, and recently the Lord has laid foster care on our hearts as well. So far we are in the stage before the steps: learning, praying, discussing, researching.

Yes, I know that foster care is incredibly challenging, to say the least. If you want to share your experiences with us, that is fine. But please don’t tell us that we can’t do it. I have already heard that one too many times, and with God- anything is possible. We are ready. We are willing. We are simply waiting. And we know that the journey will not always be easy.

I wondered for a while if I should post anything on this here blog about us being foster parents. We haven’t sent in an application, we haven’t fulfilled any of the requirements, and we haven’t even decided for sure. But, you my readers, are reading to follow what is happening in our lives. And I feel like I want you to be in on the whole journey: the journey of changing our hearts, the journey of (hopefully) joining, helping and providing for some young lives. Hopefully the journey of becoming parents.

This journey has began with a lot of thinking, praying and reading. I am a reader. I know that we wanted to adopt, but I had NO CLUE where to even start. Are we old enough? Do we have to be married for a certain time? Are there different kinds of adoption? How much does adoption cost? Where do we start? Who do we talk to? What are we getting ourselves into???

The following books/reads have really helped me answer some of those questions:

1. The Bible

Yes, our deep desire for orphan care comes straight from the Scriptures. From the concept that we are orphans that God has adopted as sons(Ephesians 1:5), to the fact that God charges his followers to care for the orphans and the widows (James 1:27). Loving one another is a huge part of parenting- and being involved in orphan care is certainly an act of loving one another.

2. Yes, You Can Adopt by Richard Mintzer

This book was not written from a Christian perspective, but gives the basic information for those who don’t even know where to start. I learned about the different types of adoption: open or closed, domestic or international, private or agency. I learned about the potential cost of adoption. I learned about different countries policy on adoption.

3. Orphanology by Tony Merida

This book presents the gospel approach to orphan care. It’s one of those books that is so easy to read that I missed a lot my first time through. It’s one of those books that I have to slow down and take it slow, savoring each chapter.

4. Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

This is the book that changed my perspective towards foster care. It is a memoir of a girl who spent eight of her twelve years in numerous foster homes. The way she wrote the story just broke my heart and made me want to do something for her. She was eventually adopted and ended up thriving, so what if I can make that difference in a child’s life?

5. This article

And just to add two more non-reading, yet extremely related/helpful items to the list:

6. Your county’s social services department. We were at a festival in our town, and we saw the children’s social services department table, so we stopped by and asked them some questions. They took our name and address and mailed a packet to us with very helpful information and the first steps to take in the process.

7. A support group At the same festival, we saw a table for a (large) church in the area that has an adoption/foster care support group. We went to a meeting with them and it was so helpful/encouraging/challenging to hear others stories, and to know that we have a bank of knowledge, experience and prayer coming from there.

 

And there you have it! That is where we are at right now!

Orphan/adoption instant download printable. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. John 14:18