Timing & Waiting

I don’t know about you, but a lot of people in my life often speak a phrase, “well God’s timing is always perfect” or “God’s timing is best” or something like that.  Perhaps you haven’t ever heard that, maybe it’s just the circle and community in which I find myself.  But regardless, it’s something I hear frequently.

Just to clear the air, I must state it — I certainly agree!  It’s a simple statement, but it’s true — I have seen it in my life, and the lives of others.  Recently with this whole Foster Care journey, I think I am understanding that phrase in a fresh way.  Of course it is likely with a certain amount of providence that I am being allowed to “re-learn” this old adage, about “God’s perfect timing”.  That said, we are not terribly impatient to have our Foster Kid(s)/Placements in our home, but we definitely are eager — as anyone is on the cusp of a new adventure.  But I’ve seen anew how “perfect God’s timing is”.

We began our paperwork/home study process way back in August/September of 2017.  Potentially we could have been through with paperwork, Foster Classes, Home Study & preparations by early-mid December — but it didn’t work out that way.  We will sign our Final Home Study on this Thursday, 1/25/18.  Thankfully we truly haven’t been annoyed or felt like it was dragging out.  In all honesty, I believe both Clara & I have been mostly okay with however long it takes — we know that everything is about to change and whatever time period we wait, we probably needed the margin of time.

As it turns out, December was kind of a tough month.  If it weren’t enough chaos with the holidays & end of semester chores, we had a lot of major stuff happen.

  • We gutted and rehabbed the hall bathroom that we’d been putting off
    • Thankfully a husband of a great couple in our Foster Class is a contractor and was willing to guide and teach me how to rehab the bathroom alongside him, so not only did I get to save money by helping, I learned a lot of things I hadn’t really done myself before.
    • All that to say, in our 1.5 bathroom house… we were without our main bathroom for a little over a week… it’s perfect now!
  • My grandfather passed away — right in the middle of the bathroom remodel.  Naturally for any family that is a major blow — and we needed time to spend with family and mourn and work through that (which naturally will continue for awhile).
  • We did NOT have our kid room ready at all.  Who knew (we didn’t…) it just takes time to order bunk beds, pick up mattresses, find good kids bedding, paint furniture, rearrange your entire home & organize all the toys and books given by friends/family.
  • I ended up with the Flu & also had a ton of changes at work.
  • And a ton of other little details that are seemingly unimportant until they are added into the collective list of December/early January ‘chaos’.

It has actually been a tremendous blessing to NOT be licensed until the end of January… because we NEEDED that time to deal with a lot of change, prepare physical accommodations, make major house repairs & emotionally work through a lot.  God knew we needed more time, God knew things were coming down the pike that would require more physical, emotional & financial strain than we needed to have with new kids in our home.  I can’t imagine how extra hard it would have been for kids to come into our home in the midst of all that ‘chaos’.  I am so thankful that God’s timing is perfect, that His timing is best — because had the timing been my choice, my preference, we would have not been prepared, we would have struggled greatly.

Now there is no promise we will not still struggle, and the strain emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. could (and probably will) still be incredible.  But thank The Lord, we have some of those things behind us.  We are a little more prepared than we were.  And thankfully God used this season of life to help remind us that His timing is good — and that He is trustworthy, that He is faithful.

 

 

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3 Weeks of Class Down

So we are overdue for a Foster Care Training update!

So last night was our 3rd week of STARS Class (Foster Care Class), and this was probably the heaviest week of material thus far.  Everyone ‘knows’ or has ‘heard’ about abuse, whether they have experienced it or not.  Most everyone says it’s horrific or unbelievable, but emotionally we are rarely engaged — perhaps more sympathetic than empathetic.

So the backstory — every week we watch some videos portraying situations and scenarios with Foster Kids, their birth families and their foster families.  They are pretty enlightening videos because we can conceptually ‘know’ the hardships, but seeing them portrayed on screen completely engages your mind to process and ’empathize’ with the situations.  This weeks video was predominately about abuse — verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse.  It hit both of us hard, we ‘knew’ those awful abusive things happened to kids, often being the very reasons they are removed from their homes, but we just knew it as a concept.  Seeing it portrayed was truly horrifying — to ‘experience’ the things that innocent children are subjected to is overwhelming — very emotional.  It wasn’t easy, but I am thankful we had an evening on that topic, because it is prevalent.  And ‘knowing’ is completely different than ‘seeing’ the realities played out before you.  For me, it helped me understand the shift from sympathizing to empathizing — and I hope that we will continue to grow in that understanding.

In all of that however, it reminds us exactly why we are doing this.  It’s easy to forget, or quickly & quietly slip back into the ‘fear’ or desire for comfort, but there are kids who need a safe home.  Maybe they need a safe home for a season so their parents can get life back in order, or maybe they need a safe home forever.  Regardless, we believe we are called to “stand in the gap” and help however we can, however God leads us.  It will not always be easy, there will be good days and bad days.  But God has called us to this, and He will be faithful to guide us on those awful days as well as the good days.  No doubt this process will grow our faith tremendously, when we know we are completely unprepared, ill-equipped and inpatient humans!

As hard as last night was, we are still excited.  This journey has been fun so far, we have met some really amazing couples in our classes at OneHeart.  There are 8 couples in our class and a couple Singles, all have unique stories and all are compassionate folks.  One family in particular has 6 kids they have adopted, and they are renewing their license to open their home again!  It’s a blessing and encouragement to have a great class & the excellent trainers we do.  We definitely have a lot to be thankful for.

Not to mention, we have had SO much encouragement from our friends and family — THANK YOU!  We actually are going to be blessed with some bunk beds from Mama & Papa Madden (Clara’s Mom & Dad), even better they are bunk beds that convert to twin beds, so we can do either if needed.  That alone is a HUGE load off.  We still need to do some prepping for the bedroom we are converting.  Clara has some really neat plans to make it very homey and welcoming, so when kids come into our care and are struggling through a lot, at least they have a safe, comfy and cozy room to make their own.

We do still need to work on a few things — the baby gate for the basement stairs, fire extinguisher, replace the cracked shower in the bathroom with a new tub, get some ‘kid’ stuff to decorate the room with, and I am sure there are other things Clara can remind me of 🙂 but regardless, it’s all fun to tackle!

Thanks for your prayer, encouragement and asking questions!

 

First Home Study

So we had our first home study last night.  We were pretty nervous but our Social Worker is amazing!  She was helpful, very encouraging and excited for us — which was definitely an affirming step in this Foster/Adoption process.  Even more encouraging, she’ll be with us as long as we’re licensed as Foster Parents — big relief.

We are SURE that we’ve only learned less than 1% of everything we need to know, but we are excited.  We also learned that once some basics are done, fingerprinting, background checks, etc., we can be signed up to provide respite care!  Respite Care is temporary care for Foster Families.  For example, say a Foster Couple needs a break for a weekend just to get away, we could step in and provide care for the weekend, Respite Care.  We didn’t know this was an option for us so quickly — needless to say, we were thrilled!

Along with some paperwork last night, and a walk-through of our home we also got confirmation of some things we need to do at home to be ‘ready’.

  1. Fire Extinguisher (at least 5lbs) — clearly we needed this before… haha.
  2. Baby Gate for the Basement Stairs since they’re open to the kitchen, might be something I make, we shall see if there are rules about that…
  3. Carbon Monoxide Detector — for some weird reason ours is in the basement, but we need one in the kitchen!
  4. Bunk Beds — we have full-sized beds in both spare bedrooms, but converting one bedroom to a more kid-friendly space would be great, not only for welcoming the kids, but for practicality as well.  So I am on the hunt for a good deal.  I could probably build them, but my mother advised against it — haha!  In addition we’ll need to get bedding and mattresses.  Probably need to get some stuffed animals as well… ALL bedrooms need them obviously — even if Clara objects to Black Bear (who resides on our bed… when it’s made 😉)
  5. Finish some more paperwork, including Safety/Escape Plans, emergency phone numbers posted, etc.

We have a lot of other tasks we want to tackle too, like cleaning out all the junk in the basement storage rooms, getting some kid stuff at garage sales, etc.  But those are fun and not super urgent.  But we are excited — last night was a great meeting and helped confirm we are on the right path.

Thanks for all the prayers!  We know hard times will come, but so far this process has already been a blessing — and we thank God for that.

If you have advice or questions, NEVER be afraid to let us know 😊 Like Clara had said before, we didn’t realize how excited our family & friends would be — and it because obvious that we needed to keep everyone updated!