Every Chapter is Better.

Nothing has changed. Everything has changed.

The kids still have the same favorite stuffed animals. We have the same Toyota Minivan. My garage still needs to be cleaned out, and there are too many oranges in the kitchen. Oh, and Jack is still begging for a treehouse/fort — and building his own out of branches he scavenges until he gets it! Just to really drive this point home, we have had the kids in our home and a part of our family for over 3 years. Even while being Foster Parents, we were the only home they knew. They were with us every day, good and bad. They were safe, wild & loved.

Yet now that adoption has finally come, on glorious March 2nd, 2021 — everything has changed. This last week our sweet trio officially became Maloy’s. They forever have a family to protect them, teach them, grow them, nurture them, cherish them, love them and to forever call home. It’s the biggest deal in our little family’s world. Everything has changed. After 1117 days of waiting to breathe that sigh of relief and sink into the beautiful thing God is knitting together, we are officially in the eyes of the State, a forever family.

Our kids are mercifully little. The waiting, the unrest, the sleepless nights, the good days, the bad days, the scary phone calls, court dates we wished would stop, visits upon visits (thankfully with caseworkers we loved), the ups and downs of uncertainty in Foster Care — those things are over. And like I said, mercifully our kids are little. Jack was young when he came to our home, Arissa Mae was not even a year old, and Little Bear (Sean) spent 6.5 weeks in the NICU (where we got to visit him daily), and he came straight home to us. We are unbelievably blessed that they have known they were home WAY longer than they have officially & legally been home. In their simple way, the simple faith of kids, I have no doubt — they’ve known they are home. Why wouldn’t they?

All of a sudden nothing is different, but really everything has changed. The immediate moments afterward were a blur. We were all tired (still are) from the emotional roller roaster and release of excitement and relief. We sped back off to normal the next day, which in hindsight might have been a dumb choice. But as each slow moment, on the drive to school, getting ready for bed, chatting while doing dishes — something became more and more real. The kids are home. We are forever a family. It finally happened. We can make decisions about the future with a little more certainty. We can dream about fun adventures and plan great memories for the kids. If you ever read The Chronicles of Narnia, the last book, “The Last Battle”, there is a portion toward the close of the book where as the characters keep journeying into “the real country” and the colors, sights, senses are awoken, because everything they’ve longed for, that they didn’t know they were searching for is becoming more and more real as they head “further up and further in”.

Below is another little excerpt from “The Last Battle” that keeps coming to mind the last couple days. Because as “everything” is over — it’s only just begun.

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” 

The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis

I long for this that kind of life for my kids. I am sure I fail daily to really do this Dad thing well. And then even as write it down, I remember… I can’t do this on my own. I can’t do it in my strength. I have to trust daily that God is as good as He has proven Himself to be through this long 3 years.

Over and over and over, God has proven Himself to be more good, more faithful and more loving that I have ever understood before. I pray I don’t forget it, and I pray I can surrender well — so when we slow down and look back — we will see how every chapter of our little family’s story is better than the one before. And when we do slow down enough to look back, I will thank God that He did this.

Remember.

Tomorrow is a big day. We’ve waited for over 1100 days (little more than 3 years) to officially adopt our children. After so many days, weeks, months, years of trying not to “get our hopes up”, it is almost difficult to take a deep breath and know the thing you’d longed for, has finally come. Yet tomorrow, March 2nd, 2021 — we can breath that sigh of relief.

There are so many thoughts I wish I could wrestle out of my mind, feelings that I wish I could describe, but I really can’t. Because tomorrow, unless I wake up and this was a dream, our kids will legally be little Maloy’s — in the eyes of the state, they are forever Home. I am a fan of hyperbole, but this truly is one of the biggest days for us, for our kids, for our family.

So Clara & I have been doing a Bible Study on the Book of Joshua — and a common theme, over and over again, is “remember”. The study is recounting the story of the Israelites coming into the Promised Land. A theme that’s hitting me more than in previous times I’ve read Joshua, God’s Faithfulness. Over and over again, there are calls to be “strong and courageous”, and there are commands to remember God’s faithfulness. Stories of old are reflected on, taught to their children and point to God’s faithfulness in the past to help them trust God now, and in the future. It sounds trite to say it’s awesome — but it really is. Remember — remember God’s faithfulness.

The last few weeks, especially the last week, every time someone asks me about the pending Adoption and how excited and relieved we are, the theme of God’s faithfulness keeps coming out in my reflecting on the goodness of this whole season of our lives. Faithfulness has really been a theme of this 3 years. Faithfulness of our family, of our friends, our co-workers, our church, our schools (we’re both teachers), faithfulness of God through a lot of scary moments. Through everything — the really hard stuff, the scary stuff, the uncertainty, the anxious moments, the good moments, the joyous moments — we have been blessed.

Recently we have had a lot of lasts. Today was the last day I dropped my foster kids off at school. Tonight was the last night we put our foster kids to bed. Last week we had our last official visit with our caseworker and DJO, there were tears, because we truly love them. They are part of our families story. They are part of knitting us together, used by God to create something new from something broken. Honestly, we have tried so hard for so long to not get excited about the hope of adoption, that I never really realized we’d have a lot of lasts. But here is the beauty of all those lasts, they are really just the beginning of something “officially” new. They are the coming together of this new thing God has been weaving together for 3+ years. I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely never get tired of saying it — God is making things new.

God has been faithful to us, again and again. Like the story of the Israelites in Joshua, we are called to remember and proclaim God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness. Like I said, I am not really good at nailing down my thoughts tonight, they are racing and bouncing around all over — but I know in these moments, the eve of adoption, I want to remember God’s faithfulness.

I know I will have more thoughts soon, as I reflect on the events this week — and I will try hard to treasure them all, but for now thank you. Thank you for loving our family. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for showering us with support, encouragement & blessing us every day.

Restoring Brokenness

I could be foolishly optimistic, in fact, I am certain I have been accused of being a bit too much like “Buddy the Elf” at times (not kidding, literally today, in a meeting after school). But nevertheless, I could be too optimistic. That said, I truly believe that most people want to fix things that are broken. Sure, something may get in the way. It could be money, time, health, family, job, choices, etc., that get in the way. Still, in the quiet moments, the calm instances that stir our thoughts, ours hearts, even our souls — we want to make things right. We long for things to be redeemed, to be as they were. There is an overwhelming amount of brokenness in the world. It takes minuscule time on social media, TV, newspapers, you name it, to be overcome by the angst, sadness, devastation, and yes, brokenness.

If you’ll indulge me, at school (I teach High School Business Classes) we start off in the business introduction course looking at the world as it was. We look at Genesis (the beginning of the Bible) — we start there “In the Beginning”, and we try to get a grasp on “what was”. We look at Creation and see how things were — our relationship with God, our relationship with Others, our relationships with Ourselves (knowledge of self), and relationship with Creation. We dig into that story (Genesis 1-2) and try to chase after that beauty of what was. We catch a glimpse, if even momentary, of the thing we long for — things being right, as they were meant to be.

Unfortunately Genesis 3 happens — “the Fall”, and everything promptly unravels. We live after that moment. We live in a world full of unraveled brokenness. I can’t fix every problem in the world, gosh, none on my own I suppose. Yet here our family is, the midst of Foster Care, on the cusp of Adoption. You aren’t here on my couch, watching me clack away on my keyboard, but this isn’t easy to write. It isn’t easy to try and wrestle through thoughts, try to put words to things you know, think & feel, balance them with the truth and make sense of it all. Truthfully, I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t have the answers. But I know that I cannot, will not, see brokenness in the world — and do nothing. I know there are really big problems in the world, ones I don’t truly understand. But something I can do, is take steps. I can look into the darkness, into the brokenness and start chipping away.

Our kids, they are precious. They are wild ninja superhero preschoolers of course, but they are made in the image of God. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. And raising them up in The Lord, redeeming the brokenness in their lives (let’s be honest, I do NOT like to think about it, but there had to be profound brokenness, sadness, even devastation for them to end up in our home) — but starting to restore that brokenness is a small step toward making things right in the world. Even if it is just making things right in our corner of the world, our little cul-de-sac — it’s still pushing back on the darkness. It is still redeeming brokenness, one day, one nap time, one snack time, one meltdown, one lost fox stuffed animal, one matchbox car thrown at Dad’s head on accident.

I don’t have the answers, but I know this — God is doing something incredible and unexplainable in our home, in our family. He is writing a story that is beautiful, imperfect yet perfect, and sacred. And I can’t tell you how amazing it is, to be in the middle of God redeeming something so wonderful and simple — and to be able to sit here catching glimpses of it unfolding. It’s a gift.

965 Days.

Parenting is hard. Literally just saying those 3 words will get 95% of people (made up statistic, just in case) to shout a hardy, “yep” or “amen”. It is because it’s true. Parenting is hard.

That said, as a Foster Parent you are confronted with so many challenging scenarios that you tend to forget how tough being a “normal” parent can be. I will spare you the icky details. Nevertheless Foster Parenting confronts you with some realities that all parents face, yet they are often magnified by Foster Care.

An example — So little is truly certain for anyone in life. We aren’t promised tomorrow, we can’t be sure a loved one won’t fall ill, we cannot predict the outcome of jobs, education, etc. We strive in life to reduce risk to the best of our ability. But so little is truly certain. Foster Care magnifies this to a level I’d never previously experienced. I can get a text/email/call from a caseworker, court officer, etc., (even one I know and trust) and still my heart skips. Because you literally never know what new thing you may find out. Often it’s nothing, yet sometimes everything changes again. Then you’re faced with the only option, soldier on. Naturally this is not different than any parent, it’s just tremendous how much this is in. your. face. every. moment.

So before you assume all doom and gloom, there is light and beauty in this. It has forced surrender in my life. It has forced me to trust God more deeply. I have no other option. I have really been wrestling with this lately (my apologies if someone has caught me deep in thought lately and I seemed frazzled). And as I have wrestled with this I remembered something I prayed for, daily, for probably years. I (foolishly, kidding. sort of…) prayed that God would give me big faith. I prayed God would make me “steadfast”, unshakable, resolute, unhesitating. I wanted to be a man who would not be swayed easily. I wanted to trust God more completely. I wanted to surrender with absolute certainty, over and over each day. I wanted to really learn to “Abide in Christ”. I hope you are seeing where this is going. I am certainly a long way from where I’d hoped I’d be by now, but I see glimpses of this. I see moments where God has grown me deeply. This journey, the 965 days that my beautiful children have been in our home, has wrecked me. It has wrecked me repeatedly. And thank God it has. I still want to be “in control” and “over-prepared” too much. I need to be wrecked.

These 965 days have humbled me, daily humbled me. I remember I don’t have it all together. I can’t save as much money as I’d like. I don’t have the energy I wish I did. I can’t sit and rest 1/4 of as much as I’d like. I have obligations. I have responsibilities. I have dreams. I have hopes. And because these 965 days have broken me over and over — I can see more of the incredible story God is unfolding and how He is showing His grace, His mercy & His love. And thank God that He keeps destroying the parts of me that war against Truth, war against Beauty, and war against restoration.

A good friend, who since has moved away and I don’t get to catch up with him as often as I wish I could, told me something many years ago. We were in a deep discussion about some very difficult circumstances and somehow I brought up the idea of “fight or flight”. I told him that I wasn’t 100% sure, but I liked to think I was of the “fight” camp. He quietly asked why, I made my poorly thought out case, and he replied with, “no”. He told me he thought there was a third option. He believed there were those who neither ran (took flight), nor fought (fight), but a third group who was able to stand resolute, unwavering & steadfast in the midst of turmoil & trouble. He very kindly told me that he believed me to be one of those rare folks in the third category, who stood fast, no deep desire to fight or flee. In my foolish pride, I quickly dismissed his words as too kind, and didn’t really make much of it. But over the years, that conversation has come to mind a couple times. And tonight while sitting on the back porch praying about tomorrow and thinking back over the past 965 days, that conversation with my friend came to mind. And I realized the gravity of his compliment. I still don’t feel worthy of such an accolade, but I am coming to realize his wisdom. I am not someone who needlessly fights, and I am certainly not someone who flees from trouble. Foster Care has shown me the truth in what he said to me that night. Thank God that my friend saw that in me, and thank God that He blessed me with that trait. And thankfully God has reminded me of that conversation a few times when I needed to hear it again.

I suppose I shared that story with you about my good friend & his kind words somewhat out of “processing” it myself and realizing it more deeply tonight than before. And out of thankfulness that God saw fit to use Clara and I to love these kids. I am thankful God used us to stand steadfast for them.

I am probably rambling and need to wrap it up… brevity is something I love, and fail at miserably. I have found myself telling the story of what God is unfolding before us more often lately in conversations. That in our kids lives, they have experienced brokenness and the effects of sin and evil that I wish never had to be part of their story. But for all the potential hurt, pain, sadness & brokenness in the world (and there is plenty more) — God is making something amazing, beautiful and sacred. God is redeeming the brokenness in their lives, giving them a home, a Mom & Dad who love them beyond measure, a family, a safe place to thrive and flourish, a place to belong. Their story, is a story of incredible beauty. Beauty that my words just don’t do justice.

It’s beautiful because it is the Gospel. It is the story of our brokenness too. And a tangible embodiment of the love God has for us. And how God is redeeming and restoring the lives of those who love Him.

There is so much brokenness in the world. There is so much to be in doubt of, fear of, frustration over, you name it. But there is even more hope. And thank God for that.

Trapped.

In light of the bizarre impact Coronavirus has had on the entire world. I have been reflecting about how trapped, frustrated & helpless so many people feel. In a weird way, it’s really not a foreign feeling for Foster Parents. It’s a daily reality, now it just has the added “joy” of a virus to make it more complex and widespread for everyone else.

Something I have become more and more convinced of the longer we’ve remained in the Foster Care system is this — the system sworn to protect and cherish children, that system itself causes trauma.  It causes trauma for the children, the foster families, parents, everyone.  Let me clarify, it is different trauma (likely) than what caused the move into Foster Care initially — but trauma nonetheless.

My initial reaction is to blame the system, condemn it & use it as the scapegoat for my frustrations when they arise.  But the calmed down retrospective part of me knows that isn’t the answer.  That said, the system is flawed, broken, slow, bogged down, bloated & wastes money.  The system is not great.  But on the other side, the system is a result of the brokenness in the world that it was created to handle.  It (the system) is dealing with heartbreaking situations, problems & brokenness no one would ever want to wish upon their worst enemy.  And as a result, because every situation, child, family & case is different — there is this unnecessary, yet unavoidable, tension between common sense and following every protocol.

So I guess the point in writing this is to ask myself a question.  What is the Christlike response to feeling trapped, backed into a corner, helpless?  If we Christians want to redeem & restore the brokenness in the world, as we are called to do, what does that look like in a messy & frustrating system (that we may or may not agree with)?  What does it look like to not force our agenda, our will, our preferences — but to balance that with common sense and truly act in the BEST interest of others (including Foster Children)?

I keep asking myself this question because as a Foster Parent, I have never felt more powerless, hopeless and backed into a corner over the last few years.  Now before you panic and question my faith in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness — remember, feelings aren’t always truth.  Feelings can mislead, can be sinful & flawed.  But regardless, we are emotional beings, and feelings are unavoidable.  The trouble comes in how we react, how we process them and the actions we take.  I want to react well in the face of feeling powerless, pushed around & trapped.  I want to stand up with gracious boldness to face the uncertain, the unnecessary & the unfairness.

So, whether it’s questioning the brokenness of the system, or evaluating my response to the feeling of powerless waiting — what is the response that will help point to Christ, the response that can help restore brokenness, the response that minimizes the “trauma” of the Foster-world?  What is the response that helps redeem the ugly broken world that our kids have no choice in floating through?

What does it look like to exist in and simultaneously seek to redeem a broken world? I pray about this a lot — and tonight while watching/singing songs with the kids, we listened to an old favorite, and it reminded me of an important place to rest in. Below is part of the Andrew Peterson’s song, “Dancing in the Minefields”:

“At the end of all my faith, till the end of my days
When I forget my name, remind me.
‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man,
So there’s nothing left to fear.
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands,
Till the shadows disappear.
‘Cause He promised not to leave us,
And his promises are true.”

It’s curious, but this too reminds me that in this world we will be uncertain of much, there is plenty to fear, we can always find something in which to be anxious about — but that’s ok. We bear the light of the Son of Man (Jesus), and we won’t have every answer, but we can keep walking and trusting — because the promises ARE true.

p.s. nothing horrible has happened, please don’t panic — just processing the realities of Foster Care and seeing the weird emotional similarities to COVID world.  Even when life is beautiful, the kids are wonderful & life is full of blessing — Foster Care is hard & our goal in sharing our journey is to just share what families go through.  So no need to worry or panic 🙂

2 years.

Two years.

Two years ago you made me a Dad.

You weren’t what I was expecting. But, you were perfect. You are perfect. I was scared, excited, anxious, hopeful, joyful & broken. But you were there — and I loved you from the moment you came home. Your Mom and I still catch ourselves weeping, momentarily unaware that we love you so much, and we are overcome by the feeling. You are home. Because of you, my children, I have learned more deeply than ever before what it means to be home.

I remember the morning you came — I was taking a shower, like normal — and singing in the shower, which I can’t do now (because you’ll wake up). And for whatever reason, the song I was singing caused me to tear up — now I know — my heart was being broken because you were coming home. And I needed to be broken of pride, self-confidence & perhaps self-reliance. God (in His infinite wisdom & providence) knew you were coming home, for the first time. And God knew that it would be the most wonderful & challenging season of life thus far. And any attempt to lean on my own wisdom, knowledge, cunning & pride would be my downfall —

Certainly I was in over my head. Which is why I believe God was preparing my heart that morning. Knowing that I MUST lean on God to be a good Dad, to lead our home well, to take on the seemingly crazy challenge of a baby & a toddler, only to have another baby come within a few months. To deal with the unexpected, terrifying & beautiful things to come.

But now we are here — 2 years later. You make me crazy, I am tired, money is less, house is a disaster — and I love every single moment. Every crazy night, unexplainable meltdown, cleaning food all over the floor, stepping on cars in the dark — worth it.

There is an Andrew Peterson song, Family Man (I’ve mentioned it before), and he has a line that goes, “And I don’t remember anymore, who I even was before…” — it’s simple, but it sums up the last 2 years. And I love it.

Prayer Need —

To our Family & Friends — we have a sincere prayer need.

Clara & I hold our cards pretty close, trying not to over-share the perils we have experienced in “Foster World” and generally seek to share the blessings. We don’t want family & friends to panic, knowing we can’t and don’t want to share every detail. Likewise, it’s never been helpful to dwell on the negative.

That said, we truly need prayer. There is so much uncertainty in the plan for our kids to be home with us forever. It is agonizing to feel as though we are closer, and then in one text message, phone call or sentence — everything changes again. Hope seems crushed and the timeline becomes more and more elusive.

We live in a sort of “in-between” place. We live between the black and white — in the many obnoxious and ever changing shades of gray. It plays itself out in many ways, and when we speak of the beautiful life we have, we truly mean that. But with the same breath, we sense the fragility of our beautiful life with our children. So really we live life like this list below:

  • We are concerned, but we know God is faithful.
  • We are exhausted, but we rest in every morning’s new mercies.
  • We want kids adopted, and we know God is growing us in the waiting.
  • We live in constant chaos & uncertainty, but God is good.
  • We are terrified, yet confident in God’s providence.
  • We are anxious, and hopeful.
  • We are frustrated, but we are content.
  • We are not okay, but we ARE okay.
  • We want this to be over, but trust in God’s timing.
  • We weep without knowing exactly why, and we laugh with full joy.
  • We are doubters, but God is ALWAYS good.

We live this weird in-between life — it’s painful and beautiful in the same breath.

There are many great songs by Andrew Peterson, but one that always comes to mind is a recent song, “Always Good”. You should really listen to the whole song, because the few lines I will copy over will not have the full effect:

  • “Somehow this sorrow is shaping my heart like it should”
  • “Well it’s so hard to know what You’re doing. Why won’t You tell it all plain?”
  • “So maybe the answer surrounds us. But we don’t have eyes to see”
  • “This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could”
  • “As we try to believe what is not meant to be understood”
  • “Will You help us to trust Your intentions for us are still good?”

To be fair, that’s a majority of the song… but it always comes back around to “You’re Always Good”. And in the midst of the fear, the frustration, the impatience, the laughter, the joy & the sorrow — we need reminders like that. Because honestly, we lack the words to process our emotions and thoughts sometimes.

So we humbly ask, please pray for our little family. We tend to shy away from asking for prayer so we don’t cause undue concern in our community (so many of you graciously care about our kids with all your hearts) — but we are long overdue in asking for our family and friends to pray boldly for our children to be officially home. If you can, please pray for us.

Open Letter to my Children on Father’s Day Weekend

Dear Kids —

I hope you know how much your Dad loves you. The three of you make up 3/5 of the top five things I think about each day, and 99.9% of the time — it is paired with a smile. But never forget, your Dad loves you exactly as you are, forever.

This is my second Father’s Day being a Dad, of course I didn’t expect to go from 0 to 3 in 7 months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love our story, I love the chaos, I love the giggles & the laughter, and I love the imperfections of everything. You are what makes our story perfect.

Every single night when I tuck you in, and we pray together (and pray for all the cute stuff you think of and long list of people you love) — I ask God to help me be a good Dad, and thank Him for letting me be your Dad and ask God every night to let me be your Daddy forever. Even though right now when I ask God to let me be your Daddy forever, I am thinking about how we long to adopt you and make it official forever — I will always want to be your Daddy, your safe place, your biggest encourager, your home. And that will not change once a piece of paper legally says I am your Daddy.

Children, I also want you to know this. You were not my Plan B. You weren’t the backup plan. You weren’t a side thought. You weren’t our last resort. You are God’s perfect plan. Some day we will tell you the story and all the threads we can now later see that God was weaving together for the perfect time — but God so clearly brought you here. It wasn’t conventional, but it’s beautiful. Your Daddy (and Mommy) love you more than you could know. God prepared our hearts at the right time when he knew you’d be ready to come home to us. And thank God for that. But never for a moment believe that you weren’t the plan. You were God’s plan, and you were my plan. Your Dad loves you more than he can convey.

Looking back on my life and honestly thinking, I have a lot to be thankful for & proud of. But when it comes right down to it — none of that big worldly stuff, or accomplishments, mean anything to me when I compare it to you. All that “stuff” pales in comparison. Watching you grow, helping to raise you in The Lord, is literally the best and most amazing, humbling, thing I have ever been allowed to be a part of. Getting to be your Dad is the best. Everything else could be stripped away — but being able to love you each day and help you discover the world brings me more joy than I ever thought possible.

There are so many other things I would love to say to you, but we’ll leave it here. I love each of you (all three) in your quirky and beautiful ways. I will always thank God I get to be your Dad. But this weekend, on Father’s Day — thank YOU for letting me be your Dad.

Love Always,

Your Dad

Foster Mom? Super Mom.

Something happens occasionally in Foster Parent life that is just weird. You’re not totally regarded as a “real parent”.

(Small disclaimer before you panic & worry you said something wrong today — haha NO! All is well, fret not.)

But every once in awhile, yet probably too often, small passing comments are made (very innocently I am sure) that imply the idea, “well you’re not a real parent…” — again, innocent, not meant to be harsh or condescending — it just strikes in an odd way. And the unfortunate part of it is, those are the very comments the Enemy (Satan) uses to rattle Foster Parents and make them feel less worthy, less valuable, less like “real parents”.

The plain simple truth is — that’s of course not true, especially for Foster Moms. And their hearts are certainly the ones that dearly need that constant assurance of their wonderful sacrifice, particularly when there isn’t as much certainty in their children’s futures. Something that most moms don’t have to worry about.

Reality is, Foster Moms are amazing. They give the love, the nurturing, the family & the home that children need. They give themselves to their children without the comfort of knowing if their kids will stay forever. And that is amazing. Foster Moms certainly shouldn’t be considered just Foster Moms, they are super-Moms.

And that’s what my kids Mom (my wife) is like. She is a super-Mom. She loves and protects and nurtures and adores our wild brood of kiddos with her whole heart. Even when unintentionally “tough to hear” comments come, even when the Enemy makes her feel less valuable & important — she gives her heart to our kids. And that makes her just as much a Mom regardless of the “legal status” of our kids. She loves her kids no matter what life throws at us. And thank God for her.

Here’s the honest truth. Foster Care is messy, and people don’t always know what to say, and that’s okay! Honestly sometimes we don’t know what to say either. This is where grace comes in. Thank God, literally.

We Foster Parents are blessed, blessed to be a blessing. And I have come to think that sharing our story is part of the attempt to bless others with all we’ve been blessed with through our precious kids. I am just beyond grateful my wife blesses me and the kids day after day after day.

Thoughts at 33

On the eve of my 33rd Birthday, a lot of thoughts have come to mind. I wonder if 33 is hitting me with a little more gravity and weight than 30 did. I guess time will tell.

I am finding myself more and more often struck with how beautiful life is, and then lamenting how frequently I forget that beauty. Perhaps it’s the massive shifts life has had the last 5 years, in particular the last year. Maybe it’s becoming a father that has caused a renewed retrospective on the past few years & introspective on priorities here & now. But regardless, I am oddly finding myself in a curious place in my mind and thoughts. Hopefully this brings me some clarity & maybe encourages others — or freaks them out… you never can tell with the ‘ol internet 😉.

There is so much talk in articles and in books about intentional living. There have been things on social media for years talking about ‘minimizing’ or ‘streamlining’ your life. I have read some of these items occasionally, but not a ton. But I am seeing the need, and the value in considering these things as life has moved forward. Much like the old adage, “if you don’t control your money, it will control you”, I know if I fail to cherish my time — it will be lost.

So perhaps this is a confession, or a sharing of my thoughts to give myself some pretend accountability — but I am most certainly putting these thoughts down to help me process and think it all through.

I don’t have the luxury of floating in life, the luxury of not taking my thoughts captive, taking my time captive — and using it for the things I find the most value in. And perhaps I should take that a step farther — the things I find the most value in that will help my family to grow in The Lord. And I think the tough reality is, if there are certain life-giving things, things I find value in — it means saying no to things that suck life, don’t give value to my family. Haha, aside from things like taxes or mowing the yard…

Things we value & give life to us:

  • Being healthy & focusing on it
  • More social. Less media.
  • Being able to laugh, a lot
  • Taking time to find joy in all the little stuff
  • Writing more (personal and letters)
  • Making time to be a home full of music
  • Spending time exploring and enjoying creation
  • Planting a garden for the kids to learn & building a chicken house for them to enjoy & help (specifically BIG chickens…)
  • Reading books together as a family
  • Slowing down enough to love those around us, teaching the kids to serve & love

I totally get that everyone has different things they find value in, no judgement — it’s definitely subjective to the person. And I want to have the margin in my life to cherish my wife, raise my children in a fun, relaxed & loving home and to live a life that brings life to others. And now that 33 has hit — something has triggered in my more deeply than it has before, it’s time for a new era of intentional living around the Maloy home. God-willing, it’ll be great.