Don’t admire us . . .

10458556_10205554295080553_4722897529483394823_nWe just had a great family trip to Disneyland with five kids in tow. It was an amazing experience for all five of our kids, and a fun experience for the kid in the two adults that happened to be along for the ride.

On Saturday, our family happened to be picked from a crowd of hundreds to open Disneyland. We were the first ones in the park, and we got to count down to open the gates. During this encounter, the cast member that took our tickets said something to me that stuck with me, “I really admire you guys.”

Over the last week, I have heard from many others that they admire and respect us. We ran into a grandmother in Disneyland who said it, a TSA agent who said it, and it’s something we have heard from others as well.

Don’t admire us.

We are just normal people who happen to have five kids. Three of them are adopted, and two of them are foster children. We have chosen this path to build our family, and now we feel that we are called to help out other kids who are not fortunate to have loving parents. What is there to admire?

I can understand someone saying this that doesn’t understand that we are just obeying God’s command in James “to look after orphans . . . in their distress.” It is not really our decision to do this for these children, but God’s, and we are acting as a mouthpiece for Him in this world.

Every Christian may not feel called to do this, and that is totally fine. It could be detrimental to try to do something that God has not called you to do. Each one of us has a gift, and we are using our gift in the best way that we know how. For us, it’s not a burden, but as Truett Cathy used to say, “My pleasure.”

However, it is important that as Christians, we not flaunt the fact that we are taking care of those who don’t have someone else to look after them. In Matthew 6:1, Jesus says, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.”

We don’t do this for praise, or for the money (kids actually cost more money than you may think), but for these children that just need someone to love them. So many times, when we feel they are acting out, they are just screaming out for someone to love them. It’s actually pretty amazing that as they live in our house longer, there is less acting out, as they figure out maybe we are a little different from other homes they have been in.

If you feel that you have a little more love to give, you may want to look into becoming a foster parent, or a respite care provider for stressed out and tired foster parents. If you want some info on how to become a foster parent, feel free to contact us.

If you don’t think you could ever do this, then you can do the next best thing, and that is to pray for these children, not just the ones in our home, but one of the other 400,000 foster kids across America. They all need love, and you can pray that they find the right home that can give that to them.

We Love, God Heals

Monday, December 1, I received a phone call for an 8-year old girl who was in desperate need of a home. Her adoptive placement and former foster placement had fallen through. She had switched foster homes 12 times in 4 years; I was given tons of information, and then asked “can you take her.” I said I needed to talk to my husband and make sure we were prepared for a new addition. Fast forward to December 2 at 5:30pm and we were driving to Seattle to pick up this sweet girl who needed our family.

The next 2 hours proved to be extremely difficult. I was spit on, kicked and slapped multiple times. I begged God to give me guidance and to help me see her through His eyes! He showed me who he was in those moments. He is steady and patient! He got me through what was a long and difficult night!

I know we have a long and difficult road a head of us, but I also know God will be with us every step of the way! I know there are going to be many moments where I feel like a complete failure and that nothing i am doing is right! I know God is the healer and can work in our little girls life. My calling is to love her and believe God can handle the rest!

We have so much change going on in our family. I sometimes feel as if I can’t keep up, but I am thankful for it all! Please surround our family with your love and prayers. We can feel them and they mean so much to us.

How blessed are we?

10352836_10152561280717512_2558524169161715697_nLife is good! I look into the eyes of our little “J” and wonder what his life will hold . . . he has left such an imprint on my heart already. His sweet smile is contagious! He has been with us for 7 weeks now. When he first came there were very little smiles and no emotion shown. Now he laughs and freely gives hugs. I have been asked many times how will I let him go? It’s going to be hard! There are going to be lots of tears and a big piece of my heart will go with him, but I am going to focus on now!

How incredibly blessed I am to have this little guy in my life. Sometimes I wonder . . . did we do the right thing? How are my Connor, Savannah, and Gavin going to be affected? But I see the love they shower on “J” and how readily they have accepted him into their lives. I am so proud of each of them and their big hearts! Have our lives changed over the last 7 weeks . . . YES . . . but we have all adjusted to a new normal. Are we incredibly blessed . . . YES!! I don’t know how long “J” will be with us but we plan on grabbing on to each moment with him and making it count!

Why did God choose me?

I have struggled this week. I have wondered, “Am I enough? Am I making a difference in little J’s life?” This whole mom thing is difficult! I feel like a failure when I make a mistake. I want an instant do over! I wake up many mornings wondering, “Why did God choose me?”

He chose me because when I actually succeed He gets the glory! He chose me so when I am weak I can lean on him for strength! He chose me so I have living proof daily that “with God, all things are possible.”

I am so thankful God chose me! I pray I can learn to rely on his patience, grace, and humility as he brings each precious child through our home.

Things I have learned so far as a foster mom

DSC_0170I have quickly realized that things don’t happen overnight. Even the simple process of making a doctor’s appointment can take weeks. I have learned to be patient.

I have learned the unpredictability of it all. Everything is subject to change.

You don’t just open your door to the foster child. With them come multiple caseworkers, therapist, birthparents, and siblings.

It’s easy to hate the person, whether it be birthparents or someone else, who has hurt your foster child. I have had to diligently pray to love the birth family despite the pain they have caused . . . “to love them like Jesus”

I have seen our three children be loving, kind, and gentle. I am so proud of each of them. They have shared their rooms, toys, and lots of love.

Expect the unexpected. I have realized I will save my self a great deal of stress if I accept that anything can happen at any given moment.

I have learned how to deal with many emotions after a visit with the birth family; both my emotions and the emotions of our foster child.

One of my primary roles as a foster mom is to stand by these kids and let them know that they matter.

To love him even knowing one day he will leave, taking a piece of my heart with him.

13 reasons I love my wife

10153214_10152319345437512_5701572423582575774_nToday Tamara and I celebrate 13 years of marriage. While many may joke about 13 being the unlucky number, I don’t really believe in luck, except for maybe the day I met her. So here on this special day, I decided to dedicate this space to her, and write 13 reasons why I love her, and I’m glad God chose her to be the mother of our children. As a note, these are not in any particular order, and each is important to me.

  1. Her friendship. Tamara is my best friend, and has been for more than the 13 years we have been married. She knows more about what makes me tick than anyone else.
  2. Her patience. You have to be patient to put up with me, and with 4 kids running around, this is a definite gift.
  3. Her stubbornness. While some may see this as a negative, I look at the positive, and the way that it kept us going through some tough times in our life together.
  4. Her love for our kids. This obviously could go unsaid, but I have seen many mothers of three or more kids that you just aren’t convinced that they really love them. I don’t even have to guess on this one.
  5. Her faith. Throughout the years of infertility, adoption, and now foster parenting, she has never given up on the fact that God is in control.
  6. Her cooking. Yes, they say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I didn’t really eat her food before we got married, but that was a definite miss for me.
  7. Her love for kids in general. Tamara loves every kid, not just our own. Her heart is so open to taking others in, and that is something you don’t see in everyone.
  8. Her organization. Our house is always in order, and that has passed down to our kids as well. Everything has a place, and that’s where it goes when you are done with it. (By the way, I’m the same way, so we are kindred spirits on this one.)
  9. Her beauty. Wow, she’s hot. And she looks better each day. 
  10. Her love for flowers. I love this about her. No matter what kind of flowers I may bring home, she loves them all. We have also been to almost every type of flower festival that I think may exist.
  11. Her frugalness (is that a word?) She is very frugal with our spending, and I tend to be more of the free spirit. I have to convince her to buy things for herself many times.
  12. Her belief in me. She has always stood behind me in decisions and my career, through many moves, and many hours of work. A little tidbit that many may not know is that early in my career, she even would run newspaper routes with me all night long, and then we would both go to work the next day. I love her for that.
  13. Her love of Friends. Yes, we are still addicted to Friends, and have watched the boxed set at least 10 times now.

I could of course go on and on, but I’m going to draw it to a close for now.

I love you Tamara, and hope that we can have many more wonderful years together, and can’t wait to write the list of 50 things I love about you!