Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It's been a very strange month of ups and downs. Our family has been pressing the hem of heaven so tightly it would prove worn if released. We have been in constant prayer over finding a new home for our growing family and a permanent home for LJ's little sister, Mia. We have been on our knees, on behalf of both, for over a year, but breakthrough has been slow.

In the same month (this month) we got encouraging news about Mia and then it was discouraging...and then back to encouraging. Last week, we found our dream home. Truly. It was quirky and non-traditional and felt like the perfect space to raise our non-traditional family. It needed work, but had loads of space, inside and out. It captured my heart, the minute I walked in the door.

Ben and I were laughing. After a year of waiting and begging praying, we had finally pushed through, and wouldn't it be just like God to deliver our home and daughter in the same week?

That was last week.

We were shocked when our offer was accepted without contingency and thankful that, although the crazy foster care system seemed set on allowing Mia to fall through the cracks, our caseworker helped us advocate otherwise. We praised God for his favor.

And then this week came...

We, sadly, had to withdraw our offer on the house, after spending three hours with the inspector, on Saturday. And, today, we were notified that Mia will be adopted by one of two families - neither of which is ours.

Sunday and Monday were difficult days for me. I had already betrothed myself to the house and had, mentally, moved our things in. It took me a couple days to get through the heartbreak. I wasn't angry or resentful with God - I was thankful (SO thankful) that he had spared us from harm - I was just, incredibly, sad. By the end of the day, yesterday, I was back to myself and although not ready to dive into the house hunt, again, my optimism returned.

God is faithful.

Strangely, when the news of Mia came, today, my immediate (and continued) reaction was complete peace. We have seen too much to doubt God's plan. I really want her to be in our family, but we've tried (not always successfully) to be neutral in our prayers for her. That God would be swift in bringing Mia a permanent family. From what I heard, today, both families would be a wonderful fit that would allow her to be with birth sisters. I couldn't ask for more.

Over the last year, we received such conflicting information about Mia, her whereabouts and whether or not there were other siblings with her. Our caseworker has been a gift from God and after the second new caseworker was assigned to Mia's adoption (after the termination hearing a couple of weeks ago), she, personally, drove to the assigned agency to read through Mia's file, herself. As if that wasn't touching enough, she affirmed a truth, today, that I am eternally grateful for. After spending her morning reading through this family's case, it is "unclear" why LJ was separated from his four sisters - who all had parental rights terminated a few weeks ago...together. I had no idea. I thought all the children, apart from Mia, had been adopted. Two are older than LJ and two are younger. All four will likely be adopted together. It doesn't make sense. There is no defining cause for his separation from the family.

No defining cause, that is, except the all powerful-ever true, hand of God.

For whatever reason, God saw fit for LJ to be in our family. God plucked him from his abandonment and called him son. He stamped redeemed on his file and whispered favor into his future. I am in awe at the goodness and love of our God.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let my foot slip—
    he who watches over me will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over me—
    the Lord is my shade at my right hand;
the sun will not harm me by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep me from all harm—
    he will watch over my life; 
the Lord will watch over my coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

 - Psalm 121

Thank you, Father....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Intentional Mothering - Part 2

Many of you asked me about the scriptures we've been teaching our boys after my mother's day guest post. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote on the Intentional Mothering series:

In my own quiet time, I would pray for my boys and think about the characteristics that I wanted them to be marked by and ways to instill them. God hit me one day with the realization that if I wanted my boys to be lovers of the Word – If I wanted them to hide Truth in their hearts – I had to, intentionally, put it there!

It was a light bulb moment. What better way to conquer LJ’s defeat or instill confidence in Ty, than to teach them what God’s Word has to say? As a family, we decided to start with Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

We weren’t looking to be fastidious about scripture memorization, rather we wanted the words the boys memorized to be genuine and meaningful. I did a quick Google search one day on kids memorizing scripture and found most of the “guides” to be marked by length versus application. “Jesus Wept” was, actually, on several lists.

Ben and I decided to be intentional with our selections and unstructured at the pace of memorization. In three months we are only on verse number two - Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.We didn’t move on to our second verse until the boys were applying Philippians 4:13 on their own.

We started the conversation by telling them how important God’s Word is and that the Holy Spirit uses it to communicate with us and guide our decisions

Teaching the boys to sew the Word of God, deep into their hearts, has been such a blessing and challenge to do the same in my own life. My little flashlights are proud to shine their lights.

Here is the list we're, currently, working through:

Memory Verses for 2013

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Colossians 3:20
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Isaiah 43:5
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Matthew 22:39
Love your neighbor as yourself.

I Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Psalm 139:14
I praise you God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God proves true.

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Are you their mom?"

Last week, we were at my cousin's baseball game and about half way through the boys were getting wiggly bottoms. We told them they could go run around the field behind us and gave them some parameters. A few minutes later, we found that they had made friends with some older boys and had joined their soccer game. When the game was over and people started packing up, there was a black family sitting in the home field bleachers that were getting ready to leave. I heard one of the older boys tell Laron, "Don't you need to go home with your family?"

Laron looked at him, strangely, and, pointing to me, said, "No, my mom is right there."

The poor boy just coudn't wrap his mind around the fact that Laron was with our family. He asked him several more time until Laron finally said, "My MOM IS RIGHT THERE." I smiled and waved, but didn't intervene.

Today, the boys were riding bikes in the driveway while I was making dinner. I heard one of the older neighbor boys that they hadn't met, yet, come ask if he could play (my boys have an uncanny ability to draw a crowd and make friends, quickly).

He started by asking them their names and ages. Ty explained, with painstaking detail, that he used to be two, that he, now, is three, and, in June, will be turning four. There was a long pause and the boy said, "Are you guys brothers?"

Laron said, "Yup. You wanna ride bikes with us?"

The boy wasn't ready to move on, "But, you guys are the same age?"

Ty went through his explanation, again, and ended with, "We are both turning four."

The boy wasn't convinced, so he asked, again, "And you're brothers...how?"

I decided to poke my head out the door to see who was asking all the questions. As soon as I came around the corner, the boys shouted, "Hi, Mom!"

The boy looked at me and said, "Are you their mom?"

I smiled and said, "I sure am! Have fun boys," and walked away with a smirk on my face.

This is only the beginning to a lifetime of questions. I love that my boys are confident in their brotherhood and secure in the role they have in our family. When it comes to preschool friends and park acquaintances, I decided that it's their story to tell, not mine. How much they want to reveal is up to them.

It's funny to watch their interactions because nothing about their life feels unnatural. They assume everyone gets it! Sometimes I do want to interfere and say, "Just ask them if they're adopted...they'll tell you!" But...right now, it's more fun to watch the boys handle it on their own.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

From one Rebekah to Another

Sweet Rebekah left this note on my Facebook wall, today:

To a lady who has had a great impact on my life. A lady who carries herself with great humility, spreads joy wherever she goes and loves with all her heart. Rebekah you are an amazing woman but most importantly you are an amazing mother. I remember seeing your face when you held our sweet Tyrus for the first time. It was one of the highlights of my life.

I am truly blessed that God put you in my life. Happy early Mother's Day!!

Here is my love to her, in return:

To a woman who has had a great impact on MY life. You are full of laughter and courage and heart. Your zest for life and capacity to love is great. Your friendship is one of the greatest blessings in my life and sharing motherhood with you is beyond a dream. Tyrus is a wonderful mix of all our best qualities - God has great plans for that boy. What a thrill that those plans include us!

My heart is in constant thankfulness for your role in my life. Happy Mother's Day, my dear friend.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Baby Mia

I love my husband. This was his response to my text message, this afternoon:

It's no where near a done deal, but my heart is pumping! Mia's court hearing was rescheduled twice in the last couple of months, but it finally went before a judge, this week. I don't know the ins and outs of her case (most of what I know is from facebook), but parental rights were terminated and a referral for adoption requested. Once an adoption worker is assigned our petition for adoption will be submitted by our case worker. Thankfully, Mia is being assigned to the same agency that our adoption worker represents, so we should avoid the confusion that occurred in LJ's case (we petitioned for him, but then found him on the MARE website a couple months later because our paperwork was lost).

I am trying very hard to be neutral and pray God's best for Mia...but, boy, do I want that to include our family! I have been praying for this sweet girl for 18 months...I was confident that her case would come to this point, now, I just want to bring her home.

All we can do is wait.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Intentional Mothering

I was asked to submit a guest post over at Deep Breaths. Katie put together a wonderful series on intentional mothering. I shared about the importance of sewing the Word of God into the hearts of our boys. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Too Hurt to Stay

"Dear Mum, it read, I am sorry for my life. I never meant to hurt you and I love you with a big heart. I want you to kiss me when my dad isn't looking so he doesn't think I'm a girl's blouse. I promise I'll let you kiss me. Casey and Mike are fixing me into a proper good kid like our Lewis. When can I come home, Mum? Love for ever and ever, Spencer xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx."

TLC Book Tours asked me to do a book review for Casey Watson's, Too Hurt to Stay. A true story of a troubled foster kid's journey to family. Before I dig into it, here's the book trailer:

Here's the thing. The story is gripping.

I read it in two days flat. Casey's writing is raw and genuine; there's not a lot of fluff. At first I was turned off by it and couldn't place the disconnect, until I realized our international differences. Casey is from the UK and her rhythm of words, not to mention some of the terms used, were puzzling at times.

There is some language in the book, but I didn't find it offensive, as it fit within the story.

It's hard to give a strong recommendation for the book because the content is so heavy. The ending isn't magical...it's real life. Casey and her husband are heroic in my opinion. They foster high risk kids for short periods of time, preparing them to return home or ready them to be fostered within the system. I am in awe of what they do and how they do it...and challenged to do more.

Spencer is the eight year old boy of whom the story is written. His childhood was so tragic, I could barely handle the read...but, then, the need for redemption wouldn't allow me to put it down!

If you have already experienced the foster care system or have a rooted passion for bringing change, this would be a good read for you. I would not recommend this book for those that are wavering between domestic and foster care adoption. It is a rough read and could, potentially, scare you into saying no...when we need you to say, yes!

Like I said, I found Casey's book extremely raw and inspiring. I have a greater respect for our loving, dedicated foster families and a deeper groaning to help serve these desperate kids who deserve more than they've been given.

Let me know if you end up reading it. I would love to hear your thoughts!