Monday, March 16, 2015

Dahlin-07: Update for our family.

For a while you can call the kids, Dahlin-07. (My husband is proud of his play on 007) Almost two weeks ago we had two new foster kids join our family. Here is my attempt to share with you how God has called us to this place, as foster parents, once again. 

My husband and I had been praying about adopting again for quite some time. We put that on hold after we learned that our son had a bio sister that was born but after she didn't come to us, we decided to officially continue the adoption process.

In December of this last year, as part of our annual giving-back gift, we were told about two kids in foster care who could use some extra gifts. So we gave the gifts, and I ended up connecting with their foster mom afterward online. We became an online support to each other but that was about it. The kids we gave gifts to were African-American siblings, a four-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy. 

Life moved on and we were living our busy, happy, routine while getting our profile ready for adoption. In fact we had to put it on hold for about a month or so because our entire household got a horrible stomach bug. I was so bummed because we were eager to get the process going.  I tried hard to trust God's timing. 

One night as we were looking at profiles of waiting children, I told my husband that I couldn't get those two siblings out of my mind. And it was so weird because they weren't even up for adoption. Also as far as I knew they were happy in their foster home and that was about it. I never even really saw their sweet faces. I barely chatted with their foster mom and knew little about their situation. All the while I felt so silly for thinking about them as an option. It didn't make any sense. 

The same week that we submitted our profile information to DHS to make it active in their system, I posted on an online foster/adoptive group I am part of that we were looking and who we were praying for. Because we are a white family with only one African-American child, we were specifically  pursuing adopting African-American children. 

I got supportive comments and leads and we continued our search. Almost two weeks later the foster mom with the two kids posted on our private group that with a heavy heart she needed to find another home for them. I was the first one, in our group, to read her post and my heart was pounding as I told my husband. I was sure this was a sign from God because we had been praying during this process for God to speak to us loud and clear about who we should add to our family. This explained why I couldn't get these random kids out of my mind.

Now, I will add that these kids were in need of a foster placement, not adoptive, but we were willing to love them and show them the love of Christ, however long God intended. 

The next few days were a whirlwind of finding out more information to help us make our decision. My husband and I spent nights late in bed, praying and discussing all of the many what-ifs, concerns, benefits etc… 

We ended up doing a last minute respite care for the weekend with them. It went great and we saw huge hope in regard to some of M's behavior. She had a lot of anxiety and behavior needs but desperately wanted to be loved and in the group and part of the family. By the end of the weekend they didn't want to leave and had bonded with the kids. We stayed in touch for the next week as, unknown to the kids, we had to decide if we would be their next placement. 

I have to say that yes, there were some concerns on paper but the question was, would we be a good fit for these kids and would they be a good fit for our us. My husband and I went back and forth and prayed that God be even louder and more clear as we had doubts and didn't want to take this decision lightly. 

Over the next few days we saw God speak loud and clear, we almost laughed at times when we saw God bring counsel into our life through various avenues. So much so that my husband was now 100% on board and I was still nervous. I think we do this often- when he is certain I feel the need to counter balance the idea and vice versa. :) 

I went to bed with butterflies in my stomach, knowing that we had to decide the next day, because their transition needed to be quick. I woke up with a sense of peace that yes, we would take these kids and care for their needs and love them and share the love of Jesus with them. We knew they would possibly only stay for 3-6 months and we were willing to trust God's perfect timing. 

I think what it came down to, was not should we say yes but rather, could we say no? My husband and I heard God so loud and clear and ultimately chose to obey his calling for our family and these two kids. 

So here we are just under two weeks in and we are getting more and more settled. We have enjoyed our new additions and are balancing and adjusting new schedules. 

Because of their needs, we have been able to incorporate parenting tools that we have learned along the way with our other little ones. So just days into their arrival we got M a chewy like my youngest daughter has and it has been a huge help for her. M has anxiety with transitions like my oldest son had in the past and we are able to help her digest her emotions and talk about them before she escalates. I have been more confident in being consistent with challenging behaviors with her brother D, because I spent the better part of two years helping my youngest son get through them. We feel like God gave us the tools and the practice we needed to help these kids thrive. And they are. We have good days and hard days but they are making huge progress in such a short time.

And yes, we have seven kids ages eight to three years-old right now. So for those who wonder why, let me tell you that we fully trust God's plan for our family and that is all that matters. While it was not our plan to continue with foster care but rather pursue adoption for our family, we are happy to answer God's call. 

Some people don't understand how so many kids can be allowed into a family, and we are not exceeding the limit, but my response is that this will be the case until more families step up to help out. There are kids entering foster care every day and they need to go somewhere to live. 

So with that said, we are enjoying our new family size and have confidence that this is how we are supposed to be serving the Lord for right now. 

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