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Monday, April 30, 2012

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When we share our lives with one another, our experiences, our struggles, and our victories; our story can be used to help those that come after us. We invite you to read the stories that are posted here and come back often as more will be added along the way! 

 Everyone has a story.  What's yours? 

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

How foster parenting affects your 'bio' children

The other day I sat my girls down to ask them a few questions about foster care to see how much they understand about what we're doing and to get more of a idea about how they feel about it. I loved hearing what they had to say and I typed furiously while they were talking in hopes to catch every word. Here are our firstborn, Paige's thoughts on the subject.

Paige: age 7 1/2

What is foster care?
"Foster care is when mom and dads cannot take care of their children because they are not taking care of them the way they should. Then the foster children have to go to a new house that does not have children that are in the foster care because if they go to a family that have children in the foster care then those families will not be able to take care of those other kids that were given to them in the foster care because they're gonna be exactly how they were to their other kids that were in foster care so they have to learn how to take care of their kids and then they can be foster parents but first the foster kids that were given to them should go to parents that know how to take care of kids better.

And then when the foster kids real parents are done being trained, then if they're still bad then the foster parents that are taking care of them will adopt them and if they are not bad and ready to take care of their kids then they can take them and keep them forever, unless they get bad again."

Why does our family foster?

"Because we want to help the kids that are in the process of being in foster care and we also want to help them because that is what God and Jesus told us to do and the Holy Spirit told us to do. But it was very hard for us because my parents already had 3 kids of their own - me, my brother and my sister and then we added 2 more and then we got their sister and now we have 3 foster kids so that would make 6 kids and its real hard. The end."

Are you glad that we foster?

"Yes, I'm glad because I have more people to play with and more options of people to play house with or explore in our backyard."

Why do you think more people don't foster?

"Because most people don't do it because that wasn't God's plan for them. They probably have another thing that they're doing that is God's plan."

If someone felt like God was telling them to foster, what would you tell them?

"I would tell them that if God is calling them to do this, then do it but they don't need to do if they want to do it, God might have another plan for them and they'll be too busy that they'll find that they cannot do it all."

Do you think you will foster someday?

"Well I don't really know because I just have to follow what God says but I'd love to foster. It would be fun. There is a lot of stuff and a lot of kids who are suggesting what stuff they could do so I think that would be nice."

Here are Raegan's thoughts on the matter. She was purely delighted to have me type every word she spoke. You'll notice that she gets a little distracted by the whole thing. Picture her sitting next to me on the couch - hands clasped, sitting tall and proud, big smile/proud smirk on her face as she answers my questions. She is a funny girl!

Raegan 5 1/2 years old

What is foster care?

"It's a place for kids where they find somewhere to live without their mom and dad. They might miss them but they will have a very nice mom. They might call her mom for awhile but they will have a very nice evening with them and they might get adopted or they will go back to their mom and dad OR when they live in, like I forget what it's called, when they wait for somebody to bring them home with them well, um - can you spell eh, eh, eh(clearing her throat). Okay. But they will go back someday, they will have a family to care for them. And they will love their new mom but if they don't stay with them then it means they can keep their little childs forever."

Why does our family foster?

"Because Jesus told us and we wanted to follow His rules because that's what we're supposed to do."

Are you glad that we foster?

"Yes!! Because I love the baby!"

Why do you think more people don't foster?

"Well, because that's not Jesus's plan for them and they know that Jesus is not asking them to do that."

If someone felt like God was telling them to foster, what would you tell them?

"That you have to do it right now!"
Do you think you will foster someday?

"Yes I will. I would love to because they're cute and because I would love them!" (At this point, Paige piped in with "What if they're not cute?" which completely unfazed Raegan who said, "Kids are always cute!")

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Foster parenting: the realities

She misses her Daddy

Our little “L” has always been a daddy’s girl. Due to reasons I won’t go into here, she hasn’t seen her daddy for several weeks. Normally, she visits her parents once a week right after nap time. Lately, while putting her to nap or bed, she’s been asking “See Daddy?”

I always have had to respond the same. “No honey, you’re not going to see your daddy today.” I’ve shared with her that Daddy is having some troubles, and we should pray for him. We have discussed this more than a few times. The other night though, I had a heartbreaking conversation with our
sweet girl.

For those of you who don’t know, L is our 2 year old (almost 3) foster daughter. We have had her in our home for approx. 1 month.

After tucking L in for her nap and singing “Jesus loves me” with her (per our tradition), I stood up to leave. Blowing her a kiss I said, “Goodnight darling!” But she had more to say.

L – “See daddy?”

Me – “No sweet girl, you’re not going to see daddy today.”

L – “Daddy in trouble?”

Me – “Yeah, honey your daddy is having troubles but daddy loves you.

L – “Daddy loves me? Mommy loves me? Grandma loves me? (L lived with her grandma most of her life before coming here.

Me – “Yes, you’re grandma’s little girl!”

L – “My grandma. MINE.” And then softly and sadly she said, “Miss her.”

L again – “See daddy?”

Me – “No, honey.”

L – “Daddy trouble? Daddy need help?”

Me – “Yeah, baby he needs help. We can pray for your daddy.”

And, we proceeded to pray for her daddy and mommy and the rest of her family (us included!).

As I got up to leave a second time, I kissed her sweet face and said “L, Mama Jami loves you so much.”

This breaks my heart. No child should have to deal with these questions but there are hundreds of thousands of kids in the U.S. foster care system alone who will go to bed with similar questions on their hearts tonight. Many of them have no one to talk these things through with. There are children in your community tonight who are going to bed alone. Going to bed feeling lost and abandoned.

You might be the person God wants to use to whisper His love into their ears. To kiss them on the face and tell them they are loved. You might be the one to be Jesus to the child who is lonely, hurting, and abandoned.

God calls us as Christians to be His Hands and Feet to the lonely, to the fatherless, to the brokenhearted. There is a huge need for loving (not perfect) but loving foster parents right her and now. Could you add a bed (or two!) to a bedroom in your house? Could you pull up another chair at your dinner table? Are you willing to step out if the Lord says “go?” I just have to ask. Will you prayerfully consider your role in helping the poor and needy? We all have a role to play. Just take the next step. This is why we’re here.
Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes
Isaiah 58:10-11
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Upcoming Mentor Trainings!


Peoria, IL
Tuesday, April 23 2013
6PM to 9PM
Richwoods Christian Church


Upcoming Mentor Trainings

Upcoming Trainings:

Saturday, August 25, 2012
Eastview Christian Church
Normal, IL 61704


Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Bethany Baptist Church
Peoria, IL  61528