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Friday, December 28, 2012

Forgotten Fridays: Do.Right.

I’ve been struck with a perspective adjustment recently- the “rightness” of our actions doesn’t mean the outcome will be pleasant.  I was thinking about this as I read through a fellow adoptive mama’s words of grief about a child who has chosen to reject her love.  Does that mean it was wrong to adopt him?  I thought about it again with a friend who is loving a baby for just a brief moment of potentially days or weeks before Baby lands in her permanent home.  This will be an act of love and sacrifice that may hurt.  Does that mean it isn’t the right thing to do?  And multiple friends who have committed to little ones they would love to keep forever, but their primary goal is reunification with a potentially troubled biological family.  These friends are passionate about what is best for these children they have come to love as their own, even if that means they suffer the pain of letting them go.

I am so scared that as the Body of Christ these families are the exception instead of the rule.  How many times do I hear somebody say, “I would never be a foster parent because I couldn’t bear it when they took the child away.”  I have perfected the understanding head nod, but inside I want to scream.  Do you think these amazing women- women who are changing foster baby diapers, dropping foster kids off at school, making foster kids’ dinners, loving adopted children who have come from places so dark they don’t even know how to accept love- are so cold-hearted they won’t be devastated by the loss of these children from their homes and lives, or by their rejection?  I know each of these women will be broken hearted when and if that day comes.  I know I was broken hearted when boys we houseparented had to leave because of their own poor choices or decisions made by their parents.  I was doubly broken hearted when we had to leave that job and I had to cry with them about the break-up of the family we had created.
So because it is painful to love and to lose, does that mean we choose not to love?  God forbid.
We choose to do what is right because it is RIGHT.  For no other reason.  Not because it feels good or because it will be so rewarding.  Sometimes we may not see that reward until we see The Father’s face and He explains to us why we had to walk that road.  But I would rather suffer the heartbreak to be obedient than to run away from pain and miss the joy of loving who God has called me to love.  If Christians are too afraid of pain to risk loving children they can’t keep and whose futures they can’t control, who will?  If we aren’t willing to do what’s right just because it’s right, what do we expect other people to do?
We do what’s right.  We do it without expecting to understand the ultimate outcome.  We do it with an open hand for what God’s plan might be.  We do it even when other people fail to understand.  We do it when it’s hard and when it costs and when we don’t want to.  We don’t do it because we’re martyrs or holier than thou, but because we’re motivated by obedience and a heart of compassion.
Cultural Christianity might try to convince us that health and wealth are the goals of our salvation.  We may want to believe that if we’re doing what God wants we will never be sad or experience loss.  We might try to avoid anything that could potentially cause our family pain and imagine we’re doing it because “God wants us to be happy.”  But I think we’ve missed the point of the Gospel if our lives become an exercise in protecting our happiness and personal comfort.
When faced with a decision- pray, use your God-given discernment, seek wise counsel, and then do RIGHT. And if that decision leads to what looks like sadness or pain, that doesn’t make it less right.  It might just confirm you were exactly where God wanted you to be.
Bless you, Mamas, in the thick of the fight for your children’s hearts.
Bless you, Mamas, loving children you cannot keep.
You are my heroes.

---
Maralee Bradley 

Maralee is a mother of four pretty incredible kids ages six and under. Three of them were adopted (one internationally from Liberia, two through foster care in Nebraska) and her fourth baby came the old fashioned way.  Prior to becoming parents Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and worked with 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her husband a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries, and trying to do it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood on “A Mother’s Heart for God” and what won’t fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at  http://www.amusingmaralee.com/ 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Forgotten Friday's: the torment of the cross

From what I can tell, I am in the thick of things right now.  I guess you could say my foster care journey is heating up.  I am feeling the pressure, the strain.  I am crying out to God for strength, for perspective, for wisdom!

As I stand in the gap between this sweet little baby girl and the parents that God has given her by birth, I am frozen in fear. 
I love her.  I really love her! 
She has become a daughter.  She has become a sister.  She has become a granddaughter.  She has become a niece.  She feels like ours, yet we know she is not.  She may leave. 

As a mother, I am not sure I can hardly grasp that thought.  My humanness screams that this is unfair.  Unfair to me.  Unfair to her.  But is this true? 

Wouldn’t this baby want me to never give up on her mother?  Wouldn’t her ultimate dream be that her mother be healed?  Is it unfair to the mother for me to give up on her too quickly? Is it unfair to this baby girl?

I encourage the mom to do what is right.  I give her hope.  I tell her all things are possible through Christ.  I hang up the phone feeling like I lied.  I don’t want to give her hope.  That is not what my flesh wants.  My flesh wants her to go away and let me protect this precious child. 

I hear God silently whisper to me….
“mom’s salvation is just as important to me as the baby’s.”

How on earth will we survive this journey? 

The answer is clear when I read the scriptures.  In our flesh we will die, but through God’s grace and spirit, we will survive.  He will give us everything we need.  God will use ME to save the lost.  I can hardly comprehend this in my flesh.  This is meant to be painful. 
It is the torment of the cross that leaves me desperate for Jesus, yet THAT is exactly where I want to be.        
---
Jessi Esterling picture of kids standing
Director of Operations
Jessi and her husband Zach have two sons and are also foster parents. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the former Director of Foster Care at the Children’s Home Association of Illinois, Jessi has worked in the foster care arena since 2003 where she experienced the overwhelming needs of this community. Jessi began volunteering for The Forgotten Initiative soon after its founding and in December 2011, she became the full-time Director of Operations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advocate Wednesday: Hear from Champaign County, IL!


Yesterday I had the opportunity to deliver Christmas gifts to an agency for Intact Families in our community. A local agency had identified families in their “intact” program who are actively engaging in services such as parenting classes, anger management, and counseling in order to bring positive changes to their families. Many of these families live in poverty and are unable to use the few resources they have to buy Christmas gifts for their children. A local church put out this request and church members adopted children to shop for and brought wrapped gifts the following Sunday.

When I first started this advocate journey, I didn’t know what the term ‘intact families’ meant. Now I know what it means, and now a local church in my community understands the term too. And Praise God they responded to the need! 
 
This is one of my favorite things about The Forgotten Initiative… one way we desire to mobilize the Body is by teaching them about the need.  Each time I meet with a caseworker or a foster parent, I learn something.
 
Yesterday I learned that the number of “Intact” families can change abruptly. . families are always being added to the program and sometimes children in these “intact” families enter the foster care system.

Each gift from this local church had a tag that said the family’s #, the child’s age, and whether or not the gift went to a female or male. As I sorted through the pile of gifts, I couldn’t help but think about the 22 families and the 56 children that were represented… the reason the gifts were there was because an agency expressed a need and a church responded to that need.  

It's that simple.  Learn the need, tell the need.  Hear the need, respond to the need.  Simple, but with an enormous impact as we share the love of Jesus.

Merry Christmas from Champaign County!



Jen Young and familyJen Young
Forgotten Advocate: Champaign County, IL
Jen Young has a passion to share with others the hope and joy she has found in Christ. Jen worked as a Helping Coordinator for a non-profit organization that offered different resources to the local poor but when her daughter was born, she left her job to become a stay-at-home mom. Through her own journey of parenting and a close friend’s foster care experiences, God began showing her His heart for the foster care community and now Jen serves as a Forgotten Advocate. She and her husband Matt have two children.

Click Here To Find Needs in the Champaign, IL Area

Friday, December 14, 2012

Forgotten Fridays: Big boys need love too


I am an advocate for foster care. No, seriously. It is so beautiful to me how many of my friends have gotten their foster license probably just so I'd quit hassling them about it. I believe so strongly in getting involved in caring for the needs of hurting children and I'm not sure how everybody else doesn't just have this same passion. I will talk to people in the library, strangers at the mall, your local church- I will talk to anybody, anywhere about foster care.

A lot of the people I talk to these days are young couples. I have kind of my standard spiel I give that's designed to help families think about foster parenting in ways that will not burn them out, protect the family they already have, and meet the needs that are out there. I advise families to only take kids younger than their youngest child. So if I'm talking to young families, this means I do a lot of advocating for the babies of the foster care system. Our two little ones came to us as infants not even able to sit up or crawl and my love for them makes me a bulldog about finding other families who will help the helpless. I also talk about babies because I think they reach into our hearts past our stereotypes of "foster children". We can see them as innocent victims more easily than when we look at teenagers. I also do a lot of talking to stay-at-home moms and I think there is a unique need for those women to take on the needs of babies too young or sick or insecurely attached to be sent off to daycare.

But all the while I'm talking about the babies, I'm thinking about My Boys. Not my sons, My Boys. Before becoming foster parents my husband and I spent five years as houseparents in a group home setting. The house could hold eight boys, but we usually had six or seven at a time. Let me be sure and clarify- these kids were not technically foster children, but were boys placed in a residential group home setting by their parents (who retained all parental rights) to keep them from entering foster care. During those five years we had a hand in helping to raise 17 boys. These kids were between the ages of six and eighteen during their years with us. We were responsible for not just their home life, but also their schooling because this place worked on a homeschool model where the houseparents functioned as the primary teachers. So right now I spend my time telling people that not every foster child is a fifteen year-old boy, but I am very VERY aware that some precious kids ARE fifteen year-old boys. And they are every bit as valuable and in need of love as the little ones.

So there are some things I'd like you to know about the big boys who are in need of a safe place to sleep tonight. This is one of those moments I'm glad I'm writing and not public speaking because there are tears in my eyes right now thinking about the faces of these boys I have loved.

Big boys need love, too. I will never forget watching a segment on a local tv show where a reporter was talking to a seventeen year-old who was available for adoption. The kid said he liked to hunt and fish and the reporter said he must really want a dad he could do that stuff with. The boy looked down and said pretty quietly, "And I want a mom, too." It still makes me weepy. Older kids know they've been neglected or abused. They know their families have chosen drugs or the bad relationship over being parents. And they know they need a mom. I had one student who lived with us who could be tough to connect with. I found myself sometimes avoiding interactions with him. One day I had a realization that I can only credit to the Holy Spirit. I remember thinking- if I don't tell him I love him today, that means he went an entire day without being told he was loved. That was a terrible thought to me, but it's the reality for a lot of kids right now. Kids have gone to bed tonight without anybody telling them they are worth loving. You know what? You could fix that.

Big boys want to protect you. When we first took our job as houseparents I was just 22 years-old. Did I mention our oldest student was 18? We could have been in high school at the same time. So I was worried that maybe I was putting myself at risk of physical harm to be living with these older kids from troubled backgrounds. A couple months into houseparenting I was walking in front of an outdoor mall with six of My Boys. I was concentrating on keeping them all together and under control, so I was totally oblivious to what was going on around me. The boys were really quiet for a couple minutes and then one turned to me and said, "See those guys over there? They were looking at you. But we starred them down." What a reversal from what I was expecting! Not only were these boys not intent on harming me (or anybody!), but they were protective of me. I also found this was true with the parents of My Boys. They may have troubled pasts or run-ins with the law, but when they appreciate what you are doing to keep their child safe, you can have no better advocate. They want to protect and defend you because you are loving their child. The majority of them became my friends and are women (and one dad) I am still in contact with to this day. (Of course there are exceptions and kids may cause physical harm to their foster families or families may be hostile. I just want to say that that is not always the case.)

Big boys will steal your heart. I once had a 13 year-old boy run by me and slap a post-it-note on the textbook I was reading with another student. On it he had written, "I wish you were my mom." I don't care what drama that boy caused during our houseparenting time (and boy did he cause a lot!), I loved him. I love him today. And he's still causing drama! You may think the babies are so cute or the toddlers are so funny, but these teenage boys can be as endearing as anybody. There were several boys (and one precious girl from the girls' house next door) over the years that if their parents had consented we would have adopted immediately.

Big boys are helpful and interesting. Seriously! They are at a great stage of development where you can help shape their ideas on love, marriage, work ethic, faith, EVERYTHING! I had one boy who would consistently get in trouble each week just so he could "suffer" the consequence of having to spend what should have been his free time cooking and cleaning with me. I'm sure there were better ways to handle that situation, but I had a lot of fun making banana bread with him every Saturday and he learned a lot about how to keep a house of twelve people running. He lived to please even when self-control was hard to come by.

Big boys are wise. We had a lot of kids come and go over the years and it seemed like we were often having the same conversations with them about how to handle the disappointments of having parents who struggled. One day when three of our younger boys were weeding a garden together I overheard our newest boy saying how his mom was going to buy him a dirt bike. Before I stepped in to clarify things for him, the two "veterans" (they were probably 9 and 10 at the time) started to talk to him about how their moms had made promises, too. They gave him the most kind and loving talk about how moms love you and want you to be happy, but they can't always do the things they say they can. It's amazing the depth to these boys who have struggled to understand their situations. That wisdom comes at a great price.

I miss My Boys. I'm thankful for the wonders of Facebook because I'm able to have contact with most of them. There are a couple I'm not longer in contact with- some because I can't find them, and some because they don't want to be in contact with me. I assume they feel ashamed of the decisions they're currently making and they don't want me to find out. It breaks my heart that they don't understand I will ALWAYS love them. This point was brought home to me in May when we got news that one of our first students had committed suicide. His brief life was complicated, but he had always kept in contact with us and we considered him family. His loss was felt greatly in our home.

This experience loving these boys has helped me to understand God's love in a deeper way. Even when I make decisions I'm not proud of, God continues to offer love. The space I put between us because of my shame is so unnecessary because He longs to draw me closer. And to think the love, the compassion, the forgiveness, the joy I feel for My Boys is just a fraction of how God feels towards them and towards me!

So when you think about what kind of child might be just the right fit for your family, don't dismiss the thought of an older boy! You might just miss a great blessing God wants you to experience. 

---
Maralee Bradley 

Maralee is a mother of four pretty incredible kids ages six and under. Three of them were adopted (one internationally from Liberia, two through foster care in Nebraska) and her fourth baby came the old fashioned way. Prior to becoming parents Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and worked with 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her husband a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries, and trying to do it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood on “A Mother’s Heart for God” and what won’t fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at  http://www.amusingmaralee.com/

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advocate Wednesday: Relentless Joy

 I used to dream, as a little girl, of that time when I would proclaim to all “Oh, everything is so perfect. My kids are perfect. My marriage is perfect. My desires and goals are all on schedule. Perfection. I am on top of this life. I have found JOY in “my perfection“.

Then as time goes on, and life really unfolds I have grown empty and unfulfilled striving for joy, in perfection. Those ideals have disappeared and my eyes have been opened into a world of hurt and pain. A world covered in sin and darkness. As I spend time, snuggled in the truth of the Bible, it comes alive. I am moved from the deepest parts of my soul, to “see” there is a much deeper way to live beyond “self.” The desire for perfection becomes less, and the desire to live for Christ, and as Christ did, is what I long for. The feeling of true joy is found.

God shows me that my own strength is of no value now, but only by his grace and power ,I become less and he becomes more. I have learned that true “JOY” does not come from perfection, but comes from embracing and allowing God to lead you through trials, suffering, and bearing one another’s burdens.


In the past seven years, my husband and I have been an active part of our county foster care system. Through the last seven years we have opened our home and hearts to six amazing lives through foster care and adoption. And God has blessed us with the responsibility of raising seven beautiful children. This year, 2012, we were able to finalize the adoption of our one -year-old son James. This also completes our family for the time being, as we raise seven children nine-years-old and younger. “Relentless joy” are the words I would use for our journey.
Relentless means to be steady or persistent. When I entered the realm of fostering to adopt I quickly understood, that developing a “relentless” spirit, was the only way to survive . Foster care involves 100% selflessness. There are no guarantees to what the future holds. The course has so many up and down moments. Court dates, judges, caseworkers, therapists all hold their entitlement to the “case”. You want God’s will to be done, yet the powers of evil seem to be waiting around ever corner. My eyes were forced toward Jesus during the unknown. You hold, and daily nurture, a soul or souls, this child or children. You help give them life and stability, as the future goes unknown. Relentless love.


Joy can be described as an emotion evoked by achieving or getting what one desires. Adoption day was joyous! So blessed to say we have seven awesome kids. A desire came true. But, there is a greater story behind that. A deeper journey God took my husband and I through, to see and feel that joy.


For me, joy came as God has walked me through caring for my son, born with cleft lip and plate. The late nights of special care, the doctor appointments, the over night stays in the hospital, and giving without knowing 100% if I would ever call him my own. God showed me true joy as I laid down my rights, to care for his needs. It took fifteen months before we knew he would be ours. 


Joy came, as we cared and fought for our two little girls for three years. Three years of protecting and giving it “all” so they could be saved from more physical and sexual abuse. Now a lifetime to recover and to plead for God to heal them, as we all see the effects of those first years. Reactive attachment disorder lingers in our home, but we still cling to the hope of healing, as God is our ultimate physician. God has allowed me to see “joy” in my circumstances.

Our Ben didn’t come home from the hospital on schedule, when I thought he should. We waited four very long months to see God move and make way for his arrival in our home through foster care and then adoption. Those four months, I would wake and come downstairs, a bundle of tears praying for God to keep him safe in the “unknown.” Joy comes in the morning. (and Ben literally came into our home at 6am from the police station.) And my two other little bundles of “joy” came from a world of drugs that resulted in low birth weight and a fight for survival.


Nathaniel came into our world a beautiful 4lbs and stayed for six months, two days before Christmas 2010, we were told he would be leaving us and taken to another state, to a “kinship home”. After bonding and loving him for six months that was an unbearable feeling to live with. For two long months we waited, until in court they decided we were able to keep him in our home and then adopt him. 

Our little man James was the surprise of a lifetime as I was already caring for two young babies. At one pound, he came into the world and needed “us” along with our other six children. And God gets the glory and gave us true “joy” as we spent more time at the hospital in the evenings as our other children slept. His needs were great, and my husband and I, were able to see joy through the trails of caring and meeting the needs of our family.

True joy comes through the trails and hardships in life. When we choose to give of ourselves for another there will be hardship. We have to desire more of Jesus Christ in our lives, and less of ourselves. I have never felt the closeness of my Savior, as I have in the past few years, as I have fallen to my knees as “a mess” because perfection could not be found. The biggest blessing I found in my mess was true “joy”. Thank you, Jesus for showing me, relentless joy Thank you for finding me where I was at and showing me who you are through salvation.

May you see and feel great joy this season and pass it on relentlessly!


---
Krista 


Krista is a wife and mother to seven children ages 9 to 15 months. Her and her husband are passionate about adoption and helping the "fatherless".Their eight year-old-daughter is their "belly" baby, and their six other children were adopted through the state foster care system. They have adopted three sibling groups on their journey. Krista and her husband have seen the need and importance in keeping children together. The last six years of their lives have been filled with compassion and a "burn" inside to help. Stepping out to hold, love, and touch a child who has been orphaned due to circumstances beyond their control, allows for an opportunity to see a "soul" and "value" given by God. Krista and her husband have seen the needs of their community and it's foster care system and it is "much". Their desire is to see God move in their area
as He leads us to help and love on the least of these.


See local needs in Northumberland, PA



Monday, December 10, 2012

Make a Difference Monday: Thank You!

We love hearing from you and not long ago, we received this encouraging email from Samantha.  My friends, THANK YOU.  Thank you for being His hands and feet.  TFI did not put together these journey bags, YOU did.  We celebrate with you as we watch God move! 

Got my tshirt today! Thank you so much, I love it! I love the work you guys do! My husband and I are foster parents and have 2 sibling brothers placed with us right now! They both received journey bags. The younger one was in the hospital for a few days so he got his later but when we picked up his brother he had his journey bag and he held onto it for dear life that first week. We still use it as a bookbag for our "things to do while out and about" You guys also re-did the visiting rooms at the agency where we are licensed. Makes me so happy knowing how much love and care and sacrifice went into those rooms so these kids have nice warm fun rooms to play in while they visit mom and dad.

Thanks again,

Samantha


Friday, December 7, 2012

Forgotten Fridays: A "My Story" Post

My Story

I was listening to moody radio back in May and I heard about the foster care program and everything you where doing to help. I felt the need to tell my story. 

I am now 20 years old, and I entered the foster care program four months after I turned six.  I've stayed in multiple foster homes, group homes, ect.  My half sister and I were adopted when I was ten years old by a family who seemed to care enough, along with a six month old boy I learned to call my brother.  However, when I turned twelve going on to thirteen, my adoptive father had different ideas for me.  I was no longer his little girl, but I was his toy.  He never raped me, thank God, but he did destroy my trust and self esteem at the time.  I reported his doings to a family doctor, which called me a liar and sent me home.  My adoptive mother did not believe me either, and neither did my sister at the time.  I was placed in a foster home and was bopped around until I was seventeen , where again I was adopted by a family who I thought loved me as well.  But a few months after my eighteenth birthday they told me to get out because I was attending a church they didn'’t like.  Also, because of the fact that I was eighteen, and they could no longer claim me on their taxes. I know by the story it seems like I was a bad child, always causing problems.  In my teen years I was a good kid, I mean sure I did normal teen stuff like not doing my chores all the time or something but nothing major. I listened and didn'’t give attitude. I did well in school and had many friends. I am now in church, where I met my wonderful husband who I married in July and his family has taken me into their home and showed me a family life.  I am doing well and I believe everything I went through was to bring me to God and to find the man God had planned for me.  It was a long bumpy road but it was worth it...

To share YOUR story click here.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advocate Wednesdays: All the rights of inheritance

I never tire of hearing the judge proclaim the words, "All the rights of inheritance"
as he instructs the adoptive parents of the significance of bringing a child into their family through adoption.

It rings in my ears and in my heart as a beautiful reminder of what the Lord has done for each of us who have trusted in Jesus for salvation.  Adopted into His family - forever.  With all the rights of inheritance.

November 18th - National Adoption Day - A day of celebration for so many children and their forever families.  I was invited to a press conference and was there to witness the first of many adoptions in courtroom J3.  The family's story was amazing.  A dad - raising his step daughter.
A mom - who adopted her nephew many years ago.  Now married and wanting children of their own. But God's plan for them was not what they expected.  When they could not conceive, they knew they were going to grow their family through adoption. 

They planned to add 2 children to their family. But, again, God's plan for them was not what they expected.  This couple opened their hearts and home to a sibling set of 3 (ages 3, 2, and 1) and a 15 year old young lady! Now here they were, surrounded by friends and family (and a whole host of media personnel, social workers, and politicians) becoming a forever family. What an honor to be part of their day.

I sat there as the judge announced the children's names. With each one the courtroom erupted into cheers and smiles! Their new teen daughter beamed from ear to ear. Her beautiful smile said it all. "I belong. I have a family. I am loved."
I cried as the family presented their new daughter with a promise ring. Her mom said, "this is our promise to you - to love you forever."
Not a dry eye in the courtroom. (I think even the cameramen were tearing up)

When they were being interviewed by the media, the dad was asked why he was so emotional. Through tears he said, "I just love these kid so much."

It was beautiful. I think of our heavenly Father saying of you and me, "I just love these kids so much." and "My promise to you - to love you forever."  Adoption is such a beautiful picture of what the Lord has done for us.

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!"
1 John 3:1

This was my second year at National Adoption Day.  This was the 8th finalization I was blessed enough to witness.  It never gets old.  I will never stop celebrating with those who add to their family through adoption.  And may I never stop celebrating the fact that I was adopted into the greatest forever family imaginable.  With all the rights of inheritance.

"...but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."
Romans 8:15b-17a

----

Becky 

Becky and her husband Dominic have five children and are foster parents. When their hearts were burdened by the enormity of needs in the foster care system, they desired to be a voice for the fatherless. As an Advocate, Becky has a front row seat in watching the Body of Christ use their gifts and talents to share the love of Jesus with the foster care community. 

See what's happening in Bakersfield!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Make a Difference Monday: When it's not as it should be

Starbucks is a good place to sit back and observe people.  Today was no exception.  In the corner was a young mom with her little girl - no more then 6 months old.  She was holding and cuddling her daughter, all the while speaking with her - loving on her and playing with her.

It was just as it should be.

But I couldn't stop my thoughts from going to the child who has had nothing as it should be

For the baby who is now 10 years old, who never had a parent sit and cuddle with him, telling him how special he was.  The 8 year old who was told he would never amount to anything.  The 13 year old who has been abused more times then she can recount.  The 25 year old who has no one to call on during this 'most wonderful time of the year.'

It just breaks my heart! 

What are we going to do about it?

Did you know that the first step in becoming a foster parent is to find a local agency and ask them to enroll you in foster parent training courses?  These courses are designed to bring awareness of what becoming a foster parent would look like and help you determine IF this is something you would consider. 

Will you consider taking these classes?  Will you take a chance and allow your eyes become opened?  Please prayerfully consider this. 

"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.  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, 12

 
 
------
Jami
 
 
Jami is married to Clint and is mommy to six, three of whom they adopted from foster care. It was through a difficult season of waiting that the Lord drew Jami’s heart to those who feel forgotten and in April of 2011, she founded The Forgotten Initiative.


To visit her personal blog visit: www.lifewithapersonalgod.blogspot.com