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I’m not one who often talks about God and my faith in a very public setting, but I’m about to get a little preachy today.

At church this morning, we heard about God’s callings in our lives and the need to obey immediately when he calls us to do something.  I’m pretty sure I speak for many of us when I say that this idea of obeying immediately takes us all way out of our comfort zones.  I’m a planner, an organizer, a thinker.  I don’t do anything immediately.  Spontaneous is not a word in my vocabulary.  I want to come up with a five year plan, do lots of analyzing to determine if it really fits in my life and “makes sense”, figure out my plans B and C in case this idea doesn’t work and then I might be ready to act on the idea.  Next thing you know, it’s been 10 years and you are still trying to figure out how to put that calling into action.  Sound familiar?

What makes this idea of obeying immediately such an act of trust is that when God speaks to us, it isn’t usually in the form of a perfectly explained plan.  Jesus is walking on water and he says just one word to Peter: “Come”.  And Peter trusts him and obeys after hearing just that one simple word.  He doesn’t wait for a careful explanation.  He doesn’t sit and devise a well thought out plan on how he is going to accomplish this feat.  Jesus says “come” and Peter steps out of the boat.

This got me thinking about my calling to become a foster mom.  To many (including myself at the beginning), it sounded like a ridiculous decision.  I will be honest, when I made the commitment last fall to become a single foster mom, my life was not in the perfect place to begin this journey.  Leaping into a huge life-changing decision like this without being completely prepared is just not me.  Financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, I was not ready to become a foster mom AT ALL.  There was so much work to be done in so many areas of my life.  But I strongly felt God’s calling in just one word: “Parent”.  I knew he was calling me to become a parent in some way and he was calling me NOW.

I could have easily spent the next several years getting all of these aspects of my life in order and then began pursuing the licensing process.  But God was calling me now and so I uncharacteristically acted right then.  I’m not saying I didn’t put a lot of thought and prayer into this decision but what I’m saying is this.  I knew this is what God wanted me to do so I did it.  I didn’t wait for the perfect moment.  I placed some trust in Him and started the process.

There are many times in my life when I have set a goal and not achieved it.  There are many times I have come up with an idea, pursued it and then quit when things got hard or they didn’t seem to be going as I anticipated.  So for me to take on a task so huge, so challenging as becoming a single foster mom and to see it through to the end has shown me clearly that God is with me on this journey.  This has been the hardest journey of my life.  It’s been emotional.  It’s been physically exhausting.  It’s been financially challenging.  I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life to make this dream come true (I still don’t know how I survived those 6 months working 3 jobs to get my finances in order).  But I did it.  I never quit.  My drive to reach this goal never faltered.  And I’m not saying that to brag because if you know me personally, you know I’m not one to put myself in the spotlight.  I’m saying that to show that God is at work.  He’s the reason I’ve accomplished this.

So my request to you today is to take some time and listen to what God is calling you to do.  Listen for that one word.  Stay.  Go.  Start.  Stop.  Write.  Love.  Trust.  And act on it NOW.  I can’t promise it will be easy but I can promise you will find happiness, peace and fulfillment in it.

This is really happening!

While I have always been 99% certain that I would be approved to be a foster parent, throughout the process there remains a tiny bit of worry that something wouldn’t work out.  But I’m thrilled to report that after passing last week’s fire and health inspections, I now know with 100% certainty that I will become a licensed foster parent!  It’s so nice to have that little bit of worry lifted.

Now that those inspections are complete, I can breathe a little.  For the moment, there’s nothing I need to be working on or preparing for.  Feels strange to not have a “to do” list.  I’m just waiting for my CPR/first aid class which will take place in mid-August and once that’s complete, my resource home worker will write my homestudy to submit for approval.  Crossing my fingers that process will go quickly and I’ll be licensed some time in early September.

So, having nothing I needed to be doing for the first time in many months, I took some time this weekend to relax and celebrate.  A few friends came to visit from out of state and I had a wonderful weekend just catching up and having fun with my closest friends. Just what I needed after all the stress from two months of home study visits and inspections.  It was probably one of the best weekends I’ve EVER had.  I love my girls!  My foster kiddos are going to have some awesome foster aunts to love them.  I’m very thankful to be able to surround these kiddos with lots of caring people.

Still can’t believe all of this is really happening!  Such a dream come true!

The end is in sight!

I know, I know, it wasn’t that long ago that I was complaining about how I felt this process was never going to end.  Well, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m having trouble containing my excitement!  So, here’s the latest on where I am in the process:

  • Completed home study visit #3 this morning.  Next one is scheduled for next week.  There should be only one more after that which will take place some time in mid-August.
  • Fire marshal inspection and health department inspection will take place next week.
  • CPR class is scheduled for mid-August.
  • References have been/are being contacted now.

That’s it!  I will have some more homework to do after the next visit and more paperwork (surprise, surprise!) but basically by mid-August, everything will be complete and it will just be a matter of waiting for my home study to be written, submitted and approved!  Hard to believe that I could possibly be licensed in 6 weeks or so.  I’m so thrilled!  I got goosebumps when she started explaining the adoption process to me during the visit this morning.  Still can’t believe this dream is coming true.

In the meantime, life is insane and I’ve got a million things to get done.  Lots to do around the condo before those fire and health inspections next week.  I have to purchase and install a new smoke detector, move all chemicals to high locked cabinets (which requires rearranging many kitchen cabinets), diagram my fire escape plan and so much more.  Plus, I still have more painting to do in the nursery before I can get that room reassembled and figure out how to make this ever growing pile of baby gear fit into closets and drawers in an organized and accessible manner.

Lots on my mind, lots on my “to do” list but oh so very exciting!

PS- Pics of the nursery coming soon once I can get it put back together but here’s a sneak peak of the new wall color.  I absolutely love it!  After much searching, I found the true gray color I wanted.  It’s “gray horse” by Benjamin Moore color matched to Valspar Optimus in Eggshell.  (A little piece of advice if you decide to use this paint, please ignore the paint salesman and online reviews that will tell you this will cover perfectly in one coat.  It definitely requires two coats.  I learned that the hard way this week.)

paint color

Becoming your grandmother

Does anyone else feel like there is much more unappealing stuff on Facebook recently?  Scrolling through my newsfeed, I feel like all I see is disgusting videos (many posted by hackers, I’m sure) and disturbing news stories.  Maybe I’m just noticing this type of unpleasant stuff more.  Regardless, I was actually contemplating taking a break from Facebook for a while when I happened to see this gem of an article that I friend had shared: 10 habits you should pick up from your grandmother.  Maybe there is still good to be found on Facebook after all!

afternoon tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I absolutely love this article because I totally want to be my grandmother.  She’s so classy!  She’s an avid reader, tea drinker and world traveler.  Her house is always spotless and organized (and very tastefully decorated).  She has a perfect green thumb and everything she cooks or bakes turns out delicious.  She even knows how to expertly accessorize and coordinate any outfit. (Yes, my 80-something grandmother owns way more jewelry/accessories than I do.  She owns more high-end clothing, too.  But none of you who know me personally or have seen my closet are surprised by those facts.  I’m still not a mom yet but I’ve had “mom jeans” in my closet for years.  Fashion is not a word in my vocabulary).  But I digress.  The most important reason why I definitely want to become my grandmom: she and my grandfather raised two amazing daughters (my mom and aunt) who became such hardworking, caring, generous, kind women.

So what does this have to do with my foster parent journey?  Basically, nothing at all.  I just really liked the article because I do value so much of what is mentioned in it (Cooking from scratch, writing letters, love that kind of stuff!).  Do I do it enough?  Of course not!  But this article was a great reminder of so much of what I strive to be in my life.  Guess I should go take a walk now and contemplate what “made from scratch” meals I can whip up this weekend after a trip to the local farmer’s market (since I’m not talented enough to grow it myself). 🙂  Happy Friday!

 

I’m so very blessed

I was talking with a colleague recently and she mentioned that one of the things she loved about being pregnant was getting to experience just how nice people are.  Her advice to me was to take the time to appreciate how caring people really are.

What wonderful advice!  It certainly has not gone unnoticed by me that I am surrounded by so many loving and generous people.  And knowing that fact helps to constantly reinforce in my mind and heart that becoming a foster mom is God’s will for my life (especially when I get those negative, unsupportive comments and need that reassurance).  These children who will enter my home have experienced such tragedy, such loss.  To know that I am providing them with a safe and loving home is a wonderful gift I can give.  But even greater than that, I am allowing them to see a world that is so caring and accepting.  My friends and family will create this huge temporary family in their life who will love them as much as I will.  What a gift!

A few weeks ago, I showed up at a friend’s house for what was supposed to be a quiet dinner and a movie night with a couple of friends.  Imagine my shock when I pulled into her driveway and saw TONS of cars.  My friends had planned an incredible surprise baby shower for me.  For someone who dislikes being the center of attention, it was a little uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing but all I kept thinking about was how grateful I was to have all of these compassionate and supportive people in my life.

Many foster parents don’t get a baby shower at all.  This most recent shower was the third one that has been given in my honor.  That’s incredible.  I recognize just how lucky I am.  It is an amazing blessing to have so many people in my life who care about me and my future foster kiddos enough to take the time to plan a baby shower.  I mean, just look at this adorable cake that one of my volunteers made for the shower.  Never in my life have I had a big, elaborate, beautifully decorated cake like this.  The generosity continues to amaze me.

Baby Shower Cake
There were two woman at the baby shower whom I just met within the last year so they haven’t known me for that long.  At the end of the shower, they came over to me and shared that they could tell I was extremely loved.  Such a true observation!  I’m extremely blessed.

So for everyone who has supported me in any way along this journey, please know how grateful I am for you.  I can’t say thanks enough for everything you have done.  Truly amazing.

 

I feel like this licensing process is never ending!  I started this journey with an orientation back in October.  At that orientation, they told me I wouldn’t start classes until March.  I was so frustrated.  March felt like it was decades away and would never get here.  Why couldn’t we start now?  But, of course, March did come and before I knew it, I was done classes and starting my paperwork.

Time is moving extremely slowly again now that I am in the middle of my home study.  I know the end is in sight but it just can’t come fast enough.  I’m so ready to be a foster mom.  This is going to sound so cheesy but every night before I go to bed, I walk into the nursery, look at the crib and dream of the day when there is a baby in there.  I know that dream is only a couple months away from becoming a reality but a few months feels too long.  I’m just so excited!  I don’t want to wait any longer for this dream to come true!

So, where do I stand in the process right now and what’s left?

  • I’ve had 2 home study visits with my resource home worker.  Both went well and my next one will be in 2 weeks.  I will have 4-6 visits total with her, each several weeks apart.
  • The requests have been made for the health department and fire department home inspections.  I’m waiting for them to call me and schedule those appointments.
  • All paperwork has been submitted (2 huge stacks of forms complete!)
  • I’m waiting for her to schedule our CPR/first aid certification class.  That should be booked soon.
  • My resource home worker will be reaching out some time this month to numerous friends and family to check my references.

That’s it!  Such a short list, I know, but it feels a mile long when you are so eager to be done.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep re-organizing baby supplies, cleaning, and decorating the nursery.  Yep, nesting at its best.

This week, I begin the final stage of my process to become a foster mom…the home study.  Over the next few months, my resource home worker will be making regular visits to assess my home and interview me.  She will be asking detailed questions about every aspect of my current life as well as my childhood.  We’ve been told to prepare for it to get very invasive.  In addition, she will be talking with my some of my friends and family to further learn about me.

She will also be informing me of changes that need to be made to my home (baby-proofing, etc) and then will check to ensure it has been completed in later visits.   There will also be home inspections by the health department and fire department.  Oh, and I still need to take a CPR and first aid certification class and will have two more packets of paperwork to complete.  So close yet so far!

The process is lengthy (on purpose) and honestly, at this point, I’m just ready for it to be done.  I understand why they need to do all of this.  It’s for the safety of the children.  But when you know you are an honest, caring person who will provide a safe and loving home for these children, it’s hard to be patient after a while.  I just want to get started!

Do I have everything I need to care for a child?  Absolutely not!  There’s still soooo much I need to do/buy/borrow.  So, I’m not actually prepared for a baby to enter my home at this point at all.  But I am ready for that baby.  I’m ready to be a mom.

A friend sent me an article today that profiled a long time foster parent.  In the article this mom mentioned that she felt being a foster parent was her life calling, that her role as a mother was what she did best.  Although I’m not a mom yet, that’s definitely how I feel.  I know this is what I am meant to do.  My years at Chara gave me a small glimpse into the world of foster care with infants and toddlers.  And I cherished every minute of it (even the moments that were frustrating or sad or scary).  The rewards far outweighed any of the hard times.  When I was at Chara with those kiddos, there was no other place in the world I wanted to be.  I knew this was what God was calling me to do, and I still feel that way.

But as I get closer to being approved, there is some definite fear that has set in.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still lots of joyful anticipation and there are many days when you can’t wipe the smile off my face I’m so excited.  But there are also moments when I’m terrified (as I’m guessing all soon-to-be parents feel at some point before the baby comes).  Never doubting that this is the right decision, but just worrying, “how am I going to do this?”.  Becoming a mom (even though I may only be a temporary mom for these kiddos) is scary!  Exciting but scary!