Together for Adoption Conference 2010

Later in the week I am headed to the Together for Adoption Conference in Austin, Texas! I am looking forward to being with a huge group of people who have a shared passion for foster children and adoption.

I am leading a break-out session entitled “Persistent Passion – Weathering the Storms of Foster Care”. If you are a foster parent I would love your input!!

What storms have you had to weather on your foster care journey?
How did you deal with them?
What advice would you give future or current foster parents about dealing with the storms they may encounter?

Thanks ahead of time for your input! Check out the conference speakers at http://www.togetherforadoption.org :)

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 12:35 am  Comments (4)  

Racial profiling….or just plain old prejudice?

When we started our foster care journey 17 years ago-Caucasian folks didn’t adopt African American kids. At least not in Little Rock, Arkansas, home of the Central High integration crisis. Multi-ethnic families were few and far between and the looks I would get when fostering an African American child were sometimes comical.

Things have changed. And things haven’t changed at all. The state is ordered ‘not look at race’ when determining the right family for a child, DHS even encourages interracial adoptions, and Jeff and I have a daughter who is African American. I find myself so encouraged by the change in attitudes until some out-of-the-blue prejudicial statement shocks me back into reality.

Today, Jan took the girls (Serenity and Niya) to dance class. When E and I went to the studio later to watch for awhile and to pick Serenity up, Jan leaned over and whispered to me that she had something to tell me. She said that as she sat watching the girls dance, a young father and an older woman who was obviously the grandmother of one of the blond-haired blue-eyed girls in Sis’s class sat down beside her. As the grandmother watched, she commented to her son “all the girls are doing great, except those two black ones, who are just doing their own thing.” I guess I should be grateful she didn’t say “colored”! (Hey, I’ve got to find some humor in it!) Jan sat there right next to this woman with her heart heavy, but her mouth shut.

I’m sure this woman got the shock of her life when the two of us left the studio- with the two “black” girls in tow!

Wow. How I long for the day when my daughter, her friend, and all African American and bi-racial children are seen as equal in value to their lighter skinned counterparts. How I long for the day when my daughter won’t be judged by the color of her skin, but the beauty, the vibrance, the sheer joy and compassion that ARE who she is! What will it take for people to value each and every child the way the Creator intended?

Here’s a reminder :)

7 year old birthday girl! July 2010

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm  Comments (6)  

Everybody needs a little hope…

It seems like everywhere I look, people just need hope. I was standing in the DHS office with E the other day when a young woman came in and told the security guard that she needed help; that her children had just been ‘taken’. Another woman stood in the parking lot next to my car, laboring on the phone with someone she was clearly (and loudly) at odds with. Cars ran with their windows down as folks waited on other folks to finish whatever business they had with the Department of Children and Family Services. The broken down building seemed to mock the broken down lives it was there to serve. Personally, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) A longing fulfilled. I wonder in the grand scheme of things how many of the birth mothers we encounter even have any ‘longings’ let alone HOPE. I feel guilty when I lose hope in situations that really do seem hopeless (and are, for that matter, without God’s intervention!) I struggle sometimes with the magnitude of the calling God has placed on my life, and yet it always comes back to hope, and love, and surrender,and meeting the needs of one broken child or family at a time. How I pray that God will enable me (with all of my faults and frailties) to see the big picture-a picture that might just allow me to be a small part of a longing fulfilled.

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 12:11 am  Comments (1)  

Great Expectations….

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the expectations all of us have when we begin our foster care journey. For me, I only knew that I was called to be a foster mom, but really had no idea what to expect. For some, it is the expectation of pouring oneself into the life of a child in an effort to put that child on the road to a healthy, happy, Spirit-filled life. For others, it’s about community involvement- making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children right here at home. And for others, it is the expectation of building a family by adopting through foster care. Whatever our motives and whether we know it or not, we all enter fostering with expectations.

The tough truth is that as we move through the process, many of our expectations are unmet or even shattered….a case that takes a sharp unexpected turn at the end, a child placed back into an uncertain situation, caseworkers who are disinterested or even put-off by the opinions of foster parents, a broken system that never seems to get it right. All of these situations are difficult and if we are not careful may turn our foster care dream into a nightmare or even extinguish it altogether.

What can we do when our expectations are unmet or we feel like the process is worthless and we have failed? It’s about a choice. It really is. We can either give up and go about life as usual, or we can make a determined decision to stay in the game even when we don’t feel like it. (And rest assured there are many times when you and I would be justified to throw in the towel!!!) Perseverance is key. And it is hard. But, I can say from personal experience that when we persevere, God is pleased. He will move in ways we could never have expected in our wildest dreams. Even though His timing may be different that we would like, He is the only One who can and will exceed any expectations our human minds can conjure up! He is hope in a world where we often feel hopeless. He is provision when it seems no one really cares. He is justice over a system that often has its priorities skewed.

I’ve heard from several of you lately about the tough situations you are in, and I believe today that God can and will intervene because “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine.” (Eph. 3:20)

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 11:21 am  Comments (4)  
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