Our beautiful Alexa!

If you have read “The Middle Mom” you know about Alexa. This is a picture her mom emailed to me yesterday. The irony of this picture certainly was not lost on Jeff and me…an child who was unwanted at birth-now a much loved beautiful little girl…posing with the Governor of Florida. It kind of parallel’s our heavenly Father’s love for us…’in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” How blessed I am to have been Alexa’s middle mom. 🙂

Just in case….Alexa’s story is Chapter Seven! 🙂

Published in: on May 29, 2010 at 10:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Wasn’t it just the other day…..

Well it’s 4:45 on Monday morning- and E is up playing??? (Not his normal routine) 🙂 So, I decided to catch up on ‘catching up’! This past week has been such an incredible blessing: a true gift. It seems impossible that I now have a married son and a precious daughter-in-law. Wasn’t it just the other day that I gave birth to Chase Sullivan Erwin, an 8 pound 2 ounce bundle of energy that didn’t sleep all night until he was 3 years old? Wasn’t it just the other day that I sent that little bundle off to kindergarten all spiffed up in his red and white striped Polo shirt and crisp white shorts? Wasn’t it just the other day that we watched him pitch many a baseball game and march down the aisle at his high school graduation? Wasn’t it just the other day that we left that little bundle at college to begin his freshman year, only to turn around and see him graduate again?

And now that little bundle is a husband. Wow. I couldn’t be more proud or more grateful to a heavenly Father who has woven all of the beautiful threads of the tapestry of Chase’s life together in a way Jeff and I never could have dreamed. When we faced the challenges of raising a child with ADHD- when people didn’t understand those challenges and thought maybe it might be the ‘parenting’-we knew..we knew God had a plan for this gift He had entrusted to us; that even though we were far from perfect, He would make a way. And today, even at 5 am, this mother’s heart is overflowing. 🙂

Published in: on May 24, 2010 at 5:04 am  Comments (2)  

Perspective…changes everything.

Wow this has been a week! Caryl and I headed to Joplin on Tuesday so that I could speak at a foster parent appreciation dinner-and then speak to a group of caseworkers the next morning. It was an amazing trip…we were so blessed to be in a car, just the two of us, (minus any of the 13 kids between us!) and get to visit and pray and just be together. We met some incredible foster parents who challenged us to continue our work and to understand more fully the connection we share, regardless of where we live. I was so encouraged by the dedication of these parents and the intensity with which they purposefully advocate for the children in their care. I was challenged as I spoke to the caseworkers (from a foster parent perspective) and fielded questions that arose during the course of the meeting. Thank you Joplin for your hospitality- and encouragement! 🙂

Wednesday afternoon Caryl and I headed to Branson for some real ‘girl time’. Shopping! Thursday was Jeff’s 50th birthday and filled with fun and excitement, yesterday marked Serenity’s end of the year field trip and a birthday party, and today was Caleb’s 20th birthday and included shopping, a surprise party for my niece and Caleb’s b-day celebration. Add all of the pre-wedding-rehearsal dinner preparations and well, you get the picture!

In the middle of all of this ‘fluff’, Connor’s friend Sam lost his father, Bernard Allbright. To say he was a man of character would be the classic understatement. Bernard was filled with joy, strength and integrity. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and was totally dedicated to his family. During the funeral today, Sam and his praise band sang the song “I am Free”. It was an amazing testimony and a remarkable tribute to a father from his 15 year old son. Jeff and I were so blessed to know Bernard. There is no question that his legacy will live on….in the future of his wife, his children, grandchildren and the many friends and family he leaves behind.

Published in: on May 16, 2010 at 12:45 am  Comments (1)  

A Mother’s Day Wish :)

Happy Mother’s Day…to all of you. I pray God’s richest blessings on you as you ‘mother’ biological, foster and adopted children. God has truly blessed all of us by entrusting precious children to our care. I pray that today has been a time for you to be honored for who you are and all you do, as well as a time for you to reflect on the gifts God has given you.

I wanted to share the note our 15-year-old son Connor wrote to me today. We have fostered since before Connor was born, so foster care has always been a part of his life and has really shaped who he has become. (I’m sure if you have fostered for very long, you have seen that with your own children.)

“Dear Mom,
Happy Mother’s Day!! I don’t think any words can describe how blessed I and we are! Proverbs 31 is probably the best example of you! The best verse in that is vs. 20, ‘She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.’ Thank you for being a very godly example of God’s LOVE! You have given me a love for kids and orphans and that is just a fraction of what you’ve done for me”– Connor

Wow…..humbling and such a blessing. You understand that I am not saying that Connor is perfect…after all he is a 15 year old boy :), but God has instilled in him a love for Himself and a love for others. And today, on Mother’s Day…nothing could be more of a gift.

Published in: on May 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm  Comments (2)  

A different angle on The Middle Mom :)

When the Lord made it clear to me that I needed to complete and publish “The Middle Mom”, I really thought that the main reason was to just tell my story and pray that it would move other “regular” folks to become foster and/or adoptive parents. The Lord has used it in that way and for that I am so grateful. But over the course of the past few months, the scope of my vision has been expanded. I have received emails from foster parents in different states who all say the same thing…”it is so good to know that someone understands exactly how I feel….” Talk about humbling.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at a foster parent conference in another county. It was the first time that the audience I was speaking to was made up entirely of foster parents. I told them it was like “preaching to the choir”. Honestly, I wondered if I had anything to say to them that they didn’t already know. My desire was to encourage them and infuse them with a new zest for fostering. After I spoke, I got the opportunity to meet many of them. It was such a blessing to me and showed me that many of the emotional needs of foster parents are just not being met. It was a sweet time of unexplainable joy as well as shared hurts, and broken hearts.

Tomorrow night, I’m heading to another county to speak to their foster parents. Please pray that I will say just what they need to hear and they will be encouraged.

I think it would be interesting to do a survey as to what the unmet emotional needs of foster parents really are..any thoughts?

Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm  Comments (5)