Persistent Passion

Here are some of the words used to define ‘persistent’: relentless, unrelenting, haunting, lasting, tenacious, steady, lasting, enduring, constantly repeated, continued, ‘persisting especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, or discouragement.’ Passion is defined as fervor, zeal, ardor; any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling.

Persistent Passion. You can put any of the words above into the equation and the solution is always the same- I have a persistent passion for children in foster care. It is a persistent passion that is certainly not always understood, even by family and friends, and is often times misunderstood by the world or the system; but those factors don’t change the fact that God has put into my DNA a relentless fervor for vulnerable children.

This week my mailbox has been filled with a mixed bag of foster care stories. I have heard from two foster moms who are dealing with the devastating thought of losing children they planned to adopt; children who have been with them for over a year and whose lives hang in the balance. On the other hand, one of my good friends finalized an adoption today for two precious boys that she and her husband fought long and hard for. And yet another friend out-of-state wrote with great relief that the adoption hearing for their two girls in next week. And then, I was asked a poignant question by yet another foster mom who was at the end of her rope; “why, tell me why do we do this?”

It’s a great question. Why do we do this? The reality is very complex, but the answer is simple: Persistent Passion. We, who are called to foster, are not satisfied with the status quo. We are not willing to sit back and watch as children suffer abuse and neglect, or worse yet, to ignore that abuse and neglect even exist. We are determined that on our watch, children will be given the chance they deserve to be loved, nurtured, valued and cherished. We believe in a heavenly Father who can pick us up where we are and use us in spite of our frailties. We are undaunted by a system that is broken and by people within that system who don’t believe it, or the children in it, can be rehabilitated. We stand on the command that ‘true religion that God the Father accepts is to look after widows and orphans in their distress..’ We may falter, we may grieve, we may get angry and exhausted, but we will not be moved. Persistent passion…it’s what keeps me going when I don’t want to, when the grief or the sacrifice it too much to bear, when I can’t answer the question ‘why?’ and no one seems to understand.

Persistent Passion…relentless, lasting, steady. Foster children deserve nothing less.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm  Comments (9)  

The least of these

First of all, thank you to all of you for your incredibly encouraging comments about my last post. I came downstairs the morning after I posted it and almost hit the delete button! It is really hard for me (as a people-pleaser) to be vulnerable in a negative way. I didn’t hit delete because in all honesty-that was how I was feeling…and this broad spectrum of conflicting emotions IS the foster care process! So again, thanks!

Tonight it’s on to a different subject…continuing relationships with foster children who have returned home. If you have read “The Middle Mom” you know about Kenny…actually, his real name is Kendrick- our little Moses. He came into our home at the age of 2 months and was with us until he was 9 months. His mom was very committed to getting her children back (11 of them). She has 12 children all together, (the oldest was too old to come into care).She worked her case plan hard and within the shortest amount of time-her kids were back with her. It has been an incredibly difficult road. I am proud of her- she has had the same job for 5 years. Kendrick’s father (and the father of 5 of the other children) was killed in a drive-by shooting several years ago- so she is doing this alone.

About 6 months after Kendrick went home, his mom called DHS and asked them to have me call her. When I did, she told me that she knew how much we loved Kendrick and that if we ever wanted to keep him for the weekend, we were welcome to. We picked him up later that week and have kept him a few times since then, but most of our interaction has been in helping his mom. Our church family and personal friends have been so gracious to help us in HUGE ways with Christmas for them and with back-to-school needs-as well as groceries and things throughout the year. I do struggle sometimes with the decisions she makes and find myself playing the ‘martyr’ roll (which never deserves an Oscar nod!:)) Yesterday was one of those days.

I sent out an e-mail to some of our friends asking if they would be willing to buy school clothes for one of the 10 children we were outfitting. The e-mail was forwarded to others and before I knew it we had 7 of the children taken care of! We finally got all of the clothing bought and I made two separate deliveries to this mom (along with gas money). Yesterday morning, she called at 7:00 am to say that Kendrick’s shoes didn’t fit and since it was the first day of school, he couldn’t go because he didn’t have any shoes. She wondered where I had gotten them and then said she didn’t have enough gas to get to that store and back home. I told her I would call her back. Ummm. I was not happy. After all, I was getting kids off myself and had planned to spend the day with Cara getting her ready to head back to college. I didn’t have time for this. Didn’t this Mom realize that I have a life too?

There it was….the ugly, grouchy, selfish, non-Christ-like truth. Meeting the needs of people; ministry, is almost never convenient. But it is what it is….living out the life of Christ through our actions-whether we ‘feel’ like it or not. My precious husband brought me back to that reality and off I went to gas up her car and get her the money for shoes that DID fit her boy/my boy. And along the way, the Lord reminded me again that it is not about me- that “whatever I do for the least of these, I do for Him”.

Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm  Comments (2)  

Out of words…..

When you consider yourself to be somewhat of a writer, being “out of words” is definitely not a good thing. But, that’s how I have felt lately. I want to talk, I want to encourage, I want to write, but I’ve come to an impasse, especially in my foster care journey. Honestly, there are times in this process when my heart is so heavy, I can hardly breathe; when I am discouraged and flat; when there is so much static, I can’t seem to hear anything clearly. Now is one of those times.

This is a difficult time for us. E’s situation is hard. Our love for him is beyond comprehension, and yet we are uncertain of what God’s plan for his life is. He is in limbo; our whole family is in limbo. Maybe it’s not that I am out of words, it’s that there are no words.

Published in: on August 17, 2010 at 11:26 pm  Comments (7)  

Termination is tough.

Well, after almost 3 weeks of waiting, we got a simple e-mail this afternoon from E’s attorney saying that she had just gotten word that the judge had terminated his mom’s rights.

After all we went through with baby B, I had to read the e-mail again and then call his attorney. Sure enough-this part of the process is over. Now we head on to TPR on Dad, Mom’s appeal and a court date for a relatives’ motion to intervene. I can’t help but feel a deep sadness in my soul for E’s mom. Even though this case is very complicated and difficult (and I believe this is definitely the right decision for our precious boy), my heart breaks at the thought that, unless a miracle happens for her, this mom won’t get to see her son grow up. I’ve been here before, but it is never easy.

As I put E to bed tonight, I was overwhelmed with grief and yet soothed by the fact that the heavenly Father holds this child in His hands. In the midst of all of the chaos and frustration, I am so grateful to be able to rest in that fact.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm  Comments (2)