Saturday, August 25, 2012


"Mommy.  Guess what?  I'm ridding my bike really well."
"That's great!  You'll have to show me when.............when you come back."

It was our weekly phone call to our kiddos parents.  A weekly event that breaks my heart into a million pieces (so much so that I typically let Tony handle it).  I heard the catch in her voice.  The reality was hitting her of everything she was missing in her kids lives.  And it was hitting her hard.

A mom with out her kids.  Hearts broken and torn in two.  Lives ripped apart.  Foster care is not pretty.  As the foster parents we get to stand there and tell these parents that we are fighting for them....not against them.

And it's hard.  See we get to see the damage that their actions have caused on their kids.  We hear things slip from professionals mouths on a daily bases that makes us want to do nothing but cry for the reality that was these children's lives.  We get to parent these kids with a deep love and yet remember in the back of our minds that they aren't ours.

Yet we fight and pray for these parents....why....because it's our job.  It is what we signed up for.  We are here to care for these children and to ready them to go back home.  And we have to do everything we can to reassure those parents that we are NOT there to take their place.  It doesn't really matter how painful the reality of that is.

And maybe.....just maybe.....we will have the chance to share Jesus with them.  Maybe.....just maybe.....we will see not just three children changed but and ENTIRE family changed.  Maybe.....just maybe......this family will allow God to heal them from the inside out.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Curtians from Mama Made It

A few weeks ago my friend Rachel at Mama Made It had an awesome give away.  I was so excited when I won.  We added this super cute book to our library:  
 Crafty Chloe
We love books about little girls who don't fit the typical mold.  Chloe is no exception.  The book is quickly becoming a favorite.  I also won a gift card to Joann's Fabric.  It took me a week to look at my list of projects I wanted to do and decided (with some help from my husband) to complete the curtains for these windows:
I love our window seat but it is a massive area to cover with curtians so it has gone undone for a year and a half.  

I snagged this beautiful fabric at Joann's.  I adore it.  And one of these days when I finish this project I will show it to you!! 
 If you are looking for unique, adorable, and affordable little girl dresses or baby doll clothes you HAVE to check Rachel out on her blog or etsy shop

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Picture Perfect: School

Last Wednesday we sent Big Brother off to school.  He seems to be doing really well with it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Foster Care - A Fathers view

If you have not read The True Atlas post you will not fully understand this post. Please read that post prior to reading this one. Once again I have no intention of offending anyone but some of you may be offended. I have no intention of discouraging anyone but if you do not finish the post you may be discouraged.


I have 4 siblings that were adopted out of the foster system. I love all of my siblings and was always taught that these are my siblings period. It was not a these kids those kids type of situation. The two youngest that my parents adopted have severe learning disabilities, some mild retardation, ADHD, Cerbal pausy, siezure disorder, and I think a few other minor problems. My wife and I have had two placements of our own both of which I will discuss below.

Why my wife and I do this.

My wife and I love kids. We have both worked with kids for several years, but that's not why we do this. We love the fact that we can give these kids a safe and loving home, but that is not why we do this.
We love that we can welcome these hurting children into our family so that they can heal, but that is not why we do this. We are involved in Foster care for 1 purpose, to share the love of Christ with these kids. Everything above is part of who we are and we love helping these kids, but there are other loving foster homes that don't have Christ. We have a chance to bring kids into our home who in both our cases have never heard about Jesus before. We get to teach them that there is a God that made everything, but among all the wonderful and beautiful things he created he chose to make them special. We get to live life with these kids and allow them to see Christ in us.

My role as a Father to these kids.

Part 1

Once again if you have not read my other post please do so. That will give you the foundation for what I believe a husband and father is.

My role for these kids is even more important than the role God gave me as a father of my biological daughter. She has had the benefit of a healthy two parent home her entire life. If you tell her that she is beautiful her response will be "I know". Sadly that is not the case for these kids. They grow up through horrific experiences and deal with life situations that I as an adult do not want to handle. As a foster parent you are not give a clean slate to write on. Instead you are given a slate with large dents in it. You are given broken chalk because some techniques you want to try wont work. They may be ineffective because of improper use of a similar method in the past or sometimes things are just off the table because of what the kids came out of. Ever response to every situation becomes extremely important. the best part about doing this though is that as my wife said "You get a front row seat to God doing miracles".

Part 2

The role to my wife as a husband is subjected to study 24-7. This is a relationship that sometimes these kids have never witnessed. In other cases they have seen such a twisted version of how a man is suppose to treat a woman that a lot of un-teaching has to be done along with the teaching. This is were living Christ in front of the kids is so important. However, this also means that when I make a mistake I know that the consequences are amplied as well.

The role to the kids as spiritual leader is new territory for the kids. If they have had any church in their past the odds are they have not had a strong male spiritual leader. How do you take over such a role without having the connection of years of taking care of these kids? How do you being to teach love and respect for a God that until they came to your house they did not know existed? These are big questions that have to be answered. Personally, I think its just like every other thing in parenting....every child is different so the way to assume that role is slightly different. For instance, with Our Guy I did not start with Adam and Eve in the Garden. I started with David and Goliath and stories about David and his mighty men. I got him hungry to learn more and then started back in Genesis. It did not take long before he was asking me every night for his bible lesson and was even willing to give up his free play time in order to get it (sometimes) if we were running late at bedtime routine.

The role of providing for these kids is extremely important. They need to know they have a safe secure place to live and that their basic needs are going to be met. There are several cases in which children are pulled out because their needs are not being met. Our kids are a prime example of this. This means that you spend a lot of time especially early on reassuring the kids that they will get what they need. However, actions speak way louder than words. It takes time for that trust to develop. This can drive you nuts.

The role of protecting these kids. Physically protecting these kids is in an of itself more difficult. For instance, our two year old son refused to eat vegetables he wanted to eat everything else and get seconds, but did not want his vegetables. This is obviously not healthy and has to change, but you cant force a child to eat either. The solution we used was giving him a smaller initial portion of his other food and then I traded him bit for bit. Eat a bean you get another bite of chicken. We have now been able to wean him off of that and can just give him a serving of vegetables like everyone else.  I guess the easiest way to sum up this section is take all your original and "normal" expectations and throw them out the window. Have a goal in mind work toward it. Expectations come after you have been working on the goal for a little bit.

Emotionally protecting these kids is the hardest piece of protecting them. Basically, you cant actually protect them at all. They by law have visits and those wounds are going to be continually broken open. All you can do is be there for the kids. Try to help them learn to express their feels rather than bottling them up or just shutting down. Helping the older kids talk through and begin to understand their feelings. Helping them start to make strong connections with you so that they know someone loves them for them. Helping them feel secure enough to encourage normal development and in a lot of cases help them catch up.
Spiritually protecting these kids is not an easy task as I mentioned earlier. It takes constant work and being very intentionally in the things you do and say. Making sure these kids are pointed toward Christ while they are in your home.

You never know how long these kids are going to be in your home. For instance, our first placement was only 5 weeks. I had 5 weeks to show a 10 year old boy how a man was suppose to treat a woman. I had 5 weeks to show him that the God that created the universe though he was important. 5 Weeks to teach him the Gospel message. 5 weeks to be a strong example in his life. I pray that those 5 weeks changed his life and I pray harder that those 5 weeks  changed his eternal destination.

The TRUE ATLAS - A Fathers view

First, let me set everyone's mind at ease. I am not endorsing Greek mythology or attempting to validated it. However, I could not think of a better title when discussing the constant weight that a Father feels. If you continue to read this post then I am begging you to read it in its entirety. I do not intend to offend anyone, but some of you may be offended. I have no intention of discouraging anyone, but if you do not finish reading the post some of you may very well be discouraged.

When is a boy a man?
This simple question can cause hours upon hours of debate. Each culture has their own ideas and customs that shape their opinions on this matter. For instance, according to Jewish culture when a boy reaches his 13th birthday he has become a man and should receive the rights of every other man. Then you have cultures like the US who's laws and customs further confuse the situation. A prime example would be that a "man" has to register for the draft at 18 and has the ability to vote. However, he is not capable of  being responsible with alcohol until he is 21. In addition, the upper and middle classes have allowed "men" to extend childhood until they have graduated college. Once they do that then they are not a child anymore. At that point we can hold them accountable for their actions.  The truth is that when determining when a man is truly a man has nothing to do with age. It has nothing to do with when we are legally allowed to do things and it definitely has nothing to do with the completion of a degree.The American culture and Christian culture has failed men.

Who judges what a real man is or how a real man behaves?
This is a more complicated question with a much simpler answer. EVERYONE.
At least everyone has their own opinions on the matter. Then we compile the cultural and subcultural expectations and not only does everyone have an opinion, but that same person has several different criteria at work when forming their opinions. The most important person forming these opinions is the man's opinion of himself. However, his opinion is skewed by the same factors as everyone else. Please brace yourself for this next statement. American culture has not only made it hard become a Godly man it  dumped a mountain in the path of every male child. Unfortunately, the church tends to turn a blind eye to this fact and leaves young "men" to figure it out on their own. There is also a cultural side effect at work  here because "real men don't ask for help".

In summary, American culture has destroyed any benchmark a man previously could have used to "come of age". It has produced an environment in which young men are constantly fed negative messages, images, and misrepresentations of what a true man is. To finish the job it helped develop in men a sense of inadequacy and shame if they ask for help. This is the starting point that every Godly father has to overcome.

 Now for what you all have been waiting for.

#1 A Godly father must first understand the responsibility God has given him as a husband.

Read  Ephesians 5:22 -28

This scripture is widely misused and misrepresented by both those inside and outside the faith. The majority of them want to stop at verse 24. Feminists like to use this so show that Christians not only don't value women but they actually place them below men. While Christianity does place women below men Christians didn't do that. God did that. In fact, he also told us that you would have a bad attitude about it all back in Genesis. Before I get off on a tangent let me get back to Ephesians. The key to this scripture actually comes in verses 25-28. In these verses the husbands role in the family is explained. Verses 22-24 become more of a footnote in comparison. God tells the woman that her husband is her head and she needs to submit to him in all things. Then in 25-28 he turns to the husband and essentially says....Congratulations. I am entrusting my daughter into your care. It now your responsibility to daily give up your own wants, needs, and desires so that you can serve your wife. I will be holding you accountable for how well she is taken care of physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually. If a man wants to force submission upon his wife and claim that she is going against scripture he more than likely needs to reexamine how well he is fulfilling the role God has given him. There will be times when a husband and wife disagree on a course of action. In the end as above the final decision is the responsibility of the husband. However, if he is truly being a Godly husband then his decision is driven by his responsibility not his own personal motives. He is never allowed to make decisions that are best for him. He has to make decisions that he believes to be in the best interest of them as a couple and later in the best interest of the family. The wife of a Godly husband should know from experience that her husband is leading in such a way and submission should not really even be an issue. This is not to say there will not be strong arguments or that during the process a wife will be happy of the final decision. It simply means that in the end she will respect and abide by the decision. It also means that if the decision ends up being the wrong one she is not rubbing it in her husbands face.

#2 A Godly Father should have 1 main goal

We will keep it simple and stay in Ephesians. Ephesians 6:4

In verses 1-3 we see that children are suppose to obey and honor their parents. Then in verse 4 God focuses back in on the man. To paraphrase the man is not suppose to purposely frustrate his kids. Instead he needs to teach and train them to love and respect the Lord. TALL ORDER! Notice that this directive was not given to the mother. Fathers are not allowed to say my wife can handle the kids I just go to work. God places you in the same role for the children as he did for your wife. The Father is held accountable for how well he takes care of the children God places in his care. It is the mans responsibility to ensure A love and respect for God is instilled in his children.

The next few items are less controversial and so I will not be providing the biblical foundation. However, I will instead offer some insight into the male thinking/ interpretation of them.

#3 A Godly man provides for his family. 

This is a commonly accepted statement but many women fail to see the significance of it or how intensely it is felt by their husbands. God has built within men this desire to provide deep down every many knows its their responsibility. This makes financial stress on the family amplified 10 fold for a man. In fact, their is often shame and disappointment felt even if you are "making it". I will tell 1 story to illustrate this point. Once my wife wanted to go hang out and have a cup of coffee with a friend. At the time we did not have the extra money to spend on the gas it would have taken. To my wife it was a mild disappointment and no big deal. However, to tell her we could not afford for her to have a cup of coffee with a friend was like putting a dagger into my stomach. I had thoughts like this " What a great provider you cant even afford for your wife to have a cup of coffee". While this may be irrational the thoughts and feelings still exist. If you are a woman reading this do not suggest to your husband that your friend can pay that would make it FAR FAR worse.

#4 A Godly man protects his family. 

This is physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is another area that is readily accepted but can be difficult to actually carry out. The physically side of this is the part most people think about but that is the easy part. Emotionally and spiritually are hard because sometimes we have no idea what we are doing. In fact to emotionally protecting our wife and kids is extremely hard for us well at least me. Men are not nearly as attuned to emotions as women. Thus we have to work much harder to fulfill this part of our role.

There is obviously a lot more I could talk about but I have not even gotten to my foster care post yet and it is 2:40 AM. I will finish by reverting back to the title again. A Godly Father may not hold up the Heavens, but he does feel the weight of heaven upon him. God has placed a large amount of responsibility on men and we are in constant need of his Grace.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday

Sometimes I wait for the "perfect" picture to write a post and never get it.  Add to it the fact that most of us where sick last week and the fact that adding pictures of our foster kids that are with in guidelines is really hard.  That is why this post is SO late. 
Last Thursday we have the privilege of becoming parents (for the first time ever) to a six year old.  Big Brother turned six in our care.  We invited the grandparents to a local splash pad/park to celebrate on Saturday.  It was incredible feeling to know that they cared enough to make that long trip and give up another Saturday two weekends in a row. 
There is a sweet quirkiness to this little boy.  He was thrust into being a Big Brother and over all is handling it really well.  He is super excited about school and has a desire to learn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's Not All Black and White

Bio Parents = Bad
Foster Parents = Good


It's just not that clear cut.  Children are pulled out of a home for a reason and typically that reason is devastating.  However, that doesn't make their bio parents "BAD".  Yes, it means they have screwed up.  Yes, it means that they aren't parenting the way they should.  But no, they aren't always despicable people trying to hurt their children.

As much as a Foster Parent knows that in their head...their heart doesn't always agree.  A Foster Parent knows a lot of dirty inside truth that makes it really really easy to dislike the Bio Parent.  The Foster Parent works hard all week to get these kids into a routine to send them on a visit and watch it all fall apart.  They are taking the kids to the doctor appoints, helping them with school work, and taking them to multiple therapies to "work on issues" or "play catch up". 

However, the reality is that Bio Parents are real people.  Often they have gotten themselves in a very bad spot.  Often they are hurting to be with out their kids.  For our kids (and many others) they are reduced to seeing their children two hours a week and an occasional 10 minute phone call.  They miss all the important things in their kids lives.

Big Brother's birthday is this week.  His parents will miss it.  They will get to talk to him on the phone for a very short time.  They had to have a birthday party during their last visit.  I will get the privilage of decorating his door, singing him Happy Birthday, and cheering him on as a six year old. 

And that's not all they will miss these next few months:

*1st day of school
*Successful potty training
*School concerts
*School report cards
*Playing in the snow
*1st lost tooth
*New words and concepts

I wish it was as easy as saying, "they are bad and I am good."  But it's not.