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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Foster Family

"... let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." ~1 John 3:18

I keep trying to come up with a fantastic, creative way to announce that we are an officially licensed foster home again, but I can't find the right words.  So...we are thrilled to announce we have fulfilled the requirements, met the standards, and completed the goal we set out to accomplish!  I once again claim the title of "foster mom".  

~"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

After being foster parents for nearly 10 years, we let our foster license expire last March.  We thought that chapter in our lives had come to an end.  By mid-summer God began speaking to my heart.  Whispering..."I'm not done with you yet."  I dismissed God by my understanding of how much work it would require to become re-licensed.  I recounted the heart-ache, the tears shed for a broken system, the pain associated with the road of foster care.  But I also thought of the babies, the triumphs, the service, the love, the aspects of foster care that you cannot measure with time, or money, or what "I get out of it".  

Summer passed and I continued to ignore the whispers that tugged at my heart.  Sure, Mark and I had conversations about it, but it was always something for the future, or put on the back burner. Summer faded into fall.  Fall bring busyness and activities and there seemed there was no time to think about a foster license.  But one night in October, one conversation with a friend, one little boy, would become my inspiration for our return.  

October 23, Mark and I turned in our first big packet of paperwork.  It would be three long months before everything would be finished.  So much has changed in the world of foster care in the last 10 years.  The licensing processes were VERY different.  Ten years ago, it was classes, paperwork, home inspection, license.  This process was paperwork, doctors appointments, finger prints, classes, interviews, home inspection, another home inspection, another interview, home inspection, interview my kids.  I felt I was put through the fire, so to speak.  There was not an area of my life that was left untouched or not discussed, questioned, or written about.  Parenting styles, medical history, education, sibling relationships, parental relationships, marriage, faith, career, personal goals, family goals, kids special needs, financial worksheets, etc... I felt very vulnerable and emotionally spent after this experience.

But I was CALLED to foster care, we were led back.  It wasn't a question of if, but when.  And no matter how many hoops we had to jump through, we were determined to complete the process.  And we did.  The completely exciting and terrifying part of this process is that we are uncertain of God's plan or direction within foster care.  Ten years ago, we got our foster license with the sole purpose of adopting and becoming parents.  This time we aren't waiting for a specific child.  We are out of our comfort zone, but that is good.  We are ready to serve and ready to be used, to give sacrificially to others both children and families.  We have been filled up to be poured out, and I am anxious to see all that Lord has purposed for us.  And now we wait for the opportunities. to serve....and though we have been licensed for only two days...the phone has already been ringing..

.~"The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few."  Matthew 9:37

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jumping Through Hoops...More Waiting...No License Yet...

I've been waiting for the day I can post "We have our foster license". is not that day.
It's been three months since this journey started.  Three long months of doing so many different things (paperwork, classes, training, inspections, more inspections, interviews, doctors appointments..etc.).
 I thought we had reached the end of the journey...but as an email would surface today we have yet more hoops to jump through.  More things need to be completed.
I felt extremely discouraged this morning.  I just keep feeling like they are going to keep coming up with more and more and more things they want and need.
What is even more frustrating is that we were foster parents for nearly 10 years and they are putting us under the microscope now (even though they have a huge file on us from our history with the state).  I feel like we developed good relationships with the state and the social workers.  It is just weird to have to start completely over from scratch again.  I don't understand.  We just want to help.
So on Thursday, I will once again welcome CPS into our home (doing another full house clean) so they can continue the interview (for the third time).  I guess they have to have all of my children's opinions on how they feel about foster care.
So much has changed in the last 10 years since we were first licensed.  It took two and half months 10 years ago with all the training.  I am trying to remember we are almost there, but each time I think we are done, or they tell me we are done, they come back with "just one more thing."  I'm so frustrated today.  Encouragement welcome!

Monday, January 20, 2014

He Will See

Every three months Luke has an eye appointment at CASEY EYE OHSU in Portland.  For the last four years, like clock work we take him.  They check his vision, eye pressures and optic nerves.
At times they have often thrown in a specialized test or two, or three to look at all possible causes for Luke's childhood onset glaucoma.  (Remembering the detailed retina testing).
This past Tuesday, was another one of our appointment days at CASEY.  It is nerve wracking.  I always wonder what news we are going to be given.  Too many times we have sat in chairs receiving news that we didn't expect to hear.  Too many diagnosis' to process.
The doctor said Luke looked good.  So good in fact that if his next round of visual fields are good they are going to back off the appointments.  We will get six months between appointments instead of three. She said she would no longer worry about Luke.  Luke's eyes will never be "normal", but the doctor is considering the possibility that Luke's optic nerves are perhaps genetically abnormal, instead of something causing them to abnormal.  Which means whatever sight he lost has been that way since birth.  And she won't expect his condition to cause more sight loss.  A MIRACLE!

Luke will SEE.  He has less of a chance of losing anymore vision with the new information coming from the doctor.  Where as years ago we struggled with thoughts about if Luke would go blind, we are now allowing ourselves to imagine a future where Luke is NOT visually impaired.

Just last week I held Luke as he sobbed, "Mom, I wish God made me different.  Why did he make me with glaucoma? You don't know what it is like to lose your vision."  It is so true...I don't have a clue what it is like, but I know God doesn't make mistakes, and HE made Luke absolutely perfect.  I just happen to have a front row seat to watch a MIRACLE being performed in the life of my son!
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