Open Letter to my Children on Father’s Day Weekend

Dear Kids —

I hope you know how much your Dad loves you. The three of you make up 3/5 of the top five things I think about each day, and 99.9% of the time — it is paired with a smile. But never forget, your Dad loves you exactly as you are, forever.

This is my second Father’s Day being a Dad, of course I didn’t expect to go from 0 to 3 in 7 months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love our story, I love the chaos, I love the giggles & the laughter, and I love the imperfections of everything. You are what makes our story perfect.

Every single night when I tuck you in, and we pray together (and pray for all the cute stuff you think of and long list of people you love) — I ask God to help me be a good Dad, and thank Him for letting me be your Dad and ask God every night to let me be your Daddy forever. Even though right now when I ask God to let me be your Daddy forever, I am thinking about how we long to adopt you and make it official forever — I will always want to be your Daddy, your safe place, your biggest encourager, your home. And that will not change once a piece of paper legally says I am your Daddy.

Children, I also want you to know this. You were not my Plan B. You weren’t the backup plan. You weren’t a side thought. You weren’t our last resort. You are God’s perfect plan. Some day we will tell you the story and all the threads we can now later see that God was weaving together for the perfect time — but God so clearly brought you here. It wasn’t conventional, but it’s beautiful. Your Daddy (and Mommy) love you more than you could know. God prepared our hearts at the right time when he knew you’d be ready to come home to us. And thank God for that. But never for a moment believe that you weren’t the plan. You were God’s plan, and you were my plan. Your Dad loves you more than he can convey.

Looking back on my life and honestly thinking, I have a lot to be thankful for & proud of. But when it comes right down to it — none of that big worldly stuff, or accomplishments, mean anything to me when I compare it to you. All that “stuff” pales in comparison. Watching you grow, helping to raise you in The Lord, is literally the best and most amazing, humbling, thing I have ever been allowed to be a part of. Getting to be your Dad is the best. Everything else could be stripped away — but being able to love you each day and help you discover the world brings me more joy than I ever thought possible.

There are so many other things I would love to say to you, but we’ll leave it here. I love each of you (all three) in your quirky and beautiful ways. I will always thank God I get to be your Dad. But this weekend, on Father’s Day — thank YOU for letting me be your Dad.

Love Always,

Your Dad

Foster Mom? Super Mom.

Something happens occasionally in Foster Parent life that is just weird. You’re not totally regarded as a “real parent”.

(Small disclaimer before you panic & worry you said something wrong today — haha NO! All is well, fret not.)

But every once in awhile, yet probably too often, small passing comments are made (very innocently I am sure) that imply the idea, “well you’re not a real parent…” — again, innocent, not meant to be harsh or condescending — it just strikes in an odd way. And the unfortunate part of it is, those are the very comments the Enemy (Satan) uses to rattle Foster Parents and make them feel less worthy, less valuable, less like “real parents”.

The plain simple truth is — that’s of course not true, especially for Foster Moms. And their hearts are certainly the ones that dearly need that constant assurance of their wonderful sacrifice, particularly when there isn’t as much certainty in their children’s futures. Something that most moms don’t have to worry about.

Reality is, Foster Moms are amazing. They give the love, the nurturing, the family & the home that children need. They give themselves to their children without the comfort of knowing if their kids will stay forever. And that is amazing. Foster Moms certainly shouldn’t be considered just Foster Moms, they are super-Moms.

And that’s what my kids Mom (my wife) is like. She is a super-Mom. She loves and protects and nurtures and adores our wild brood of kiddos with her whole heart. Even when unintentionally “tough to hear” comments come, even when the Enemy makes her feel less valuable & important — she gives her heart to our kids. And that makes her just as much a Mom regardless of the “legal status” of our kids. She loves her kids no matter what life throws at us. And thank God for her.

Here’s the honest truth. Foster Care is messy, and people don’t always know what to say, and that’s okay! Honestly sometimes we don’t know what to say either. This is where grace comes in. Thank God, literally.

We Foster Parents are blessed, blessed to be a blessing. And I have come to think that sharing our story is part of the attempt to bless others with all we’ve been blessed with through our precious kids. I am just beyond grateful my wife blesses me and the kids day after day after day.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

We have been quiet on here for a long while. I think partially because we don’t feel we have anything worthwhile or wise to share — or we have so much churning inside us that we have a hard time decompressing long enough to make sense of it. I suppose that lack of time is partly the blessing/burden of Foster Care and part is probably the blessing/burden of 3 kids 2 & under. Foster Care alone or having 3 littles is enough to exhaust you emotionally, physically & spiritually — but combining both just seems unreal at times. To be fair, most times are wonderful — but it doesn’t negate the struggles entirely.

There is so much uncertainty in our lives, uncertainty that we cannot try to manipulate and move in the direction we know is best. There is a lot of injustice in the Foster Care System too — and contradictions, even that completely blow off normal common sense. But that is the “system” — and we as Foster Parents lack the ability to influence the process in ways that common sense would deem totally appropriate. Alas, we are left between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”. And some days it hits us hard.

That said, when comforting and tucking in our precious, brave, sweet little Goose for bed tonight & praying with her while holding her in my arms & rocking her back and forth — a simple reminder (we can safely assume divinely inspired) came to mind. In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 9, there is a story about a father who comes to Jesus asking desperately for healing for his child. The father is at his end, he has no more cards to play, no tricks he can pull, no influence he can wield to get what he wants — he is desperate. Just like I feel at times, more often than not. The story goes on to the plea the father makes to Jesus — the father asks Jesus, IF HE CAN, to please heal his child. Jesus (we can assume) calmly replies, “If I can? Anything is possible to he who believes”. The man quickly blurts out, “I believe! Help my unbelief!”, and Jesus proceeds to heal the child.

I am thankful for being reminded of that story (which is incidentally one of my all time favorites — short as it is). I am thankful because it is how I feel many days, especially today. I am desperate, I am at my end, I lack the influence, the tricks & cards — I have nothing. I MUST rely on my Heavenly Father to intervene — and I do believe, but God, help my unbelief. I will falter on my own, I will stumble — I will not be strong of faith, I will lose hope, I will not believe without His help.

And oh how I want hope — oh how I want to believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

p.s. nothing is changing as far as we know — just hard days to walk through with littles that don’t always understand.

Cherish?

I have always heard it said in movies, read it in books & online in blog articles, I’ve heard probably 50+ people say it since the kids first came home to us, “be sure and cherish these years, they are the best, you’ll blink and they’ll be gone…“. I totally believe this, and I know it’s important. And if you’re anything like me, you’re waiting for the ….but….?

This is hard for me, I’m naturally inclined to be a planner — shoot, even the Scout Motto is “Be Prepared”, and being a good Eagle Scout — that is definitely part of my life now (just ask my wife, it’s obnoxious 🤣). But being prepared isn’t always easy. And being hyper prepared probably makes it even harder to slow down, rest & cherish the moments and memories being made.

But slowing down enough to even rest & reflect on what I would love to cherish is hard! Our kids are toddlers after all, and there are two of them, 2 and a half and 1 and a half (and soon it will be 3!) — slowing down with those precious little people is not a feat easily done! I am still learning (nearly 9 months later) how to possibly find margin enough to rest. And in the moments I find a little rest, I struggle to remember to think back and cherish this whirlwind — because usually if I sit that still, I fall asleep 🙂

So back to that ‘…but…’ — I struggle with the cherishing. I guess this is my online confession. I want to cherish these moments, I want to enjoy everything, I want to smile & laugh more than think about all that has to be done — but it is hard. I let the ‘Eagle Scout’ in me take over & start to think about what we will do when we outgrow 1.5 Bathrooms, what happens when (not if) we need to have 2 vehicles that fit 5 of us? How can I possibly keep up with my ‘jungle yard’ and be a good Dad & Husband? You get the idea… I could go on and on. But these thoughts/concerns/plans consume me. And arguably, they might be helping to strip away my joy.

Because what makes this even harder, I can’t really make any plans — because our kids aren’t our kids yet. And I know, all children are God’s, and we absolutely view them as a blessing from God to steward, love & care for. But we aren’t their legal Mommy & Daddy yet. That fact alone makes so much of this planning nearly impossible. I know you could say none of us can know what God has for us later, and that is certainly accurate — but this is more real to us than ever before (in this situation). We have no idea what our future will hold, have our precious 3 found their forever home? We don’t know — and it’s brutal hard. It’s probably why I try TOO hard to plan out what I can in the future, because I can’t protect my kids & plan for their future yet the way a Birth Dad can.

But for now, I must learn to cherish. I want to be a good, consistent, loving, gentle father — and I am understanding more and more each day how vital “cherishing every moment” is to being that Dad.

More importantly, I think I need to remember how important it is to trust God, if He brought us into this new adventure, He has been overly faithful so far — knowing that, I need to surrender and be faithful to let Him guide me onward.

Deep breath. Yes.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

— Matt. 11:28-30

God’s Faithfulness in Foster Care

Brian’s blog post a few nights ago motivated me to put some of my similar thoughts down so we could remember this journey more fully.

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In the past six months our new family of 4 + Beau the Border Collie have experienced an extreme amount of joy and more than our share of blessings. We wake up to mostly happy (we are still fully aware of “the Fall” and a lack of sleep is a direct result) and healthy toddlers who make us feel like we hung the moon and a few stars. In a lot of ways our journey so far has been a lot of sweet, and we have seen God’s faithfulness over and over again.

There has been so much good, but the reality of foster-care is that there is also a lot of unknown. The unknown is what brings me to my knees and reminds me of my need to cling to Jesus. There are twists and turns you don’t see coming, and sometimes they jolt you and startle you…and that’s okay, because it reminds me of my need of a Savior.

The Lord, in His faithfulness, has been teaching me that I may not see the outcome I want in this journey, but maybe I will. There is so much unknown….and that’s okay. It doesn’t make it easier or less hard, but what we as foster parents are doing (ALL of us, not just the Maloy clan) is of eternal significance.

In the midst of unknown, I do know that I must be fully present. I must be faithful to today and then faithful to tomorrow when it comes. Each day a gift and a new day to love these two treasures.

So, I must remember to trust, and in my trusting remember what’s completely out of MY control is completely in HIS. I’m called to be faithful, and my faithfulness is enough.

I’m not the savior of these kids. It’s my job to love them in the same way Jesus loves me and them – fully. In the known and the unknown on the good days and the bad, this journey is worth it.