Terrible In-Between

We are just slightly over a month into this new adventure.  It’s mind-boggling to consider all the changes in such a short amount of time.

  • There are baby gates everywhere in our home
  • Thanks to baby-proofing — no one, including adults, can open any drawers in the kitchen
  • All door knobs are harder to open with kid-safe handles
  • We sleep very lightly thinking every noise is a kiddo waking up!
  • Dad has gotten to be a master of getting two kids loaded and unloaded into the truck for school
  • Mom is master of being two steps ahead of any possible kiddo meltdowns
  • Cookies & kid snacks are hidden in all bags, coats, car, etc…
  • There really is no such thing as ‘free time’ anymore… or staying up late!
  • And SO many more…

And every one of those changes is totally worth it.  Because these kids are a gift, a treasure to take care of and love well.  For now, whether forever or not, we are their family, their Mom & Dad, their home.

I am convinced, even after a month, it is incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to really love kids the way they need to be loved without getting attached.  Kids need the reassurance & confidence of a home, family & unconditional love — and it’s difficult to give those things and keep the children at a safe distance where you (and the kids) don’t get attached.    You could give them a safe place, bed and food — but if they do not feel safe, supported, affirmed, loved & that they are home — it is lacking.  Kids need to know they are home.  But that means you AND the kids will get attached, because that is what home does to us — it draws us in & makes us safe — we want to abide & remain.

I say all of that (and it’s wordy…) because it is incredibly tough to live in the anguish & torment of a VERY unknown future.  Now of course we all know that nothing is guaranteed and each day is a gift — but rarely do we really live that way.  But with our kids future so full of uncertainty, we are faced with that terrible in-between every single day.  We don’t know if the kids will get to stay with us and we don’t know what their Mom’s future holds — but we do know they are a gift.  They are a gift from God, a treasure that we are to cherish & love as long as we can.  If that is for a short time (which is a painful thought) or if it is forever (hard for different reasons) — we promised to love those kids and raise them in the Lord for as long as the Lord had them in our home.  It is painful to consider the outcomes (for a lot of reasons), but we will lean on the Lord & trust His will — because we want to, and because honestly, we have no other choice.

There is a song, by Andrew Peterson, that you would do well to listen to — it’s called “You Can Always Come Home”.  It’s on one of the kids albums I have downloaded on my phone and it is excellent.  I can’t listen to the song & sing-along without tearing up.  Here’s a link to go listen (it’s a random video of someone’s kiddo, but the song is excellent:

You Can Always Come Home

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45 Hours Later

So I woke up Friday morning like normal. I let Beau the Border Collie outside & then gave him a cookie for going potty. I hopped in the shower quickly (and singing, of course) and in words I can’t quite explain, I was sort of ‘overcome’ with this feeling God was doing something, but didn’t know what. I finished up quick (still singing though) and got ready for work. Beau and I went outside to play catch & then I jumped in the truck to ‘brave’ the commute. Little did I know that Friday, February 9th, would be the day everything changed.

Friday mid-morning, we got a call. There are a lot of details why & soon when I can sit still for more than .8 minutes at a time, I will attempt to map out God’s providence (to the best of my current knowledge & liberty to share) — because it’s amazing.

But Friday, February 9th, 2018 is the day that we got a call. And much like anyone (but us) would have guessed, it was a call for a little boy & little girl. They are just 10 months old and 22 months old — and precious. We completely expected to get older kids since we were open to older sibling groups, but let me just tell you — they are here, they are little & everything has changed.

Seeing as we didn’t know what age to expect, we had very little baby stuff. In less than 24 hours we have almost everything important for now. We have a crib, we have blankets, we have clothes, dishes, changing stuff, diapers, bathtub toys, etc. — it is AWESOME. Our family, friends & church family have just come out of the woodwork to help prepare us & provide for us immediately, and in less than 24 hours. Which is such a blessing since we were trapped until we got car seats — which we have now & need to install!

The beautiful thing about this (and I have a list of beautiful things to share with you) but we were not prepared for this. We couldn’t be prepared for this. How can you wake up on a Friday morning, sing in the shower, and a few hours later you rush home to tidy up the house because 2 littles are coming to your home at 3:30? But it’s okay, because God is faithful. And in these circumstances He has proven over & over & over how faithful He is. He has provided for us through family & friends who listen to God’s prompting to help us. Thank you to those amazing people.

And furthermore, He humbles my heart to accept the help. Because we cannot do it on our own, we can’t! It’s totally overwhelming and good. Overwhelming because, well do I even need to explain why… 2 littles under 2, Friday morning we had 0 littles, much less any kids period — overwhelming. But it’s equally so good because God get the glory for showing up to provide all we need. God gets to humble my prideful heart to accept the help and love of people around us who care deeply. Friends & family get to be the hands and feet of Jesus — helping care for the least of these. God gets to remind me over and over again of His goodness & faithfulness — and I have probably teared up more times than I can count. And I don’t care, because it is worth it.

February 9th I woke up and went to work. February 9th I went to bed (sorta… let’s be honest… I was awake most of the night) as a father of 2 precious children.

The beauty of this new life along with the brokenness that caused it to be is often too much to bear. Thankfully there are 2 littles under the age of two in our formerly clean, decorated, non-kid proof Home. There isn’t much time to really dwell too much on that stuff — you’re chasing 2 littles!

I honestly have not spent much time thinking about Scripture the last 40+ hours, but right now the verse that comes to mind as I am writing is this one below. It’s one of the times in the Bible where Mary’s reaction is stated to all the things happening around her after Jesus came to her home:

“But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Luke 2:19

It’s not super profound — but sometimes real life isn’t that profound at first glance… but it’s where we are right now — and have been for 45 hours. And we are going to keep treasuring these things in our hearts.

An Unexpected Journey

Welcome to a new adventure!

It’s a rather long tale of how this blog came to be, but we are excited to get it off the ground.  The vision has been in place for awhile to host a blog in and around the subject of Foster Care & Adoption at One Heart.  The desire is to share the heart, the journey, the struggle, the triumphs of Foster Care & Adoption from the perspective of those living it.

Over time, we expect that this blog could grow into a great resource and likely will evolve to include not just our stories/thoughts but also guest posts, advice, links to other helpful encouragement, and more.  Honestly, it is hard to know what God will do — but it’s important we trust Him and take those steps forward when prompted.  Thus, here we are!

So who are WE?  Well, we are the Maloys!  We actually have been blogging our own Foster Care/Adoption journey thus far & the opportunity presented itself for us to pop over here to One Heart and help bring the vision for a One Heart Blog to life.  We are big fans of One Heart for a lot of reasons — most recently completing our Foster Care Classes there in December 2017.  But before I run down another rabbit trail… I should finish the introduction of who is typing!  My name is Brian Maloy, and my wife’s name is Clara — we’ll both be writing initially on this blog (yep, that’s us in the photo & Beau the Border Collie).  Clara is a 4th grade teacher & I am in marketing.  We began our Foster Care journey well over a year ago, but officially this past summer in 2017.  For a long time we knew God had called us to help fulfill the call to care for the widow & orphan in this manner, and after a season of prayer — we took the plunge toward Foster Care!

In the spirit of being orderly & making some attempt at introducing how the blog will initially play out, I am switching to bullet points:

  • We will be continuing to ‘blog’ our Foster Care journey moving forward here on this Blog, ohfm.blog.  Our heart is that it will be an encouragement to other families either walking through a similar journey, or even considering Foster Care.
  • We will post our previous blog entries from our personal blog, bmaloy.com over here on One Heart’s Blog — we want them to provide the story UP to this point, giving you the full narrative.
  • We could have ‘guest’ bloggers in the future…
  • We are open to suggestions & really want to build a dialogue — we should all be lifelong learners and definitely have things we can learn and share together.

So welcome to this new adventure, this GREAT adventure (suddenly I am singing Great Adventure by Steven Curtis Chapman… any other early 90’s music fans?… or was that just a reference I chuckled at…?  Don’t worry, you’ll get used to me)We are thrilled you’re here reading & even though we may not know you yet — we pray daily that God uses this little endeavor/blog to encourage the body of Christ and glorify Him.

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Timing & Waiting

I don’t know about you, but a lot of people in my life often speak a phrase, “well God’s timing is always perfect” or “God’s timing is best” or something like that.  Perhaps you haven’t ever heard that, maybe it’s just the circle and community in which I find myself.  But regardless, it’s something I hear frequently.

Just to clear the air, I must state it — I certainly agree!  It’s a simple statement, but it’s true — I have seen it in my life, and the lives of others.  Recently with this whole Foster Care journey, I think I am understanding that phrase in a fresh way.  Of course it is likely with a certain amount of providence that I am being allowed to “re-learn” this old adage, about “God’s perfect timing”.  That said, we are not terribly impatient to have our Foster Kid(s)/Placements in our home, but we definitely are eager — as anyone is on the cusp of a new adventure.  But I’ve seen anew how “perfect God’s timing is”.

We began our paperwork/home study process way back in August/September of 2017.  Potentially we could have been through with paperwork, Foster Classes, Home Study & preparations by early-mid December — but it didn’t work out that way.  We will sign our Final Home Study on this Thursday, 1/25/18.  Thankfully we truly haven’t been annoyed or felt like it was dragging out.  In all honesty, I believe both Clara & I have been mostly okay with however long it takes — we know that everything is about to change and whatever time period we wait, we probably needed the margin of time.

As it turns out, December was kind of a tough month.  If it weren’t enough chaos with the holidays & end of semester chores, we had a lot of major stuff happen.

  • We gutted and rehabbed the hall bathroom that we’d been putting off
    • Thankfully a husband of a great couple in our Foster Class is a contractor and was willing to guide and teach me how to rehab the bathroom alongside him, so not only did I get to save money by helping, I learned a lot of things I hadn’t really done myself before.
    • All that to say, in our 1.5 bathroom house… we were without our main bathroom for a little over a week… it’s perfect now!
  • My grandfather passed away — right in the middle of the bathroom remodel.  Naturally for any family that is a major blow — and we needed time to spend with family and mourn and work through that (which naturally will continue for awhile).
  • We did NOT have our kid room ready at all.  Who knew? (we didn’t…) it just takes time to order bunk beds, pick up mattresses, find good kids bedding, paint furniture, rearrange your entire home & organize all the toys and books given by friends/family.
  • I ended up with the Flu & also had a ton of changes at work.
  • And a ton of other little details that are seemingly unimportant until they are added into the collective list of December/early January ‘chaos’.

It has actually been a tremendous blessing to NOT be licensed until the end of January… because we NEEDED that time to deal with a lot of change, prepare physical accommodations, make major house repairs & emotionally work through a lot.  God knew we needed more time, God knew things were coming down the pike that would require more physical, emotional & financial strain than we needed to have with new kids in our home.  I can’t imagine how extra hard it would have been for kids to come into our home in the midst of all that ‘chaos’.  I am so thankful that God’s timing is perfect, that His timing is best — because had the timing been my choice, my preference, we would have not been prepared, we would have struggled greatly.

Now there is no promise we will not still struggle, and the strain emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. could (and probably will) still be incredible.  But thank The Lord, we have some of those things behind us.  We are a little more prepared than we were.  And thankfully God used this season of life to help remind us that His timing is good — and that He is trustworthy, that He is faithful.

 

 

Expecting

Foster Care & Adoption are interesting scenarios — especially in the world we live today.  We generally like to know what to expect, when to expect it and then of course any other details we can gather.  We are not typically fans of the unknown.  Sure we like to go on vacation and ‘see new things’ or go have an ‘adventure’ — but those are short lived ‘unknowns’, we settle back into the ‘normal’ when we’re ready.  Major life shifts, like having a baby or getting married are permanent changes, you cannot click the undo button (without more major permanent change).  In most scenarios however, we have time to prepare, process & ready ourselves for those permanent changes like having a baby or getting married — they are rarely immediate.  We have time to ‘expect’ the coming changes.

Foster Care is a very different scenario — not better or worse — just different.  We had dinner last week with a lovely family of 8 who was also in our Foster Class (long story, but they are Mom & Dad pros!).  In our conversation with them we were struck with a beautiful thought I have been mulling on for nearly a week — that we (Clara & I) are indeed ‘expecting’.  It’s an exciting thought — but one that usually is not associated with Foster Care.  That said, we were talking about how excited we were, how we know nothing about the kids (ages, numbers, gender, anything) who will be coming to our home soon — and how exciting that is!  It is of course the exciting/anxious/nervous/thrilled feeling… you know what I mean.  The indescribable emotion of anticipation in the total unknown!  We had not thought about it like that prior to last week, but we are expecting — and it looks totally different than the normal ‘pre-kid’ expecting.

Now we don’t have children yet, we have not tried to have children by birth yet — so my knowledge is limited to watching family and friends go through the 9 months of anticipation for their newborn baby — which is beautiful!  It’s a joy to watch them get excited, shop for baby stuff, be blessed by family and friends with support and prayer, and wait with eager expectation.  Of course there are some unknowns, and a variety of things can happen unexpectedly — but by and large we know what is to be expected at the end of a generally consistent amount of time.  A beautiful baby!

We are expecting, but don’t have much of a time frame, knowledge of how many kids, their ages, their health, their background, etc.  It’s all up in the air.  And it’s been really good (something I can certainly attribute to a great deal of prayer from friends and family).  It’s been really good because it’s caused us to lean into Trust — trusting God that He called us to this, and He is preparing us.  It’s helped us to surrender and not hold onto trying to ‘figure everything out’.  We can’t!  We can only wait in eager expectation.

Whether it’s a direct result of that trust or not, I have slowly and steadily seen my wife flourish and grow.  She is becoming a Mom, even though we have no idea what to expect.  Watching her enthusiasm for decorating the ‘kid bedroom’, shopping for bunk beds, mattresses, bedding — sorting through toys and stuffed animals given by friends — is amazing.  The transformation, in a relatively short amount of time is so beautiful.  She is quickly growing into a Mother — one who eagerly is expecting a child (or children) in her home.  I have even seen my priorities shift dramatically — when in the position to spend money on a new ‘toy’, I quickly realized it was time to set that phase aside and choose to make a ‘Dad’ decision — and say no to the purchase that is non-essential, because the kids we are expecting are so much more important.  In some ways slowly, and in other ways quickly — Clara & myself are being given the mind and heart of parents.

So in all of that — we have grown to be very ‘content/anxious’ with our period of ‘expectation’, which thank God, because it’s an expectation that may not have a sense of finality.  And depending on whether kids come and go or stay, we could be in a period of expectation for a long season.  I suspect God will teach us more than we can fathom through it all.