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.

 

 

Excitement

I (Clara) read something today that stopped me in my tracks.

As excited as you are to be foster parents, the kids aren’t excited to be a foster kid.

I’m learning through the wisdom of others, that it can’t be my personal excitement that drives my desire to be a foster parent. Jesus drives my desire, because without Jesus, I’m confident I’d fall flat. My personal excitement can’t carry me very far. The unfortunate reality is that the only reason I am even able to be a foster parent is because some absolutely awful event has happened to get us here. There is brokenness in the midst of this all, and where there is brokenness there is heartache and there is pain.

No one is excited about heartache and pain. No one desires heartache and pain. Through it all we do desire good to rise out of the bad. We do desire beauty to rise from the ashes.

Through Jesus’s strength we will walk along side a kid or two…or more! And it will be challenging. It will require us to do whatever it takes to bring healing to the situation, and I’m confident it won’t be easy and it won’t always be fun, but there are days that will.

So, instead of being excited, I want to choose to celebrate this season. I want to celebrate that we have the ability to open our home to a child and offer them something they may not have experience in a while…or ever…and that is the love of Jesus.

He offers His love so freely to us, and so as we are wrapped so tightly in His love, we will share that with whatever kiddo He sends our way.

Because of His love for us, and because we can share that love with these children, we will celebrate.

In light of a heavier topic, we thought we would include a few pictures of the kid room. At least how it stands right now. 🙂

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.

Final Homestudy — Check!

Tonight our Social Worker came for our final homestudy. It’s so hard to believe that we are on the downward slope of getting licensed! We are feeling so many emotions, but excitement is at the top of the list!

As of right now, we are looking at being licensed and ready to take in children by the first of the year. We are excited about that timing. It’s hard to not be anxious and wanting everything to happen faster, but we are resting in God’s promise that his timing is perfect. In 3 weeks we will finish our classes and celebrate all that the Lord has done in us with the other 17 people in our class. I️ love how he brought the 19 of us together to walk through these classes together. I love that soon there will be TEN Christian homes ready and willing to usher children into their homes on some of their darkest days. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at times when I️ think about that! One of the couples from our classes live near us, and the husband went to Central, where I️ teach!

Another couple has adopted 6 kids and is ready to bring more kids into their home. The husband is a handyman and will be able to help Brian do small repairs in one of our bathrooms and help him replace the bathtub! It’s so neat how the Lord connects us and brings us all together. It doesn’t hurt that Saint Louis is such a ‘small’ big city. The Christian community has a lot of fun connections! It has been so sweet to share life with this group of people.

We are still feeling so loved and supported by all of our friends and family. Thank you for joining us on this journey and for loving us so well by touching base and asking us how things are going. It really means so much.