3 Weeks of Class Down

So we are overdue for a Foster Care Training update!

So last night was our 3rd week of STARS Class (Foster Care Class), and this was probably the heaviest week of material thus far.  Everyone ‘knows’ or has ‘heard’ about abuse, whether they have experienced it or not.  Most everyone says it’s horrific or unbelievable, but emotionally we are rarely engaged — perhaps more sympathetic than empathetic.

So the backstory — every week we watch some videos portraying situations and scenarios with Foster Kids, their birth families and their foster families.  They are pretty enlightening videos because we can conceptually ‘know’ the hardships, but seeing them portrayed on screen completely engages your mind to process and ’empathize’ with the situations.  This weeks video was predominately about abuse — verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse.  It hit both of us hard, we ‘knew’ those awful abusive things happened to kids, often being the very reasons they are removed from their homes, but we just knew it as a concept.  Seeing it portrayed was truly horrifying — to ‘experience’ the things that innocent children are subjected to is overwhelming — very emotional.  It wasn’t easy, but I am thankful we had an evening on that topic, because it is prevalent.  And ‘knowing’ is completely different than ‘seeing’ the realities played out before you.  For me, it helped me understand the shift from sympathizing to empathizing — and I hope that we will continue to grow in that understanding.

In all of that however, it reminds us exactly why we are doing this.  It’s easy to forget, or quickly & quietly slip back into the ‘fear’ or desire for comfort, but there are kids who need a safe home.  Maybe they need a safe home for a season so their parents can get life back in order, or maybe they need a safe home forever.  Regardless, we believe we are called to “stand in the gap” and help however we can, however God leads us.  It will not always be easy, there will be good days and bad days.  But God has called us to this, and He will be faithful to guide us on those awful days as well as the good days.  No doubt this process will grow our faith tremendously, when we know we are completely unprepared, ill-equipped and inpatient humans!

As hard as last night was, we are still excited.  This journey has been fun so far, we have met some really amazing couples in our classes at OneHeart.  There are 8 couples in our class and a couple Singles, all have unique stories and all are compassionate folks.  One family in particular has 6 kids they have adopted, and they are renewing their license to open their home again!  It’s a blessing and encouragement to have a great class & the excellent trainers we do.  We definitely have a lot to be thankful for.

Not to mention, we have had SO much encouragement from our friends and family — THANK YOU!  We actually are going to be blessed with some bunk beds from Mama & Papa Madden (Clara’s Mom & Dad), even better they are bunk beds that convert to twin beds, so we can do either if needed.  That alone is a HUGE load off.  We still need to do some prepping for the bedroom we are converting.  Clara has some really neat plans to make it very homey and welcoming, so when kids come into our care and are struggling through a lot, at least they have a safe, comfy and cozy room to make their own.

We do still need to work on a few things — the baby gate for the basement stairs, fire extinguisher, replace the cracked shower in the bathroom with a new tub, get some ‘kid’ stuff to decorate the room with, and I am sure there are other things Clara can remind me of 🙂 but regardless, it’s all fun to tackle!

Thanks for your prayer, encouragement and asking questions!

 

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First Home Study

So we had our first home study last night.  We were pretty nervous but our Social Worker is amazing!  She was helpful, very encouraging and excited for us — which was definitely an affirming step in this Foster/Adoption process.  Even more encouraging, she’ll be with us as long as we’re licensed as Foster Parents — big relief.

We are SURE that we’ve only learned less than 1% of everything we need to know, but we are excited.  We also learned that once some basics are done, fingerprinting, background checks, etc., we can be signed up to provide respite care!  Respite Care is temporary care for Foster Families.  For example, say a Foster Couple needs a break for a weekend just to get away, we could step in and provide care for the weekend, Respite Care.  We didn’t know this was an option for us so quickly — needless to say, we were thrilled!

Along with some paperwork last night, and a walk-through of our home we also got confirmation of some things we need to do at home to be ‘ready’.

  1. Fire Extinguisher (at least 5lbs) — clearly we needed this before… haha.
  2. Baby Gate for the Basement Stairs since they’re open to the kitchen, might be something I make, we shall see if there are rules about that…
  3. Carbon Monoxide Detector — for some weird reason ours is in the basement, but we need one in the kitchen!
  4. Bunk Beds — we have full-sized beds in both spare bedrooms, but converting one bedroom to a more kid-friendly space would be great, not only for welcoming the kids, but for practicality as well.  So I am on the hunt for a good deal.  I could probably build them, but my mother advised against it — haha!  In addition we’ll need to get bedding and mattresses.  Probably need to get some stuffed animals as well… ALL bedrooms need them obviously — even if Clara objects to Black Bear (who resides on our bed… when it’s made 😉)
  5. Finish some more paperwork, including Safety/Escape Plans, emergency phone numbers posted, etc.

We have a lot of other tasks we want to tackle too, like cleaning out all the junk in the basement storage rooms, getting some kid stuff at garage sales, etc.  But those are fun and not super urgent.  But we are excited — last night was a great meeting and helped confirm we are on the right path.

Thanks for all the prayers!  We know hard times will come, but so far this process has already been a blessing — and we thank God for that.

If you have advice or questions, NEVER be afraid to let us know 😊 Like Clara had said before, we didn’t realize how excited our family & friends would be — and it because obvious that we needed to keep everyone updated!

An Update!

Brian and I have been overwhelmed (in all of the best ways) by the outpouring of love and support we have received in the past month or so since we shared where we feel the Lord is leading us. So many of you have asked really great questions that have spurred this update! We never intended for this blog to be a place to share updates, but with all of the love and support we have been given it seems foolish to not share what God continues to do in and through us along this journey.

This isn’t the most glamorous of updates, as this is a pretty long a drawn out process…

So, here are the updates:

    • We chose a Ministry to take our foster certification classes at. One Heart Family Ministries has a lot of really fun ties for us, and we are excited to learn from them!
    • Our classes begin on October 2nd.
    • Our home study process should begin soon. For me, Clara, that makes things seem even more real! As many of you know this is a pretty invasive and tedious process…so here we go! 🙂
    • So many of you have encouraged us in really tangible ways with different resources, blogs, and people you know who have walked this journey. It has been really cool to see the good and less good/fun parts of this journey that some of you have already walked through.
    • We have also learned of so many of our friends that are walking through a similar season to us. We are so grateful for the dinner/lunch invitations and the openness so many of you have come to us with. We are grateful for this support system that is growing!

Thank you for the prayers! Hopefully we will have interesting updates for you soon. 🙂

Adoption — Beginning of Our Journey

Knowing that it isn’t always easy to convey our heart on some topics (such as this), we decided it would be wise to put our thoughts down in writing.

Adoption — we have been praying about this for a long time, Clara for about the last year, Brian for a little longer. It’s hard to explain, but even when we have decided to ‘put it on hold’, the stirring within us has continued to come back into our thoughts and prayers.

Rather than rushing or making hasty decisions we decided to pray often and regularly about Adoption, specifically Adoption from Foster Care. There are so many kids who don’t have forever families or homes, and these are the kids who we believe we are most called to reach out to. After all, God adopted us as His children — us, broken, imperfect us. This is the root of the desire to adopt.

We know it will NOT be easy, but we are choosing to trust that God is bigger than the anxiety and He certainly can handle the potential issues that will come (as they would with any children, natural or adopted). We could (and have) come up with dozens of reasons why we shouldn’t do this — but through our conversations and prayers, it just doesn’t matter. We know we are called to at the very least pursue Adoption. And after a good amount of discussion, we decided to share the process with others (you). Perhaps it can be an encouragement to step out in faith in some area of your life – who knows how God could use this process in our lives and those around us.

So, we’d humbly ask you to pray for us. Pray that we are patient, pray that the process is good and affirming, and helps prepare us for the future. Pray for wisdom for us; obviously, we have not done this before and have a lot to learn, that’s okay! Pray for the child or children who may find their forever family with us. Pray for the children who still need homes and families.

We know we cannot do this without the prayer and support of our family and friends. Thanks for being a part of our journey.

p.s. Another way you can help, if you have connections, experience or advice – don’t be afraid to share.

Questions you may have:

  1. Can we not have kids naturally? We don’t know, haven’t decided to try yet.
  2. Aren’t we afraid of the issues the kids may have? Um, yes… this is why we need the prayers of our family and friends.
  3. Are you really sure about this? Well it depends on the day! But we are going to keep walking this path unless God tells us otherwise. We want to keep seeking His will because yeah, it’s scary. But faith calls us to trust God, not always to play it safe.
  4. Do you know what you’re getting into? Yes and no – hard to really know the process until you take a step of faith, so again, pray for us please!
  5. Is it okay to talk about it? Of course, please ask us! That’s why we’re sharing this note now.