Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's A Boy!

Tonight, I'm "just" a mom. 
And it's absolutely wonderful.  Amazing.  A gift from God.
Actually, 4 gifts from God.  
Because one week and 2 days ago, Charlie went from being a "foster child" to becoming my son.
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     Four years ago, we began our journey of fostering with the desire to adopt.  While I know God called us to follow that path, I've grown in ways I never could have imagined--or, quite frankly, never desired.  Would I have said 'yes' to God if I had known it would take 4 years to adopt?  Would I have said 'yes' if I had known the journey would lead me to say, "Whatever you need, Lord, and I'll still foster even if we never adopt."? Would I have said 'yes' to not only sitting alongside a birth mother at the pediatrician's office to praying for her, to rooting for her as she took steps to regain her parental rights, to truly calling her my friend?

     No.  I would have said 'no'.  I would have told God that I'm not that strong, I can't do short-term placements, and I'm not willing to show others the grace & forgiveness that You show me.

  Goodness, God is patient!  And so very wonderful.  Because over the past four years, my heart has broken--and then softened--to not only the needs around me, but to the people who are doing what they can to make a difference.  I find myself praying for and being inspired by one of the sweetest families I have ever met, as they follow God's call to foster and not adopt.  I'm more aware of the families within my church and town who foster, have fostered, or have adopted (regardless of the child's birthplace).  I get excited--and then anxious--and then prayerful--as I watch a precious friend's "foster to adopt" journey take so many twists & turns, and I long for the day she gets to declare, 'this is my son.'
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Tonight, I'm "just" a mom.
And it's absolutely wonderful.  Amazing.  A gift from God.
But I cannot wait until I can once again be declared a "foster mom"....whatever the outcome.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

His Nickname isn't Simply a Nickname


It's the name I suggested to Mike when a precious foster baby entered our home.  A baby who already had a name.  A baby we didn't know would one day become OUR son.


"Are you sure it's a nickname for Charles?' Mike asked when I mentioned it.

Yes, I was sure.


A cute way to describe our sweet, tiny, Charlie.

"I like it." said Mike.


It was the name of my classmate's brother.....and was my brother's classmate.  The name he was called all the time, except for formal, official things.  The name that, for the past 12 years, has gone hand in hand with his given name, Charles.

Because, in every newspaper article, memorial, or other tribute, the young man who lost his life when the World Trade Center Towers collapsed is recognized by both his given name as well as his nickname.


Would I have come up with this nickname regardless?  Maybe. But, I'm not really sure I would have made the Charles/Chip connection if I hadn't remained so aware of it these past 12 years.   

The "offhand" knowledge of a nickname that works for a child named 'Charles' contains a story that will truly allow our family to Never. Forget.

And it fits our little boy perfectly.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Weight of Saying "No"

Today, I am a foster mom who is overwhelmed; brought to tears and on my knees in prayer.

I have spit-up on my sweater; I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in 7 months, and I'm holding a crying baby as I type.  But these things aren't the reason for my tears; they do not play a role in my broken heart.

Why the sadness?  Why the heavy heart when all in my life appears to be going so well?

Because two weeks ago I said "no".  No to the phone call asking us if we'd like to adopt two more boys.  Two boys, ready to be part of a forever family.  Two boys, ages 17 months and 7 months.  Two boys who deserve a loving, caring home.  Two boys who need know the security and comfort of a family.  Two boys who need Christ's love poured out to them on a daily basis.

I cannot stop thinking about those boys.  Can't stop praying for them, or wondering if we made the right decision.  If we need to change our decision.

We've prayed so long for God to grow our family through adoption.  And, God has graciously answered our prayers--we have just begun the adoption process for our foster son.  He is 8 months old.

And, as my husband gently pointed out, "LeAnne, that's 3 boys ages one and under.  We would need to buy a new car. We have a small house, and that is a huge undertaking.  I'm not sure you could handle it alone everyday when I'm at work and the older kids are at school."

I know Mike is right.  One thing that is so difficult as a foster parent is the balance of being in continual prayer for whatever God calls you to and flying by the seat of your pants.  Through our various "yes" and "no" responses over the past 3 years, Mike and I have balanced in a way that lets me know God's leading is playing a role in our decisions.

I called our licensing worker today to check on the boys.  After all, it's been 2 whole weeks.  They should have a home now, right?

No.  No home for these two boys.  They will soon go on the Waiting Child list for the state of IL.  I told our licensing worker I had been praying for the boys.

Her response? "PLEASE keep praying.  And if you know of anyone who may want to be a foster parent, PLEASE encourage them to take those steps."

WOW.  It was all I could do to not begin sobbing before the phone call ended.

So, I will continue to pray.  I will become more bold in my response when people make the off-hand comment, "oh, maybe we'll foster when our life is a little more calm".  

I will not stop praying for these boys.

And, I am grateful that while saying "no" to the 2 boys, it caused Mike and I to realize we would not have hesitated in saying "yes" to either one of them.

Maybe God is preparing us for something after all.