Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Hello all!
Sorry that it has been so long since my last post.  Not a whole lot has happened since then, so there hasn't been a lot to write about.  I did want to write a quick update just for those that are curious...

We did finish our training...woo hoo!  It was nice to get it done so quickly, but those 2 weeks were LONG!  After our training we had 2 more things to get done, which were fingerprinting and physicals.  Fingerprints are done and we are having a slight hiccup in scheduling Dave's physical.  We didn't realize that getting a physical would take so much planning, but apparently doctors are quite booked when it comes to giving physicals.  Dave's family doctor cannot get him in for a physical until March 19th!  Seriously??  He tried to go to a walk-in-clinic but they would not do it because the form requests medical history.  Grrrrrr.  So...I have bugged the sweet lady who handles the application process at our agency enough to where she is asking the person in charge of homestudies and the agency director if they can make an exception for us.  Normally, you have to have every singular piece of paperwork in before they schedule your homestudy.  I'm hoping that since we are just waiting around until the 19th to get Dave's physical done, we can go ahead and schedule/do our homestudy.  We shall see.  We found all this out today and although it was frustrating, I trust that God's timing is absolutely perfect.  So as much as I had planned to be doing our homestudy by next week, God's plan may look different than that, and He probably (okay definitely) knows what's best for us.  To be completely honest, as much as I am "ready" to start taking in foster children, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if we didn't have kids until end of May/beginning of June because I would be out of school and therefore would not have to worry about daycare...if we get that are under school-age of course.  Plus it would give us more time to do fun projects around the house that we have wanted to do before kids get here.

Speaking of projects, Dave has been busy building us a kitchen table!  I love that he loves to do things like that.  He got some pretty sweet tools and has already started a list of things he wants to build for us.  Here is said list:
1.  workbench
2.  dog house
3.  dresser/changing table
4.  wood countertops for the kitchen (yes please!!)
5.  bunk bed frame

Those are the things I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure he could add a few to that list.  Isn't he handy??  Again, I love that he loves projects like this.  Our kitchen table is turning out very nice.  And it's his first project with all his fancy tools...I'd say he's doing a fantastic job!  Here is a picture of the tabletop:

It will still be sanded and stained.  We are deciding on if we want a dark stain for the top with a white base, legs and chairs.  OR a light stain for the top with a fun color for the base, legs, and green or yellow (feel free to vote).  This is my job apparently and I'm not that great at making decisions.  I'm usually great at narrowing it down to 2, but then take forever deciding.  If it's clothes, I usually just end up getting both.  If it's food, you can usually get it in some sort of combo.  This even goes back to my younger days.  When I was in high school I really wanted to get a bike.  I wasn't sure if I wanted a road bike or a mountain bike, so I got a hybrid.  Has anyone ever bought a hybrid??  It's kinda ridiculous.  It's definitely not a good bike to "race" in because you are pedaling however many times more than those that have a road bike and the tires are not quite durable enough to handle the bumps and rocks of mountain biking.  So it's great for a stroll around the neighborhood, but that's about it.  And yes, I did do the MS150 (the bike "race" from Houston to Austin) TWICE in my totally useful  useless hybrid.  I was definitely regretting my decision when road bikes would whiz by and it seemed as though the rider was barely pedaling.  So....all that to say, I'll probably come up with some crazy combo of stain and paint colors that seems really good at the time, but in the end will fail miserably.  Again, feel free to vote and help me from not making that mistake :)  Luckily, Dave is really good at decision making and he has a great eye for things like this. 

Other than working on our kitchen table in our spare time, we haven't been up to a whole lot.  Our fabulous friends threw us a foster care shower and we are super grateful for our friends and family who came and gave us their support.  (If you are seeing this and thinking "why wasn't I invited?" I apologize.  We struggled with the invite list as we knew it wasn't a "typical" shower and we are really not good at asking people for things...something we definitely need to work on, or just get over.)  I am just so thankful that we have such a great community to walk this journey with us and care for the orphans right alongside us.  Even the women in our new community group are offering cribs, pack 'n plays, clothes, toys,, such a huge blessing!!  I don't know how we could do this without our family and thank you! 

Hopefully I will be writing again soon to say that our homestudy is scheduled!  If not, I'll keep you updated with our fun projects that keep us busy while we eagerly wait. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Breaking Point

Well we are more than 1/2 way done with our training!  We have 2 more evenings (this Monday and Tuesday) and we'll be DONE!  Then on to our home study and writeup.  We still have about 3 more things to do on our "list," but hoping to get those done this week and next.  As you saw in my last post, our health/safety inspection was delayed because of our backyard renovation.  But, now that the yard is pretty much done, we should be able to schedule it next week.  For those that are not on facebook or haven't seen is what is looks like now:

flagstone rock with Mexican beach pebbles in between

We want to put in some plants, but that might not happen right away.  So other than some cleanup, it is pretty much done!  Dave's friend, AJ, and a few of his guys did a great job...I love how unique it is.

So at yesterday's training we were asked what I think is our hardest question yet - "What is my breaking point?"  Among other things, the person presenting, Lisa, is in charge of what are called "placement breakdowns."  This means that a family gets a placement and something happens that makes the adults say "that's enough, these kids need to leave."  Which means, after the trauma and craziness that has already happened in these kids' lives, they are once again moved to a different foster family who can hopefully "handle" them.  From her questions and obvious frustration (rightfully so), this apparently happens more than I'd like to think.  I know we haven't had any kids yet and have no idea what it's actually like, but this is so frustrating to think about.  I know there are situations where it's completely understandable and better for the kids if they are moved, but I don't get it.  Isn't this what you sign up for when you take kids into your home?  So, Lisa's point in asking everyone this question is that we would truly figure out what "type" of behaviors or kids that we would not be able to foster.  That way, when they are placing children in your home, they can find ones that are the best fit for your family and in doing this will hopefully prevent a placement breakdown.  Lisa said the top 2 answers were physical aggression and acting out sexually.  In our group, some of the answers were aggression towards animals, threatening the lives of other people in the family, and kids with special needs.  Our answer was nothing.  Lisa didn't like that.  She said there has been too many times where people have sat in our chairs and said "there is no kid I can't foster," and then the next thing she knows they are calling her with a breakdown.  So she pushed she should.  She said things like "what if they hurt your pets? what if they wipe feces on the walls? what if they are autistic? have downs syndrome? what if they act out sexually towards me (that one was directed toward Dave)?"  As I listened to her questions, of course I wanted to say "no thank you to all of those."  (Thinking of a kid hurting, or even killing, Clark or Roxy...are you kidding me??  I'm tearing up just thinking about it.)  Dave's response, of course, was "bring it on."  But isn't that stupid of us??  Shouldn't we set boundaries??  This is where I'm at today and I need your prayers. 

I know we are starting out and it would be smart of us to start with "easy" kids, but I feel guilty setting boundaries.  I feel like that is me not trusting that God will give us the right kids, and a situation that we can handle.  I feel like it's not fair that we get to "pick" our kids.  When you have biological kids you don't get to pick if your kids will have certain behaviors or disabilities.  You have no idea if they will grow up to be physically aggressive, or sexually active at a young age, or autistic, or defiant, or whiney.  And you certainly can't call someone with your biological kids and say "these aren't really working for our family, can I have different ones?"  So why should I get to pick?  Of course when you have biological kids you do choose the environment they grow up in and the care that you give them, so in that sense your kids are not "as likely" to have some of these behaviors that foster kids might have.  But God did not choose for us to have biological kids, right now.  So if we are trusting that His plan is good, then what do our boundaries look like?  Isn't that saying "ok God, I'll go down this path you are asking me to walk, but only to a certain point."  I understand that God probably isn't asking us to put ourselves on the altar for foster kids, but how do I know what we can and can't handle?  I want to be honest with myself so that we don't bring more trauma to a kid whose already been through so much.  I know Dave and I are committed to that, so I want to be realistic.  But I also know that we can probably "handle" more than some just because of my experience in working with special needs kids and Dave's willingness to handle any situation God gives him.  So if God has equipped us with these abilities, shouldn't we use them?  I honestly don't know what to do.  

For now, although I know Dave would be open to anyone and everyone (and I love him for that), I think we will set an age boundary of 0-10.  Even with that - do we know anyone with kids above the age of 5ish that could support us?  One of my friends that does foster care says that when you get babies the "stuff" pours in (clothes, diapers, food, gear, etc.), but as the age of kids you get gets older, the less stuff you get from your community.  Which sort of makes sense - the majority of our friends don't have "stuff" for 10 year olds.  So does it make sense to walk into something knowing that we will need support and probably not receive it?  Or, again, do we just trust that God will provide and not give us something that we can't handle. 

So...please pray for us as we think about and decide other boundaries that we might need to set, such as level of care (there are 4 levels of care based on the needs of the child...starting with basic, then moderate, etc.).  After talking with the same friend, I think I've decided that boundaries are good.  As she said - "boundaries are good in all areas of your life, so why not foster care?"  But I still struggle with feeling guilty about it, and mainly because it seems like I'm not trusting God if I set boundaries for us.  I think I need to let that go.  I think that is a pride issue, saying/thinking that I can do anything.  I know pride is going to be a slippery slope as we walk down this road of sacrifice, and I know I need to keep that in check.  I think I need to learn that it's okay to not be "open" to any kid right now.  I think it's okay to start out with "easy" kids with the intention of growing and being able to take on older and more difficult kids as we gain experience.  And when we get calls for kids that are pushing our boundaries, I know I need to learn how to say "no."  I know I have so much to learn, I just hope that it's not at the expense of the kids.  Again, I'm just praying and trusting that God's plan IS good for us and He will bring the right kids into our home.