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Archive for the ‘Foster Care’ Category

I believe the last time I mentioned the foster care process it was stalled. At this point I’d say it is dead in the water. Not long after we started the process G’s unit received alert orders that they would be deployed. At the time it was a year out so we thought we’d go ahead and foster for a year until he departed. We waffled a bit, went ahead and took the CPR class, then stalled. Frankly, I realized that as long as G is First Sargent here, he is not really available for family – he’s not ours. It eventually reached a point where I couldn’t even count on him to take B twice a month while I went to Bible study. Therefore, foster care would be all mine all the time.

Now I’m not meaning to complain about G. That is just where we are right now. Not to mention the rough waters we just came through with G’s mom the last few months of ’08. I had to come to terms with the fact that foster care was more than I could handle all by myself, and would add stress to G’s already maxed out life, as well. So, that is where we are. Perhaps after deployment, when G ends his military career, we will begin again.

In the meantime I think prayer and soul searching are in order. We really thought this was where God was calling us, but have found ourselves to be in error. Perhaps He’s just preparing us for something down the road. Who knows, at this point. Our steps have not led where I thought they were going, and I’m resigning myself to B being an only child for a little while longer. And that’s not proving to be so bad, for now.

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For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.                 Hebrews 13:11-16

Recently, while teaching on 2 Thessalonians, my pastor made reference to the above passage in Hebrews. He was speaking of standing firm in the promises of the gospel in the midst of persecution (1:1-12). He had recently attended a conference where John Piper spoke on the Hebrew passage and asked whether we are willing to go outside the gate. What does that say about us in America that we don’t know persecution? There are many passages that speak of it. It seems it should be something to be expected if we are following Christ (John 15:18-25). But here in this place, whether in the city, the suburbs, or the country, do we really ever suffer persecution? Why is that? Is it because we are not willing to go outside the gate and “bear the reproach He endured?”

I am very convicted on this as I have struggled with whether to proceed with becoming foster parents. But my delimna is that my husband, who is the leader of this family, has not taken the lead on that front. I’ve been wondering whether that is my “outside the gate” or not. I could easily move forward and complete the paperwork on my own, schedule the interviews and tell him when to be here. But is that the right thing to do? None the less, I have to admit I have not been willing to find that gate and proceed out of it to endure the sufferrings of Christ.

Whether or not the foster care is what we are supposed to be doing at this moment in time, I know there is something. But I haven’t really wanted to find it that badly. I’ve been perfectly content to carry on in my own little comfort zone.  God clearly spoke to us back in October during our church’s Missions Conference that our mission field is right here. But I’m still not sure I’m on the right track for that calling. Since G has a deployment on the horizon and his parents are having some health challenges requiring our attention, I’m not sure that foster care is for this time. I have gotten involved in a local food pantry and work there with B each week. Perhaps the gate is there? Or is it at the new Pregnancy Resource Center that just opened nearby? Is it a neighbor that is struggling with cancer? Or is it right in my own family caring for aging parents? Whatever it is, am I willing to go outside the gate?

I am not the only one pondering these things. There’s a discussion on the FIAR boards, where someone mentioned this blog post: What Can We Do? That is what spurred me on here. She brings up some issues that I haven’t even considered. We have become so detached, so unaware of what is going on in our own cities, much less across the world. Sure, we all say how busy and overwhelmed we are. But are we filling up our time and our minds with the right things? What is really important? And how much of what we are consumed with is just “fluff?” It seems we put up barriers to the gate to block our view of it and avoid it altogether. Are we content in the city of destruction (for here we have no lasting city) or are we seeking the “city that is to come?” Where is the gate, and what will it take to go through it?

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I’ve avoided the subject of our application process to become foster parents. Frankly, we have stalled in the process. After completing the classes and the background check (complete with finger prints) and taking the CPR classes, we stalled on completing the paper work. I’ve mentioned before, I think, that G is completely consumed with his First Sargent duties. I have not pushed to complete the process because, really, I don’t want to do this by myself. I want him to be involved; I want him to take the lead.

This week I did inquire about it and he said he wanted to continue the process. The news of the Eldorado case had him thinking about it again. The next day the agency called to check if we were still interested. Funny how that worked. I told them that we had been discussing it and committed to having our paperwork completed by the end of the week. Yikes – that might be a little ambitious. So, will we get it done? Will G be able to shift some of his focus and energy back towards home? I want to be obedient to God’s calling and follow my husband’s leadership. I can’t see the next stepping stone, should I put my foot out and take the step? Deep breath.

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I did a post a while back wondering how foster care would work with our homeschool convictions. It seems many folks are wondering about that, so here’s a bit of an update on what I have learned so far. Now I don’t have any facts or figures at this point as I haven’t done that kind of research. But following is what I have heard from other foster families and what I’ve been told by our agency.

If you’re working directly with TX CPS, it seems to be determined on a case by case basis whether any particular families are allowed to homeschool any particular children. I’ve heard from a couple of folks that they had been told they could, but never made it through the maze of red tape and hoops to jump through. One friend of mine was allowed to homeschool one of their foster kids in a particular program while another family was denied homeschooling another child they wanted to enroll in the same program. My friend was not ever allowed to homeschool any of the other children they fostered at the time. This was just over a year ago.

In December we attended classes through a private agency that we intend to apply through. From them we have learned that homeschooling foster kids is allowed as long as an accredited program is used. Unfortunately, such programs can be quite expensive. So far I have looked at three programs that were very similar. Two of them are over $2,000/school year. The third is roughly $900/school year. I will continue searching for options in that department.

So, I guess you’d say the jury is still out. I will continue to investigate and learn what I can as we inch along in the application process. BTW, the inching is our doing, not the agency. They would love for us to move a little more quickly as they have kids needing someplace to go. But my husband just doesn’t make big decisions or big changes quickly. 🙂

It stands to reason that any program that is accredited will be highly academic. My homeschooling style/philosophy is rather relaxed. Not quite unschooling, but I definitely believe academics are better delayed until upper elementary age. But I also believe a more academic homeschool program is better than public school – especially for kids that are already having a hard time with life in general. So I’ll take it. But for B, I’m resisting the urge to launch him into a full-on academic program. But that’s a subject for another post.

Regardless if we’ll actually be allowed to homeschool foster kids, we feel pretty strongly this is where God is calling us. I am trusting Him to provide for this calling. I have this tendency – I think it’s genetic 🙂 – to fret and worry about stuff. I worry about G getting deployed after we have a placement. I worry about discovering dangerous behaviors after placement, thus putting B at risk. I worry about making some mistake or other. I could go on, I’m sure. But this is where faith comes in. As I said before, I’m trusting Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.

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Wow, 2008 is already flying by as we’re halfway through January. Time just keeps slipping, slipping slipping, into the future . . .

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

Well, this year should be interesting. Here we are in a new place, getting to know new people, and looking towards new events to occur for our family this year. I guess the biggest news for us as we head into 2008 is that we are in the licensing process to become foster parents. So, in light of that, we have no idea what God has in store for us this year. It’s somewhat exciting, yet I have my moments of anxiety when I think about it too much. I will have more to say about that in future posts as we inch closer to taking the plunge.

I haven’t been browsing blogland much lately. But I’m sure there have been many posts regarding resolutions for the new year. I don’t have any of those. You see, those require the strength, motivation, and fortitude of the individual making the resolution. If I had all that, then the stuff I want to resolve to change probably wouldn’t be an issue in the first place. Ah, but I was inspired by the elders of our church this past Sunday to set big goals to pray over for the year. Yes, that is relying on the will and strength of God to make the changes, not myself. So, here are my prayer goals for the year:

  • In the Word: I have daily devotions with B and and work on his AWANA memory verses. But I’m not having my own personal quiet time. It’s like I only spend time with God in a group context, but rarely one one one. I really need that one on one.
  • Become a prayer warrior: Not that I don’t pray, but, there’s always room for improvement. I want to be a person who thinks of prayer first, not as a last resort. I want to actually remember to pray for my friends and loved ones when I say I will pray for them. I want B to see that God is real and a part of our daily, minute by minute, life.
  • To be a kind and gentle mom: I don’t always respond to B’s antics in a gentle manner. He knows my buttons and I raise my voice in response to this more than I like to admit. As I look toward becoming a foster mom, it is so important that I grow in the ability to maintain that patient gentleness in my correction.
  • To grow in my abilities to manage my time, my household duties and my resources, so that I may be a better support to my husband and reduce my own stress as I find myself frequently behind or even embarrassed at the condition of my home when I have unexpected guests.
  • In light of the above, I am praying fervently this year for the blue carpet to be gone from my house! Have I mentioned the blue carpet before? Sometime in the past I posted a picture of our dog – a white & tan Basset Hound. Imagine that white dog hair on royal blue carpet . . .
  • To make a difference in my community: This may be through foster care, but I think there are other things for me outside of the house. I want to get more involved, but also want to choose wisely. Remember the time management thing above. 🙂

I could probably go on and on, but those are my biggies.  I have also updated my reading list. Although I have already checked off several books this month, there are some books carried over that I didn’t get to last year. I mentioned that I joined Paperback Swap. I already have a couple of books on the way from there, and I’m sending one off for someone else to enjoy. I want to be a good steward in all areas of my life, so no more book hoarding. 🙂

I would love to hear from others about your goals and plans for the year. And I wish everyone a year full of the power and love of our Creator. Happy New Year!

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