Tuesday Topic: How Has Saying "Yes" to Adoption, Led to Saying "No"?

I wrote a post late yesterday about celebrating our priorities as we parent children from “hard places.”  As we give ourselves to loving and raising our children, and in some cases, seeking deep healing, we have to make unexpected choices.  For instance, I never imagined that more than five years after our children came home, my days would still be very focused on therapeutic parenting, or that I would have piles of paperwork on my desk related to special needs, or that I would be scheduling appointments with multiple physicians at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

In saying “yes” to our children, we’ve had to say “no” to other opportunities.  Sometimes I don’t do it well and I say “yes” to far too much only to realize that I simply can’t do whatever it is I thought I could manage.  There simply isn’t much margin in our lives for activites that take place outside of our home.  Leaving Dimples with her siblings is rarely possible, and taking lots of kids along doesn’t work in all situations.

Then again, our children have made our world so much wider than I ever could have imagined.  Not long ago I had a meeting with the director of our local HIV/AIDS organization – that would not have happened six years ago.  Our life as exclusive homeschoolers also no longer exists.  It was a loss to us, but this year we’ll have children in three schools as well as at home, and the number of people we know in our community continues to increase.

Not to mention, if we had never brought children into our family from “hard places,” if we had never struggled, sought help, changed, grieved, learned a new way of parenting, this blog would not exist.  Writing One Thankful Mom has expanded my world – I’ve made some of the dearest friends and been blessed in so many ways through all of you.  I’ve brushed up on my punctuation skills, although quotation marks can still get the best of me, and learned how to upload photos all by myself. This blog led to me being part of Empowered to Connect, which is such an honor – and I’m learning how to speak in public.  The very first time I spoke there were over 1,000 people and I thought to myself, “Why on earth am I here?  I’m a stay-at-home mom from north Idaho!”

Saying “yes” to adoption also opened the door for Russ to use his many years of education (and many degrees) to head up a well drilling ministry in Kenya.  While it is a lot of work and sacrifice, it feeds his soul to bring clean water to the most vulnerable widows and orphans.  Since December 2010, the team has dug 25 wells – thanks be to God.

And our faith – if you were with me now, I would want to grab your hands, and look into your eyes so you would really hear this.  Our faith is the very best part of this entire journey; we have grown in our love and trust in Jesus more than we could have imagined.  We’re learning not to ask “why,” but to seek God’s purpose in our struggles.  We want Him to be glorified in our family, even when we are messy.  When we are desperate and crying out to God, an amazing thing happens, He shows up.  He loves us, He loves us, He loves us – and with that love comes peace.  I’m not saying it is easy or pretty, it’s more like great gulping sobs of mercy.

This leads me to my Tuesday Topic question,

When you said “yes” to adopting or fostering children, what “no’s” became necessary?  What unexpected “yes’s” have come to you from that decision?

I would love to hear your stories.  Please share them by leaving a comment.  So often, I don’t answer the Tuesday Topic until after you have shared your thoughts.  Today, I’d like to think of this as a discussion we would have if we were sitting my family room sipping lemonade.  Let’s hear from you.

Lisa

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

37 Comments

  1. Giann
    August 21, 2012

    I don't have an answer to today's question, but I loved what you said and wanted to thank you for writing that.
    About 7 years ago, almost to the day in September, we said "yes" to adoption. Little did we know what would happen a year and half later in February of 2007. Our lives were forever changed. But not like what we thought it would be. My family is still a family of four to this day. We don't clearly see why the LORD chose for us to walk through countless hours of paperwork, fingerprinting, interviews, doctor appointments, and everything else under the sun.
    But, one of our close family friends told us that because we said "yes" -took a leap of faith- they too said "yes" and came home with a baby girl not to long ago. Whenever I see Sarah Beth, I am reminded that the whole process was worth it.
    Sometimes saying "yes" means God coming and saying "no". Does that make sense? I hope it does.

    I know that was a bit off topic but I just wanted to share that with you. Thanks again for writing your posts, they really encourage me!

    Reply
  2. Karla Marie
    August 21, 2012

    We adopted 2 toddlers and an infant 6 yrs ago and our lives have never been the same. After 8 yrs of infertility and 7 pregnancy losses, being a mom made me look at life in a whole new perspective. For instance, when I hear people talk about orphans/foster children as if they are 2nd rate or bring too much baggage, my heart sinks. They have no idea the blessing they are missing. Sure they come with loss, sadness and maybe even behavioral issues, but as a parent you committ to doing everything you can to give them the life God desires for them. After adopting my 3 amigos 6 yrs ago……….I began telling everyone about adoption to the point that my husband I have walked several families through the process. This led to my organization Family by Design. Through a radio program, seminars, consulting & our blog we educate and inspire on adoption, foster care, parenting & orphan missions. I went from a long career in HR & banking to a career inspired by my children. We have grown to over 3000 monthly listeners. I said yes to my kids and to being an advocate for orphans and foster children around the world. I cannot imagine my life any other! GOOD NEWS! 6 years later we are now in the process of adopting 3 more blessings in the next month! God brought these 6 children into our lives and we cannot imagine life without them! I adore your blog and look forward to every post!
    Here are our websites: http://www.familybydesignadoption.com http://www.familybydesignhsadventures.blogspot.com

    Reply
  3. Julie Blair Pitts
    August 21, 2012

    I learned some of them before our oldest even came home: No (temporarily?) to my successful, 15 yr sales career. No to personal space. No to a consistently clean and decluttered house. No to many family and friends who bolted. No to new cars, new clothes, and new "toys". No to serving people who were sick by bringing in food. No to other ministries that have my heart and No to people who could not understand "children from hard places" to include my son. Yeses to follow…

    Reply
  4. Julie Blair Pitts
    August 21, 2012

    My yeses are very different and suprising: Yes to a second adopted son. Yes to learning how to therapeutically parent my oldest. Yes to new friendships. Yes to learning to accept help when I don't usually ask. Yes to mounds of healthcare paperwork, files, olders, etc. Yes to new pieces of my heart opening that involve helping orphans like never before. Yes to memorizing Bible verses because our very lives depend on them. Yes to praying diligently, fervently, desperately for my children to be healthy and strong when they currently are not (one physical, the other emotional/mental).

    This is a hard path, and one I would not have chosen, but I would not change a thing. God has taken us to a place in which we HAVE to stick together and cherish each moment. And for that, I am very glad.

    Reply
  5. Julie Blair Pitts
    August 21, 2012

    I tried to post and be part of the conversation…where did my posts go?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 21, 2012

      Hi Julie! I just got home after being gone several hours and had the fun of reading and approving all of these great comments. Sorry about the delay – thanks so much for commenting.

      Reply
      1. Julie Blair Pitts
        August 22, 2012

        Thanks, Lisa! Sorry! I was hopeful I didn't post anything offensive or irrelevant! I appreciated this topic very much. It was very therapeutic for ME! 🙂

        Reply
  6. Marissa
    August 21, 2012

    No, I will not make snacks. No, I will not teach Sunday school. No, we won't don't do 8 million after-school activities. No, we don't get to look like a family that has it all together. No, my life is not my own. No, I don't get to travel like I want to.

    Yes, our faith has grown in ways that I could hardly imagine. Yes, we rely on God for every step we make. Yes, our world has opened to us is amazing ways. Yes, we get to know incredible people that I wouldn't know otherwise. Yes, we get to share our faith and help others know who God really is.

    Reply
  7. Mama D's Dozen
    August 21, 2012

    Losses:

    Loss of my 20 year Speaking & Writing Ministry. (I just had to put it on the back shelf, but am hoping and praying that the Lord will allow me to begin it again.)

    Loss of many Friends after we had to disrupt the adoption of one of our 3 adopted children. (We could not protect our 5 younger children from this teen boy's abuse.)

    Loss of our church, as we were harshly judged and condemned because we "gave away our child".

    Loss of so many "freedoms", as our life began to be wrapped around the needs of a child suffering from severe RAD.

    Gains:

    Gained the knowledge that we were truly walking in the Lord's will, even through the most difficult of days.

    Gained two beautiful daughters to love and pray for (even though one is now currently living in a Residential Care Facility).

    Gained spiritual growth and trust . . . as we, too, have clung to the Lord through weeping and gnashing of teeth. 🙂

    Gained spiritual growth for our other young children . . . we have seen them grow so much in areas of true love and compassion (even when their sister is showing pure anger and hatred towards them).

    If we focused on our Losses, life could be quite depressing. However, I continue to focus on the fact that I know that I know that I know (without a shadow of a doubt) that this is what Christ called us to do. Period. His will is far better than any life plan that we could come up with on our own, regardless of the pain and challenges it might bring.

    Laurel
    mama of 12 (ages 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 23, 23, 25, 26, 28)

    Reply
    1. Cindy
      August 22, 2012

      I want you to know I do not and will not judge you or those that disrupt. It's not right to put that chain of guilt on anyones neck. God calls us to Love and pray for each other. People who adopt have the biggest hearts but also the biggest risk. I am so sorry for how you were treated.

      Reply
  8. Becky
    August 21, 2012

    We said Yes to adoption and came home with our son (now 6) and daughter (now 2) one year ago. Now we say "No" to: working longer hours, late nights, changing jobs, any activity that begins after bedtime or during naptime, and to anything that takes us apart from each other for more than a few hours. Do I miss any of that stuff? No. 🙂
    We also said "No" to staying connected with family members who were racist and close minded. We also say no to traveling to places where my children might be singled out uncomfortably or treated dis-respectfully.
    Thanks for starting an interesting discussion!

    Reply
  9. Mavis
    August 21, 2012

    We are still in the process of adoption so we haven't really had to say no as a result of it, although, as we wait we have had to hold off on some things in order to be ready for what's coming – in case it happens fairly quickly! I was excited to hear that Karyn Purvis is coming to British Columbia for a full day conference…unfortunately, our daugher's birthday is the same day and birthdays are a priority in our house. Sad to miss it! We, as parents, are in the business of sacrifice. It's part of what makes us parents…how can we not, when we know what Jesus did for us!

    Reply
  10. ESB's Mama
    August 21, 2012

    The hardest "no" our community has had to come to terms with is, "No, we won't leave him in the nursery at church" while my husband and I attend "adult worship". We get lectured over that decision frequently, directly and indirectly. Our son has so much fear of abandonment, leaving him for one church service leads to weeks of fear reactions, not sleeping, acting out toward my husband when he leaves/comes home for work. This has also led us to question whether or not "Sunday School" for kids away from the main worship service is really beneficial to kids in general.

    Because of this, we say "yes", to serving in the nursery MUCH more than ordinary families. We also say "yes" to expanding our community to other adoptive families and those from other cultures. Yes, to stepping out in faith, to adopt again, even when we see how messy it can be. Yes, to using doctors and therapists I once thought were a crutch for people who couldn't parent properly. Yes, to opening my heart to the way God sees his children.

    Reply
  11. sleighs79
    August 21, 2012

    This was far and away my greatest surprise during our foster/adopt journey – both the "no's" and the "yes's". I love reading these responses.

    No to continuing to lead the student ministry at our church. No to Sunday School. No to hospitality in our home for a very long season. No to many requests and activities for our older children in order to provide stability to our younger ones. No to parties, dinners out, late-night activities. No to looking like a pretty, well-behaved family in public.

    Yes to having our oldest two children pushed out of their comfort zones, beyond their natural limits but who have learned to focus on others above themselves with compassion, sharing, and service. Yes to a new community of online friendships. Yes to a tiny piece of heaven with children of different colors becoming brothers and sisters. Yes to following Jesus wherever He leads us, no matter how messy and ugly it looks on the outside. Yes to laying down my pride.Yes to a stronger marriage. Yes to a deeper trust in my Savior.

    Reply
  12. hdm
    August 21, 2012

    Thanks for the last 2 posts.
    Last night, I sat on my couch, sobbing, after signing my daughter up for the local public school. I have home schooled her for 4 years, love teaching, and all the homeschooling entails. Adoption of our son has cost us much, including, me giving up homeschooling my daughter, so that I can be all that I need to be when my kids get home from school.
    The goodness lies in the fact that our loving Father is writing this story, and he has graciously provided for us in the midst of this hardship.

    Reply
  13. angela
    August 21, 2012

    Well, last week I had to say no to an all paid for trip to Hungary to see my girls in action in the mission they have been involved in. (tears over that one!)

    I had to say yes to public school which I would have never dreamed would happen.

    I've been learning to say yes when people offer a hand.

    Today I am taking my Missy to a friend – who-has-been-there-in-adoption for an over night respite. This was something I would have never dreamed …. but I have been encouraged that this is okay from reading this blog. It's okay, right?!!

    I've had other people's teenagers mowing my lawns, little girls coming over to play with the babies, ladies coming to help me can my fruit, accepting babysitting offers so that my husband and I could go out alone, etc…. who would have thought?

    I've had to say no and stop organizing the homeschool group. I've had to pull back on offices in the church, and we don't socialize like we used to.

    I've said yes to some major character building in my life. A whole new level of patience needed to be attained and I'm still working on it. But I'm grateful.

    Reply
  14. Karen
    August 21, 2012

    Saying "no" to opportunities has been one of the hardest things about adopting two kids with trauma. It has also been one of the best things for me. I have HAD to stop and appreciate the small little blessings and gifts; I have learned to take joy in running through the sprinklers instead of experiencing hte BIG water park.

    More than that though, God has grown my heart and pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. What I thought God took away from me because of my trauma kids He has more than replaced with things that really matter.

    Reply
  15. Sharon
    August 21, 2012

    These last 2 posts have been such a gift to me. Just yesterday when I was walking some of my kiddos to school, I was feeling the pang (is that a word?!) of how hard parenting is sometimes. So much is focused on the adoption process…and once our kiddos are home and the real hard part begins, it seems that people begin to abandon us and don't care to hear the stories of our life anymore.

    One necessary no that I have noticed is no longer being able to be understood by other families in the parenting decisions that we make—and learning to be o.k. with that. A HUGE yes is opening our minds and hearts to a bigger world that we didn't know existed and ridding ourselves of a little bit more selfishness (though I still have plenty of selfishness to rid myself of!).

    Reply
  16. Tricia
    August 21, 2012

    We've had our 8 year old twins since Jan. and have said "no" to continuing to lead our small group that we've been with for 5 years, "no" to a close friend's wedding that would have taken us out of state and away from our 7 kids after only having the twins for a month (that was a tough sacrifice!), often a "no" to game nights and girls nights with friends, we've had a lot fewer friends over for dinner when we used to, and many "no's" to homeschool activities. Yet, our lives have been so much richer having the girls in our family ! God has grown us in ways we could have never imagined and opened up connections that we would have never had as opportunities to be Christian witnesses… with social workers, therapists, lawyers, and bio family members. God has showered His grace and love on our family in amazing ways these last 7 months. I've been following your blog since then and found so much encouragement from it… thank you for your humility, openness, and wisdom!

    Reply
  17. Leslie
    August 21, 2012

    The main no was deciding to leave my "dream job" due to too much potential travel being required, halving my salary, and moving to be close to family and have family support. The positive in this has been having family closely– no friends could provide the same level of love and support. For a long time, I lost my ability to be spontaneous, to just decide to go to the store or bookstore. It's still pretty limited. For a long time, I had to limit anything else I might have done, and still do to a large extent. I always though they'd be fine in public school, but that was not the best, so I am homeschooling them and working full time, which pretty much means saying no to many other things, and sleep many times. 🙂 No to watching as much TV or internet as before. I have been given great gifts in seeing their personalities bloom and to be an eyewitness of God's working in their lives and mine. New cultural perspectives. Friendships with other adoptive families. Increased compassion and gratitude. Awareness of the uncertainty of life and God's faithfulness and promises. Hugs to you guys. We love you.

    Reply
  18. Christine
    August 21, 2012

    I'm an AA woman that came across this blog recently. I have not been part of the adoptive process; rather I came across this blog while doing a search for kids with locs (hubby and I have a 9 yr old daughter who just started locs). I saw a picture of Dimples, started reading and couldn't stop. Let me tell you "white Mamas" something – YES to opening your hearts and homes to children in need; YES to ignoring ignorant comments from people who obviously don't understand the sacrifices you've made, the little lives you are enriching and that don't realize that love transcends races and nationalities; YES to learning, living and embracing other cultures (and hair textures – smile) different than your own; YES for allowing the love of God to shine through you through your works and acts of service by adopting His children; YES, YES, YES!!! Your families are a blessing to the children that you've adopted and please, please don't let anyone make you think otherwise because of cultural differences, etc. I just wanted to share my two cents from an AA perspective and let you all know that you have love and prayers coming from me!! Continue to be blessed!! <3

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 21, 2012

      Christine, you just made my day! Thank you so much for leaving such an encouraging comment; I just read your words aloud to my older kids and we all smiled. I know it takes time to leave a comments – thank you for taking the time. Blessings to you; and I hope your daughter loves her locs!

      Reply
      1. Christine
        August 22, 2012

        You are welcome! And like Dimples, our little one is loving her locs. Blessings to your family and have a great day!! 🙂

        Reply
    2. Mary
      August 22, 2012

      Your comments, Christine, bring tears to my eyes! Tears of joy!

      I have had to say no to caring about what people think about my kids, or me, or our family. I have had to say no to my own discomfort when I wonder what people think about us or no to their inquisitive and sometimese heartless questions.

      But I have said a resounding and ongoing yes to another culture, another hair texture :), friendships, and an increased love for the multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-economical world I now inhabit.

      And some have said no to us, but some have said yes. And those who say YES make my world sturdy and strong.

      I have said yes to some of the kindest, warmest looks from total strangers or life-giving words like yours.

      I'm so happy to say no to many things when I am reminded of the weight of my yes!!

      Reply
      1. Christine
        August 23, 2012

        You are so welcome! Trust me, it hurts me to hear some of the ignorant and hurtful things people say regarding families that have opened their hearts and homes to children in need. I just don't understand – is it coming from a place of fear, guilt, etc.? I just don't get it! Either way, in my opinion, it is unacceptable. Continue to know the strength and weight of your yes! I am praying for you Mary! 🙂

        Reply
    3. dorothybode
      August 23, 2012

      Awsome! Thanks! As momma to eight AA and NA kiddos as well as a trio of white ones there are not a lot of affirmative statements coming out of the AA community. Thanks Christine for giving Lisa a 'hug' – she is an awsome mom.

      Reply
      1. Christine
        August 23, 2012

        You all are amazing!! Are you kidding me?! I applaud you all. My prayer is that more people of color will affirm you and thank you for the journey you've chosen to take, rather than critic. I will continue to read and learn more about your joys and struggles and share with others in the AA community. For some reason, Lisa's post just moved me – reading about all the "no" choices, such sacrifices and then to know that people look you at you rudely and/or say harsh things?! Ugh!! You all are so strong. Hugs to you all. <3

        Reply
  19. Vanda
    August 21, 2012

    My comment isn't about "Yes" or "No", it's a testimony that HE showed up!!! He showed up for my boy this morning, the second day of kindergarten. Yesterday he spent the entire day with the assistant principal because he literally could not take a step inside the kindergarten class room. He could not bare the thought of everyone staring at him. My sweet boy is black and our family is white and he is so very tired of everyone staring at us when we go out in public. I NEVER would have known this was the source of his anxiety and rages if I had not just watched the video clip of Karen Purvis on how to handle violent tantrums. She demonstrated how to ask a child in distress how we can help, "What do you need". I asked outside the classroom door in the middle of a melt down and he told me. He hates it when they stare. My heart just broke but God is so faithful. The assistant principal, a very wise black man, simply took my son with him for the day. All day long. Today he hugged his teacher good morning and went to class. Another parent saw my husband later in the day and said that our son's public school teacher told her that she had seen Jesus all over my little boy.

    Reply
    1. Julie Blair Pitts
      August 22, 2012

      Vanda—thank you for posting. Your post gives me hope. I am sorry for your son and all he has gone through. My son gets the stares and questions too–he is Latino, but very dark-skinned. I have told him that God gave him the most beautiful brown skin…and I love his skin color…but that doesn't stop ignorant or mean people/kids from doing/saying horrible things. Thank you for the hope today–I needed it very much. May God bless your little boy today in Kindergarten!!! 🙂

      Reply
  20. Tricia
    August 22, 2012

    Hey Lisa – I wrote about something similar in a blog post entitled A grief and a gift. There are definitely two sides but when I stack them up against each other, the yeses are so much sweeter – sometimes very bittersweet. One of the big yeses was yes to I am going to deal with my own issues and role in this dynamic – still working on that! Here is what I said a few months back:

    I imagine that any parent who navigates life with a child who is different, out of the norm or has some type of special need is faced with a grief to be felt and a gift to be relished.

    The grief – looking around at other “normal” families, our families are somehow out of step. There is a complexity that though not always seen by the casual observer is still very much a reality. It can show itself in many, many places – we may not be able to fully participate in some of the regular things of life such as church, certain social events, school or sometimes just an uninterrupted night’s rest. Spontaneity can be stifled and desires put aside as we strive to be realistic and constantly mindful of healthy limits and boundaries for our children. And each family finds themselves somewhere along this “out of sync” continuum.

    Mental health professionals have long said that grief expressed is healthy while grief stuffed is going to leak out somewhere and eventually wreak havoc. So though it may be elusive and difficult to put words to, finding a safe place to acknowledge this grief is very important to the health of ourselves and our families.

    The gift – living life with a child that demands we march to the beat of a different drummer is truly a gift. It is like going to the school of what really matters. It is a crash course in getting over pleasing other people. If embraced, this new perspective quickly leads to a far less judgmental stance toward others – we are acutely aware that we never truly know what is under the behavior of that screaming child in the grocery store or that teenager who is “acting out”. We are forced to a deeper reliance on and wrestling with God and are wise to submit to a much slower pace of life. We receive a gift of often being able to see beyond the surface into the deep places of life. It is a portal to true joy.

    I spent a fair amount of my life in much shallower waters. I now mostly love swimming in a deeper real life place. But I need to be honest that there are times when I long to swim back up to the shallow area. When that happens, it is critical that I acknowledge it – out loud to a trusted person is best – and feel that loss. Doing so allows me to then dive back in to the sometimes painful but overwhelmingly joyful place of the gift.

    Reply
    1. Ursulablue
      August 23, 2012

      I love this. So well said. We adopted transracially and our daughter has Trisomy 21. I have had to say no to blending in. She's so worth it but it has been a surprisingly huge and had to articulate loss.

      Reply
  21. Deb
    August 22, 2012

    I have started and stopped so many responses to this post – and so many people have posted fantastic responses……..We have learned to lean on and trust the Lord in a way we never have before – that is CERTAIN.

    Ultimately, I can boil this all down into one sentence:

    We have said Yes to what really matters most (following God's call on our hearts to parent these children), and we have said No to anything and everything that really doesn't matter in the end.

    Reply
  22. dorothy
    August 23, 2012

    This week it means saying no to books…..It's a little long so I posted on it http://urbanservant.blogspot.com/2012/08/saying-y

    Reply
  23. karenpullin
    August 23, 2012

    When we said yes to foster care and adoption, we said "no" to thinking we knew what our family would like; "no" to having control over things; "no" to keeping our hearts intact instead of breaking.

    We said "yes" to growing in ways we could have never imagined; "yes" to loving more fully and unconditionally than we ever had; " yes" to holding tighter to God's hand and trusting Him with everything.

    Reply
  24. Jennifer P
    August 24, 2012

    I have a similar thought as KarenPullin above. We said no to what we thought our family would look like when we adopted, in size and age range. We no longer have a "nuclear" family that operates together on a daily basis but we are still connected. That has been hard for me to wrap my mind around.

    I have also said no to "friends" in the traditional sense. In raising children from hard places, there is no time to support others in their day to day hard stuff. I lament that I cannot be a better friend but as I turn back to these beautiful faces, I pray and strive to be that good and faithful servant that God will be pleased with. Our faith is deepened moment by moment in this life of adoption. Thank goodness God adopted me!

    Reply
  25. Jenny
    August 25, 2012

    When we said "yes" to become a foster parent and an adoptive placement, we had no idea what we were saying yes to. I never thought I'd be able to take children with the issues we have.

    We've said yes to committing to unconditionally loving children with violent, compulsive, manipulative, and just plain strange behaviors. We've cleaned poop paintings off our walls and carpets daily for months. We've held children in our laps speaking truth and love as they scream, spit, kick, and pee on us. We've dealt with psychosis, dissociation, fantasy worlds, and pure hatred. We've dealt with the loss of children who we loved passionately when they return home to terrible situations.

    We've said no to ministries in our church that we started and served faithfully in for years. We said no to vacations. We've said no to nights out with friends. I left my job that I loved. We've lost more than a few friends….

    Amazingly, despite the losses my husband have endured, God has been so very faithful to us. I understand His faithfulness, provision, compassion, and unconditional love in a way I never would have without these beautiful children. I know the peace, tenderness, and joy of my Abba in a far greater way. I've experience what a great healer our Father is as He's mended and comforted my broken heart so many times. I've seen broken children begin to heal. I've felt the love, trust, and respect of kiddos who never thought they were capable of such emotions. I've felt the warmth and tenderness of Children's hugs and kisses. I've delighted in their laughter. I've prayed with them. I've discipled them once they've accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I've seen lives changed.

    My marriage has grown stronger. My faith has grown greater. My worship is deeper. My family is closer.

    I've said no to a great many things, but I wouldn't change a thing about any of it. I trust my Jesus to walk with these children even after they're gone and I can no longer hold their hand. I trust Him to guide us as our family is ever changing and evolving.

    Reply
  26. Jennifer Allwood
    October 4, 2012

    New to your blog. I go to church with Jenny Crowley who follows you thru this and FB….she told me about your site today. I love it!!!! My husband and I have 3 bio kiddos and are just getting ready to finish our SPALDING training classes to foster to adopt. Most days I am brave. Today….a little nervous. Thank you for your transparency. Blessings, Jennifer

    Reply

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