Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Post in honor of National Foster Care Month

Hey guys! Today I am so excited to share a guest post by my friend Lindsy! I love her heart for foster care and I have been so gripped recently by the mis-education out there about foster care and even adopting children from hard places. All I know is that we need more families ready to stand in the gap for these babies! In honor and celebration of National Foster Care Month, Lindsy has done an amazing Foster Care series over at Word from the Wallaces that I HIGHLY recommend you check out when you're done here!

Take it away, Lindsy!

I'm excited and honored to be sharing our foster care journey and a bit of my heart for orphans with you today! God may have this post specifically for you OR this may not be your calling.

Do whatever He is calling YOU to. He is calling you to something!

Let's start here ----> We never intended to be foster parents. It was not on our radar or any to-do list. We began the process of international adoption in 2009. We ended up with two biological kiddos and continued our pursuit of international adoption. Foster care literally never entered our minds.

My thinking was along the lines of "Kids in the US have roofs over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their tummies. Their parents are not dying of AIDS at alarming rates and they are not dying themselves of dirty water. The needs of children overseas are greater." (I. WAS. WRONG.)

Flash forward to 2012. Through a series of events only God could orchestrate, we became involved with a local family in need. We stepped in to care for the children for a short season so their mother could position herself to properly care for her kids.

And that's when God went to work on our hearts.

We learned early on in our placement with the boys that they might not be leaving anytime soon. In fact, it became apparent they would likely be going into foster care. Since we were not certified foster parents, that would have meant them being pulled from our house and moved into a state certified foster home.

He re-wrote our story to include the American orphan. God knew we needed to see it for ourselves, in our own living room. So we became foster parents.

He showed us how the effects of neglect, abuse and trauma in the United States are NO different than the effects of neglect, abuse and trauma in Africa or Haiti. He opened our eyes to the 500,000 orphans in our own country who will go to bed tonight as wards of the state. He taught us that while yes, children in third world countries are more likely to be on the streets in the only shirt they own begging for food and living in a carboard box beacuase their parents are dead or dying, the effect parentlessness has on them is no greater than the effect of parentlessness on orphans right "here".

Their needs are the same. The same as children in Africa. Children in Russia, India and Haiti. The need for lovers of Jesus to fight for the American orphan is the same.

There are currently over 100,000 children in the US foster care system who are legally available for adoption. Did you know that? One year ago I did not.

There are a lot of myths regarding foster care and adopting from the foster system. Unfortunately, the only stories that receive media attention are ones where a birth parent shows up years later and demands their kid back. Or stories of kids who linger in the states care for years and years.

While these things do happen, they are not the norm. More importantly, the system may be broken, but God is sovereign.

The state's job is to protect children but the state cannot and does not nurture children and point them to the only One who can heal him. His Bride must do that. If not us, then who?
If you'd like to learn more about foster care or adoption in your state visit Focus on the Family.

Lindsy and her husband William live in Kentucky with their four preschoolers and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a toddler from Africa. She blogs about orphan care and Jesus at word from the wallaces.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

[Memorial Day] Gratitude.

My FIL fought in Vietnam. For most of my husband's life, he says he rarely heard much about his dad's time in Vietnam. All we knew was that very few guys from his group made it home. And the ones who did were forever changed.  

As he's gotten older, he'll periodically share with us bits and pieces from his life there... A few years ago, the traveling wall came to our town and FIL came to see it. You see, most of his friends are on that wall. Rows of them, in fact, were people whose names alone flooded his mind with memories. That weekend, we were also able to visit one of the men who served with him and I think those things combined opened the floodgate.

I learned more about him in that weekend than I have in the 13 years I've known him combined.

We, often times, become so desensitized to hearing of fallen soldiers oversees... Almost as if it's so far away that we have convinced ourselves it's not real.

But it is. Real.

Each name on the news is a son or daughter. Someone's husband/wife. Fathers and mothers. Beloved sisters and brothers.



Thank You just seems so cheap compared to the sacrifices made. Both by our hero soldiers...and their families...

Thank You. Just isn't a worthy response when so much is given and taken.

When I think about each person who joins our armed forces and takes the call to fight for freedom. So dearly loved by so many. So brave and courageous?

My heart is filled with a gratitude I don't have words to describe.

Recently, as we prayed for the family of a fallen hero, Marvel asked if this soldier was like Captain America.

"Better" I replied, "because he didn't have special powers or superhuman strength. He was brave and courageous all on his own...in his own skin.  He was truly a Super-hero".

A few days later, we saw a man in uniform in the grocery store. Marvel whispered to me "Look, mom...a superhero soldier!" with awe and admiration. 
Had he not been in the middle of a conversation, we would have stopped to thank him..I told Marvel we would thank each and every soldier we saw from now on

Each and every member of our armed forces are superheros. Brave and Courageous in the face of danger. 

So, as we mark a day of remembrance to our fallen heroes..I, humbly, with more respect than I can even describe.. say Thank you.

Thank you to the men and women who daily risk their lives for freedom. Who put on a uniform that asks them to be willing to give their lives for ours.

Thank you to the families who courageously await the return of their beloved soldiers.

Thank you to the husbands and wives who keep their families running smoothly during a long and hard deployment.

Thank you to the moms and dads who hold back tears and lumps in their throats as their hero tells them they are joining the military.

Thank you to those who have come home with battles to face again.

Thank you to those who live with physical---and invisible---reminders of the toll of war.

And Thank you. Thank you... to the heroes whose lives {here} ended on the battlefield.

We honor you. We celebrate you. We thank you.