Tuesday, July 28, 2015

House Fronts

It has been a while – you’ll notice I go in spurts.
Summer has been crazy….teens drive me crazy…..
When one of your teens goes on Craigslist to lose their virginity, and their cell phone explodes with graphic texts and so forth….let me just say, parent moment lows.  Void of changing a phone number, I’ve embraced the parental blocking tool to its maximum. Pornography – Satan’s friend – in the digital age is a serious vise.  A friend shared a video recently I asked all my teens to watch – it was Ted Bundy, serial murder to many women, testifying in his only interview before his execution when he’d spent 10 years in jail.  Things that struck me were that he said he was raised in a good Christian home, that his parents and 4 siblings didn’t do anything wrong – he had a loving home.  He blamed pornography, the lure and secret he held onto as his demise….and shared that all his cell mates acknowledged being addicted to it as well.  What does that tell us?  How can we keep our children safe in a sick world?  When everywhere we turn there are sinful things pulling at our children – children that aren’t the strongest to begin with fall prey easily.  I’m not making excuses for the issues we’ve had.  Simply, I don’t know what we could do differently. 

I’m already a Mom who tracks what and where my kids to on the internet – we’ve had many problems.  When I visit with other parents and they don’t – I think, am I just a helicopter Mom?  Or do they seriously just not want to know – some excuse it, kids will be kids……but I’ve seen marriages fail from the vise of porn and so much more……no, I don’t think I’m being unrealistic to hold my kids accountable on the internet, despite themselves. 
House fronts – we show one side to the street side, looking special, brick, shutters, porches, landscaping – so different from the sides of the house and the back of the house.  Often normal siding and unadorned house backs are a part of a great looking front home.  Just like people – who wear the right stuff, look the right way, talk the right talk…..but behind it all is fakeness or falseness.  The real them shows through eventually as they can’t always hide it – but many do – spending their whole lives not showing their real sides. Don’t you know those people with the sticky sick smiles that are always sunshine and roses – that have the limp handshakes and whitened smile but couldn’t give you “real” if they tried? 
I challenge my teens, what they do on the digital world or how they act in school, if very different from how they are in church or at home – they are being those house fronts too – not showing themselves for who they really are.  Teens are seeking – seeking acceptance, their identity and what they really want to believe.  I can tell who they hang with – when one says they hate Fords, I simply look at their friend on Facebook going on about how bad Fords are.  Peer pressure – trying to go along with the crowd to not be sticking out – to be accepted and apart, despite them not really caring if they drive a Chevy or Ford – they are just happy to have wheels!  Salvage titled wheels!

Maybe I’m too real – I know I shock people with my straight forward boldness.  But – I believe in being bold – in all I do, but especially in my faith.  I’m not perfect and have my flaws, I’ve definitely some hail damage to my siding…..but, you know if you really get to know me, my bark is bigger than my bite, my heart is very soft and sometimes I put up that front too – to protect the vulnerable inner side that is often hurt.  And I love to laugh and humor keeps me sane. 

Recently I embarrassed my daughter when checking out with a cash purchase, the clerk asked me for my phone number.  I said “No thank you.”  She persisted she had to have it.  I replied I paid cash and I wasn’t going to give her my phone number.  My daughter thought “I” was rude – she was embarrassed.  I explained to her, for a less than $20 purchase paid in cash they didn’t need my phone number, I didn’t want to be called or have them call me or text me – and it was my right to protect my phone number, a lesson I was hoping she’d get and understand….she didn’t.  I realized, even a teller she didn’t know can influence her to do anything they want?  At times like these I think all the direction we give our kids falls on deaf ears.  To give our kids self-esteem to stand up at the right times is so hard…..life lessons. 
We are still a work in progress – all of us – on all of it. 
Keep us in your prayers! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Up and Down

Up and Down
See and Saw
Round and Square
Back and Forth
Give and Take
Catch and Throw
This is how we go.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Being a Foster Parent Rant

Being a Foster Parent Rant:
 It has been a few years since we let our Foster License go.  4 adopted kiddos fill our cup, hearts and time. 

Recently, I realized that one particular child – has a “hate” for and warped reality of who and what foster parents are.  Their own experience, shows on TV, media and stigma shed poor understanding for the Foster Parent status….so this is my plug for understanding that “Foster Parent” isn’t a bad word.

Who would want to be a foster parent?  Who would want the abuse, rowdy uncontrolled kids prone to temper tantrums, coming with grungy or no clothes, social and developmental issues, often head lice or other medical issues due to neglect, kids that blame you for everything wrong in their lives and to be expected to love them unconditionally trying to mirror what a home should be like when they are just hating you for something you didn’t do that got them in your home?  I’ll tell you.  Kind folks.  Good folks. Folks that love children and hurt for the hurt the world puts on children that end up in the foster system.  It isn’t a “job” while it can be, but it is so much more. It is for those with a passion to help the fallen and hurt.  It is often void of reward – you may or may not see the fruit of your work.  It is a calling.  It is living our scripture:  James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

One thing I’ve heard this child say “they just do it for the money.”  The answer to that is No. Go to a MAPP class and go through all the requirements for becoming a foster parent and see if you’d want the job!  Foster parents don’t do it for the money.  While now I believe it may be $620 a month, and that might sound like a lot to you – it isn’t anything a person will get rich off.  Usually when in our home, those funds went towards food, clothing, haircuts, diapers, Photographs because they never had any, special formula (Soph’s cost $200 a month not covered by the system) entertainment, sometimes larger needs like braces or quality glasses (not only the ones the medical card gets them because those usually where the ugly or cheap ones that broke easily).  With Soph who was only 5 days old, we only had less than 2 hours notice and the boys were 48 hours notice - so we needed some car seats and baby stuff. I remember the Walmart clerk chastising us for buying 4 car seats the night before the boys came telling us we didn’t need that many.  Um, yah, we did.  Two vehicles with two baby/toddler guys coming/going had to be equipped.  Most people have baby showers and 9 months to plan, we had 2 hours for our 5 day old.  Bicycles and toys abounded as well.  Monthly paperwork and reports you have to turn in to your case manager, forms for every little thing you do from vacation to activities have to be signed off on with court approval, especially if you go out of state or country like we liked to do.  If you took the money by the time you keep up your training hours, foster proof your house to standards normal people don’t even do, countless appointments with social workers, case meetings, doctors/dentists/mental health care workers – you’re making Negative -$1.86 an hour on an average month. 

So why did we do it?  We fostered to adopt.  This was what we felt called to do – our “mission” field shown to us after 16 years of infertility and trying to do things our way – we released ourselves to God and He directed our path to Foster Parenting.  Some people are called to be missionaries in other countries – we were called to be missionaries in Foster Parenting, right here where we are.  We could have just continued on in our marriage childless, doing what we wanted, when we wanted, traveling, hobbies…  BUT we chose to love and lose – love and WIN as well.  And we never really “lost” – we gave of ourselves to the best of our ability, not all the children we kept got to stay with us – our 4 are God-Picked and God-Blessed….meant to be.  Who knows, maybe we’ll do it some more after the house gets emptier. 
So, while you mourn your past over and over….it is the path God had you on for YOU and US.  You may never accept that.  I can’t make you.  But I can educate you that Foster Parents are not EVIL people who abuse kids and do it for the money. It is up to you what you want to believe.  In all cases of parenting – birth parents or foster parents – you will see good examples and bad.  That is life.  So look for the good.  Look and realize it isn’t your fault or theirs you ended up in Foster Care.  Fate – we talked about this.  Sometimes it is our fate that gets us to certain places – something out of our control that takes us someplace we may not at first willing want to go or do…..but ends up a great thing.  I hope someday you’ll look back and realize – this family is a great thing and you are a part of that greatness!

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