Crossroads

The intersection right outside my house with blooms starting to show!

What do we do when we are faced with an unexpected crossroad? I have been diving into the word and trying to be steeped in God’s presence, however I am being abruptly faced with a crossroad that I thought we were beyond!

After our last adoption we had planned to keep one bed open for a placement with one extra bed for respite. So here we are willing to serve, however we are being asked how we would be able to meet the needs of the other child with so many of our own children already in the home with needs.

How do you put what we do into words and how do you show that you have enough love and support to help one more autistic child?

Here we are at this crossroad! Is God leading us to continue or is He saying well done my faithful servant and closing this door?

A very wise older missionary friend once told us when we were seeking guidance on moving to the Philippines as missionaries, that there will always be needs, however you may not be the ones called to fill that need. I get that! Really I do and thankfully we never left for the Philippines! However, I am struggling to figure out what God is asking is to do now.

Bringing in another autistic child is a huge decision not to be taken lightly as they often interact as though they are flames and dynamite! We have seen that some just blend as seamlessly as is possible for autistic child to blend, however we have also seen the explosions and lived with the aftermath of a conflicting joining of the children under one roof.

I guess my real question for the clinics that are questioning how we are going to do this is….. the same way we always have and you have been right there to see how we handle these situations, given us praise for how we have handled these situations.

I guess my biggest hurt in this entire situation is when did we become unable? I know we have frequently faced judgement and rude comments from those outsiders that don’t understand autism. For some reason those situations roll off like water on a duck’s back, however when my peers start to judge I struggle with how to respond!

I think fear is my enemy in this situation! I am fearful of loosing our current relationships with the clinics and the community of special needs parents. This has been 10 years in the making!

Who am I kidding…. my fear is not knowing how our next phase will be! How will we handle our crisis moments with the boys? How will we have to change our schedule to get the time to work the new business work? How will this new adventure affect us financially?

A dear friend that is my personal prayer warrior has been coming to me for weeks asking how my heart has been, honestly it has been struggling. I just feel like something is off and nothing I do helps to recenter my world. I have prayed, I have barred myself in his word, I was reaching out for guidance, and nothing is working! What is my problem? Hello!

It is because I was not accepting God’s leading to move on! Cue the clueby4’s!!! I get it God! Now I have to step out in faith again. It has been 10 long fought for years to get me where I am today with fostering/adoption, and looking at starting on a new journey at square one in something that I have no experience in, metal and wood working!

Blessing or Curse?

Playing in the summer rain! Always fun!

I know that on the day after Easter I should be overflowing with joy, glowing with God’s grace, and feeling like I am able to handle whatever comes my way, but instead I am faced with a sick kiddo while taking on another child while his foster parents are off for a wedding and the children are starting to buzz with the upcoming summer vacation!

Part of me always looks forward to summer….. but in the same breath I dread all the arguing, hearing how they are bored, and so on. Every year I attempt to plan camping, activities, games, movie nights, game nights, and on and on, to which we never get to due to behaviors, appointments with therapist, funding, visitation, team meetings, behaviors, and more behaviors.

How do you approach summer? I am really hoping that someone has the magic answer for a less nerve racking summer! (If you have a magic wand or potion please let me know in the comments!) Taking children who are or have been in foster care camping is always a gamble! For some it is the reminder that they were homeless before, others it is the smell of the campfire that brings back the trauma of their families misfortune with fire, panicking about having enough food in those boxes, not being comfortable without walls, and on and on. We work hard to replace those horrible experiences with new ones, to take each opportunity to learn new skills, to have new experiences so we no longer find them scary, and in some way building trust between you and the child.

****CAUTION – CAMPING IS DANGEROUS -LEAVE YOUR HELMET ON AT ALL TIMES****

We also continue to work on math skills, reading skills, and the big one …. social skills. There are groups, camps, sporting events, and even art therapy! So often our kids struggle with the change in schedule. I know routine, routine, routine, however it is hard to obtain and keep to a routine with everything in flux.

I personally feel that this is the time that foster and adoptive parents need the most support! Behaviors escalate as the child is being told over and over about school being out, they hear about summer activities that they either like or hate, and they start making their own plans for what they want done this summer (like trips to Disney and Seaworld)! I have always joked around that I just need to find a year round school where the weather stays overall the same! I have been told to look at the equator or at the north and south poles by more than one therapist!

I guess the big thing that we do is try to stay consistent from summer to summer. We know that things will be different this year as we work to help out my parents and learn about metal working, woodworking, and the kids just received a huge bag of seeds that are ready to be planted! I pray that this year is better and we can keep them going with all of these activities, however we will be expecting the meltdowns, the temper tantrums, the threats of bodily harm and address them just as we currently do at home.

I am blessed with an amazing family that is more complicated than most soap operas, however this is where I have been called. Yeah me the only child who was never getting married and NEVER having kids! I could have stuck to those guns, however I would have missed this amazing life! (Ok it is amazingly frustrating often, but still it’s better than anything I could have imagined!)

God knew I needed this smile in my life!

Ray and I made a pact early in our relationship that we would follow God no matter what. This is what got us through oh so many difficult times! We have lived in some pretty hairy periods of working opposite shifts, learning our biological children were not making it in public school, working full time while homeschooling and working towards a Bachelor’s degree, this chaos continued (and still continues today) almost constantly! When fostering came around it was an exciting time in our family because we could feel Jesus in our day to day lives in a very mighty way.

Once we brought the boys in I will tell you it was overwhelming and exhausting! BUT through all the blood, many many tears, and a whole lot of sweat we STILL felt Jesus’ presence! I will never tell you that fostering is for everyone, however I can tell you that if you put yourself out there and you are willing to be used by God, then there is so many experiences that you have to look forward to (some are good, some you could probably live without) and you will be grown!

He is Risen!!

Waiting for their first Seder dinner!

So Easter is a HUGE thing in my life…. that sounds weird, however for me it has nothing to do with eggs (well I love the resurrection eggs, but not the dyed ones), bunnies, or baskets, instead it’s all about the cross!

This year our church offered a Seder dinner with Sam Rotman leading the teaching. I knew this event was going to be a struggle for our three news additions to the family which are very ….. selfish, greedy, and entitled, for lack of a better description. This sounds horrid, however it is exactly what we are facing! Unfortunately these children have been taught to lie about birthday’s to get free items at the theaters, restaurants, etc., telling people running concessions at sports events that they are too cute to not get something for free, and they are all about “potlucks” to get as much free stuff as they can even to the point of be sick. I knew we could get them to be excited to attend because it is called a “dinner “! So we walked in the hall to these plates……

Seder dinner plates.

So I  am sure you can already hear these children’s comments when we walked into the dinner. “Misty I am hungry,  this isn’t dinner!”, “Misty this isn’t what we ordered!”, “Misty you said we would have dinner, not an old person snack”. Again, I gave the vague mom answer of we will have to see because I had never attended these dinner before. I know that a couple of our kids got a little out of the service, however as I think back to last night and the teaching I wonder if they will ever learn to have a servants heart, to be satisfied with what they have, and if they will every fully understand God’s grace and blessings!

As a mother that lives her life on God’s terms, even when it hurts to follow Him, even when I am waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Him to open the door, and even when I am baffled that this is what he has called me to do, how do I move forward with these 3 children who are older and feel that their biological mother does no wrong!

I have always felt that if I just stay the course and continue to be who I am it will make a difference in their lives, however to be 100% honest I am fearful that it is not getting through to them! And this makes me panicked!!!! I don’t want them to be lost, I don’t want them to be swayed by Earthly world views. What do I do? Where do I turn?

As we listened to the stories, history, symbolism, and prayers, I felt God’s presence and I had my eyes opened to pieces of the passover story that I had never paid much attention to. I could see them getting little pieces of the story, however overall they were less than impressed with the entire encounter.

As I went to bed last night I prayed that God would take the meager seeds we have sown and bring a desire to be more like Jesus! Let’s face it every parent, mentor, Big, etc has thought about the positive impact they are making on the children they are interacting with right? So if God has called me to this life of service then why do I feel so ill equiped?

The bloody pool left from the plagues!

As we walked through the Seder meal we talked about God’s plagues on the Earth and we interactively dipped our finger in the grape juice, placing a drop on the napkin for each plaque. After the plagues ended Sam pointed out we each had a pool of what is symbolically Jesus’s blood. And then he took it even farther!!! Each year his family would do this and then his mother would take the “plagued” napkins and burn them in the back yard essentially removing the bad from their home, just as Jesus’s blood has wiped all the sins of our heart away. I instantly closed my eyes and prayed that Jesus would become a real tangible person to them throughout the rest of the dinner and that they would see just how much he gave for them personally.

Waiting to take the drink of redemption.

As you can clearly see, Ozzy was not impressed by any of the dinner including the juice and the story! He sat like this with his back to Sam throughout the dinner and interrupted my concentration several times to tell me he was hungry. Not only did he have this reaction last night, but all day today as well! When I asked Blaze what stood out to him the most he voiced that he liked the apple cinnamon paste and when I said was there something that stood out about the story he replied “well I have always wanted to learn how crackers were made”. Incert deep sigh here!!! And little miss Lillian answered that her favorite part was the cracker! Incert yet another sigh here, but wait….. then she added that she loved when Mr. Sam broke his cracker that wasn’t supposed to be touched and said “this is my body broken for you. Oh and when Jesus asked his disciples to guard him, but they feel asleep twice and Jesus cried blood.” INSERT HUGE GRIN HERE!!! She actually listened and got something out of the teaching.

Ok so back to Ozzy, when I asked him what he liked he actually had an answer! “Well I loved Sam’s piano music after the story, and I loved how each piece of plate was a part of the story”. Be still my heart! Those seeds we are planting are oh so slowly taking root!

As I continued asking my children about the evening I heard our second to youngest said he loved how Jesus was crucified and it affect every part of His body for us. Scott voiced how he enjoyed hearing how the Jewish religion and his Christian religion overlapped and “melted together”. Jon said he finally figured out why they put blood over their doors!

I guess what God has shown me through this dinner is that everything that happens is preplanned by God and He is walking with us throughout our crazy journey! I have also been reminded that just as we are faithful so is He!