Monday, July 21, 2014

Aging out

We foster a teen mom.
In order to get to this point God had to do a work in my heart.
He had to bring me to a point of compassion.
Then he placed an opportunity in front of me.
I had the choice to say no or say "YES God"

Last Thursday we received confirmation of the question that has been lingering....will she age out.

I knew that was highly likely, but like every other case, things can change quickly, at anytime, with no warning. But things can also keep going as they are.

In my fear I began googling. 
"Foster teen aging out"
"How to find a mentor for foster teen aging out"

Let me tell you, these do not give very warm readings. 
Instead you read facts like:
*12-30% will become homeless
*40-60% will not finish high school
*25-55% are unemployed
*18-26% incarcerated

Not what a mama heart wants to read as she is trying how to best spend the next year. ONE year. That's all I've got. One year to prepare her. One year to do my best for her to be ready.

I wanted to find blogs, blogs by christian women encouraging me that this isn't as scary as it feels. That she will succeed. That struggles will knock on another door.

I did not find any blogs. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough or maybe 

1. Couples fostering teens are too old and don't get the blogging world
....I should do it

2. Couples who are fostering teens are so undone they don't know where to begin
....I should do it

3. Couples who are fostering teens are just as scared and lost
....I should do it

There are so many reasons.
Reasons why this is scary & feels too much.
Reasons why this is exactly why people would rather protect their own hearts than face this with a child not of their blood. 

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. -James 1:26-27

This counts for the teens moms. The teens with the bad music. And the pro level eye rolling. This is for the one who just got out of JDC. And the one who won't let you in. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

3 things I've learned /// FPU

We are starting our 3rd budget, the Dave Ramsey way. 
What I have learned so far:

1. Budgeting is not a quick thing. The first month we did the whole budget + allocating where the money is coming from took us 3 hours and then several "budgeting meetings" throughout the month. Last month it took about 2 hours. 

What budgeting actually looks like for us:
     -We have a list of things we need to make sure we budget: 
     birthdays, special events, things needed, household fixes
     -We have a budget list for the month that we fill in all our 
     expenses starting first with tithing. 
     -We use a zero base budgeting. You need about $100 buffer in 
     your account, but then from there on, all the money coming in 
     goes somewhere while you're paying off debt.
     -Then we allocate the money. We know how much needs to be
     used, but how are we going to pay what needs to be payed
     -We use the envelope system. I love it. I didn't think I would, 
     but it works. Once the money out of the envelope is empty, it's

2. Being in debt is so un-freeing

As of now we have the first baby step which is $1,000 emergency fund and we have payed off 1 credit card. The way the Dave Ramsey plan works it snowballing your debts. So the money we had been using to pay on the credit card will be going to a student loan (the smallest one) 

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" Proverbs 22:7

3. Stop acting like a child. Just because I want something now doesn't mean I get it. I must work for it. Going to get a commercial (not your mortgage) loan is easy. Loans are big business. Working & saving takes real work on my end. Buying something with money instead of with credit means two things:
     1. It's much more satisfying
     2. I'm just paying for that item, not that item + interest

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" Hebrews 12:11

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Having it all

I was scrolling through my ig feed when I saw a picture. It was of a mom. Her little bubbly toddler sitting by her feet as she showed off her hard work, which equaled a teeny tiny waist & washboard abs. {by the way, congrats mama} As I sat there with jealousy bubbling up, I saw the first comment "you can have it all"

It got me to thinking what does that even mean? Why does it seem like we strive so hard to get there? Does it, can it apply to me? And do I even want it?

Because having it all seems like a lot too much.
I can't expect to have an "have it all" home when we have 5 children in the home.
I can't expect to have an "have it all" waist when I've always carried extra weight & I love food
I can't expect to have an "have it all" marriage because marriage is about a good work & a good work doesn't always look so pretty
I can't expect to have an "have it all" money makin job because right not my "job" doesn't provide income, but boy is it a blessing
I can't expect to have it all & I don't want it all.

I only want the things God provides & gives.
I only want the things that will push me as a woman, as a wife, mother, friend, sister, human.

Monday, July 7, 2014

So you want to be a foster parent?

God has called you and you have chosen to say yes. First CONGRATS & second, I'm sending you a virtual hug. The deep hug of understanding. This road is not easy. There are days of deep heartache, but there are also days where God says "this is why you're in this, why I have chosen you & why you are and will continue to struggle with them through this season"

A few things you might want to know:

1. The waiting can seem endless. Unexplained. Weird. But the waiting is not in vain.

2. When you finally say yes, if you happen to have honeymooning, enjoy it, but know when it ends it's going to feel like a Thor type hammer smacking you in the face.

3. Imagine your child (if you are already a parent) going into foster care. I don't know about you, but that helps, because I can only imagine the way my kids would act if they were thrown into the world of foster care.

4. When you have a child or children there will be times where you feel like you are fill in mom for their siblings, friends, parents, etc, it's all a part of this gig.

5. You are the parent. You may not be bio parent. But for all things you are the fill in parent and possibly the last parent they will have. Advocate for them. Your worker doesn't know the day in & day out. Believe it or not, you have a lot of say in the case plan. You will often feel the last to know things, but when it comes to decisions, speak up!!! 

///bonus...go through an agency. These case workers are ridculously over worked. Like R I D I C U L O U S L Y - going through an agency means you have a team of people who don't just want to best for the children in your home but are your support team.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our 4th

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ & the American soldier. One died for your soul and the other died for your freedom"

Our 4th of July was lovely. We spent the day at home and then in the evening we went to our friend's house to enjoy food, rest & corn hole. 
Then we came home and watched fireworks from our house. One of the best things about living in small town USA is all the fireworks people set off, they were beautiful & spectacular. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stop saying it's ok

"Mom I hurt Alex and said I was sorry"
"He is still mad at me and won't say 'it's ok'"
"He doesn't have to, you said something to hurt his feelings. I'm glad you said sorry, but your words were still said and they still hurt"

I think we can all learn something here.
In big {imaginative} bold letters, I learned here I don't like when people say "it's ok" after they have been hurt & I don't like that our children are taught to say it. It's not ok. Instead lets teach our children the weight of words & that forgiveness is a part of relationships. 

Hitting still hurts. Words can hurt. And linger. For far longer than the physical pain lasts. 

"The tongue has the power of life and death...." Proverbs 18:21

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sleep & lying in foster care

2 Common issues with most children in foster care.

And all the foster mamas said Amen!!!
Sleeping is very difficult for a lot of children in care the first few nights, weeks or months.
It's a new place, a new bed, new dark. 
It's will you still be here in the morning? Will you hurt me in the middle of the night?

2. Lying
This is very common. There are many reasons for this. One big one is lack of trust. Do you think just because you love Jesus and you're "nice" that they're going to trust you? Nope, ain't (yes I just used that) going to happen. Children will lie out of fear of what will happen if they tell the truth. Will they be hurt? Will their bio parents get in trouble?

There are many struggles you will run into. These two are very very very common and will need to be worked through.