Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Home Inspection

Today was our home inspection and I have to admit that I haven't cleaned so much in a LONG time.  I mean doors, baseboards, the top of the fridge....the works.  I figured our social worker wouldn't be that thorough (I was right), but I didn't want to take the risk.

The social worker arrived 15 minutes late (a huge pet peeve of mine), but she was really nice. She was surprised that we had done everything required, especially since it was our first home visit.  The only thing we have to do is get a land line (something we did away with since we never used it) which doesn't require another visit (thank goodness).

We asked the social worker how long it typically takes to receive a placement after we've been licensed (even though we had already been told by a few other social workers a couple weeks to a couple months).  Something interesting that the social worker said was that if a really good foster family comes along the county is just waiting for them to get licensed so they can place with them; she has seen children placed as soon as the same day a license has been received. That made Mark and I believe that maybe the odds are in our favor.  I'm not getting my hopes up, but it would be great to have a little girl placed with us before Christmas.

And it looks like we're leaning toward the Concurrent Planning Program...we really want to adopt.  But we aren't certain and we are still praying on it.  Thank you to those who have emailed/called offering encouragement and support.  We appreciate you all so much; your prayers give us strength.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We started our 27 hours worth of classes a few weeks ago and have learned so much about foster care and adoption.  We are once again faced with a new set of decisions that need to be made...

When we went into this we didn't even realize that adopting from foster care would be an option, but we've now learned of a program the county offers called Concurrent Planning.  This is when a child who has a very small chance (like 10%) of reunification with her birth family is placed with a foster family who has the intention of adopting the child if/when the child becomes adoptable.  Basically the Judge tells the birth mom that since she has continued to fail to meet the requirements necessary to reunite with her child they have a concurrent plan in place (adoption) for the child.  The birth mom is usually given one more chance to get it together and if she cannot, her rights are relinquished and the child is adopted by the foster family, who she has been with for some time.  

I think that this program would be a really good fit for our family since adoption is our goal. Mark, however, is still leaning towards traditional foster care.  This is something that needs to be decided soon because there are additional things that need to be completed if we are going to be preparing to adopt (classes, more paperwork, another set of fingerprints, etc.).  

Again, I ask that you would pray for our family.  I know that God has a plan and I am remaining faithful in that.  Also, please continue to pray for this little girl.  I find myself wondering where she is and who she is with and about the severity of the situation.  I pray for God's protection over her during this chaotic time in her young life.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Orphans Ministry

The video below was included in a book ("Launching An Orphans Ministry in Your Church") that we are using as a guide in launching the Orphans Care Team at our church.  I thought I'd include it here to bring a little more awareness and information to this need.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Foster Care Orientation

The foster care orientation went really well despite how LONG the day seemed.  We survived and the kids survived without us for the majority of the day.    

We filled out our licensing application, were finger-printed, TB tested, CPR and First Aid certified and we also registered for the 27 hours of required classes, which we'll be attending every Saturday from Oct. 18-Nov.22.  We accomplished a lot and are really looking forward to being done with our classes.

We also learned something VERY interesting: 
Apparently, when you adopt a child from the foster care system (I believe this is statewide, but definitely in San Diego County) not only is the fee minimal (if any at all), but you also receive a monthly stipend until the child is 18.  How is this not publicized?  I know SO many people who would love to adopt... and the most common reason for not doing so is "we can't afford it".  

This option could change lives.  If only more people knew!

When I found this out not only did I want to go that route versus fostering, but all I could think about was how anxious I am to get the ball rolling with our Orphans Care Team at church so that we can make this information public.  I want people to know that they can do this.  

But we've decided that since we aren't sure whether we are staying in Southern CA long-term, we will foster a 2-3 year old girl.  Then we will re-evaluate the situation and consider our options.

We constantly have feelings of apprehension, but know that God has called us to do this.  There is simply no other way we can explain how our hearts have been so transformed in such a short amount of time.  Please continue to pray for us.  And please pray for the little girl who will be joining our family in the near future.

Friday, October 10, 2008

HHSA Orientation Tomorrow

Well, tomorrow is the big day...our foster care orientation.

And honestly, I am so nervous.  

My stomach has been turning all day.  Not because I don't want to do this, that's not it.  I'm looking forward to finding out more information tomorrow; I'm really curious about the details and if this really is something that we could do.  I'm nervous because we're leaving our 5 month old son ALL day.  I've never left him for that long before and I've never left him with someone other than Mark.  I'm sure that everything will be fine, but still.  I've just completed a typed schedule, directions on how to heat up breast milk, emergency instructions and labeled the snacks and foods in the fridge and the times in which to give them to Emma (which was included in the typed schedule, but redundancy sometimes is necessary).

So more to come after the orientation....  Pray that everything goes okay.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Becoming a Servant

Yesterday church gave us a new prospective on how as Christian's we're called to serve (of course we've always known this but yesterday we felt God's clarity).  We saw the 30,000 ft. view of our lives and how living an average, mediocre life is not God-honoring. The message was inspiring and it completely paralleled how we feel about living our lives as disciples of Christ.  I felt the message was confirmation from God about the decisions we've made recently about serving and helping children.  And boy did I need confirmation because some things have annoyed me lately regarding the direction in which we believe God is calling our family to move, specifically where foster care, adoption and our family growing are involved.

I completely agree that it would be easier to not adopt or foster a child.  It would be so much easier to not be involved with our church and not volunteer to help out in the children's programs, small groups, and lead our own ministry (which is now called the Orphan's Care Team).  It would be easier to put the kids in daycare and go to work and live comfortably on two incomes versus watching every penny as we navigate this life based on what we believe is best for our family.  And at one point I was all about the easiest route.  But I have changed and I have grown to realize that its not all about me.  And the more I grow, the more I pray, the more I'm in the Word, the less I'm able to just sit by and be the mediocre uninvolved person I once was so comfortable being.  

All I want is to live a life of significance.  A life that is more about serving and honoring God than serving and honoring me.  Although I have been a Christian for more than 15 years, I have just begun to see what that looks like.  I'm excited.  I'm terrified.  I'm willing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let the journey begin...

Yesterday I received a call from the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) regarding foster care (hello...God?).  I spoke with this particular woman a couple weeks ago regarding our interest in becoming foster parents and she called to see if we were still interested as orientations are beginning next week.  I told her that we are still interested and we were just deciding about when would be a good time to make it to an orientation.  Well she went on to tell me about one that is taking place on October 11 that is an all day event. Basically its the required orientation, TB test, finger printing, CPR certification all in one 8 hour day. This makes getting everything done extremely convenient (if you don't count the baby sitting fee for the kids or having to pump enough for two bottles for our 5 month old - ugh). 

I am feeling so nervous about all this for a few reasons:

1) The obvious fear is our family getting so attached to the kiddo only to have her (we're requesting a little girl) taken away.  I can't imagine how difficult that would be, but we have to go through this with our eyes wide open, knowing that reunification is always the goal.  

2) I'm also really nervous about how our 4 year old daughter, Emma, will react to having another little girl in the house, especially since the two will share a room.  We have spoken to her about this and she seems really excited about having a "sister" as she already calls her (leave it to our super outgoing, presumptuous daughter to already deem the kiddo her "sister"; again, this references fear #1.)  I'm a little nervous about the sharing issue, the attention issue, etc. Even though we have two kids, there is almost a 4 year gap in between the two and our 5 month old son doesn't pose much threat to Emma since she doesn't have to deal with him playing with her stuff.  I'm sure this will mostly be a non-issue since Em is very giving and typically easy-going.  But kids are kids...

3) Navigating the foster care system as a whole is very  intimidating.  From what I've heard and read, the system itself is very frustrating and sadly, many times the best interest of the child is not what is the priority.  I am praying that if this moves forward as planned that God will bless us with a competent, caring and punctual social worker/case worker so that things run smoothly, at least most of the time.

So that is where we are at currently.  We continue to pray for God's will and hope that He will use us for the glory of His Kingdom.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Latest

Its been a while since I've been on here as life continues to be busy and full.  

The latest:

A couple months ago I was relaxing during a free moment and I decided to see just what was on TV at 9:30am.  I happened upon a Christ-centered show called "Living the Life" that is geared towards women and mostly revolves around living your life for Christ.  Even though the women were a little annoying (I have to keep it real) I thought that it was awesome that this type of show was on and watched the whole thing.  

The next show to come on was the 700 Club, which I have always known existed but never watched.  I was cleaning the kitchen at this point and half listening when something caught my attention that made me sit back down on the couch.  They were doing a segment on the plight of orphans in the world and showed an orphanage that they support financially.  Then they spoke about adoption and I sat on the couch and cried as I heard about the huge need of these precious children.  I felt the Lord putting orphan care on my heart right then.  

Within the next 20 minutes I had committed to God to do whatever He was asking of me. We've always figured we'd have 3 kids and for the first time I was really seriously considering adoption.  I called my Mom, who I tend to bounce big stuff like this off of, to see what she thought.  She attends a great church in our hometown where a few couples have adopted, including the Pastor and his wife, and she has seen what a blessing adoption is.  She immediately supported the idea and only encouraged me.  

I prayer more about it throughout the day.  

Husband (Mark) came home and I was nervous to bring up my latest passion (if you know me, you know I have many) for fear that 1) he'd think I was making an emotional decision based on a segment of the 700 Club that I'd seen and 2) that he'd not be interested in walking this path with me, which would lead to me not walking this path at all.... at least not in the way I was hoping.  To my surprise, he was 100% receptive to the idea and wanted more info.  We spent the next month researching and researching, committing and backing down, willing to take the financial risk in faith, unwilling to take the financial risk with little faith....and on and on it went.  

We finally came to the conclusion that we will adopt.  We are unsure of God's timing or what that will look like, but we are certain that He has called us to love one of His as our own.  We also decided that meanwhile we'd love to provide foster care for a child or two.  This is something that I'd NEVER thought I'd do.  I was fearful of getting attached to a precious child only for it to be taken, fearful of how taking a child in would alter our comfy already -established family dynamic, fearful of my own personal time being interrupted by the needs of yet another child.  Then I took a step back and looked at the situation not through selfish Alison eyes, but through God's eyes and I saw something that could beautiful and restoring to a neglected soul.  And even if we were to have a child that we fall in love with leave after a short time, that time can be used to provide comfort from the chaos, fun, and to show that child the love of the Parent that will never harm or abandon - God our Father.

So now we are waiting...the thing I do worst than anything else.  

However, in the meantime, Mark and I are starting an Orphans Ministry at our church.  We attend a very large church (5,000+) and there is HUGE potential for this to have a substantial affect on the community.  I am continuously praying that God send us the right people to form this team so that we can get kiddos in Christian homes.  That is the ultimate goal.  I am so excited about what God is going to do.  I have seen Him work through other churches across the country and the results have been awesome.  There are over 300,000 churches in America; if each church committed to adopting one child from the foster care system, foster care would no longer exist as we know it today.  I believe with all my heart that orphans and waiting children need the church to step in and educate and inspire families to change lives for Christ.

So that is the latest...please pray for us. 

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