Tales of Fostering

It’s “Gotcha” Day! {A Letter to My Foster Princess}

It's Gotcha Day 2

Dear sweet baby girl,

You might not know what today is but its “Gotcha” day.  Two years ago on this very night God chose to write a new chapter into the story of our lives. And I’ll never forget the first few sentences, or moments, in which we first met. You were only 34 inches tall, and tucked underneath your arm was an old white stuffed animal kitty, and in your mouth was a thumb, and on top of your head was a ponytail.  Your smile warmed my heart as I said hello and showed you the room you would be sleeping in for the next 30 days. Little did I know that the 30 days would turn into 90 days and 90 days would soon turn into 180 days and 180 days would somehow turn into two years and still counting.

I sometimes have a hard time celebrating that moment because while I am blessed by all that we gainedyour beautiful smile, your tight squeezes, your tender love, and your contagious laughterI know what all you, and your mama, lost.  And I can’t help but think about all that you went through in order to have this day written on my calendar. You have endured more in the short five years of your life than any child should. And I sometimes sit and look at you and wonder. I wonder what it is you are thinking or feeling but can’t seem to process or find the words to describe. I wonder what it is you will one day look back on and remember from these life changing events. My only hope is that your heartbreak and pain is overshadowed by the love and acceptance my family and I have shown you.

Sitting here, looking back, I didn’t know on that night how much my life would change.  I didn’t know at the time I would plan your first themed birthday party or explain to you who Santa was and then surprise you with gifts. I didn’t know that I would not only do that once, but twice.  And honestly? I don’t know if I will have the privilege of being able to do it again.

But one thing is for certain, whether you are here in my arms or only in my heart, I will always celebrate today by remembering you and the night God wrote you into my story.  I will always remember your hugs, your kisses, your love for horses, and immense dislike for chicken salad.  I will always remember your funny looks, your need to win, and stubborn drive to always be right.  I will always remember our first vacation as the three of us.  I have never seen anyone sincerely as excited as you were that night when your toes first stepped onto the beach and into the water.

First time at the beach

And I will never forget the moment you counted to 100 by yourself.  I almost busted with pride as you squealed with excitement!  I also will never forget your first Christmas program (we were late) and the time you spotted me in the crowd at your gymnastics recital.  My heart melted. But it wasn’t just your smile that turned me into a pile of mush. Or the excitement I felt in your wave. But it was your love that shined through and lit up the entire room when you did.  And sweet baby girl, I will always remember the lessons you have taught me on patience, and trust, and living in the moment.  But most of all, I will always remember how you live life.  Because you love unconditionally and without borders.  You see joy in everything and hope in dead and dying situations. You truly have faith like a child…faith that I often envy.

So much of this new chapter that was started two years ago is still being written into the blank pages of today. And much like that night, it is still surrounded by questions and unknowns. But the one thing I do know and the one thought that brings me comfort in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, is that He, our heavenly Father, knows.  He is in control of the pen and the turning of the pages.  And no matter how this chapter will one day end and no matter what the new one will look like, I know that He will always be with you.  Because while I may not always be the one to hold your hand in order for you to safely cross the street, I know He will. And while I may not always be around to protect you from the world, the hurt, and the heartache, I know He can. You are His precious sweet baby girl and I have no doubt in my mind that He has His eye on you, His heart turned toward yours, and His angels guiding your every step.  Because if He didn’t?  Then I don’t believe you would be here with me now.  And “Gotcha” day...the day we got your beautiful smile, your tight squeezes, your tender love, and your contagious laughter…wouldn’t be written in our book or on our calendar.

No matter where life takes us, know that you will always be my baby girl and I will always love you to the moon and back!

Dan and Elisha Close Up 2

Our prayer for you…

Lord, I thank you for this precious, fun-loving child that you purposefully placed in our life two years ago today to love and nurture. I pray that as she continues to journey through life, she always knows that she is loved and never once does she feel alone or abandoned.  Lord, bless her beyond measure. Give her peace during this season of her life that is so full of uncertainty. Peace that only You can give in order to calm her worried soul. And Lord, please wrap Your mercy around any doubts and fears that she might have as you whisper in her heart tonight that You are near and will always protect her. Help her to know in confidence that when life gets tough and the weight of the world seems too heavy to carry, You will always be there to carry the load. And You will always be there to lift her head and catch her fallen tears.

~Its in Your precious name I pray. Amen.


I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on Facebook, or come follow me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you.

 

 

Tales of Fostering

Tales of Fostering: Waiting in the Courthouse

As I sat in the crowded waiting area of the courthouse, I watched as others paced the floor with fear and anxiety. I saw the worry deepen with each step they took. And every time the bailiff would come out to call the next case, everyone would stop…but then quietly resume if it wasn’t their turn.

As I watched them, I slowly felt myself change. My heart began skipping beats. My stomach started twisting in knots. My palms became sweaty as my body temperature increased. And the peace I had worked so hard to obtain in the days leading up to this court date, were gone. And the calmness I once felt as I walked up the courthouse stairs, had vanished. And in its place settled anxiety and fear.

I found myself playing different scenarios in my head. Scenarios of what might happen when it was our turn to go and listen to the decisions others would make for our foster child. Scenarios of how I might feel and what my home might sound like if she is placed with someone else. And once those scenarios played like a movie reel in my mind, panic set in. The worrying intensified. And I began to pace the floor with the others. I begged God to come quickly so that He may whisper words of wisdom in the ears of the judge. And also into the ears of the lawyers, as well as her parents.

I even silently begged Him to protect her.

But as I begged, and then doubted if my begging was good enough, or if my prayers were being heard over the others, I remembered Psalm 112:7 which says, “He will have no fear of bad news; for his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.”

And as I nervously walked around in circles, I repeated it again. He will have no fear of bad news; for his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord. And again. He will have no fear of bad news; for his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord. And again. He will have no fear…And again. He will have no fear…

And in the midst of my mantra, her name was called.

It was finally our turn.

As we made our way into the courtroom, my legs felt like wet spaghetti noodles. My hands were shaking as I tried to hold open the door. And my breathing? I couldn’t. But in the 23 minutes in which I sat there, shaking like a leaf and listening to everyone discuss the best interest of the child, God showed His character and His faithfulness. He proved that He can be trusted. And He proved His love once again for this little girl.

As the court adjourned and we were on our way home, I wondered why I was worried if I believed in His word. What did I have to fear if my trust was Him. Why did I feel the need to beg? Or keep begging? Or doubt? Or better yet, wonder if my prayers were only reaching the beautiful ceiling of the courtroom?

I didn’t.

Because He was there. He was already with us. And He had already gone before us and made a way. His words had already been whispered. His hand was already protecting. He was in control. And so there was nothing to fear.  No reason to pace the floor. Or walk in circles. Or stop breathing.

Looking back, the only scenarios I needed to play in my mind while waiting for our turn, were the ones I had already been playing before I allowed fear to set in and panic to take over. They were the ones in which I would be coming home and cooking her a warm meal. And the ones in which I would be snuggling with her while watching Bambi before giving her a bubble bath. And the ones where I would be reading her a Bible story and kissing her forehead before tucking her safely into bed. And my friend, those were the exact scenarios that played out in my home tonight. And I owe it all to Him.

Now if I can only remember His faithfulness (and to breathe) at our next court date…


I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on and then click here to find me on Facebook.

Tales of Fostering

So Do You Get To Keep Her?

collage of Goldi

The most common question I am asked when seeing someone I know whether at the grocery store, post office, or church is no longer, “How are you doing?” but rather, “So do you get to keep her?” In fact, its only a little past noon and I have already been asked “the question” three times today.  This question is usually accompanied by their voice being full of excitement and hope, as well as a huge smile on their face; but they don’t understand.

They don’t understand the flood of emotions my husband and I have each time we are asked “the question.”  They don’t understand the 101 thoughts that all of a sudden start invading our minds.  They don’t understand that immediately following this question, my palms get sweaty and my heart begins to race.  They don’t understand that even though their question is simple and innocent enough, the answer is not.  It’s difficult.  It’s heartbreaking.  It’s awkward.  It’s complex.

They don’t understand that the three-year old cutie patootie, whom I often refer to as Goldilocks, came to us through the Safe Families for Children program; a program where my husband and I volunteered to temporarily be her safe family due to her mother being in a crisis and the child needing a safe place to call home for at least 30 days, 90 at the most.

They don’t understand that the program is not a foster care program and we were not licensed foster parents, but rather “host parents.”  They don’t understand that when we welcomed this beautiful child into our home, raising her until she is 18 years old was never even in the front or back of our minds because this is not a program in which adoption is an option.  In fact, adoption is never an option as reunification must and always be the goal.

They don’t understand that due to an unfortunate chain of events that has occurred over the past nine months since we first welcomed her with warm chocolate chip cookies and milk, the Department of Children and Family Services is now involved and we have been thrust into the role of becoming licensed foster parents and she has now been forced to wear the badge of a “foster child.” 

They don’t understand that because of this major turn of events, my husband and I are in a tough position as we not only live our lives in a sea of uncertainty, but we have also had to quickly and without warning switch from the previous mindset that she will with 100 percent certainty go home, to the mindset that she might not.  It has been tough and I’ll be honest when I say that I’m not sure we have been able to completely change our previous mindset–make that switch.

It hasn’t sunk in yet that if her mother or father doesn’t prove themselves to be a fit parents to the case worker, child advocates, states attorney, and judge within the next twelve months, then we will be asked to become her ‘forever family.’  It hasn’t sunk in yet that I could be privileged with the opportunity to be the one dropping her off on her first day of Kindergarten, packing her bags for her first slumber party, or taking her dress shopping for her first prom. It hasn’t sunk in yet because it’s been difficult for me to see that far ahead when there is so much hope and time left for her parents to make the necessary changes needed in order to ensure Goldilocks has a better life than before.

So to answer their question, maybe it’s even been your question, “So do you get to keep her?“, the only response I can offer you is, “For now.

For now the goal is still reunification with her parents and it will be that way for a minimum of twelve more months…

For now we, along with social services, are advocating for them to make the necessary changes in order to not only give their children a better life, but also themselves a better life…

For now we are doing everything possible to make sure Goldilocks has a fun, happy and safe place to call home…

For now we are taking it one day at a time, one month at a time, and one court date at a time…

For now, we get to keep her.

With Love


I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on Facebook, or come follow me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you.

Tales of Fostering

Tales of Fostering: The Unknown

bathing suit on step 2014

Typically, my day begins with me quietly tiptoeing into the kitchen as I do not want to wake up the three-year old cutie patootie we have been hosting since January through the Safe Families for Children program. Once she does wake up from her slumber, I usually grab two bowls out of the kitchen cabinet and we eat our cereal together as we talk about the plans for the day. After we slurp up our milk, we get dressed, play, and have lunch before she lays back down for a nap. Once her eyes pop open again, we play outside with sidewalk chalk, run errands, or I take her for a wagon ride around the block. At 4 pm Daniel, or to her, Daddy Dan, returns home and together they go for a bike ride to the park or he pushes her on the swing until dinner is ready. I believe this is her favorite time of the day. And mine too.

But yesterday, as I woke up, I wondered what the next day might hold. I wondered if the daily routine I have had since she took her first steps into my home on January 10th would change. Would I go back to making as much noise as I wanted when pouring my coffee? Would I keep scheduling my activities and errands to occur before 1:30 and after 3:30 as to not interfere with her nap time? Would I need to continue to have dinner ready by 6 so that bath and story time could be over by 8? Or could we just go back to eating “whenever”?

You see, I wasn’t sure what my schedule would look like the next day because later that afternoon, at 1pm, I would once again step into the courtroom and learn if Goldilocks (that’s the nickname we have given her due to those lushes golden curls) would return home with us or go elsewhere. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would walk up the steps to the courthouse holding her hand, but walk down them a few short hours later without it tucked inside of mine.

As I began getting ready for our  moment in front of the judge, I peeked inside her room, and as I watched her play, my mind went from wondering to worrying as I could see tiny question marks hovering over her head. There was the question mark as to if she would return to her mother’s care or possibly go live with a relative. There was the question mark as to if she would be court ordered into a licensed foster home or remain in ours. After all, we were only approved to be a Safe Families home, not a home to house children adjudicated by the State. And there was the question mark as to if she would be reunited with her siblings in another home, far from ours. There was so many question marks and so many variables that swarmed my mind that I was starting to become mentally and emotionally exhausted.

At 1:28 pm, I sat down in my seat within the courtroom and as everyone else slowly settled in, the case was called to order. For over 15 minutes I listened closely as each lawyer discussed her future, her mother’s future, and the future of her siblings. Once all options and opinions were expressed, the judge sat quietly for several minutes before making his ruling. And as he looked to the mother, and then scanned the courtroom, he ruled that until the next court hearing which would take place in thirty days, Goldilocks would remain in our care. And with his words, I knew that that for the next four weeks, my schedule would remain the same. I would continue to tiptoe to the kitchen for my morning coffee, grab two bowls for cereal instead of one, and plan all daily activities before 1:30 pm and after 3:30 pm.  Dinner would also continue to be ready by 6 and bath and story time would be done by 8.

As a planner and having a type A personality, I often find myself feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted as I live in the unknown and wonderer worry what each day could bring; but I shouldn’t feel this way. I know that I belong to the One who holds me in the palm of His hands. I am the daughter of the Most High and He has plans for my life that will not harm me, but rather give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Therefore, I shouldn’t be wasting the precious moments of my day worrying about what my tomorrow, next week, or even next year might look like. I shouldn’t allow myself to become emotionally and mentally exhausted as I continually dwell on the different question marks I have hovering over my life, or the lives of others. Instead, I should follow the instructions of Philippians 4:6 by not worrying about anything and instead pray about everything; and once I have done that, I should rest in His character. For He is good. He is faithful. He is love. He is trustworthy. And He is my provider. I know that even if I can’t see it, He is making all things come together for my good because I love Him and He loves me (Romans 8:28). I may not know what my future holds, but I know the One who does. And at the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters, and all that I really need to know.

(Please keep Goldilocks in your prayers as her mother continues to work hard to get back on her feet.)

With Love


I would love to connect with you on a personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on the public Facebook page or join me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!If you are looking for a faith-based infertility community of other women who just “get it”, then head over to the *PRIVATE* Waiting for Baby Bird Support group for hope + encouragement. There you will find opportunities to ask for prayer, watch *LIVE* encouragement videos from me, author of “Waiting for Baby Bird”, as well as be able to share your heart with others on the same path, enter into exclusive giveaways, and so much more! So what are you waiting for? Find us here!

Tales of Fostering

Does She Stay or Go Home?

playing puzzles 2

This past Tuesday at 1pm, a judge made the decision as to whether Goldilocks, the three-year old cutie patootie we have been fostering should return home to her family or continue to grace us with her presence a little while longer. Days before, while sitting alone and thinking about the upcoming court date, I asked my Mom if she would be okay if the judge ruled she should return home, and without hesitation she looked back at me and said, “Are YOU going to be okay?”

Up until that moment, I hadn’t had time to think about how my life would change if she returned home. I hadn’t processed the fact that I might walk up to the courthouse holding her hand, but walk away without it. I hadn’t thought about me, who is a creature of habit, would have my entire daily routine change once more in the blink of an eye. So to be honest, I hadn’t really thought if I would be okay. But, for the last week I have started preparing myself for an empty car seat on the way home; and I have been thinking a lot about if I would be okay.

Am I going to be okay with giving her one last squeeze before we go home in opposite directions? Am I going to be okay when I don’t hear the sounds of pitter patter feet coming down the hallway in the morning or not have her shadow next to mine as I water the flowers and feed the birds? Am I going to be okay not needing to add chicken nuggets, fruit snacks, and Tootsie Rolls (her favorite candy) to my weekly shopping list?

I think I would be okay, but I won’t know for sure…at least not for another month. The 34 inch tall, blonde hair cutie who loves to swing for hours, take wagon rides around the block, and sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ before bed will still be doing it with me tomorrow. She stays…for now. And so for now, I’m okay.

I ask that you please pray for her sweet Momma as she continues to work hard in order to get back on her feet.

With Love


I would love to connect with you on a personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on the public Facebook page or join me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!If you are looking for a faith-based infertility community of other women who just “get it”, then head over to the *PRIVATE* Waiting for Baby Bird Support group for hope + encouragement. There you will find opportunities to ask for prayer, watch *LIVE* encouragement videos from me, author of “Waiting for Baby Bird”, as well as be able to share your heart with others on the same path, enter into exclusive giveaways, and so much more! So what are you waiting for? Find us here!