Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Saying goodbyes are always tough- especially when you don’t know if you’ll get to see them again. I still remember cradling a sleeping Kaitlyn in my arms one last time before handing her back to her social worker. I remember the tears streaming down my cheeks when the van carrying Mark drove away. Those moments still fill me with ache. With Vincent, I did not get an official goodbye and for a while that hurt. I came in and heard from the kids that he went home.  Even with the happiness for him there was sadness of separation. I see now I was spared a tough goodbye. Looking back on that last day- I wouldn't have changed it. We had school time and went to the playground. He was scared of the slide and would only go down if I held his hand. Then he would giggle the whole way down. We got to swing together and snuggle. I hugged him bye as I do with all the kids. He yelled out the window, “Auntie! Auntie!” I waved and he blew me kisses. I blew kisses back and went home. No pain- just a happy day. I rejoice over the reunification. That is the goal- family for each little one. More goodbyes are coming and with each a part of my heart goes. But instead of holding onto the sadness and self-pity- I choose joy. I choose to remember the good times. I am a part of these kids’ story. I don’t know for how long or short- but I am going to make it a good part. I cannot do that wallowing in what could have been. I must live in the moment and enjoy each day for the blessing it is. Goodbyes are coming- but so are hugs, kisses, laughs, dances…

Prayer Request- Still not well. Full round of antibiotics and vitamins but still having chest pain, back pain, and occasional fever with chills. Taking the week to recover. Please pray that I can kick whatever this is and have my immune system functioning again. I miss the kiddos. Thanks :)

 First flight in Africa! :)

Friday, May 9, 2014


Happy Mother’s Day! I have been so blessed. My mom is amazing. I could write a whole blog post praising her for raising my siblings and me. We saw her beautifully fulfill her wedding vows of “in sickness and in health” as she took care of my dad throughout his battle with cancer. I love and miss you Mom. I, also, have Ryan’s mom who has blessed us so much. But beyond physical family- God has given me many women who have become spiritual mothers and sisters to me. Moving all over and being away from family is not easy. The Lord has been faithful though to give me family wherever He took us. Here in Africa he has already brought incredible women who bless me so much. But while I have so many- my heart breaks that there are some who have none. Why am I so lucky and they so unfortunate? How does this happen? I believe God is calling us to stand in the gap for those kids.
I love the movie Courageous. It is about men standing up to be the fathers God has called them to be. I watched it with my mom and she said at the end, “they need to make a version of this for the women.” I agree. It is time for us to nurture those we currently have in our life and to add others into the fold. I have been reading Nurture: Give and Get What You Need to Flourish by Lisa Bevere. (Wonderful book) The premise of the book is that it is time women start taking care of each other and the younger women. This world needs more women willing to be mothers to those who need one. You see it every day in the news. Stories about abortion, child abuse/neglect, violence… and we wonder what is wrong with this world. Sin but also that children are growing up physically but they are not being raised. When I did a research paper in college about foster care I could not believe the statistics linking foster children to drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, and crime. These kids NEED someone. You are probably reading this and thinking that’s great and all- but I already have my hands full with my own family. This crazy lady doesn’t have kids so she doesn’t understand why I can’t. I know I only had children in my home for a short time but I remember how hectic life was. I remember the days I did not have a moment to myself until I collapsed into bed late at night. I am not saying anyone should neglect their family to reach out to others. What I am saying is pray to see if God wants you expand your influence. Lisa Bevere wrote, “But the truth is none of us were created for maintenance, we were made for expansion. Daughter of the Most High, God wants to enlarge the life of each and every one of us. He wants to push us out over the brink of what we can control in our own abilities and strengthen and position us to realize the lives He has for us outside our neat and tidy packages.” This is not just about adoption and foster care. I know that is not for everyone. But there are other things we can do. Volunteer at your church. Pastors correct me if I am wrong- but I am pretty sure just about every children’s and youth ministry is looking for more volunteers. Just a couple hours a week and you can make a difference. How do I know this? I saw this with Mark. He LOVED going to church. This little boy with a hard exterior and a rough childhood melted in the safety of his AWANAs class. When I asked him who his best friend at church was- he said his teacher. Be a mentor. Be a tutor. Coach a sport. Find the lonely and invite them to lunch. Pray and ask God to show you the opportunities you have to make a difference. A new generation is coming up. They need our wisdom and our care. Let’s not let them down. So this Mother’s Day I am asking you to prayerfully consider inviting someone new into your life. Yes, it is time consuming and can be hard work- but it is worth it. I have now had to say goodbye to 3 little ones (one of my toddlers went home with their family). It hurts but I have joy knowing that I got to be a part of their story. Whether they remember me or not- I will remember them. See when you mother a child it not only changes them, but it changes you too. I have such precious memories of my babies. I am super sick right now (pretty sure its pneumonia but for a while we thought it might be malaria) but all I want is to be well so I can go snuggle with my little ones. Sometimes I feel that they bless me more than I bless them.

So my challenge to you is to pray. Pray that God would open your heart. That you would be willing to expand your sphere of influence.  Then follow His leading. He won’t call you to something that He won’t give you the strength to do. Albert Einstein said, “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” Let’s start living.
My Kiddos

                                                       My Mom and me (circa 2006)