Everyday Spectacular

Imperfections. Ramblings. Life to the Full.

Archive for the tag “fostering”

Life update

2013 was a pretty hard year. I’ll spare you all the gritty details but can sum it up by saying that between Jeff’s Nan dying, Jeff’s dad moving to Vancouver, problems with our rental house in Florida, and our sweet baby girl being adopted (thus, leaving our home) at the end of November,  I was pretty emotionally done by December.

In fact, I tried to write my annual Christmas letter and when Jeff looked it over, he told me it was “depressing”. I told him that it would be the most honest Christmas letter floating around out there, but, good man that he is, he kabosh-ed it. I honestly couldn’t fix it, and so he ended up doing up a cool photo collage instead and that’s what we sent out.

(Also, you should know I plan to write a depressing letter EVERY YEAR from now on in order for Husband to continue doing the cool Christmas letter/collage. I know a good thing when I see it.)

Anyway, a week after our 19 month foster daughter got adopted to a truly amazing couple, we got a call from CAS for a little baby boy. “Here we go”, I thought. Then I only got to have that darling boy for a week, and he was moved on. I came to think of that little guy as God’s gift to me even for that week, someone to hold while my heart was literally wrenching out of my body.

And then he was gone, and our home was open. For a long time, in fact…7 weeks with no phone call from Children’s Aid. I am pretty sure this is practically unheard of. They are usually pretty desperate for baby homes.  I began to wonder if we had done something wrong and no one had told us. (Ok, not really, but the mind does start to wonder!)

When the calendar rolled over to 2014, I felt an almost tangible relief. If last year was a year of loss and release, surely this year would hold something else entirely. I felt hope, a sense that this new year would be drastically different than the one we had just journeyed through. I told God I would embrace the new season, whatever it would be. I meant it.

Then we got the call.





After 4 days of discussions with Jeff, we were at an impasse. We were weighing out how our lives would change with 2 babies to care for. Did we want to change that much? Could we handle it? Did we WANT to handle it?

On the fifth day, Jeff told me he had a moment of clarity. Perhaps we were laboring over a decision that wasn’t really ours to make. Perhaps the fact that we know we are called to foster and the fact that our home was open and ready was enough? Perhaps these boys are supposed to be in our home?

He was scared. We both were. (ARE, actually…I think we are both still scared.)

And I loved him so much for saying what he did.

I called my worker the next morning and said, YES.  (And then, I WENT SHOPPING, because, TWINS!)

A week later, those precious angels were home with us.

Now they are four weeks old already, and I am so very glad we said Yes.

I already love them like crazy.

And after all….“Scared is the new brave” – Lisa-Jo Baker

What about you? Is there something you know God is asking you to do, that feels just a little beyond your capacity?



So here’s the truth of my life these days.

I have a wonderful husband of 14+ years, a growing-up-too-soon ten year old son and a mini-me six year old daughter.

I also have a bright-eyed giggling 18 month old daughter-for-now.

I haven’t talked much about our fostering journey here on the blog, mainly because, well, clearly I don’t blog much, and also because I am not always clear on how much I am allowed to share. There is certainly a mountain of confidentiality issues and I would NEVER want to violate the children in my care or their birth or adoptive families.

But this thing I am facing now is beyond anyone else’s rights/ privileges/confidentiality. This thing is personal.

This daughter I love, this baby I have raised since her birth is going to be adopted soon.

And not by us.

(insert actual heart-heaving here)

We have agonized over this.

God, please, please, please, PPPPLLLEEEEAAASSSEEEE, let us be the ones to adopt her. Give us a sign, any sign will do. Seriously, God, how about this? If I walk outside in the rain and get wet, we can keep her. Or how about if I go to church today and we sing that song about you making the orphans, sons and daughters again, we can keep her.

Ok, so I haven’t been quite THAT ridiculous, but if that is the “I’m-being-ridiculous-line”, then you should just assume I’ve been living in a place pretty darn close to there.

The short story of the past 18 months is this…

#1 We have fallen in love with this gift of a child in our home and

#2 We did not get the answer from God that we wanted. We have not had the necessary peace within to pursue adopting her. I don’t know why. I may never know why.

And my heart feels like it is literally ripping into tiny little pieces.

Oh, peace is tricky.

And grief is tricky.

And trust in God is tricky.

And she is still here, chewing on her favorite teddy bear and wearing her sunglassess and stealing our hearts.

For now.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is greater.”But I say unto you, they are inseparable.Together they come, and when  one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy,”

– Kahlil Gibran, as quoted in I Will Carry You by Angie Smith



I’ve learned that there is a certain part of the day that works best for trying to engage my son in good conversation…bedtime.

Now, this may be because he would like to prolong bedtime as much as possible (which I’m pretty sure is a passed-down gene through my side of the equation, so I can’t complain much), but I will engage his heart whatever the reasons behind him offering it up.

And, sure, there are nights that I am exhausted and just want him to GO TO SLEEP ALREADY.

But those nights that he is willing to engage and I am willing to engage, oh, the conversations that happen.

We got into quite a conversation about children in orphanages two nights ago, after he asked me, quite randomly, how much it cost to adopt a child.

We talked about the difference between fostering and adoption.

We talked of Children’s Aid and International Adoptions.

Carter told me he thinks I get paid a lot of money to foster, and he wanted to know what I do with all that money, because that money would buy a lot of beyblades and video games.

Well, Yes, Carter, it would. However, it would also buy formula and supplies for the baby, and a little left over which goes into the household budget. (Budgeting will need to be another lengthy discussion we have soon!)

I ended up telling him that he actually knew 2 children from an orphanage in Romania. (A wonderful family from our church that is a beautiful example of Christ’s love.)

He was wide-eyed and oh so curious.

We talked for a long time about the choices that we as families and individuals get to make.

We talked of fostering and the ways our family has decided to impact the lives of children.

We talked of God’s priorities and how we get to choose how we spend our money and our resources and our time.

It was so very good.

And then he was crying….tears in his eyes .

And I asked him what was wrong.

And he said he just kept thinking of all those babies in the Romanian orphanage.

So he prayed for them that night, a sweet prayer to Jesus to help those babies find homes.

I left his room with tears in my eyes.

And I can’t help but think that he went to sleep believing that maybe one day, he will be part of the change, part of living pure religion.

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


We only have so much time each day.No matter how you describe it… one day or 24 hours or 1,440 minutes or even a whopping  86,400 seconds…it all boils down to this:

There is only one me and only so much time and I have to figure out how to do what I need to do and what I want to do and not go crazy. Help me, Jesus.

Or maybe that’s just my struggle.

Anyway, back in April the Johnston family added a stranger’s baby into our already very full lives. And becoming a foster family is absolutely the best decision we’ve made in a uber-long time, but it’s still a bit busier having three kids than two kids, know what I mean?

And then in July we saw a naturopath because we absolutely did not want to put our son on a specific medicine that might help him with his focus issues at school.

The naturopath said, essentially, “Take supplements and go gluten and dairy free and you won’t need to put him on medicine.” Which, of course, can be translated as “Spend a lot of money on small pills and then forcefeed them to your children and CHANGE THE ENTIRE WAY YOU EAT.”

I just might have panicked, you know, for like a day or two. But I’m a parent and thus will do about anything for my kids. So now, for solidarity’s sake, we are all gluten free and dairy free and are all pill-poppers. (Except for when the kids are in bed and Jeff and I break out the ice cream. Shhh…don’t tell!)

I’m now cooking and baking with ingredients I’ve never heard of before. Amaranth? Guar gum? Sorghum flour?

So that’s been fun.

This week I went to pull out meat from our deep freezer to thaw for dinner, and IT WAS ALL ALREADY THAWED.

Goodbye, old deep freezer, goodbye.

Last night I pulled out the load of whites that had been in the dryer and everything was graffitied with red, yellow and green. Apparently 3 crayons were lurking in a pocket unbeknownst to me and the heat of the dryer melted them over EVERYTHING.

Anyway, all I am trying to say is that the more that gets added to your life, the more crazy it gets, whether through additions of your choosing or through circumstances that you could not even have imagined, you get to choose your response.

On the day of the freezer fiasco I read Ann’s words….”And nothing can overwhelm me — like grace can overtake me.” http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/08/when-you-are-finding-it-hard-to-keep-up-chased-by-grace/ 

And I felt it down deep in my soul. Grace. Jesus. Salvation. Peace.

I choose to see Jesus in my everyday. I choose joy. Gratitude. Laughter. Freedom. Sanity.

“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”   Psalm  94:18-19 

And, somehow, His support, His consolation is always enough. Always.

In what ways do you need Jesus to breath His peace into your anxiety-ridden, overstressed soul?


Do what you can do

I’ve really wanted to write something, anything, on here to inform the world that my little life has changed again, but wasn’t sure I was allowed to. No, I haven’t joined some freaky religious cult or the CIA, but I have entered into new territory, for sure. This new “thing” is surrounded by lots of guidelines, rules and privacy, but apparently I am allowed to discuss my experience without giving too many specific details. SO……



This process has been over a year in the works and much longer in my heart before we ever officially knocked on the door of The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton and said, “What do we need to do to care for children that really need a home?”.

There have been lots of hoops to jump through and at times I have wondered if there would ever be an end to all the interviews, training, and safety checks. I have continued to see the notices in our local paper that the CAS is in desperate need of foster parents, and found myself thinking, “We’re right here!” I have prayed, “God, when will this process be DONE already?”.  I have kept my excitement at arm’s length for over 13 months, trying to patiently (ahem) accept that these things take time.

And now, She is here. And She is absolutely the one we were meant to have first. I brought her home from the hospital just days after her birth, marveling that her name means “God’s messenger”, knowing  that when I look at her I am seeing God’s hand at work in her life and ours.

But here’s the thing. I’m sort of getting annoyed about something, something I didn’t anticipate….the response of all those I come into contact with that are oohhing and aahhing over Her and then turn to me and say emphatically over and over again, “I could never do that.” or “I could never give her up after having her from birth like that.”  or “It’s going to be so difficult when she goes.” or “This is going to be so tough on your family.”

I am kind in my responses. I am, I promise.

But in my head, I get onto my soapbox and want to say, “Well, I didn’t become a foster mom because I thought, “I will have no trouble giving up a child, I’m pretty calloused and aloof with my own kids, so, hey why not?” NO, OF COURSE NOT!

I really want to tell these people that it’s time we start making decisions not based on our fears of the future, but on our faith in our God.

If you are a Christian, if the spirit of the living God dwells inside you, if the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead inflates your mortal body, then I have some good news for you…


Yes, you.

You don’t have to stay on the path of least resistance. In fact, the Bible pretty clearly says that life is hard and that we shouldn’t seek to isolate ourselves from troubles and difficulties. Those nuisances are simply part of living on this planet, but we do not need to live in FEAR of them. When the Bible says in Romans that we are more than conquerors, I am pretty sure it means we have been equipped to go out and fight and win some difficult battles. How else can we conquer something unless there is struggle and learning and challenge?

I will most likely be a wreck when the time comes for Her to move on from our home.  Absolutely. But I would not trade these moments of caring for Her in for a more comfortable, safe life. I am choosing to believe the Word of God that says I can do ALL things, even this, through Christ who strengthens me.

She is my starfish, my first one (http://www.starrbrite.com/starfish.html), and this makes a difference for Her. Thank you, Jesus, for your strengthening. I am so honored to have Her.

I don’t think foster parenting is for everyone. (Although, if you think it might be for you, BY ALL MEANS, contact your Children’s Aid office immediately! Oh, the need is so great.)

But I can’t help but think that Jesus might be asking you,  “Then what WILL you do, if not this?”

We can do hard things. We just have to stop thinking we can’t.

Please, do what you can do.

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