Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Announcement

We've been keeping a secret.
Well, it's not really a secret.
But there's something big happening in our family that I haven't blogged about until now.

(If all continues to go as planned,)
 We're going to be a foster family!

Some questions we've been asked...
What led up to this?
It started with the purchase of this home.
To us, it feels like a mansion-
WAY more space than we need.
But, we felt certain God wanted us here and certain he was going to use it.

Then, for the past year Ben and I seemed to flip-flop on fostering.
I'd be gung-ho,
then he would be.
but never at the same time. 

But, on March 4th that changed.
Though we were in separate places, 
we both heard loud and clear that we were to to become foster parents.

What agency are you using?
After researching exactly zero agencies in the Springs,
we decided to go with Hope and Home.
We have friends who have had good experiences with them,
and a friend who was working for them.

Are we going to adopt?
We are certainly open to adoption!
Ben believes we will.
I'm unsure.
(Probably a defense mechanism, 
knowing it's more likely for a child to be returned home than to be adopted.)

How many children? What ages? Gender?
We initially both felt we should only foster children younger than Alice.
I wavered a little on that, but after speaking with a couple foster families,
we've decided to stick to our gut feeling...babies/toddlers under 2. 

I'm pretty sure we can only fit one more carseat in our cars...
maaaaaybe 2. 
So, unless we get a larger vehicle, we're currently limited by that.

Boys or girls, but I'm kind of hoping for girls.
We know girls.
We have girl things.

But what about Alice? 
I have to admit I was a little caught off guard by this question.
No one asks this when you're pregnant with #2, do they?
But, I see how it's different.
Babies will come and babies will go.
But, I've been taking care of my friend's babies for the past year and she did great with that.
She's probably more prepared for the transition than most 2 year olds.
Most important, we feel that God wouldn't have called us to foster care and not Alice.
We're a package deal.

Is there really much need for foster care in Colorado Springs?
This is the area where I have changed the most.
I was completely blind to the needs in my own city.
We have heard horrifying stories in the trainings.
And the thing is, they weren't stories from years ago,
they were stories from these past few months!
My heart hurts for these children.
Children who are afraid to go home.
Children whose basic needs of food and love are not being met.
Children who are being sexually abused by people who are supposed to be protecting them.
Children who are being burned, beaten, isolated, tortured, and neglected.
We can't un-see what we've seen,
or un-hear what we've heard.
Our hearts are broken for these children.
Every child deserves a safe and loving family.
The end.

When is this all going down?
(No one has actually phrased the question like that.)
We just finished our homestudy and it should be submitted next week.
We'll be ready for placements in July...
which is only 10 days from now.

Will y'all have other biological children?
Super touchy subject for me lately.
I desperately want to be pregnant again.
Literally every time I open my computer I see a pregnancy announcement.
I cry every time.
Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED for my friends who are pregnant.
(I'm pretty sure I could easily name 20 of them.)
I know I need to unsubscribe to some blogs and Facebook feeds for awhile.
The constant belly pictures, morning sickness/food cravings, 
and pregnancy updates are a little much for me right now.
(It's not you. It's me.)
I believe it'll be better once we have our first placement,
but right now, it's really hard.
It was our plan to be pregnant by now, 
but we know we need to be obedient to the Lord's calling and begin fostering first.
I long for another little person in our home.

Other things no one has directly said, but we know has been thought...

You guys are weird.
No duh.
Surely this wasn't first thing that tipped you off.

Foster parents are money hungry people who run mini-orphanages.
We are no longer in 1960.
Sure, I'm sure there are still really crappy people doing foster care,
but that is CERTAINLY not the norm.
If you're doing it for the money, you will be very disappointed.
Yes, there is money involved; a monthly stipend depending on the needs of the child.

If you see us in one of those self-driving Google cars, you'll know our secret...
we became wealthy from foster care.
But, chances are, that's not going to happen.
From what we've gathered, the stipend covers the cost of food/formula, diapers, clothing, and personal it should...and that's about all.

Y'all have lost your minds. Foster kids are 30 shades of messed up.
Well, first of all, God told us to do this.
If anyone has a problem with it, they should take it up with the Big Guy.

Secondly, every child who comes into care has either been abused or neglected.
Every. Single. One.
Will they have issues? Most likely.
If your mother regularly dipped your feet into boiling water as a discipline technique,
you may have some issues, right?

Again, we feel called to this.
It's going to be hard, but we know it's going to be worth it.

Also, by only fostering babies/toddlers under 2, it'll look different.
I don't think you'll need to worry about your child hearing the 
f-bomb, or anything, when they come over for a play date. :)
We may one day be one of the AMAZING people who foster older children/teens,
but for now, this is what we believe will work for us.

So, I think that about sums it up for now!
I'm happy to answer any questions, if you have any.

P.S. We don't feel like we're doing anything spectacular.
We aren't special.
No gold stars needed or wanted.
I read this blog post (by Cassie & Co.) and felt I could've written it.
She said what my heart was feeling.
It's not about us.

P.P.S Here's a little peek into the "new baby's room", as Alice calls it:
It's a work in progress. :)


Amanda said...

This is awesome!! Let us know if there's anything we can do to support you guys as you journey down this path (besides prayer which we'll definitely do as any transition has its share of tough times!)

mel @ the larson lingo said...

You guys are amazing! Love your obedience to God's calling. Praying for you & this new journey!

MWMorton said...

Melissa, That was beautiful and well-said! It brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you and your family and proud of you! God will do amazing things through your family's work in foster care.

Lindsey Jo said...

i LOVE this! it's neat to see God's plan unfold, even when it's not fun, it's so much greater than our plan. praying for y'all!

coloradojensens said...

I can't wait to see what the future holds for you and your family. It is such a pleasure being able to witness this journey you are on. God certainly is awesome and your story is such an inspiration to me. Thanks for being amazing and opening your arms and hearts to the many children out there who may need you.

Cathy V said...

can't believe july is only 10 days away and you guys could be getting another one that soon. be prepared, I will be calling to take alice for a morning sometime in those first few weeks so you can bond with the new one :)

-and yes, you do get asked about how the 1st one will deal with a new one, even when preggo. if only we had a crystal ball to predict how our children would behave. it would save me a lot of embarassing grocery trips.

Katie K. said...

You are a rockstar! This post brought tears to my eyes! I can truly think of no one better to step in the gaps for these children. I cannot wait to see how ya'll will get blessed through this journey.

AMEN!!!! Also cannot wait to meet your kids :)

Tamsyn said...

You guys are amazing, I'm crying my eyes out here. You will be great xx

Sarah said...

I'm so excited for you guys! I'm also proud of you too. :-)

Carey said...

Ditto to what Katie said, tears in my eyes. Melissa you are so beautiful, wonderful really, inside and out. I can't wait for this new adventure for you and I love that you are following what the Lord is asking you to do. As my baby was, this baby will be so blessed by your love. Alice is the best "non big sister" I know and Ben is one of the only dad's who has rocked abby to sleep in her carseat...This is going to be incredible!

Mandy said...

this is the best news i've heard all day.

Elisa said...

Best announcement ever =D We'll be open again in July too! I'm excited to see what God has in store for our families. No matter what, he knows what He's doing. =)

Annabel said...

You, Ben and Alice are so inspirational! I will pray everything goes so well and that you get your first placement soon!

Becky said...

What exciting news! God has really spoken to my heart watching you guys follow his leading so faithfully. We would love to bring a meal, or coffee when the newest little one comes! It does kind of feel like you are pregnant and know your due date for all the good that does:) Now we just wait for the whirlwind and excitement to begin!

Kelly said...

I knew when I stumbled across your blog long ago that I would like you, but wow! You are simply amazing and I will be praying for this new journey your family is embarking upon. Good for you for hearing God's plan and being brave enough to take it on together! I know you're not looking for gold stars, but I wish there were more people in the world like you oxox

Rodney and Brooke said...

I love how you've written about your journey. So excited for you all!

Laura said...

I am so excited for you guys. I can't wait to hear what God does!

AshleyAnn said...

Congratulations!!! I loved this post. The Q&A section....goodness people ask crazy things. I know from an adoption standpoint I am baffled by the questions. Your answers were so perfect. Just love this post and am so excited for you guys!

Justin and Victoria Nelson said...

I have been thinking about you guys ever since I first saw this post. I always loved and respected you, Melissa, but you just made me take that up ten notches. I will prob become your stalker the moment you have your blessing/s enter your home. Good thing yu knw me or you might be creeped out.
You know my fav part about your post? The part where you had me in tears, heart hurting...but fist pumping and so on fire at the same time?
"It was our plan to be pregnant by now, 
but we know we need to be obedient to the Lord's calling and begin fostering first.
I long for another little person in our home."
You have always inspired me and encouraged me in my walk. I want you to know how much this statement has impacted me.
I love you, Melissa. My prayers are with you, Ben, and Alice as you enter this new chapter.
The Nelson fam is cheering you on! Fist pumps, milkshakes, pop and locks and all.

Blomgrens said...

What a beautiful announcement! God will carry you through this stuff and I'll be praying for you but please, if you can, keep us updated on the blog so I know how. Fostering is something so so neat and there is such a need. I'm so proud of many of my friends stepping up to this calling from the Lord. I guess it's mid-July now and maybe you're already in the throws of it... I'm so behind in life, as usual!