What will be…

This life. This foster mama life is hard. A year ago, I could not have imagined being here. Even a month ago, I had no idea what I got myself into. But now, now I cannot go back.

Each child in our home has been loved fully, even if we only had them for a few days or weeks. When they leave for their next family, it’s always bittersweet. Sharing so many special Holidays and “firsts”  with baby girl, made her transition out of our home the hardest thus far. There are little moments and memories that bring twinges of sadness when I think of her. But, every day we cared for her…I knew she wasn’t mine. Seeing her with forever family gave me great confirmation and peace. She is where she belongs.

Enter baby B. He is the sweetest, easiest baby we’ve cared for…and yet, my love for him wasn’t instantaneous. For months, I held him at arms length; trying to love him without completely surrendering my heart. Thinking he would return back to bio family at any time and wanting to protect my heart. To shield it from another loss. I think even baby B could sense my heart’s hesitation. I begged God to help me love him unconditionally. I prayed for the feeling, the deep devotion to this little person in my life. And God answered my prayers.

God has given me a love for this child that is overwhelming and terrifying. I love him so much my heart hurts. Before, I would not let myself see a future with him. I did not even want to admit that was something I wanted. Now, I find my mind musing about the “could be” and “what ifs.” I see my life as a single mom with the precious gift of a son.

Finally I am loving baby B the way he needs to be loved. But I know this love will cost me dearly. Just because I love him, want him forever and imagine how our future could be…does’t mean it will be so. God’s plans are not always our plans. My Father in Heaven knows far better than I. In the months to come, baby B may be reunited with his biological family. In the months to come, God may bring a forever family forward who was meant to adopt baby B.

What scares me most isn’t the reality of him going somewhere else. If the court orders him home…it is out of my control. If DHS decides another family is better suited to adopt him…it is out of my control. But what if the decision falls on me. What if they say I can adopt him? How will I know what is right for the baby boy I love so dearly? Is it selfish to want to adopt a child if I’m single? There are so many married couples who would love to adopt baby B. There are strong, established two-parent families who could provide what he needs. It would be tremendously hard to be a single adoptive mom but it would be equally hard to let him go.

I want to know the ending now so I can prepare my heart. But, that isn’t how life works. And certainly there are no guarantees in fostering. Or in loving people for that matter.

These feelings may seem too personal, to fragile or raw to share openly. Especially when so many variables are outside my control. This is why I must share. So when all is said and done ALL GLORY WILL BE HIS. Even if my worst fears are realized the Lord is faithful and just. Even if my heart is shattered He will grant me hope and healing. Even if all seems lost, I am found in HIM.

So I will dare to trust Him more. Surrendering my hopes and dreams; clinging to Him and His Word. It gives me great comfort and peace to know God is already there in the fears and the longings of my heart.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[a] knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33)

“No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:7)

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How Can It Be

I feel it is time for an “Allison’s life update”; to inform my family and friends of my plans and progress but mostly to allow myself a chance to acknowledge what God’s doing in my life. So, here it goes…

I chose to title this post after the new single by Lauren Daigle, “How Can It Be.” More and more this has become my life song. Not only am I amazed at what God is currently doing in my life, I am astounded and so incredibly grateful that He still wants to use me after everything I’ve done wrong…and even after I have kept sinning. I encourage you to listen to the song here: How Can It Be. Let God speak through this song and break the chains that are holding you back from serving Him.

Flashback to Christmas break, anticipating and mostly dreading my graduation and what comes next. I was so unsure about what God wanted from me and where He wanted me to be. I adamantly refused to live in Portland and I tried to decide where I should apply for teaching jobs. Then, only by God’s divine guidance, my heart ached for something different. Not only did I want to work with children, I wanted to devote my time, love and resources to the most unwanted children in our society…foster children. Maybe they are unwanted by the vast majority of Americans but through God’s grace and love in my life…I wanted them and I didn’t even know their names.

Jesus came to earth and so freely gave His love, His healing, His teaching and ultimately His life for the least of these. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. ” (Ephesians 1:3-7)

Yes, I have surrendered my life to the God who created the whole universe and still cares enough to have a personal relationship with me. But, it is easy to forget that He is in control and I am not my own. I believe surrendering to His will, His plan, His love, His discipline and even His grace is a daily action…and it is never easy. I recently finished reading the novel Kisses from Katie an amazing, inspirational story of God’s love and guidance in the life of one of His daughters. Her story is unlike any I have heard before. As a high school senior Katie Davis feels God is calling her to minister to the people in Uganda. Through many trials, joys, blessings and tribulations she finds herself fostering 13 young girls native to the area. Her whole world is turned upside down and her heart is broken and bruised by the things she must sacrifice. She now permanently lives in Uganda with her 13 daughters whom she has adopted. God used her in ways she could never have imagined…and now her words have brought me immense encouragement and hope. Here is an excerpt from her book that stood out to me:

“You are to live a life of mediocrity and abundance, holding on tight to your comfortable lifestyle, lest you lost it.” No. I don’t think so. “Mediocrity and abundance” aren’t there. However, mediocrity and abundance, comfort and ease, do seem to be safe choices for many people, myself included. In stark contrast, leaving our possessions, following Jesus when we don’t have a well-defined plan, and entertaining strangers– well, that does sound a little scary. But what if, just beyond that risk, just beyond the fear is a life better than anything we have ever imagined: life to the fullest.”

How many of us, live our lives only embracing half of our God-given potential? In America, we don’t technically need God. We can survive quite well without Him…or so we think. If I’m sick I can go to the doctor. If I am hungry I can easily open up the fridge or venture out to a restaurant. If I am sad, lonely or depressed there is a plethora of options to numb the pain. But, in third world countries like Uganda…they have no such luxuries. Their lack of earthly comfort and security is outshone by their immense faith and joyful spirit.

Katie Davis explains this paradox, revealed in her time spent living with the people in Uganda.

“Materially speaking, the people who began to fill my life were the poorest I had ever met and yet they overflowed with the riches of the heart. They lived in houses of sticks or stones and mud; they slept on hard dirt floors. But they did not blame God for this or ask Him for more. They knew their circumstances were due to the brokenness of this world and they simply praised Jesus for keeping them alive through it all. They believed in His goodness. They lived with love and passion, caring for one another and for me and deeply appreciating the simplest gifts life had to offer: the happy giggles of children, the smile and warm greeting of a friend, the beauty that surrounded them, a chance to work when possible, a helping hand when needed most.”

This is how I want to live. I don’t think where I was born, the events of my past or my relationships were just simply luck or coincidence. God has allowed me to live in America, with family and friends who love me, endless amounts of food and comfort, fun and enjoyment…not so I can live a mediocre life. No. So I can live an extraordinary life, centered around His Kingdom; His plan. Just as there are children in Uganda who are hungry, hurting and lonely for love, there are children in our communities, churches and neighborhoods who seek even just one person to demonstrate that their life has value, has purpose. If God can use me to show just one child that He loves them unconditionally, that their life matters and they are worth loving. If He allowed me to make such an impact for His Kingdom; for eternity. How much Joy and contentment would fill my heart and my life?

All of the orphans, destitute and wandering souls are God’s beloved children. No, children in foster care aren’t mine by blood or even by adoption…but they are His. We, as those so graciously adopted into God’s forever family, are called to reach out and love these people and lead them to Jesus. This journey has only just begun but if I allow God to have my whole heart, my whole future I know He will use my life to bring love to those aching to belong, to be loved.

I am so excited to see what God does in the next few months and beyond. Currently, my plan is to move to Beaverton, OR the first week in September. God has blessed me with an apartment I’ll be sharing with my close friend Elise. I also have a couple strong leads on full-time nanny positions for the fall. Hopefully, I can work and provide enough money to cover the basics and pay off my school loans. I plan on attending foster parenting classes and getting the opportunity to work with foster children through respite care. As much as I want to jump right in and start taking care of foster children…I know I have so much more to learn about parenting, balancing finances and adult responsibilities and exactly which children God would have me take in. So, for now I am trusting God; moment by moment; day by day. Only He could have brought me this far and He alone will lead me to where I need to be.

A few weeks back, when explaining my hope to foster children, a woman said I was very noble to venture to do something so hard. Instead of making feel good that word made me feel awful, sick to my stomach. I am NOT noble for wanting to take care of these children. I grew up always knowing I was loved by God and my parents, always having food and shelter and never being beaten, abandoned or ripped from the only life I knew. If anyone is noble or brave it’s the precious children in foster care situations. They are the ones we should celebrate. They are the ones suffering from things outside of their control. They are the ones who need us to look past their brokenness and see their humanity. This is what Jesus did for me. All I can do is try to live by His example, seeing the forgotten children through His eyes. They are cherished, beautiful human beings made in His image.

Prayers for God’s provision, guidance and grace are always welcomed. Thank you for reading my posts and supporting me thus far! God bless!

Yes, I’m attached

“Yes, it’s hard. I’m not going to lie and say reunification is easy on the foster parents or the other children in the family. It’s not. But foster care teaches us to love a child, to sacrifice ourselves and to step in and fulfill a real need. “

Fostering My Family

babywr

“I could never do what you do; I would get too attached.” This is what we hear. We hear it at the park, at school, and when we meet strangers on the street that eye us and ask about our diverse family. We even hear it from family, and dare I say, at church.

Every. Single. Time. I hear these words uttered, the phrase “’Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” broadcasts emphatically across my mind. Who knew Alfred Lord Tennyson would have such a lasting impact in my life. But this is not usually how we respond.

After fostering for seven years, we have learned to respond with love as these words tumble effortlessly off someone’s tongue. And to be honest, I say effortlessly because it is a shockingly casual remark considering the circumstances of the children in foster care.

Children are…

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And then my heart decided….

From the very beginning of my life, I have loved taking care of children. My parents have photos of me toddling around the house holding a baby doll or two. Whenever friends came over there were usually two options for them to play; baby-dolls, or dollhouse. I loved babies/children and when I wasn’t pretending to be a mom, I was playing with my friend’s younger siblings. There has always been a special place in my heart for children.

After the death of my little sister Ellaina, my passion for working with children only grew. If I couldn’t have siblings of my own I would spend any time I could working with kids. And then, one day I would have my own children! (in my younger days I aspired to have 10+ kids) Little by little that number diminished but my desire to have children never wavered. My first jobs were all childcare related. Volunteering in the nursery at church, being a leader in AWANA, babysitting for a growth group, nannying during the summer and anything else that allowed me to be around kids. Everyone complimented me on how well I related with children; I was able to connect with them on a different level. Somehow, my inner child was ever present and allowed me to simply enjoy the amazing personalities of little human beings.

In high school, when I thought about what I wanted to do with my life, all I really wanted to be was a mom. But I knew that wasn’t a “reasonable” career choice and that I needed to find another way to work with kids…and get paid. I couldn’t wait around to find a guy to marry and then settle down and be a stay-at-home mom. So I made the decision to pursue teaching because I loved kids and wanted to make their lives better. Teaching would allow me to live out my passion for working with children and give me a purpose other than getting my “Mrs” degree.

I learned so much through my four years at George Fox in the Elementary Education Program. My experiences through classes, relationships and just plain life stuff changed me in ways I never imagined.  My personal growth and the strengthening of my relationship with Christ are priceless gifts that college gave me. If I had the opportunity to go back, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Now, after completing all of the teacher education requirements, after successfully finishing my student teaching and taking all the necessary classes, I thought I would be ready to graduate. After my amazing full-time teaching experience, I expected my passion for teaching would be confirmed and in turn so too would my future teaching career. But, after student teaching, I felt dissatisfied. I made amazing connections with my students and impacted their lives but I did not enjoy the process of teaching as much as I’d anticipated. Over Christmas break I completely dreaded the thought of going back to Fox for my final semester. What was I going to do after graduation? I did not want to decide where to live and what to teach. The joy and passion for teaching I felt for the three 1/2 years before… was gone and now I was left with a terrifying apathy for my future.

So, when people asked me what I was doing after graduation, I kind of made up some generic thing about not feeling called to a certain city or grade level. I told people I was waiting on God to make his move and show me where I was needed. Although my immediate plans for after graduation were unclear, I knew that one day I wanted to help children who were in the foster care system. Through my teaching experiences, I would see kids who were so unloved, neglected and unwanted. I wanted to take care of them and be that one encouraging, loving adult that would give them their best chance at life. But as a teacher, in a public school setting, you can only do so much.  What I did not realize then, was that God had a different plan.

Last Saturday, the 31st, I was talking with people about my post-graduation plans and I just could not explain to them what I really wanted to do with my life. Most people couldn’t understand why an Elementary Education major would want to do something different than teaching…and honestly I couldn’t either. For so long my goal was to become a teacher and that’s what everyone expected, no exceptions. I came home after this conversation, trying to rationalize my indifference to teaching. I was lying in bed, once again thinking about taking care of children in need. I told myself, like so many times before I needed to be older, married, financially stable, with a nice house before I could even think about having a foster child or adopting. But unlike any other time before, I heard a voice inside me ask “why?”

So spontaneous was this realization that I threw off my covers, ran and grabbed my laptop, searched foster care in Oregon and pressed enter. What I found was too good to be true! All my excuses for not pursing my dream of being a foster parent were only that, excuses. You CAN be single, 21 or older, live in an apartment and as long as you can support yourself without using the state stipends, you don’t have to be rich to be a foster parent. I researched for hours, each article bringing me more joy, more hope and more excitement for the future.

And then my heart decided…

~After graduation, I want to be a foster parent~

I don’t want to be a foster parent in addition to teaching…I want my main vocation to be taking care of the most vulnerable, needy children in our society. I don’t want to simply be a positive role-model; I want to be a parent figure. I truly believe that God brought me to where I am today, gave me all the experiences through my college career, specifically my teaching classes, so that I could be the best advocate for the children in foster care. Please understand that I am not devaluing the importance of teachers in the lives of children, nor am I saying I never want to be a teacher. I simply feel called to live out my passion for taking care of children in a different way.

I still have no idea where I’ll be living, what job to apply for that will allow me to be a foster parent and how this will all turn out. But for once I see that my dream of becoming a parent is possible. Even in all the uncertainty, I have hope for the future and an overwhelming feeling of joy in my heart. With God’s provision and guidance, I can do what I’ve always wanted to do, make a difference in the life of a child. To love them unconditionally, support them in their struggles, care for their needs and ultimately be a witness for Christ. I realize that in most foster parenting situations, the child returns to their biological family. I think this is great! What better way to build the Kingdom of God then taking care of his children and helping to reunite families. This quite possibly could be the most difficult thing I ever do…but  I believe it will be the most rewarding, life-affirming and fulfilling thing I ever do.

I pray that God’s Divine plan for my life will surpass my simple understanding in this moment. I pray for support and encouragement from family and friends as I live out this monumental decision. I pray for the future lives that will be in my care. I pray for God’s strength and scandalous grace and mercy in my life as I make mistakes and struggle with tough decisions. I pray, even now, if things change once again, I will continually trust that God’s Way is the only way.

Now, after this lengthy reading, you should understand that “what are you doing after graduation?” is a loaded question.

God Bless!

every child is one adult away

My Reply to a Woman’s Blog Post About Sexual Harassment

My reply to a woman’s blog about sexual harassment:

Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine it’s easy to admit that sexual harassment happens..especially admitting it to yourself. I wish that society (especially men) would see women differently; value us for our hearts, our attributes, our accomplishments, our hopes and dreams. Sadly, there aren’t many men like that out there. We have to stand up for ourselves and be our own advocates. Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re worthless, cheap or just something nice to look at. Your beauty radiates from inside out; perfect in the combination of who you are and how you look. Tolerance is simply accepting things even if you don’t agree; even if they are wrong. My advice is to not tolerate anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, less human, less valued or just plain hurts you. Don’t give them an inch…you’re worth more than that!

To stand up for yourself doesn’t make you a “bitch”. It means you are strong and proud of who you are. You won’t let anyone define you with their petty words, inappropriate innuendos and suggestive comments. If someone can’t handle you sticking up for yourself, then they probably aren’t a good person to be around.

I know it’s hard to stand up for yourself and potentially lose relationships but it’s also hard being degraded and feeling worthless. In the end you have to decided which kind of difficulty you can live with. (I’ve experienced both. I can tell you both ways are not fun…but when I advocate for myself, I prevent further pain, allowing myself to heal.

See her original post below.

littlebluesuitcaselife

I’m going to warn you, this blog is not a funny blog. I’m not kidding and I’m not being sarcastic. I’m setting the jokes aside because this is a serious issue that I feel the need to say something about.

About a week ago, I had a conversation with a friend that has been gnawing at the back of my thoughts. I have turned it over and over, but it has not left and is now spilling tumultuously onto my computer screen in a desperate attempt to escape the catacombs of my mind.

We were talking about all the nicknames I have been called recently. Not necessarily all nicknames I had done anything to earn, just nicknames I had received as I had started to spend more time with people outside of my Christian college bubble.

I was going through the list of nicknames, “cupcake…F.N.G.…sugar-tits…”

At this point my friend…

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HOW ABORTION HAS CHANGED THE DISCUSSION OF MISCARRIAGE

“It is hard for a society to embrace a mourning mother for her loss of tissue when it is busy defending another mother’s right to dispose of it. But for a woman who prays ceaselessly for life to fill her womb. For a woman who has tried for years to finally have children of her own. For an expectant mother who suddenly finds herself frantically calling her OB after finding bright red blood…

The “material” in her tummy is anything but tissue. It is life.

It is hopes and dreams and answered prayers. It is destiny and a future and a promise of another generation. It is bike riding and little league and ballet lessons and college and grandkids…

It is a baby.

But it can never be both. Society can never acknowledge that we lost a baby and with the same breath declare the rest to be tissue.” ~scissortailsilk

http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2014/05/13/how-abortion-has-changed-the-discussion-of-miscarriage/

Mesothelioma Awareness

Hello All. Recently I received a special request from someone who had read one of my blog posts. In recognizing my pro-life stance, he asked if I would make a post to spread awareness of Mesothelioma. If you haven’t heard of it before Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, Asbestos is still NOT banned in the USA. Even though more people are aware of the threat asbestos can cause (Mesothelioma), every year around 3,000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma and are given 10 months to live. This is a sad statistic due to the fact that this cancer is 100% preventable. By asking questions, being responsible and not purchasing or living in a house with asbestos you could save yourself and loved ones the pain and suffering from this cancer. Strive for awareness and responsibility. For more information and facts on Mesothelioma visit http://www.mesothelioma.com.

Numb

It’s time for me to be honest…with myself and with the people I care about. 

Becoming passionately pro-life was definitely one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I know that I was created for a reason and that part of my journey includes standing up for those who have no voice. But, it hasn’t been easy. Living for Jesus, fighting for what’s right and loving myself are three extremely difficult callings. So worthwhile and necessary for true peace, hope and success in my life…but still a real struggle.

When I began my pro-life activism, I started out so strong; On FIRE for what I believed in and wanting to change the world. But, I learned an important lesson these past few months, being pro-life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Becoming wholeheartedly pro-life feels almost like how it does to become saved. Initially, you are crazy passionate about learning more, doing what is right, telling others how amazing this newfound faith is and trying so hard to live in accordance to that statement you have boldly proclaimed. Unfortunately, this “adrenaline rush” is hard to maintain. I couldn’t maintain my extreme passion for saving the innocent unborn…not because I didn’t care anymore but because I was caring too much.

I wanted to feel EVERYTHING. I thought if only I could feel something for every child, every circumstance, every loss, then I could stay in the movement and keep making a change for the better. But, instead my heart broke. I hurt so much thinking about each and every tiny baby this world will never know, every family grieving in silence due to the death of their unborn child and this blasted country who values wealth, power and money over love, friendship, family and Faith in God. I tried to carry a burden that was too much for me; instead of sharing the burden with God, with my family and with my friends. Before I even knew it, I was shutting down, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. I didn’t notice it at first…but slowly I began to stop feeling. I went from feeling everything so deeply to not caring at ALL. NO EMOTION. ONLY APATHY. I didn’t want to do anything pro-life…or life at all. I was mostly living in the dark, walking around, pretending I was alright. There were moments of joy and happiness but they were few and far between. I didn’t want to live my life. I shut out my God, my Father, my True love and I didn’t care. 

Thankfully, my story doesn’t end there. God never left me, even when I pulled away. He was calling for me and never gave up. I can’t even believe I had sunk so low. Thank you Jesus for bringing me back to you and gently guiding me once more. I’m not going to lie suffering is brutal and it’s so hard…but being numb is miserable, being numb is HELL.  I didn’t even realize how bad it was until now. 

There has to be a middle ground; a safe place. I need to follow my heart, feel things deeply and love with everything I have but I can’t do it on my own. First and foremost I need to draw my strength from God. Then I need to bare my soul to those close to me. I cannot do this alone…life’s too hard to suffer through on my own. Also, when it comes to being pro-life…I can’t be “God”. He has every sin on His shoulders and he suffers through every pain and turmoil of EVERY human on this earth. I cannot do that and he never asked me to. I will again choose to place my trust in Him who knows what I need. For “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31NIV)

What I want YOU to know. Is that God can overcome anything in your life…even yourself. When you are broken and bleeding the pain will never be more than you can bare…and to feel pain, however brutal is better than having a hardened heart that feels nothing at all. People say, you can’t bring emotions into politics or science. But, I know in my heart that when you stop feeling, you stop truly living. God made us beautifully, to experience life through so many different emotions. And the greatest of these is LOVE. Put your heart in His capable loving hands and you will feel whole, safe, powerful, unstoppable, cherished, wanted, chosen, unique, rich, blessed and loved.

I implore you to seriously consider what your purpose is in this life. If you know Jesus Christ and he is working in you, is there something you can do to make a difference where you’re at? It won’t be easy, it won’t be fun, people will hate you, reject you and abandon you. But GOD IS GREATER than all the suffering and pain. Living wholeheartedly for him will change your life. I’ve made many mistakes, sinned more times than I could count and I struggle daily with my life but “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Believe that there is more to life than what our eyes can see. Value every human life from the smallest unborn child to the aged man breathing his last breath. 

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:13-18)

God Bless you~

“The procedure changes significantly at 21 weeks because the fetal tissues become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember. This problem is accentuated by the fact that the fetal pelvis may be as much as 5cm in width. The calvaria [head] is no longer the principal problem; it can be collapsed. Other structures, such as the pelvis, present more difficulty….A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…”

(From the medical textbook Abortion Practice – Dr. Warren Hern, p.154)

Abortionist Martin Haskell Describes Partial Birth Abortion