This month I am participating in an adoption talk link up. A bunch of bloggers write on the same topic and the posts are linked up in one place. The topic this month is Getting to Know You...we're tasked w/telling about ourselves or our family's story. I feel like I've already done some of that here (a 10 things list!)...so maybe it's time for something new? I thought I'd use this space to publicly thank some people who have positively influenced me/us on our journey through foster care and adoption. I hope it might also serve to fill in a little of our back story and then if you want to read some current stuff, you can find it here...
First and foremost, thank you Heavenly Father for my love of children. From babysitting, to working at the university's daycare, then to teaching and raising my own children, I have always had a deep love of kids! I have been blessed w/many opportunities to be around kids who make me laugh, cry and feel young again =) Also, thanks for the clunk on the head when I was stubborn and didn't want to do foster care. All I could think about was 'my' kids leaving 'my' house and not being a part of 'my' life after they went back home...thanks for the reminder that none of it is mine, but it's all Yours Lord! It's been a blessing to call the kids 'mine' for a while, all the while knowing that putting their family back together could mean a victory for the community. No, it doesn't always end like that, but there are times when it does. Thank you Lord for helping me see the many gains for all when we simply serve others.
Thank you to Mark (and his wife!) who grew up w/my dad in the same neighborhood...thanks for staying in touch w/my dad. Your family, made up of birth children and adoptive children of all different colors, abilities and ages, was/is an inspiration to me. When I was real small, your family came to visit us once. I decided I wanted to be just like you when I grew up. Every year you write these notes to my parents at Christmas and I dig through the basket of cards to find yours. If we were of the same generation, I'd want to be your neighbor and BFF. Scratch that first part, can we be neighbors and BFFs anyway?
Thank you to that curly haired blue eyed boy who didn't flinch when I said I wanted 13 kids.
Thank you to the pastor's family who has 28 (!!!I think that's right, the # may have changed by now) adopted children, again, of all different ethnic make-ups, abilities and ages. We have learned much from you and your children...
Thank you to the DV family - we asked you so many foster/adopt questions and filed the stories of your experiences away for future reference. You constantly reminded us to take care of ourselves and our marriage when we had foster kids! It's so hard and so so so so important!! This is something we continue to learn and now remind others about.
And this thank you is embarrassingly late. Like 6 years late! To Dawn YH, thank you for bringing a gift over when we received our first foster child. You celebrated w/me like one should celebrate a new family member! At the time, I didn't see how huge this was. Just the other day I woke up crying thinking about you sharing our joy! You were a living example of Romans 12:15. A lot of people who don't do foster care or adopt, don't readily understand how much we need gestures like that! Even though we don't build our family in the 'normal' way, it's still nice to have someone recognize what's happening and treat us 'normally'.
Thank you to Tracy and her family! On adoption day, we rounded the corner on our block. We saw a bunch of colorful decorations and thought someone was having a party. As we got closer, we saw strings of balloons stretched between the trees and OUR house!!! Thank you so much for getting your feet wet in the snow and taking time in the cold to do that for us!! We left it up for the rest of the winter and we were 'that house' - every time we looked out the window, we couldn't help but smile! People would drive by and honk! This is only a slice of the encouragement and support you have given us over the years. The tears, the books, the hugs, the food issues/trauma solidarity...and also thank you for speaking truth and life to us about God's plan for our children. We know it but sometimes we don't KNOW it! We love you guys so much and are blessed by you in many ways.
Thank you to our respite providers...I hope you know we'd do much of the same for you if ever you need it.
Thank you FB group...I know I can instantly put up ?s of any kind and get rapid responses. Insurance problem? Check the group. Oh wow, the gov system is down for the day! No wonder it got rejected! Thanks for the 1800# to clear that up...Have a tax question? You guys rocked it. Found the form easily and didn't freak out when we were 'checked'. And double checked. Ideas on how to handle certain behaviors? Book suggestions, webpages and personal anecdotes. Love it. Not to mention the way you all 'get it' and are quick to encourage, defend and protect people you will never meet. You have no idea how much I value the 'village' you are to me.
Thank you thank you a hundred times thank you to our family and extended families! You pull out extra toys when we come to visit, set extra chairs at the table and buy extra presents for under the tree. You pray for us. Some of you yourselves have adopted and we don't talk enough. I personally am so grateful for the love shown in my family. Many families say it and of course I'm biased but mine really does show it in a big way. Countless times my family and extended family have been there for us, from teary phone calls to giving us furniture to feeding my crew. I don't thank them enough!
Finally, thank you to the kids who have allowed us to parent them, for however long. I doubt any more than 1 or 2 of them are ever going to read this, but know this: YOU ARE LOVED and MISSED. You have changed us, molded us and left an imprint on our heart.
As I wrap this up, I realize that I haven't said much about me. Maybe I shouldn't have joined this link up? But then I thought about it, and I realized that if you really want to know me, you should really get to know the people 'behind the scenes'...the people who hold us up when we feel like we can't do it anymore, the people who cheer us on, the people who inspired us on this journey! I wouldn't be ME if it wasn't for these people =)