Things have been busier than usual. I wanted to post a little blog.
Most of my readers know that we are foster parents. We have close friends who are also foster parents. Because they are foster parents I cannot give too many details but I will share what I can.
This couple also serves in our church…in fact, they both gave up paid positions at another church in order to help plant our church. They now serve as volunteers and took secular jobs in order to provide for their family.
They have fostered children for over 4 years and have adopted two children out of fostercare. The children they adopted were the two youngest in a sibling group of six. They had fostered the sibling group of six for nearly 2 years before adopting the two youngest. Last year they took a boy the same age as their two who they had fostered briefly a few years ago. Then they began fostering his new born brother. That means they had four children six and under.
They have maintained a relationship with the bio mom of their adopted children and they have had visits with the children and their siblings. They found out this summer the family was in some trouble so the siblings came and visited them several times.
Maintaining a relationship with bio families is a tough thing for adoptive parents and it can be confusing for adopted children. Most adoptive parents do not often agree to such terms when adopting. Agreements made with bio families are not generally legally binding as the adoptive parent has the right to determine who has access to their children.
I could not find any statistics but just considering the families we have worked with I would say around 40% of children who are reunified with their bio family end up back in foster care (feel free to comment if anyone finds actual statistics) . In Texas, when a child returns to foster care the first people the caseworker contacts is the previous placement for that child to see if the child or children can return to a familiar environment.
Our friends received a call a few days ago asking if they could take in the siblings as they were being removed from their mother’s custody; four more children over night and two of those are young teenagers!
Due to some crazy circumstances going on with our foster care agency, the state has placed an intake hold on all homes licenses through our agency. The bio mom, signed over temporary rights to her children to our friends. This is called a “fictitious kinship foster” (I know, we have done this…we have also been a kinship foster home). What this means is, our friends’ family nearly doubled over night but with no additional income. The state does not reimbursing kinship foster parents for taking children into their homes. The timing was not great. School is about to start and now they have seven school age children. That is a lot of school supplies.
Last week, I helped them out with some child care. While I was there I found out that they were in a big bind. My dear friend was not complaining or fearful just sharing that they were struggling. Earlier in the week I had brought cereal and milk over. And she was telling me how much that had helped her out. Then she told me about buying several loaves of bread and bologna. She was waiting for a check to come in which I was sure wasn’t going to arrive for five to seven days. I didn’t express my concern but I was concerned.
The more I thought about how committed they have been to serve in our church and their commitment to these children the more I wanted to help them in some way. My plan was to get a few of our church family members to give $5 to $25 and get them a gift card to a local grocery store. God is so awesome. His plan is so much better than ours. I texted our pastor asking for permission to do this. He said that would be fine and that the church would also give. I sent the email to about six families in our church at 9:17 a.m. on Friday. By 3:30 p.m. over $400 worth of groceries had been delivered to their home. One of our friends was at the store and she shared the situation with the checker and a stranger pulled out $100 and gave it to her to help our friends out. On Saturday another $200+ worth of groceries and gift cards (for gas) had arrived. Yes, my dear friend cried when they showed up with the groceries. She has seriously been blown away by the kindness and support of our church family. On Friday evening we had dinner with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and shared with them how awesomely God answered this need through His people. Well, my sister-in-law called me the next day and asked the ages and grades of the children. This morning she had left a bad of school supplies, trash bags, paper plates (every foster family knows the importance of paper plates) and Clorox Wipes. When I took the items over today, my friend almost cried again. She said, “I just used our last trash bag today”. The “God thing” about this is my sister-in-law had decided to just do the school supplies but accidently left the trash bags in her buggy so she went ahead and purchased them thinking we might use them at our house but we have two boxes and one that wasn’t even opened yet. We didn’t need them so she sent them to our friends. She has met our friends but she doesn’t really know them. Keep in mind, I had not even had an opportunity yet to bless them yet. I was going to get them a gas card but they had already received one. I was able to kidnap my friend today and she said one of her six year olds had out grown all his jeans and she wanted to get him a pair for school (starting tomorrow) so we went Old Navy. They were having BOGO on jeans We ended up getting four pairs of jeans for about $30. That’s pretty awesome in case you didn’t know. My family was able to take care that. I was determined to get to sow into my friend’s life.
Glad you asked. My church family made me cry when I found out how generous and giving they were being. On Friday, I realized they were about to arrive and overwhelm our friends with love so I let my friend know that I had sent out an email. It wasn’t done in any way to embarrass them. I know what it is like to have only bread, eggs, peanut butter and jelly in my pantry….and that was when I was single. I know what it is like to have my electricity turned off. I know how scared I felt when I was single…the idea of not having enough food for my babies…well that is a desperate feeling. Our friends understand that we love them and just wanted to help.
This morning at church my friends told me how help had been arriving since Friday. My friend’s husband (who is also my dear friend), hugged me and told me “I’m not going to cry” which made me cry. All I could say is what I felt…”This is what happens when you are good ground.” People who do not even know you want to sow into you and your family. Not only that a while back, my family and I were broke (we were “not going out to eat this week broke” NOT “we have no food at all broke”) and my friend gave me $20 and sent the Hubs and I too the movies. These friends are generous. They are generous with everyone. They live a generosity as a lifestyle. They would give you the shirt off their backs! Seriously. They blessed us with $20 and they reaped 40 fold. That is good ground.
More items were brought to church today. One family. who is in their own financial bind, brought several loaves of bread, peanut butter and jelly. They sowed a seed. I am waiting with great anticipation to hear about what God does in this family!
Another family asked if they could help and our friends told them we are good on everything except fresh produce. That family brought bags of produce and veggies over this afternoon.
When I arrived this afternoon, my friend gave me a tour. Her pantry was full, both fridges and freezers were full.
These people faithfully give to our church, to others, they serve in worship ministry, small group ministry and taking in fatherless children. They are the real deal. When they have a need, God is the real deal. This is how the Body of Christ is suppose to work. When the need arises, we rise up to meet it.
All of my church family who gave, you know who you are, Thank you. Nothing you do is unseen. God sees and He is going to bless you. You can NEVER, EVER, EVER out give God. I’m just saying!