I can do it & you can too. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most common thing I hear as a foster parent is some version of, “I could never do that!” or “I would get too attached and just adopt them all.” 

For the first few months of foster care I was bitter about hearing these comments and wanted to respond with sass about how I DO have a heart and I get attached too.  I’ve let go of that bitterness these days, because I’m learning that people actually don’t think they can do this (as opposed to them just saying it). And it scares me because we NEED foster parents. So here’s the thing… You can do this. Want to know how I know? Because in the short time we’ve been fostering I’ve learned the following: 

1. We are so much stronger than we realize. I never knew my strength. In fact, I’ve always considered myself somewhat weak.. fragile, emotional, ready to fall apart at any moment. Dealing with anxiety for big parts of your life can do that to you. But guys, I am STRONG. So much stronger than I ever thought.. I’ve taken more risks in the last 6 months than ever before. And it MATTERS. So believe you can do it. Because you can. I realize I sound like a wanna be motivational speaker, but it’s the truth. I’ve spoken these words to my students the past two years, but never really practiced what I’ve preached. This year has been a game changer for sure. 

2. You’ll be making a difference, and that will be encouraging enough to keep you going. I can’t tell you how cool it is to think about how many stories we will be a part of through foster care. Whether it was a difficult situation or one that ended happily, we played a role in some way or another. To think of the lives we (hopefully) touched in some way and the ripple effect it may have in the future.. It’s a pretty cool feeling. 

3. There are worse things than goodbye. Now I know we haven’t had a foster for years and had to say goodbye. I know we haven’t experienced that feeling yet.. but I’m pretty confident that after healing and grieving I will feel the same way I do now. I still cry about little love. I still miss sweet pea. It’s still hard to think about. But let’s think about the bigger picture: these kids are (in most cases) going home or to family members that have stepped up to care for them. Yes, sometimes the system is broken and you cringe thinking about these kids going back to certain situations, but I have to (and truly do) believe that God has each one of these kiddos in His hand and that they end up exactly where they are supposed to be. When I think about how sad I am about our goodbyes, I remind myself: it could be worse. This is going to sound morbid, but it’s something I think about a lot: people die every day. Husbands lose their wives. Parents lose their children. Friends, brothers, sisters.. every day something tragic happens. And most people find a way to heal and move on. While yes, most foster children have gone through something traumatic, I still can’t help but feel a little relieved that at least when I’ve said goodbye I know they are going to someone who is fighting for them. If someone can heal from losing a loved one.. I can certainly heal from saying goodbye to a child that I may still see in the future. 

4. You will meet the most incredible people. Foster care is a community. It’s a support system. It’s people that are passionate and genuine about fighting for children to get what they need. They will be there for you! When you need to vent, when you need to cry, when you need to ask a million questions because you’re a new parent.. They’ll be there. Even at first, when they barely know you. It’s something really special. Just the other day I had a foster parent reach out about joining together for my dream of a foster care closet. How cool is that? The people will help you through. 

5. And last.. But really the only one that matters, the one that makes the other four possible: Jesus. Jesus has got this. And if you’re called to foster care.. go for it. People tell me all the time that we’re amazing. I can’t say it enough: we’re not. We are just trudging through what we feel called to. Just like someone that feels called to missions, or someone that feels called to be a police officer, or someone that feels called to be a stay at home mom. The thing is, I know deep down that all I need is Jesus. I like to think that if I was stripped of everything in this world I love, that I would still be okay. Because of Jesus. He is the only reason we can handle foster care. And He has given us everything I’ve mentioned above. 

So please.. don’t think you could never do it. I’m not saying that everyone is called to it – not at all! But don’t shut the door on something amazing. You never know what God is up to 😉 

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adventures in adventures. 

Life keeps getting crazier. Before the school year started, I told myself this year would be my #yearwithoutfear in my career. It’s been our class motto and I feel like I’ve really stuck to the goal of not being afraid so far. I’ve tried new things, spoken up, put myself out of my comfort zone, made new friends..the list could go on. The biggest part I think is that I haven’t been as fearful of what others think of me. I had a bad habit of that in the past and it really affected my happiness at work (and my attitude was probably affecting others happiness as well). This year I’m genuinely happy to be there most days because I’m excited about the new things I’m trying and learning. It’s been a really great year so far, even though it’s only been about six weeks. 

After a great start to the year, I wondered why I was letting my #yearwithoutfear only be a career thing. Why couldn’t it be in every aspect of my life? So about a month ago, I started seeing a personal trainer. I could go into deep backstory of body issues and struggles and the reason why this needed to happen – but I’ll spare you. My point is, I did something that I had been afraid of. I’m working hard and I’m not letting my fears stop me. I’ve been pretty successful with it so far and it’s just another step in the right direction for me. (Edit: I kept wondering if I would include this in my post – I realized I didn’t want to because I was afraid I would be judged. You know what that is? Fear. And it’s dumb. So I’m being transparent in the hope that I make my point and also have some accountability to continue being successful!)

All of this excitement, joy at work & home, and strength I’ve found to push myself has really made me dream again. And I’m talking the big dreams: buying a bigger house so that we can take in more foster children, starting a program like a “closet” for foster parents in the area that need supplies when they get a new placement, and the biggest dream of partnering with churches to provide resources and programs for teens in foster care. I’ve always been a dreamer – but with these dreams, at this time, something feels different. I want to make them happen.

With all that being said… these dreams clearly cost time, energy, and money. I feel passionately about foster care and our call to this ministry. I’ve decided to begin  selling Stella and Dot part time in order to make some extra money and try to make some of these dreams become a reality. Realistically, I’ll most likely be starting with the idea of a foster care closet. I want to build up enough of a closet that we would be able to provide clothes and other necessities to foster parents in the area that receive new placements.

 There are lots of reasons that I chose Stella and Dot as my side job, but all of those details will be for another blog post. Did I ever think I would be taking on another job to chase dreams like this?Absolutely not! Will I fail at selling jewelry? Possibly. Right now, I’m taking everything one month at a time. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, oh well. At least I didn’t let fear stop me from trying. 

We’re in a good place where this is low pressure on me. Any money I make is extra, and can be put toward any one of our dreams. I don’t have any sort of stress over having to make a certain amount of money or work a certain amount of hours. It can be whatever I’m comfortable with. So with no pressure I’m fueled mostly by the excitement that I may be able to bring one of these dreams to life after this #yearwithoutfear ! 

Taking a break from placements has been good. Husband is still working hard (but finally slowing down), and I really do feel like I’ve had time to rest and be productive in other aspects of my life (i.e. Housework..). With that said, I’m thrilled to be watching my friends little buddy in a week or so, and eager to be back on the call list. 

For our next placement, we will only receive calls for children that are newborns through age 2. We were originally taking calls up to age 4. This is a temporary change, but one that we feel is best for our family right now. 

I think that’s all I have to update! As always, thanks for reading 🙂 oh and if any of you are interested in free jewelry by hosting a party.. feel free to reach out 😉