When you Least Expect it…

I woke Friday with my day planned before me and the next month following suit.  My friend Jaime’s three girls were expected to arrive at 1:30 for our home ec. co-op and I was looking forward to getting another workout in after feeding the girls’ breakfast. When I answered the phone from the “State of Alaska” I thought nothing of it till the woman on the other end said she was calling from OCS (office of children’s services).  I was just getting ready to fry eggs and toast English muffins when my world stopped.  She went on to say that they had a 3 month old baby girl who needed placement…My heart began to race and my limbs became numb.  “Three months old?!  A baby girl??”  Just the night before Jaime had asked if there was any news from fostering and I had said it would probably take some time “up to a year”, since we have limited the age range from 0-2 years old.  Though even then I was not expecting a baby (though I wanted one).  The case worker said that little “Lulu” was currently in an emergency foster home, had been there since last week and needed another (ICWA) placement by Monday April 1st.  It was “Good Friday” and my world was suddenly turned on its head.  I asked her if she could tell me more about Lulu’s story and she said that they had no medical history as of yet and that they did not know if Lulu would become legally free for adoption or not.
I told the case worker that I needed to talk to my Husband and that I would get back with her that evening.  I immediately called Ron at work.  When I told him that OCS had called and that there was a 3 month old baby girl needing a home, his response was something to the effect of “Sounds like we should do that”.  What?!  Really???  After all these years of uncertainty, the back and forth, indecisiveness and now you casually say, “sure”?!   I was taken back.  I wanted to pray about it and wanted Ron to pray about it even more.  So he said he would and went back to work.
In all of ten minutes my day went from planned and somewhat typical to surreal to say the least.  I could hardly focus on preparing breakfast so I stopped, right there in front of the toaster, and prayed.  I wanted to pray that if this baby was going to be ours FOREVER that I would know, but I literally could not pray it.  Instead, the words that came from my mouth were not mine and could not be changed.  I prayed “Lord if this will bring us closer to you…Yes”.  I prayed that over and over, each time wanting to pray selfishly that I would know if our hearts would be broken, but I couldn’t.  I felt completely at peace and knew that all that was asked from us was to love God’s child as He does for however long he lets us.  God was showing me that His plans are not my own.  Thank you, Lord.

A Precious Gift
During breakfast I told the girls that we might have a baby girl coming to live with us on Monday and before I could even finish the sentence, Madison’s hands were clasped by her face (beaming from ear to ear) and Olivia was screaming, “A baby!!!!”.
Oh how I love them.
I told them all I knew of little Lulu and also that I did not know if we would be able to adopt her or for how long she might be with us but that it didn’t matter, we were just supposed to love her live Christ does.  I told them that I would have less time in the day and that the baby might cry a lot (trying to prepare them though I had no idea as to what I was really preparing them for).  They hardly seemed phased.  Madison was proudly proclaiming all her big girl duties (diapering, feeding, holding…) while Olivia was naming all of the toys that she was going to share or give to baby Lulu (her little orange monkey, the Barbie house…which is actually her sister’s) and making sure that I knew she could feel the baby (since she had done it at our homeschool group in the nursery before) and that she was NOT going to be changing ‘poopy’ diapers.
We prayed that morning for baby Lulu and for her Mommy.  We prayed that God’s will, would be done and that her mother would be freed from her addiction and able to love her baby.  I never thought I would feel compassion on a parent whose child we were fostering but for some reason God has laid this Mom heavy on my heart.  So we all prayed together and I tried to explain addiction to the girls so that they would know Lulu’s mother was not in control of her life.  That she was blinded by her addiction and that she needed Christ to free her from it.  But till then we were going to help her by giving Lulu all the love she needs.

I did my best to wait for Ron to call me back and in the mean time I researched online about Lulu’s village and her heritage and began searching Amazon for all the cool baby things I had found when we were pregnant in December.  This is when I realized that we needed a LOT of stuff!  Finally I called Ron (I couldn’t stand it)!  He said that he had prayed over it and that he felt we needed to take her in.  He said We pray each night for the children and here God has dropped a baby in our laps.  I don’t think I’ll ever wake up and say ‘Today is the day!  I’m ready to foster’.  We just need to do this.  So I called the case worker back and she said she could have Lulu here by that Afternoon!!! What?!  I wanted SO BADLY to say “YES!  Bring her now!”  But we had no place to lay her, no diapers, no bottles, nothing.  So she said that was not a problem.  We would have the weekend to buy what we needed and on Monday Lulu would have a visitation with her Mom and that I could pick her up at after.  Phew.  That gave me that evening (once the girls had gone home) and Saturday to shop (Easter is Sunday)…9 months of planning crammed into one evening and one morning of shopping!

The rest of the day was a crazy blur.  The girls came and went, I hardly ate (felt absolutely nauseous) and when Ron came home I headed into town to see what I could find.  I got home at 10PM with an armful of baby clothes, diapers, wipes, changing pad/cover, bottles, formula, pacifiers (two different kinds), booties, hair bows, blankets, burp rags, rattles, and a baby bath…LOTS of stuff!  I couldn’t find a bassinet or swing that I liked so this morning we’ll be running to Sears and One Upon a Child in hopes of finding what I am looking for (it’s hard to be so picky and rushed)!
Madison climbed out of bed when I got home and excitedly helped me unpack all of the goodies (oohing and awing over all the tiny booties and dresses).  Her heart is amazing and I am so very thankful for the blessing of her love.
I tried to sleep.  Tried some more and then tried again.  My mind began to race at about 1:30 with all the what if’s and I tried my best to pray them away.  God WILL provide.  He will fight the fight, I need only to obey and follow his lead. I finally gave up trying to sleep when Ron got up at 5:30.  So I picked up my Bible and began to read Isaiah 44…

“But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
 and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,

 and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
    like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
    and will take the name Israel.

After a night of wresting with fear, I cried with the relief of these words.

I pray that Lulu will bless our lives as we will bless hers and that God’s will, will be done in all things.

Now it’s 8:15Am and I have got to shower, wake and feed the girls and run to our town’s few stores to try find a bassinet and swing before 1PM when my friends 4 kids arrive to stay the day and possibly night and into Easter Sunday while she is in labor with her 5th baby!  Oh my.  Trusting the Lord will provide in all things.

The Start of a New Chapter

After a year and exactly 1 month after our application was turned in, we are officially licensed for foster care in the state of Alaska…AHHHH…Scary!

I received the phone call from our licensing agent yesterday morning and am now filled with mixed emotions…excitement, fear, anxiety…did I mention excitement?!Matthew 25-40

At this time we are licensed for 1 child, (newborn up to 2 years of age).  And yes, I realize this may be a small window BUT since we are also an ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) family, due to my Aleut heritage, our window is larger as the need for ICWA families is sadly great, here in Alaska (so I am hopeful that we will be used and faithful that God will lead us).
The age limit of the little ones was greatly influenced by our own children’s needs.  Since we would like for Madison to remain our oldest child, we did not want to take in little ones older than 7 years.  And since Olivia, who is 3, LOVES babies but is somewhat ‘competitive’ for my attention from any child at or around her age, (not to mention she still asks me when she will be an ‘older sister’), we felt a little one would be best as the needs of our girls had to also be taken into consideration.
We are hoping to adopt, so we are not planning to accept temporary placements.  However I am aware that adoptions are commonly interrupted (especially when dealing with tribes), so although I am already mentally preparing myself for heart-wrenching ‘good byes’ I remain prayerful that whatever little one blesses our door step that God will provide in ALL ways.

So now, (always the planner) I am fighting the urge to prepare for the unknown…do I buy a bassinet, a crib, toddler bed, girl bedding, boy bedding?

Sigh…The wait begins and with our limited age-range, it could be a while before the phone rings.  However, I’m okay with that.  God has lead us this far, we have done all we were called to do and now it remains in His hands (ahhh…a comforting peace follows in resting in this truth).  I am taking this time to pray, to read God’s word and to ask Him to prepare each of us for what is to come.  I am also praying for His children…for the little one that may be living a nightmare today, whom we will love ‘tomorrow’. God be with them.  Comfort them and give them peace.  Protect their hearts and be the “Father to the Fatherless” today.  Help us to love those who may be hard to love…help us to see your face when we look into the eyes of your children…  Lord be with us!’