Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Dear Foster Daughter,

The day you moved from my home broke my heart. You weren’t the first one to leave but your departure made a massive impact on my life. We struggled to understand each other even though we were just alike. We stressed over the same things and yet could never find a comfortable balance for our relationship.

I worked so hard every day to give you what you needed. I made personal sacrifices to make sure you were being heard. But I still wasn’t doing enough. I still made you mad. I still made you cry. The reality is I couldn’t help you.

That phrase is hard for me to swallow. I get a clump in my throat every time I think of how I failed. How I tried. The promise I made to never see you go. To stay next to you through thick and thin. The promise to not be just another home that gave up on you. Even though you had to go I never gave up. I’m still not going to give up.

I miss you everyday. You brought so much of an impact into my life. We had some pretty awesome times together. Ones I will never forget. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for changing my heart and teaching me how to love you better. You may no longer be in my home but I hope one day we can have a strong relationship.

Maybe you’ll be quick to listen instead of ignoring my suggestions. Maybe you’ll see me as someone who wants the best instead of someone who pushes you to live by the rules. Whatever relationship we have I pray that we can mend the broken pieces. That we can one day look back and laugh about how similar we are.

I will always think of you as my daughter. I hope one day you will still consider us family in some way. I pray you will let me know about your life accomplishments. I can’t wait to see you become the young woman I already see. You’re strong, important, wanted, loved, beautiful, funny and so much more. You will impact lives for the better. Don’t give up. Know we will love you forever.

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How Jesus’ Death Represents a Message for Our Mess

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“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.” Luke 23:44-46 ESV

Hope seemed lost. Those who hated Jesus saw it as a victory while others cried for the “one who was sent to save the world.” I think about this day and what people may have felt. To them, they saw no bright light at the end of the tunnel. I think even the strongest of believers felt empty. But as we all know — God wasn’t done.

Each Easter we look at the crucifixion of Jesus and try to make sense of it. We’re reminded that as Jesus hung on the cross he thought of YOU and me. He knew who would deny him, who would run from him and who would live their lives preaching about his sacrifice. He died so that we could live. He died so we could talk to God as we drive to work. These small luxuries were given to us by God’s one and only son. Jesus also died so we could be free. So we could see there is hope in a dark world.

If you’re in the midst of darkness today then I want you to think of what it may have felt like seeing Jesus die. Look at your life now. Are you struggling? What is going on in your life that makes you feel hopeless? What have you endured that has broken your heart so much you can’t see any way out? If you know the story of Jesus’ death then you know it wasn’t the end.

Sunday is coming! No one knew Jesus would walk out of that tomb 3 days later. I can imagine those 3 days of mourning were brutal. They were trying to make sense of it. Trying to figure out why he had to die. But then they learned he wasn’t dead.

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Luke 24:1-4

Finally, the hope they so longed for was there. Proof that Jesus’ death was not in vain. That it was for a purpose. There was the light at the end of the tunnel. That is the same for you.

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-48 

As you face your struggles, remember God’s timing is perfect. God could have raised Jesus from the dead any moment. He could have taken him off of the cross at any time. But God chose the perfect timing. Just like he is doing in your life. You may be struggling to see the hope, but your resurrection day is coming. The day when you look back on your most painful day and see it as a message. God took something so ugly and made it into a beautiful story. One that we look to each day and give thanks. Same goes for your story. God will use whatever mess and turn it into a message.

But you have to let him. Don’t let it be done in vain. Don’t let your pain determine your future. Use it as a tool to do good for God’s kingdom. Find a way to help others. Remember, Jesus died so that you may live. He broke those chains for you. Now you just have to let them go and start taking one step at a time. Whatever you are facing God is with you. Know that he will turn your life into a beautiful masterpiece.

“And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” – Luke 24:38-40

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What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Untitled-design-10.jpgMy husband and I just finished our first weekend of foster training. The first day we learned about ways to discipline a foster child and how trauma can impact kids. The next day we learned about sexual abuse and Indiana Department of Child Services. These classes not only taught me new information but it also brought up my childhood experiences.

It’s been 14 years since I told a judge I no longer wanted to see my father. Each day has helped me recover from what my mom, sister and I went through. But this weekend I relived A LOT. There were even some stuff I never told my husband until this weekend. I must say it was weird watching videos and hearing stories about kids that closely related to my experiences. I didn’t have as much trauma as some of these kids. But I still remember calling the cops on my dad, going in hiding for a few days and having my dad’s family lie on the witness stand about what kind of parent my father was. Yes, my heart is a little heavy after being reminded of all these past experiences. But do you want to know what I got most out of these classes? Hope.

I can’t compare my trauma to the kids I will soon be fostering. I know many of them have experienced more pain than I can imagine. They’ve had everything ripped from their lives in an instant. (I thankfully had my mom and sister with me the whole time). But my hope is to some how teach these kids to overcome their trauma.

I would say that I’m not a perfect person but I think I turned out better than what I could have been. That’s because I had a loving family, friends, church family and God to help me through each day. As the years go by, the stronger I feel. The farther away the trauma is. Except when my past is brought back up.

After two days of listening to stories about kids in the foster system, I had an anxiety attack. It came out of nowhere. My husband and I were on the couch watching a show when I started to freak out. I was on overload with my memories. It took me a good hour to calm down. I haven’t had a panic attack like that in a while. Thankfully, my husband was there for me. Even though that was a rough moment…I learned something.

Trauma is still a part of our lives. It is still a part of my life. As I learned in training, triggers can happen any moment. A simple thing can spark a trigger leading a person into panic and chaos. Like me, these kids will face their trauma the rest of their lives. But they don’t have to let it control them.

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It took me years to get over some things from my past but I rarely think about it. It’s as if I lived another life. I remember the hurt and pain but I also remember the daily fight to get where I am today. After my attack, I started thinking I may not make a good foster parent. Especially since I just had an anxiety attack. But instead of using that moment as a negative I am using it as a positive. It’s a current reminder that the kids that will come into our home will need the support when they too have an anxiety attack or a trigger.

I hope I’m able to help these kids work through their trauma. To help them know overcoming their past is the easy part. It’s staying in a positive mindset that’s hard. But it can be done. That’s where my faith comes in. My relationship with God has helped me through a lot. Not only to control my trauma but to forgive those who caused horrible experiences in my life.

To be honest I’m not really sure why I am writing this post. Maybe someone needs to read this. Someone who feels guilty for falling back into their past. Maybe a soon-to-be foster parent needs to read that their love can make a big difference. But they may need to help the kids through triggers. Whoever this is for I pray it helps you.

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