I can’t believe it’s Fall! Well at least in this part of North Carolina, it may be “Fall” on the calendar but it’s really SUMMER outside! Can I just be done with mowing the yard?
Amy and I were talking and we haven’t really provided a basic update on our family in some time so we wanted to do so since school started, we’ve had a court date for the girls, and things with children’s ministry at church are really churning along!!
We still don’t have it all together
Since our last post we are still evaluating if we have it all together in the parenting game. Two weeks ago, I was home to pick up the kids from the bus stop at the end of the road. Z was getting picked up by the Department of Social Services to go to a visit with her bio mom. Therefore, Jojo and Madeline were the only ones that were “supposed” to come off the bus. Only when the bus arrived, Jojo just came off! I said “where’s Madeline?” He said “I don’t know.” We walk back home and Amy is packing Zutaeya in the car with her snacks and the DSS worker when she asks where Madeline is. I literally just laugh out loud shrug my shoulders and go to call the school. It turns out her whole class missed their buses because of a scheduling mix up with her teacher. It sure was hilarious though. And another feather in the cap of we still don’t have it all together….and that’s ok!
Foster Care Update – the girls
The girls, Z (5 almost 6) and L (~2.5), have been in our home since late March! Adventuring as a family of 5 has been an adventure. We have hit some great milestones with Z THRIVING in school! Her teacher has said that she is a JOY to be around and more than that her teacher said “my favorite part of the day is seeing Z and your other two kids run to each other when they are waiting to get on the bus. They hug and then start telling each other about their days” Z’s teacher told me that at lunch one Friday and I choked back some serious dad tears!
Another huge praise is at the time of placement in our home Z and Madeline had a power struggle. Who is dominant female in the house? As Z has become more comfortable and learning to play “girly” play (something she did not ever do before), she and Madeline have become very close!! We PRAYED so much about wanting a sister for Madeline and He answered!!
L is a typical almost 3 year old. She is INSANELY cute, LOVES everyone but does stuff that a toddler does and it’s so FRUSTRATING. Before entering into the house the girls weren’t familiar with meal times and / or healthy food options. This was particularly true of L. After a long 6 months, L now chooses to each certain veggies freely! We are so blessed!!!
Foster Care Update – The Case
The Faith As a multi-racial family, we receive questions all the time.
- Some are inappropriate – Are they yours? Where did you get them from (like children are a commodity that I swung by Kids – R – Us and picked up before dinner)?
- Some are hilarious – Are they twins? – said when looking at pointing at Jojo and Z who are both 5 years old but obviously look NOTHING alike
- Some are legit – So you’re doing Foster Care to Adopt right? – The answer to that is … it Depends
See when we entered into our licensing classes, it was our intention to only Foster-to-Adopt. But as Amy and I sought wisdom from God and prayed, we realized He was saying “the plan is mine. Faith in my plan must be yours.” So we changed our minds.
- Are we Fostering to Adopt? – Yes
- Are we just Fostering? – Yes
The real answer is we are obeying God. He told us “Trust me” and we are. So we are Fostering Z and L. If we are part of the story that ultimately ends with them reunifying with their bio family then Praise God. And if we are part of the story that ends with them adopted in our home then Praise God. He will guide and reveal His plan and we will say Yes to the opportunities He directs us to!
The Frustration – With that faith and the unknown of Foster Care, there is a fair bit of frustration at times. We find ourselves frustrated with communication with the birth family. We find ourselves frustrated with trying to identify and receive services necessary to meet the girls needs. And most recently we found ourselves frustrated with the legal system and the court review process.
See the are certain periods of time that the case must be reviewed. This is called a permanency planning or review hearing. At this hearing, the court hears progress on the bio parents and their case plan. The court also receives an update on the girls. As foster parents, we are not given a voice in court but it’s a great place to learn about the case and the only place to get updates on the bio parents which in turn projects for us as foster parents HOW LONG the girls would be in our care. Here’s what happened over the course of the past couple of months
- August wk 1 – Case was scheduled for 2PM. I arrived at court before 2PM. The case was not heard and continued for 3 weeks later. I left court after 4:30PM
- Next Court Date – Case was schedule for 11AM. I arrived around 10:30AM. Case was NOT heard and continued AGAIN for 3 weeks. I left court after 4:30PM. UGH!
- Next Court Date (YESTERDAY) – Case was scheduled for 11AM. I arrived around 10:30AM…just in case it was heard early. Don’t worry it wasn’t! The CASE was heard!! Praise God! I left court after 5:00pm!
And contrary to what you may think…it’s NOT like Law and Order. It’s dry and quiet. You really can’t even turn the page of a book without getting the stank eye from one of the baliffs! Goodness.
Before this court date Amy and I were praying that the case would be heard and that we would have some idea into the future of when the next hearing would be. Specifically we were praying that it would be AFTER the girls birthdays (December and January). PRAISE GOD! The Lord heard our prayer and the next hearing is in 6 months.
Does this give us any idea where we are going, reunification or adoption? Nope. But God’s plan was revealed for the next 6 months so we say Yes to Him and this opportunity and wait for the next revelation of His plan! Thanks for being on this adventure together with us!
To be honest God has answered very specific prayers of ours over the last few days and we want to celebrate with you.
- Amy – a potential mentor – Amy is enrolled in Bible Study Fellowship, a weekly Bible study meeting at a local church near our house. Approximately 200 women attend each week and they are further divided in small groups. After surveying the scene, Amy asked if we could jointly pray for an African-American older woman to reach out to her. THE VERY NEXT WEEK, yesterday, GOD ANSWERED THAT SPECIFIC PRAYER! The hit it off and are looking forward to connecting next week as well!! PRAISE GOD
- Court Case – Amy and I were praying since the last court continued date for court to be heard YESTERDAY and specifically for the next review to be AFTER the girls birthdays (Dec and Jan). The girls have NEVER had a birthday and we wanted to make their day a BIG BIG DEAL! And guess what GOD HEARD US! AND ANSWERED! Next case review is in March!
- Dates – Amy and I have been praying for some time to spend with just each other, weekly we were taxed at the end of the day and weren’t able to fully give ourselves over to each other. We were getting lost in the phones and / or Netflix binge (currently Criminal Minds). So we were praying for time during the week to have more time when we were fresh! GOD ANSWERED. Tuesday and Thursday the young ones are in preschool for a few hours so Amy and I have spent time working together on organizing Children’s Ministry stuff and this past Thursday we went to Chick-fil-A and visited with my grandparents! GOD ANSWERED our PRAYER!! Thank you for praying!
- Homework – Homework with 3 kids (2 Kinders and 1 2nd grader) and 2 small ones around is NO JOKE! Madeline’s homework is all in Spanish and now even I (Josh) don’t know some of the words (relying on Google Translate unfortunately). Our SPECIFIC prayer request is an attitude shift of Jojo. He is the type of dude who only likes what he likes to do (play, toys, food, and homework). So he will breeze through some math but writing his name….UGH! It took us 2 hours the other day and only 10 minutes of that was spent doing his homework, the rest was him pitching a fit. Pray for patience and wisdom as we navigate helping him self adjust his attitude about homework.
- Financial Support – Amy and I have been blessed and y’all have partnered with us for approximately $1000 per month! Thank you! We still need to raise an $500 / month in support to meet our overall goal of $1500 / month in support. That’s only 50 additional families giving at $10 / month. If God is moving in your heart to partner with us financially in ministry, please reach out to myself or Amy. We would love to sit down grab coffee, talk on the phone, etc and share how you can be a part of what God is doing in our lives and in Winston!
- Baptism – Our church is having a BONKERS BAPTISM PARTY the first weekend in November! Its going to be full of food trucks, bounce houses, and of course LIFE CHANGE. I’ve had some great conversations with people about their spiritual next steps. Please be in prayer for myself and Amy as we talk to those in our lives about the GOOD NEWS and are BOLD in asking people to take the next step and GO PUBLIC with their faith! We can’t wait to share with you how God uses your prayers!
Friends, God’s up to some cool stuff in our family, in our ministry and in the lives of everyone! Thank you for praying. Thank you for partnering and Thank you for being on this adventure together. It’s a blessing to know and love and partner with you all!