I was talking to a friend of ours at church who is out there trying to secure some employment for the summer. He was looking around at all different types of jobs just literally wanting somewhere that needed help that could pay him.
That got me thinking. One summer, a college roommate and I were doing the same thing. We were negligent and lazy and didn’t search out jobs soon enough, so most summer jobs out there were already full. And to be honest there were a couple of things for no real reason at all that were completely off my list (grocery store, food service, and retail). In hindsight I can definitely see how that SEVERLY limited my options.
I went back to my previous employer and it turned out my skills as a snow cone maker and skate rink DJ weren’t in high demand back there.
I went to several stores and they weren’t hiring.
I went to Two Dudes and a truck or some moving company and had to take a test. Seriously? Is this school? Didn’t get that job either.
My college roommate and I even went to an in-home cleaning service and were passed over.
It was getting to be mid June and we still needed a job. We were looking for anywhere with a HELP WANTED sign on the door.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, we got on with construction team and spent our summer, hanging ceiling tile, mixing mud for drywall and hanging the skilled labor screws. I think one day we even cleared out a building. Although I distinctly remember taking all those construction materials from the demo of a building to the WRONG DUMP the first time! Ugh! It was an adventure but all because we saw that Help Wanted Sign.
We were so thankful that the owner of that business was looking for some help. We had a great summer that summer and made some coin along the way. But without that HELP WANTED sign we would be stuck.
I also heard from some friends about other people that needed help in their lives, people that were just struggling. I was frustrated. I came home and was frustrated at Amy, with Amy, at our life. Why are they getting help and we’re not?
And then I thought back to my summer job search that time after college. The owners of the business could have sat around and said…why can’t we get anything? Why aren’t we getting more done? But instead they identified the need and raised the warning flag. They posted a sign…HELP WANTED.
In our family, I’m the business owner and it’s time to self-identify we are hanging the sign out front “HELP WANTED”
Our Life is crazy
Our life is crazy and I get that, we get that. But we have some HELP WANTED. Daily we have 5 kids with 5 sets of needs. And before you say it, we know it. We asked for it. We’ve heard “you signed up for this”, “those kids just have needs, “ “can’t you just give them back.”
Here are the answers….We know we signed up for it. Actually we feel God’s called us! We know those kids have needs…actually all of our kids have needs…different needs for different things. Just this afternoon, we responded to some challenges with a child at school, sought wholesome 4th grade chapter book series recommendations, practiced piano, and then cared for a 102-degree fever. That was all from 3pm to 7pm for only one child.
We get it our kids have needs.
Can’t you just give them back – The short answer is no. The snarky answer is which one, because there are times and days when each one of the children is particularly frustrating and /or irritating. Then there are days and times which one or all of the children is so kind, compassionate and full of grace that it moves me to tears!
Kids are kids and we have a lot of them. And maybe we’re writing this post, not to say that we specifically need help….actually we do. We need help. Because there are times that we feel forgotten.
Amy didn’t birth a baby. She isn’t recovering from pregnancy. We didn’t travel to a distant land and come back with a larger family. We woke up one morning a family of 5 and went to bed that same day a family of 7…instantaneous, immediate.
But we didn’t have time to stop. We didn’t have time to think, we just went. Next day more of the same just now with 2 more kids (strangers really in tow). HELP WANTED.
It’s been a year and we have more or less adjusted but the more we adjust the deeper the wounds go. The more we are here in this new normal; the more layers of the onion are peeled back. With more layers exposed, become more trauma.
In just the last month, we’ve dealt with aggressive behavior, daily 1 hour tantrums and scared kids. We’ve argued with therapists, sometimes social workers, and biological parents. We’ve struggled. HELP WANTED.
Madeline has sacrificed her personal space as L has moved into her room instead of staying with Z.
Jojo and Elijah have sacrificed personal time with mommy and daddy as we have meeting after meeting in regards to the kids needs. Help Wanted.
People have asked….Can we help? Is there anything that we can do?
First of all Thank you for asking. Really thank you. It shows us that we aren’t alone.
Secondly KEEP ASKING. We don’t like answering the question “how are y’all doing?” or can we help but we need to answer it. And we need to answer it truthfully.
Here’s how you can help!
- Presence – Call, text, facebook message, email, come over (if local).
- Listen – Just listen to us. Listen to us over coffee or lunch. At dessert or just sitting around at the house.
- ReDirect – When we start down the rabbit path of Foster Care that then feels like a black hole, redirect us to something that’s FUN to talk about. I promise we have more to talk about or share than Foster Care and Children’s Ministry. Josh just got done coaching Madeline’s basketball team and Amy’s started her urban farm in the middle of Winston Salem (Edmonds Garden just put 100 onion plants in the ground and has a greenhouse cranking).
- PRAY – Pray for us. Pray for Z. Pray for L. Pray for Madeline, Jojo, and Elijah.
- Influence – We are always desiring for people to work with us to widen the circle of influence in the lives of our kids! Invest in them. Take them out for ice-cream (bring us Ice Cream).
- Provide Breaks – It can be tricky because quite honestly, not very many people are going to take all 5 children. But bring a dinner over, a coffee, breakfast, take one kid, etc, etc. Any break or time not spent doing ______ is time reinvested into the family!
Finally love us! We love people. We love people loving people! Thank you all so much for loving us! Thank you for listening to our stories, for being the shoulders to cry on, for listening to the frustrations and rolling with them! Thank you because even in the midst of our crazy life that has HELP WANTED, we also have the most blessed life! We are excited about what God has for us!
Quick Hit Prayer Request Update:
- Foster Care
- Court – Court case review is coming up on March 14th. Almost everything is up in the air. We really aren’t sure which way this one will go. This is a review of how the girls are doing in their placement and a review of how bio mom is at working her case plan to reunification. If you recall court last time, it took 3 visits to the court house before the case was heard. Pray that our case is heard on March 14th! Pray for us that we would trust the Lord whatever the outcome.
- Z medication and therapy – Things continue to be up and down fortunately not quite extreme. We are excited that the medicine has helped with some of her impulse control but weekends still are a struggle. Continue to pray for endurance especially over the weekends.
- Z school update – We continue to see improvements in learning some sight words. Strangely enough she knows 17 sight words one day and then of those 17 she knew the day before she knows 6 the next day. We continue to work on 7 letters that she still cannot recall. However, on the plus side we have had some interventions approved! – Keep praying for wisdom for retention or not for Z.
- L update – L is a full of life and full of stubborn 3 year old. She can hold a 30 minute conversation full of light, laughter, and love about a variety of topics and then from there purposefully pee on the floor or pour mashed up Frosted Shredded Mini Wheats in her hair. She’s the most loving and bubbly AND most stubborn child we have had the blessing of parenting! Keep praying that she would know and love the Lord her God and trust Him completely.
- Easter is 25 days away! Our church, like many, have a strong emphasis on Easter. We have 20 Easter Egg Hunts in our community groups throughout the city. It was fun counting all those eggs! We are specifically praying for hearts to be stirred and for people to respond to the invitation of the Gospel!
- Growth and Expansion – Post Easter the focus becomes on the next steps for expansion. What rooms are next to be renovated. Pray for wisdom and for strength and skill like bezalel and Oholiab from Exodus 31.
- Discipleship – The discipleship steps that I have had the privilege of participating in have been rich and exciting. We are tearing through the Bible and learning together! Now our prayers turn to multiplication. Pray that we are able to multiply these groups by August!
- Activities – We just finished basketball season which was a blast and now we enter into running club at school! We are eagerly awaiting Spring Break and warmer weather to continue our Friday Night family tradition of smores and campfires. Pray that we would be present and make memories at each opportunity.
- Garden Blast off – The #EdmondsGarden has returned for 2018. We have extended garden footprint by ~50%. Currently we are weeding and scheduling the mulch delivery for the next couple of weeks. 100 onions are in the ground. And the purple glow of what look like black lights from our bedroom window is our green house. Currently staged in the greenhouse are 25 tomato plants and 25 pepper plants….ready to go. Compost is composting and Elijah has really taken an interest in helping. We can’t wait to keep y’all posted! Pray the Lord blesses our Land!
- Real TIME UPDATE – Immediate Car Need
- Yesterday driving home from Dewey’s (local baker) “free cake square” the van (1993 Ford Aerostar) gave up it’s ghost. Actually craziest part was I turned it off, put the car in park, removed the key from the ignition and the car continued to run. Some melted gaskets, rings, or plastic, a bit of smoke, and a fire extinguisher later…the car which just turned 25 years old died. Now we’re in the market for a new (to us) car. Prayers for wisdom, discernment, and financial favor! PS. If you are interested in a one-time gift towards a car for the Edmonds, let us know. We can direct you in how to do that!
Friends. This is life. This is an Adventure. Thank you for adventuring with us.
Jojo with his basketball team. Jojo won the award for best defender!
Friday nights are for family, fires and smores
Love me some Fox in Socks. Check out the mask Amy made for Elijah!
Olaf, our van, 1993 – 2018