Sunday, September 22, 2013


Only one more week until Hope at Home 2013! Still time to REGISTER. We would sure love to see you there! What a great time of refreshing, strengthening and hope for us parents!

We always enjoy introducing you to one of our Hope at Home friends. You will find out about Gina and Phil as you read this post-- they are true treasures! And we so appreciate hearing more from someone who is answering the amazing call to foster children. Read all the way to the end where Gina addresses some of the common questions people have about fostering. 
Here is their family last Christmas-- and no, Santa is not one of their foster children!

Seven years ago Phil and I began to notice how many needs there were for orphans worldwide. The scales began to be lifted from our lives as we listened to the statistics that there are more than 160 million orphans in the world. The Lord began to stir in our hearts. As a mother, I began thinking of these faceless children at every turn, being reminded of all my children have that we simply take for granted every single day. 

Are there really 160 milion children with no food, no one to tuck them in at night, to hug them when they are afraid?

No one to teach them about Jesus? 

No one to protect them and fight for them? 

Three years ago we began exploring the options of international adoption only to have the Lord clearly slam doors. No he didn't quietly shut them. He slammed them shut, locked up tight. I was confused as I knew the Lord was stirring so much in my heart. Last June we were invited to a class to learn more about foster care with Faithbridge Foster Care. Honestly I didn't want to go. I had seen one too many movies to know that foster care was beyond messy and it was not for me. 

No it was not for us.

Not one piece of it. 

The Lord continues to surprise us when we least expect it. We left that class hungry for so much more. Phil loved the ministry of reunifcation of the family. I loved the opportunity to fight for these kids with all I had learned in raising a special needs child. 

We finished our homestudy in December telling our agency that we would absolutely be open to just one girl between the ages of 4 and 7. After all, we had seen lots of movies and television programs so we knew exactly what we wanted.  

Here we are 8 months later with two of the cutest little boys ages 2 and 4! 

Into our hearts .....February 14, 2013
Into our arms .......May 8, 2013

It's hard to believe these little boys moved in 3 months ago because they have changed so much. It's been humbling and life changing to see God's grace and the healing that has taken place. I think what broke our hearts the most in addition to them being separated from their family, was the strain that was present in their relationship with one another.  

These two have  become brothers who love each other, wrestle, say they are sorry, hug and look out for each other.
They will not go to sleep without one another in the room. They each have their places in my lap when I read to them at night. 
I can see them holding hands in the rear view mirror. 
They look out for each other in a new protective manner.

We learned in the early days of meeting the boys that they were both afraid of being left or forgotten. We began praying with them at night, Hebrews 13:5, 
for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'  
I am guessing this is every foster child's fear. I was immediately reminded that we could not rescue these boys. The only one who can rescue is Jesus, the one and only Rescuer. We can give them warm beds and hang Christmas lights in their room to help with their fear of the dark. We can show them the beauty that comes from having a family. We can rock them and read to them. We can hug them when they are sad. It's our job to point them to their one and only Rescuer sent to save them and give them hope. They are very young but they will know Jesus loves them. 

Recently our oldest foster son asked us "why do so many people give me things?" I told him this is how we live in the body of Christ. We love each other BIG. He smiled and whispered, "Jesus".  His favorite song is Chris Tomlin's "Whom Shall I fear". You can hear him singing it in the backseat or after our last kiss good night, "the one who 'WAINS' forever is always by my side". When he hears it on the radio, I see him in the rear view mirror, smiling big and I know it's coming, "Ms. Gina, turn it up. Turn it up loud. It's my angels' armies song!" 
I am truly blown away by the army of people who have rallied around our family and these precious boys. Our community has grown exponentially in three months. They are center stage to the body of Christ and they know it. They feel the love and encouragement. They can't wait to go to the pool or to church to see the faces that have given them such a warm welcome. 

Common Questions about Foster Parenting 

How will you ever give them back? 

Funny how many people ask us this question. I have way too many answers for this one question. Perhaps this is the most important lesson I have learned through this entire experience. These little boys are no more or less ours then Davis, Lily and Carter. All of these children belong to a mighty King. Our Lord. Our Heavenly Father. Our Creator.  HE has given us a charge to guide them and shephard them.... all of them. Davis, Lily and Carter share our genetic make up which makes them feel more like they are ours. They belong to a father much greater than us! My favorite answer really is, "If you are asking that question, you would be perfect for foster care".  No not everyone is called to bring children into their home but my guess is everyone has something to offer to the foster care community! We do get a lot of questions and I have found it's a great opportunity and platform to engage new faces and old friends in the orphan crisis. There are so many opportunities to help children. It can be as simple as offering encouragement to a new adoptive or foster family my mowing their yard, praying for them, offering encouragement, helping find supplies or volunteering for a community of care in your church. We take one court date at a time. The goal of Faitbridge Foster Care and DFCCS is reunification of the family. In the meantime, we have a lot of memories to make with back to school, picking apples in September, pumpkins to carve, and getting ready to trick or treat! Davis, Lily and Carter recently figured out the boys don't know anything about fall fun. Need I say more?  I have heard Halloween costume rumblings of 5 superheroes, 4 football players and 1 cheerleader..... the Incredibles!!  

What do you know about their family? Mom?

The boys love their siblings and they look forward to their family visits.  Their mother is beautiful with a contagious smile. I could quickly see each of the boys in her the very first moment I met her. If there is one special connection I have had with the boys, it's the understanding of how it feels to show up in a community where no one knows the parent you have lost.... and the loss hits you out of nowhere. Perhaps it's a sound, a smell, a song or a thought that triggers a memory and then the loss sets in a big and heavy way!  

How are your children doing?

Each of our children has brought a different challenge and a unique blessing to opening our home to the boys. Their lives are changed forever. I've watched them grow in ways I was not expecting. This experience has exposed gifts in each of our children. It's also exposed habits and struggles that need guidance and discipline. If you ask each of our children how they feel about the boys, I am almost certain they would refer to them as brothers. 

What's it like to have 5 kids?

It's busy. It's hard. It's messy. There is a lot of dirt and a lot of laundry. There are more boo-boos, tears and spilled milk than I can count. The dust is collecting. The yard has weeds.  Sometimes snack plates count as dinner. Phil and I are 40.... we started this adventure when we were 30. We were much younger. We are  tired.......every bit of it is worth it!!

What do you feel prepared you most for foster care?

I believe with all my heart the Lord will equip you if he calls you. If you step out in faith, He will meet you there. The blessings that have come for a family with this leap of faith are more than I could have imagined or expected. Phil and I love children and we had an extra bedroom in our house and empty seats at the kitchen table. We also have had the privilege and joy of raising a special needs child. It has come with many challenges but the number one lesson we learned is these children are not ours. They are a heritage of the Lord. He makes all things beautiful and for a special purpose. It's His design not ours. We assume in our flesh that our children will be designed a particular way because they are biological. By all the worldly facts, Davis really should be a different child. God's promises are that Davis is desinged for perfection. This is noteworthy because I know that one of the major fears people have about bringing children into their home that are genetically connected elsewhere is the mystery of what lies ahead.

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