Archive for the ‘Foster Care’ Category

And Then There Were 9 —   Leave a comment

Psalm 146:9

5Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
8The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
I love this passage.
I love the mandate that can be read through the lines of this Scripture, balanced with the New Testament passages that tell us to GO – DO -SERVE-LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE-
PICK UP YOUR CROSS.
Because, God alone can, and does all of these things —
but sometimes He uses us,
through His power,
to accomplish His will —
AND HE GETS ALL THE GLORY!!
And WE get all the fun,
the stretching
the learning and growing
the faith building
the joy!
One of the best parts of foster care for us has been the wonderful spiritual growth that
has happened in us as we learn to minister and bless those children and the parents of those children who are involved with Social Services.
They are the ones who need help.
They are the ones who are oppressed, and yes, often from their own actions but sometimes not.
They are hungry and they are prisoners.
They are blind to many truths, especially that they are created in the image of God and valuable!
Many are bowed down and can’t see any hope for themselves or their children.
They are the strangers, often new to communities as they live transient lives,
moving from place to place.
They are the fatherless, motherless and widows.  Victims of  divorce or partners moving on
to the next hook-up or affair.  Children who have no parent alive or possible one
alive while the other is incarcerated.
They are needy — and through the years I have come to see…..
they look a lot like me.
It is the wonder of what God has done in my life and the changes that He has wrought in my stubborn mind and will that make me love those who are needy.  I see ALL the potential of who they can be and the glorious lives that they can have, if they follow Jesus as their Savior.
It has made my husband and I take risks —
Follow after God and obey Him even when it looks crazy–
And we are entering one of those seasons of caring for the needy, and their children
The house is full, to the brim!
The prayers are stepped up a notch and we are asking for lots of faith to fill us up.
And we are already experiencing the joy in the middle of the chaos-
And seeing God connect us with folks, and families who just need a Savior–
Just like me!

Posted September 24, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Foster Care, Spiritual Life

I Am Returning —- slowly!   Leave a comment

After much time away for various reasons, all of which I will write about in the near future, I am slowly making my way back to blogging again.  It seems there are some folks whom I love dearly who really do read and follow our lives here at Joyfulhouse……. sweet things!   I also am using this blog to document our life so in light of that and the fact that I would not want it to seem we all disappeared for a year, we are foster parents and that could raise questions, I will resume —  🙂

Coming back to this blog will also have to be a slow re-entry as WordPress has changes in the last year.  How unfair to me that they would change everything in such a short matter of time.  I will learn what all these new and fancy buttons are for over time and hopefully not delete with a push of a button all of my work — been known to happen —

2013 — August —

Let’s just sum up the summer of 2013 as fun, and lots of hard work.  I live in Door County remember and although we live in a tourist area, we work so that the tourists can enjoy their stay, and then we squeeze in some fun when we are able.

As foster parents we are always ready for THAT CALL, the one that says we are needed to take in another child, it is a phone call that we await as our hearts are drawn to this ministry of caring for children as the Lord brings them.  Sometimes they are the unexpected, as was the one that we received last August.  We knew there was a baby soon to be born in the fall but because we still had our Miss S we were sure we would not get the call for that baby as well.  But, we did.  We prayed and knew it was a yes to take this little guy, Mr. A, born 6 weeks early with some special needs.  He was 2.5 hours away in a NICU by himself so we drove as often as we could to see him and bond with him the first few days.  Soon we realized  that he was being given some very strong meds and the nurses explains that  he would need to be on them for 30 days for sure which was protocol for these babies.  That was too much for my heart to bare as I held this little 4 lb. bundle who was suffering physically and sequestered away in a private dark room for many reasons.  I prayed for healing, I asked my family to pray  for him, I asked friends and our church to pray and literally 2 days later as I called to check on him, the nurses said, in a surprised tone, that his numbers were coming down and that they had never seen this before.  Oh do I love when God works quickly!  Remember, at this time we had been told that he would not be coming home to our home until October, maybe the first 2 weeks.  This was Sept. 2, he was a week old and it was Monday.  I went to see him and the nurses taught me to tube feed him and start on the bottle feeding and they again mentioned how surprised they were that he was doing so well — I was blessed with the opportunity to tell another nurse about God and how He answers prayers –.  On Wednesday they called and said he was coming off the strong meds because he didn’t need them anymore!  They had been slowly removing him from the meds as he quickly healed but it was progressing so fast that at this point the NICU doctor was astounded — and I got to tell her about prayer!  On that Thursday they also told us to be ready to take him on Saturday!  The problem was that we had been praying but not acting as in getting ready!  Thank the Lord for daughters who helped me transform our bedroom nook into a nursery, buy a crib and all the items necessary for a baby, and a tiny baby at that!  On Sunday Rick and I drove down to pick up our Mr. A.  He was so tiny that the little car seat seemed huge compared to his little body.  I remember The Fisherman and I looking at each other and I started to laugh — what was God doing?  Did He not know we are in our 50’s?  As we drove out we prayed, and felt the complete assurance from God that this was indeed what we were to be doing, and that yes, it would be hard in many ways but that our Big God would supply all of our needs.

He did! — He gave me the ability to feed Mr. A every 3 hours around the clock — 2 oz. at a time for the first 3 weeks.  It would take him about 30-40 minutes to do the 2 oz. I would get back to sleep for 2 hours then need to get back up and feed him again.  But such a joy!  It became my delight, on most nights —  to pray over him and bless him with God’s Words for his life.  God met every need for us as a family to take care of this little man and boy did we fall in love, and Miss S did as well!

Mr. A is one of the reasons that I did not blog for a while — my life became very consumed with the needs of getting a tiny baby healthy and caring for him, Miss S and our family —   And it was all good!.  God is so awesome and this journey is so exciting and real — Oh how I love what He brings and how He takes us through the good and the very hard things, and it has been a year of culmination in my life — all for good as I will share.

That was last fall —

It is that time of year again but we do not have Mr. A anymore.  He is in a very good place with family which is a true blessing and another answer to prayers.  We miss him.  It was last April when we said our goodbyes as we met with the family member, a beautiful kind woman, and passed him to her along with all of his belongings and special gifts from us.  As we sat in the hotel room, Mi-mi, A, The Fisherman and myself, we gathered around him to lay hands on him and pray.  We knew there was a good chance that we would never see him again on this earth.  We prayed over his life, lifting him before the throne of God.  As my big fisherman husband prayed he choked back sobs, joining the tears of our two beautiful daughters which broke my heart, his love and their love for this little boy pouring out in words over his life.  We hugged him and said our goodbyes.  As we were heading out of the hotel room I asked Mimi and A if this was too much for them, too hard to give up the foster children, even if it was to a very good place.  I will never forget A turning to me with more than a little fire in her eyes and saying “Oh sure mom, make it easier on us and leave children without a good safe home to go to??”  I knew then that even though we were all a wreck it would be ok eventually, God does heal hearts, He would help us through missing this precious little life in which we had seen miracles and experienced such joy.

He did help us, because He is faithful and He is kind.

Foster care is a wild ride — wouldn’t want life to be boring!

Thankful for the opportunity to love a little man, bless his life, teach him about Jesus and pray over him, change his diapers and spend time in the night with him showing him what love looks like!

 

 

Blessed as always because of Jesus

Joyce

Posted September 3, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Family, Foster Care

  1 comment

2013-02-19_13-38-18_458
The fish docks — looking pretty barren these days, and COLD!
2013-02-19_13-41-28_600
Beautiful snowy Door County backroad.
2013-02-23_15-03-06_78
                                                        Annie and Mandy at our birthday dinner celebration.
2013-02-23_16-40-42_326
We were able to drive down last weekend to Appleton and celebrate Mandy’s birthday.  I love how little S just gets into the girl mode so easily….. here she is applying powder to her face and hair!  So cute.
2013-02-23_16-48-20_946#1
Jeni, made a beautiful bundt cake for Mandy’s birthday — unfortunately the parking lot by Mandy’s was sheer ice and  the cake did a very impressive flip!   It still tasted delicious!
2013-02-23_16-51-46_66
Me and the birthday girl  —  our beautiful daughter Mandy.  Mandy has had a great year with lots of changes in her life in many areas and answers in prayer for her with her VERY stressful job and with her church.  Yeah God!
2013-02-28_06-26-34_548
Miss S has been getting up early — on top of not sleeping through the night.  This was one morning this week where she refused to let Rick leave for work until he had read her a book!  This was around 6:30 in the morning and she was very pleased with getting some time with her Mister before he left for work.  🙂
DSC00295
Melody took a cake decoration class last month for her home-ec class.  The cake was beautiful and SO delicious!
DSC00299
2013-02-28_07-53-26_348
Foster Care Reality!   Some days 13 month olds, like Miss S, just do not want to be put down and sometimes I am the only one who she wants to be with even though she loves all of our family!  This was the other day where within an hour of being up I knew it was going to be a back-pack type of day —  so here we are brushing our teeth together!  It was a bonding moment for Miss S and her NaNa!   🙂
DSC00305 DSC00311 DSC00324
Matthew came up yesterday with his girlfriend Emily.  We had dinner together and visited and then we went out for pictures and after that nice one my son tried to throw Emily into the snow bank but she held on and ended up taking him down with her….  it was hilarious!   He was so surprised that he didn’t know what to say!  Ha.  I was so glad that he could come up and snowmobile after not being well for almost the last month.  I prayed all last week for more snow and decent weather for him to get to snowmobile and God answered my prayers.  We had such a wonderful day!
Blessed —
Joyce

Busy Week of Faith   Leave a comment

It has been quite the week here in Gills Rock, and quite the week of faith.
Our son Matthew had a flare up with a terrible illness he is fighting.  It ended up making him lose a lot of weight and the become weak in his strength.  It is an awful thing to watch one’s precious son suffer, or child for that matter.  This bout has lasted three weeks and last Wednesday it became apparent that it was time for the family to step in and help.  Rick, Annie, Melody and I all sat in the living room and joined in prayer for Matthew as we asked God to intervene on his behalf.  The whole family hardly slept on Wednesday as we prayed through the night for Matthew’s health.  Thursday morning I made his favorite soup, ham and potato and put homemade apple sauce and other foods together and packed the girls all up and we headed out to Green Bay.  The timing was perfect as we were trying to make the drive in-between snow storms.  We came into the second storm about 30 minutes from Matthew’s home and had to drive slowly on the icy snow covered roads and saw cars in the ditch as we drove.  I was so glad to get there and again was thanking the Lord for our old suburban which hauls through this northern weather, and also that my husband did not listen to me when I thought we should trade it in when we bought the Ford Edge in Dec..  He was correct in saying that all-wheel-drive is no match to the suburban and that trip down and the last few days of driving have proved it!  It also has room for all of our stuff and the baby paraphernalia that come along with a 13 month old!
 
On Friday, Mandy came up from Appleton and Uncle Randy came over and we had a wonderful time visiting with Matthew and encouraging him and getting him to smile.  Mandy is always good for that!  We cooked food and cleaned up and just practiced “being-with” which was what Matthew needed most of all.  God really spoke to me a lesson about helping those who are alone — there is a real need to go and “be-with” single folks when they are hurting or suffering so that they are not alone during those times.  I realized last week that God is showing me another way to love and mentor the single folks that He has put in our lives.  No need to come with an agenda, just some simple food and my bag of knitting or books to read and then just sit there and “be-with”.  Matthew has lovingly expressed to us all that this blessed him most.
 
Friday night Emily, Matthew’s girlfriend, came up and since we were there she spent the night so we could have more time together.  She was a blessing and as always our time of sharing together was sweet and wonderful.
 
We spent Thurs. and Fri. there with him and then headed north on Saturday to get little miss S to her visit with her parents.  As we left that morning, we gathered around Matthew and I laid hands on him and prayed over him and as I did little Miss S reached out her little hand and put it on Matthew’s shoulder — so precious!   She is learning to pray!
 
While there, Annie was picked up, along with dear friends Jean and Heather as they headed out to Honduras to work in an orphanage there.  
I asked God to give me extra faith for this time as I was praying for Matthew’s well being and then Annie’s as well.  God is good and He gave me such a gift of faith and peace to go with it.  Isn’t He just wonderful?  He always, always, gives me more than I asked for!  🙂
2013-01-30_13-28-07_735
We had a snow day last week and it was during the time when we had taken in a little boy who was abandoned.  He was three years old and such a precious little boy.  We are thankful that they found a family member to take him in and care for him as a safe family member is always better than foster care.  The other boy in the picture is also in foster care and lives with my good friend Heather.  We loved the snow and the fun and being snowbound for the day!
2013-02-08_13-06-36_967
Visiting at Matthew’s house.    I have to cover little Miss S’s face to keep her identity hidden per foster care rules.
IMG953372#1
Annie and Heather heading out!
2013-02-13_15-43-50_297
Back at home, I started working on taxes in the office.  Little Miss S loves to help but she has also discovered our terrier is a fun toy and as she is walking better all the time she is starting to track the poor dog down and grab at Jazmin — which does not make Jazmin happy!   I discovered that the gate makes them the best of friends!
2013-02-13_18-01-52_856
Little Miss S baking Valentine’s Day cookies with Melody!
ResizedImage951360868010341
Every Valentine’s Day Rick buys all of his girls (who are not married) flowers.  Of course I get a beautiful bouquet of roses as well!  These were Kristi’s flowers .  He is such a sweetheart-   The apple did not fall far from the tree as Matthew sent a beautiful big bouquet of roses to Emily as well!  I made Rick steak and shrimp, baked potatoes, salad and garlic bread for supper as my treat to him.  he enjoyed it very much.  He had worked all day at construction and then went and plowed for four hours so he was tired and the warm meal made him so happy.
Today — I have already prayed for Matthew and Annie.  Matthew called last night and said that he is doing a bit better and we are so thankful.  Annie called and although she got sick on Wednesday, she is doing better.  She is having a wonderful time!   I will spend the better part of  today in the office working on taxes and getting accounts in line.  I also need to wrap up the music for Sunday, iron some shirts for my husband and when then baby naps, work on some drawing and water color art with Melody for school.  I also hope to get the Christmas tree down!  I KNOW, this is a record.  We went to take it down last week but the door to our outside metal barn, where we store the Christmas stuff, was totally iced shut and even Rick could not get it open..   Maybe today!  Rick just doesn’t want me lighting up the tree so the neighbors driving by see that the tree is still up!!   What a riot!
Faith — beautiful gift from God according to His Word — it is what keeps a mother’s heart from breaking, over and over again, as we cry out to our God to work on behalf of our children.  There are many things that I am asking God to give me faith for right now and I am thankful beyond words that I can trust Him during this time, knowing that in His perfect timing all will be accomplished.  He is loving, kind, and always GOOD!
Blessed with faith today!
Joyce

Getting Ready……. for the day   Leave a comment

Today is going to be one of “those” kinds of days, non-stop busy with so much to accomplish.

Rick and I were up early as I made him his lunch pail and we had coffee together and then he headed out the door for his work in Sturgeon Bay.  I always say an urgent prayer for his safety in driving as the deer are moving during these early morning hours and then again at dusk or later when he eventually makes his way home.  We discussed Thanksgiving and went over the time to eat due to there being a Packer game at noon which interferes with Thanksgiving dinner, or Rick may say that the Thanksgiving dinner interferes with the Packer game!  Either way, we are eating munchies during the game and eating the big meal at 4 ish.  That will make for a fun day!

I will go and check a caretaking home in a moment but first I will get the girls up to do a little cleaning up.  It is not too bad, but since we are having our home check for foster care re-licensing there are a few things that need to be picked up and plugs that need to be put in outlets and smoke alarms checked.  I worked on the paper work for relicensing last night for two hours!  I understand the need for it all, I just under estimated the time it would take to get it all done.  Our Social worker comes at 9 and when she leaves we will finish school, and chores, one of which for me is getting some bills paid.  I also need to get the meal plans done for next week so that I can do our shopping as Thursday is market day for our home.  Kristi gave me lots of ideas so I just need to make sure that I have all the ingredients, mostly the meat is what I will need to buy.  This is going to be a feast week with Rick’s birthday being celebrated on Saturday and Sunday and then lots of gatherings for the following days and Thanksgiving besides!

Melody has a violin lesson which we will leave and head to Sturgeon Bay for the shopping when she is through.  It will be a mad dash around the town due to needing some insurance signatures to verify insurances for our foster care license, then getting groceries.  I need to decide whether we should grab a bite to eat in Sturgeon Bay at a drive through to eat on the way home, or try and have something in the crock pot.  We will have little time to eat a meal when we get home before we need to head to Bible study, if we are even able to make it on time for study!

It is going to be a wild day!

Hoping all of you are having a calmer day, and are enjoying these beautiful fall days!

Choosing joy,

Joyce

Posted November 17, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Foster Care

Melody has enjoyed painting recently and has enjoyed being outside while working. A little friend watched and also enjoyed playing with puzzles.   Leave a comment

Posted April 23, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Family, Foster Care, School time

Foster Care   Leave a comment

I am sitting in my bathroom watching a dark haired three year old play in a bubble bath in my tub.  It is not a first time for this little girl to be having a “tubby” in my tub, but it is a first time for me to be blogging while in my bathroom.  She is old enough now that I do not have to be right beside the tub as in past visits.

This visit is the longest we have had with her and this particular visit has been the hardest.

I know my selfish heart and the need for loving discipline from my Heavenly Father.  Watching this little one has been eye opening to what a  person without discipline will  look like…….. totally out of control.

It saddens me to see so much potential clouded by such controlling and defiant to authority behavior.  But, as my husband always tells me, I see the glass more than half full!  way more than half full.

Today I spoke to this little one’s social worker and expressed my concern and asked for her guidance in what I should address with her behavior.  The very encouraging response was to treat her as my own.  That was what I wanted to hear, that is what makes sense, and that is what relieves stress.  The other very interesting comment that the social worker said was that this little girl acts up where ever there is order and structure in a home.  I asked if that was a problem and the social worker stated with great emphasis that structure and routine are exactly what  all children need and thrive the best in.

What a blessing to find that we are on the same page…..  now I know that loving this little one, along with having a goal for her to self-govern herself is an acceptable plan.

The good news is that the other night after three days of dealing with bad behavior consistently ( to my exhaustion!!)  she sassed me up and down as we were climbing in the car after a hike.  All I said to her was that it was not nice to talk like that.  By the time I got into the driver’s seat she was a very subdued child and she quickly said to me that she was sorry for calling me names.  Victory…..  no discipline just a precious little heart that responded to conviction…..  All I could do was smile.   She may be tough, but my love and training be it as infrequent as it may be, will show her a different way.

One of the other perks of foster-care besides seeing little break throughs of sweetness, is that I get to hold this child on my lap for Bible, lay by her at nap time and bed time and read to her about Jesus, hold her and pray for her, now and for her future, pray for her to know God and to break free from the generational junk, for God to rescue her.  That is worth it, all the work stress that it does bring to a home is worth it to bring my God into the life of this little one.

Well, bath time is done and I hate to be the one to tell her……………  there will be a scene as she loves to play in the bubbles   🙂

Pray for the hundreds, I hope thousands, of Christian foster care parents who tonight will have a chance to be Jesus to little ones and big ones who need Him desperately.

Blessed on this other road that the Lord has us on,

Joyce

Posted April 19, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Foster Care, Spiritual Life