Thursday, July 26, 2018

Toothpaste all over the sink???? But why? And HOW?!?!

For some reason the last few nights I've been up late piddling about tidying up and working on projects while the littles slumber. The house is quiet except for when the fish tries jumping out of the tank, or the kitties cry from the door to get in for cuddles. Yes I have cats...don't tell my dad! :) But when one lives on a farm there are certain things once must have....cats (thus kittens) being one of them! but mice!

Today I was tidying up the bathroom and picking up (for the millionth time) band aid wrappers, caught drop wrappers, wet towels, forgotten hair ties, and shoes (because one can't possibly wash ones cute tiny hands while wearing shoes right?!), and started asking "why".  Why is it it's hard to look just to ones left for the trashcan to throw wrappers away? Why does one need to be barefoot to wash her hands? Oh yeah, this one is a daily question....why in the world is it necessary to wipe toothpaste allllllll over the sink, the counter, AND the faucet when one brushes ones teeth?!!!! I see the mouthwash lid-less. Dollops of lotion along the counter, and even the cupboard door.  Oh and back to that toothpaste....someone felt it was art worthy and drew a little picture on the countertop using it! I wonder if there's a way to "frame" it?!?!

And after I ask all those "why"s....I remind myself: I probably did all that too when I was their age!!!!!!!!

The calm of being near water....

They say a picture can say a thousand words, and this one does and more. I'm having a hard time putting words to my heart feels this morning. Mornings at the lake tend to make me reflect more than I'd planned, not in a sad and crushing way, but in a calm, peaceful, contented way. I went off the grid this week for the first time in years, and it felt restful!!! No phone calls, not checking texts or social media, no checking my phone in case our foster support worker were to call or text, no constant draw of my mind elsewhere. 

I was there. There IN each moment. Restful. Content. It's like the feeling of coming up for air after holding your breath so long you forgot that you were. One thousand words isn't enough to describe this week. No having to tell my girls "just a minute Mama is working", no waving to my husband as he heads off to work, no being pulled in twenty different directions mentally. Rest. Renewing. Connecting.

There's always been something about a body of water that makes the worries of this world dissipate, even if that current body of water is a man made puddle! It brings calm. The feeling of the wind on my face, the spray of the water in the air and splashing on my face.  Sitting on the sand of the beach while the waves lap around my ankles keeping me present as the morning creeps along, thankfully so slowly!

This past year has been one that it’s not easy to summaries. We’ve had 7 (8 now, since I delayed posting this and 2 more come tomorrow) bonus kiddos come through our door; all for different lengths of time yet all so loved. We’ve added pets to our family, lost baby kittens, expanded our backyard fun activities. We were pregnant again for the 6th time and again the baby didn’t make it past 16 weeks. We’ve taken trips to visit family on both sides of the country, had wonderful family time, and enjoyed every moment! We've filled our calendar with activities, run up the miles on our truck, and overflowed our hearts with relationship! I'm all for being busy if it's relational, which in our line of life it tends to be!!

This year all four of us couldn't agree more on how this was our best lake time yet! We bonded on whole new levels of relationship. My girls are a whole year older, and boy does it change!!! Miss K talks non-stop from eyes open, to brain sleeping! She's smarter than she knows and is interested in everything and how things work and anything that needs to be inspected! Miss R likes to know she's not forgotten about and when she thinks no ones watching (but know we secretly still are), she gets all silly dancing and pretending her own story lines! 

Growing up my family had a houseboat and I remember so many many summer days spent on it. Being around water has been part of my whole life! To the point that when I realized Kansas is a land locked state....I cried buckets. Well, cry no more Alie, we have water! :) It may be more pond-esc than one's used to, but it's got water, and waves, and shore line!! :) 

Watching my girls jumping in the water, swimming together, and enjoying being with us, makes my heart sing. It's healing balm on a weary soul. 

This past year has been tiring. We've stretched our wings in fostering, found our limits, what we can't handle even when we want to, and now we've found what works. But it took a tole too. We grew weary much faster than we expected. But now we've found ways to ensure balance, time to breath, time to recharge. We've found our limits. And found peace within those limits. I'll tell you what, fostering and keeping in mind 1 Corinthians 10:23 (“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.) is a daily internal battle. Oh yes taking in every sweet little face that we get a call about could be so good, it's definitely permissible. But...and here's where my heart and my head do battle....just because it's permissible, does NOT mean that its beneficial to my family, it does NOT mean it builds MY OWN children up. Yes it could be good, but at what cost? That's where my heart tries to down play how the challenges of parenting someone else's child can take a told on our original family unit. I can spin things to sound great, helpful for the child we could take in, and what a great thing we could be doing for them. But if our family unit falls apart, or grows so weary in the doing of good, then it really isn't "good". its permissible yes, but neither beneficial nor building up.  So without spilling out the rest of the ocean of that back story (like the body of water reference!) lets just say we've found what works for us in this fostering adventure!!!! Some days/weeks/months look different than others, but we stand united and strong together in it! :) 

Proverbs 19:21  You can make many plans, but the LORD'S purpose will prevail. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

When life isn't all cupcakes and rainbows

"Will you love this child as your own, as if you birthed them?"

That question was asked of us when we adopted each of our two daughters.  And my answer was a resounding "YES!"!!! Of course I would! Why wouldn't I? I would be her Mama until the day God called me to eternity.

Now fast forward 7 years....and I asked myself "Will I love these children as my own?" What if they don't love me back? What if I can't break through the hard exterior that's protecting their wounded heart? What if they leave and never remember me? What if it hurts? What if I'm not their mama until the day I die? What if...? What if...?

If everyone waited for their "what if" questions to be answered before doing anything, nothing would get done. If we let the unknown hold us in fear, we become paralyzed and unable to even move one step.  I have an uncle who plans our for every possible scenario when planning events or making plans. He takes every possible worst case scenario, every "what if" into through as he moves forward with planning.  He doesn't let the "what if" possibilities keep him for moving forward, but plans possibilities of what they might look like.

Planning for the unknown (which seems like an oxymoron) is kinda like this: you're on a road trip in your car but you don't know where you're going or how to get there. Who does that??? A lot of us actually, often without realizing it.  I often describe to the young women I mentor that trying to follow God's will for us is like this road trip. (Disclaimer: this is not my own analogy, I think I heard it years ago) So when you're driving through life and you come to a split in the road, and you have to make a decision, what do you do? Both ways could be wonderful, both could glorify God, both could bear much fruit, both are honorable, both you could do so much good along. So now what? Do you park your car and wait for the Almighty to light up the path you're to go along? Do you flip a coin? Do you wait for God to pick your car up and set in the direction you're to go? All these options are considered when you have put your car in park. Can a parked car be moved? NO! It must be in gear, even in neutral it can at least be rolled.  If we have faith as small as a mustard seed, then to choose either way in faith IS following God.  Don't we believe that God's so powerful that even if we choose a path that's not what He wants us on, He can redirect us! Even if we don't know exactly what we're getting ourselves into, at least going forward is choosing to have faith. It's much easier to redirect a moving car than a parked one. :) (yes there are many holes in this, but it makes sense as I process)

So now fast forward those 7 years I mentioned earlier... Will I love the children that come and go through our home? Our answer was "YES". Not because we knew we could, not because we thought we could fix them, not because we thought we are these amazing people/parents, not because of anything other than God asked us to.  Does it hurt? YES. Does it wreck our hearts? YES, daily. Does it frustrate us when we see just how broken the system is? Yes. But if we let fear (of some very real things) paralyze us and keep us from opening up our home to these children, we aren't trusting God that He's powerful enough to mend our hearts, bind up our wounds, and carry us through heartache. If we make a difference in even one child's life then it's all worth it.

Not every child has a heartbreaking story. We've had some really positive outcomes with some, and that's been amazing to be part of! And that helps carry us through the pain of others.

Monday we are going to be letting go of one of our littles that is moving on from our home. We've loved him so so so much, made memories with him over these past 7 months. But his social workers have decided that a different home is best for him so he can be with his older sibling. We knew this was a possibility when older sister moved on to a better placement.

Ever child that comes through our home will be here for a time that God has determined. We don't know how long that is, and we have chosen to love anyway. Ugh! I read a blog another foster mom wrote around the time we received our first placement. She titled it "Foster care will wreck you". Yeah, I knew in theory it could. Little did I know just how true that statement is, how daily it wrecks me. Each child comes with their own story, their own trauma, their own joys and sorrows. And with each child I open my heart up to love I am wrecked all over again.

Jesus never once said that following Him would be cupcakes and rainbows (by the way, that movie stole my line I've said for years!!), he never promised it would even be easy! But two promises that remains true no matter how many times my heart is wrecked are these:

Deuteronomy 31:6  "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Malachi 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed."

So from these two promises I can have confidence that no matter how many times my heart is wrecked, heartache will not break me completely.

And so...I'll eat cupcakes and I'll look for rainbows.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

It's ok to cry

Oh sweet girl. Tonight I held you as you cried. You sobbed. As if your heart was breaking, which probably is pretty accurate. my heart hurts for you. For the pain and horrible reasons for why you have to be in our home. We are glad you are; glad we can keep you safe right now. But I'd be scared just like you if id been taken out of the only home I'd know even, even if it was done to keep me safe, from being hurt. Oh sweet girl, how I wish I could take your fear and hurt away. I pray out loud, hoping it might bring peace to the tangled mix of emotions. You can't really express anything verbally except to say "I miss home". What does home mean to you? What about "home" do you miss? I wish I could see what you picture in your mind. Do you see past the pain and imagine it to be what you want it to be instead? Do you push back the pain of feeling unsafe and see the only version of family you've ever known?
You barely know me, but you still cling to me at every turn throughout the day today, never letting me out of your sight. As these sobs wrack your tiny little body, you cling to my neck wanting to be held. I sing to you songs of a savior who loves you. Do you know He does? Do you know that no matter how skewed your idea of a father is, God is the safest father you could ever know.
Oh sweet girl I'm so sorry. Sorry that you weren't protected. Sorry that you at your young age had to already protect your little brother. Sorry that we live in a fallen world and I can't fix it all for you. I'm sorry you're scared. I'm sorry your heart hurts.
It's ok to cry sweet girl. Let all those tears flow. Not one will be wasted. You may not understand now, but I pray one day you will. I pray that you will understand how valuable you are, that you have amazing worth. You are created in God's image. Beautiful and perfect in His sight.
You barely know me, but I love you already.
It's ok to cry. It will help you sleep tonight. You'll become too tired to worry or be scared. Let the tears fall as your eyes give way to sleep. Rest tonight knowing you are safe. No one will hurt you tonight. You are safe in my arms tonight sweet girl.
Tonight you are safe. It's ok to cry.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Counting down to Court!!!!

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

Friday we have our court hearing to finalize Ruthie's adoption! Her legal name is already Ruth Joy Kroeker (a very special gift from her wonderful birthmother), but this will mean that legally the state recognizes us as her parents! She's been our daughter from the moment that S placed her in our arms, but this means no figurative looking over the shoulder! 

Before Friday can take place, our lawyer needs to receive a couple certificates & affidavits to verify that we've exhausted all avenues of contacting birth father.  The certificates have all been received, but we're still waiting the affidavit from the independent counsel who's verifying it all.  If it's received by Thursday we are all set for our hearing! 

Prayer requests:

* Please pray that all necessary documents are received by Thursday so we don't have to postpone our court hearing.

* Please continue to pray for S (birthmother) as she has started a new chapter in her life. She's decided it's best for her to have some space for a while, and we're supportive of her in that. Please pray for her as her heart still is going through different emotions at different moments. She's an amazingly strong woman.

Thank you!!! We're so blessed to have you all praying for us!!!

The Kroekers!

Our girl is all smiles!!! She started grinning at us at 6 weeks old! We love it!

Sister love!! Karis just adores being a big sister!

Family time at our favorite type of venue! The zoo!!!

Mother's Day with my girls!

Friday, April 4, 2014

She's here!!!!!

We are proud to announce that our daughter Ruth Joy Kroeker is here!  Ruthie was born Thursday March 27th at 8:08PM!! Labor and delivery went well and birthmom did amazingly!! After 24 hours in the hospital we were able to bring our precious baby girl home! Karis is such a proud big sister & we are thrilled to be parents of two beautiful, happy girls!! We are home and settling into life as a family of 4. Thank you all for all your prayers and encouragement during the past year and half we've been praying for this baby!

Cheyenne, Alison, Karis & Ruthie

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Waiting Still

So, with all the anticipation of an upcoming due date and anticipated baby arrival, we now have to wait again! :)

This week our birthmom had her weekly doctor appointment.  Her OB went over all her sonograms and charts and determined that we've still got a couple more weeks to wait for this baby girl to arrive! Good news is that both S and baby girl are healthy and baby is growing just as she should!

The good news is, birthmom is much less anxious about when this baby is going to be born! She was so worried about going too far past her due date, but now her perspective is that of peace! That in itself is a big praise!!

Please continue to pray for S and baby!!! :)

Good things are worth the wait!!!!