Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be of Good Cheer!

Whenever I start a blog post I think how I would want to greet you if I could see you. It would be so wonderful to be able to see you and enthusiastically call you by name and give you a good, warm hug. People make me so happy and I just get such a wonderful thrill from interacting with other human beings. I've never had alcohol or drugs, but I can't imagine any rush that can compare to the high I feel when I'm with my friends. It takes me a while to come down from that high.

The only thing better than being with my friends is being with my friends with my husband. I get positively giddy. It's so much fun to be doing something enjoyable with the person I adore more than anything. It's nice. Really, really nice. It also leads me to flirt with him uncontrollably--and luckily he doesn't seem to mind this behavior.

There is simply an indescribable amount of good in this world. I am so abundantly grateful to have each day to live and breathe and see the wonder all around me. Even though life is a little rough right now, I can't help but feeling that for the most part, this world is magical and good. I just want all of you who read this to know that I believe that. Life can be really hard and circumstances sometimes lead me to get critical and unkind to myself, but always, I have felt through all the worst times of my life that there is only good to come. Everything that has been hard for me has ultimately transformed me in ways I never would have experienced without those difficult times.

If you were to gather up all the most incredible people in history I don't think any of them would trade their difficulties for an easy life because who would they have become then? Who would Christ be without Gethsemane? Just an interesting first century philosopher. But even God, who descended below all things and was cast out by His own people taught, "Be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you."

Thursday, March 20, 2014


It's been four weeks since my kids have been gone. Everyone keeps telling me to not get my hopes up that we'll get them back but I can't stand that.

It's not about me. If it was about me I could move on just fine, I could enjoy just cuddling my perfect two year old angel and look forward to the family we can have on our own. But whenever my mind turns to those three little ones and the way they fit in here I can't just enjoy what I have. I ache for them.

They are each so perfectly perfect. Things that can't be described in a blog post, just feelings and looks that remind me of who we were. A family. Children. Children are so love-able. They can give love and they can take love. One of my favorite things was driving with a full car. So simple. Looking back in the rear view mirror catching the occasional eye contact with the one you've been trying to love all day. Getting a little sideways smile--or a tear to tell you they feel. Feel anything, but feeling means loving.

Families are so much more than snapshots in time. More than parenting techniques and mottoes. It's that beautiful dynamic, so totally unexpected yet completely familiar. When you bring that shining newborn from the hospital and her personality molds around you like clay. With our foster children it was the same. Like being folded in by completely new but magically comfortable new surroundings.

And now they're gone and it wasn't like cutting a cord or closing a door. It's been like watching the lights fade out, slowly until you're not just in the dark, but you're not sure where you are at all and you're sure the place you were in before the lights went out is gone. But still you don't give up. You keep groping in the dark for the switch even though the voices around you say you should be looking for a door out and away instead of the same light.

But the light has to be there. Isn't that what we raise our kids to believe? That the light is always there? To never give up or give in to the voices that say that what you're looking for can't be found? I am an idealist! How can I surrender to the doubt and the questions and the complacency. To less than perfect and less than RIGHT? It's like rubbing sandpaper against the grain of my soul. I have always stood for striving for the best. Not just being okay with whatever happens because it's God's will or it's what was meant to happen. No! No, we are not mere objects, but movers, shapers and creators of destiny. I cannot believe that my life with my children is over. To do so goes against everything I believe myself to be.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Whole Lot of Beautiful

I haven't posted for a long time and because of that I think you've missed out on a whole lot of beautiful. I can't express how much I have loved parenting our three foster children. Every day I have felt like it wasn't possible to have better children. And yet, something super awful has happened. We have lost our kids. A social worker chose that they would do better out of our home and we are heartbroken. It is crazy how a panel of five people who have never spent time in my home or even spoken with our children can just take them away.

I never anticipated what that would feel like. For the last two weeks I have woken up with this hole in the pit of my stomach. As someone who tries really hard to be happy because I like the way it feels to be happy, it is gut-wrenching to feel this way. I keep trying to remind myself that we're fighting this, that we're going to get them back and make things right, but the horrible feelings keep coming back. Feelings that usually come in the form of questions.

If I had done "X" could I have prevented this?
Do my kids know that I love them?
Do they know that I'm aching without them?
What if we can't win?
How will I ever recover from this?
Will I feel this emptiness and this sorrow forever?
How can five months make you feel this way about three complete strangers?
What will happen to my kids?
Will they get hurt?
Will they be bitter and angry?
Will they be happy?
Will someone else love them like I do?
Why doesn't God just make it stop?

Then sometimes I feel fierce, ready to do whatever it takes to get them back. I want to go to whoever I can to make this right. But I feel worried that the amazing therapists, social workers, and other people standing behind me might say "Mrs. P. it's time to give this up, it's time to let go."

But no matter what happens I feel sure that we made the right choice to start along this path of foster care. It has been a miracle to watch God work in the lives of five wonderful children as well as in our own.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Jon is a few years older than me. He went to my high school and I really don't think I ever had a conversation with him once. But he is the sort of guy who demands attention. So whether you knew him personally or not, you recognized his face around school.

This morning I found out that Jon has Sickle Cell Anemia and the progression of the disease has now left him unable to walk. He is trying to get a wheelchair lift for his car so he can continue to be independent. If you have $5 to spare, take a second and donate to his fund.

Just think, for the price of lunch, you can put him 1% closer to that wheelchair lift.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Awesome Foster Care Story

Yesterday, I was at DCBS (Kentucky's version of CPS) and I spent a while in the waiting room. Let me tell you, that is one equal opportunity waiting room. It's kind of like the emergency room, but the staff isn't quite as excited to be there.

Anyway, a little before I was about to leave this woman walks in with two infant carrier car seats. One pink, one blue. The woman's presence in that particular office made custody a bit difficult to decipher. So I start with this one "Are they yours?" After finding the common ground of being foster parents I find out that these little ones are twins. A boy and a girl, born eleven weeks ago addicted to opiates. They spent their first five days in this world experiencing withdrawals and then went home to this amazing foster mom.

I was so amazed and impressed by this woman and her dedication to her babies. She was there to take the babies to visit their mother. A thirty something mother of five, none of whom are in her custody. And as impressed as I was with the foster mom, I was just as saddened by the biological mom. I can't imagine what that must be like, to realize your life is ruled by a substance. I wonder if she's ever confronted that ugly thought or if that moment is still ahead of her. What brought her to that point? What life experiences dragged her to the depths of ugliness and I'm sure loneliness as well?

I have so much to be grateful for. Not the least of which, being good parents who raised me innocent, naive and idealistic. My life is messy and busy, but it is so close to perfect. And it's wonderful to know that on the opposite side of my perfect, simple life there is hope for the ugly side as well. Those twins have a wonderful future to look forward to with a foster mother who plans to adopt them away from the horrors that must be their mother's life. The simple and beautiful is connected to the scary and the ugly far more often than we think.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Developmental Milestones

To all my friends who have biological ties to all their children: I need your help.

You see I don't get to "ease into" temper tantrums, puberty, bed wetting, appetite fluctuations or anything else. I just get handed this kid and I'm expected to know what the heck I'm doing with it her. It's sort of like parenting by Braille. I have so many questions for people who know what a normal four year old does. For the people who know what reasonable expectations for a kid are because they've slowly developed those expectations with their own children. When that doesn't work there are so many questions.

There's the question: "Are you doing this because you were abused or are you doing this because you are four?" Or this question; which is even better: "Are you doing this because you were abused and because you are four?" The dangerous question: "Are you doing this to abuse me?" Just kidding. I already know the answer to that one.

However, when I get past (yes Mrs. Breyer I did almost publish this with passed instead of past) trying to google my way out of my problems I realize that sometimes the best parenting technique is to look a child in the eyes and try to convey as concisely and as simply how much you love them.

And when the day comes that you really can't bring yourself to love that kid because, hell, we're all human, and sometimes you can't love everybody, just rely on God. Tell them that God loves them. Because that will always be true.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Say Me!

While trying really hard to be really wimpy about this stomach bug that showed up this afternoon, I overheard the following conversation. I was in bed, listening to make sure my four year old and two year old didn't kill each other.

Maggie: "Say Mommy"
Frances: "Mommy!"
Maggie: "Say Daddy"
Frances: "Daddy!"
Maggie: "Say David"
Frances: "Dagawoodlewag"
Maggie: "Say Me"
Frances: "Meee!"
Maggie: "No, me!"
Frances: "Meemeeemee!'
Maggie: "No, me is Maggie!"
Frances: "Meeee!"