Saturday, October 27, 2012

Steven S.

What a cute kid huh? His name is Steven and he's 9. He has a great personality, and he's witty and funny. He's the typical 9-year-old boy. He loves Spiderman, Transformers, dragons and playing outside. He loves watching new dragon movies, and he loves getting anything dragon. Steven's pastimes are being outside. Really, anything to do outside, the park, bike rides, running, swimming and playing sports, he loves it all. Steven works best in a one on one setting because the attention really makes him succeed. He currently has no pending family for adoption. For more information about Steven or others visit

Information from Missouri Heart Gallery
Photo by Denny Medley 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jay'Ron W.

This is Jay'Ron, he also goes by Jay. He's 16 and full of life. Jay loves all athletics, but he really enjoys football and basketball, which he excels in. He has hopes to play throughout high school and get a scholarship to play in a college setting. Jay is extremely relaxed, and he is very respectful. Talking to Jay is easy, and he has a great sense of humor. There is currently no pending family for adoption. To learn more about Jay or other visit

Information from Missouri Heart Gallery
Photo by Kelly Knetter

Thursday, October 25, 2012

D'Asia T.

This is D'Asia! She's 5-years-old, and she is waiting for adoption. Though she can recognize objects and people around her, she isn't verbal at this moment. She's loving, a fun spirit and very smart. Currently she has no pending family for adoption. To get more information about D'Asia or others please visit

All information from Missouri Heart Gallery
Photo by Staley Wesslle 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bridget and Sheila A.

Today starts a project that I have been wanting to do for a while. I have had the desire to feature a child/sibling groups from Missouri Heart Gallery each day, which they have given me permission to do in a partnership for adoption in Missouri. These kiddos are waiting to be adopted into a loving family. I wish I could adopt them all and give them a home. If there's no desire for adoption in your heart, I just ask that you would pray and hope for these kiddos to get a forever family! They need one!

These 2 beautiful ladies are Bridget (18) and Sheila (16) A. Sheila loves dancing and fashion, while Bridget loves athletics. Sheila shows her personality through her strong affection, and Bridget is giving with a generous heart. They currently have no pending family. For more information about these ladies and others visit 

Information from Missouri Heart Gallery online. 
Photo taken by Layne Halley

Craving Achievable Stability

"She was not quite 2 when they took her in from the foster agency. Her mom had a lot of struggles and could barely take care of herself, much less a toddler. Her new foster family fell in love with her immediately, enjoying her laughter and the silly tricks that she would do, but especially the brief moments at bedtime when she would sit in one of their laps and snuggle. Over time, both she and her biologic mom achieved milestones - hers including learning how to write her name and memorizing her address and phone number; her mom's had more to do with parenting classes and a steady job. And after some time, it became apparent that they would reunite. They moved a lot - never could quite achieve the stability that most people crave. She lived with her mom some, as well as a variety of extended relatives. She called her old foster family every once in a while - she had never forgotten the phone number - and every single time they inquired about her new address and made a trip to the post office, sending off a box of goodies. Art supplies. Candy. Books. But most of all, love. They were intentional in their influence. They didn't just answer the phone and have a conversation, they acted. Even thought it was painful. Even though they worried about the fact that every phone call was from a different phone number in a new state. Even though it cost them. So how did it turn out? On her 18th birthday, the phone rang again. 'Mom, can I come home?' You can guess what the answer was." (Fostering Hope day 12 Deb Shropshire)
In foster care the ultimate goal for a child is reunification with the birth parents. Though that is the goal, it's not always easy. Sometimes the foster parents can have the child for a few years before they go back to their birth parents. Sometimes the foster parents have to fight with the desire to know what's best, even though they have no power over the ultimate decision. The child can also be confused in wanting to be with their birth family but also missing their foster family. It can even make the child feel like they aren't being loyal. So...
  • Pray for the birth parents that go through the process of reunification. They go through rehabs, work projects and parenting classes. Pray that they would learn how to take care of their children properly for reunification. Also, pray for the foster parents that are hurting because they are missing the children that were placed and removed from their home. Lastly, pray for the child as they deal with the stress of being placed, removed and placed again. Ask that they would feel comfort and peace, and they would have good life-long relationship with foster parents. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Edgy Life

"She was 14, with thick auburn hair that fell in unruly layers around her face. She was beautiful, but rough. Even in her short years she had experienced her share of hardship, and it showed, in the stiffness of her posture and the edge in her voice. I found out that she was in 8th grade, and liked math but didn't want anyone to think she was a nerd. She had a brother but didn't get to see him much. She was not a stranger to foster care - had slept in other people's homes off and on for as long as she could remember. Said she'd learned how to fold towels 'correctly' 10 different ways. As she talked, she waved her arms and I saw them. Words carved across her knuckles. Others over the back of her hands and up her forearms. HATE. WORTHLESS. CRAZY. Scabbed. Fresh. Evidence of pain that extended much deeper than the wounds that marked her skin. She seemed surprised when I touched her arms, gently massaging antibiotic ointment into each line, grieving with each stroke. How do I fix that kind of pain? How do I speak life to someone who has only known death? I don't always know how to heal. But I do know how to touch, how to provide the most basic of human contact. So do you. Are you willing?" (Day 13 Fostering Hope Deb Shropshire)
I was reminded of the Samaritan woman when I read this. No one wanted to be around her, she hid when she went into public and she avoided interaction with people at all times. I think that's how many children in these situations feel. If they could just push people away or not have personal interaction, they won't be mocked, they won't be hurt, they'll be safe in their solitude. I think the enemy wants us to believe that. I have had people in my life like this, and they are hard to deal with. But, the pain they feel is real, and they need Jesus. In that brokenness, I see myself because before Jesus I was the stiff, edgy person. I see what Jesus has promised to redeem and is redeeming. I'm thankful for that He changed me, and I want to see Him do the same in lives like this. I may not know how to heal, I may not know how to fix the pain, but I trust that He does. 
  • Pray for children like this that don't know how to handle what's happened to them in their lives. Pray they would have soft hearts to the Holy Spirit, and pray that the Kingdom would be recognized in their lives. Pray, too, for physical and spiritual healing, there's more need than we could ever imagine. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The End is Near

Well, I just had my last behavioral class on Saturday. It came as a little surprise because I thought we had 1 more, but we don't. In November I will take a career class and a Meds/CPR class. Career is a class that prepares you for dealing with children that are in the program for their "life." In foster terms that's until you're 18, or it can be to 21 if the child suffers from a mental disability. I feel like I learned a lot through these classes. I have learned a lot about myself, but I have gotten a lot of practical parenting knowledge. I'm thankful for that because thinking of me being a parent, even after 8 weeks of training, sometimes makes me laugh or feel like I'm still living a dream. I wake up sometimes and think, there's really no way they are going to trust me with babies (and by babies I mean kids in general, I picked that up from one of the women in my class who even calls me her baby). I just can't believe it. But, I am excited, apprehensive yes, but excited. I have decided the feeling I get when thinking about the classes being over and really being licensed is kind of like the feeling I got when I would start my first day of school every year, or when I could finally ride a bike without training wheels. It's the feeling of those butterflies in your stomach, knowing something could go terribly wrong but still being excited. It's the excitement of the unknown, too.
Through the classes the biggest thing, and I think the most helpful, I learned was about the way children react out of their fears. This really deals with the behavior of a child under traumatic stress. We wrote a paper on how we act from the fears we have in our lives, and I really learned a lot from that exercise. I think it's easy for me to have what we call in the system "the old way of thinking." This is the thought that a child is always aware of their behaviors, so they act out on purpose or to get back at you. I think this can be true in some areas of life, but the one thing that I learned was this isn't always the case. Sometimes, in the midst of fear, children go into safety mode, and the safety mode causes behavioral fears. Obviously this is triggered from the stress of a new environment, new rules, new family etc. It was good for me to learn because I think in some moments it will be easier for me to recognize those moments, and the difference between the 2 reasons for certain behaviors.
So, now that class is over, I have 2 more assessments and then I'll be licensed. I am eagerly waiting the moment when I will actually get my license, but in the meantime I will be helping another family out with their foster children. I start that on Wednesday, and I will be helping until I get officially placed with someone. I think this will be good because it will help me learn the ropes some, and I will get more kiddo experience, which I am grateful.
Also, in the meantime I am starting my "family planning." This includes a fire escape plan, rules, plans about how to clean rooms in the house, schedules and emergency numbers. All of these things have to be written out and placed where everyone can see them in the house. I have thought of a lot of cute ways to do it, but it's hard to write out stuff that you do by second nature. I want to cover everything and be fair, it's funny how this may be one of the hardest things for me to write in the meantimeness. But, hopefully I'll come up with some good explanations and good followable rules, I guess we'll see. Well, the Cardinals are losing, and I am hoping the pull through and we take the W! But, before I go to cheer them on, below I have a little bit more to read, it's an exert from Fostering Hope, and I also have my fancy official foster care graduate certificate! Enjoy!

Fostering Hope by Deb Shropeshire
"When we being to see people for who they were created to be, instead of who they are on the surface, it is easier to believe in them. And when WE believe in them, it is easier for them to begin to believe in themselves. I want to believe in people. In their potential. In the possibilities of their lives. In the awareness that a bad decision is not the same thing as a bad person. In the knowledge that we all make mistakes and none of us are perfect. In the hope that the future can be different than the past."

  • Pray for the kids in foster care as they make a transition to break the chain that their family is living under. Pray they will see that they can be different, no matter what they have been told in the past. Pray the the foster parents and the workers would not see them as projects but rather as children. Lastly, pray that the foster care workers and parents would see the children and the parents as they should, in the image of God because once we start looking at people that way our perspective changes. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fostering Hope

I haven't written in quite a long time, and this will not be an original post. I hope to do an update post this even actually, but I wanted to share some things from a devotional I'm going through about foster care. I will give excerpts that I like from the ones I've already read, and hopefully I will continue to post some of them daily as I read them. I will also add a list of things to pray for at the end, if you are praying with me through this journey. All credit for these excerpts go to Deb Shropshire who wrote the devotionals for Fostering Hope onYou Version on the iPhone, thank you!

"'How long have you been foster parents?' I asked. "'Four years,' he replied. 'Seven kids and I miss them all. I wonder what they will grow up to be. If somehow I was able to have an impact on them. Never knew I could love someone else's child like that.' It is a special thing to be a dad. But it is a divine calling to be the dad of someone else's child. A holy opportunity." (Day 4)

  • Pray for those parents who are learning how to become parents, not biologically but still in a real way. Telling family can be hard, and understanding how to be transparent with a child and their birth families can be hard. 

"'I'm not adoptable,' he stated flatly. "What?' I was surprised by him comment. 'I'm. Not. Adoptable.' He repeated it more loudly, as if perhaps he thought I was hard of hearing. He was sitting on my exam table, and I had just been looking in his ears and asking him about school and friends and girls. Then the conversation turned to family. His parents had lost their rights years ago. 'I went to this adoption party, and I overheard some people say that I'm not adoptable because I am too old.' Ad that, tears welled up in his eyes and began to spill down his face. He took a few deep breaths and went on. 'I met some people who wanted to adopt a son. They talked to me for a little while but then moved on to meet other children, and I overheard them saying that I was too old, that no on would want to adopt someone my age.' ... 'Do YOU want me? Would YOU ever adopt me?' I was frozen. Of course I wanted him to have a family; I just didn't want the effort of being it. He could sense y struggle, and his face changed again, this time looking reserved and emotionless. 'It's OK,' he said. 'My case worker says I need to spend the next couple of years learning how to take care of myself anyway.' Head down, I left the room and went on to the rest of my day, but I never forgot him. And I didn't sleep for a week. And I felt like a fraud. And I have always wondered if he should have been MY son." (Day 5)

  • Pray for the older children in Foster Care/Adoptive lists. Often they are seen as the burdens in the system. It's easy for younger children to be placed because they don't have as much baggage. They know the truth and the statistics. Pray for families to desire to take in older children and love on them. 

"Her email asked how she could become more involved with helping foster kids. She wanted to volunteer at the shelter, or perhaps become a mentor. We met to discuss the options - find her a good fit. At 21, she seemed more mature that most 40 year olds I knew. I wanted to know more about her, and over several cups of coffee her story unfolded. Not too great of a childhood. Instability. Loneliness. Abuse. Pain. Lots of pain. Then, at 14 it all changed. She didn't even own a Bible. Had no context for the songs being sung or the messages she was hearing. But soon she found herself moving toward the front of the auditorium. More importantly she found her should moving toward her Creator. How did that happen? How did a kid who barely wondered if God existed wind up as a sol out follower of Christ? ..." (Day 8)

  • Pray for younger adults pursing to help the Foster Care system. There is a driving reason for them to go into that line of work, and it's often because of a heart that has been through some of the same things. Pray for strength and support from their families.