Thursday, December 13, 2012

Foster Care As of Late

Hey friends!  Sorry I haven't updated you on the foster care part of our lives lately.  As many of you know, our home was opened in mid-October.  We actually had a temporary placement for one weekend shortly after.  It was good, yet challenging, and an invaluable learning experience. 

We actually haven't been getting as many phone calls as I thought we would.  Maybe it's because we only requested one child.  It seems they might usually come in sibling groups.  We also requested 5-11 year olds and we haven't gotten any calls about a child in that age range.  Mostly we get called about teenagers, which Caleb and I feel a little young to parent kids that old. 

I guess I thought we'd have a long-term placement by now.  It seems like we went through this long process to get certified and now we sit here doing nothing.

During our first placement, we saw the reality of how this commitment will deeply affect our biological children.  Which in turn made us wonder which would be better for our family: to serve through respite (short term/emergency) care, or by taking one long term placement.  If we took short term placements, there wouldn't really be a new normal to get used to.  We would probably always be adjusting back and forth, which could be hard.  It seems like if we took one placement for longer-term then we could adjust and would eventually reach some kind of normal... I don't know.  I guess we just trust that God will open the door for a specific child if it is truly His will for that child to join our family.  But in the meantime, it does feel a little bit like we are doing nothing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Old Saint Nick

Yes, we've decked the halls, visited the lights at the square, and even visited Santa at Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, like we've done since I was a girl.  But our festivities have come to a screeching halt as of this past weekend when Emerson got a fever and, as it turns out, an ear infection.  We haven't left the house much the last 3 days except to visit the doctor and get essentials at the store.  We have cooped ourselves inside and are trying to get better.  The poor boy's temperature reached 103 today  :(  So, please say a little prayer for him.

But here are some of the festivities that we have done this month so far:

Watched the parade and lighting at the square.  Emerson was in awe.

Picked out a tree.

Decorated the tree.  Pantless.
Now, I must preface this picture by saying that Emerson has been intrigued by Santa for a awhile now.  He has looked at him in photo albums and read about him in books and talked about visiting him and sitting on his "wap" for weeks.  He totally knew that's what we were going to do that day.  But as soon as we started approaching Santa, the tears came and the lip even popped out.  Needless to say, Emerson did not even sit on Santa's lap.  Instead, Daddy got to sit in Santa's chair and Santa stood to the side :)  It was pretty funny.  Sometimes those Santa pictures make the best Santa pictures.

My sister and I, 3 weeks apart, both expecting girls

Emerson was a leetle scared of the bear too.
As you can see, Bass Pro can be a pretty scary place.  But an even scarier place right now, is visiting the doctor.  I just know Emerson is developing a fear of doctors.  We had a very scarring incident recently with vaccinations that involved Emerson getting poked 5 times in one leg.  He also hates getting his ears looked at and it results in screaming and crying every single time.  He told us after visiting the doctor that he got a shot in his ear.  No wonder he is scared!  I would be too if I thought someone was trying to give me a shot in my ear!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Intentional Christmas

Becoming a parent really makes you rethink Christmas and it should be done in your home.  What lessons do you want your kids to learn from it?  Will they learn that it is all about them?  That they can choose what toys they want and expect to get them?  Will they be discontent because they compare their gifts with their friends' and they have an insatiable desire for more?  Will they learn to be ungrateful?

Or will they learn the real point of Christmas?  That mankind needed a Savior and Jesus was willing to humble himself to the point of being a helpless, dependent newborn to be that Savior for us.  That Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday and it's really all about Him.  That this is a season of gratitude and a time where we can adore Him.

A woman spoke last week, at a Bible study I go to, about being intentional about Christmas.  If we aren't intentional about making the message loud and clear for our kids, then the world will quickly teach them what it thinks Christmas is about.  

Caleb and I have decided to try a few things this year, even though Emerson is a mere 20 months old.  At this young age, he is a sponge and has already learned so much about Christmas.  We began a Jesse Tree Advent for the month of December.  Each night we read a Bible story and hang the corresponding ornament on a small tree.  All the Bible stories, old and new testament, point to Christ.  We have also been playing with our nativity.  Emerson loves doing this.  I read a little board book that tells the Christmas story (The Story of Christmas by Patricia Pingry) and we act out the story with the people.  He asks to do it all the time.  Hopefully this is instilling the message to him!

Another way to help your kids with gratitude issues is to focus on giving.  There are many people out there, near and far, who need.  Angel tree at your church,  Operation Christmas child, Compassion International (giving mosquito nets, or clean water, etc.-- you can do this here), serve at a nursing home, give to your neighbors, etc.  The opportunities abound at this time of year.  By helping direct your kids' attention to the need around them, they will become more grateful for what they have and will take the focus off of themselves.

You can also have a birthday party for Jesus with a cake on Christmas day.  We have already been singing happy birthday to Jesus and Emerson loves it.  

If we don't plan to do something, we will do nothing.  Christmas season will pass and we will wonder what message we actually sent our children this year.  

Yes, we are still doing Christmas trees, lights, stockings, a little Santa, and even gifts (though limited to 3).  These things are not bad, but what is the main focus?  How can we get the real message of Christmas across?  I feel like it could be hard at times.  We have 10 to 1 more Christmas books about Santa than Jesus.  Christmas music that entertains kids is about Santa and Rudolph.  I bought a Veggie Tales Christmas movie the other day, just so we could have one Christmas movie that is about Christ!  Despite these things, I am trying to make it to where we talk about Jesus during Christmas time far more than Santa or presents.  Maybe with the Lord's help, Emerson is getting the right message. 

I guess the point of this post is to challenge you, like I was challenged, to be intentional this Christmas.  Intentional about the message you are sending your kids.  It's never too late to make changes.