Twins

She wasn’t our first placement call. She was our second. The first was for a newborn boy. African-American. With five siblings already in foster care. The case had a low prognosis, which meant adoption was a high possibility. The call was everything everyone knew I ever wanted. But, in faith, I turned the placement down. God had already given me a dream showing me who would be coming into our home. Her.

In my dream, I had twins that were joined at the head. The first was my Braveheart. We called her by name. I didn’t know who the second girl was. She was nothing but a smile. Her face was distorted and she was missing a body. Then I watched God heal her. She grew to about the same size as Braveheart. And I got to hold her. Just her. I called her Julie, but was aware that was not her name. There was such intense joy, gratitude, and settledness. Along with a huge feeling of fulfillment, like I had waited my life for her.

Jubilee’s call came 11 days after that dream. As soon as I heard “girl, age 5 months”, I knew it was her. She was just 22 days older than Braveheart. I didn’t register any other details of her case. Details that definitely would have kept me from taking her placement. As soon as she arrived, one look confirmed it was her. Her face was different and I was deeply smitten. At her first examination, her doctor suspected she had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because of facial abnormalities and severe developmental delays. I remember the day when her doctor proclaimed her face had literally transformed. She has medical notes documenting her healing. By the time her FAS genetic appointment came, they didn’t even do the testing after her examination. Only Jesus!!! My dream had manifested in so many miraculous ways.

Still, I wondered if there was more. I revisited that dream time and time and time again over the past 17 months. Some would say I should have known we would adopt Jubilee, from the beginning. But I didn’t. It wasn’t just the odds stacked against us. I’ve learned, the hard way, how to separate His direct word from my interpretation of it. I only see in part. Sometimes that’s enough to understand Him. And sometimes it’s not. Like that time I assumed my daughter was a son because God had only spoken to me about a son with 7 years of prophetic words. That taught me that my interpretation of God-given words can be wrong. Really wrong. I actually had to grieve my promised son on the day of Birdsong’s ultrasound, which felt really wrong. So I have guarded my heart in this foster process. Not just publicly. Privately too. I truly set my attention and efforts on Jubilee’s reunification. When that wasn’t a possibility, I advocated for her permanency. Even though that meant moving her to a tribal home. It wasn’t until the day God spoke to me that she was mine (just 8 weeks ago) that I realized God declared she would be Braveheart’s twin for a lifetime, not just a season.

Today I am reveling in how God continues to fulfill my dream. My twins share no DNA. They have different skin. Different eyes. Different hair. Different builds. Different everything. But when they stand next to one another, you see twins. They share a 3T wardrobe. What are the chances they would chart like that? Just put any random 21 and 22 month old next to each other and see if you can say the same.

God created them as twins, even while knitting them together in different wombs. Marvel with me, at that. What a gift to have a future twogether to discover all that means. I am the mama of twins.

Twins

We Are Adopting

We are adopting. For real. It’s only been 72 hours since the whirlwind started. I’ve taken headache medicine every day, for the past 3 days. My heart is full to overflowing, but my body and brain are overwhelmed. This is too much of a good thing. Hallelujah!

Friday morning, Jubilee’s tribe showed up on my doorstep to give their blessing. No interrogation. No searching through every drawer and closet. They came to see her and say thank you. They came to share their love for her, as her tribe, and to invite us to keep her connected. In an instant, our relationship went from one of submission to one of lifelong appreciation. They approved her and her sister’s adoptions.

My grandparents responded by offering their large SUV, as a love gift. My parents responded to that by offering to help my grandparents buy a new vehicle. The generosity was generational. We were provided reliable, safe, and luxurious travel for our growing family. And we get to keep the small amount we had saved towards a purchase.

That afternoon, I accepted an invitation to dedicate the twins to Jesus on Mother’s Day, of all days. I called and asked my mom to wake up in my home that morning. To cuddle with us on my couch and celebrate their baby dedications at my church. Mother’s Day has always been my favorite but I am pretty sure nothing will ever be able to compare to this year. Except every other year, my husband joked, because he knows how excitable I am.

The 4 hours HEROhusband was at work were filled with foster phone calls, all leading to the most unexpected news. We likely won’t be waiting until November to adopt. The goal is for all four siblings to share an adoption ceremony this month. Waking up to May 1 today was surreal. I am counting down days, not months.

That evening, we met Vivi for a sweet and spontaneous dinner. I brought a card with her new name in it, which she could hardly wait to open. She beemed as I read it to her. Birdsong sung her older sister’s new name on repeat. It felt like God Himself was etching it on our hearts and minds.

I fell asleep reimagining home. I imagined all four girls sharing secret conversations in two queen beds turned into one forever sleepover. I imagined laying in a nearby room with HEROhusband, nursing a someday baby, listening to them keep each other awake with giggles and jumps. I praised God for giving me what I never imagined I would have during those blindingly painful years of waiting to become a mama … a tribe of little women.

We Are Adopting

I’ll Be Her Forever

She’s 8. She’s lived twice the life of my oldest. And she’s had three moms over her lifetime. Her bio mommy. Her original foster mom. And her current foster mom. I’ll be her fourth. I’ll be her forever

But she’s still two hours and two moms away. Right now I am just a mirage on her future. I don’t get to share my heart with her, so I rarely share about her with anyone else.

Someday she’ll read this and know. Know what every child needs to know.

She is so wanted that the idea of losing her, even before I get her, makes me feel desperate. I once misinterpreted some texts sent by her current foster mom and suspected she was changing her mind about adoption. I knew she would have legal right to her before me but I was already aware God had chosen her for me. So I was ready to go to war for my girl. My daughter.

She is so loved it actually hurts. Being separated from her in this season feels unnatural. I officially requested to visit her, tell her she belongs, and invite her to be in our family. It’s a sacred moment I wanted to share with her. A commitment I have waited a lifetime to give to a child. Instead, she was informed about the adoption by her social worker. So now I know I must mail her a card to open the day we get final adoption approval, or she won’t have anything personal to remember from me.

She is so valued she made us want to break our own adoption rules. She will change our birth order, she will move us into a new stage of parenting, she’s old enough to influence our young girls, she can communicate wanting to keep relationship with her bio parents. But her worth outweighs our preconceived con list. She’s kindhearted. She cared for all three girls, every visit. She held them, hugged them, and helped them on the playground. She’s in tune with herself and her surroundings. She noticed when Jubilee started calling me mama. She acknowledged she found security in me during visits and moved her onto my lap. She was more concerned about the heart of her sister healing than keeping the foster foreigner (that’s me) out of her family. She’s spirit-minded. She gave her heart to Jesus last year and told her social worker that if she has to go to a stranger instead of us, she needs that family to know God and take her to church. She’s open. She once told me she misses the smell of her mommy’s cherry blossom shampoo. She wishes she could wear character underwear instead of big girl underwear. The morning after her social worker told her about the adoption, she woke up talking about it with hope.

Vivi, you are so much more than a long-awaited promise of adoption. You are so much more than just Jubilee’s sister. You are you. And we have fallen for you! This week I hung a piece of paper on our fridge that states the day we will welcome you home. Something inside me stirs every time I see it. We are nesting for you. Your room is ready. We are planning your first week here. The one Daddy is taking off to bond with you. We are making your appointments to make sure you are well taken care of during the transition. And we are letting God knit our hearts to yours, every day, as we wait.

I’ll Be Her Forever

Expectancy Versus Expectation

I was early. And I was nervous. I ordered a tall black iced tea, no sweetener. I arranged five chairs to face one another and bring a sense of community in the crowded Starbucks. I placed three parenting books on the tables as identifiers because I was expecting strangers. Then I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.

Before the meeting, I asked my husband: “What if no one shows?” He confidently reminded me I had done my part. Holy Spirit told me to arrange a meet-up at Starbucks on this day dedicated to foster parents bringing awareness to foster care, statewide. I had done so. I had sent invitations to church members and friends who might have friends who might be interested in foster care. The rest was up to God. This was His idea to begin with.

But still, I had expectations. So as I waited, I started a conversation. Holy Spirit, was this just about me being faithful? I thought I was past that stage of this whole journey. You know, the part where I learn to obey in secret. I thought this was the part where I actually get to see something happen. I really thought You were going to show up tonight in an obvious way. 

It was 8:15. I had watched too many cars pass parking spaces and head to the drive thru. No one was coming. And then a woman walked into Starbucks on a mission. She had a pen and paper in hand and beelined right for me. Yes, a person. My person. She must have noticed the books. I immediately introduced myself. But she introduced herself by saying she was on a scavenger hunt. I apologized for my eagerness and explained I assumed she was there for my foster meeting. She looked around at my efforts and encouraged me in what I was doing. And then she asked this question: “Do you have your tribe?”

At this point, I’m sure I didn’t even seem like a believer. I completely lost my words and ability to keep up with her God pace. I was in awe and almost appeared dazed, the way you would expect someone who was blindsided by God to be. But the thing is, I was. She has no idea how deep the word tribe runs for me. She doesn’t know I am a foster mama to a Native American. Or how our home and life are built around that word. Jesus, I came here to give. And here I am receiving. I pointed to the empty chairs as evidence of my aloneness, laughed, and simply said “no”.

She told me she knew 4-5 moms who were foster support for one another. “I don’t know what you believe but they all get together and pray for one another.” She took her scavenger hunt paper and wrote down her number and the number of one of her friends. Then she handed it to me with a promise to arrange a connection. “I know I was supposed to be here tonight. Do you believe in that?”

I finally managed to speak instead of just stare. I shared that Holy Spirit led me to go to Starbucks. And no one showed. But SHE showed. So obviously she was the person I was supposed to meet. We hugged. She left. Then I collected my heart and my things. And called my husband to gush on God’s love. I fell asleep praying for my new tribe. The ones I don’t even know by name but who have been chosen for me, for this season.

Such a lesson in expectations. We cannot expect anything from God. But we can wait for Him with expectancy. Because He always shows up. We just can’t hold on to the expectation that He will show up in a certain way. To hear a great message on this, click here.

Expectancy Versus Expectation

Why I Became A Foster Parent

I still remember the exact millisecond God first spoke to me about becoming a foster parent. It’s not because foster care wasn’t on my radar beforehand. I’ve wanted to adopt a child since I was a child. At 18, I took a job working with kids who were deemed inappropriate to be in foster homes. Before I became a mama, I traveled to orphans in Mexico, Cambodia, and Africa. Then a stranger asking “can you watch my daughter for a month?” turned into a two-year failed adoption journey. I’ve been deep in this world for a long time. But foster care, specifically, was my #nope.

In the summer of 2014 (not even three years ago), God spoke to my heart that I would foster a baby as a nursing mama. I wasn’t even pregnant with my second daughter yet. We had just moved to Oklahoma for my husband to start a new career. We were living in an apartment where I could look and see his office building. My new community was that small. And I was playing in the pool with my one year old. It wasn’t the ideal season. It wasn’t the ideal moment. And it definitely wasn’t the ideal idea. But I was instantly softened to it and said YES!, bring it to pass Lord. Sometimes all it takes is a word from Him and we are never the same.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been a foster mama for 16 months. And am expecting word (any day now) about becoming an adoptive mama to not just my foster daughter, but her sister as well. SURPRISE!!!!!!!! Come May, I hope to be a mama to four girl hearts.

With that news, this isn’t the ideal time for God to speak to me about “more”. My now is pretty consuming. But yesterday, I had a moment like I had in the water. A crystal clear revelation. I have a child chosen for me in another country that I will have to find through international adoption. I have a strong sense that child will have more needs than I would ever have said YES! to before. Or, let’s be real, that my husband would say YES! to now. So I will plant this new seed in the freshly fertile soil of my heart, water it with prayer, and let it grow.

Why I Became A Foster Parent

Waiting With Expectancy

Have you ever seen one of those mamas on Instagram who hit the day after their due date and got all dramatic? #nothingbutwaiting #icantdothisanymore #elephantpregnancy You thought to yourself, what’s one more day? Heck, what’s ten more days? Haven’t you been pregnant for, like, ten months already? You know this ends for everyone eventually, right?

That’s me, today. Irrational in the waiting. As if I have forgotten that this season will actually end with an answer.

April 5th, the day I was due to find out about Jubilee’s adoption, came and went. And I have nothing to show for it. Now I am waiting for an unannounced visit from her tribe. My all-time favorite invasion of foster care. Ahem. A labor pain of sorts to prepare us for the actual adoption announcement. Approval or denial? That is the question.

It’s not something anyone in my circle can answer yet. I know because I ask. But I just get I don’t knows. They don’t. No one does.

Except God. He knows. I have this feeling that, someday very soon, I will realize I should have known too. That I should have rested and trusted more because His messages were consistent and clear.

And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. | Nehemiah 2:8

Waiting With Expectancy