Wednesday, February 3, 2016

An A-Z Guide to Connecting with Birth Families in Foster Care

When I stepped into Foster/Adopt Land back in the fall of 2008 I had no idea that my desire to build my family through foster care would do just that, but not in the way I had imagined.  Seven years after attending that first information meeting, I have built a forever family unlike most.  I have a daughter and two sons, but only one is legally "mine."  I forget which one sometimes.  :-)  I have grandchildren, a son-in-law, a co-parent, and a first mommy friend who shares a deep love for my youngest son.  None of these amazing people are related to me by blood, but all are my family - and each one of them came to me in some shape or form via the foster care system.

When people ask me how I have been able to develop and maintain such good relationships with my children's birth families, I always have to stop and think about what I might be doing that could be different from the "norm."  Here's what I've come up with:

Advocate for parents who are doing well - As foster parents, we've seen time and again how children become "lost" in the system.  The same is true for their families.  The wait between court hearings can take 3-6 months, and when you see parents who are clearly working hard to bring their children home with little to show for it from the system it's so important to become a voice for those parents as well as the child in your care.  Parents need to know that you are on their side.  What better way to demonstrate that than to advocate for them?

Become a role model - It's important to remember that children who come into care are so often victims of a cycle of neglect, poverty, abuse, and dysfunction.  Many birth parents have come from the exact same sets of circumstances that their children find themselves in.  These cycles don't just break themselves.  Parents need role models.  They need a support system.  They need encouragement.  Become that person for them.  Bug's birth mother has told me many times over the past two years that being able to see Bug and I together is showing her how it's supposed to be.  While she still struggles, she's doing better than she ever has before, and she is forever thanking me for showing her how life can be.

Compliment their children - One of the very first things (if not the first thing) that I say when I meet my children's parents is usually something along the lines of "It's so nice to finally meet you.  Your son is a joy!"  That one statement usually goes a long way towards establishing a relationship.  By immediately acknowledging that the child in your care is their son or daughter, you quickly begin to alleviate any fears they might have regarding how you view your relationship to their child.

Declare your intention - Let them know that you are there to partner with them, to support them, to help them...  One of the biggest fears that most parents have is that you want to "steal" their child.  Alleviate that fear early on by letting them know your role as a foster parent is to help their family.

Encourage parents to be involved in medical appointments, their child's education, etc. and to ask questions - Many time parents are unsure of what their role is when it comes to the day to day happenings of their children.  If your child's parent is allowed to attend medical appointments or school conferences, encourage them to participate.  Ask them if they have any questions or concerns.  If your child's parents are actively working their case plan, be proactive and ask the caseworker if they can attend these events if they aren't already doing so.  When parents can participate in these appointments with you, they are learning by example as well as gaining confidence in their own ability to handle these situations in the future.

Focus on the family - Remember that the goal of foster care is to reunite families whenever possible. That can be very difficult to do if you are adoption-motivated.  I learned that the hard way.  Try to enter into each placement with a family focus and make a concerted effort to maintain that.

Give praise when deserved - "I'm proud of you!" "You're doing a great job."  "I can see how hard you're trying."  All parents need to hear those words.  Parents whose children are in foster care tend to hear everything they are doing wrong and all of the areas that need improvement.  Be one of the few people who acknowledges and praises them for what they are doing right.

Help birth parents build their confidence by supporting their efforts - This goes right along with giving praise when it's deserved.  I know one foster mother who regularly visited her child's birth mother in rehab.  If you are parenting the child of a teen parent, attend their graduation.  Find ways to support your child's parents in their efforts.

Include parents in outings or special occasions whenever possible - Always check with your caseworker, but with their permission, find ways to include parents in special occasions.  With Booger Bear, I got permission to invite his dad to join us on Booger's first trip to the zoo.  After that outing went well, we would occasionally meet for dinner or to go swimming.  By the time he started getting longer, unsupervised visits, he came straight to my house to pick up and drop off.  Include birth families in birthday parties or extracurricular activities.  By participating in activities together, your children can see that all of the people who love them are working together.  Children don't feel as pressured to "choose" between parents because they are presenting a unified front.

"Just keep swimming" - When things get crazy (and they will), just borrow a page out of Dory's book and "just keep swimming."  There will be times when you'll think you just can't deal with it anymore.  There will be times when you'll get so frustrated by parents making the same mistakes over and over again that you'll want to wash your hands of the whole mess.  When you feel yourself getting to that point, take a deep breath and "just keep swimming."

Know your limits and stick to them - When it comes to supporting birth families, know what you are and are not willing to accept when it comes to behaviors or situations that might come up.  Boundaries are necessary in most cases, and it's advisable to maintain them.  With Bug's birth family, sobriety is a must for direct contact with him.  You might want to help parents by providing contact information for resources, but feel strongly that you won't make the calls for them.  You might want to provide your cell phone number for calls with your children, but feel you need to have a scheduled time.  Know your limits.

Listen intently and follow their lead - Keep the tone light and friendly unless they want to have a more serious conversation.  Most of my parents have initially been hesitant and uncomfortable around me.  I very quickly try to put them at ease by treating them like long-time friends.  It's difficult to be afraid of or intimidated by someone who will laugh with you about your child's funny moments or talk about your pets.  Pay attention and try to follow their lead when it comes to the more serious conversations that come up.  All of my children's parents have needed something different from me at different times.  Learn to recognize when they need a sympathetic ear, some lighthearted conversation, or just someone to reassure them.

Make special gifts with the children to give to their parents on holidays, birthdays, etc. - My kids' birth parents have all commented on how much they appreciate all of the handmade crafts and gifts that I send them.  You don't have to be artistic or go all Pinterest-y.  Goodness knows I can't even draw a proper stick figure!  It's the thought that you put into it and the acknowledgement that you understand what they are missing that matters most.  The very first picture I ever sent to Bug's birth mom was simply a Crayola crayon tracing of his hands, and then I let my almost 2-year-old go to town "coloring" on the page.  She cried, and told me that she thought that she would never get to have anything like that when she signed the relinquishment papers.  She loves every little thing he draws for her whether she can recognize it or not.

Never go back on your promises - Trust is vital to successful relationships.  In a foster care situation where birth parents often feel like they are fighting a losing battle, trust is especially important to maintaining a good relationship.  Never make a promise that you aren't certain that you'll be able to keep.

Open and honest communication regarding their children - I take tons of pictures that I send to every visit.  I make monthly photo books for my kids' parents that talk about milestones and funny stories.  I pass notes back and forth in the diaper bag.  When I am able to see the parents in person, I answer each and every question they might have as well as offer information about their little ones.  A picture speaks a thousand words, and seeing their child smiling and happy goes a long way towards reassuring their parents that they are safe, loved, and doing well.

Provide resources - So many times parents become overwhelmed with everything being asked of them.  They are often given a list of things they need to complete, but no guidance on how to go about achieving them.  I've always said that foster parents are probably the most resourceful people on the planet.  We can find anyone or anything when we set our minds to it.  Being able to provide contact information to organizations or agencies that can help in the areas that birth families need assistance is one thing that can be easily accomplished.  Whether they choose to use the information or not is up to them, but your willingness to help shows them that they're not alone.

Question parents about their child - So much information can be gained from your child's birth parents when there is open and honest communication.  When children come into our homes, we typically get no information.  Are they allergic to peanuts?  What kind of formula do they use?  Do they have a comfort item?  As you get to know their families, you learn so many things that you would never find out through CPS.  I learned from Bug's family that he has four brothers on his father's side (rather than the two that CPS knew about).  I learned that cancer runs on his mother's side of the family.  I learned from Booger Bear's dad that he is ridiculously allergic to cats, which explained why Booger had a constant running nose the entire time he lived with me (which is also how he got his nickname).  I learned from Monkey's dad that his birth mom's family has a great love of music and all sing, play instruments, etc.  Every time I hear Monkey singing, I smile knowing where he gets that talent.

Recommend changes to visitation schedules as reunification nears - When it became clear that Monkey was going to return to his father's care, I pushed hard for extended and unsupervised visits.  Monkey's caseworker admitted that the thought hadn't even crossed her mind because the one-hour visits at the office were going so smoothly.  Because I made the effort to advocate for Monkey's dad, the two were able to spend more and more time together over the three months leading up to the final court hearing.  Had I not stepped up, Monkey would have been returned without ever having spent a night in his new home.  His dad would have been thrown into being a single father of a 1-year-old with nothing to go on except a one-hour a week visit at a CPS office.  By recommending a visitation schedule that slowly increased the amount of visits leading up to reunification, Monkey's return home was easier on everyone.

Smile - It seems so simple, but a genuine smile can go a long way towards putting people at ease.

Trust your instincts - Not all families will be open to connecting with you.  Not all families will be genuine in their communication with you.  Learn to recognize the "norm" for your children's families and trust your instincts if something doesn't seem right.

Understand that birth parents' anger is often an expression of grief - There are times when your child's parent might lash out at you in anger.  As difficult as that may be, try not to take it personally.  My pastor always says, "Hurt people, hurt people."  Don't allow angry words or actions stop your compassion.  Remember how angry and frustrated that you get with the system, and try to put yourself in the parent's shoes.  They are frustrated by the same lack of communication and time tables and requirements put on them by the system as we are, but they are experiencing all of this while grieving the loss of their children.

Validate parents' concerns and feelings - Birth parents will naturally have fears and huge emotions throughout the time their child is in care.  Fear, anger, frustration, grief...  Take the time to really listen to them as they share those feelings with you.  Acknowledge them.  Validate them.  Parents want to know they're being heard.

Welcome parental input regarding cultural traditions or differences and utilize their skills - I am absolutely willing to learn anything I need to learn when it comes to children of a different race or cultural background, but I'm the first to admit that I don't have a clue what I'm doing half of the time.  One case in point would be the pronunciation of Monkey's last name.  I taught him one way, only to find out two years later that it's pronounced completely differently!  And how did I find out, you might ask.  Well it wasn't because I asked.  Monkey just happened to be telling me everyone's "big" names, and he proceeded to say his name the way I taught him and his father's name the way it's actually pronounced!  I was mortified.  To this day, my kid doesn't know how to pronounce his own name!  Even now I have to remind myself to ask Monkey's father about things that might be cultural so I don't go out of my mind wondering what he's thinking.  Our little ones' parents should be our "go to" people when it comes to cultural and racial differences.

X-tend grace, compassion, and understanding -  I remember early on thinking how argumentative and desperate Monkey's dad was.  He is completely different now.  I tried to put myself in his shoes and realized that if my child were taken away from me, I would be just as desperate.  I know that people make mistakes and poor decisions.  Imagine making a mistake that cost you your child, and treat them the way you would want to be treated.

Yoga, yodeling, yo-yos - Find something that you have in common with your child's parents.  Our worlds are often very, very different, and finding common ground outside of the children that you all love helps narrow the gap between us.  Bug's birth mom and I bonded over our mutual inner geekiness and excitement over creating pretty Excel spreadsheets.  It might sound crazy, but discovering the things that we do have in common despite our very different worlds has helped bring us much closer together.

Zero expectations - Try to enter into these relationships with no expectations.  Often times we go to a first meeting with our children's birth parents and don't even realize that we've already formed assumptions on how that meeting will go.  Some might expect animosity or complete indifference.  Some expect gratitude or an immediate bond because of the children.  Many foster parents form opinions before ever meeting these families based on what little they know about why the child was removed or what a caseworker has mentioned in passing.  Do your best to keep an open mind and to build the relationship based on your interactions with the parents.  Don't be disappointed if a parent is distant or reluctant to open up to you, and don't push your personal expectations or desires onto the family.

Ultimately, remember that all relationships take work.  All relationships have ups and downs.  All relationships have struggles as well as moments of harmony.  Remember that relationships between foster parents and birth parents have added obstacles and many things to overcome.  Sometimes the relationships don't work out, and that's okay.  Sometimes the circumstances of a case simply don't allow for contact or opportunities to connect, and that's okay as well.  What matters most is the love that you all have for your children, and when parents (foster and birth) work together, everyone gains something they never had before - the potential to form their own unique "family."

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Thursday, January 28, 2016


This post was beautifully written by a fellow foster mom - a woman I have never met.  She's a friend of a friend, but a sister nonetheless.  She gets it.

Written by:  Alaina Beth Young Haerbig

"To the person who doesn't understand the significance of today:

You're a lot like me. I mean, it's just a Thursday, right? Except it's not. It's an anniversary.
Six months ago, my world changed completely when the phone rang, then a little one arrived, cute as the dickens. I understood my work was cut out for me when I said, "Come here, cutie, and let me change your diaper," and he replied casually, "Get out my face, MoFo!" as he walked away.  It is a wonderful anniversary of that day- a reminder of how far we've come when he says, "Momma, wanna see? Wookit dat biiig poopie I did inna potty for you!" Yes, I will gladly accept that anniversary present, little one. You have gotten so much more than your mouth under control in these six months. It may be a normal Thursday, but we will celebrate this day of little victories together.

But not all that this day marks is worthy of celebration. Today, a pastor and his wife will kiss their little one just once more, and do their best to smile and wave as a social worker takes her from the only home she has ever known, to be reunified with a near stranger who loves her but is ill equipped to parent.  They will pack a brand new box of Dora band aids- her favorite- because they know that she will literally chew the skin from her fingers in an attempt to control the terror she experiences at the hand of her older brother. (You know, the one who watches her when a John is visiting.) They have pictures. I've seen them- Blood in rivulets running down the little palm to her wrist. Because she is scared, and her one momma won't protect her, and the other momma now can't.

This date will be an anniversary for the rest of their lives, the pastor's and his wife's. They will never forget, and they will never be able to tell this precious one whom they love that they didn't want to let her go. They understand that she will think they abandoned her, and this normal Thursday will forever bear that extra sting for them. And no one will bring them a meal, or a sympathy card. "You knew this was what would happen," they will say, "I told you not to get attached."

But that's nothing compared to what this day is for another mom.

Today is one year since her son's murder. Returned to his first family, he was dead three days later, tortured for those three days at the hands of the woman who birthed him. His foster mom planned and paid for his funeral and the stone to bear witness to his short life, and still had to fight to get his surviving twin back into her care.  I can't understand how she functions, and no one is bringing her a casserole because today will be hard.

It's not a normal Thursday.

Another friend finally gets to post a picture of her son, because after years of fostering him, today he will be adopted and hers forever. She will celebrate today because HE became a part of WE. And she will mourn today because she understands that HE lost part of tHEy- the family to whom he was born and should have never had to leave. She will feel torn for rejoicing because she understands the magnitude of his missing history, and she will celebrate this Thursday with a schizophrenic split between joy and grief for this precious boy she now claims forever. She might get a card, but she didn't get a baby shower. And when he acts out because of his early trauma, even her family will say, "you asked for this. Why are you complaining?"

I'm not making this up. This is today, January 28. These are people in my sorority, an unlikely fellowship forged with rabid republicans and doting democrats, straights and gays, Christians and atheists. These are people I might never even have liked in my previously normal world...

Yet they are the ones with whom I will celebrate my poopie present. They are the ones with whom I will cry over a child I have never met as she goes (away from) home. They are those with whom I will grieve for a boy who will never be a man, and the ones with whom I will rejoice over an orphan who became a son.

Today is not a normal Thursday.

They understand.

And I hope, if you read this, that maybe you do, too.

If you know a foster family- take them a casserole, or share this with them so they know that today is no longer a normal Thursday for you, either.

It's an anniversary."

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Q & A with Monkey and Bug

A couple of days ago I did one of those questionnaire things with the boys asking them questions about Mommy.  I asked them the questions separately, and some of their answers cracked me up.  Bug is 3yrs/4mos, and Monkey is 4yrs/10mos.

1)  What is something I always say to you?
Bug - "You always say silly things."
Monkey - "When you say 'I love you bunches and bunches to the moon and back' and 'Don't let the bedbugs bite!" (part of our nightly routine)

2)  What makes Mommy happy?
Bug - "Green happy faces" (Behavior chart at school)
Monkey - "ME!"  (He must not have remembered Mommy practicing her deep breathing and calming techniques ten minutes prior when the little toot had the nerve to run screaming in the opposite direction after I told him not to throw his trains.)

3)  What makes Mommy sad?
Bug - "Red sad faces" (He's only ever had ONE, but he remembers. Lol)
Monkey - (total silence - Apparently he thinks I'm ALWAYS happy.  Again, what is this boy not remembering?!?)

4)  How does Mommy make you laugh?
Bug - "When you tickle me."
Monkey - "With tickles"

5)  What was Mommy like when she was a little girl?
Bug - "You made a fire at your house and the firemen had to come and they saved all of the presents!" (Not exactly the way it happened. It was our neighbor's house right around Christmas, and I DID NOT start the fire, but that's what he thinks. Now everyone thinks I'm pyromaniac!)
Monkey - "You were YOU!"

6)  How old am I?
Bug - "3"
Monkey - (shaking his head) "I don't know. Old."  (Gee, thanks, kid!)

7)  How tall am I?
Bug - "Higher and higher! You're growing too!" (Unfortunately, Mommy is growing OUT and not UP.)
Monkey - "Really tall."  (I think this is the one and only time anyone will think that I am tall.)

8)  What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
Bug - "Just play."
Monkey - "Make us breakfast."  (Really?!?  What Mommy are YOU talking about?!?)

9)  What does Mommy do when you're not with me?
Bug - "Go to work all by yourself."
Monkey - "Get ready for work."

10)  What is Mommy really good at?
Bug - "Driving"  (This is quite a compliment coming from the world's most vocal backseat driver.)
Monkey - "I don't know.  I'm just a little boy!" (I guess the pressure of so many questions was getting to him at this point.  Lol!)

11)  What is Mommy not so good at?
Bug - "Coloring"
Monkey - "Coloring"  (I think I'm seeing a theme here.)

12)  What does Mommy do for a job?
Bug - "Pay people monies."  (Why, YES!  I DO!!!)
Monkey - "Work" (pretty much)

13)  What is Mommy's favorite food?
Bug - "Diet Coke" (He knows me so well... :-)
Monkey - "Lunchables!  Yeah...  Those are gooooood.  They got ham and cheese and crackers...  Mmm-mmm!"  (I think you're confusing me with someone else.)

14)  What do you love to do with Mommy?
Bug - "When we go to places just you and me!  That's fun!"
Monkey - "Just hang out with you and Bug."

After I asked Monkey the questions about me, I decided to see if I could get him to answer the same questions about his dad.  I am totally going to put these together in a project of some sort and give it to Popi for Father's Day or something.  He'll be mortified by some of Monkey's answers, but I sure got a great laugh out of it!  :-)

1)  What is something Popi always says to you?
Monkey - "That he loves me and that he loves me a whole lot.  He says it ALL THE TIME! (insert dramatic rolling of the eyes and then a big smile)."

2)  What makes Popi happy?
Monkey - "When I run up to him and give him hugs and kisses."

3)  What makes Popi sad?
Monkey - "If I don't love him."

4)  How does Popi make you laugh?
Monkey - (giggle giggle) "When he toots."  (I have a feeling Popi will be mortified to hear that Monkey shared that little detail with me.)

5)  What was Popi like when he was a little boy?
Monkey - (more giggles) "He used to toot in the bathroom."

6)  How old is Popi?
Monkey - "Four and a half."

7)  How tall is Popi?
Monkey - "Really, REALLY tall." (Compared to Mommy's 'really tall'.")

8)  What is Popi's favorite thing to do?
Monkey - "Tickle me and watch TV."  (I don't doubt that one bit.  You know WAY too many commercials to suspect otherwise.)

9)  What does Popi do when you're not with him?
Monkey - "Works."

10)  What is Popi really good at?
Monkey - "Talking on the phone."  (You mean Popi actually SPEAKS?!?)

11)  What is Popi not so good at?
Monkey - "Coloring."  (Now I'm beginning to think they expect Monet or Rembrandt or Vincent van Gogh or something.)

12)  What does Popi do for a job?
Monkey - "He works on airplanes."  (Yep.)

13)  What is Popi's favorite food?
Monkey - "Hot sauce, 'cause it's for grown ups."

14)  What do you love to do with Popi?
Monkey - "Just hang out with him."

I love doing these types of things with the kids and seeing how their answers change as they get older.  Have any of you tried this with your little ones?  Any hilarious (but mostly true) results?  :-)

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Is It Enough?

I know it's been forever since I've written an actual blog post, but I started writing this on FB and it ended up being so long that I decided to post it here...  (If you haven't followed the blog on FB, you've missed a lot the past year or two.  You'll definitely want to go catch up!)

I get so frustrated with Bug's birthmother and so many of the self-destructive choices that she continues to make.  So many times I wonder if anything I say or do makes any real difference at all.  So many times I wonder if I'm living up to what God asks of me when it comes to my relationship with her.  Just when I think that there's nothing I can do or say to help her, the thought flashes through my mind that this time so many of the poor choices she's been making are for what she truly believes are the right reasons.  She is trying so hard in ways she never has before.  She is succeeding in ways she never has before, but she is still struggling so much.  Rather than taking things one day at a time, she takes things one minute at a time and stumbles through them making one self-destructive choice after another.

But then I see the small changes...  I see her carrying a mom's devotional Bible that I got her for her birthday only one month ago, but it's pages are already worn and it's filled with papers and notes and bookmarks.  I see her struggling to fight her addiction and to stay clean for this new baby.  And while she doesn't always succeed, she has been able to regroup and start clean again.  I remind myself of what I know about her pregnancy with Bug, and I have to recognize and acknowledge how hard she is trying and how far she's come.  She is comfortable enough to reach out to me when she's struggling, and while I might think I'm stumbling through advice or words of encouragement, she writes and thanks me for "being the extension of what I've only recently discovered is God's love for me..."  Those words give me comfort in knowing that Jesus is clearly taking the wheel when I don't know what I'm doing.

I don't know what I'm doing.  I don't know what's going to happen.  I've given up having "a plan" months ago because I know that MY plan and HIS plan usually don't match up.

So if you've read this far, and you have it in your heart to pray, please pray for Bug's "S," for Baby Boy on the way, and for me over the coming months.  Please pray that we can all accept God's plan for us and work together to make the best of whatever it may be.  Please pray that I will have the ability to do whatever He asks of me and am able to do it in a way that doesn't confuse or hurt Bug.  Pray that Bug's "S" continues to see His love for her - even through the hard times, because there are definitely more hard times on the way.  Please pray that we come out on the other side of this stronger and with even more faith.

I've always said that foster care (and now adoption through foster care) is the hardest thing I've ever done.  But even through the difficult times, I still maintain that it is the best, most rewarding, most life-changing thing I have ever done...  And I wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On This Orphan Sunday...

On this Orphan Sunday, I thought I would share with you something that I shared with my church family earlier this year.  We have a series of stories written by members of our church describing how the Lord has worked to change our lives for the better.  Mine just happened to be about finding my purpose...  My faith...  My life...  My son...

Numb. Devastated. Lost.  For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom.  It turned out God had a different plan for me when I had a hysterectomy at the age of thirty due to complications with severe endometriosis.  Still single, with no biological children, I spent the next few years praying and trying to figure out God’s plan for me.  I knew I was meant to be a mother.  I just had no idea how it was going to happen.
In the fall of 2008, I decided to take a leap of faith and become a foster parent.  I had always shied away from fostering because of the usual fears related to having to say goodbye to children that I loved, but as time went on I finally began to trust that God wouldn’t have planted this seed in my heart only to leave me hurting and devastated.  So I dove headfirst into the unpredictable world of foster care, and allowed myself to love my kids with my whole heart despite the inevitable hurt.
While I had always been a believer, that faith was shattered one March afternoon as I stood in a courtroom and learned that the little boy who I had loved as my own for the past year was never coming home.  I had expected pain and tears when my children left my home, but nothing could have prepared me for the all-consuming heartache and flood of emotions that encompassed me in the days and weeks after I lost my little boy.  I was numb.  My heart had a gaping hole that physically ached.  My arms were empty where my little boy should have been.  I was furious that God would allow me to grieve so deeply when He was supposed to be protecting my heart!  I knew that I would never survive another goodbye, so I gave up my foster care license and tried to move on.
I'm not sure if I can say that I've ever fully felt God's presence until a few months after I lost my little boy.  It began slowly.  I would see something that reminded me of my baby and would smile rather than cry.  I would look at the empty crib and imagine another little one who needed me sleeping in it.  As time went on, I began to feel the change within me, and I knew that could only be because of His promise to heal the hurt.  I felt a stronger sense of peace, a renewed purpose, and a faith that I had always HOPED to have, but never really knew that I could find. 
Fulfilled. Hopeful. Blessed.  My life is nothing like I thought it would be when I was younger.  I am most definitely a mom, but my children have come to me in ways I never could have imagined.  Then one afternoon in December of 2012, a two-month-old baby boy was placed in my arms and looked up at me with his “old soul” eyes like he knew something that I didn’t.  That little boy, my "Bug", was dedicated to the Lord here at this amazing church home one year later, and will soon be my first legal forever child as his adoption is finalized next month.
God has healed my heart time and time again over the past five years, and has blessed me beyond what I had ever hoped or thought possible.
I am Tammy (aka. Mimi) and I am CHANGED.

On this Orphan Sunday, and the second day of National Adoption Month, I encourage you to share with someone how your life has been touched by adoption.

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