Our Daughters and our Sons | Patty

fostering hope image

I recently went on a hike to take some time to be alone with the Lord. It was beautiful, the weather had not yet turned ridiculously hot, and so I hiked up the mountain, just me and Jesus. And while walking, I was listening to a song by Audio Adrenaline called “Kings and Queens“. If you haven’t heard it, you need to – it is powerful! And I was suddenly struck by a thought.  Foster kids aren’t just “someone else’s kids”.  They are the son or daughter to a foster or adoptive parent they may have never met.

Can you imagine how different things would be if we thought of foster children as our own, instead of someone else’s child? We would walk through fire for our biological children, but for a foster child, we are held back by our fear of the unknown. What if they were exposed to drugs? What if they have behavioral problems? What if they were abused? What if, what if, what if? If someone had told you not to have biological children because they could have challenges, would that have stopped you from having kids?

Since fostering and eventually adopting our daughter, my heart has been burdened for children in the foster care system. Foster children are not often seen (meaning we don’t know they are foster kids), and their stories not often heard (we don’t want to hear what they have been through- it’s too painful). It was only when I walked through the path of foster care toward adoption, that I could finally see and understand the complexity of this system. If you have never experienced the state foster care system, let me enlighten you. Currently, there are over 400,000 children in foster care at any given time. Their stories are heartbreaking, their wounds are deep, and they need you.  My daughter entered foster care at birth, but she still feels the pain of not growing up with her birth parents and siblings.

Foster kids are strong, brave and yet scared at the same time, and they want permanency – the safety and security that comes from having someone to call mom and dad, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and a place to call home. They are not drug babies, problem children, or a hopeless cause. They are not the circumstances they were born into; they are not responsible for the choices of their birth parents. They have the same potential as you and me, and were created for divine purpose, just like you and me.

Psalm 139:13-16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

They could be your daughters and your sons. They are waiting for you. I don’t say that flippantly, or romantically. Taking in a child from foster care can be challenging. But as a Christian, I believe that we are called to stand in the gap for these children.  We are not meant to be their savior- Jesus is their savior.  But we are called to step forward and love them like Jesus would. It is time for true believers to step forward, to be the light in the darkness, to show them the transformational and unconditional love of Christ.

So what can you do?

  1. Become a foster parent or foster-to-adopt parent. It is not easy and there is no guarantee that you will be able to adopt a child that is placed with you. In fact approximately half of the children that enter foster care each year, return to their biological parents. But there are children who are languishing in the foster care system with no plan for permanency (aka no one willing to adopt them). So if you have thought about it, and don’t know the next steps to take, think that you can’t afford it, or that you would never be approved as a foster parent, please reach out, and we will put you in touch with people that can walk you through the process.
  2. Become a respite care provider. For anyone who is not ready to foster or adopt, but wants to help care for a foster child on a short term basis, respite care is a great option. Respite providers care for foster kids on a short term basis – a few hours or possibly a few days at a time to give foster parents a much needed break. If this is an option for you, please reach out.
  3. Meet a need. Foster families often find themselves in need of the most basic items. It is not uncommon for a foster parent to receive a call that children need to be picked up, and find that the child(ren) needs clothes, shoes, diapers, or even a car seat or crib.  If you cannot volunteer your time, but can meet a tangible need, please reach out.  Your gift will meet a need and be a HUGE blessing.
  4. Be a friend, extended family, and prayer partner for a foster child or foster family. Aside from the tangible needs, one of the most valuable thing you can give a foster family is your love, friendship and prayers. It takes a village to raise a child, and for many foster children, they have been uprooted from and lost contact with their community. So helping to build relationships encourages healthy attachment, emotional security, and a sense of normalcy that these children need.

There are several organizations that are helping foster families in your community. Here are a few that we recommend:

  1. ChildShare
  2. AdoptUSKids
  3. Rays of Light Philanthropic
  4. Families Like Ours (FLO)
  5. Olivecrest

Everyone can do something. If you are ready to take the first step, and learn more about how you can help, please reach out to one of these great organizations.

Blessings,

Patty

Online Wellness Event: Tomorrow Only

Hi Friends,

I am excited to tell you about an online wellness event that is happening tomorrow, Saturday, February 26th at 11 am PST via Zoom.  The event is focused on helping families with special needs children learn how to use nutrition to give your kids the best life possible.  You will hear testimonies from real parents and the differences they have seen in the health of their children because of this incredible program.

You can also request to join the Private Facebook Page created for this event: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1680646048855437/

I hope you can join us!

-Patty

P.S. Here is the login information for the event:

Healthy Living for Children and Families
This Saturday, February 27 at 11 AM PST, 1 PM CT, 2 PM EST.

Click the link to join: https://zoom.us/j/935703237

Child and Family Wellness

 

Parenting Through Pain | by Britta

freedoms

We all have pain don’t we. Pain comes in different ways. It comes in the heart break of infertility, it comes with divorce (either our own or our parents), it comes in the loss of a baby, it comes with raising hurt & broken children, it comes in the failed adoption, it comes in the form of health issues (our own or someone we love), it comes when we sin or others sin against us, it comes when we get offended, it comes when…you fill in the blank. In John 10:10 the bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. There is a “thief” who wants to cause you pain and destroy you. The enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to keep you stuck in your emotional and physical pain because in doing so you won’t be as effective for the Kingdom of God. So stay with me and take in what I have to share with you today.

Recently I was facing a lot of physical and emotional pain. This pain was robbing me and my family of many things. I was crying most days and I was trying to parent through the pain but it wasn’t going that well. When things usually happen in my life I tend to jump to Google, the doctor, essential oils, friends, food/diet, books, Pinterest and so on for my answer. But these past 6 months I’ve been really practicing going to God in prayer FIRST and I’ve been practicing listening to the Holy Spirit for direction. (See Philippians 4:6-7) So I prayed, my family prayed, my friends prayed, my church prayed. We prayed for healing. We prayed for wisdom for me to know what direction to take. I felt good about going to a new doctor in Seattle and I met with a team there. I had lots of tests and everything came back fine. There was no diagnosis. But I was still in pain. I knew deep in my spirit that this pain was more than just physical. This pain had a deep spiritual root.

John 10:10a “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”    

The Lord took me on a journey. A very long journey. A hard pressed, shaken down, tear stained journey. When I felt like giving in I pressed in. When I felt like giving up I reached up. I cried out more often and louder to the Holy Spirit. I got up off the ground and I ran to Him. When I was at my weakest I just cried Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He could have healed me instantly but instead He showed me something so I could share it with you. I want you to understand that the steps the Lord showed me you can apply to your life too. So here you go.

1) I asked the Holy Spirit to show me why I was in so much pain. He showed me that unforgiveness and being offended had created wounds in my soul which then gave the “thief” legal right to enter in and start to steal, kill, and destroy me and my family and cause me emotional and physical pain. I began to repent for my sins and forgive those who had sinned against me. I applied the blood of Jesus over myself because what washes away sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!! See 1 John 1:7

2) If we only focus on asking for forgiveness we will miss the amazing power of Jesus to heal our soul wounds. There is supernatural power in the glory of Jesus. When we grab a hold of this truth we are taking part in ALL that Christ has for us. His blood AND His glory. After I completed step one I focused on the glory of Jesus. I meditated on the Word of God day and night. I asked Him to shine His glory light into my soul and heal the wounds that were created by unforgiveness and sin. Jesus wants our souls to prosper (be in good health)!! See 3 John verse 2

3) Finally, after all that time repenting and applying the blood of Jesus and soaking in His powerful glory, I told the “thief” that it was time for him to go. I told him that he no longer has any legal right over me because Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross and the glory of Jesus had healed my deepest wounds completely. I commanded the “thief” to leave in Jesus name…and guess what? he left…and my pain left too. Peace flooded my mind and body. There is power in the name of Jesus. We as Christians have the same power that conquered the grave living in us. See Romans 8:11

No pain is too much for Jesus. There are too many of us carrying heavy burdens. We walk around wounded, angry, hurting, sick, and broken. Our spouses and children need us whole. We need to share these tools with our children to see them set free. Our friends need healing too. I shared with you what the beginning of John 10:10 says but you need to read what the end of that verse says to us…Jesus came to give us life, abundant life. That means that God is a loving Father who wants good for us and not evil. A lot of Christians and non Christians alike blame God for their situation, blame Him for their pain. If nothing else I want you to know today that the God of the universe, your Creator, is FOR you and LOVES you!!!

John 10:10b “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Shout it out!!! When you have been set free like I have and healed like I have you want nothing more than to shout it from the rooftops. I want every person on this earth to experience this kind of freedom in Christ. I can testify to you that the Lord is returning to me all the years that the locusts ate.(See Joel 2:25) Jesus has given me back the ability to parent my children without pain. Jesus has restored my marriage. Jesus has given me back my joy times seven. Hallelujah!! He wants to do those things and more for you too!!!

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. 

****I learned about the healing of soul wounds by listening to teaching by Katie Souza on YouTube. I really like the one called Stay Un Offendable. You can also go to her website at www.expectedendministries.com  for more info.****

****In no way is Three Strands Ministries affiliated with Katie Souza or her ministry. This is just my personal journey and the teaching God used to heal me.****

Infertility and Adoption Changed My Life Dramatically | by Jan

Orchard%20Adoption%20Cards

 Hi everyone:

Since this is my first post I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and why I’m excited to be a part of this ministry. I am a biological and adoptive mom, as well as a wife, daughter, sister, grandmother and most recently a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. My experience with infertility and adoption changed my life dramatically. So much so that it inspired me to go back to school at age 47 to get my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and become a therapist in order to help others who might be going through infertility and adoption as well. I chose that population for the topic of my research, and learned so much that I’d like to share with you over the course of my next few posts.

  “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ” Ephesians 1:5

In the course of my psychology program I also learned a lot of things that I didn’t expect. About myself, about the world, and even about the Bible and God. I had expected to find opposing viewpoints everywhere I looked, but instead I became reassured again and again of the wisdom and truth of the Bible and God’s Word. For example, what psychology calls the “multigenerational transmission process” the Bible calls “The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’ Ezekiel 18:2……and while the world considers adoption an “alternate or deviant family form” the Bible says he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ” Eph. 1:5.

In the world the idea of “family” is largely defined by blood or biological bonds. But in church we consider each other brothers and sisters in Christ, not by our own or our parent’s blood, but by the blood through which we were all saved. “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” Rev. 1:5  What the church has known for so many years, as in so many things, our society is slow to acknowledge.

  The idea of “family” is largely defined by blood or biological bonds

Next time I will share more of my research findings about infertility and adoption, and why we struggle to feel accepted by the world when we choose an “alternate” definition of family. For today, I’d like to leave you with this good word: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Rom. 8:22-24

– Jan

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The Courage of A Mother | by Seana

Photo by connieriggiophotography.com

She told me over the phone that she was pregnant. I swallowed. “How is she going to take care of this baby? Is she still using drugs? Is she going to abort? Dear, Lord, please don’t let her abort.”

With a thickening pause she added, “Don’t worry. I’m going to put it up for adoption.”

Relief released my tension, but then came the complex emotions of sadness and joy spinning together, making me nauseous.

“Can you help me find a program or place to live while I have the baby?” She asked.

By God’s grace and favor, we found her a pregnancy home to stay in. She remained sober through the birth and we dreamed together, as we did in the park as children years before, of what this young child will be when he grows up. As children we imagined having husbands and homes, not being homeless and pregnant.

During the following months, her love for her unborn son cultivated. We talked about what giving birth is like and what to take in your hospital bag, but instead of shopping through baby registries, she combed through parent profiles.

How do you choose a parent for your own child? Selflessly, bravely.

This week I read the beginning of Exodus, Moses’ birth story. During the time of Moses’ birth, all the Israelite parents were forced to leave their baby boys in the Nile to die by exposure, drowning, or however else babies left in the wild die.

I picture Moses’ mother. She just pushed her last exhausting push with joyful relief, but the next words meant life or death for her child. “Please be a girl, please be a girl,” I imagine Moses’ mom thinking. Instead, the word “boy” turns the beautiful moment into one of fear and angst.

However, Moses’ mom was brave. She saw that Moses was different and hid him for three months. Then, when she could no longer hide him, she makes a special basket with tar and places in along the Nile. What was she thinking, I wonder? The Bible does not say, but as I watched my friend offer life to her son, I can imagine. I believe she was heartbroken for the life she could not give Moses, but prayerful and hopeful for the life her son could have if she gave him away.

I held my friend’s sweet, perfectly health baby boy the day he was born; such a gift to the world in a small, totally-dependent package. I prayed over him and asked God to be with him, no matter what, no matter where, all the days of his life. I cried. I too lost the joy of knowing him as he grew up.

What I see from Moses’s mother… what I see from my sweet childhood friend… is the courage it takes for a mom to lay aside her own dreams, desires, and life itself, to offer her child to another for the sake of that child.

And in the case of my sweet friend, the birth of her son eventually brought her heart to a tender place to receive the birth, death, and resurrection of God’s one and only Son.

Whether women raise the child they did not birth, or birth a child they do not raise, it takes much courage to give of our selves so another may live.

Live courageously, today Mamas! God has a plan for your life and all the kinds of children He brings into it.

-Seana

November is National Adoption Month

National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day

 

November 22nd is National Adoption Day. This month you might notice news outlets, organizations, and even Facebook friends posting stories or opinions along this theme. This month is very special to several of us here at Three Strands Ministries because we have become or hope to be foster and/or adoptive parents. This month you will here from us about Foster Care and Adoption. We hope that you will relate to our stories, share them with someone who is a Foster or Adoptive parent, and consider opening your heart and your home to a child in need. For those of you who have never adopted and are wondering what the fuss is about, here are some important facts regarding National Adoption Day:

What is National Adoption Day?

Every year on the  Saturday before Thanksgiving thousands of children, their soon-to-be-parents, and local social workers assemble at their local courthouse to finalize their adoption. Some children are adopted from birth. Others were swept into the Foster Care system and wait several years before they are adopted, and, in some cases adult children (18 or older) are officially adopted by their parents.  Each family has their story, which has led to this culminating event. It is not the end of their story, but simply the end of a chapter and the beginning of another. If you would like more information about National Adoption Day, we recommend you click on this link nationaladoptionday.org .

Why is this Adoption Day different from other Adoption Days throughout the year?

This is the time of the year when several states make a big push to finalize the adoptions of kids who are in the foster care system in an effort to ensure that foster children find their forever homes. Typically, more adoptions occur in the month of November than in any other month throughout the year. It is a day of celebration and a time to raise awareness about the needs of foster children

I am interested in foster care and/or adoption.  Where can I find more information?

There are several great organizations across the country that specialize in foster care and adoption abroad and in the U.S. We at Three Strands Ministries recommend the following organizations:

  • Youth For Christ (YFC) for foster care and adoption services (Seattle/Tacoma region)
  • Child Share (LA region)

Is there a way to help foster kids without becoming a foster parent or adopting? I want to help, but I can’t foster or adopt.  What can I do?

There are lots of ways to support Foster and Adopted Families. Here are some ways that you might consider helping a foster/adoptive family:

  • Respite care – Child care for the foster/adoptive parents while they enjoy a date night, run errands, or even go grocery shopping. This is like specialized child care in that you may need some training or to attend a class to know how to care for children with special needs. You will also need to have a background check on file with the child’s social worker. This is easy to obtain and the foster family and their social worker should be able to help you know what needs to be done.
  • Host play dates – Foster/adopted children, for the most part, are just like your kids. There may be some children who have special play needs and a play date may not be appropriate. But for the most part, helping to provide a sense of normal and a safe place to play with friends is important and will be a great encouragement to the kids and their families.
  • Be a friend – Foster moms and dads need someone who is willing to listen and not judge them or their kids. Invite them over for dinner, take them out to  coffee, and just listen.
  • Don’t judge. Offer to help – Sometimes, being a Foster parent can be difficult.  People who are not Foster parents don’t understand the special needs and challenges that come with caring for a child who has been exposed to drugs or alcohol, abuse, neglect or abandonment, and have behavioral, emotional, developmental,  or psychological challenges. So if you see a mom at the checkout stand buying subsidized food who seems overwhelmed by unruly, undisciplined kids, don’t write her off as a bad mom. Instead offer a smile, offer to help carry her things to her car, and just be a blessing.
  • Help raise awareness – Change your profile picture on social media and challenge others to do the same, and help give a voice to the thousands of foster kids who are looking for their forever home.

Join the conversation

Do you have questions about Foster Care or Adoption? Are you a Foster or Adoptive mom and are willing to share your story? Email us your questions or share your story and we will post it on our blog.

The Day You Came Home: a letter to my adopted son | by Britta

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

To My Dear Son,

It was just another Monday morning. We had finished school the week before and I was on the phone with one of my best friends, Holly. Right before Holly and I hung up I got a beep from my other line. I told her to hold on because the caller ID said it was Rose. I had been waiting for this call for over a month. When I picked up the phone Rose said in an excited voice that she didn’t have time to talk but that I needed to go check my email right away. I clicked back over to Holly and while she was still on the phone I checked my email. There it was in black and white. I read out loud: “He was born over the weekend”. I instantly started to cry and had chills all over my body. What happened over the next few hours became a miracle only God could have orchestrated.

I had been praying for you for 3 months prior to your birth. I knew during that time that you were fighting to live. I didn’t know for sure if I would ever get to hold you in my arms but I felt honored to pray for you and be your spiritual mother.

About an hour after I got the email that you were born the phone rang again. This time it was your case worker from CPS. Her name was Becky. She talked with me and told me about you. She said that she needed to check and see if you were healthy enough to come home. She said you might have to go to a special place called the PICC Center. That’s where babies born affected by drugs go to safely wean from the drugs in their system. I hung up the phone and called daddy. I gave him the update. I also called our adoption agency and told them what was going on. Our adoption counselor called Becky and sent over our home-study. Then not long after that Becky called me back and said that you were ready to come home. I was in shock!! She said that I needed to call your nurse at the hospital to get the details on how and where to pick you up. I called the nurse next and she was so sweet. She said that all the nurses wanted to take you home. I told her I would be there in about 2 hours. I called daddy back but he couldn’t come with me to get you because he was working. So I called Rose back. Remember she’s the woman who called me and emailed me that you were born. She is your aunt and we met her at church and she told us all about you. Aunt Rose asked if she could come with me to pick you up and of course I said YES!!!

It was a long 2 hour car ride to get you but it went by so fast! Aunt Rose and I talked and she told me all about your biological family. We cried and we laughed. When we got to the hospital we went up and met the case worker in the birthing center. They took us to a room. Moments later they brought you into see us. We cried again. You were such a beautiful baby!!!! I asked Aunt Rose if she wanted to hold you and she said that I should hold you first because I am your mama. I told her that I would be honored if she would hand you to me. That was such a special moment and one I will never forget.

The first time I held you in my arms was amazing. I felt like I was going to float away with happiness. I had been waiting for this day for so very long. I fell instantly in love with you. You were not of my flesh, nor of my bone, yet at that moment I knew you were truly my own.

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Soon it was time to head home. I dressed you in a sweet little outfit with a hat that said “watch me go”, I fed you, and then put you into your car seat. I buckled you into the van and off we went. I kept telling Aunt Rose to pinch me because I thought I was dreaming. We were so hungry so we stopped for Mexican food. I inhaled my salad so fast I don’t even think I tasted it. I just wanted to hold you!! You didn’t cry a peep all the way home. Once I got to Aunt Rose’s house your two sisters came out to see you. Aunt Rose adopted them and she is now their mommy. They didn’t know you were their brother but they saw you for the first time the day after you were born. I gave Aunt Rose a big, big hug and then got into the van and drove away with you. Just you and me!!

We got home around 8pm to Daddy, Bailey, Simon, and Silas. I had to go to the bathroom so I took you out of your car seat and handed you over to daddy. When I got back I asked them what we should call you. Everyone gave you kisses and we all just couldn’t believe how small you were. We looked you over and felt your soft hair and skin. We talked about lots of names. We wanted a name from the Bible. Simon got out his Bible and started looking. What a glorious day!! We had you home and you were perfect. You are loved so much by so many people!!!

The next morning we all agreed to call you Solomon. It means “Peaceful”. God has given us so much peace through this whole experience. Daddy chose your middle name as Kal-El from the Superman comic books that he liked so much as a child. Superman was adopted by a family who loved him just like we love you. Kal-El means “Voice of God”. We pray you listen to the peaceful voice of God your entire life.

Five long years before your birth God put on my heart that I would have another son…the day you were born His promise was fulfilled. “But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.” 1 Chronicles 22:9

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Photo credit Debbie Rumpza Photography 2011

Solomon Kal-El this is only the beginning of your story. I am honored to be your mama. I can’t wait to see what God does in and through your life. Always know how much we love you. You were chosen by God to be chosen by us. Adopted into our forever family on November 22, 2013 after 901 days in Foster Care.

All my love,
Mama