Monthly Archives: September 2014

Put Me In, Coach. I’m Ready to Play

A post comment has consumed my thoughts all day long.  Thank you, faithful contributor, for adjusting my Seahawks metaphor.  Comment:

“With all due respect, I’d suggest that you are not the 12th man, the fans. You are players, key players, in a back-up position. When the first string player gets injured or has to leave the game, YOU go in. You carry the ball over the goal line. You play a key role in the victory.

We, your family and friends, are the 12th man, your — and all of the players’ — greatest fans. We are standing by not only cheering you on in this enormously important game, but also available to provide any kind of support you need.

So, Step 1 in bringing along your fan base, your support group: we need to see Tough Love. We need to see it for the same reason you had your two girls see it. Let us know how we can see it.”

YOU ARE RIGHT ON, MAN!  We must play a key role.  In an attempt to affirm our total support of biological parents, I sat foster parents on the bleachers.   But you threw the yellow flag at just the right time.  We are not standing on the sidelines.  We have huge responsibilities.  Get in the game, right?!  The  team is indeed counting on us as key players.  Thank you, RRR, for giving us a jersey and adjusting our helmut — then patting our shoulder pads and sending us on the field.  Thanks for the reminder that we are game changers.  We gotta put some points on the board too.  Also, thank you for your gracious re-defining of the 12th man.

As to the next showing of TOUGH LOVE, I will keep everyone “posted.”  Haven’t heard of the next NW date yet.

Here’s to my faithful fans!  I love you.  You are a BLESSING!

Seattle: Home to More Than One Championship Team

 

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Last night we attended an actual movie premiere! The producers, director, and stars of the show were all there too. It was a magical, red-carpet night at the Uptown Theater.

The magic was really all in the hearts of the people in the film. Our family was blessed to be present at the first viewing of Tough Love, a documentary film about the child welfare system by Stephanie Wang-Breal. It was a. may. zing.

http://www.toughlovefilm.com/

Knowing the purpose for the stories in the film, we felt strongly that it would be important for our kids to see. Even though my husband and I understand the mission of King Co. child welfare is for re-unification, our kids didn’t quite get that yet. It was a golden opportunity for them to see what our role truly will be when we are blessed with foster children in our house. The film (or movie I could say, since we we got us some milk duds & red vines) does an incredible job of making each individual member of the child welfare team look like the MVP. In typical King Co. fashion, the players all come onto the field like every day is the Super Bowl. That is contrasted with the not-so-evolved child welfare system in NYC. The Big Apple is of course in many ways a heroic city. But it’s child welfare system I’m afraid falls short. It was discouraging to observe the difference between the two systems. Families that deal with CPS and courtrooms, and happen to live in King Co. are fortunate. We really are the land of the Legion of Boom, in more ways than one. I noticed we boast a couple more Beast Mode players too: Strong, passionate, sophisticated, wise, and talented hearts among us… Tough Love indeed.

Can we be the 12th man for our foster children? We are, in some ways, the fans. We must cheer on the entire team for the sake of each child. We remain positive and supportive of every player in every position. Thanks to this film, our kids now recognize that our love and prayers must reach beyond our precious temporary family members. I do believe our love is tough enough to reach every player. That’s our game plan.

More exciting info. about this film. :https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/28120610/tough-love-a-documentary-about-the-child-welfare-s

One Strike I’m Out

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 “Stop! Baby, stop running! Help!” It was the most panicked situation I have ever had in my life. My oldest son was 2 years old and running away from me into a busy alley next to our Little Gym Class. It was an alley that had monster delivery trucks cruising in and out to deliver carpets to the Karastan Carpet store next door. I was screaming every thing I could think of. “Have a lollipop, chocolate cake!! Turn around NOW!” He didn’t stop, he ran straight into the alley. By the grace of God, there was not a truck passing by. Thank you Lord Jesus for protecting my boy.

When I reached him and finally had him in my arms, all I thought was, “This cannot happen again.” I thought maybe this is why some parents spank their kids. Maybe it’s the only way to keep him safe from this day forward? So I did it. I always had conviction we would never spank our kids. This was a desperate situation I thought. I spanked his little diaper-padded bottom.  But I was only a little convinced that my baby would be safe from running into streets forevermore. His little blue eyes looked up at me with hurt and confusion. No tears, no humble recoil. Maybe he was actually thinking, “that’s all you got?” He raised his pudgy little hand and slapped my face saying, “Mama no hit her baby!” That was the first and only time my husband or I ever spanked any of our kids. And not just because our son could probably take us.

I believe that God doesn’t want His children to hurt each other on purpose. Everyone is entitled to their own parenting techniques (darn it). I know there are many people who believe in “the laying of hands on our children.” It’s not against the law. It’s not considered abuse. I was spanked, my husband was spanked. We don’t feel it was abuse either.

Though in this season of NFL players getting in big trouble for abusing their kids, and all the commentary in the news, I find myself wondering, “where do we draw the line?” The argument in the NFL players’ defense is of course, “that’s how it is in the south. This is how we all grew up. My parents hit me, and I hit my kids.”

What are the reasons for corporal punishment? I am confused by the justifications. The reasons against corporal punishment in my opinion are:

1. Spanking creates a wall of fear between parent and child.

2. All parents who declare, “I want my teenager to be able to talk to me, ” have a rough road if they spank their kids. Spanked kids will have a rooted subconscious notion that sharing about any trouble will lead to anger, pain and humiliation.

3. No matter how it’s explained to the child, it’s basically teaching that it’s ok to hurt people. They are too young to understand the difference between getting spanked and hitting others.

4. We are told in the Bible to live as Christ. Christ never ever said anything about spanking your kids. Grace, love, compassion, honesty, and understanding is what He taught.

5. I believe “the rod” is a metaphor for Faith.  A rod is also known as a staff. Probably the most notable staff is Moses’. He did not beat human beings with it. He used it as a symbol of strength and Faith. As he raised his rod or pushed it into the ground, it was an act of obedience to God, and Faith in God. A shepherd uses his staff/rod to walk as he leads his sheep. He doesn’t beat his sheep with it. He might use the rod to gently guide his sheep in the right direction. “Discipline your children by the rod,” says to me God wants us to guide our children with confidence and Godliness.

6. The number of scriptures that declare grace, forgiveness, and love far exceeds the number of scriptures claiming “spare the rod, spoil the child.” The message of Christ is LOVE. How can we believe the message of the Bible is love, and believe that God meant for us to physically hurt our own children? God never punishes us. Christ never punishes us. We lead our children, guide our children, teach our children. But we are in the flesh so we will most likely punish our children. But can we at least do it without putting on them physical pain, discouragement, and shame?

7. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told of spanking and punitive parenting.  “Submission” is much different from “forced submission.”  The Bible teaches  submission.

The verse below struck me (pun intended) because we can grow and evolve. “That’s the way my daddy did it,” maybe so. But it’s not the way we have to do it. God’s Grace will bless us with miraculous transformations through His love.

 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

                                                                                                   -1 Corinthians 13:11   NIV

Where Did Everyone Go?

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“Oh man that is so cool, Mom!”  Says my 14 year old when she sees the “little tykes” school bus -slide-jungle gym- bubble maker delivered to our door from target.com.  “Yeah, do you want to help me put it together?” I ask.  “no thanks.” and she runs upstairs.

Ohhhh yeah… it’s all exciting, and “when do we get a baby?” and “I can’t wait for our new brother or sister,” and “it’s going to be so fun, Mom.”  But I know… (because we’ve had 3 puppies, and we have dinner every night) that teenagers are typically not helpful.  I don’t expect much help from them.  My basic philosophy is that they have a lot of stress themselves:  homework, social, sports, activities, sorting lululemons, instagram maintenance, of course.  But I don’t kid myself (pardon the pun) that they might be able to take on some of our new responsibilities.

It is so exciting that we are sharing this experience with our children.  I know they will grow in Faith and understanding and patience and love.  But I also know that this is my and my husband’s mission.  We can’t expect an abundance of support from our kids, relatives, neighbors, and friends.  I know we have support, but we can’t always rely on it.  Maybe especially when it gets uncomfortable or messy or tough?

I was near… ok, beyond… tears trying to dislodge “my little ponies” out of their packaging.  Every leg on all 8 ponies (32 legs, right?) and every mane, and every little tail was literally chained, superglued, and locked into place.  Securely attached to something that looked like plastic, but when severed from the box, would scratch and claw at me.  “Hey, can you guys help me with this?”  My teenager lifted the small box, turned it over a couple of times, shook it, and said, “Oh, yeah this is crazy, Mom.”  Handed it back to me, eyes back down to phone.  “Sorry, Mom.  Ask Dad.”  Scissors, screwdrivers, and bandaids later… the ponies were set free.  I actually said to them, “Run!  You are free!  Run reckless into the wild!”  I was sweaty and defeated.  I asked, “Can someone take this packaging out to the recycle?”  My 17 year old asks, “All of it?”

Thank you, Father God, for being the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresence One in our lives.  We lean into You, we turn to You, and we trust in You.  Always.  We are blessed by Your children that encourage and support us every day.  But we know that You are the only source we need.  Thank You, Lord.

 

 

Shot in the Arm

 

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Yeeeeeee-ouch! This is the worst part. Every single step of the way of this licensing process has been great, enlightening, inspiring, encouraging. Except this week. This week we had to get shots. I got a DTAP shot 2 days ago and my arm is sore. They said it will be like that achey soreness from a work- out. Yeah… if during my work-out bowling balls got hurled at my upper arm. Today all of us got TB tests… that was fun.   What did you do this weekend? Oh, it was awesome — we sat in a waiting room for a couple hours, wrote our address 5 x on 8 forms, then got our arms poked with a long needle…. Injecting foster-parent-satisfactory diagnosis jelly. I’m told we are not to have a reaction… So I tried not to cry too loudly. Later I found out they meant a skin reaction.

Vaccines. I know we are blessed to have them. I know the Gates Foundation has immunized entire countries – amazing!  What would Jesus say our culture has been immunized for? Would he say we are immunized against disease, but also against sympathy and service?  I believe Jesus is actually our defense against immunization. Have all of us been immunized by the Enemy’s nurses? Do red & black polyester-clad nurses immunize our hearts against compassion? …in the form of desensitization through media, etc.?  The devil is using vaccination techniques to desensitize us to evil, suffering, and corruption.   We are getting “booster shots”  through media and news sources.

When my son saw a homeless man for the first time this is what happened: “Mom, why is that man sitting under the road?” (I-5 overpass) I explained that he had no where else to go. Right then I taught my son about the sad reality of homelessness. He began to cry. It was sort of a diminished sob. Something I had never experienced from him before. A true expression of compassion and deep sorrow. “It can’t be true, Mom.” He said with quivering lips, “It can’t be.”

Whereas my heart had sort of become immune to the sadness of homelessness, my son saw it with new eyes. He saw the homeless man with clarity. That’s the way our Lord wants us to see the homeless man. Not saying we get desensitized in a cold, evil way… but akin to “it’s horrible, but there’s nothing I can do about it.” That’s the devil’s favorite, as we all know. He feeds on indifference.

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

                                                                                                         – Brandon Heath

Awkward Silence

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True, our house can get a little umm, high-spirited sometimes.  We like music, we like to laugh, we like to banter, we like to have fun.  People like to drop by.  It’s probably not the quietest house in the neighborhood, but I guess that can be a good thing.  A friend of mine told me that her daughter feels more comfortable at our house because of the energy and (harmless) disorder.  I get that.  Not everyone wants their lives to be mostly peaceful, reading, tea-sipping, spa music moments.  Bring me the crazy.  It’s more fun.  It’s what kids need sometimes… A lot of the time.

Setting up our crib, I think “We might have to become a quieter household soon.”  But maybe not.  Maybe some of our new family members will need some noise.  They may be used to some disorder, and maybe a little of that will actually make them feel more comfortable at their new home?

It’s clear from CCT classes that the goal is for the children to have a schedule, and routines they can count on.  They will be able to count on that here.  And if they need some crazy, we can provide that too.

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

Psalm 95:1-2  NIV