Even In Brokenness, He is Good.


“Come sit down,” my husband said for the 26th time that night. It was nearing midnight and I was anxiously peering out the peephole of our front door. How could he be so calm in a moment like this?! We were about to meet our first child and he wants me to sit down! He has a way with rationality. Apparently the car won’t actually pull into our driveway any faster if I’m looking out the peephole or sitting on the couch. Anyways, at the door I stood.
The car eventually pulled into our driveway and two Officers of Social Services carried a car seat with a newborn baby girl out into the night and straight into our hearts. My life was about to change in ways I didn’t yet understand.
I made a “deal” with God, you see. I would love any child He brings into our lives unconditionally and He would protect me from the “heartbreak” of a relationship with birthparents.
Yeah – right.
We had Baby A for approximately 21 minutes when the CPS officer handed me the phone number for Baby A’s mom and told me she’s expecting a call tonight. I’m sure he noticed the obvious deer in headlights look on my face so he gently told me, “she’s scared to.”
I have this sign hanging above the window in our kitchen that reads, “If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”
Well I did make that call to reassure Baby A’s mom that she was here and she’ll be taken care of. A short 3 days later I found myself walking into my very first visit holding Baby A in my arms and handed her to her mom for her scheduled visitation. I monitored that visit and would continue to monitor for the rest of the time Baby A was in our home.
God refined my heart through this hard experience.
It’s doesn’t take much work to take the easy road. Profound, I know.
Where I thought I’d rather save myself the pain of knowing Baby A’s mom I would have lost the experience of creating an irreplaceable relationship with a girl that now looks up to me as a mom. I learned it wasn’t about me, but was about them – not about what I would loose, but what they would gain. This is a lesson that stretches far beyond foster care, although I’ve had the difficult opportunity to learn this lesson more than a couple times as a foster mom.
So often we jump to the conclusion about how things should go – how they’ll work best. This can be so dangerous for ourselves, and ultimately for our faith.
God doesn’t promise us a life without pain, He just promises to walk through the pain with us.
Sometimes those painful moments are the most refining moments.

May is foster care awareness month. There are so many ways to involve yourself with the foster youth in your area. Whether you have an hour to give, a day, or forever, there is an opportunity to help those that need your love the most. As always, please reach out if you need help connecting to these opportunities.

You are Enough, Mama

I am enough.
Why is it that this statement can be so hard to believe sometimes? There’s always something else, someone else, another load, another project.
Can I be honest with you? We’ve been living out of our dryer for over a week. If I would have told you this last year it would have had 10 excuses attached to the end of that confession. Attempts at justifying my “less than” actions, or “lack of actions.”
I had folding laundry on my list of to-do’s today and you know what, it didn’t get done. What I’m not telling you is the things that have taken importance in this last week or so.
If I count my success based on what’s not done, I’ll never be enough.
Sisters, you are enough.

Our girls are 10 months apart. We had our baby for a week before our 14 month old came into our home. Everyone encouraged me to get the girls on the same napping schedule. I quickly learned that this didn’t work for me. I’d rather stagger their naps so I could give them all my attention for a little bit of the day. This being said, normally a portion of their nap does fall at the same time. Today, our baby didn’t fall right to sleep so I laid on the bed with her and we “talked.” When she finally fell asleep she was holding onto my finger. My scheduled time to get things done quickly went out the window.

Unplug

Unplug.
Ryan and I started a new little “tradition” in our family. On Sundays we decided from now on, to leave all technology off and out of the way. Our very 2016 iPhone’s will be temporarily converted to the basics of a flip phone. Phone calls only. Since it seems people don’t really call anymore, you can imagine this means our phones are pretty quiet all day.
Ryan took it seriously enough that he actually turned his phone off and left it in our bedroom all day. We did a morning Bible Study together while the girls napped and it took us twice as long because there was literally nothing distracting us and we did more than we ever have in one sitting. (Even bathroom breaks took less time for some of us, HAHA)

Can I admit something pretty embarrassing you to? The first Sunday was hard! By noon I was pretty mortified at how much time I normally spend on the phone. I guess we don’t really know how much “checking” we do be it on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. BUT Ryan and I talked ALL DAY! I told him stories I probably wouldn’t have thought important if he would have been “busy” on a devise. Our kids got our FULL attention all day long. By dinner time (which was a date night anyways) we were having major, in depth conversations and noticing all the couples on their phones around us!
I’d say about half way through the day I noticed my desire to “check in on social media” was becoming less and less. That feeling of missing something was less. Why did I feel like I was missing something on social media when all these weeks, months, etc. before I was actually missing out on the ones that mean the most to me?
We are so in tune to others little square images of life that we forget life is happening right in front of us.
This is where we are truly missing out.
The days might be long but the years are short and we don’t get the same day back again.
Needless to say, I’m truly looking forward to our weekends together now. Not that I wasn’t before, but when we are all truly present we make more memories even in the smallest of moments. We reconnect in areas we didn’t even realize we needed to. 

Mexican Chicken Quinoa Skillet



Cooking is an act of love.
My mama used to tell me this all the time. She cooked every night and I carried this desire with me into my marriage… then kids came. It’s not that my desire changed. The task of cooking and preparing a meal just became more difficult. I eventually had a heart-to-heart with myself and decided I had to come up with a game plan to cook meals for my husband and family.
This happened in two steps:
1  menu planning & meal prep
2  one pot meals
Let’s be honest – getting to the grocery store, prepping the food, and then cooking the meal is half the battle. Clean up is the worst part! With one-pot meals, the cleanup is a breeze, and this really speaks to my heart. Not only do I get to serve my family by way of cooking them dinner, but I also get to spend all that “would-be clean up time” with them! Win-win in for the mama books!
I used a skillet to cook this dish. You just need a pot or pan deep enough to hold the liquids that will eventually be absorbed by the quinoa. I’ve also made this recipe in a Dutch oven – my go-to for all things one-pot.

To get the rest of the recipe click HERE

For the Mama Without a Mama

I remember the moment she said it. She was standing at the door of my room, and I was sitting on the floor going through my closet. She said to leave her bedroom as it was for a little while in case I ever want to go sit in there and talk with her. She told me to rock in the rocking chair and feel that this separation is only temporary.
She was my mother. She had cancer, and I was just barely considered an adult – too young to lose my mama who also happened to be my best friend.
I did lose her just a few short weeks later. My life turned upside down and inside out. It was just she and I, but on that second to last Friday in May, it became just me. I found myself visiting that chair many times before we moved. My husband and I were engaged a few months later and married before a year was up. That’s when the big moments began. I got engaged with a ring like the many my mama and I had talked about sitting on the couch in our living room. And our wedding was wonderful – complete with a precious tribute just for her. But she wasn’t there, and I knew these sweet moments would only be the beginning of things I’d go through without her.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t terrify me to become a mom without her here. She’s the one I called 20 times a day and could ask anything. There was no filter on our relationship, nothing was embarrassing, and she was the wisest of women. One of the hardest parts about her being gone was knowing she wasn’t here praying for me and encouraging me to draw closer to Christ. There came lesson number one.

Day 4 & 5 #knittogetherbyadoption

Why? That’s a good question. Why do we foster? That can probably be answered differently depending on the day, or honestly, my mood. What first peaked my interest into the foster care world was the equal need between my arms needing the weight of a baby and a baby needing the security of my arms. God opened the doors of fostering both by paving the way to our being licensed and by opening the doors of our hearts. I’d be crazy to look back on this journey and think anything less than this being the plan all along.
When Baby A came home I realized that I spent a lot of time preparing for something impossible to prepare for. The love I felt for her was intense and instantaneous. I realized, looking at her that first night, that her all of 3 day old self knew more brokenness than most adults. I was about to see God build beauty from brokenness.
I’d like to put on my rosy glasses and think that the dimpled hands and chubby thighs keep me in foster care but the reality is the brokenness, abuse, pain… and hope keep me here. This system is terribly flawed towards our children and it’s quietly become my mission to stand in the gap for our kids. There’s a burning desire in my heart to love them well. To teach them their worth. To give them connection, attachment, trust, and unconditional love. To let them be little.
Day 5 of #knittogetherbyadoption asks about RAISING AWARENESS.
On of the things I’m most passionate about is teaching people the MANY ways to get involved in foster care. Before we were licensed I’ll be honest – I didn’t know much about foster care or the depth of the need. When we went to get involved it was as foster parents because I was unaware of the many avenues we could have served prior to feeling lead to grow our family this way.
Firstly, let me tell you we are NOT any better, different, more special, etc. AND we experience no less pain over the trauma of our kids than anyone else would. I do believe you have to have a calling to foster. It’s a job and its tough – no doubt about that. BUT everyone IS called to serve and there are so many ways in which to serve these beautiful children.
A few ways to immediately serve is volunteering a couple hours a month to mentoring kids. Depending on their ages you may be grabbing coffee and chatting, helping with homework, helping job search, throwing around a basketball, reading books, or snuggling the youngest of these. One of the ways we, as a family, have been served is through meals when a new babe comes. The first week especially is tough. Not only is the family adjusting but you spend A TON of time on the phone between social workers, getting the kids medical insurance set up, etc. There’s a lot of “business” to get done in that first week which takes precious bonding time away. When a meal is brought over I can’t tell you how blessed we feel!
Donating to the county, Foster Family Agencies, group homes, etc. is also a great way to get involved. Most of the time kids are taken out of a dangerous situation quickly. Most kids come into care with what’s on their back. Some maybe have a trash bag with a couple things. Hopefully they fit. Aside from bringing in clothes, toys, or toiletries, there are amazing organizations fighting for foster kids to have a little normalcy. Together We Rise is one of our family’s favorite organizations. You can buy and decorate packs from them. Their packs are duffle bags and they come with a teddy bear, blanket, and a few other things for the kids. More times than not a child is moved with a trash bag. Shame would be a good way to describe this but Together We Rise helps eliminate that. They truly are an incredible organization! PLUS the decorating parties are a blast! 
There’s seriously a way for EVERYONE to get involved in serving these children. After all, in 5,10,15 years, these children are the adults of our society. They need us now. Whether you can give an hour a week, an hour a month, or an hour a year, every minute of your time is worth SO much for these kids! AND I guarantee you’ll feel more blessed at the end than anything!

As always, please reach out if you need resources on how to get involved in your area!

Day 3: OUR STORY

As I was telling you yesterday, we began talking about foster care towards the end of our journey through infertility. You can read more about that HERE. But this isn’t where our journey began. God knit this into our beings. We may not have always known this would be our journey but He knew and He makes beauty from brokenness.
We began the licensing process quickly after our first phone call to our Foster Family Agency. Anyone that knows me knows patience is not my virtue.  Our FFA was about to discover just what I meant by this statement.
We had our licensing packet complete within 2 weeks, had all our classes scheduled and completed in a month and were licensed within a week of our last class. Partially because I “checked up” quite a bit on our licensing worker and partially because we made our schedules work with theirs rather than visa versa. We were just SO ready!
During our licensing we got a call for a sibling set of four. We weren’t able to take them because we had too much to still complete. The day before our license was complete we got a call for a baby girl born the day before. We said YES! Timing was perfect… our license came on Friday at 5pm and Baby A was at our door 4 hours later.
What happened to those 4 kiddos you ask? Exactly a month after Baby A came home we said yes to a sibling set of 2 – a 1 ½ yr old boy and a 2 ½ yr old girl. They had actually called us 6 times for this sib set. We had said no because of location of the visits, etc. Finally we decided this call must be for us and said yes. The little girl was only with us for a very short time but Baby J was here for quite a while (and will be in our lives for a lifetime but that’s a story for another time). A few months later we found out these two babies were the two youngest of that sibling set! Crazy how the timing works out sometimes! Why we had to go through what we did with J is a mystery to me but what I do know is he made a permanent mark on all our hearts and his smile will be in the sweetest of my dreams forever.

If you know our story, you know that we now have 2 beautiful baby girls. We don’t know what God has planned for their precious lives but I’m honored and humbled He has entrusted us with their lives even if for only a short time. I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out how their story unfolds.




#knittogetherbyadoption

Did you know May is Foster Care Awareness Month? I’m joining in with #knittogetherbyadoption to help raise awareness for kids in foster care. Obviously foster care is very near and dear to our hearts. Aside from being actual foster parents there are SO many avenues to help kids in foster care. If ever you’d like to get involved but don’t know where to start please reach out… I’d be happy to help you along the way!
I’m mixing 2 days in on since I wasn’t able to get on yesterday. However, I am on track on Instagram so feel free to follow me along there @peachesandpaisleys. 


Day 1: An Introduction
I’m Kate, married to my handsome hubs Ryan. We are foster and hopeful adoptive parents. At the moment we have 2 beautiful baby girls who are 10 months apart under the age of 14 months. Yes! Our hands and hearts are very full and we LOVE it!
Both girls were placed with us in February of this year, a week apart from each other. They are our 4th and 5thbabies. We didn’t think we would be an emergency placement home but God has uniquely opened the door for each of these sweet babies to join our family although our hearts still pray for a baby to stay.

Day 2: How did you first learn of foster care?
We always knew we wanted to adopt but we wanted to get pregnant before we talked about that adoption. We had been walking the road of infertility for quite some time. We briefly talked about private adoption during our time in fertility. One morning I had a heart to heart with Jesus. I knew I couldn’t keep doing fertility treatments but desperately wanted a family. Some sweet friends of ours had recently been licensed to foster babies. I felt God opening this door but NEVER thought Ryan would go for it.
Over the next few days I couldn’t stop thinking this is where we were meant to be. I told God if He wanted this for us He needed to open Ryan’s heart. I wasn’t going to try to convince him. Sure enough we sat down to talk about it and I didn’t even finish the first sentence of what I though would be a long conversation and Ryan said he felt this was our next move as well (WHAT?!?!). Our very close family friends founded our Foster Family Agency so I called and we were licensed shortly after.

Side story: my impatience came to full show as we were getting licensed. Apparently we are the fastest family to have ever been licensed through our agency and we were formally placed with our first baby 20 minutes after our licensed was signed.