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.

Foster Care Friday

Sometimes God asks us to go on a wild ride and trust Him even when it’s hard. This has been my month. Although jumping back into fostering has been so positive and having the weight of these babies in our arms is priceless, the all too familiar out-of-control, scary, unknown aspect of foster care is back.
We have these words to people we meet who learn we are foster parents: “we treat each day as a gift,” “we are never guaranteed time with anyone but that doesn’t make us love them less,” “they are our babies while we have them,” “we fight for our kids who have no voice,” etc. On most days I truly believe these words, but not everyday is most days. Foster care is hard.
I’ve often heard fellow foster parents describe their time in foster care and it seems unanimous. When you go through training you’re presented with tons of different scenarios. You’re “prepared” by the end of training. You leave with your “we’re going to love on these sweet babies, unicorn, and roses” glasses on. I think everyone’s glasses come off at different times. Our first case was described as “very unique” (not that there is a normal anyways!) so our glasses came off quickly. We drove thousands of miles to appointments, spent, on average, 15 hours a week on the phone, 8 hours a week writing reports, 4 hours a week with social workers visiting our home, and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week loving on these babies. There were days when the brokenness of the system wore into my bones, and other days when I saw the system behave the way it was designed. It’s a broken world but on some days, the system seemed to benefit at least one person. Either way we love and love without bounds.  We are NOT special. We aren’t different. God gave us the same hearts as anyone else but I believe He did place this particular desire on our hearts and now that we’ve been immersed in this foster care world, we have a responsibility here. There are days I don’t want that responsibility though. Days I want to throw in the towel. After our Baby J left, I lost a piece of my heart that will never return. That was the day this system failed this little boy. That was the day we witnessed injustice and our hands were tied because all we could do was pack up his things and kiss our baby goodbye. We hoped he wouldn’t forget us, told him we love him 100x over, and packed him up with the pictures we had taken over his time with us. The ache in my heart is here to stay. I can’t imagine it will ever go away. I miss his sweet hand press against my chest when he smiles at me. I miss him calling me mama. He has a smile that can light up the room. The weirdest part about all this? He’s not gone. He’s just gone from us.
I’m stubborn by nature. I like to prove people wrong, have no problem standing up for myself, and typically work best when I’m frustrated. This journey of foster care has broken me. It has changed me. It’s given me an element of compassion I couldn’t have gotten from anywhere else. It comes from this whole out-of-our-control experience. I may not understand the choices birth parents make but I love them in some weird way. I was all too prepared to hate them and instead find myself hating their actions, hating their circumstances, hating how it effects these babies, but overall, having some kind of love and compassion for them. There’s something about coming along side another human and trying to show them God’s love. After all, we are just as broken as they are. But I’ll tell you, I go to bed exhausted. I’ve never been an emotional person and I have more emotions than my mother now. Yikes!
Until next week… have a good weekend, sweet friends! 


Together We Rise

I have loved the organization Together We Rise since before we even started talking about foster care. The thought of packing up the few things I want into a trash bag made me sick… I’d soon find out just how sick it made me.
They say that you never really understand something until you live it or see it firsthand. Of course this always rings true when the moment comes for you to experience something first hand. When the moment came for me, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Let me start by telling you the mission behind this organization. They have a goal of changing the look of the infamous “trash bag.” They strive to give kids in foster care duffle bags to take their stuff with them in when they move. Not only are they giving these kids duffle bags, but they are giving them hand made bags. You see, companies, individuals, whoever really can buy the bags from Together We Rise and decorate them to their liking for the kids. Then the organization adds a blanket and teddy bear to the bag and takes them to the county and FFA’s like Olive Crest to give to the kids in their care. Baby “A” came from the hospital so her belongings came in a clear bag the hospital discharged her with. Baby “J” came with a trash bag. When I saw this my heart broke in half. Here you have this scared little kid dragging a trash bag with his things in it. I experienced a feeling I hope to never feel again and it gave me a passion and fire for Together We Rise.
The following day, our FFA Case Manager came by with 2, beautifully decorated duffle bags from Together We Rise. They were filled cute designs hand drawn by someone that will probabaly never meet my children but I say to you now… You made a difference for them! “J” was soo excited about his bag! He carried it around for the rest of the day.
I strongly encourage you to look into this organization! They are local to us, based out of Brea, CA and their hearts are in the right place. I feel like people are so quick to say they could never be foster parents and I truly believe God has to place this journey on your heart bevasue it is gruling and brutal at times, however, EVERYONE can help these kids in one way or another. There is a vicious cycle with kids in foster care and there aren’t enough homes to change the cycle as a whole but there are so many other ways to wrap your arms around these kids! The LITTLEST things mean the world to these children and you will be making such a difference. Whether its taking part in an event through organziations like Together We Rise, making blankets for group homes and welcome centers, donating toys and books to the county or FFA’s, or many other ways, it all makes a difference! Big or small!

From this mama’s heart, Together We Rise I thank you! You’ve made an impact on my children and are making such an impact on the kids lives that you touch!

Opening a New Chapter

Well it’s definitely been a while since I’ve been on to write a post! A lot has happened to our little family the last past few months. As you probably know, Ryan and I became certified to foster-to-adopt. We had our final certification walk through of the house on September 30th and planned to wait (patiently?) for the two weeks the county takes to file our license. Welp, God had other plans for us! We went to dinner after our walk through and got a call from an LA County social worker asking if we’d take a placement of a precious baby girl that was just born. We prayed, talked for all of 5 seconds, and accepted the placement! Baby “A” came to us 2 days later. What a whirlwind!
We had 2 beautiful weeks to “ease into parenting” when we got another call for a placement. Actually, to clarify, we had received 4 calls within the time “A” was placed with us until the phone call I’m talking about now. For one reason or another we didn’t accept those placements… until this call came. The road to accepting this placement was long, tiring, emotional, and eventual, joyful. To shorten a long and still raw story, Baby “J” came to our home exactly, to the day, one month after “A” arrived. We could not feel more blessed to be loving on these babies. In the midst of pain and brokenness we’ve experienced God’s grace in a whole new light. He has taught us lessons we’d rather not have learned but blessed our hearts and our family far more than we could have imagined.

This holiday season has been such a joy to experience with these babies. Our home projects, housecleaning, yard work, and pretty much anything and everything else we were doing prior to October 2ndhas taken a backseat and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Now going in to Christmas we are truly experiencing joy in a whole new light! These babies have changed our life and we are so incredibly thankful!