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!

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!