The Wait…

It has seemed like an eternity since I’ve been able to write!  We’ve been so busy with end of school year activities, practices, recitals, etc… My kids…my family…they are my life!  My children motivate me to do the things I do. I don’t know what I’d do without them. God has graciously blessed our family with many things. I pray that God will bless you through our story…our testimony. Our girls favorite song right now is “God Is on the Move” by 7eventh Time Down. God is definitely moving in our lives!

The Wait…

Has God ever given you a word or a scripture to encourage you through the wait?

“For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!”

Isaiah 64:4 NLT

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm…”

Ephesians 6:13-14 NIV

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

The middle of February we got the call for our first placement for foster care. We were excited but scared at the same time. Who was this terrified, young man? Would he be a good fit for our family? Would he push us to our limits? Would our family accept him as a part of our family? Would we be able to provide the love and support this lonely, scared, young man needed? I went to our foster agency and there he was…quiet, scared, but curious. We’ll call him “N.” I met with our therapist and his case worker. His background was one of disaster, horror, and misfortune…like most foster kids that are in the system. I heard his story and about cried. We talked, hit it off, and did a pre-placement.  Hopefully, we’d be able to give this young man some sort of stability, security and safety…but most of all…LOVE!

Our pre-placement over the weekend went smooth and we knew that placement would be inevitable. He was placed with our family that Monday and we knew that the Buchanan family would be forever changed. Overnight, we went from being a family of 4 to a family of 5! He loved sharks, the outdoors and had an opinion about anything and everything. He was one of a kind.

Needless to say, life with “N” was interesting. He definitely kept us on our toes, we revamped the rules of our house (more times then I’d like to admit), and we never had a boring day. We had our ups and downs, crazy visitation schedules, medicine changes, numerous suspensions from school, and consequences to match those suspensions. Out of all the placements we’ve had, the one thing we’ve learned is every child/pre-teen/teen needs love…unconditional love…no matter what a child/pre-teen/teen says or does.

“N” was placed with us towards the middle of February. On March 1st, we received the call we’d been patiently waiting on. Our sweet young “E” would be placed with our family on March 6th (this was the day before my birthday). It was a bittersweet placement. I was so excited but torn at the same time.  I was a bottle of mixed emotions. Long story short, dear friends of ours were hurt in the process of “E’s” placement. Their family went through tremendous adversity (I pray for their family constantly). We made the best of the situation and carried on with discretion.

The 1st week “E” was in our care, he had visitation with his younger siblings and we learned this visit would also be an adoption visit. Our hearts sank deep into despair. We loved “E!” He was apart of our family and didn’t want to lose him. We could see everything we had prayed and fasted for going down the drain. We prayed a lot and stood on numerous scriptures for encouragement.

Later that month, I got a phone call from the other family wanting to set up a visitation schedule with “E” where they could get to know him better. “E” had made an impression on their hearts much like the one he had made on our hearts. We were crushed yet again. We would eventually learn over the course of the next few months, it would be an emotional roller coaster for our family. The family interested in “E” was such a sweet family. The mom was so warm and welcoming and the dad seemed very meek.

The Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, “E” and his brothers had a visitation with the perspective adoptive family. “E” came back from the visit all excited…he had made his decision. He informed us he wanted to be adopted by this perspective adoptive family.  In that moment, life as we knew it, stood still. God reminded me of King Solomon. In 1 Kings 3:16-28, King Solomon was faced with a difficult decision. God gave King Solomon vast wisdom to discern who was the true mother of the baby. All I could think was how could God dangle this young man in front of our family only to jerk him away.  My heart sank deep into such hopelessness that Mother’s Day that I severely questioned why God had given me the scripture 1 Samuel 1:27 AMP, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition made to Him.”

After a few weeks of praying and questioning God, a friend from church spoke such wisdom to me. She mentioned when God had given me the scripture (1 Samuel 1:27), maybe He didn’t promise me one son but many sons. I received vast revelation from our conversation. See we were fostering not one son but two sons and we were foster parents. Who knows how many “sons” God would place in our home. God knew what I needed to help me get through my storm of hurt and disbelief.

“E’s” visitations started out quickly but eventually had to be tapered down. “E” suffered from extreme anxiety to the point he started pulling his hair out, having night terrors, and then accidents while he slept. He loved the prospective adoptive family but his heart was struggling. He loved both our families but missed his brothers dearly. He told me over and over again how he hated making decisions. He cried…his heart was torn. I released him from our family, and told him not to worry about hurting us or making us upset.

On “E’s” last weekend visitation (we didn’t know this at the time), he came home with a different demeanor. His attitude was different and he had such peace. He was laughing and playing again; joking around with the other kids. I questioned what had changed, but dismissed it. As a mom, I was at peace knowing he was at peace. I figured he had came to grips with the decision he had made about being adopted by the perspective family. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Most the kids were either outside playing or starting our nightly bedtime routine. I was sitting in my chair and “E” came to me and wanted to talk. He smiled and said “I want to stay here. I want to be adopted by THIS family! I want you to be my mom.” I was so shocked! I didn’t even know how to respond. At that moment, I had so many mixed emotions. I was excited but at the same time I felt such empathy for the prospective adoptive family. How would they react, what would DHS say, how would things change, could things change…so many questions.

After that final visit, all visitations came to a halt. God was working in mysterious ways. DHS actually listened to “E’s” voice and gave him a chance to speak his mind. For the first time “E’s” case worker spoke to me about us adopting him and the possibility of separating the siblings. A family group conference was scheduled and we waited.

Now, if you’ve never been apart of a family group conference, its a meeting where everyone that is involved with that specific child comes together and discusses what is in the child’s best interest. We attended the group conference. We devised a plan to keep all the siblings in touch and to schedule play dates. Everyone agreed that separation of siblings would be in the best interest of all the siblings. DHS listened to what we said, made notes, wrote down our plan to keep siblings in touch, and we were dismissed. It would take a few weeks for the decision to be made.

The wait for any kind of news seemed like an eternity! In the middle of August, we received the news…separation of siblings had been granted!  We were ecstatic! The perspective adoptive family would be free to adopt “E’s” siblings and we would be free to adopt “E.” I was in awe of how God had moved mountains and how He had worked in mysterious ways!

My Story…My Life…Part 2

H_M_J 2014

(Hannah, Maddie & “E” in December 2014)

From that moment, God really started dealing with my heart. I knew God had promised us a son. Johnathan and I had always talked about adopting but had never truly followed through and looked into it. The same friends that had been a blessing to our family, was deeply involved in adoption and fostering; this was their heart and life. At the end of August, my friend had spoken to me about adoption. They had a little boy in their home (we’ll call him “E”) that was available for adoption but his case was complicated. My friend knew we wanted a younger child but stressed this young man was very sweet, loving, and had a BIG heart. She sent me a picture, told me a few things about him, but most of all stressed that he needed a forever home; a family that would love him and take care of him as their own. I remember that moment like it was yesterday…God whispered to me “Remember my promise.” I cried! Maddie’s words were “He doesn’t have a family, we need to give him a home!” We went to meet him as a family and fell in love with him. On a side note, normally it took him a while to warm up to a male presence…Johnathan got the first hug! In my book, completely not fair (LOL) but it was a start to a beautiful promise!

After praying, talking to the girls, and to close family and friends, we decided to start the foster/adopt process. “E” was in therapeutic foster care. Let me begin by telling you, fostering is not for the faint of heart. Becoming a foster parent, let alone a therapeutic foster parent, takes time, TONS of paperwork, numerous hours of training, and exceptional patience. In the middle of September, my friend dropped the paperwork by, we filled everything out, and the process started. We decided to take the fast track classes to be able to possibly have “E” in our home by Christmas. We were told by numerous people (including the agency we were going through) to not get our hopes up or this probably wouldn’t happen to get this young man. I had previously mentioned that “E’s” case was complicated. He was attached to younger siblings but he hadn’t lived with these younger siblings in 4-5 years. A previous judge and case worker had talked about separating the sibling group before we had met “E.” However, after meeting “E,” his case was given a new judge and case worker…everything had to start over. We were crushed to learn this news!

As a family, we decided to fast something we loved or loved to do and pray over this situation as a family. “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20. We fasted and prayed for several months. The Bible says, “Man shall not live by bread alone…” well this woman had fasted coffee (one of my LOVES) and by the end of the first month, I was doing some serious praying. I can’t deal with the “mom life” without my cup or cups of coffee. Let’s just say, God introduced me to a whole new meaning of “fasting.” Putting God FIRST over our situation and circumstances, instead of worrying about things, began to be a new way of life for our family.

After weeks of turning in paperwork, setting up finger prints, our classes began. We met so many wonderful people at our classes, learned a lot of new things, and learned that we not only had a heart to adopt but a heart to be a full time foster parent. We learned about so many hurting, misguided, and lost children out there in the DHS system. All they needed was a loving and caring family to give them a safe and secure home. We decided we’d be that family; a family that would stand and bridge the gap for a child or teen to have a safe place to call home and a family that loves them…wants them. Remember though, we were training to become therapeutic foster parents. We would be one of the families that would take in unsettled children or teens that had enhanced mental, social, or health needs which in turn would need more attention, love, and hope.

After going through 40+ hours of training and 6+ hours for a home study, our home was approved for foster care on December 22, 2014 (this date would be significant; another God moment). “E” was stable in his current placement. There are a lot of politics and red tape involved in the system. Since “E” was stable in his placement, uprooting him from his stable placement would be rare. We would have to be patient, pray, and allow God to work on our behalf. Never the less, he was able to spend Christmas with our family. We were overjoyed! However, we were still keeping it a secret that we wanted him to spend forever with our family (remember he was stable in his placement and we didn’t want to cause any unnecessary hardship or stress on him). Let me tell you, keeping that secret was one of the hardest things.

A week after Christmas we had “E” for respite. Respite is like babysitting for another foster family. We had “E” for a week and our family bond grew. Throughout the course of the next few months, we had “E” for respite several times. We began to see him as apart of our family and I think he was too.

Several weeks had pasted and we still had not had our 1st placement for foster care nor was it looking favorable for “E” to be placed in our home. “E” was in a stable placement; for a placement to be uprooted, something major has to happen. We knew God was in control of our situation, we just had to continue to trust Him and wait.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Has God ever used a situation in your life to bring enrichment or enlightenment? When God speaks to me, usually it’s in that quietists of moments but there are times that I’m crying out to him in my moment of despair when He whispers “Be still and know I am God.” Psalms 46:10

Know that God loves you in your lowest of lows and your highest of highs. He knows the depths of your heart and knows the deepest darkest secrets. Maybe you are going through an enrichment period of your life. I pray that God will use my words to bring you encouragement and hope during this point in your life. Until my next post know you are loved and I pray that God will continue to speak words of encouragement and hope to you as you diligently seek Him FIRST.

My Story…My Life…Part 1

  
I love how God creates moments in your life that make you go “huh…that was God”…God moments! Not many people know, but 2013 and 2014 has been very hard years for my family….for me. I was laid off in October 2013, which at the time was devastating to me, but has turned out to be one of the BIGGEST blessings in disguise. I’m now able to be a stay at home mom, help out the people I love the most, and God helped pave a way where we would eventually become foster parents. 

Many people are not aware, but in 2014 I went through two miscarriages in a 6 month period. We found out in January 2014 we were expecting. We were shocked and scared at the same time. It had been 8 years since my last birth, I was older, and had a few more medical problems. We took family pictures to announce the arrival of our little one only to lose the baby on February 16, 2014. I made it to 8 1/2 weeks. I’ve never experienced this kind of loss before. This loss threw me into a very depressive state. When Maddie (our then 8 year old) came to me and asked why God didn’t protect me and the baby I about “lost it.” I didn’t even understand the depths of what happened, why it happened, or why her heartfelt, faith filled prayers had not seemed to worked. How was I even going to begin to explain that to her!!! My heart was crushed and so was my family’s. (Priorities…God has other priorities for your life….I would soon learn this months down the road.) After going through a week of what felt like being in a “pit of despair.” This deep, dark, hopeless pit was nothing I had experienced in my life. I was scared, depressed, and couldn’t stand to be around people without going into a panic attack. Nothing I did or read helped. The following Sunday, I pulled myself out of bed and made a decision to go to church. Let’s just say it took everything within me to walk in the doors and sit in the seat. Church started and I could feel a panic attack starting. I remember telling Johnathan “I can’t be here…this is too much.” That is when I heard them announce a call for prayer…if you’re going through something and need prayer, our ministry staff is all around the walls of the auditorium waiting to pray for you. Johnathan took my hand and led me to our head Pastors. I remember that moment like it was yesterday! I was prayed for, encouraged, and embraced by our pastors. Never in my life had I felt such love, grace, peace, and HOPE! I was given scriptures from my “adopted daughter” (all my daughters friends call me mom and I call them my adopted daughters) and for the first time in DAYS I felt like there was HOPE!   

“The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:17-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As the months moved on, God continued to speak words of truth to me. Johnathan and I started talking about pursing adoption (something we’ve always wanted to do). Then, at the end of April we discovered I was pregnant again. This time around I was more cautious and to be honest, a little scared. I prayed, read my bible, and I read books. I consulted in close friends and family to pray for me and for our family. I prayed that God would surround our family, give us hope, and that He would help me have stronger faith. On May 11, 2014 (Mother’s Day) sitting in church, God gave me this scripture “For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart” 1 Samuel 1:27. My heart leapt for joy! From then on, I knew whatever God had in store for our family, I knew God would be walking with our family hand in hand. He had given me a promise! 

As I had previously stated, I was older and had medical issues. These medical issues put me into a high risk pregnancy. The beginning of June, we had our first OB appointment. Disaster had struck again! The baby was not growing like they wanted to see. It was heart breaking to sit in a small room while the fate of your unborn child is being tossed around like a rag doll. We were given 3 options…2 of which I couldn’t even bring myself to do let alone did we believe in. We decided to wait it out, pray, hold tightly to the promise God had given me – given our family – and ask for close friends and family to gather around us in faith. Those next 3 weeks I prayed fervently, I covered our situation in prayer, I looked up scriptures, prayed those prayers over me…over our family. I had been here before, I had decided a long time ago to trust God…no matter what! I woke up on June 22nd, the signs of a miscarriage were inevitable. Johnathan was in CA working and Hannah was scheduled to leave for Youth Camp the next morning. I didn’t want to be alone, the girls and I went to church and God met me there! I had friends hug me and pray for me. I knew no matter what happened, God was in control. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬. Later that day, I miscarried. I had wonderful family and friends that helped me through. God wrapped His loving arms around me and held me. 

At that point, I had lost all hope in the promise He had given me about a son. However, His promises are true. The weeks following my miscarriage was emotionally hard, I didn’t understand why but I trusted God to carry me. A few songs that carried me through were “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship, “Oceans” by Hillsong UNITED, and “Not for a Moment (After All)” by Meredith Andrews. I probably out played these songs during this rough time in my life. I also started reading “Believing God” by Beth Moore. At the time, Johnathan traveled for a living (home 4 days, gone for 10 days). Johnathan’s boss knew what we were going through and knew Johnathan was not home when I needed him to be home. Johnathan’s boss allowed for our family to accompany him to California to finish up what he had been working on. This is something God knew I needed, we needed, as a family. God is good. 
  
God sent me on a path of healing and restoration during this trip. This is when I learned about: Priorities…God has other priorities for your life. A beautiful couple that we know blessed our family with a wonderful gift while we were there. They told us to take that gift, go see the ocean with the girls, dip our feet into the water, and to soak in that moment. They instructed us to allow God to use the ocean to bring us peace and wash away the hurt and disappointment. He makes all things new! This was the first time I had ever been to the ocean. This was something I had dreamed about since I was a little kid. One of the songs that I listened too was “Oceans” by Hillsong UNITED and all I can say is God met me there! We played, enjoyed the water, and I sat there listening….listening to the waves crash over and over again. It was so surreal! Thinking about it even now brings peace to my soul! God met me in my brokenness and turned my ashes into beauty. This was definitely a God moment! 

“You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now…” Oceans by Hillsong UNITED

Have you ever been through an unshakeable tragedy that paralyzes your very soul? Maybe this tragedy looks different for you. Maybe this tragedy looks like depression, death of a loved one, anger, fear, divorce, or illness. Whatever you are going through, God will meet you there. He will never fail you nor abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Today has been 2 years since we lost our baby. As a family, we still grieve that loss but God has never left my side. God is still holding our hands as we walk through this stage in our lives. Am I stronger spiritually because of what I’ve been through, you bet; but I’m still not where I need to be. I still struggle daily. Every day is a new day and with each day brings new challenges but when I seek God first, He guides, leads, and shows me the right paths to take. God is my physical and emotional healer (Yahweh-Rapha) and my peace (Yahweh-Shalom). What are you struggling with or battling today? It would be my pleasure to pray for you today. 

“The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.” Nahum‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalms‬ ‭116:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬