Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I have noticed this has been a hard week for my oldest two foster children. There has been a lot of talk this week about mothers. Who do these precious children think about this week? Who do they talk about? Who do they write about in their journal entries at school? They are watching me. They are watching to see if it's ok that they still love and long for their biological mother. My heart breaks for them. We are meeting their biological mom for dinner tomorrow. I told the kids yesterday about our visit. I told them that the gifts they are making at school could be for either mom. I told them we will celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow with their mom. They both told me that they want to bring their hand made, heart felt gifts to their momma tomorrow. I smiled at them both and told them that will be so nice for their mom. Yes my heart did ache a little. In our house we treat them all the same. We have the same love for each child. But days like this point out the obvious. There is another woman in their hearts. And that's ok. That is the way God has designed their story. Weeks like this are messy. They are painful. For everyone. For their birth mom. For the adoptive mom. And especially for the children. It is weeks like this that I need to slow down. Hug more children. Read more books. Bake some extra brownies. Their little hearts are hurting as they process why in the world they have two moms. Why in the world do they not live with their biological mom? After all, they grew in her tummy? It is hard for them. But we talk about it. We talk about how God is in control. God loves them. God has a plan for them. Maybe someday they will love, hug, pray, bake some extra brownies for a precious little one who needs extra love and care. This is a hard week for a lot of people. A lot of women who long to be mothers. A lot of children who long for a relationship with their mother. Or their child. It is weeks like this where we cling to the Father. Our perfect Heavenly Father. We count our gifts. We are thankful for how God teaches us through the messy. God can teach my precious 6 and 7 year old about His goodness even in the midst of their pain. They are in pain this week. A lot of people are. Heavenly Father, we dance with you in the rain. We accept your goodness to us. And we humbly ask you to use us this week to bless those around us.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I brought some of the children to the doctor today. People do look at me funny when I venture out with more than two little ones. People are not shy to ask questions or give a comment. Someone actually said to their partner (about us) "Should I tell that woman how babies are made?!"... seriously? yep. The blessing? Today when I was signing in at the doctors office, the receptionist said "I have two adopted sons. They are grown now, she said. One is a minister". Awwww. How sweet of her to cheer me on. How sweet of her to share that she has two grown sons and that they are doing well. When I left her she said "God bless you". A stranger. And she blessed me so. She blessed me. I pray I remember to cheer others on as this woman did for me today.
We have gradually bagan to talk to the children about adoption. We have been talking about what adoption means. Our oldest foster son said "Adoption is when you join a family but you don't really belong" (how sad!). I went on to explain that once you are adopted into a family you belong as much as anyone else in the family. You have all the same rights, benefits as anyone else in the family. The older children had never even heard of the word adoption. So strange to go from thoughts of reunification to birth family to joining a new family forever. So much for little children to grasp! A few days ago I was driving the kids into school. Our oldest foster son said happily, "I'm adopted!". I said "me too!"... Conor said "no you're not mom". I said "I am! I am adopted into the family of God!" Oldest foster son very excitedly said "Hey! I'm adopted twice! Once into the Solarek family and once into the family of God! I have asked God to save me too!". Well, you can just imagine how my heart filled with joy and my eyes filled with tears. It has been a blessing to see the children get used to the idea of adoption and joining our forever family. We have not finished the adoption process but are blessed to have bonded fully with the concept. There are hard days. There are sad days. There are frustrating days... But let's be honest. There are hard days and sad days and frustrating days with biological children, family members, co workers and friends. We have been foster parents for over a year now. What a blessing and a privilege it has been. I am so thankful that God brought me these four blessings to add to our already blessed family of four. Most people say I have my hands full. I love when people tell me how blessed I am. I know I am blessed and for that I am very thankful!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Hearing my son tell me he is adopted twice will be one of the sweetest things I will ever hear xoxoxo
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Here is one of my six blessings. God brought her to us. We were nervous but we wanted her to be reunited to her little brother and sister. Can I tell you how wonderful this little girl is? K is my big helper. K sweeps the floor for me, runs upstairs and grabs things I forget to grab. K loves to entertain her younger brother and sister. If someone is crying, she takes it on as her mission to make them happy. She gets treats at school for being good and finishing projects. Most times K brings those treats home for her younger brother. What a tender hearted little girl. K will clean up messes that her baby sister made without any complaining. I say this because I'm still in shock of what a blessing this little girl has been to me and our family. She is another one of my beautiful companions. She loves to sit with me and do whatever I am doing. She will sit with me and say "mommy, please read me the Bible". We listen to Christian music together. She calls them "God songs". She has asked me if I know any songs that are not God songs? I tell her "yes... but these are my favorite. :)I think K's biggest questions when she came was "do you think I'm beautiful?". It has been an honor to speak to her heart and tell her how beautiful she is and how much we love her and how much God loves her. Celebrating birthday's are a huge deal to me. Celebrating K's first birthday with us was extra special. We had a party for her with the girls in her class. They made edible jewelry, decorated a picture frame with a picture of the class girls in it. We painted nails and faces. They had brownies, pink ice cream and pink lemonade. It was a lot of pink fun!! On her birthday K and I went to build a bear, chick fil a and K got her ears pierced! She was so brave and her ear rings are adorable! :) She also brought cute cupcakes in to school for her class. K loved being the center of the celebration. It was healing for her. She is a beautiful princess so worthy of being loved and celebrated. God loves her. He lavishes love and grace and beauty on her (and the rest of us!). Thursday we went to Chuck e Cheese. K really wanted to go into the ticket blaster and win a lot of tickets! :) K had all these dreams of what would make a perfect birthday. She did have a prefect celebration and she drank in every moment of fun, love and happiness. K loved being the birthday girl at Chuck e Cheese. Another important thing to K was going into bath and body works and getting her own anti bacterial soap and cute holder to go on her back pack. Apparently that is an important book bag accessory in K 5! ;0) At age 6, K is very close to reading on her own. K loves to play with Erin. They love wearing matching outfits and acting like twins. Another beautiful, gracious blessing to this momma. K loves to sing. She loves to do puzzles. She is very good at puzzles and very good at legos. K is very coordinated and getting ready for her first season of t ball. She just finished up her first season of cheer leading and loved it. K loves fake make up, perfume, nail polish. K is very smart, very helpful to all those around her. Her teacher has said the same thing about her. She loves to talk! I am very proud of K. I look forward to watching her grow. God has great plans for her and I hope to be her biggest cheer leader. I love you precious K. Thank you for opening up your heart to me and allowing me to be your mommy. I love you and you are so beautiful and kind. I thank God for you every day and am so blessed to know, love and hug you. Mommy loves you!
Monday, February 4, 2013
Dear Erin, I cannot believe you are 4 years old. Wow!! I can't think of what to say because I am moved to tears thinking of you as a tiny baby. You had the cutest little red dress from granny with hearts on the sleeves. From day one, you were/are so beautiful. Daddy and I are extremely blessed to have you as our little girl. You laugh at everything. You don't hold grudges. You love everyone. You talk to everyone.You talk ALL the time.You say the funniest of things. You say "hers in the kitchen or hers my friend." You also say "I cannot know" instead of "i don't know". You say "ogurt" for yogurt. You say your name is Erin Grace Alaireck. Daddy and I have a hard time correcting you because we know we will miss your funny words and phrases. You finally started to call Conor "Conor" instead of Corin. That's only changed in the last few weeks. You insist on sleeping in mammy and daddy's room. We put you in your room (on the top bunk!) and in the middle of the night, you climb down the ladder, with your pillow pet, your dream light and your big princess blanket and come into our room. We put a sleeping bag on the floor for you but you usually manage to make it into our bed with all your stuff! I figure this one wont last forever... the funniest thing to me (daddy doesn't find it as hilarious as i do ;) is when you turn your dream light on in our room at 3 am and we look up to see all the stars on our ceiling. You are so funny to me Erin!!! I mean, who carries that much stuff off of the top bunk and has the notion to turn on the dream light in their parents bed at 3 am?!? I know other families who would not enjoy such a slumber party... but you know what Erin? I think there is going to come a day very soon when you no longer feel the need to come into us in the middle of the night. And I am going to miss you. One of our theme songs when you were born was "you're gonna miss this"... we honestly did not believe the song because we were so very tired. Just 4 years down the road and that song rings true. I love it when you look at me and say "Momma, I'm growing big and I'm gonna be a momma like you." Melts my heart. I love you baby girl and I cannot wait to see what God has for you. Can I just add that you have the most beautiful voice I have ever heard? honestly, you sing like a little angel. It's still Monday. Your birthday is Wednesday. Wednesday, you and I are spending the day together. We are going to Build a Bear and then we are going to meet daddy for lunch. You are our princess and we are blessed to love on you and watch you love on those around you. I am so proud of you Erin and I am blessed to be your mommy. All my love, Momma xoxoxo
Erin's Birthday is the 6th of Feb. We celebrated her birthday this past Saturday. Grandma and Miss Mary were so kind to travel from Indy for Erin's special day. The boys had a basketball game and Katelynn cheered for their game so Grandma got to see a lot fun. We had Erin's party in the gym with a alot of her friends. This was Erin's first big party and she had a blast. What I love about these type of gatherings is feeling the love and support for our family. So many people gathered to tell Erin how much they loved her. It meant a lot to this mommy's heart.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Orphanology by Tony Merida and Rick Morton... Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore... The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis,David Cross and Wendy Sunshine... Dear Birthmother by Kathleen Silber and Phylis Speedlin... Bloodlines by John Piper (understanding the issues surrounding inter racial adoption)... Thriving as as Adoptive Family by David and Renee Sanford (Focus on the Family book)... A resource I have enjoyed is the Focus on the Family radio. They have said so much about Adoption and it has been a huge blessing to me to hear from others who have walked a similar road.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
We took the class. Finished the class in April. On a Thursday. Got our first foster baby boy the next day! He was with us for a week. He was with us for respite. His foster family were taking a weeks break. You know you can be approved for respite care? You can take the class and help those foster families who need a short break. Respite. A friend of mine is a respite foster mom and she has provided a loving home for many children while their foster families rest. April 16, God brought us a two year old boy and an 8 month old girl. I have told you about them before and told you how quickly we all fell in love. These two were younger than Conor and Erin and we had the perfect little family. Four kids. Two boys. Two girls. This little guy and little girl have an older brother and sister. As I would bring my little ones to visit their parents at the DSS,I would see the older brother and sister. I would hear them say to their younger brother and sister, "I really miss you. I love you. I will see you next week". I could see the sadness as they would not only have to leave their parents. They would have to leave their siblings. I started to fall in love with them. I was hoping someone in my church would take the older two children so they could be close to their younger siblings. I was really hoping God wouldn't pick me. Do you ever feel that way? If we took the older two, I felt like my life would get too messy. I mean, Conor would not be the oldest child in the family. What was this going to do to Conor and Erin? I was worried about MY children.I was worried about what others would say or think? God said to me "They are all MY children". God's heart breaks for ALL of the children in the World. Mine should too, right? So in August we asked the DSS if we could foster all four children so they could be together. They told us to wait until the end of December. We were willing and obeyed God. That is all we could do. So we went home and waited for God to bring these two children into our family. I will tell you that the enemy shows up when you are standing up for children in need. People in need. Life isn't easy. Whose life is? Everyone has something. You know why we have something? It's so we bring our something to God. In our weakness HE is made strong. HE can do all things. HE can be our strength. God also brings blessings. Our neighbor was moving and she asked me if I would like a set of bunk beds and mattress. Yes please!! You know what the precious part of that was? The bunk beds matched the other furniture. God cared about the girl's room enough to send us free matching furniture. Isn't that precious? That's God. I didn't do that. God gave us another dresser for free. We bought two for a great price on Craigs list. We bought a bed for 15 dollars at a second hand store. God provides. Now, just so you know, all of our bedroom furniture is second hand (except for our crib and matching dresser that my mom bought when we were pregnant with conor). We treat the children how we treat ourselves. I had two families from my church give me Christmas presents for the kids. Things that looked brand new that their family didn't need anymore. Awesome!! God was so kind to give us months to prepare for the older two children. We had time to prepare our hearts,home. We had time to emotionally prepare our children. We had time for a trip to Disney World! ;) God brought the older two children to us Dec 22. It has been over three weeks since they arrived. The oldest boy and Conor are best friends! They have so much fun together!! Wow. How God blesses obedience :0)They are on the same basketball team. They play Star Wars together. The six children have a great time together and they have all been so good! I am in shock that they all clean up after themselves. They enjoy doing chores. They fold and put away their own laundry (5 of the 6 kids do this!) Blessed? I am blessed. The children are blessed to be together. but I am blessed to watch how beautiful this all is. God came after these four siblings and He has a super plan for them. He has a plan for my six children. If I obey God, I will see beautiful things. Alot of times beauty comes from ashes right? I have noticed a few things. The amount of doctor appointment's sky rockets. Babysitters for date night is a must. Paper plates are a must. Laundry is never ending but the big jump in that one was going from 2 kids to 4. Honestly 6 kids is not thaaaat much different than 4. honestly. 4 from 2 was a bigger adjustment. The older kids bring different advantages to the table. The younger ones fit nicely into the family but cannot not verbalize all that has happened in their little lives. The older children can verbalize which has been sad but good that we can help them process their pain. I feel like labels have been put on older foster children that should not be there. Biological parents have made mistakes. The children have not. Number 1 rule? Treat these angels how you would want someone to treat your children if for some reason you could not take care of them. Be quick to hear, slow to speak,slow to anger. Be slow to label children. We know the miracle worker. His name is Jesus.
I have received a lot of questions on fostering and thought it might be helpful to blog about my experience. I have mentioned that I felt the call to foster/adopt since I was a little girl. James did not. He said he had never thought about it until we discussed it. He agreed it was a good thing and something we could do but he had not thought about the need before. When we ministered in Michigan, there was a family who had two grown sons.They were nearing 50 years old. Heading into easy street,right? In our same church,there were these three little girls in a foster home. The foster mom said she could not adopt these girls and they probably would not end up staying together. They would be separated. The couple with the grown sons heard about it. Got a burden for these three girls. Went through the foster class, got approved to adopt these precious princesses. James and I attended their adoption ceremony. The court room was filled with joy! God allowed us to see their example and he was sowing seeds in our hearts. Their dedication at church was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Imagine these three princesses standing on the stage with their forever family. The pastor is talking about how we have all been adopted in the family of God. What an amazing picture! For us, as we saw this precious couple 25 years older than us take up the baton for these girls... We knew it would be us some day. This couple traded in their sports car for a mini van. I am sure these years have not been without challenges but I am sure they are as fulfilled as fulfilled can be as they parent these beautiful sisters. Many women have said to me "I would love to foster but my husband does not want to". Pray for him. Be the best wife and mom you can be through God's power to those He has already given you. All you can be is willing and obedient. You obviously need your husband to be supportive and know that God has called you to this. If he says no, wait and pray and ask God to do a miracle in his heart. Help other foster families. Mentor one child or one mother. Maybe that is what God has for your family at this time. Maybe this small exposure will open your husband's heart and mind to the idea. Fostering is not for everyone. But I am convinced more families need to consider the blessing they have been given. I have an awesome family. Conor and Erin have an awesome daddy. We need to share our blessings with little children who have nothing. Nothing. Here in Roanoke. Children have nothing.
This time last year we were starting our journey into the Fostering community. We had talked before we were married about fostering or adopting one day. We thought we will have four biological children and then we will foster or adopt. Well, after our second pregnancy we decided two biological children were enough. I did not like being pregnant. James did not like me being pregnant. Sorry. That's honest. But true. We felt a calling to foster/adopt and thought if we have any more biological children we may not follow through (because i would probably be in an insane institution some where!)God uses all sorts of people, right? ;) Growing up, I had been exposed to different families who fostered. I thought those families were the biggest heroes in society. God had put a fire in my heart for children who needed a home. I am not for sure why. Partly, many missionaries and church members allowed me to be a part of their families when I was a child. I would eat dinner with them, go on vacations with them. I loved when I got to stay at people's homes because my school lunch would be so awesome. Kids would want to trade with me! I loved it!! I loved the attention. I loved seeing into how other families lived. I loved having family devotions, special bed time routines. It was all foreign to me and wonderful! Now, my little sister was with me and she hated it. She wanted to be at home. Even though home was not glorious at times, it was her home and her family. So, as different personalities come into my home I try to remember both personalities. Two summers ago, James and I went to Hawaii and had a blast. Then, we went to Mexico to build homes for the homeless. It was an eye opening experience. I saw how selfish I am and how much I love stuff. James and I had our two kids. We said we would kick back and enjoy life until Erin was 5 years old. Then we would add on to our family how ever God decided. Erin was only two and our life was starting to get nice and easy. Ahhh, the American dream. I thought if I have to live in America, I might as well make the best of it and live on easy street. After all, this is America. The message that God spoke into our hearts that week in Mexico was 'You are BLESSED to be a BLESSING'. We came back to America changed. We went to an orientation meeting at the DSS (Department for Social Services) in Roanoke. Treena asked us how we heard of the program. We said "God". We googled Foster Care in Roanoke and this is where it led us. She looked a little puzzled. Maybe it doesn't always look that way but for us, God spoke, we obeyed and here we are. We missed the Fall class and we signed up for the January class. It gave us time to fill out the paperwork and prepare our family, finances for that was about to come. We thought we would take the class and see where God led us. If he wanted us to wait until Erin was 5 he would let us know and shut the doors. We took the class and were pleasantly surprised how well our faith in God was received. We took our two kids with us for the free childcare. We figured this was our new life and we wanted to see how our kids handled this new situation and how the DSS handled our kids. Now, if we had any family in town we would have our kids with them. Our class met from 6pm-9pm for 9 weeks (i think it was 9?). They gave us homework each week. The homework was about your own childhood and how you would handle children in different situations. I had a hard time with the homework because for me, it would bring back painful memories. James? he flew through it and it didn't bother him at all. There are two home visits. The first one is no preparation. The second one is. They want to make sure you have the right amount of beds, dressers, space. They make sure you have supplies for an emergency and so on. Easy stuff. I find the DSS to be very supportive and easy to work with. They are realistic. They know we are far from perfect and they hold us to very reasonable standards. I know every county,state,country is different. God has blessed us with a great group of people to work with! If you are in Roanoke and you feel the nudge to be a foster family, go to an orientation meeting. Take the class. They have many people who take the 9 week class and decide this is not for them. You will never know unless you try right? :)
Each Christmas season gets better and better! James' family came to visit which was wonderful. The children love love love having James' family here :) Papa and Grandma play from morning to night with the children so it is a very fun and exciting time when they come to visit. God gave us the gift of two more children Dec 22. What an honor to share the real meaning of Christmas with these little angels. Christmas evening we hopped in the car to share joy in our local nursing home. You can imagine how precious it was to see the children be a blessing to others on Christmas Day. A wonderful, blessed Christmas. I hope yours was too.