and so it goes…

It has been a whirlwind 48 hours. And it isn’t over yet. On Friday, April 28, I received a phone call at 4:00pm from Children and Youth. We have officially been assigned a case worker (YAY!). Our case worker was calling to let us know that our file has been assigned to her and we are ready to have our first home study. Internally, I was assuming we would have our home study scheduled sometime between 4 – 6 weeks after being assigned a case worker. I. Was. Wrong.

Here I sit, almost 8:00pm on Sunday evening, surrounded by chaos. Our case worker is coming out tomorrow, at 2:30pm, to conduct our first home study. Justin and I immediately changed our plans for this weekend and focused on getting our spare bedroom set up. And doing about a million other odds and ends around the house that probably did not need to be done, but, ya know.

We are excited, nervous, apprehensive, yadda, yadda, yadda. Currently though, we are too tired to think. We started this journey 6 months ago. Since we embarked down this road, we have celebrated holidays, birthdays, moved to a new home, added a puppy to our family, and who knows what else. Like I said, currently too tired to think. It seems surreal that we are finally at one of the last checkpoints. We are expecting a minimum of one more home study, possibly two more. We still are not at the finish line, but it is within arms reach.

I have high hopes for tomorrow, coupled with, what I believe to be, fairly realistic expectations. Neither Justin nor I have ever done something like this before; we are not quite sure what to expect, but we have asked family that have walked this path ahead of us and done some quick research. We are expecting to be asked many questions regarding our personal relationship as spouses, our relationship as parents, morals and values, etc. Justin and I are looking at tomorrow as a growing experience, a unique opportunity to discuss on an extremely personal level our belief systems as individuals and as a couple, and the chance to ask more detailed questions about where we are headed.

At 2:30pm tomorrow, please think of us and P. Send up a prayer. As we have set up our spare bedroom with a crib, toys, books, and a toddler bed, we have been flooded with a multitude of emotions. It has been a rollercoaster of a weekend. We knew it would be one crazy ride when we signed up for this. We would not want it any other way. The hardest work is ahead of us, we can only assume how hard it will get. But the harder the work, the greater the rewards. Those rewards may not always be evident, they may not be shiny and bright, but they will always be there. Please remind us of that.

And so it goes…




making moves

We have officially been in our new home for almost three weeks. All the boxes are unpacked, pictures are hung, and we have added a new addition to our family, a dog. Camilla arrived a little after a week from our move and has made herself right at home. She is a rescue, so we are not quite certain what breed/mix she is, but we love her dearly and cannot imagine our life without her anymore.

I had an ambitious goal of finalizing all our paperwork and sending in our foster care application about a week after we moved in; that did not come to fruition. The stress of a big move, the learning curve of moving in the opposite direction of our daily activities, and just the sheer amount of paperwork left to do, made my self-proclaimed deadline whiz right by me.

The good news is, Justin and I got it done! On Monday, P helped me take our sealed application and paperwork to the post office. Before we mailed our application, we sat at the table as a family and prayed. We prayed that we all would experience patience, willingness, and open hearts as we continue on this journey. We prayed for all the persons that would touch our application; that their dedication, stewardship, and passion would be blessed.

And now? I do not know, honestly. I guess, we wait. I sent an email to our contact person to let him know that our application was mailed and asking what steps I could expect next. I am hoping to hear back from him soon with some more details as to what the coming weeks and months look like for us. I will admit, my focus has completely shifted to preparing our spare bedroom and trying to figure out what supplies I should start collecting now. We are willing to foster children from infancy to four years old, male or female; quite a big spectrum of possible things we will need in our home.

We covet your prayers. We seek advice and/or suggestions from anyone who has walked this path ahead of us. If you do not hear from us for awhile, you can probably find me on Pinterest looking at ideas for our spare bedroom and Justin begrudgingly but lovingly making projects for that room that I think would “just be perfect.”


four days

It has been quite a bit of time since we last posted. I guess it’s about time for an update.

Within four days of announcing that we were on the journey to become foster parents, we were presented with the opportunity to move to Justin’s grandfathers old home. In our original post, we discussed the issue we were facing of not being able to move forward with our foster care application due to our apartment not being suitable for another child and a home study. I am still amazed at how God works. Four days. FOUR DAYS.

When we were presented with this opportunity, Justin and I sat and stared at each other for quite awhile. Honestly, it was a scary opportunity. We would be moving from our first home that we shared together as a family. We would be moving to a different county where all of our daily activities are in the opposite direction. We knew that this move would mean that we would be pushing forward, sooner than expected, with our foster care application. So, we sat. And stared. Waiting for the other to make the first move.

As I sit writing this, my house is full of packed moving boxes. My walls are bare. My oven is basically inaccessible due to the mountain of things in front of it. And we are moving to our new home in exactly nine days. These past few months have been full of making changes to our new home; painting, flooring, making changes that will aid us in our home study. It has been exhausting and thrilling all at once. It is a new chapter in our life together and a step forward on our journey towards becoming foster parents.

Since our move date is quickly approaching, we have been dedicating extreme amounts of time towards the application process. I have just finished a four hour Mandatory Reporting training and test course, which Justin is just beginning. We have six clearances being processed, appointments made for our FBI fingerprinting and background check, and approximately fourteen photocopies to make. Basically, we need to photocopy our entire life. A water well check? Thank goodness that my father-in-law knew what I needed, because I certainty did not.

Sometime within the next two-three weeks, we are hoping to have our application submitted. We are unaware of how long it will take for our application to be reviewed and, hopefully, approved. Once approved, we should be assigned a case worker and have our first home study scheduled. Things are moving. Fast.

This evening we had to make selections on what situations we are, or are not, comfortable with when it comes to accepting a child into our home. It was a very new and strange experience for the both of us. We do not want to exclude any child from the love we are able to extend, but we also want to be conscious as to what we are equipped to handle. It was a reality check for us. Of where we are, of the weight of our decisions, and a honest discussion of things we both agreed on and places where we had differing opinions or viewpoints.

So, here we are. The end of the application process is in sight. The journey is still long, but our next checkpoint is within reach. We are looking forward to what the coming weeks and months hold. But for now, I’ve got photocopies to make.


dropping anchors

My husband, Justin, and I have started the long, emotional, and life-changing journey of becoming foster parents. It is important to us that we document this chapter in our life; to share our trials and tribulations and to have transparency with our friends and family.

We discussed the idea of doing foster care for about a year before we started getting our feet wet in the process, and what a process it is! I have a four year old son, P, from a pervious relationship; Justin has stepped into the role of being a parent in such a marvelous way. Justin and I have invested time in developing how we parent together, creating time and space for ourselves, and learning that when things are uncomfortable, it signals an opportunity for growth. P has special needs and requires hours of therapy a week and has stretched our concept of what it means to be a parent. Since we have started this process of becoming licensed to foster in the state of Pennsylvania, we have sometimes sat back at the end of a tolling, therapy-filled day with P and wondered if we are making the right choice. Are we truly ready to take on another child that is in the “system,” do we have enough expendable time and resources to give to a second child that may or may not have some type of special needs, are we setting ourselves up for failure?

What Justin and I have discovered is that these are all normal, necessary questions to ask yourself while walking this journey; if you aren’t asking these questions, if you aren’t facing doubt and some sort of anxiety, you just might not be human! When you have those thoughts of wondering “why doesn’t somebody do something about that?”, guess what, YOU are that somebody. It isn’t going to be easy, it is going to take time, blood, sweat, and tears. But like I said, when you face times of discomfort, it is life screaming at you to grow! As a married couple with a special needs child, we sometimes feel as if we are straddling the line of insanity and some resemblance of sanity, as we wade through the foster care system. We are learning to live in that space, to embrace the ups and downs, and to realize that the next chapter we are about to embark on has nothing to do with us. We are simply willing persons that want to open our hearts and our home to children that desperately just need stability, love, and a family. Walking down this long, dusty road, we have discovered that we do have the resources to be foster parents. We have the ability to bring love into a child’s life during a time of turmoil that we cannot begin to imagine having to live through ourselves. Our hearts are open, the love for the children that will someday be placed in our home grows every day, and we acknowledge that some days we will wonder why we did this. And on those days, we will have an army of supporters behind us, reminding us that we are the hands and feet of Jesus.

Our journey has just begun, we are months, if not over a year, away from actually having our first placement. We have taken the training courses and received our certificate. Our next step is to submit the pile of paperwork with our application. We are beginning to drag our feet. Not out of cautiousness, but out of reality. Where we currently live is not set up to house another person; which in turn, means that we do not want our Home Study done in our current residence. We must begin the process of looking at other homes and waiting for things to fall into place. It just goes to show that when you feel God pulling you in another direction, sometimes you need to re-arrange your life to fit into where you feel God leading you. The children that will arrive in our home will be at a place in their lives where they are fragile, fragile as a dream; and we need all the love, strength, and prayers from you that you can offer. Not just for us and P, but for these beautiful, beautiful children.

As things progress, we will continue to write about it. We will vent our frustrations, voice our fears, and celebrate the milestones. It takes a village to raise a child. We look forward to seeing where this journey takes us, to experiencing the height of the mountain peaks and the depths of the valley. The view at each vantage point is beautiful and spectacular if only we remember to keep our eyes open. Remind us of that.

We have dropped our anchor. We are building a bigger and stronger foundation. The work will be tireless, but the end design will be crafted with the fingerprints of our nuclear family and our loved ones and friends. Can it be anymore beautiful than that?

Until next time,

Justin, Amanda, and P