Posts Tagged family

Foster Care and Adoption: the first 6 weeks

Six weeks ago, Sarah and I got a call from our adoption specialist with a proposition. There were 2 kids that needed a place to stay immediately. Their staff had deliberated and had chosen us as a the family to offer this opportunity to. We had a few hours to pray, talk, and come to decision. In the end, we had to set aside any fear about what the future would look like and just make a call based on our immediate situation. Could we take 2 more kids into our home and take care of them? It was too hard to imagine all the possible scenarios, so we said yes knowing that we were not jumping blindly into an abyss, but we were merely sheep being led into paths of righteousness by the Good Shepherd.

The first week might not have been so difficult if 4 out of 6 people in the family didn’t catch a stomach flu. When Sarah’s sister, who was coming to visit that weekend, called to inform us that she had contracted bronchitis, we panicked. Leading 4 kids through the biggest transition of their lives thus far was hard enough with out projectile vomit and sleep deprivation. On the other hand, it might have been a little easier since there was usually one kid who was half awake on the couch for the day.

The second week, my mother flew up from Tennessee to rescue us. We needed an extra caregiver who could oversee the house work while we handled the parenting. Discipline was a issue from the start because we had to retool the whole way that we did it. We are more traditional in our philosophy on discipline, but we needed to learn more progressive methods in order to comply with the legal requirements of “co-parenting”. We watched a few episodes of “Super Nanny” taking notes and bought a few books with good tips. Mom spent 2 weeks with us helping us to get past the sickness and initial shock of how much our lifestyle had been altered. 4 kids is not impossible, but it’s not easy to add them 2 at a time and to have 3 toddlers in diapers.

We had a nice week after my Dad took Mom home. We were able to have a bit of “normal” routine: School, work, meals, playing, naps, baths, bedtime,  chores, errands. Then Sarah’s folks arrived for a visit. We gladly excepted more help. My father-in-law took on a few projects to get a few of our spaces organized in order to create a more toddler friendly environment in our main level. Today they are departing so we’ll be back to the routine.

In the last six weeks, we’ve been pushed to the limits of our patience, our strength, and our sanity. I’ve wept a lot. I’ve experienced the loss of the life we had before. It’s been a fun time being a daddy for these new kids, but it’s still a little terrifying to imagine how all this will play out. For now, we rely on the Spirit to fill us and produce good fruit in us.

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Ruth Anderson Moore 1915-2009

Ruth with redheaded great-grandkids

My grandmother passed away yesterday. She had run a long race, 94 years. Her death closes the book on a generation on my mom’s side.

My grandmother was a redhead. I never saw her red hair because by the time they had color photography, her hair was completely white. She was a beautiful, creative woman who married a elvish-looking school principle with a mischievous sense of humor and an infectious laugh. They waited for years to married while my grandfather was a teletype repairman in Italy during WWII. My grandfather was on a boat in the Atlantic heading to the Pacific conflict when the war ended. His was one of the first boats to pull in to port in NYC during the celebrations. He was probably thinking of a certain redhead on Long Island.

My mom was born into the back woods of Kentucky. At that time, My grandparents were missionaries to people who were not far removed from the Hatfields and the McCoys. Grandma and her sister Phyllis, eventually self-published a memoir of their experiences in Kentucky.

I got to know my grandmother when they moved to Chattanooga, just down the street from us. I remember her as a kinetic force of domesticity. She was constantly cooking, sewing, or gardening. We would go to their house and play Upwords, Rumicube and Scategories. Eventually, around the time I graduated high school, my grandma and grandpa and my great aunt Phyllis sold their place and moved into a big St Elmo four square home with my parents. My college years involved an interesting blended household in which octogenarians coexisted in the same home with boomers and gen-Xers. My mother was the administrator, ambassador, and counselor for all 6 of us. Eventually, as Phyllis and my grandfather began to physically slip into dementia and Parkinson’s, my mom and my grandma became 24 hour care-givers.

Since my grandfather died, my grandmother has been living out her days in a nursing home in north Georgia. Mom went to see her every other day, going horse from shouting into grandma’s “pocket-talker” and bringing pictures and news of great grand children and prayer requests to keep her occupied. Eventually, she couldn’t see well enough to read. She had become unable to serve or be productive in any way other than prayer.

Two weeks ago, we were celebrating Thanksgiving. My dad brought Grandma over for a few hours. The last conversation I had with her was to make sure that she saw my daughter’s skirt. It was hand-made by my wife so I knew that Grandma would be interested in it. Grandma sat there in her in wheelchair watching her great grand children run circles around her with light-sabers and princess dresses.

Grandma loved Jesus. Now, maybe she’s the one running circles around his throne. Her hair is red again, her hearing is restored. Gilbert and Phyllis are there and Great Grandpa and Grandma Anderson. Maybe she’s baking or sewing a dress. Her life was a monument to God’s grace and to the power of prayer.

Thank you, grandma. We miss you.

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