Do you trust me?

Testing out the climbing tree

“There’s a climbing tree in the front yard,” L. said as we drove past the for sale sign. “We should probably live there.”


Two weeks after L.’s adoption was finalized, I put in an offer on the house with the climbing tree. (You know, because I get bored easily, and I needed something else to do.) L. was thrilled and excitedly discussed his plans for an American Ninja Warrior course in the backyard.

But a few days later as I drove him to school, he said, “Mom, I’m kind of going back and forth on feeling excited about the house.”

“Ok, buddy. Can you tell me why your excitement is going back?”

“Because I don’t want to fight you again.”

Last time
I’d be lying if I said that hadn’t crossed my mind, too. A few months after L. came to live with me, we moved from one townhome to another in the same neighborhood. He spent the month before the move struggling with extreme anger and aggression—usually aimed at me.

For him, moving had always been a bad thing. It had meant leaving people and places and things that he loved, and he refused to do it again. It didn’t matter how many times I told him I was coming with him and all of his toys were coming with him, he didn’t believe me. He didn’t trust me.

As he was winding down from one of his rages, and we were both crying, I looked at him and said, “This is hard, but we are going to get through it together.” And, by God’s grace, we did.

As difficult as that time was, I’m grateful it happened. I’m grateful for the opportunity to prove myself trustworthy to a kid who had trust broken over and over again.

This time
I looked back in the rearview mirror at his face, furrowed with deep thought.

“You know what, buddy, I’m not really worried about you fighting me this time,” I said. “You’ve grown up a lot since then, and we’ve grown a lot together as a family. Back then, you didn’t know if you could trust me. But now you know me better.

“And I admire the honorable young man that you are becoming. You have worked really hard to use tools to handle your big feelings, and you don’t get really angry often anymore. But even if it happens again, it’s okay. We got through it before, and I trust God to get us through it again. Does that make sense?”

He smiled. “Okay, Mom. That makes sense.”

Tonight as he settled into bed, he looked intently into my face and said, “Mom, do you know this? I trust you. I trust God most, but out of all the people, you’re first place. I trust you most.”

This time, instead of a hurdle, moving is an exciting step for our young family—a step we’ll take together. And whatever the next big obstacle may be, we’ll get through it together, too. Because we’ve done it before. And because we’ll have the ninja obstacle course in the back yard to train on.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10


Two Steps Behind

21105548_10105203896247071_4144232289797571021_nI had the honor of helping my friend Katie on her wedding day yesterday. She is one of the most godly and beautiful women I know. I don’t think she knows how much her example has meant to me, and I guess it goes to show that you never know who’s watching.

So, Katie, this is what I wanted to say to you all weekend, but I just didn’t trust myself to get through it without tears.

We’ve shared a lot over the years. From making movies to makeup…from homeschooling to hopes for the future…from crushes to calls to ministry, you’ve been there for all of it. There have been a lot of laughs, but right now I’m just going to try not to cry.

As I walked two steps behind you carrying your train yesterday, it felt fitting because two steps behind is where I’ve been for years, learning from your example in ministry and your walk with the Lord. Continue reading

Can I ask you something? (Part 4)


Where are you on adoption?
Honestly, we’re exactly where we were the last time you asked. The government moves at its own plodding pace; we just have to be patient (and it’s not always easy). In some ways, I think it’s been good for L. to have more time to process his adoption. In other ways, the drawn-out transition has been hard on both of us. Of course, once things are finalized, we’re going to Disney World, and that can’t happen soon enough for either of us!

When can you say what happened to him/show his face/share his full name?
I’m going to say this as tactfully as I can. If you needed to know about his past, you already would. I will share his name and face in my private social media accounts post adoption, but I will not be sharing them publicly on the blog. I will continue to guard his privacy. Like I said way back at the beginning, this blog is meant to share my story with the hope that it may encourage, inform, and inspire others on or considering this journey for themselves. It’s not the place to tell L.’s story because it’s simply not mine to tell. Continue reading

Honesty and Redemption

18951512_10104899442794231_6000536601020461618_n“What do you want me to do with this? What am I supposed to do with this?” I cried to God as I sat on a bench outside my office.

Just a couple hours earlier, I had spent my lunch break on that same bench praying and fasting.

Every day in this ministry is hard. The weight is so heavy, I feel like I’m physically getting shorter some days, and I prefer to shrink alone. When I’m dealing with hard things, I tend to isolate myself because that just seems easier. I hide from friends. I hide from family. I hide from God.

And so, the very thing I’m training L. not to do—hide his feelings until they start to hurt him— is what I do. I lock my feelings up tight and try not to share them until I grow numb.

I’ve felt the numbness forming into calluses over my heart, but I decided to take a first step in faith to do something about it today. I fasted, and I prayed, and I was honest with God.

I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of screwing up and ruining L.
I’m afraid that even if I do everything right, he still won’t come to Christ.
I’m afraid of letting other people get too close to us, because they might end up hurting him.
I’m afraid he won’t beat the combined foster care and single mom statistics.
I’m afraid of telling him his family’s story.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to protect him. Continue reading

The Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast Part 1

I had the privilege of sharing a little of my life as a single foster mom on the North American Mission Board’s Adopting and Fostering Home podcast with a couple sweet adoptive moms who are a few years further down the road than I am. (Thanks for having me, Lynette and Tera!) Click play below to take a listen to part 1 of our conversation.


Let’s Talk About Family Planning

L.’s list

This is a peek inside the kinds of conversations we have in our family every day. It’s not always comfortable for either of us, but it’s important that we both trust each other enough to be honest.

💙 Mom, do I have to be in adoption.

Yeah, buddy, you do. Foster care wasn’t meant to be forever. Can you tell me why you don’t want to be adopted?

💙 I don’t want to be in adoption because I want to live with my first mom.

Okay, so living with first mom is plan A. And if plan A is not an option, where do you want to go?

💙 I want nothing.

So cease to exist. That’s plan B. That’s not really an option because you already exist. So if you were to put adoption somewhere in your alphabet list, where would it be?

💙 I don’t know. It’s up to you.

No, it’s not really up to me because right now I want to know what you want.

💙 Can we talk about what you want after?

Sure! We can talk about what I want after.

💙 Ok, you can have this side of the page. I’ll write your name here.

Thank you! Okay, so if you were going to put adoption somewhere in the alphabet list, where would it be?

💙 Maybe here.

So adoption is here at plan D.

💙 Yeah. That’s it. What do you want?

Okay, I want you to close your eyes, and I’m going to write my list. I think you might be surprised how much our lists have in common.

💙 Are you done? Continue reading