Thursday, January 9, 2014

Being a Parent

As I sit here in my empty house (babies at Mothers Day Out and husband is at work) I find myself reading trough Facebook and Blogs.  It's been a little overwhelming at the least.  Everyone has an opinion on everything and especially when it comes to raising little ones.  As I read through the blogs and post I thought about many of the things others have said to us as we have began our family.  Here are a few...

  • If you love your kids you will home school them or put them in private school
  • If you love your kids and Jesus you will vote Republican 
  • Now that you have adopted you need to stop doing foster care so you can really love your children
  • You adopted from CPS, wouldn't a "regular" adoption have less baggage?
  • Spanking is the best 
  • Never spank your kids
  • Let your babies cry it out
  • Don't let them cry it out
  • Etc...

Like I said everyone has an opinion on everything.  It can make you crazy or make you feel you don't know what you are doing as a parent, or even as a human.  Please let me be clear that I do believe there are some absolute truths and right and wrongs.  I do however feel that each child, family, situation is different and for others to say that if you love your children you will...well its harsh, rude and just plain mean.  Come on raising kids is hard enough with out all the other voices telling you what you are doing wrong. 

How about a "hey you are doing great and your kids look so happy!"  Because I know after a day when my now 18 month old forgets how to sleep and I am so tired and my 21 month old decides he wants to throw food while we are at a restaurant while screaming and drumming on everything, a kind word is better than "I bet you could get him to stop throwing food if you would...."  

So a few confessions from this mom... sometimes my house is messy; we sometimes never get out of our jammies; I love Jesus; I want my children to love and know him; we play outside when it's cold and sometimes when it's wet; we are often loud; we love our public school system; I read to my kids; I wrestle with and kiss them a lot; we sing and dance randomly during the day; I let them cry sometimes and other times I don't; sometimes my kids make me cry; we love being foster parents and adopting from care; we make mistakes;  and we need help sometimes. 

So to all you moms and dads out there who struggle with if you are doing the right thing or not here is my two cents.  You are doing a good job (believe me as foster parents we know the difference).  I know it's hard!  I pray that we will all take time to be more encouraging this next year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 at the Baskin house

It's hard for me to put into words what the 2013 year was for our family.  We had both highs and lows in our lives and in the lives of our friends and family.  We learned a lot about hurt, healing, forgiving and joy.  

And that joy is what brings me to heart of the blog.  I debated wether to share this article or not since it was written about us and that seems a little less than humble.  However the author, John Hall, was able to capture for us what it means to be a foster and adoptive family to us and just what we believe God wants from all of us as we love others and as He would want.  

John is an employee of Buckner and wrote this for the January issue of the Common Call magazine (formerly known as the Baptist Standard).   He is much more eloquent than I ever could be.  I wish I could show you the pictures in the article as well but I do not have copies of them yet.  I promise to share when I get them.  But I will share these two from Niki's adoption day as we were surrounded by friends and family (the big group picture will come later once big brother is officially a Baskin as well).

Family: Where healing happens
By John Hall

MESQUITE, Texas -- Introductions are unnecessary at the Baskin home. Who you are, where you've been and what you have or have not done doesn't matter here. Everyone is welcome.

They're more than that. They're family.

That's the attitude the young couple has taken as they've helped vulnerable children as foster parents through Buckner International, a Texas-based ministry that strengthens the lives of children and families. In the past two years, eight foster children have been placed in the Baskins' care. Buck and Stephanie easily recall the kids' names and the stories. Photos of the children still dot the the family's home, daily reminders to continue to pray for those who have been in their care and for those who are now caring for the beloved children.

Holding a framed photo of an elementary-school-aged child, Stephanie says each kid who comes to the house is unique. They have specific needs. They're in the Baskins' care for a short period. The couple does the best it can to invest their lives into the children and the families. That's what they're called to do.

"Jesus got dirty," said Stephanie, an East Texas Baptist University graduate. "He got in there with the people. I wanted something more hands on where I could jump in the lives of people and build those relationships. That's something that drew me to foster care. Not only are you investing your time, you're investing in a whole family."

The decision to become foster parents revolutionized Buck and Stephanie's lives. They'd never spent much time around infants. Their first placement was a baby girl. In the first 12 hours, Stephanie became ill, and Buck went from never having changed a diaper to a temporarily solo dad. Holding her in his arms, Buck began considering fatherhood seriously for the first time. The couple had committed to fostering children; looking in her eyes, he began contemplating adoption in the future.

Life is precious and beautiful, the couple agrees. Each person needs to be nurtured and cared for. In the environment, young people can overcome the scars they've experienced. They blossom into the people God created them to be. The road there is difficult and often uneven, but it's one that can be travelled with the help of trusted guides. In that respect, the Baskins quickly note they have help in this process, namely supportive a supportive family, friends and congregation -- LakePointe Church's satellite campus in Mesquite.

"Kids are resilient," said Buck, a Dallas Baptist University alum. "If you give them the love and attention they need, they will heal. Someone has to fight for them."

If life is to be cherished, every person should be as well -- at every step of their lives, Stephanie said. Regardless of the decisions people make, they are people created by God. They are people Christ cares about. He gave His life for each individual.

"When I hear life, I think pro-life, she said. "My big thing with that is you have to be pro all of life, all aspects of life. If you're going to ask a mom to chose life, you have to follow her through all the big decisions. Life is more than when kids are little."

In December, those thoughts about adoption became something more. Another young girl had been placed in the Baskins' care. She captured the couple's heart. Stephanie and Buck bonded with Niki Jo. The timing was right. During a ceremony at the Tarrant County Courthouse filled with adoptive families, smiles and hugs, Niki Jo became a Baskin.

In January, the Baskins hope to give her a big brother. They're hoping to adopt a 21-month-old who they also have been fostering. At the end of that process, the Baskins will have two children of two different cultural backgrounds. The Baskins' ethnicity adds a third culture to the mix.

"Family doesn't have to be what we think it is -- perfect home, perfect economic level," Buck said. "It doesn't have to look like we think it does. As long as someone cares about them and are taking care of them, that's all that matters."

It's been quite a journey for a couple who once thought they didn't want to be parents. Now preschool toys are neatly scattered through their house. Artwork with small handprints hangs in their den. A photo of the family rests next to a couch, the frame proclaiming "Hugs welcome here."

Only God knows who next will be placed in the Baskins' care. The couple will continue fostering children. No matter who it is, the words in the frame will remain true.

"This really is my ministry," Stephanie said. "Until God provides something else and leads somewhere else, this is where I'm going to invest my time and talents."