Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A new Baskin to introduce to you

I recently was asked to speak at a luncheon for foster and adoptive moms and as I prepared what I wanted to say I thought about what we have learned along this journey, adventure or craziness as others call it.  I kept thinking about all the people who have come along side of us and became our "village."  I then was reminded of my favorite lines from the movie Frozen.  When the trolls are singing their Fixer Upper song the mother troll sings these lines....

We're only saying that love's a force that's powerful and strange
People make bad choices if they're mad or scared or stressed
But throw a little love their way, and you'll bring out their bestTrue love brings out the best

Every child who has come through our home has been a fixer upper (and to tell you the truth, aren't we all fixer uppers).  But Buck and I are blessed to have so many love them and help them bring out their best.  To our friends whose kids befriend the kids in our home, to the family who love them as family while they are here, to the foster parents who understand our struggles and see us as "normal", to our friends who don't have kids but love on ours, to our caseworkers, lawyers, and Buckner workers who work hard for our kiddos...I want to say thank you.  Love really is a powerful thing especially when that love comes from God.  

Now to the real reason for this post....last week we welcomed the newest member of our "forever family" into our  family officially.  As we traveled from state to state this weekend and to house to house for graduations and just to hang out, I realized (again) just how blessed our little ones are.  I cannot wait to see how they grow up, how those who surround them with love help bring out the best in them and to understand with grace when they mess up (remind me of this again later).  So without further ado I introduce James Daniel Baskin (and some of his village/entourage)

And to those not pictured we love you as well but most of the pictures are on Buck's computer and he is not here right now :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

National Foster Care Month Post 2

I cannot take credit for this article but it spoke to me heart.  As we near our first mother's day (then soon father's day) with children who are forever ours I sometimes wonder how these tough conversations will go with our kids.

My Eyes are the Wrong Color

Scripture: Romans 8:14-17
"My eyes are the wrong color." I sat staring into the beautiful blue eyes of my 4-year old daughter as she explained to me that mom's eyes were brown, dad's green and hers blue. Even the dog had brown eyes ---- none matched hers. We never hid from her the fact that she was adopted; it was part of her story from the beginning. At the time, it was difficult for her to completely understand how all the pieces fit together to form our family.
Many Christians have never given much thought to their spiritual adoption. We like the idea of being a part of God's family, but I fear a level of misunderstanding about what this picture really means for us today. For our society, adoption is mostly for the benefit of the child. Today, children become eligible for adoption due to crisis in the lives of their birth families. In the first century, this was not the case.
If we go back to the time of the writing of Romans, Paul is addressing a largely non-Jewish crowd. Rome is the legal center of the known world, so when Paul used adoption terminology they would have had an understanding of his intent. When Roman couples did not have an heir, they would adopt a slave (normally a son) for very specific reasons. The first was so that they could have an heir, the second was so that someone would be there to bury them and grieve for them, and the third was to have someone to carry on the family business.
So, when Paul writes that we have received "adoption to sonship," (Romans 8:15b NIV) the culture and context of the book of Romans would imply that there are obligations that go along with this.
For the Christian, we have been spiritually adopted ---- becoming co-heirs with Christ. We have left the family of death and destruction in order that we might carry on the name and the business of the Father. In other words, we were not saved for our own benefit ---- although we have and will benefit more from this than any other decision we will ever make in our lives ---- but for the benefit of the Father. We are to carry on His name and work throughout our life. This is the theology of adoption.
In case you're wondering just what work we need to be carrying on, I might suggest the following two parables of Jesus as a great starting point. The first is the parable of the Prodigal Son ---- the restoration of relationships; both earthly and heavenly. The second is the Good Samaritan ---- meeting the needs of those who are hurting.
My daughter, now a teenager, has come to grips with her different eye color. She understands how God used the vehicle of adoption to build our family and how family goes way beyond physical similarities. Through our experiences, our entire family has learned of the grace and love of our Heavenly Father who desperately seeks a relationship with us. An adoptive relationship.
David Ummel is the administrator for Buckner Children and Family Service in East Texas. He and his wife, Shannon, are the parents of Lauren and Luke. They do their best to go to Disney World every year.

Friday, May 2, 2014

National Foster Care Awareness Month

May is national foster care awareness month.  While sitting outside watching my littles play I got an email from Buckner International reminding me about it and asking me to pray for kids in care.  Here was their requests for today 

Prayer Guide: 
Pray for greater understanding of the Scripture's teaching on the concept of adoption as a picture of the gospel. 
Pray for the biological families of children in foster care. Pray that they would have strength and courage to take necessary steps so that reunification would be possible.

As I began to think through Buckner's prayer requests I thought what would mine be?  What would I really want others to understand about the kids we love, the work we have be called to do and the little ones we currently have adopted and to the future kids we may adopt or serve for a short time on our home. So here is my shameless plug for foster care and adoption (specifically adoption through CPS care).

1.  HELP!!!!  Pray on how you can help.  Whether that means becoming a foster parent yourself, giving your money, time and resources to kids in care, or coming alongside a family who is fostering and loving them.  Buck and I have said this many times and I will keep saying it, we cannot do this alone.  It takes a team.  The kids may live in our house but it's others time, resources, babysitting, and prayers that allows us to keep going.  If you don't know how to help just ask!  Foster parents in general are pretty vocal so we will let you know.  And sometimes (at least for me) I just need a nap, or some clothes for a new placement and who doesn't love shopping for kid clothes!

2. Pray for a compassion. So people judge.  I get that it's a part of life you have to learn to deal with.  And I have been judged on many things....who I vote or didn't vote for, what movies I like, how I dress (I hate to wear shoes ever), how I clean (we are a clutter crew at my house), etc....but I have never felt more judged that when I became a parent.  Everyone has a way that is best or know what is better.  And while I hope you choose to not judge all parents please do not judge us as foster parents.  Kids do not always fit a mold which means parenting looks different.  We are trying our best to love someone else's kids as our own, and to teach them what being part of a family is like and most importantly that God loves them.  So unless we ask for your opinion or you think you know what's best...I refer you back to my first request....help (ask how you can help).  Being a mom and dad is hard no matter how the kids got to your home (birth, adoption, CPS, raising a family members child, etc) let's not make it harder on each other.  

Also please pray for compassion for our kids and do not judge where they come from, where their parents come from or did and how they act.  Pray how to love our and all foster kids through their circumstances.  The last thing they need is someone judging them for things out of their control.

3.  And lastly (and maybe it should have been first)...Pray for each child in care and the family they represent.  There is never an easy reason a child is in care.  Sometimes the tiniest of people have to deal with the biggest of circumstances.  Pray for their hearts to feel love, to feel cared for, to feel safety and to know God's love.  Pray for their families they too have big hurts and hand ups as well.  

So I ask you to join me in prayer for all foster children, foster families, and those who are making the decisions in their lives (CPS workers, judges, foster care workers, etc) during this month of National Foster Care awareness and always.

*If you every suspect a child is being neglected or abused please call the National Child Abuse hotline  1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453) or online at https://www.childwelfare.gov/responding/how.cfm