Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why Would You Do That?

I recently shared our desire to be foster parents with a close family member, to which her response was, "Kristy, Why would you do that? You have three kids of your own to raise. That is hard enough." It made me think...she is not the first person who responded that way, we have gotten that response several times. Each time it causes me to pause and catch my breath. With all of the grief resurfacing with Asher's birthday I have really thought hard about my answer to that question. Here is what I came up with.

Howard and I are determined to take God at His Word. He TELLS us to care for the orphan. While that may not mean EVERYONE should take in orphans, it does mean we should ALL be doing our part to care for them, no exceptions. God's children are not burdens. They are gifts. Each of them. EVERY.SINGLE.CHILD, in the system and out is a gift. ALL OF THEM, no exclusions. How do YOU think God would have us care for His gifts? I am certain he would have us take them in and love them like our own. EVEN and especially when much is at stake and it is inconvenient.

We have a small home. The foster children will have to share rooms with our own children, and we have chosen for that reason to take only children under Luke's age for now. Only small children because, our children are also gifts and we don't want to put them in harm's way nor do we think it is appropriate to ask a teen to share a room with a four year old. We do have limitations and we are looking out for the best interests of everyone involved. We have chosen an agency that we feel very confident in and we are nearing the end of the process and can't wait to have more kids in our tiny home.

Another comment I keep getting is "You guys have already been through so much, maybe it is time to just rest and take it easy." My response is, "I don't think so." I don't think God calls us to sit and bask in our own comfort. He asks us to step outside of our box and live our lives in a way that honors him. We have been through much. God has prepared our hearts for this very moment. He has. I have no doubt that having children come and go will hurt. I have no doubt that it will stretch us to our very limits. In my experience, when we are stretched that far, we have no choice but to lean hard on God, and that is when blessings abound. God has given us five children and taken two away. We know all too well the pain of losing a child. That is not to say that it ever gets easier. Our hearts will break. I can only assume losing a child you have loved even when they are not your own flesh and blood will sting. We do know and stand firm in the fact that God has been good to us. He has picked up the shattered pieces and put them back together one chard at a time.

I know that sometimes we will have to give up a child who will be going back to a home that is less than ideal. I know it is going to be hard. I also know that no matter who you are, if you are a mother who's child has been taken, by death, by a social worker, or a stranger, your heart has to break. While it will be hard to let little ones go back to their homes, I have to take comfort in the fact that when a child is able to return to his or her mama, that is one less mama's heart that is broken from loss. Sometimes, that situation won't be good, and God will still be in control. We live in a broken world where awful things happen, our system is full of children who are living that reality in a way we cannot even imagine, God calls us to love them, not to ask the cost. The cost is high, but these kids our the future.

Why would we do this? Because we trust in the One who tells us to. Because we have seen first hand the gift that comes in each and every child. Because we know that there is beauty and blessing in pain and letting go, and simply because He commands us to. Obedience is not something we can do half way...either we obey or we don't. God is calling and we are up for the challenge.

Only our Lord could write a story where a grieving dad sits up for hours the night before his dead son's third birthday pouring over bunk bed plans so that the can, on his son's birthday begin to build the beds that will hold "the least of these". A dad who wants more than anything to honor his son and obey his Father. This family will spend this day, Asher's third birthday cleaning and preparing our home for His gifts that will bless our family as much as we hope to bless theirs. We have big hopes, big dreams and big plans, and his Word tells us that whatever we do, if it is His will, we will succeed and we know he is calling us to this. We know it will be hard, we know our hearts will break and we KNOW that he is ABLE!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three Years

Dear Sweet Asher,

While you were growing in my belly, we nicknamed you "Happy", I cannot think of a more fitting name. You have taught us so much, not just about happiness, but about joy. Joy isn't circumstantial, and you brought both happiness and joy. From the moment we knew you existed we loved you fiercely and we will never stop. Our time with you was some of the most sacred time I have spent. You have taught me to make the most of the time we are given, to love deeper and take risks. You have taught me that in the midst of the most unimaginable pain, beauty lies. You have taught me that God really IS capable of picking up the most shattered of pieces and gently and slowly piecing them back together into something useful.

Because of you, my life is changed. I thank our Lord each and every day that he blessed me with the gift of you, no matter how briefly. Like each of your brothers and sister, you have blessed me beyond measure and have helped to mold me into the person He wants me to be. You have strengthened my desire to live in a way that pleases God, to take the narrow road, so that one day I will kiss your sweet face again.

I can't lie, today, my boy, my heart is once again shattered into a bajillion pieces. The sting of death is so real to me as I wonder if you would have chosen dinosaurs, monster trucks or something completely different for your cake. Would you have the same fiery personality as your ginger haired siblings? I bet you and Ben would be the best of friends. He misses you, but looks forward to your birthday each year because we do something special as a family and he has only happy memories of your time with us. Luke has a sensitive heart and will often times out of the blue feel your absence so much that it brings tears. He loves you so much and talks about you often, and Hope, we are teaching her about you. She sees your picture in the living room and says "Baby Asher?". She loves babies. I know you would be her biggest protector.

Your daddy misses you something fierce. He is strong and holds it together most of the time for us, but you can see in his eyes how he longs to hold you again. Somehow I thought three years out, the pain would be much less intense and somehow today I can barely catch my breath. It took everything I had in me to set my feet on the cold floor this morning. I miss you so much it physically hurts sometimes. But I have also learned that grief ebbs and flows, it hurts so much, but we only grieve because we loved. You taught me so much about love, Asher, so much. Because of you, I have known a love that most never will and I have learned to praise God even when his plan hurts so much you don't think you will survive.

He tells us "blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" and this is so true. While we ache for you we also take GREAT comfort in knowing you are right where you were meant to be. You accomplished SO much on this earth in your short time with us and we are beyond proud to be your parents. You get to worship at the feet of our Lord for all of your days, you will never know the pain we feel, and that comforts my mommy's heart. You have changed us and we will never be the same, and honestly I wouldn't want it any other way. I would do it all again in a minute, even through the pain, because amidst this intense pain there is beauty, joy and happiness. Our God weaves all of that together to make beauty from the most difficult of circumstances, and I am grateful.

I am grateful for you sweet boy, grateful I get to know the privilege of being your mama. I will love you and grieve for you fiercely for all my days, and my life is richer because of that. You will never know what you mean to this family. Today, on your third birthday, my son, you are dancing at the feet of Jesus, and I can't think of a better place to be. One day, we will be together again, one day, and until that day comes we will continue to keep on keepin' on through the valleys and on the mountaintops. We will praise Him for all of it, because it is in the deepest of valleys that we sometimes find the greatest of gifts.

I love you more than words could ever express.

Forever yours,

I will cherish February 22, 2008 in my heart forever. Click HERE for a glimpse of that sacred day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Three years ago today....we were here...Lord, may I never forget the mountain peaks along with the deep valleys...I pray that I can do justice to the incredible gift you have blessed us with..."Blessed are those who mourn, for they WILL be comforted."

Monday, February 25, 2008
Plunged into the Valley
I want to be able to write that I am at peace today. I want to say that I submit and accept God's good plan for my life. I want to affirm that my suffering will lead to giving God the glory he deserves.

I want to be able to do all of those things, but today, I cannot. This morning as I woke up I realized that my body was incredibly broken. My abdomen throbbing in pain from having Asher taken from me. As what seems like a cruel reminder of what could have been, my milk has come in and is causing incredible discomfort. With Isaac since I had already been pumping for him, I continued to do so and donated the milk to a Milk Bank for babies who needed it and allowed my body to gradually adjust to the change. I cannot bring myself to do that this time as I did not even have the opportunity to offer it to my own son.

Benjamin is unbearably clingy and just wants to be held and loved, yet I cannot lift him for an entire month. I am desperate to do something normal yet my physical discomfort prevents me from my daily "psycho cleaning" therapy. It all seems so cruel to me today.

Last night it dawned on Luke that Asher did not come home. He had some questions and we answered honestly and openly. He was wonderful. He cried yet understood at a level I never imagined. As a true child his first question was, "Well, what about those toys people got for Asher, he can't have them. Who should have those?" He had his eye on this little lamb that played "Jesus Loves Me." I told him I thought Asher would want him to have that one to keep in his room if he wanted it. He said he would ask him when he prayed that night. :-) That made me smile.

This morning as I was crying, Luke came to me and asked if I was missing Asher. I told him I was. He continued to comfort me and bring me a tissue. He said, "Well, Mom it is okay to miss him, but you know he is still with us in our hearts." What wisdom coming from a four year old. It did my heart good to see how much Luke truly understood.

It seems so strange to me that as I sit here, my world seemingly paused in grief that the rest of the world is going on as usual without Asher. It is as though I feel that the entire world should stop turning because mine has. I should be sitting here exhausted from being up all night nursing my son and insted I sit here exhausted from grief and physical pain.

We have gotten many messages of love and support and yet no words comfort me. I don't want to be told how strong I am or that I have "an angel". I know that Asher is with God, not an angel, but with God and I am so thankful that if I cannot be with my him, God is and I know that He is the only one who could love him the way I do.

It is weird, I do feel angry but not really with God. I don't believe this is from God. I believe that these circumstances and this suffering is just a consequence of living in a fallen world. There is suffering all around us. Defective genes are a product of living in a fallen world. That said, I also believe that God did choose us to be Asher's parents. I believe he was an amazing gift and he truly did bring "Happyness" to everyone. I miss him though, I miss being pregnant with him and feeling him move. He brought so much love to this earth and I just long to snuggle him one last time.

So, we are okay and we know God will hold on to us through all of this but we also need to grieve and grieving is exhausting hard work. That is where we are at right now. We are deep in a valley, but we know that God promises we won't be here forever. Though we will always miss our sons in Heaven, a day will come when I don't cry the larger part of the day, but that day is not today and likely won't be tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three Years Ago Today

I am struggling a lot today. When everything happened on Monday it was almost as though I slipped into autopilot. I just nodded my head and let everyone poke and prod without much emotion or expression. I could feel myself zoning out but it was almost like a coping mechanism. The world was going much faster than my mind could process and so I basically shut down. I can remember this happening when Isaac was born also.

Today I am trying to take the time and process all of what is happening. Sometimes it all seems so surreal. Almost like I am just a bystander in my own life, watching from the bleachers. I am feeling so confused and frustrated right now. It seems that many times when I pray, God answers with the opposite answer. It was tough enough knowing that our baby was going to have such significant health issues, but now prematurity on top of that. My due date is not until April 6th so I was assuming he would likely come mid March but I never anticipated February. I feel cheated out of time. I remember with my c section with Isaac, feeling that he had literally been RIPPED away from me unexpectedly and I am feeling that same feeling now. I am not ready for this. But I guess God has a different idea.

I know that God's timing is perfect and I am praying that he continues to keep his mighty hand on all of this but I cannot help but question him. All of this said, my biggest prayer today is that God will give me the wisdom and courage not to waste all of what I have been given. I do still have a few days left to carry this precious boy and am very excited to meet him. I want to make the most of my time with him and not waste it being angry. This is something I am going to need God's help with though! Because I am angry and hurt and confused. I want to celebrate Happy's life and use these remaining days to prepare and enjoy being pregnant with him for just a little while longer. I mean, I don't even know if I will EVER be pregnant again...which is so hard to imagine.

I also am praying for Luke and Ben today. We have not told Luke yet about any of this. We felt we did not have enough solid information to tell him ahead of time and we didn't want to scare him. He is so looking forward to bringing his new baby brother home. He is preparing his room so that Ben can move in with him and everything. I am praying that God will give us the words and the widsom to explain all of this to Luke in a way that he can begin to understand and not be scared. He still speaks of Isaac with such love, yet will still cry at times because he wants his brother here with him. It is heartbreaking!

So my prayers today are for wisdom...wisdom not to waste even a moment of this experience with bitterness, wisdom to prepare our boys.

This was my blog post from February 20th 2008. My heart aches just reading the words back. Such a time of raw emotion. Praying for mercy today as we remember our boy. Howard is sick so the plans we had made for the next couple days to celebrate our baby are on hold.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I got online today to blog about our recent experience with Satan. Yep, he is a sly dog and he is at work...we have been attacked from all sides lately and I find myself growing weary. As Asher's THIRD birthday approaches, I find myself looking back at my blog from this time three years ago. Three years ago today, this was my post:

Tomorrow is our first of our weekly crazy doctor appointments. Tomorrow at 12:30 I will be having a non stress test to be sure that the baby is still doing well. I will be hooked up to heart rate and contraction monitors and they will monitor the baby's well being. I then will be having a sonogram to determine the baby's position to help us decide how to go forward with birth and they will also be taking measurements in this sonogram to determine if there has been any growth or change. Then we will be meeting with the doctor to discuss all of this.

Please pray that the baby is doing and continues to do well in the womb as we would like him to stay put for a few more weeks.

We are still not giving up on him, so please continue praying for growth and brain development as well as growth and development as a whole.

Please pray that God will give us wisdom in knowing what decisions to make about method of delivery.

Benjamin is again going through a really clingy time since he has been left with others lately. Please pray that he and Luke adjust well to this new weekly doctor appointment and spending time with family and friends who also love them.

Please continue to pray that happy stays put for a few more weeks, we do not need to deal with prematurity on top of any other health issues he may have.

Please pray for us to have peace as we continue on this journey.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayer and support. It is great to know we have so many people petitioning God on our behalf! We know our prayers will be answered!

Interestingly, putting things into perspective, all of my whines and moans and prayer requests for today seem so inconsequential, compared to the magnitude of what was going on in our family three years ago. My heart aches so much today for that sweet boy. I would do just about anything to hold him in my arms just once more. To kiss him on his sweet forehead and tell him just how much I love him and just how much I look forward to the day that all of this is made right.

February 17th 2008 was the beginning of the end for Asher, his health steadily declined from the stress test performed that day, until he had to be born on the 22nd. It was a time of such inexplicable peace through the pain. I am so thankful that the Lord granted us 35 minutes with that miracle, it will never be enough, but it will always be with me.

Each year we typically go to a hotel and stay overnight and just relax as a family for Asher's birthday, and though we would love to do that again, we feel called to use the money we had set aside for that to buy a set of bunk beds for whatever foster kids come into our home in the coming months and years. I struggle with how to celebrate him each year, but I do think our taking Jesus at His word, and stepping out in faith to take in "the least of these" would make him smile. He can't be here with us, but surely there is a little one out there that needs our home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Something I LOVE

Meet the Heart 4 Heart dolls.

What if you could change the world just by buying a doll? You can, with Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls! Each doll is a girl that wants to make a difference in her life and community. There are six beautiful dolls to choose from: Dell (USA), Lilian (Belarus), Rahel (Ethiopia), Nahji (India), Tipi (Laos), and Consuelo (Mexico).When you buy a Hearts For Hearts Girls doll, a portion of the purchase price is donated to children's causes in those countries through World Vision, a global humanitarian organization. Each dolls stands 14" high and comes with a hair comb, a girl-sized heart charm bracelet, and a mini storybook about her life. Quality details such as ethnic jewelry, cultural yet current outfits, and fully rooted hair make these dolls that any girl will treasure. In addition, Hearts For Hearts Girls also offers a fun, child-safe website full of stories, games, and activities. Change the world one heart at a time, with Hearts For Hearts Girls!

Okay...I know that the rage is the American Girl Doll and I know girls LOVE those dolls. Personally I will never be able to bring myself to spend that kind of money on a doll for Hope. Not saying they are bad, just not our thing. THESE dolls however I am in love with. They are GORGEOUS and each one comes with a story that teaches girls about culture, and details how each character wants to change the world. They are less than a quarter of the price of the American Girl dolls and they are awesome quality. I love that a portion of the proceeds benefit the kids of these countries through World Vision.

Maybe consider one of these for a girl in your life? They can be purchased at Target and I have seen them on Amazon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Love Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Mom

February is always such a tough month on my heart. It is the month that marks my mother's birthday and Asher's. I have for so long carried so much anger toward my mom, and I can honestly say that I think that healing is happening. As God works on my heart he sometimes painfully forces these things to the surface and forces me to deal with them.

This month I had to write an "autobiography" for our Foster Care Agency. I put it off until the last possible moment. While I have NO trouble elaborating about my sweet Isaac and Asher, when it comes to my mom, it is a wound I prefer to leave bandaged. It isn't always a part of my life I feel comfortable sharing and it downright hurts.

As I look back on this past year, though her absence still stings with each milestone and hardship, I still long to be able to call my mom for reinforcement when I am spent or to just cry with her or have lunch with her, but I am able to see a lot more. Through my writing of my mother and her suicide on this blog, I have had a few women this year write me and thank me for sharing so openly. They too were struggling with the feelings my own mother must have had and after reading through the experience from my perspective they were able to make different choices because of the LOVE they have for their own kids. I have also connected with other women who have similar hurts. The thing hurts, deep into the core of my soul it hurts, but the Lord has brought purpose to this suffering too.

So, while I do wish things could have been different and I long to have a mom of my own, I also have been able to find gratitude and joy where I am. The Lord is capable of redeeming all of our hurts. One day it will all be made right. Oh how I long for that day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I have had a lot on my heart lately. I have hidden much from this blog and it just isn't my style. Typically, I am an open book and lately, as the Lord continues to work on refine me I find myself seeking seclusion and safety. He is working nonetheless.

For a long time my heart has ached. Ached for certain someones who are not physically in this house but take up a special room in my heart. For a long time I assumed that this aching was for my boys. My arms have literally throbbed in aching longing for those sweet boys and with Asher's birthday approaching, his absence is very real. As I have isolated and spent time with the Lord, He has shown me much. If I am being honest, I will say this has been a painful season of my life as the Lord has so clearly shown me areas of my life that I have been holding back.

He has shown me that when I chose to give my life to Him, He wasn't just asking for my extras. He demands more than my free time, my extra money (whatever that is), and a piece of my heart. He demands it all. He holds me accountable for EVERY moment, EVERY penny, and every dark secret in my heart. EVERY.ONE. As I have done some examining it has become all to clear what things I have been witholding. I have followed and obeyed, but if the cost seemed to high, I have copped out saying that it wasn't what God was calling me to do.

I think this is a lie that we often believe as followers of Christ. You know, the one where we believe that if God is TRULY calling us to do something, that it will be easy, that we will have a warm fuzzy feeling and affirmation that we are following Him. I am not sure I believe that exists. I believe that we are ALL called to follow Him in RADICAL obdeience. We are asked not to count the cost. Sometimes I think because I am trying so hard to get us out of debt, all I do is count the cost.

As I have spent more time in prayer and quiet time with God, I have found that he has opened my eyes to a few things. This aching I feel in my heart, is actually not for Isaac or Asher. I miss them, I do ache for them at times for sure, but I know they are happy and in the arms of their Heavenly Father. I know that they are where we all ultimately want our children to be. I do not have to worry about them. As I have gone deeper I have realized my aching is for OTHER children who belong in this home who are not here.

That said, one night Howard and I were talking...he was talking about how we have always said we would ONE DAY do foster care, but now was not the appropriate season of our lives. As we examined the decision to wait for a more "appropriate time" we looked at each of the reasons we were waiting. They were all about us. was about our comfort and fears. Our home is too small, our bank account too small, we don't want to be tied down, we don't want to take away from our three sweet kids...and as we listed them we realized how selfish we in fact our and we know our God is bigger than all of that...SO we took the leap. God calls us to care for the orphan! He tells us that whatever we do to "the least of these" we also do to Him. We have finished our foster care classes which were NOT easy. We left Hope with a sitter for the first time which broke her heart and mine. We have our paperwork done and are waiting on CPR certification and First Aid...then we will have our home inspection and our home will be prepared for whoever the Lord has for us.

Satan has attacked on EVERY corner...babysitters have cancelled, sickness looms, money has been tight and as we force ourselves to push through each obstacle we have found His blessings on the other side. I have no doubt that this is going to be a difficult and often heartbreaking journey, but I also am confident that it will be laced with joy and blessings. I am white knuckling through it all knowing that I cannot allow myself to lose momentum. It is going to be an adjustment for all of us and I know as children come and go, our hearts will shatter, we have lived that reality before and we know all too well that the Lord can piece back together with beauty even the most broken of hearts. Beauty from ashes...only our Lord.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day

BIG Kiss!

Watching from the WARM house.


How DID he get so big?

Yesterday was a snow day here in NW Pennsylvania. Honestly we don't get many. We have adapted and can function quite well even in the midst of blizzards and several feet of snow. Yesterday's issue was ICE. After several hours of freezing rain everything was covered in ice. The boys had fun walking "on top of" the snow and slipping and sliding everywhere. Because Howard is a teacher and had a snow day also we got to spend an entire day at home as a family, sledding, watching movies, playing games, drinking cocoa and eating popcorn. It was good. We do laugh sometimes though...while the rest of the world was getting "The monster storm for the record books" and was paralyzed, we were just having a typical winter day. ;) It is all about perspective isn't it?