Our Foster Care Adventure (Part 2)

30 10 2012

If you haven’t read part 1 yet, you might want to start there.

I mentioned in my previous post that there are training classes we needed to attend. Going down the path of becoming licensed foster parents meant that we had to complete 30 hours of training. This came in the form of 10 3-hour classes on Monday nights. We missed one class of the 10 due to travel so we did the make-up class a few days before the surgery on my foot. We also had to complete CPR and First Aid training.

We expected that with my foot surgery the whole process would slow down and it did. During this time we came under what I can only describe as a spiritual attack. We had an invasion of ants, we discovered we had termites, we had to replace our water heater and garbage disposal, we had to replace the batteries in two vehicles and repair a tire. We also have had to deal with folks trying to convince us that this is a bad decision. “Why do you want all these problems?” “Your kids are almost out of the house now you should be taking it easy.” One person even asked if we were doing this for the money. Fortunately this only brought us closer to God and we prayed to see how God was going to work in this situation.

At this point we needed bedroom furniture, fire extinguishers and escape ladders, locks for medicines and harmful chemicals and we still had to pay for the CPR/First Aid classes. As a result of these attacks, the money we had put aside for initial foster care expenses was almost gone and our emergency funds have been hit pretty hard. We also asked for friends to pray for us.

Since we prayed to God, and asked others to join us, we have seen miracles happen. A friend “just happened” to need to get rid of 2 twin mattresses and a dresser. It turns out that the termites were caught early so there is no structural, or any visible, damage to repair. We found a place to get our CPR/First Aid training for $15. Just FYI the Red Cross charges $110 for the same course! Our initial home inspection is scheduled on November 5th and all our paperwork, that we know needs to be completed, is done.

I don’t mean to make this sound like it has been one battle after another. It hasn’t. There have been some spots where our commitment to following God has been tested. We have also been blessed by a majority of our friends being VERY supportive. Since finding out that we are pursuing becoming foster parents, I have had several friends share that they were foster kids. I have been blessed to be able to answer questions for another family considering adoption. We even have some friends that are even more excited about us becoming foster parents than I think we are at this point.

The training classes made it abundantly clear that being a foster parent is not a “cake-walk”. At times it is likely going to be very difficult. However, we know that going in so it won’t be a shock or surprise. We also view this as our ministry field. We may very well be the first Jesus’ ambassadors that the parents or kids have ever seen! We have also started to get to know others who are currently foster parents so we have folks to ask about situations as they come up. We have discovered that apparently late night trips to Wal-Mart are a normal event when kids get placed in your home.

Until next time …

Our Foster Care Adventure (Part 1)

28 10 2012

We are getting closer to being licensed Foster parents.  It has been an adventure so far and I imagine that the real adventure is just getting ready to happen.

So how did we get started on the path to foster care?  Well back in March of 2012, the Pastor, Mark Connelly, at our church, Mission Community Church, did a mini-series on the biblical basis of a new initiative the church was embarking on.  The initiative is called Esther’s Hope and it represents our efforts to help drain the foster care system in Arizona of children needing homes.

During the mini-series, I became convicted that God was asking my family to take some role in this effort.  I didn’t know what we were supposed to do but I was convinced that we needed to do something.  I didn’t say anything to my wife because, honestly,  I was afraid of her reaction.  There was an orientation meeting scheduled and I finally decided to talk with my wife about what I felt God was calling us to do.  I told her that I didn’t know what we were supposed to do as part of Esther’s Hope but that I was certain God was asking us to do something.  It turns out that she was feeling the same way and was waiting for me to say something about it as confirmation of her feelings.  That was confirmation for me that it really was God asking us to be involved.

We went to the orientation meeting and were astounded, as were the folks doing the orientation, at the turn out for the orientation meeting.  The orientation meeting was held in a room that holds 450 or so and it was standing room only!  After getting information about the foster care system in Arizona and how Christian Family Care was participating as a licensing agency, the group was divided in to two smaller groups.  One group was those that were interested in becoming licensed foster parents or adopting.  The other group were the folks that were interested in supporting foster families.

This was our first decision about what our next step was going to be.  We decided to stay with the group interested in becoming foster families or adopting.  I still wasn’t sure whether we wanted to adopt or foster.  Honestly I was leaning towards adoption because it sounded easier.  Being a foster parent means you are on the front lines so to speak.  When CPS determines that a child needs to be removed from a home, foster parents are the first to help the child deal with this traumatic experience after they have been processed into the system.  The goal for foster kids is reunification with their biological parent(s).  That means that after weeks/months of loving on and becoming attached to a child, assuming the parent(s) got their act together, the child is taken away from the foster parents and returned to their biological parent(s).  While being with their parents is really best for the child, it is still going to be heartbreaking to have them leave.  After the presentation was over, we talked and decided we  were going to go down the path of becoming licensed foster parents.

With the decision having been made to follow where God was leading to become licensed foster parents,  this was going to mean some major changes in our lives.  We had training classes to attend, a bunch of paperwork to fill out and reviews of our home and our lives by state agencies.  Not to mention a level 1 federal background check!  Did I mention that there was lots of paperwork to fill out?  We are clinging to the promise that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

Obviously there is more to this story we are several months beyond the orientation meeting as of this blog post.  I didn’t want to make this too long so I am going to break this up into several posts.

Until next time….

You are an Inspiration

9 10 2012

While I honestly didn’t think I would be publishing another blog post so soon, nor was this originally a topic I had in mind. However if I don’t get this out I have a feeling it will keep me up all night.

I have heard it said that people are always watching you. Not in a creepy stalkerish kind of way, at least not in this post. I originally thought that it was something people in authority said to keep you wary of what you were doing. I have also heard “You may be the only bible someone ever reads” or “You may be the only Jesus someone sees”.

I have, on a fairly regular basis, used my lunch hour to study my bible and have my quiet time with God. I honestly don’t believe I mentioned it to anyone at work. I just closed my office door, at lunch and spent time with God. One day a woman I worked with wanted to talk. She said “I know that you study your bible and go to church …” Well I just about fell over. How did she know? Did I say something? How could she possibly know what I was doing in my office during lunch? Then I was reminded of the phrase that people were always watching.

In the first letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul says:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Tonight I was at my CR step study and after answering a question about my growth during the recovery process, one of the guys told me I was an inspiration to him. WHAT…..me…..no way … you must have the wrong guy! Honestly those are the things that went through my brain. All too often I feel insignificant and like I am not contributing to the group. Tonight I was floored to learn that I was an inspiration to at least one other guy.

You, yes you, are very likely an inspiration to someone. They may never tell you that. I know that I have been reticent in telling others that they are an inspiration to me. Being an inspiration to others is not reserved for adults. In fact there are teenagers at my church who by their actions are an inspiration to me. They inspire me to draw closer to God.

Remember people are always watching … be an inspiration to someone!

Until next time …

A Little About Paul…

8 10 2012
Welcome to my blog. If you are still here by the end of this post, please be sure to leave a comment so I know who I am writing to.
My name is Paul I was born a long time ago in a land far away. Not really THAT long ago but I will qualify for AARP in 2013. And whether I was actually born in a land far away depends on your definition of far. If you had to walk it you would think it was far away but you can get there in about 14-16 hours by car. I never tried getting there by horse so I have no concept of how long that would take.
I found God, probably more accurately God found me, when I was in high school. There was a evangelistic meeting and this girl I would have done almost anything for, invited me to attend. I did. I believe the speaker that night was Tony Campolo. At the end when he did an alter call, I felt a stirring in my soul that I needed to go forward. I looked to my friends who I THOUGHT indicated they would go up with me. However when I stepped into the aisle and started walking, there weren’t there. I went up anyway. My walk with Christ was sporadic at best. It wasn’t until I was desparately trying to study for a Calculus test in college that my walk started to have direction. These two guys from a campus ministry wanted to share the gospel with me in spite of my protestations that I had to study for a calculus test. I let them talk and recommitted my life to Christ on that bench that day. I know something miraculous happend as that was the ONLY calculus test I ever got an A on.
Shortly after that this stunningly beautiful young lady started hanging out with the group of folks I hung out with. After a couple of dates, I created an “application” to be her boyfriend. Thankfully she said yes! We have been married since 1986 have four awesome children. One boy and three girls.
I have been very involved with the church ever since we were married sometimes burning myself out because I just couldn’t say no.
Many years and tears later, I started attending Celebrate Recovery (CR) as I was sick and tired of being overweight and all the challenges that come with it. As I have been working the program, I have felt the urge/guiding/leading to start writing a blog. If you want to learn more about the Celebrate Recovery program, feel free to ask me or go to the Celebrate Recovery webiste.
This won’t be all about CR, nor will it be all about my walk with Christ. Though those topics will come up. I have several topics in mind such as my review of iPad apps, my surgeries, foster care and my love of things pumpkin.
If for some bizarre reason you want to keep up with me between blog posts you can follow me on Twitter @pfrogers63 or facebook facebook.com/pfrogers
Since you made it this far, I would appreciate you letting me know you were here by leaving a comment.
Until next time . . .

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