Did I do good, Mama?!

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This was the question my daughter asked me on report card day. She was so proud to have gotten her report card and couldn’t wait to show it to me.

I glanced down at the stack of papers. I am reading “P” and “M” on so many lines. There are color graphs and grids. I flip the papers back and forth trying to figure out what everything means. “P” is progressing, “M” is meets expectations, “L” means limited progress. Good to know… good… to… know. Now, to go back through each page and decipher it all…ugh…

I see a lot of “P’s.” Not very many “M’s” though…Hmm… Realization hits me: she is behind. She’s behind in a LOT of areas.

I am sad that she is behind others in her grade level. This breaks my mama heart. I mean, don’t we all want our kids to succeed at the highest level possible? I want her to be able to conquer the world!

Well, it broke my heart for a second—and I mean only one second. That’s when the biggest smile in the world looked up at me with her gorgeous brown eyes and said with excitement:

“Did I do good, Mama?!”

I quickly responded.

“Yes, baby. You did good. So, so good!”

She skipped away with such pride.

“Man, I love that little bundle of joy,” I thought to myself.

In that split second I realized that she was far exceeding expectations in life. She was conquering the world. She might not be on grade level but there are numerous reasons that could be; none of which anyone can change now, and none of which I would want to change. But more than not being on grade level, her character outshines everyone around her. Her teachers comments are always about her “constant smile and positivity,” how “even when faced with a major injury she kept smiling and enjoying school,” how “she never lets anyone bring her down” and how “she is always full of joy.” Who was I to take away her pride and her joy because she isn’t meeting a standardized test? What good would it have done either of us for me to say “Not really. You are behind in a lot of places.”? None. It wouldn’t have helped one bit. But you know what it would have done? It would have taken away her pride. It would have taken away her smile. It wouldn’t have helped her grade.

So many children in today’s society have seen and been through things that effect them forever. Biological makeup, neglect, abuse, trauma, substance abuse exposure, environment, and so much more contribute to how they learn and grow. There are the children who try their hardest but will never reach grade level and then there are children who can easily obtain the grade desired but maybe they aren’t reaching it because of a reason unrelated to academics. Let’s take a deeper look at their entire being, not just their grade. Many children, especially foster and adopted children, face anxiety and depression, and some also experienced past trauma and neglect that has effected brain growth and development. Each individual piece drastically effects one’s ability to learn and test, but coupled with numerous pieces can lead to academic struggles. As a society we need to stop focusing on the grade and get back to the person.We should test them on loving their neighbor, being a great helper, and extending grace. Do we extend grace like our kids do? I know I fall short more than I meet expectations.

I will always love my children and their character way more than I care about their academic letter grades. Children are all different and we all parent differently. It doesn’t make us good or bad, just perfect for each other.

So I said it once and I’ll continue to say it:

“Yes, baby. You did good. So, so good.”

I encourage you to say the same.

Alisha Signature

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One Little Word 2017

For the past 2 years, the Dropping Anchors ladies have shared some of our “One Little Word” thoughts for the new year. So now that it’s 2017 we’re ready for a new set of words.

Each year that I have chosen a word, the Lord has used that word monumentally in my life. In 2015 my word was “light” because I had had so much darkness in my life with depression in 2014 and I needed to cling to the hope that the light was overcoming the darkness. And in 2015, God miraculously healed me from depression! In 2016 my words were “peace and joy” because I couldn’t chose just one. And this year was anything but peace from the outside. So much so, that it seemed like chaos was the theme of the year. But internally I’ve found immense amounts of peace from the Lord and joy in the journey of it. I’ve truly come out of this past year with more joy and peace than I knew possible.


This year, I felt the Lord giving me the word abundance. I don’t know what that looks like for me yet, but I’m excited to find out! I’ve looked up verses about abundance and will study them through the year, I will pray and meditate on the Lord’s abundance, and I’m ready to soak it all up.

Here are the words chosen by some of the other Dropping Anchors girls this year. Are you choosing a “One Little Word” for 2017? Share it with us!


Happy New Year, friends! Praying you receive the goodness of God this year!

steph

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Adoption Stories: Post 2

Read post 1 here. Enjoy. ❤


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Leslie Crosby:

“After finalizing our son’s adoption in 2012, we provided short term foster placements for five sweet babes. A second adoption was very clearly placed on our hearts, and we were placed with our daughter early in 2014. We celebrated each new first with our sweet girl, and were overjoyed when we were able to finalize her adoption on May 6, 2016. ”

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Kristen Slattery:

“We finalized our adoption of a 16-year-old girl from foster care just last week. We already had 3 young bio kids when we felt the call to adoption. We were struck by the great number of kids awaiting adoption in the U.S. and knew that our child was out there amidst all the smiling faces on the AdoptUSkids website. We were matched in March of 2015 and finalized in October 2016.

You can see more about our family and adoption journey on my instagram @kristelaine or my blog Engineering Motherhood.

Thanks,
Kristen Wolfe & John Slattery”

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Jamie:

“We always knew foster care was going to be a part of our life. We just didn’t expect it to be the only way we would grow our family.
I consider every child who has walked through our door as a part of our family forever. Each of the 11 children have left an indelible mark on our hearts.
Our most recent adoption was our youngest sons in April of this year. We brought him home at 14 days old and it was on day 882 that he became a forever part of our family.
I now can’t imagine having build our family in any other way.
Every little person who has come through our home has been such a blessing to our family, no matter how long they’ve stayed. Some for just a couple weeks and some forever.”

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Kelli Nichole:

“After two foster turned adoption placements, I felt my heart being pulled towards fostering again and being part of a reunification story. Quite honestly though, I had been dragging my feet a bit knowing the challenge and heartbreak that would entail. Then I got an email asking us to foster a little girl who was already in the process of ICPC to be moved to a family member in another state. It seemed like a perfect way to help a child who needed us during transition and play a small role in bringing a family back together. Even though our children were 3 and 2, I thought we could certainly make having 3 toddlers work for a short amount of time. Right?
Well, just like any true foster care journey a few months in things changed and we were chosen to be her forever. I call her my surprise middle child and we could not be more thrilled. She has not only blessed us by being our daughter, but we are proud to call her biological family ours too! We celebrated her adoption on 10-11-2016, exactly three years since our first childs adoption.”

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Tiffani Elizabeth

“We adopted our blessings from God on July 22nd. Our plan was to adopt one infant girl. We have 4 bio kids , one girl and then three boys. So we desperately wanted another girl in the family. My daughter has always asked for a sister. Well she got two! Our first placement was a little girl 23mos and she was a twin! So we took both girls and 4 months into our journey we also took baby brother. So god’s plan was that I would be a momma to 7 beautiful children. ”


casey

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Adoption Stories: Post 1

During the month of November, we collected several adoption stories to celebrate National Adoption Month. Over the next few days, we will share them broken into several different posts. We hope you enjoy reading these as much as we have!


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Roxie Swank:

“Our family story starts with the heartbreak of infertility. Foster care was always my later life plan, something I wanted to do once my kids were grown and I thought we would foster teenagers. But in his true fashion God had other plans, in November 2015 we finalized Mya and Kalum’s adoptions. Fast forward 10 months later and we finalized Alex’s adoption on September 3, 2016. Foster care made us a family and adoption made it forever ❤️ and all of the people in this picture, they are our family. Some by blood, and many by choice. They all love our kids fiercely, they supported us through the ups and downs of foster care and stood here with us to celebrate that we were officially and forever a family of 5.”

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Tabitha Lafferty:

“Todd and I met in jr high at church . We grew up together as friends and didn’t date until our 20’s . When we decided to get married we immediately talked about making a family . Adoption was one of those dreams . Fast forward 7 years and we didn’t have any children . I was a manager at bath and body works and one day a friend called me while I was At work. She asked if we wanted a baby ! A friend of hers had a baby and CPS would be removing it , would we like him ? I initially said no . We hadn’t even discussed this ! A week went by and the friend said we could still have the baby if we wanted , all we needed to do was become foster parents . So we found an agency . We received pictures of the baby as we quickly got licensed . We were a week or so shy of finishing up and we got devastating news. The baby wasn’t his so he wouldn’t be able to have us as a kinship placement . We were confused . We rushed through all this to be let down ? We decided to finish our licensing and see where this led us . Not even a week from finishing our last class we got a call . Two boys , ages 2&1 did we want them ? We said yes !! They came within 45 min . After that it was a roller coaster . For 15 months we fostered them with the wish of adopting . The bio mom was involved and wanted her sons back . We were advised by CPS to hire a lawyer and seek termination of her rights . We did not get it . Instead we got PMC . Permanent managing Conservators. Or legal guardians . We would keep them in our home but they would still have visits with bio mom supervised by us every 1st , 3rd and 5th Saturday . CPS closed the case and we were left to deal with bio mom on our own . We felt abandoned and scared . God didn’t answer our prayers. And we were so lost . We started this new journey . As we did we lost friends , family members, a church . It’s hard to explain the loneliness we felt as we were one of the only families to do this that wasn’t a kinship (family ) placement. We were still an open foster home as well . So we got another call for respite for 2 more boys ages 3&1 . We said yes and they came to us that afternoon . After 2 weeks we were told their bio parents already had their rights terminated and so these boys were adoption ready . We initially said no . 4 boys under 4 was a lot and we were dealing with so much from the 1st 2’s bio mom . We continued to care for them and after about a month we felt God leading us and telling us to adopt these 2 new boys. So we did ! We had them a little over 9 months when they became our forever kids . After that our oldest (one of the original 2) started to have a lot of anxiety and fears. He begged us to adopt him. We tried to reassure him that he was ours but he kept saying “the judge didn’t say so .” He knew . So last year we started to pray and save money . And at the beginning of this year we met with a lawyer . I met bio mom and explained our desires and our sons desires . After much , MUCH deliberation she signed her rights away . We adopted them on June 16, 2016 . 1289 after they came into our home . So thats our story . Still in the middle of it ,not sure how it will end but I do know it will end with us as a family . Although I don’t know why we journeyed this road I do know that God guided and protected us every step of the way . Even on days I couldn’t see any light.”

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Stephanie Daniels:

“We entered in to the world of foster care intending to adopt- but along the way we fell in love with fostering. We continued to pursue adoption, but it wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t easy. But then there she was! We are hers forever and all the waiting was worth it.
The Daniels family”

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Casey Zaruba:

“I wish I could say I was one of those people who always wanted to adopt, but truth be told that wasn’t me. I always just thought I would be pregnant. After donating eggs to another couple in 2011 who couldn’t get pregnant, my husband and I began trying to conceive. After almost 2 years, randomly (it felt like) God laid Uganda, Africa on my heart. He spoke it to me so clearly. At this point Adoption was something that was now on my mind, but not my husbands. Like not even a little. He got on board with Africa (God is sneaky, right?) and we served in an orphanage for a month. Met the sweetest boy named Kamoga to this day I swear made my husband a dad. Came home changed, began fighting for Kamoga to be ours, started a concurrent adoption in the Czech Republic. ***Fast Forward*** Ultimately we found out Kamoga DID in fact have a family in Uganda so we immediately stopped the adoption process for him (nearly killed me), and after a year of being the Czech program, about 452 friends becoming pregnant (doesn’t this always happen when you want a baby) one Tuesday night in September 2014 I cried the whole way home telling God I felt forgotten. Like BAWLED my eye out. That night at around 6pm I received a phone call from an agency in Florida ( I skipped the part where I mentioned I became an adoption consultant with Christian Adoption Consultants through all of this) that we worked with and on the other line I heard, “Casey, we have a 4 day old baby boy in the NICU and he needs a family. His mom asked us to choose and we think it should be you and Tyler.” And then that’s when I blacked out. (kidding, but really) the next few hours were INTENSE as we took out a ginormous loan, said yes, packed our car and got on the road. 48 hours later we walked into a room and met our first son, Foster. 10 months later we started our second adoption and 7 weeks after that our second baby boy, Murphy was born and we finalized his adoption earlier this year. We have 2 open adoptions, 2 beautiful boys and a God that was so faithful to us. If you are waiting and feel like time is standing still, I would encourage you to seek God in those moments and cling to the fact that there is Purpose in the Pain. He is so good, friends. ❤”

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Hillary Massey:

“April 22, 2016. Our first official day as a family of 3. As big as this day was for our family, it also wasn’t. We became a family long before. We become a new family every time new children come into our home. Foster, respite, adoption day, they are all just different versions of us. They are all ours forever, whether they end up with our last name or not.
We didn’t tell anyone of our plans to foster. We completed our training a month after our info meeting and told 2 family members and a friend what we were doing because we needed them to be our personal references. We were approved days after our final home study and days later received our first placement of two little boys. Our families were shocked. It was hard adjusting to life as four. But we did adjust and loved them fiercely. After 6 months we knew they would most likely be reunifying. Our consultant approached us to consider accepting an additional placement that would overlap our current one. A 6 month old girl that had been with another family in our church from 3 weeks old. I knew the baby as I happened to have been at the court house the day she was removed from her biological mother. We started doing respite for her and accepted placement of this dark haired roly-poly girl days before she turned 8 months. Life was crazy with 3 foster kids 3 and under, not to mention visitations, home visits, case workers, and therapies that come with foster care. We grew close to the other foster family. What a gift they have been to us! Our boys reunified 2 months later and we settled into life with only one child. Termination and surrender happened quickly. It was heart wrenching and relieving at the same time. We were impatient to have the studies completed and to have a finalization date. But we got our date in record time and became official!
Adoption has certainly built our family, but adoption just makes official what you already know as a family. We have been forced to trust our God through every unknown and heartbreak. And I thank God for the hard! Without these hard places, adoption of our girl would not even be in our story. Our toddler girl that waves to everyone she sees, who will grow knowing her middle family that loves her profoundly. We could not even be a glimpse of the family we are after foster care and adoption.
I attended a retreat this year just before finalization. An adoptee speaker there shared with an adoptive mama and it was said that not only our adopted children come from a hard place but so do adoptive mamas. It was a lightbulb moment for me because it put into words what was in my heart. God designed our hard places to fit together. God uses our obedience to heal us if we will just trust him.
I don’t think God ever designed children to lose their biological families but used the broken pieces of sinfulness to heal. Only God can do that, make something unexplainably beautiful out of sorrow and loss. To be a part of that is such an honor.”


casey

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National Adoption Day 2016

Today we celebrate National Adoption Day. It’s a day to help grow awareness for children in the foster care system waiting for adoption and celebrate those children who are now part of their forever families. There are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care all across the United States. Of those 400,000, more than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted. The Dropping Anchors Crew has been able to celebrate several adoptions from foster care in 2016, celebrate them with us!


Henry Cameron
Placed: March 5, 2014
Adopted: Nov 24, 2015
Adoption video: https://vimeo.com/146769307National Adoption Day Henry

JaNyah Kendall Katherine
Placed: 1/22/15
Adopted: 5/6/16

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Emmaus Michael Damien
Placed: 6-17-15
Adopted: 4-8-16

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14991454_995443890584043_17114486680533033_oMya and Kalum
Adopted: 11-24-15

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Alex
Adopted: 9-3-1614947586_10104395097206882_808773999465927750_n

Kellen Cash Nicholas
Placed: January 18, 2016
Adopted: July 20, 2016
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Cassie
Home: May 13, 2016
Adopted: October 11, 2016
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World Adoption Day

Celebrate World Adoption Day with the Dropping Anchors Crew by drawing a smiley face on your hand, taking a picture, and sharing that picture with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by using the hashtags #droppinganchorsblog and #worldadoptionday!

Happy World Adoption Day!

casey

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#VoiceofFosterCare #VoiceofAdoption Challenge

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Are you adopted? Are you a current or former foster child? Are you an adoptive parent? Are you a foster parent? Are you a sibling to a foster child or have an adopted sibling? Are you just a family friend to someone in foster care or touched by adoption?

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Show us your voice. The good, bad, funny, or indifferent. We want to know your heart; your TRUTH.

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How to join in the movement:

  1. There are 2 ways:
    1. Click the photos below. It will bring the pictures open in another screen. From here you can save and print out the attached photo of choice. From there just fill in the blank with what speaks to your heart. Hold the sign up and take a picture
    2. Use a photo editor on any device and fill in the blank. Though we would love to see your gorgeous face in the photo, we understand not everyone has access to a printer.
  2. Post it to social media and use the hashtag #VoiceofFosterCare or #VoiceofAdoption along with #DroppingAnchorsBlog. Tag the Dropping Anchors Blog profile in your post so we can follow the journey. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Alisha Signature

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