Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Foster Care & Adoption - Feb 26th

I am so thankful to the Pishney's for joining us at MOPS today and sharing their hearts with us about Foster Care & Adoption. I feel like we were given some very good information today on what the process of being a foster family or a waiting family for adoption looks like & how every situation is different.

Let me give you a little background on my experience with Foster Care...When I was 10, my parents made the decision to be Foster Parents through Bethany Christian Services and they have been involved in that ministry ever since. I grew up being very aware of the blessing that Adoption & Foster Care can be (I also have 2 cousins who were adopted), but I also remember many of the questions and comments along with the looks. They assumed that I was the mother of the infant we were caring for and in my early teens with a baby of a different ethnicity. It was never a negative experience as we would just explain that we did foster care or just smile and continue on our way. For my family it was just like having a new brother or sister in the family for awhile, usually a few days to a few months. I also got some very good experience with newborns which was very useful when my girls were born :)

 I now have a few friends who are on their own path of Foster/Adoption, and am very thankful to Jeff & Karen for putting together the following information on understanding the process and being supportive to those going through this journey and what we can do to help and encourage them or just know what the best way might be to converse with them about their Foster/Adoption story.

Understanding the Emotional Toll - What do you wish people would understand about Foster Care?

  • That you are very vulnerable during this process
  • So many of the details are out of your control / unknowns
  • All of the emotions that come up during the process, paperwork and interviews
  • Delays and health concerns - trying to get the child the services they need(working with many different social workers, counselors, doctors, etc...)
  • Child's emotions and adjustments 
  • It is/can be a very lonely journey
  • Communicating about the process without sharing too much or sharing too little and confusing friends and family
  • Answering random questions from strangers
  • Birth parent visits are the toughest days and can take days to recover from

What to say or not to say:

  • Don't ask details about the child's past
  • Don't ask why the child was taken away from his/her parents
  • Don't scrutinize the child looking for signs of drug use by birth mom or fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Don't try to find something wrong with the child
  • Don't assume the child will be less smart because he/she was adopted
  • Don't share your horror stories
  • Don't label the child(labels do much damage & last a lifetime)
  • Don't compare stories 
  • Why would you ruin your own kids by doing Foster Care or Adopting? God didn't care any less for the child because he/she is adopted or in Foster Care. God has a specific plan for each of His children
  • Ask about the child's present likes/dislikes, favorite things or activities not their past experiences
  • Birth child / Biological child
  • Birth mom / Biological mom
  • What is their ethnicity (not where did you get them from, where did they come from)
  • Did you adopt internationally or domestically? Instead of where did he/she come from?
  • The foster/adoptive parents aren't lucky to have missed out on the rough newborn phase w/little sleep etc...The child isn't lucky to have gone through all of the hard stuff.
  • Don't keep reminding the child that he/she is different
  • A good thing to say would be "Your family is beautiful" or "We're praying for you"

What you can do to help:

  • Pray
  • Be genuinely interested
  • Focus on the present or future
  • Be encouraging, make phone calls, bring dinner, send text messages, offer childcare, listen, or just let them cry, be a good friend, don't judge
  • Rejoice with them
  • Be sad with them

We can all do something to help care for the orphans...

Contact info:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Me and my BFF

This picture makes me smile.  It’s not the greatest picture of Jim, and you can hardly see the view that we had from the top of the mountain overlooking the hills and the ocean, but it reminds me of a great day and a beautiful gift from a loving Father.

Jim woke me up earlier than I would have liked on Saturday morning.  He handed me a coffee and instructed me to brush teeth and throw on some clothes—we were off to Coastanoa.  I rolled out of bed and we headed out on the two hour drive to our favorite hiking spot.

This time of year has always been a struggle for me.  The post-holiday let down followed by a month or two of cold, wet days leaves me feeling a little blue and not very motivated to do much.  I appreciated Susan’s talk about depression last week—it was so informative.  I’m not sure if my blues have ever turned into depression, but I do know that they have occasionally stolen my joy and made me lose all perspective.   With Ivey back at college, it seems that this year has been especially hard for me. 

We drove to Half Moon Bay and stopped at the local grocery market for a picnic lunch.  We have this down to a science after five years—fresh bread, smoked salmon, sliced cheese, and some fruit.  We got a warm juice and a wheatgrass shot for energy and drove to the trailhead.  As we parked and began our walk, I could feel the tension and sadness beginning to fall away.  After 2 hours uphill through grassland, and then thick forest, we reached the summit.  The sun was shining, the wind refreshing, the smell intoxicating, and the endorphins from the climb exhilarating.   I felt so free and energized for the first time in months.

However, the most beautiful thing about this day was not the view or the endorphins, but that my best friend knew just what I needed and he dropped everything to make it happen for me.   

He knows my limits and he saw me getting to the edge of them.  He also knows that I can breathe better surrounded by trees, and that sometimes I need a push to get me there.  He is patient and loving as I wake up from my sluggishness and begin to feel alive again.  He knows every part of me and he loves me anyway.  He always waits and hopes for the best me to show up again.  He draws me out and lifts my eyes back to Christ and the marvelous healing light He offers.  He makes me remember how grateful I really am.  He is a beautiful husband, a loving dad to my girls, and my very best friend.

We began our lives together as friends my first year of college.  We gradually grew from best friends to dating, and then marriage followed 4 years later.   I am so thankful that no matter what has happened in our lives, through all the stages we’ve gone through, we have found a way to nurture our friendship.   I’m not saying it’s always been easy and I’m not saying we haven’t had our struggles, but there has always been a clear vision of who we wanted to be for each other, and we have worked hard to make that a constant in our lives.   

I am not sharing this with you to brag or somehow say that our marriage is perfect.  It isn’t.  But it is real and it is strong.  We haven’t figured it all out, but as I pray for you and your marriages, I want to share what we have learned:

We have learned to put our guard down and be totally transparent, trusting each other to handle what we are given gently and with great care. 
We have committed to praying for each other and trusting as God works in our marriage to make us stronger and to help us love each other more.
We try to be slow to criticize and quick to find good. 
We try never to manipulate and we try never to assign motive or intention. We always hope for the best from each other.

These are our goals as we do life together and though we often fall short, we are constantly growing closer and closer to each other along the way.  Whether you are already there, or feeling like you don't know where to start to even become friends again, here are some practical tips that may help foster the friendship:

1.  PRAY PRAY PRAY for your spouse.  Prayer builds love and intimacy.  Never underestimate the power of prayer--especially for the ones that God has placed in your life.
2.  Can you remember a place or an activity that gave you the feeling of freedom and joy?  Even if it seems silly or impractical--go for it.  Share it with your husband and let him see that side of you again!
3.  Find some way everyday to encourage, support, or build up your husband without expecting anything in return.
4.  Hold hands whenever possible.
5.  If you have to talk about something difficult or challenging, talk while you walk and walk side by side. Refer to #4  :)
6.  Share something with your husband that he might not know about you, and ask him questions that let him share himself with you in the same way.  It could be something small like a favorite place, or something big like a dream that is growing in you.  Play top 3 (top 3 favorite desserts, top 3 favorite vacation spots, etc.) You never know—tastes change with time!
7.  Never stop finding the humor in daily life and share it with each other.  There is nothing more fun than laughing.  Well, almost nothing...

"Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth.  Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures."  1 Cor. 13:4-7

"His words are sweetness itself; he is altogether desirable. This is my darling, and this is my friend..."  Song of Solomon 5:16

"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel."  Prov. 27:9

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


God is so ironic, don't you think? Today's my day to "blog" and the topic is depression. You'll get why that's funny as you continue reading.

Our speaker, Susan Leonard, asked what it is we think of when we think of "Depression," whether it be ourselves or others, and we were told to write something down.

Having personally dealt with depression, medication, and some super-fun therapy and psychological evaluations, this is what I wrote:


I literally feel like I've failed most days. Don't worry, this doesn't get me down like it used to, praise God for Zoloft; however, it's startling even to me that I still feel like I've let everyone (including myself) down.

At the age of 20, my first major depression struck. It was mostly caused by some relationship issues and a lot of unresolved feelings and anger. I didn't seek help at that time, but I pushed through, and I was eventually able to finish college, get married and have 2 beautiful girls before my next "episode" at the age of 28.

According to Ms. Leonard, a "Melancholy" personality can potentially contribute to depression. Well, that's me. I'm creative, perfectionistic, blah blah blah, all those things. I also am genetically predisposed. Yay me.

Anyway, when I was 28, I'd had my second daughter, had the baby blues, and never quite recovered. In fact, it got much worse, and I knew I had only two choices: seek professional help, or become a blob.

Realizing that blobs don't make very good mothers, I decided to get help. I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 2, began anti-depressants, and starting seeing a lovely therapist who helped me to battle some pesky demons from the past. And I got better -- MUCH better. I felt happy again, I enjoyed my kids and my husband again, and I rediscovered my creative side. I taught myself to knit and starting writing again as well.

So meds are great (when needed), but Susan is so right when she said that a major key in your depression journey is RELATIONSHIP. If not for my dear husband who encouraged me to get help, and hugged me when I was feeling so unlovable, and for my friend who went with me to my first doctor appointment, and for my other friends for suggesting I contact my therapist.... Well I don't know where I'd be, but it wouldn't be good.

I don't know what you needed to hear today, but I really needed to hear (again), that it's not my fault. That I'm not a failure. In fact, I'm a hero. Depression felt like a big giant was sitting on me, and I fought that giant. So...

Ask for help, tell a friend, do the work. I promise it's all worth it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mom of the Month!

Heather Buffa

I have 3 kids and one on the way J Alexys is 13, Grey is 10 and Vin is 20 months. 
What is your favorite FREE activity to do with your family?
Riding bikes
What are your 10 favorite things?:
1. Family
2. Friends
3. Books
4. Reese Peanut Butter Cups
5. Wing Stop
6. Lavender
7. BBQ chicken pizza
8. Hot showers
9. The Bachelor/ Bachelorette TV show
10. Sleep
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?:
Hair. Sounds strange I know, but having a teenage daughter, I wish I knew how to do all the trendy hair styles so I could help her do them.
What is your first memory of being really excited?:
That’s a hard one. I guess I would say, when I got my first Cabbage Patch Kids dolls for Christmas. I had to be around the age of 5 or 6. They were Twins which made it even more exciting, I remember one of them was named Tabitha and they were wearing blue velvet suits. J
What was your first job?:
I worked as an office aid at a company my older sister worked for. I spent all day putting together 500 page product binders L It wasn’t very fun but I still loved having a job. 
One piece of advice or encouragement you have for other moms...:
Have a date night with each of your kids as often as you can. Family time is really important but building a personal relationship with each of them individually is too. I find that my time spent alone with each of them is when we really get to know each other.