Would you consider…..?

June 2, 2019 50 Comments

2012

Eli and me

“Would you consider taking in 4 brothers? That was a phone call I received one day. Wait, what? Say that again?

I had just relicensed my home for foster care, which happens every 3 years.

Once

It seemed like every time I relicensed, I’d get more calls than usual for a placement. This call took my breath away. It was a Social Worker who knew me and said they’d been working SO hard to find a place for all 4 brothers so they could stay together and she thought I was such a great parent. I laughed at her, we both chuckled and I said, “No.”

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Twice

About 2 weeks later, another social worker, who did not know me, ran across my relicensing paperwork and called me to ask if I would consider taking four brothers for long term care. I’m sure my mouth fell open. I explained that I already had 3 children in my home (as Beatrice, Clara, and David were all keeping me busy) and that, while my heart was saying yes, my reality dictated ‘no.’ But my heart was already starting to wonder. What did it mean that two different social workers had brought this up to me?

Thrice

Again, about a month later, my social worker called again and said they still REALLY want to keep these brothers together and several of them had put their heads together and think our home would be good. I laughed again and asked her why. But my heart had finally sat up to take notice.

I am a spiritual person (liberal Christian with a bent for Lutheran worship) and firmly belief that The Spirit (from any faith) works in our world continuously, giving humans the option to act towards wholeness and love. Sometimes it’s a whisper in my heart, sometimes, repeated ideas presented to me, sometimes a whop on the side of the head. Much of my journey in foster care and adoption has been because I listened to what is calling me, whether it is logical or not.

Anyway, I started to think that I was receiving these calls for a reason. My social worker explained that there was an adoption fair coming up (where kids are brought for a play day and prospective adoptive parents and wander around and play with the kids. She said that the brothers would be there and would I at least come meet them. I told her I would, but that I need to be responsible for the 3 kids in my home and that logic dictates that these boys belong to another family.

I said, “Yes”

My heart was opening up, but I still told the social worker that if any other family inquired about the boys at the fair, that I am the bottom choice on their list. I met the boys. And fell in love.

The plot had a twist in that the boys were already in separate foster homes and the second brother really needed to be moved soon. So, I said ‘yes’ and the social worker got tears in her eyes. Later that night, I sat in my room and cried and cried and cried. It was grief for the boys, fear for what I was saying ‘yes’ to, joy that I’d been called again into a new ministry.

Within 2 weeks, Eli, the second brother, a CUTE 5-year-old had come to live with us while they worked on details for the other 3 boys. We had a whole community step up with two sets of bunk beds, toys, clothing, and meals. Beatrice and Clara were teenagers and David was an 8 year old, so I had a lot of conversations and plans to work out with them. They seemed excited, but I was still worried about what this would do to their lives.

Clara and Eli

The biggest twist was a blow to Eli. Once he had moved in with us, biological family stepped up and committed to taking the other 3 boys (in two separate homes). I am a very strong advocate for keeping siblings together, so this was a huge grief for me. As I learned more, Eli and his older brother (4 years older) were extremely bonded as they survived severe neglect together and had only each other. The biggest trauma for Eli was probably that he was separated from his older brother. He had been Eli’s protector his whole life. The other two boys were younger at 3 and 1 year, and they were in a home together, But Eli and his older brother lost a great bond.

Eli with his new grandpa

So, we settled in with Eli and a new adventure began. He was funny, curious, very busy, and quite resilient in some ways. He was also filled with grief and anger and we saw plenty of that, too.


A Sibling Moment

Eli was born with hydrocephalus, which is fluid on his brain. His bio mom had not received prenatal care. When she was finally seen at 36 weeks along, the medical providers discovered the hydrocephalus, they did an emergency C-section and then the poor boy had brain surgery to drain the fluid and put in a shunt at 2-days-old. But the fluid had already done it’s damage and left Eli with permanent low vision (legally blind) and CP, Cerebral Palsy, with right sided hemiplegia (weakness of his right arm and leg).


Goofy boy.

However, after bringing Eli into our home, it was apparent that he was quite oblivious to his different abilities. He ran headlong (literally, sometimes) into almost any situation and was very strong and adept at climbing, along with other physical endeavors. But he had not learned to let his right side help very much and he used his mouth and/or his chin/chest to hold things instead of his right hand. It was an interesting, new journey for me as a parent.

First try with a whoopie cushion!!!

In the blink of an eye, our family changed again. And we added another layer of joy and pain to our family journey, finding ourselves blessed, over and over again.

~~~~~

If you want to read more about any of the kids’ journeys, click on their name(s) under categories to the right –>
Growing Family!
Clara, Alice, Beatrice
Eli and David

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50 Comments

  1. Reply

    Annette Durbin

    July 15, 2019

    I love this story. I’m glad you listened to your heart and heard God’s call. YOU are the right family for Eli and that beautiful family picture – with lots of smiles, is confirmation!!!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 18, 2019

      Thank you, Annette! That family picture is one of my favorites. Just when my last kids arrived.

  2. Reply

    jen

    July 12, 2019

    I love reading your story.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 14, 2019

      Thank you. I love writing my stories!

  3. Reply

    Chris

    July 11, 2019

    God bless you for what you do. This post moved me deeply. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 11, 2019

      Thank you so much Chris. I am glad to have you here!

  4. Reply

    Cindy

    July 10, 2019

    I love that you listen to Spirit and make decisions with your heart.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you, Cindy. Listening to the Spirit gets messy! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for reading!!!!

  5. Reply

    Lina

    July 10, 2019

    Keep your stories coming! My heart just melted. You are truly an angel and your kids are so lucky to have you. Eli is such a sweetheart.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you, Lina. I am pleased that you are enjoying the blog. I’m lucky to have my kids, that’s for sure!!!!

  6. Reply

    Christina Furnival Real Life Mama

    July 9, 2019

    Aw he sounds so lovely, and he’s so lucky to have you lifting him up!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      He is such a sweetie…. though he is now 12 and has the puberty attitude going. Some days……….. LOL
      I am blessed!

  7. Reply

    Heather

    July 9, 2019

    You were born to do this. I love the photos of the kids together. You have one special family.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you, Heather! I DO have a very special family!!!! Thanks for coming over to read.

  8. Reply

    Michelle

    July 9, 2019

    That is so wonderful that you could hear your heart telling you to say, “yes” that last time – how much of a difference that must have made to them. God always knows how much we can handle.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you, Michelle. It is amazing how much I grow and learn from each ‘yes!’ I appreciate you coming to read!

  9. Reply

    Barbara

    July 9, 2019

    I love your story. Eli is so lucky to have you in his life. Enjoy every second of your journey. You have a great heart.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you, Barbara. I’m lucky to have Eli. He has added a richness to my life that I would have missed if I’d said ‘no’ again.

  10. Reply

    Magan

    July 9, 2019

    Gosh, what a beautiful story of love. Living a life led by the Spirit can be daunting, but it looks like yours has been a blessed path (though I’m sure not without some difficulties, too). Blessings to you and your family!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      “A life led by the Spirit can be daunting…” YES! and not practical or logical according to our society. Nor is there any training manual. The level of trauma that my kids have experienced makes for some very hard days. But I try to remember to be grateful every day!

  11. Reply

    Tricia Snow

    July 9, 2019

    What a touching story and seems totally meant to be! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you, Tricia. I appreciate your feedback!

  12. Reply

    Stephanie Dee

    July 9, 2019

    Every story makes my heart both sing and cry at the same time. Eli is truly blessed to be in your home, and God has plans for these brothers. Bless you for stepping up, stepping out in faith, and stepping in when no one else would.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 10, 2019

      Thank you Stephanie. All of this!!!!!

  13. Reply

    Jennifer

    July 9, 2019

    What a beautiful story. Sweet boy!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Thank you!

  14. Reply

    Catherine

    July 9, 2019

    How amazing!!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      All of it!

  15. Reply

    Suzan

    July 9, 2019

    Your generosity of heart never ceases to inspire me, Karla! I couldn’t agree more, universal energy or “spirit” is always there, guiding us. We just need to be open enought to listen. I’m overjoyed that you do just that….listen.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Thank you, Suzan. Listening is often filled with doubt, because it is often not the logical path.

  16. Reply

    Ruth Iaela-Pukahi

    July 9, 2019

    I love your story! I got a call 19 months ago from social workers to take in my new husband’s sister’s two kids ages 14 months old and 3 days old. I have five of my own children and had just started a brand new full time job. It was scary but felt like the right thing to do. It was challenging because the 14 month old didn’t know who we were so it was extremely traumatizing for him. Today I was just adoring his never ending smile and his sister’s silliness. I’m so grateful we were able to keep them together no matter how difficult the journey has been. We don’t know what the future holds yet with another court date coming up for their parents. If we had more room in our home I’d take more siblings in to keep them all together as a family should be. <3 Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Wonderful that you said ‘yes’ to the call. I know it blessed the kids, but I’m sure you blessed you and your other kids, too. The journey is hard, but oh, so sweet!

  17. Reply

    Kymberly Irwin

    July 8, 2019

    Wow! I love reading your stories. I don’t want them to end. Thank you for all you do!!!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Thank you! I love writing, so it’s good to hear the support. Wonderful!

  18. Reply

    amy

    July 8, 2019

    This melts my heart! I wish I was in the position to do what you do. I’ve always wanted to be able to step in and provide a loving home for those that have never had that before… maybe later down the road. I hope the future brings those brothers back together though! Bless your heart for opening your home and taking care of those kids!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Oooohhh! If this is on your heart, you should keep it close to the front. If you wait for a convenient time or “the perfect” time, it will pass you by. Sometimes, we leap. 🙂
      Good luck

  19. Reply

    Beth

    July 8, 2019

    Eli sounds very special. I’m glad you listened to that voice the 3rd time. 😉 Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoy them so much.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Eli has blessed me, that’s for sure!!!! I am always SO pleased to hear that people like what I am writing. Thank you!

  20. Reply

    Melissa Jones

    July 8, 2019

    Fantastic!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      And blessed!

  21. Reply

    Maureen

    July 8, 2019

    Oh my goodness… how beautiful. Totally meant to be!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Yes, yes! My family has grown at just the right time with just the right kids. It’s amazing!!!!

  22. Reply

    KENDRA

    July 8, 2019

    It sounds like you have earned your angel wings many times over! What a blessing to these children!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Thanks, Kendra! Not quite an angel (ask my kids! LOL), but certainly, I live a blessed life.

  23. Reply

    Brittany

    July 8, 2019

    Aww I love this read! Thank you for your heart to foster!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      I thank you, Brittany! My heart is definitely where my kids are!

  24. Reply

    Haley Kelley

    July 8, 2019

    This is an amazing story… as someone whose family is attempting to take in 3 siblings into our home I can see how it would have been mind blowing the first two times to consider adding that many! I believe our hearts can always make room is God knows it is what is right for us.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      You are in for a hard, amazing, blessed, confusing, TIRING journey. I wouldn’t change a thing. My heart and prayers are there for you!

  25. Reply

    Joanne

    July 8, 2019

    You are so kind hearted! Eli is so lucky to have you and what a tragedy they are split apart!

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 9, 2019

      Thank you, JOanne. I still grieve that they were seperated. We’d have a completely different life if we had all 4 boys. It’s weird to think about.

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