Not of My Own Hand

I’ve been reminded constantly that Laramie Foster Closet is not of our own hand.  It is the unrestrained will of God.  He’s made me realize it.  He’s shown how faithful He is when we step out in faith and answer His Call.  I’m unashamed to admit His Handiwork.

All the things I thought I needed to have under control and worried about have been squashed time and time again.

When I think I need to find volunteers and am at my wit’s end, people I’ve never met come forward to volunteer.

When I can’t find a way to provide a resource, a donor comes out of the wood work.

Every time I am dismayed by losing a foster family or find myself in despair from a financial burden on the foster closet, He provides more.

I’ve learned.  When a ministry is HIS IDEA, HE KEEPS HIS PROMISES.  HE KEEPS HIS WORD.  HIS LOVE ISN’T BROKEN.  HIS LOVE IS NOT ANXIOUS OR RESTLESS.  HIS LOVE IS ACTIVE AND ENGAGED.  HIS LOVE IS ALWAYS PRESENT.  HIS LOVE IS PURE.  HIS LOVE IS NOT SELFISH.

These are HIS children, not ours.  My children are not my own, they are HIS children.  Biological or foster, it matters not.  This love we’ve found is to love on those who love on HIS children, because…because that is HOW HE LOVES US.  HOW HE LOVES ME.  HOW HE LOVES YOU.  And seriously, who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Fostering Love

I have the distinct privilege of being an advocate for foster families.  It’s not something I take lightly, but it is something I am humbled to be able to do.  You see, we, Alan and I, we know that being a foster parent is hard work.  No day is predictable, no child can fully express what has happened to them…and that leads to behaviors.  It’s the day in and day out in the trenches that is frustrating, heartbreaking.  But we believe it’s not beyond hope.

The reason we are so passionate about foster closets is this…it is so important to be able to call someone, have them answer the phone, and have them ask what they can do for you.  It’s important to know you are supported, heard, and you can get what you need for the children in your care.  Because,you see, you are in a world where you are not the priority.  You are a caretaker to a child, you support the bio parent, you are the last priority of the justice system.  You as a foster parent… you serve.

And here at Laramie Foster Closet, we know that.  That’s why we’re here.  To serve you.  To meet your needs.  To shower your family with love.  Because even servants need to be served.

img_0821

Hills & Valleys

When tensions are running high, sometimes it’s hard to maintain grace.  We all make mistakes.  In life, there are hills and valleys.  I guess what I’m saying is this…

At the end of the day, we’re all in this journey of foster care because we care.  We want the best for these kids.  And everyone has a different idea of just what that is.  The system is broken.  The families we meet are broken.  And our hearts break for the broken.

I’m thankful for a God who meets with me even though I am broken.  And what that means…for today, tomorrow, the next twenty years is that I’m going to make mistakes.  So on the mountains, I will bow my life.  And in the valleys, I’ll lift my eyes.  Because He has set us exactly where we are.IMG_6442.JPG

New Donation Opportunity!

Want to make a difference in the life of a foster child?  We are looking to fill 30 backpacks with toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, body lotion, a pair of socks, a pair of gloves, and a bedtime story.

These backpacks will be given to each child that comes into care with Laramie DFS.  These small items can make a big difference in a little one’s first night in care.  Join us!img_1266

Week 1 of Laramie Foster Closet

The first week of opening the door of our cargo container has been a little overwhelming.  So much support and so many donations came in that we were completely caught off guard…in a good way.

God has shown us that He faithfully provides through His people.  It’s definitely not anything we have done.  God constantly shows up, shows us where to go, and what to do.

In fact, not to sound pious at all…but we were reading last week about Moses.  And I’ve been teaching my Sunday School class (in a beard) about how God had very specific measurements and plans when He wanted the Israelites to build the Tabernacle.  I constantly find that He directs us in what He wants us to do through prayer.  A cargo container was not my idea…but it brings Him glory.  And believe me, I didn’t know I had it in me to run a nonprofit.  But…I have found Him so faithful.

In the first week of opening, we received:

-An enormous donation of baby supplies from The Clothing Cottage

-A $100 check from a donor to sponsor sports equipment for one of our foster kids

-A $500 check from The Clothing Cottage to help us get started

-17 bags of donations to be sorted and organized for our foster families

-An extremely large article in the local newspaper

-He has brought us in touch with multiple churches and nonprofits that are eager to get involved

And I love that I can’t take credit for any of that.  That’s all God.  He moves people, He changes hearts, He makes a way.  And I’m so thankful He goes before us.  And I can’t wait to see what week 2 will bring!

Our List of Miracles

When we left our home state of Florida last June, we knew God had spoken.  He wanted us to leave.  And so we did.  We had no clue where we would end up.  But God had a plan, as He always does.

Fast forward to September, we knew after traveling across the U.S., that God wanted us to make a home in Laramie.  Why?  We weren’t sure.  But again, God had a plan, as He always does.

Two months later, I called Department of Family Services just to see how long it would take to get our fostering license in Wyoming.  A week later, A DFS representative was in our home, our paperwork was filled out, and our license from Florida had transferred to Wyoming (a miracle for sure…that does not happen).  A week after that, we had our first placement.

But still there was this longing to do more.  Two weeks ago, I walked into a store in Laramie where I knew the owner and asked about foster clothing, knowing she had some on hand.  Then she told me she was closing.  The foster families she had helped for the past year would be without a foster closet because she would be closing at the end of February.

As a foster parent myself, I knew that a lot of families wouldn’t get licensed without a foster closet because it can be a huge financial setback every time a child comes into your home.  So, a lot of text messages, emails, and phone calls later…mostly with a special lady who is running her own foster closet in FL….we started on this journey.

In the two weeks since we started working on making the Laramie Foster Closet, God has moved mountains and opened doors.  I love writing down things God has done, so this list will be updated ongoing:

Miracles:

  1.  Cargo Container paid for a year by donor
  2. Space to put cargo container generously allowed by First Christian Church
  3. All 2x4s donated by Bloedorn Lumber
  4. A donor generously donated creating a logo for Laramie Foster Closet
  5. Two people from the community donated blackboards
  6. Two businesses agreed to be donation drop off stations
  7. Two businesses agreed to donate a bag of clothes each per month
  8. Two big blackboards were donated
  9. Over 700 hangers were donated by three amazing donors
  10. Friends from Florida are shipping us donations
  11. A business agreed to make t-shirts for us at cost
  12. We’ve been getting messages nonstop about donations
  13. One lady is storing and picking up items for us
  14. People have been signing up to offer their time, talent and tools to build on the closet on February 19th
  15. The store that is closing is taking their entire foster closet and donating it to help us stock ours
  16. Checks and gofundme donors have allowed us to buy what we need and help a few children who needed it badly
  17. We have currently raised over $800 dollars and because of ya’ll’s incredible generosity and donations, we get to use that money to help foster children in our area and reach them at their points of need.  More on this to come!