Practical Ways to Care for Orphans

Do you wanna love the orphans around you? Ever wonder how you can help even if you're not at the place to open your for foster care? Do you know a foster family? Wanna know how you can help them?

Helping Kids in Foster Care Doesn't Have to Be Hard - practical tips for non-foster parents in aiding those in the system

We have only been "open" as a foster home for 3 and 1/2 weeks. We have already had 5 different children placed with us in that time. I'm slowly learning things to help this new adventure flow more easily. I'm also learning that, in a lot of ways, there's no way to prepare for most things. No one can give you an exact scenario of what to get ready for or what the best way is to love a child who it hurting. I wanted to share a few things that we have been blessed by either by accident or by amazing friends we are surrounded by.

When a child comes into care, they often have nothing with them. The rush to get them to safety and or within healthy amounts of supervision is more important than grabbing their essentials much less their wardrobe or favorite toy. If they do happen to grab something it comes often comes in a trashbag OR a DHS worker hurries to buy them items and those come in bags from the store. These kids might be terrified, sad, angry, but they will all most likely be a bit confused.

There are some practical items that can help children in care:


Providing backpacks or duffle bags to care belongings in can help these children feel more stable and dignified from the start.


Offering toothbrushes that can be given to each child can make a child feel as though they were prepared-for and special as well as provide hygiene.

Stuffed Animals/Sleeping Buddies

A stuffed animal or small stuffed character to be used as a comfort item or sleeping buddy can make transition a little less scary.

Personal Water Bottles

A personal water bottle for each child can give each child belonging well beyond the practicality of nourishment.

If you think these simple items are something you could help provide for kids? Locate you local DCFS {Department of Children and Family Services office}, the local CALL {Children of AR Loved for a Lifetime}, or foster families you know personal and I'm sure they would love your support! Thanks for your interest in aiding children who are orphaned, even if for just a while. Thanks for learning more and can't wait to hear if you have stories of being someone's FFSS {Friends and Family Support System}. It really does take a village!

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She gathered their personal belongings and headed for the door with a quiet, "I'm gonna load these and then its time to go." to which he growled under his breath, "I want Animal Crackers!"

I gently snuggled next to him and reassured him I wanted animal crackers, too. Trying not to cry we gave our last snuggles and were strong as we loaded them in their carseats, gave kisses and I love yous, then waved through sniffles as they pulled away in that white van.


4 days earlier, we'd gotten a call. Matt's been fielding them for a couple weeks now. After our first placement for a child that fell through after days of preparing and lots of tears, our house was "officially" open so the calls came pouring in. Our counting is over run with kids in the foster care system needing placements but for the most part can get them housed. Out of county placements have been the main phone calls we've received. With us being a last resort they're more willing to sign age wavers and such to make sure the kids at least stay in the state and in a home with a family rather than a shelter. The call we received Monday as we drove to meet my in-loves for dinner was for an out-of-county placement. Due to the age of the child we had to turn them away and reminded them the age range we were open for. She offhandedly said, "Well, I might call you back."

Sure enough, around bedtime she called us back. They still had 2 small boys needing placement of the sibling group in need. They wrote us a waver and gave us basic information then told us they would be to our home around midnight. Matt and I scurried around finishing nightly chores, tiding what would be their room,  set up a crib, changed bedding, and tried to breath. We put on a movie in an attempt to stay awake. Midnight came and went. I finally closed my eyes on the couch and Matt woke me around 1:30 am on Tuesday morning to let me know they'd just pulled in the driveway.

I took a deep breath and followed him out into the dark, cold morning air to help scoop the little sleeping guys out of carseats and into our home. I held one boy as I signed papers and Matt  tucked the little brother into his crib before returning to tuck big brother into bed. That was the easiest bedtime of the 4 we would have with little man. We washed their belongings and tried to go to bed ourselves.

They slept off the stress of the day before and stirred around 10:30 Tuesday morning. Our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed crew was chopping at the bit to meet them. Matt and I went in to get them ready for the day with fit-throwing "Pudding" and non-talking "Peanut". It was a jam-packed day with mandatory physicals and shopping at our local CALL Mall for clothes in the right sizes for our new friends and school, naps, dance and gymnastic classes for our girls, and grocery shopping somewhere in the middle of all that. We pulled it off working as a team with lots of flexibility and grace- and not the elegant ballet kind but the unjustly forgiving kind. Screaming commenced as bedtime rolled around and we fought it out for over an hour with "Pudding" but won as "Peanut" slept through the entire thing.

Wednesday was our first [close to] routine day we had. Everyone woke around the same time, we did breakfast, school {with our new friends}, daddy left for  short time to get some work done, and best of all I didn't kill anyone during a 30 minute toddler-showdown that included kicking, screaming, and gnashing of teeth. We ate lunch, conquered protested naps, and then survived yet another new adventure with an afternoon full of movie time, dinner, and our new friends' first valley experience. This day the cutting eyes and icy glares lessened from "Pudding" and he began to become more snugly. "Peanut" fell right into place as if we were running a preK program and we got giggles, smiles, and even a few words {mainly spoken to our children}.

Thursday was hard with more mandatory team work between "Pudding" pulled his temporary cast off {meaning an orthopedic specialist appointment was added to the docket} and me already committed to working a consignment event an hour away. THIS is why DCSF is so insistent on foster families having a support system. You need extra arms and legs to love on children! With the help of my in-loves sitting with babies, Matt and I met up as we passed one another to switch vehicles for the evening. He

That brings us to today. Friday. This is our built-in catch up day for school and pretty much life. We'd completed everyone's school for the week so that means MOVIE DAY! The kids finished their chores, played with their new friends, and popped n a movie. Matt went to pickup our grown-buddy to take him to work and "Pudding ask to go along for the ride. No sooner than Matt has buckled him into the seat, we came back in because he'd gotten anther call. The court decided this morning that a relative was able to take the entire sibling group, including our 2 new little friends. Not only that but they would be here to pick the boys up in less than 2 hours.

I quickly reevaluated our picnic at the park plan as I secretly packed all their belongings into the bags they came with. I tried to hold it together while I put their art-work we'd made this week in their medical passports. I decided the park was happening and would be a good end to our fun week knowing it was going to be so hard. I packed a simple snack-lunch and had the kids scurry around cleaning up their toys and putting shoes on. Matt returned home and we all headed to the city park with our picnic in-tow.

It was beautiful weather and the kids got up and down from the the blanket in the shade over and over again. Different kids squabbled here and there about which part of the lunch they didn't like but all seemed to understand that was lunch. lol Towards the end, negotiations started and I compromised with "eat 1/2 of that and you can have more of this." Then it hit. "I don't want to eat [the minuscule piece of] cheese. I just want animal crackers!" Wow. Where did that come from timid, obedient, compliant, no-tears, brave "Peanut"?! The fit grew bigger and bigger as each kids got up from the blanket to play. From across the playground, Matt shrugged with a did-you-already-tell-him look as dude yelled and kicked. He would calm down and listen as I gave him his options, "eat the cheese and get the animal crackers OR don't eat the cheese and just go play with everyone else." Neither one of those sounded okay and the built up emotion inside of his tiny little body just kept overflowing disguised as rage flung in my direction.

I shook my head a Matt as I cleaned up our picnic spot and helped "Peanut" walk toward the playground with his angry face on. He stomped around the playground still confused about the real reason behind his hurt. Strangers had shown up as soon as we sat everyone down for lunch when we planned to tell everyone about the boys leaving so time was thinning as we gathered the kids on the opposite side of the toy to tell them. Arms crossed, lips puckered out, and brown nearly touching said lips, he sat as we tried to tell them that he "got" to go back and live with his relatives. The kids scattered and played for awhile, we gave to complementary 5-minute-warning, and then started to load. "Peanut" began SCREECHING as we walked to the car, stopping and mad.

In the car we laid out the timeout consequence if the temper-tantrum didn't stop. He listened and then started back up with even more passion. At home he went and stat on his bed to hopefully finish his fit. I went in a few minutes later. First I sat next to him as he cried. Then I scooped him into my lap and let him yell and cry on my chest. Then God told my heart to tell him, "You so brave. Monday was hard. Tuesday you woke up to strangers, Wednesday and Thursday you learned a new routine and family. And today all that sadness, fear, and anger came out when you weren't in charge of your lunch and ultimately not in charge of life right now. It's okay to be sad. Cry. and to be angry. I will hold you while your upset. It's not okay to turn those feeling onto other people. I love you. Jesus Loves You! And God has big plans for your life even though its hard right now." He sniffled a bit more and then let me rock him a bit longer. Then Grace.

Grace overlooked the well-earned timeout he was supposed to have and we sat on the couch, snuggling and watching a movie until his eyes caught the white van pull into the driveway. He breathed deep on my chest as he watched her walk to the door through the front window, anticipating the doorbell ringing. He walked with me as we answered the door then pouted as we gathered his new toys he's picked out at the CALL Mall Tuesday. I brought out backpacks and reassured him his cool new shirts and undies were all in there. Matt played with "Pudding" getting newly-found laughter and giant smiles out of him and "Peanut" couldn't decide how he felt about any of this.

She gathered their personal belongings and headed for the door with a quiet, "I'm gonna load these and then its time to go." As we found the remaining pieces of his toy he growled under his breath over and over again, "I want Animal Crackers!" to which I replied, "I want animal crackers, too!"

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Public School “Specials” for Homeschoolers

Today I was THAT mom. Nearly in tears meeting school teachers, learning procedure, and praying my baby made sweet friends as I closed the door on the public school art classroom.


Did you know that public schools have many resources to offer homeschool families?! Our community calls the resources we are utilizing this year "specials". "Specials" here are art, music, library, P.E., enrichment, and computer. For now, Maggie will only be going twice a week for art and music. She's beyond pumped. They also offer a variety of therapies if your child needs them.

When I called them last Friday I was pleasantly surprised they spoke to me as if they were expecting me and had a plan in order. This is their first time with this particular process which is kind of a relief since it's ours too. The principal placed Maggie with a 2nd grade class so she will stay with the same kids each day she attends. There was also much though put into which class. Since they offer 6 "specials" and there are only 5 days in a school week, the principal made sure Mags was with a class that had 2 of the "specials" one after the other on Friday so I could just drop her for a full 80 minutes instead of coming twice in one day for 2 separate 40 minute classes.

She was also understanding when I ask if we could just come for 2 of the "specials" rather than every day. This is kind of a trial period for us to see how well it works with our schooling schedule and if it would be possible for my other children to attend "specials" in the future.

We walked into the school office today to finally meet the staff I'd spoken with over the phone. They were welcoming and all smiles for my little nervous 7-year-old and a visitor's tag for me. The principal walked out of her office, introduced herself and the assistant principal, and then walked us to art class to meet the teacher.


Along the way my girl would graze my hand making sure I was still beside her. We met the music teacher she would have tomorrow, and despite being called "Maggie, the homeschool child" most greeted us with welcoming looks {unlike the first set of phone calls I had before school started}.

I was nervous about starting a week after all the other students but everyone, teachers and students, seemed to still getting the hang of things and in the early stages of getting to know one another. They ask that I call them at the end of the first week when everything calmed down for them. I was a little discouraged thinking they were trying to brush me off and sad because we didn't get to participate in open house, meet the teacher, and the first week of school where basic rules and standards are explained.

Points for knowing your neighbor and having a God big enough to put them in the same class as your little! As the students entered the room, one by one they all stared at us. Sparking my nerves, a little girl asked slightly snarky, "Is that a new student?!" A sweet child who attends the valley with us occasionally walked in and stared at us confused. Then, as we were waving at him, our neighbor-friend walked in stunned as he looked at Mags. I could have kissed that small child on the mouth. God is in the details!

The kids gathered on the carpet, ready to learn about "The Dot". Another child, I took it upon myself to immediately deemed Maggie's Best Friend Forever, was humble little girl who scotched over next to Mags on the back of the rug and just sat next to her. A sweet little comfort dawned in a braid. Swoon.

I'm sure I'll have more to share on this as the year goes on and other's have questions about how it works. For now, I'm just gonna snuggle my over-excited child who RAN down the sidewalk to me for pickup and wasn't the least bit embarrassed to jump into my arms in front of her new class of friends yelling about how much fun she had and be thankful I get to have her the other 90% of the day!



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Want-To, the Key to Learning

This makes me so happy!!! I will spell things all day long for this child.

She is a strong willed learner, meaning she only learns if and when she wants to or sees a need. This entire school year she has fought me about learning letters. She would either pretend not to know certain ones or refuse to memorize them. I have been so nervous that she would struggle through school, especially since this was still her attitude finishing preschool/first semester of kindergarten.
Since being "out of school for summer" she has been begging me to spell all kinds of things with a little help from the alphabet reference on their preschool table. She pauses a little with a couple letters still but figures them out on her own. She makes menus for plea parties, birthday cards, and lots of random signs right now.
On the way home from camp the other day, Mags ask to finish the last two pages of her chapter before napping. When she had finished u looked back to see Izzie had snagged one of her two books and was flipping page to page. I ask her to put it down and nap to which she responded, "I'm almost finished with this chapter." I LOVE that she is finally developing a love for books and reading!

I am constantly nervous that I'm gonna screw up this educating-my-children thing and then God goes and shows me that He is bigger. I know that statistics, methods, standards, values, quality, quantity, and so on seem to be fluid or set in stone depending on who you ask so being a "homeschool mom" can be stressful. God continues to show me I'm doing exactly what He wants in this season and my children are fearfully and wonderfully made; each in their unique way, specifically designed to show yet another marvolous aspect of Himself.

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#mommied Monday: Parking Lot

In honor of Mother's Day, I have been sharing stories that makes me wanna say, "BOOM! You just got Mommied!" because it is a super empower ;) Often we feel like we just got owned by our children in the small battles so we need some encouragement when we don't lose! Sorry this one's late.

#mommied Monday Parking Lot

Our garage feels like it is constantly being “cleaned out”. No joke, I’m sure my neighbors are laughing every other week as I drag all my junk out onto the drive way to sort through, trash, rearrange, and stuff back inside. One of the areas in our garage that has saved me a few headaches is the “parking lot” for all our riding toys. Even Ellie {16 months} knows where to find things and the general idea of “parking” them when we are done.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • cleared floor space next to a wall in the garage
  • tape- I used frog tape {brand of painters tape} but masking or duck tape would work
  • riding toys

Simple Parking Lot Concept:

  • swept, dusted, mopped {if you have to} floor, so the tape will stick- I learned the hard way the 1st time around
  • lay out riding toys in a row {I spaced mine smallest near the door to largest further into the garage}
  • eye-ball the length you’ll need my stretching it out next to each vehicle
  • tear it off
  • stick it down
  • stand back in awe of yourself 😉

*for light-weight toys that roll on a slightly declining surface*
create a parking block behind the vehicle to keep it from rolling into the garage: I used a thin strip of cardboard cut off a box in the trash but used a flat twig or scrap sliver of wood the first time and taped it to the floor under the tape

My kids LOVE that they have their own space in the garage for their vehicles! It’s very clear for them to see where their riding toys fit and can easily put them away {when I don’t pile things behind their parking spaces :/ }

BOOM! #mommied

I hope you all had a GREAT Mother’s Day! I find that, we as mommies, push ourselves to extremes where we either live fake lives because we are constantly feeling less-than in comparison to other moms or announce our failures as if they’re metals we’ve won without an attempt to always improve. May we all recognize our victories and be encouraged to press on in our struggles.

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