Tag Archives: Big Famiy

Wait! I Have to Wait???

Wait! I Have to Wait???

Last Saturday we got up at three in the morning for a one day road trip to a destinatIon four hundred miles away. There was a new baby at the end of that road and it was time to meet her.

I had waited a week and I couldn’t wait any longer. I’d kept reminding myself that there were others helping my daughter with the day to day; I knew it was my turn to wait. I didn’t like it, but I waited.


When we arrived at the house, Nana greeted us, baby in arms. She whispered that the other children didn’t know we were coming. I couldn’t wait to surprise them!

The five older children were in the backyard with Mom, enjoying some play time before the sun was high and hot. I paused to watch them play and then turned to my daughter. She looked tired; with a newborn and a four month old in the house, she hadn’t had much sleep. Wait, what?

You read that right. The youngest, just about four weeks old, was just visiting; her foster parents were on vacation at the beach and were getting a respite. My daughter was willing to cuddle a newborn for a short ten days to give them some time of refreshment.

A call came on Friday; Mom was enjoying caring for the wee one and they were all looking forward to Dad and their oldest brother returning from camp the next day. When she heard the request, the answer was an immediate yes. Yes, they would foster the baby, a four month old, currently in the hospital and a sibling to their adopted daughter.

Mom would be spending the next day at the hospital to meet with doctors and begin bonding with the precious girl. Hospital time; she waited to take her home.

The following day, a little girl who had been living in an unsafe situation moved into a house filled with children and love. The details aren’t mine to share; her story is still being written and by the grace of God, I am only part of it.


The troops were rallied; friends, neighbors and family began showing up. Thirty-six hours isn’t much time to prepare for a new baby.

In the meantime, Dad and older brother were experiencing some delays of their own. Homeward bound and anxious to reunite with family, their bus broke down in the middle of nowhere. They weighed options and waited.

I’m a doer. Over the years as my daughters gave birth, I helped. I loved to pop in with food and while I was there do some laundry or a little cleaning.

This time, when I said “I’ll come”, she said “Others are here. Just wait, mom.”

You know how your “heart” is the seat of your emotions but your actual heart is pumping blood and keeping you alive? How is it then, that when your heart is aching the pain is in your chest? I struggled for a week with putting my finger on the emotion that was bringing me so much discomfort.

Was I jealous? Was I suffering from a severe case of “fear of missing out”? After all, other grandmas were there, in my daughter’s home, doing all sorts of things to help her. Oh dear Jesus, take the wheel, I wailed. Am I jealous? But when I got still and honest, I felt nothing but gratitude and love for those women who were there to help.

On Thursday afternoon, as I cleaned the break room kitchen at the office, I prayed (a great thing to do while taking care of mindless chores, by the way). Give me some clarity, I asked. Help me sort all of this out.

Suddenly it was clear. A new grandchild was waiting. I needed to hold her and speak words of hope and love over her. “It’s time…go” HE said.

For the fifth time in just three years, I took a baby that might leave in my arms; I opened my heart without holding anything back. I will gladly surrender it in exchange for the assurance that this little one will know the love of a grandma.

Waiting. This very minute, I have two grandchildren in waiting. Oh, not in my heart; they are sealed there forever, but the courts are still doing the legal stuff and so we wait for the day their names will be written in our family Bible just as they have been etched in our hearts.

In the waiting there is a beautiful picture of God’s waiting for us. He loves us even before we have all of the legal stuff (our sin) figured out and he loves us first.

Teach me to wait with your patience and steadfast love, Lord.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us… 1 John 4:10a ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

 By His grace alone,


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I’m Seeing Red and It’s Not What You Think


Mom, do you remember when you were awaiting the arrival of your babies? There were months to prepare and everyone was waiting with excited anticipation. Showers celebrated the impending arrival of your blessing; new clothing was washed in that amazing Dreft detergent and folded and placed at the ready in a lovingly prepared nursery. The arrival of a child is a blessed and joyous event that should be celebrated.

When the call comes, foster parents have little time to prepare. Until that moment, they have no idea of age, gender, size or situation. In a matter of minutes or hours the child will arrive, likely with nothing more than the clothing on their backs, sometimes in the middle of the night, confused and possibly fearful.

May I share the arrival story of my second granddaughter? A case worker called – this is the official announcement that you’re “expecting”. The baby was being discharged from the NICU. In a matter of hours, a very sick, very tiny baby was delivered to her new home. There was no time for preparation except in the heart of a woman who heard the specific call for this child and said “yes”.

Foster moms go into nesting mode from zero to sixty with that call. And often, they are on their own. If they’ve been at it for a while, they likely have a network they can mobilize. Sadly, that network is mostly other fostering families.

It’s not the same. I get that. But what if we, as a community of believers…the CHURCH, got serious about this issue? What if we said ENOUGH? What if rather than getting bent out of shape about a disposable cup we took up the cause of the orphan?StarbucksCup

In the United States over 250,000 children enter foster care each year. That number is staggering. While not every family can or will foster, the statistics tell that if one family in one church out of every three churches were to welcome one child into their home, there would be no child waiting.

I wish I could just lay my heart bare. Words are supposed to do that, but I am better at telling a story than championing a cause. As best as I can tell it, this is what I want you to hear, dear reader. What if that that one family out of those three churches had an army of people around them? What if when a mama posted a status update about needing a toddler bed, instead of sending links to beds for sale on Craig’s List that same team of people found a bed and delivered it to that home where everyone is in prep mode?

I never knew. I had no idea. I thought those people were super heroes and I admired how they had it together and managed so well. I ignored the fact that I could should be a part of the story. I freely admit that I only became part of this amazing story because of my daughter and son-in-law.

But regardless of my failure to walk in it, this was not written for one family in one church out of three, my friends:

Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27 NET

So, dear reader, if you are still with me, and if that verse is speaking to your heart, let’s get on with it.

There are ways to touch the lives of children in foster care even beyond becoming a foster parent. I was going to give you a nice, neat bulleted list, but I just deleted all of it (I hope I don’t regret that in a minute!). What if we got to know them by spending time, asking questions and then reacting and responding as needed out of our abundance and with the conviction that these children ARE our responsibility?

Further, what about the church? What is her role in supporting fostering and adoptive families? It’s not enough to celebrate Orphans Day one Sunday in November (if your church even did – mine didn’t but that’s my fault).

Under the authority of the very Word of God, churches must provide tangible support for families who pursue a calling in fostering and/or adoption:

  • Put in place supports that will allow the families to maintain their current level of involvement in the church
  • Make sure you are ready to welcome special needs children into the various ministries for babies, children and teens
  • Make church the easiest place to navigate with a large family
  • Grief counseling (fostering involves loss)

Fostering is a delicate dance. For good reasons foster families take lots of things one day at a time. And ironically, that’s how love grows. One day at a time. And sometimes, that little girl who was discharged from the NICU becomes my granddaughter.


The Book says it more than once. I’m only sorry that I am so very late to this amazing dance.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:17

Grace and the Mouse


Preface: This isn’t my normal blog post, but this is what’s fresh and real.  I hope it is relevant and even fun for some of you. As always, thanks for reading!

John  Mine Train

I just spent four days at Disney World on a park hopping tour with six children. Based on our rough estimate, we’ve done this twenty seven times in the past two years. The faces of the children have varied and we’ve actually had an extra once or twice. In every case, we’ve had no less than three in diapers and the age range has varied from a few weeks to eleven years.

Let’s just say that we don’t land quietly in the Magic Kingdom.

There is a lot of preparation each night. Clothes and shoes are all lined up, ready for the joint effort that will dress the littles as they rise. Diaper bags are packed and lined up near the door. A plan is in place for portable breakfast. Mom is the last one to bed and the first one up each morning. This sort of preparation is key and my offspring has this down to a science.  She’s a super mom!

night before

Lunches and snacks are prepared the night before, as well. We love that the Disney companies allow us to bring food into the parks. Food that travels well, like peanut butter and jelly, solid fruit and cheese sticks are great. Anything that can be eaten on the run is our preference. Of course, the lunchbox menu varies by park, since we have favorites that we love to purchase and eat in each. And lest you think we brown bag it all day, we’ve learned to snack on the run to maintain blood sugar (thereby reducing meltdowns…at least among the children) and sit everyone down for a good meal in a favorite quick serve restaurant mid-afternoon. Since we are a large presence, it’s best to plan away from the peak service times and we’ve found this approach works great when planning our day.

We push three strollers. At most parks we skip the tram and hoof it to the park entrance. Loading the tram with strollers, half a dozen bags and coolers along with six children is not only serious heavy lifting, we fill a lot of seats. If we’ve parked too far away – this typically happens at the Magic Kingdom, Mom and Dad push the strollers to the entrance, loaded with all of the bags, and the grandmas ride the tram with children in tow. Our motto: “Trams are for people, not stuff”.


The next stop that requires stamina and some serious skills is bag check. This is not an exercise for the weak or timid. All of those diaper bags and lunch bags, as well as any personal items like fanny packs or purses have to be checked by the Disney security staff. It’s a contest of efficiency and speed and one of the first opportunities of the day to show kindness to the park staff. It’s also the first opportunity for a child to get separated, so we typically assign one adult to corral any “loose” children.

While we are on the topic of getting lost, we always have the conversation with the children about what to do if they get separated from the crew. “Look for a cast member – they will be wearing a name tag.” And when we enter the park, we immediately point out cast members and draw attention to said name tag. I would love to tell you that we’ve never actually lost a child, but we have one little boy who notices everything and sometimes stops to investigate. Let’s just say that we can vouch for the efficiency of Disney’s parent location procedures.

In addition to the age variation, we have four boys and two girls. Princesses are high on the list for one sister, and to their credit, the older brothers have stood in long lines with her. When Anna and Elsa debuted it was a family affair. We couldn’t wait to meet them and everyone hung in there in spite of a chilly rain and long line. However, we’ve learned that at times it’s efficient for our crew to divide and conquer. That said, we make sure to frequently regroup and have lots of shared experiences.


He has waited for so long for this day – the force push!!!!

botherscousinsjedi proncessBruce

There are plenty of blogs that are dedicated to helping you get the most from your visit to Disney World, so I won’t try to do that. This post is about assuring you that you can do it with lots of littles. My recommendation?

Take a least one grandma (two is even better). In the afternoon, help Grandma find an out of the way spot for the littles to nap in their strollers. This is the time for her to put her feet up, sip on an iced coffee and celebrate the joy of introducing a new generation to the magic of Walt Disney.

Grandmaand babies

On this trip we logged in excess of 20,000 steps on Magic Kingdom days and nearly as many at other parks. I must be honest, it’s not all fun and games. The days can be long, and it’s a very different day with infants in tow. Although we appreciate baby care centers, they are never nearby when you need them. Take a thermos of hot water if you’ll need to make formula on the fly. Hot water is not easy to come by in the parks.

sleep jsleep E

In Central Florida it’s hot this time of year, and afternoon showers are typical. Make sure you have protection from the rain, not only for yourselves but also for those strollers. If you don’t have a stroller cover, just make do with a clear parka. Buy them BEFORE you go to the parks – your wallet will thank you! You are already carrying all of that other stuff in…what’s a few rain parkas?

If you have to exit the park near closing, be prepared for crowded monorails and melt downs…possibly by the children. It happens, friends. I will say that making sure everyone has recently had a high protein snack is a good plan – and may reduce the meltdown potential. But it’s not a long ride, and then all of those good people who were judging you will have something to discuss when you go your separate ways (insert sarcastic smiley here!). And most likely, your preschooler will magically feel better and the ride home will be much more pleasant. Grace in these moments is harder to extend but I find myself in need of it as well.

I love experiencing the parks with children. I’ve found that sharing the wonder and joy through their eyes is magical. On a recent visit, as we drove onto property via Western Way, my three year old grandson spotted the welcome sign that features Mickey, Minnie and Donald. He said “Home.” Yes, little buddy, I agree. It’s always good to come home.

mine train