A Year of Change and Thankfulness

As I sit here looking out the window of my home office across a tree-filled front yard reflecting over the past year, my heart is full of thankfulness.

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When the end of the year arrives, I begin a time of reflection. Thinking back through the past year helps me to remember reasons to give thanks. When I forgo this important ritual, I tend to get caught up in the weeds of each day which often only serves as a way to blind me of the many reasons for thankfulness.

Year of Change

This time last year I was recovering from major ankle surgery hoping it would heal enough so I could chase my young son around.

Soon after my surgery we bought and moved into a new home (new to us) that sits on 5 acres. This brought lots of change. Especially for our son. Not only did he move from the only home he remembered, but he also began Kindergarten at a school where he knew no one.  As you know, change can be very challenging for a young child, especially one with a trauma background.

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When It’s Hard to be Thankful

Holidays Are Hard for Foster Children

I think for most, Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season is a time to spend with family. I know, that’s not always a reason to celebrate. (tongue in cheek) But for many, it’s a reminder that you really don’t have a family.

Here are a few quotes from children in foster care about the holidays:

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Giving Thanks

Our god-daughter turned 10 years-old a few weeks ago. She is the oldest of four children ages six to 10. We pray all the time for the health and safety of their parents! It’s hard to imagine that our god-daughter is 10 already. Danielle was in the delivery room for her birth what seemed like just a couple of years ago.

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Danielle put together a birthday present for her consisting of different crafty items. It was a simple present. When we arrived at their house, the kids were outside running and playing. They always greet us with enthusiasm then go on with whatever game they have going on.

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The Story Behind the Picture

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Several people who have seen the front cover of my book, Adopting the Father’s Hearthave commented on it. So, I thought I would share a little of the story behind the picture.

The photo was taken during Thanksgiving week, 2012 on Bolivar Peninsula, TX. If you are from the Houston/Galveston area, you know exactly where that is. But for those who don’t know, Bolivar Peninsula is a ferry ride across from Galveston, TX.

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Thanksgiving break

I obviously took a week off from posting a blog.  My extended family spent a week at the Texas coast.  It has become somewhat of a tradition on how to spend our Thanksgivings.  I tend to do my best to disconnect from all that I am working on whenever I take a vacation like this.  It usually helps me to clear my mind.

Last year our son went with us.  But, what a difference a year makes.  One year ago, he was simply our foster son.  We were not even sure that he would still be with us for Thanksgiving.  I for sure thought that he would be back with his family by Christmas.

I could tell that my family was carefully guarding their hearts last year.  No one wanted to get too attached to him.

That is a challenge of fostering.  It not only effects your nuclear family, but also your extended family.  Some jump in with their whole heart, but most do not.

Last year during the holidays, I felt at times that I was just playing house.  Because he had been with us at the time for nearly 6 months, I felt like I was his father.  But, I knew that I was not.

But this year was completely different.  Now that he was our adopted son, I knew that I was not playing house.  I truly was his father.  In fact, we received his new birth certificate in the mail right before we left town.

Now, instead of wondering if our time together was going to be my last memory of him, I knew that we were creating new memories that we could reflect back on as a family in the years to come.

So, our Thanksgiving break is over, but not our thankful hearts.

I will share more about my work on developing an online platform in my next blog.