Saying yes

Convincing people to say yes is a big part of my job. Yes to encouraging a caseworker. Yes to working in our Blessing Boutique. Yes to supporting a foster family. Yes to mentoring a biological family. And Yes to becoming a foster family.

Yes to being willing to go wherever God has called them in order to help our the foster care community.

Sometimes, when we get involved in this world, we end up saying yes to some things that we never expected. *not all of these stories are from my personal family. They are all stories from people I know who are involved in the foster care world.

Yes, we will continue to think about all of the foster children who have come and go from my home. We will wonder where they are. We will wonder if we did the right things when we had them. We will wonder if we could have done more.

Yes, We will always think about a little boy who lived with us. He was sweet and kind and loving. And we had to ask CPS to move him because we could not drive the 2 hours each way in order to take him to visitation once a week because we worked full time and had 2 other children. We pray he has a permanent family situation now.

Yes, we will say yes to a teenager coming back to live with us even though we are currently “not taking any long term placements” because if not us, where will she go?

Yes, we will have a family meeting when we get a call about a little girl. And when our child says he doesn’t want her to come, we say no. We pray for her as a family and hope she finds a placement, but we have to put the needs of our permanent children first. Our permanent children need to know that they have a say in what happens with our family and that we will not try to save the world at a detriment to them.

Yes, our hearts will break when we hear that children are being reunified because even though we know that is the goal, deep down we had hoped we could add these children to our permanent family. But, we will continue to pray for them in the transition and trust that God is in control.

Yes, our hearts will break when a baby goes to live with his aunt. We know family placement is the goal, but we advocated for this little baby and we were the only people he knew. We pray that he will be able to go to sleep tonight and that someone will know how to comfort him.

Why?

Why do we put ourselves through this?

Because we have also said these yeses…

Yes, we will have front row seats as a boy who lives in our home transforms from a shy boy who tells us he doesn’t like people and doesn’t want to go to church into a teenager who leaps out of our car the second it stops in order to run into the church and doesn’t meet a stranger. That is beauty in brokenness.

Yes, we will rejoice with a mother who has worked on herself and now is able to raise her babies! There will be a hard transition and a bumpy road for all, but God is in the business of restoration.

Yes, we will watch our son…our son…who was once an orphan…we will watch him grow up. We will reassure him that he is not ever leaving our house no matter what he says or does and that we will love him forever. We will give him the foundation for understanding our Heavenly Father. That is beauty.

Yes, we will rejoice when a little girl gets to go live with her grandma after living with us for only 10 days. Although she was an excellent little girl and we loved her, we celebrate with her that she can live with her family!

“It’s the mercy of God that He doesn’t show us everything that will unfold in the foster care and adoption journey the moment we first say yes to it. All the hard would be too unbearable and all the good would be too unbelievable.” -Jason Johnson Reframing Foster Care

Sometimes foster care isn’t what we expected. Who am I kidding…foster care is RARELY what we expected! It’s hard. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s God’s Calling. We get to be on the front row of spiritual warfare. We get to be on the front row when God restores a family. We get to be on the front row when God creates a new family because Satan WILL NOT WIN! There is no way that we could predict all of the things we would say yes to, but we know that God’s plan is bigger than anything we could have imagined.

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:18 New International Version (NIV)

A Day in the Life... [perspective]

I grew up in a comfortable financially stable home. My parents took care of all of my needs and I don’t remember being aware of the foster care world until I was in highschool or college. I was never on food stamps or had government assistance. That was just not my world. Now that I’m an adult, I am far more thankful for my childhood than I ever was as a child.

In September of 2012, my husband and I became foster parents. Although we opened our home with plans of fostering school aged children, God has a funny sense of humor. The first call we recieved was for a 1 day old baby…so, we prayed about it, called my friend to see if she could take care of the baby while we were teaching during the day, and then said yes!

Most people have 9 months to prepare for a newborn baby. We had 24 hours. Our friends rallied around us and by the end of the next day, we had clothing, a crib, diapers, wipes, and a baby room set up. Then began the process of taking care of the baby.

All foster children qualify for WIC. Before being a foster parent, I had never dealt with WIC. So, after CPS brought us the baby, they told us we needed to get a WIC appointment set up so that we could get formula for the baby. Fortunately, the hospital sent some formula with the baby so we were set for a couple of days, but then the baby would need to eat again! And formula is expensive!

So, I set up an appointment at the WIC office, took the tiny newborn baby with me and waited in that big waiting room. I answered all the questions, filled out all the paperwork, and was instructed on how to use my new WIC card. I was also told which things would qualify for WIC and how many canisters of formula we would be able to purchase a month. I left that office thinking I was all set! I was ready to go get “my” baby some formula.

The next day after work, I set off on my adventure to use WIC. The first place I went was Albertsons on State Line. I got my formula, went to the register and tried to pay with my WIC card. But it didn’t work. The cashier informed me that since I had Texas WIC, I would have to go to a Texas store to get the formula. Dad gum it!

So, I figured I would just go right across the state line to Walgreens to get the formula. I got all the formula, took it to the register and tried to pay with my WIC card. That’s when I learned that only certain stores allow you to pay with WIC. Argh! I was starting to get frustrated…I was also a little sleep deprived from getting up during the night to feed the baby and then teaching all day…I didn’t have the 6 weeks of maternity leave…

Next, I tried the Texas side Wal-Mart. I double checked to make sure that I had gotten the correct type of formula, took it to the register and tried to pay with my WIC card. But IT DIDN’T WORK! Their WIC machines were down! At this point, I was super frustrated and becoming exhausted. I needed to go pick the baby up from my friend who watched him while I was working, but also I NEEDED TO FEED “MY” BABY!

I was close to my friend’s house, so I went to pick up the baby. When I saw her, my emotions bubbled up and tears spilled over my cheeks. I was tired, I was frustrated, and I just wanted to get formula for “my” baby! My friend lovingly hugged me, calmed me down, told me it would be ok, and with that vote of confidence, I left.

I took the baby with me to the next stop, Albertsons on 7th street. I got my formula, went to the register and IT WORKED!! I felt a huge relief!

So, why do I tell you all this story? To give you some perspective of what the biological families frequently go through on a daily basis. Except that they frequently don’t have a supportive friend to watch their baby and then give them a confidence boost. They frequently don’t have transportation so they are trying to maneuver this mess on public transportation…with a tiny baby...sometimes with multiple kids! They have just birthed the child, so not only are they sleep deprived, but also they are dealing with their crazy hormones trying to regulate again. They are frequently on a very limited income so they don’t have the option of paying for the formula…if they can’t get their formula through WIC, they don’t have a way to feed their baby…and not everyone is able to breastfeed. My heart breaks for them.

When we think about foster care, we are usually very quick to judge the birth parents. We think “how could someone ever harm a child?” “how could someone be stupid enough to feed their baby watered down formula?” “how could someone ever do drugs and not care for their child?” “how could someone ever hit their child?” and many other things. These are all VALID questions!

Please don’t hear me excusing their behavior. It is NEVER ok to harm a child. But please hear me asking you to share in my empathy. Sometimes abuse stems from exhaustion, crazy hormones, and frustration with not being able to feed your children in an easy way. Sometimes abuse stems from not having anyone in your corner to give you a hug and vote of confidence. Sometimes people turn to drugs as a way to escape all of the hardships they are facing in life and then the drugs take over their lives. Sometimes people do “stupid” things like give their babies watered down formula because they are trying to make it last longer and no one has ever taught them how to care for a baby.

So, today, I urge you to be empathetic and forgiving. Love others with God’s love and leave the judgement to God.

1You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. 2And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? 4Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

-Romans 2:1-4 NLT

Newsletter 1

Vol 1

3/21/19

    Greetings!  Welcome to our first quarterly newsletter!  Having a newsletter is something that I have wanted to get going for a while, but have not made the time to do so.  With the hiring of Alyssa Beach as Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator, I finally have time to get this done!  We hired Alyssa at the end of January and she has been an EXCELLENT addition to our team!  She is organized, bubbly and a hard worker.  If you volunteer with us, you have probably met her already, but if not, take the time to meet her when you can! 

   We have already had a packed year and are only 3 months in.  We have had teenage volunteers from youth groups at FBC Wake Village, FBC Hooks, Myrtle Springs, Crossview, and Hooks High School.  We have had sock donations from Trice Elementary, backpack donations from Redwater High School, jeans donations from Heritage Church, carpet donations from Light House Flooring Gallery, and car seat donations from the Junior League of Texarkana.  Texarkana is definitely a very giving community!

    We have also been able to help many people because of your generous donations!  We were able to give formula and a $190 gift card to Walmart to a foster family who was struggling during the government shut down.  We were able to furnish an entire apartment for a 17 year old girl who is 9 months pregnant and is getting her 2 year old baby back.  We have given out 1 crib, 530 clothing items, 52 pairs of shoes, 10 packs of diapers, 10 packs of wipes, 1 car seat and numerous bows, socks and underwear to help out 41 children in Miller, Bowie and Cass Counties!  WOW!!! Texarkana, You are REALLY stepping up to the plate!!!  Thank you for supporting the local foster care community and for responding to needs as you see them!

-Angela Coston, Executive Director

  

    Spring is here!  We are so excited for the arrival of spring at the Blessing Boutique located at For the Sake of One on Hickory Street. We have lots of new things provided by our wonderful community ready to place in the boutique to allow our foster and kinship families shopping opportunities. But we need you!

   Saturday, March 30th from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. has been set aside as our change out day.  We will be packing away our fall and winter clothing and restocking with our spring and summer donations. The more volunteers we have, the sooner the Blessing Boutique will be ready for our families to prepare for spring and summer!

    Many of our foster families who shop with us mentioned it is "such a blessing" we provide, especially in the early days of fostering a new placement. We are a much needed source to the families for clothing, shoes, socks, etc. So it seemed fitting to name our little room the Blessing Boutique. Our community has blessed us tremendously with donations. 

   Please mark your calendars and join us on Saturday, March 30th.  No experience necessary!

-Kathy Hudson, Board Member and volunteer

“We love it when you bring the goodies! Someone tells me ‘Angela is coming this week’ and I make sure I’m in the office!” –Cherrell, TX caseworker

“We really enjoyed Saturday night!  Thank you for all that you do for foster/adoptive parents!!!" –Brandy, Foster/Adoptive mom

“I am in awe of what God is doing through His people.  They are doing exactly what He’s called them to do – Be the church!” – Peri, Foster mom

“To be able to have a resource like For the Sake of One is a major contribution to the families we help and the workers who want to impact lives.”  - Kenoshia, AR caseworker

 


Caseworkers are overworked, underpaid and see the worst of the worst. Did you know that 75% of caseworkers quit within the first 13 months? According to the Dayton Daily News, a child with one caseworker through a year’s time has a 74% chance of finding a permanent placement. However, that rate drops to 17% when two caseworkers are involved and 5% when three caseworkers are involved with one child’s case. We have about 60 case workers that we partner with between Bowie, Cass and Miller Counties.     

       Our hope is to decrease the burn-out rate of caseworkers through encouraging them with God’s love and letting them know they are not alone. We currently need about 30 more volunteers to be an encourager. We ask that you commit to at least one year to doing this, but please feel free to continue longer than one year.    

       Responsibilities of this position are to send an encouraging email, text or phone call to your case worker at least two-three times a month, pray for them daily and send or take them a goody once a month. Feel free to do more than the base requirement. If you are interested in encouraging a caseworker, please email our Volunteer Coordinator, Alyssa, at fsoalyssa@gmail.com.

-Alyssa Beach, Volunteer Coordinator/Office Manager

 


THANK YOU!!

To our partnering Churches!

 

Wake Village FBC

Beech Street FBC

Heritage Church

Myrtle Springs Baptist Church

Cross Pointe Baptist Church

First United Methodist Church

Church on the Rock

Richmond Road Baptist Church

FBC Hooks

FBC Nash

Hardy Memorial United Methodist Church

FBC Texarkana

 

 

March 30: 12-3 – Change out the seasons in our Blessing Boutique

April 27: 8-3 – Babysitter Training – Become a licensed Respite Provider in ONE DAY!

April 30: 11:30 – Ribbon Cutting (422 Hickory)

April 30: 12-6 – Open House – Come tour our facility and have refreshments!

May 3: 9 am – 3rd Annual Golf Tournament at the Texarkana Golf Ranch.  Email Angela at fsotxk@gmail.com for more information.

May 30-31 – Families Count Simulcast.  This is the curriculum we will use for our biological parent support.  If your church would like to join with us in this, please email fsotxk@gmail.com. Go to https://lifelinechild.org/families-count/ for more information on this program. 

 

Why me?

When I began this blog in 2017, I had great plans to record all of my thoughts and things that are happening at For the Sake of One, but I have not been great at that. I hope to do better moving forward, but I make no promises. :)

So many amazing things have happened in the past (almost) 2 years. Wow! It has been 2 years since I first heard God tell me “Angela, this is what I created you to do.” Although I definitely heard His voice, I had no IDEA how far He would take me and how much HE would use For the Sake of One. If you want an update on our ministry, send me an email at fsotxk@gmail.com and I will add you to our newsletter list, but that is not the purpose of this blog post.

This year, I have been blessed to be a part of Bible Study Fellowship. I meet with a group of ladies most Wednesday mornings and study God’s word. We are studying the People of the Promised Land and a couple of weeks ago we were in 2 Samuel 7. At the beginning of the chapter, David tells Nathan, the prophet, “Look, I’m in this beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!” (v.2). He has plans to build God a great temple because of course if he is living in luxury, then God needed more! But, (just as I have seen in my journey), God’s plans were so much bigger. God tells Nathan, “the LORD declares that he will make a house for you - a dynasty of kings!” So, David starts out with the plans to make a house for God and God is like “Nope! Instead, I’m going to bless you and your name will live on!” (my interpretation) The crazy thing about all of this is that even though David didn’t know it, his dynasty would go on to include Jesus. Wow.

So, then, this is the part that I really identify with. In verse 18, the Bible says, “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed,

“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?

20 “What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord. 21 Because of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known to your servant.”

YES!! In the past 2 years, God has given us a building, He has grown For the Sake of One enough that I can receive a salary, He has grown our reach in Texarkana so that we have at least 12 churches who partner with us, HE has called at least 3 new families to become foster parents and has enabled us to support around 20 foster and adoptive families each month!! He sent me to Washington DC to receive a Congressional pin as an Angels in Adoption Honoree! He allowed us to have enough funding to HIRE an office manager/volunteer coordinator in our second year of being in operation! He enabled us to provide Christmas presents for 236 children with open CPS or DHS cases while partnering with 11 churches across Texarkana!

So, I find myself asking God, “Who am I? You know what I am really like.” All I did was say yes and follow God in obedience. But, I feel his quiet still voice saying to me, “Angela, this is what I created you to do.” There is still so much work to be done, but my goodness, look how far we have come! I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of this journey. I know He doesn’t need me.

He could have called ANYONE to do this job, but he chose me.

That thought alone stops me and makes me sit still in AWE of HIM.

What about you? What has God created you to do? Has He called you to help with the hundreds of children in our area who need a safe home? Has he called you to help in some other way? He does not call everyone to foster or adopt, but he calls everyone (James 1:27) to care for His children in some way.