“You’re my moms”


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Our house is pretty laid back.  We follow a pretty strict schedule as much as I can, and everyone has chores they are responsible for everyday.  We help each other, and we contribute to the running of the house.  We encourage one another and we play together.  A lot. 

So, if you are not used to a household like that, it would be difficult to acclimate. 

#7 (our newest foster child, a teenage boy) was helping me cook dinner, a nightly favorite of ours….when we do most of our heart-to-hearts….when I asked him:

Me:  So, how do you like living with us?  Have we scared you off yet?

#7:  No, I really like it {insert very large grin}

Me:  Really?  Is it better or worse than you thought it would be?

#7:  It’s a lot better.

Me:  Really??  What makes it better?

#7:  Everything.  It’s like I’ve always been here.  You’re my MOMS! 

Me:  That’s pretty cool. {trying desperately not to cry over the dinner prep}

#7:  Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

My heart is FULL.  It is desperately full.  I was so afraid to even do this.  I have 6 children already.  I am so tired already.  How do we feed one more mouth, especially a teenage boy that eats nonstop?  What if all the scary things I’d read and heard about him from his old life, are true?  He’s so FAR behind in school!  How in the world can he even catch up?  What if we can’t do this? 

Lord, please find him a family.  He deserves a GOOD family and one with fewer children.  I just can’t.  Find him another family.  Please!

He needs you.

And it’s like he’s always been here.  He is excited about school and he enjoys going.  A lot.  He is excelling in his class.  He does his chores….without being asked.  He loves on my little ones and loves to hang out with my big ones.  He is active and funny and helpful.  He reads his Bible and his devotion book.  All of the scary diagnoses I’d heard and read about?  He has none of them (per his therapist he has seen almost daily for the last 7 months).  None.  Not one.  He is a normal teenage boy who needs to be loved.

And he calls me Moms.

I don’t know what the future holds for any of us, but in this one small second of time, it’s alright.  It’s just fine.  I needn’t be afraid.  I needn’t worry.  Just follow where He leads us, and do what He says to do.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Just don’t be afraid.

Luke 12:31-33

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.”




The Perfect Law


Reading the Bible through in a Year, and this was today’s reading! PERFECT! I have a blog about that!

Originally posted on From chaos to Grace...:

One may not promote a “horse tripping event”.

It is illegal for the owner of a bar to allow anyone inside to pretend to have sex with a buffalo.

Oklahoma will not tolerate anyone taking a bite out of another’s hamburger.–This one I must concur… ;)

Whaling is illegal.-because I guess in OKLAHOMA it was a big issue…we’re so close to the ocean and all…

It is illegal to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots.–This one I’m just afraid to know the reason behind…

Tissues are not to be found in the back of one’s car.–Well…this one I have broken. ;) I have kids, I must have tissues…

Living in Oklahoma, I did a search for stupid laws here…I’m sure everyone has them. I just cannot even imagine WHY these are actual laws on the books. Were the legs of farm animals…

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Project: Gratitude Day 4


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Some people have wonderful childhoods.  Full of everything wonderful.

Magic and unicorns.

And some children do not.

Wednesday, our 7th child officially moves into the house.  Our 4th foster child.

He is 14, and a boy.  It may as well be a death sentence for him in the world of foster care.  Very few people will take teenagers, much less boys.

He has had a really, really rough year.  And his struggles are not over.  School alone will be a massive challenge for him, and it’ll be his first real experience with school.

I lost count of his attempted suicide attempts this year.

So, on our weekly passes with him to bring him home with us to spend the night and go to church, I watch.

I wait.

A simple smile.

The sound of laughter that rings through the air, and echoes in my house.

For a foster parent, that is the most magical of sounds.  It is the most beautiful of sights.  They are not always easy to come by, and they can take a very long time to see.

Welcome, #7.

Project:  Gratitude, Day 4, I am so grateful for a simple smile.

Project: Gratitude Day 2



I am happy today was a good day. That is all. Spent the day with my parents. Made a yummy dinner. Went to a wedding rehearsal. The kids were great. There were no problems or fires to put out. Everyone made it through the day….alive. When both of your parents came close to not making it through the year and you are a parent of 7 children, good days are what you live for. Nothing flashy or fancy, just genuinely GOOD days are perfect. Today, I am grateful I could smile. It was a good day

Grateful-Day 1


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This year, I am participating (or attempting to) in a Grateful challenge.  2013 was terribly difficult for me, and too many times I found myself wanting to just hide under the covers.  It all seemed so dark anyway, where was the light?

The Light was there, but I was too far under those covers to even attempt to see it.

This year, I’m looking for that light.

I am choosing to find the light everyday and document it in some way.

Some days it will be in my journal.  Some days it will be on Facebook.  Some days it will be on Instagram.

But every day, my goal is to be find what I am grateful for during my day.

God has been trying to get me to see them, but I chose to ignore them.

Today, this is my first Grateful post.

Today, I am grateful for Chandler.  He is my 2nd oldest son.  He is delightful.  He is hilariously funny, doesn’t mind dressing up, can laugh at himself, enjoys being nerdy and fun.  He is a proud “bandy” at school, and doesn’t mind who knows it.  He is kind and compassionate.  He is completely unashamed of his salvation and his remarkable relationship with Christ.  He doesn’t mind sharing Christ with anyone:  from the gorgeous, perfect cheerleader at school, to the homeless man on the street.

He is my Baby Whisperer.

The church ladies fight over him in the nursery.  He can make any child smile!

I could not have fostered or adopted without him.

He is my support, and at times, sadly, my moral compass.  He isn’t afraid to tell me when I’m “being dumb”.  He keeps me spiritually on my toes.

He will make this world a better place.  He will change the world.

I am grateful for this child that God blessed me with.

I am grateful for my Chandler.


Trading post


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Fostering and adopting has changed everything for us.  Some of the changes have been the biggest blessings for us, and some have taken some getting used to.  There are some changes that people tell you about:  the children change your heart and how you view the world.  And some changes people don’t tell you:  it’s very lonely. 

-I’ve traded eating out at most restaurants for cooking.  EVERY meal.  Sometimes that’s no big deal, but some days, like Sundays after church, I’d love to take the crew to a pizza place…or a Chinese buffet….or even McYuck’s…err…McDonalds.  Eating out is a luxury when you have {almost} 7 children.

-I’ve traded Quiet rainy days reading my favorite book (or reading ANY.THING) for playing Bouncer to what seems like a rowdy club, refereeing wrestling matches, and playing all-around Overseer of Everything. 

-I’ve traded my perfectly manicured nails and monthly trips to the nail salon to letting my 6 & 7 year girls paint my chipped, splitting, and dry nails.  The colors probably won’t match, and I’ll end up with more on my fingers than my nails, but the company is phenomenal and they are so eager to please.  In their eyes they are pampering ME, and that’s just what we’ll leave it as.  Who cares if my nails match the seasons or display the newest character from a kid movie…. {sob sob} OK, I care sometimes.  I really miss that pampering.  But my girls are precious and that’s all that matters.

-I’ve traded my cute car in for a sport SUV, to a bigger SUV, to something that now holds  all 8 of us….except that there is a 9th coming next month (and no I’m not pregnant).  At this point, I need a 12 passenger van.  Seriously.

-I’ve traded sitting in front of the TV, watching my favorite show while eating our dinner, for family dinners actually around the dinner table.  This has been a really, really nice change.  There is mounds of laughter, talk of the day, and discussions on every topic you can imagine.  There is no TV in the dining room, and rule states the TV in the living room must be off.  Always.  Yes, we really do family meals at the table.

-I’ve traded ordering ooey-gooey pizza from Papa John’s (my personal FAVORITE pizza place) for homemade pizzas made by the kids.  The girls, don their adorable aprons, with ingredients scattering the counter….laughter bouncing off every surface in the kitchen.  These are wonderful memories.  Some days I miss Papa Johns, but most days I don’t.

-I’ve traded invitations to just about anywhere, for staying home and making memories with my {not-so-small} family.  On one hand, this has been the biggest adjustment, and the hardest to accept, and on the other, it’s always nice to be with each other.  When you have {almost} 9 of you, people stop inviting you to things (“They have 6 kids!”).  It gets lonely.  Sometimes, it gets really lonely.  No more fun night outs playing games with friends or just having dinner together.  There are no invitations with the fun groups from church to go out after the service.  People don’t invite you to the parties or holiday get-togethers.  Just accept it.  Learn to make your own fun so your kids won’t notice what they are missing.  Start your own traditions.  It really will be OK…..you’ll need to remind yourself of this. 

-I’ve traded any semblance of a clean house and organization for anything close to sanitary.  Just keep it sanitary.  Just pick up YOUR things.  Just do YOUR chores for the day.  Just wash YOUR body.  No, no…you don’t need to wash your BROTHER’S body….just worry about yourself.  And pray no one comes over.  If they do, just apologize.  A lot.  There’s no blood on the floor TODAY.  You should have been here yesterday…..

-I’ve traded a modest ability to keep everything together and running smoothly…..to just keeping everyone alive through the entire day.  Most days, I fly by the seat of my pants.  I have no idea what I am doing or even supposed to be doing at this point.  I’m not even sure everyone is even mine….but really, when you have so many kids, does it really matter?  If my phone is ever lost, what tiny thread of organization will be gone.  My calendar on my phone keeps me going.  If “breathe” is not written in, it’s not going to happen.

When you foster and adopt, you trade a lot of things.  Some will be good and some will not be good.  I have to remind myself sometimes what is a NEED and what is a WANT.  Nowadays, we focus on the NEEDS.  And while everyone else around me is focused on Black Friday shopping and what sale item they want…..I am focusing on the more important things…..like changing children’s lives.  I’m focused on trying to save “just one more”. 

Go visit an Emergency Children’s Shelter near you.  I promise it’ll change your perspective.  And hopefully you’ll start “trading” in a few things too. Winking smile

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I am a suburban housewife.


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Nevermore in my life, have I ever been slapped with such a stereotypical label.  Nevermore in my life have I ever completely felt it and owned it.

I am a suburban housewife.

We went to birth mom’s court hearings.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that I watched The Practice and I remember my mom watching LA Law.  So I knew a little bit of how court works.  I’m not an idiot after all.

And then The Practice quickly turned into Night Court.  Not at all what I had expected. 

For a suburban housewife, the only handcuffs I am used to are the ones that come in a package complete with holsters and little black cowboy guns with orange tips on the end.  Here sitting in front of me are 2 rows of convicts with bright orange jumpsuits all handcuffed and chained together with very large chains. 

All of them look very scary, and none of them look at all suburban housewife-ish.

I am completely out of my element here.  Even sitting in the “audience”, I am out of my element.  It is a completely different world than I am used to.  No judgment from me….just an observation.  One of the difficult realizations:  so many were just MONTHS older than my son.  So so young. 

I was there to testify at an Aggravated Hearing for the birth mom’s sentencing.  She pled guilty to child abuse by injury and waved a jury trial to have the judge sentence her.  Again, all of this is new to me. 

And they wanted ME to testify.

Terrified does not even begin to describe what I was.

When her turn came, she was moved out of the row of seats holding the other inmates, to the seat in front.  My name was called to testify, and I had to walk directly in front of her….she could have tripped me I was so close to her.  Again, terrified….not of her, just the surroundings in general. 

The Prosecuting Attorney asked me question after question about my beautiful Jeremiah.  “How old was he when we got him?” (3 months) “Where did we pick him up from?” (Local hospital after he was released after 3 weeks in Intensive Care.)  “What was it like bringing him home?”  (SCARY!  He was so fragile!  He cried a lot.  A*LOT*!  I did a lot of holding:  cooking, cleaning, sleeping, I held him.  He had days all he did was cry from the pain.  He still has days like that.) “Was there any special care needed for him?  Any special instructions?”  (He had to have lovenox injections in his stomach twice a day, exactly 12 hours apart.  If we missed one, the blood clot could move and he could die.  We carried a cooler with us whenever we left the house to ensure a dose would not be missed.  Every day, EVERY day, our goal for him was:  DON’T DIE!  Just DON’T DIE!)  “Does he have any lasting effects from the abuse?”  (Epilepsy.  He has epilepsy which he takes medication for.  He will take it the rest of his life.  We carry an emergency backpack with us wherever we go just in case.  He’s already had a seizure at Church in the nursery.  It’s just something we all have to live with.) “What is his prognosis for the future?”  (We have no idea.  Every day is a gift from God.  If he is mentally retarded, we have to be OK with that.  If he reaches an age and progresses no further, we are OK with that.  The future cannot be known.)  “If sentencing were up to you, how would you sentence her?”

At this question, my heart stopped.

How do I answer that?  Laws and sentencing I don’t know.  I only know Jeremiah.  I only know that his life has been forever changed because of what happened to him.  It never goes away for good behavior, the scar on his head will never fully heal even after a sentence in jail is finished.  The boy he was died that day.  The boy that is left is what he will be forever.  I cannot sentence her in years, I only know Jeremiah will forever live his days effected by the atrocities done to him.

And that is how I answered.

At NO time during my testimony did his mother look at me.  She stared straight ahead.  Never showed emotion, never winced with a memory or regret.  I couldn’t look at her, even though she was sitting close enough I could have spit on her if I had so desired, I couldn’t look directly at her.  I could see her in my peripheral vision, which was hard enough.  I looked at the Attorney who didn’t scare me; my body was shaking bad enough as it was! 

It was a terrifying experience for this Suburban Housewife.

I went back to my seat and sat down and listened to the rest of the hearing.  Devastating to THIS Momma’s heart.  We learned that it was not the first time she had abused one of her children.  It wasn’t even the second.  Sitting in the very back of the courtroom listening to the Attorney recount the birth mom’s confession of what she did, then tell of her 2 year old daughter (at the time) that came in with marks all over her back and torso and legs….then 3 months later being turned in by her 10 month old son’s physicians (at the time) for neglect….then hearing that my beautiful Jeremiah wasn’t the only one abused that day….all of it was new to me….and all of it left me with tears streaming down my face.  I remember twice hearing a sob escape my lips.  It was just too much for my heart to hold in.

Not once did she react.  She stared straight ahead and did not react.

Words just cannot express the pain I had that day.  I was such a mixed bag of emotions all rolled into a heart that could not hold it all in.  Sentencing was finally handed down…..

20 years in prison.

Then, she reacted.  Then she broke down and cried.  Only then when she realized she was NOT going home that day did she crack.  Not in remorse for her actions, but in realization that she was not going home as she had planned.  That was hard to see, hard for me to witness.  Don’t cry over your lost freedom, please don’t do that.  Weep over this beautiful baby that will never be the same.  Weep for him, please don’t weep for yourself.

Regardless over why she was crying….it was hard to witness her sobbing.

My sympathetic tear ducts couldn’t handle her crying, and I cried with her.  Cried for the loss of her children.  Cried for the abuse that happened to my children I love so much.  Cried for the life wasted.

And then, something I was ill-prepared for:

She turned and glared at me.  Not once, but several times.

I saved your children from a terrible future.  I nursed your children to health.  I love them like they were my own born children.  I sent pictures to your family knowing you would get them.  And I am a doggone NICE lady…glaring at me was the same as a punch in the gut.  And I guess it still effects me. 

Blame someone, ANYONE, when you cannot come to terms with the monster you were.

And somehow, God turned this into something beautiful, something wonderful…..a blessing.  Sitting in front of me as I sat as-quietly-as-I –could sobbing….was a news reporter.  And, as I sat sobbing, she turns to me and asks if she could interview me….in all of my mess, and TRUST.ME, I was a MESS!  And out of that interview came a very unexpected gift:  a new addition built onto the back of our house;  I have a teenager already ready and waiting for a room! 

The next little gift from God:  the birth mom was moved to a certain part of the jail where she is able to attend the ONLY Celebrate Recovery….and she is going!  Yes, that may sound like a strange “gift” for me, but it is.  My heart doesn’t hold malice for this woman.  Hers was a life wasted, but with God, she can become the woman REDEEMED by His grace!  God can raise her out of the ashes that was her past and clothe her with JOY and GLADNESS.

And that is what I want for my children’s birth mother.

Even though that day was terrible to experience, it was a life lesson for me:  I am a Suburban Housewife, and I thank God for it!

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The Day is here!

So today has been a RUSH of emotion!  Lots and lots of tears!

Today was ADOPTION DAY!!

Today was the day the Suggs family grew by 6 feet!  We are so proud to announce the additions of Lizzie, Jaxon and Jeremiah!

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I will have to blog more about this.  So many many emotions today!

RELIEF, excitement, happy crying, tears for the family they lost, RELIEF!

Do you know what you felt when you were finally able to leave that hospital with your brand new baby?  You walk in your home with that brand new baby with all of that knowledge that there is no staff to help if you need it, you don’t have to answer to ANYONE now, and that freedom of knowing they are all yours?

Yeah, it feels just like that.

Only, we’ve been cooped up in that hospital for 18 months now and we’ve just been released!  Good and scary feelings all at the same time.  Sometimes having someone to ask questions to is really nice!  But not having to answer to someone for EVERY drs visit or trip to the next town over is really really nice!

The VERY best thing?

Knowing they’re mine.

They won’t be leaving.  No one is going to come and take them away from me.  They are mine.  So amazing.  They aren’t going anywhere!  Such RELIEF.

And don’t worry….God is definitely not finished with us yet.  He has already placed us in the path of another young person in need of a good, loving home.

So don’t stop praying for us!

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