My name is Sheila and I am 45 years old. I married my High school sweetheart at the tender age of 17. We had our first son 9 months later. 14 months after that son number two was born. 22 months later we had our little girl. So there I was, 22 years old, with three wonderful children and the love of my life.I loved being a Mom and I enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible. I would hold them and watch them sleep never wanting to put them down. Clint and I were very young and I'm sure some thought we were crazy, but I wouldn't trade it!As my children grew and we bought our land and built our home I began to miss having a little one. My babies weren't babies anymore. I decided it would be fun to have little ones around and approached my husband, then the kiddos about becoming a foster family. I thought it sounded like a great idea and it would be wonderful for the kids to be involved in helping those that needed us. Everyone agreed, I made some phone calls, and we began our journey.....We went to foster parent training and did our paper work, back ground checks, home visits and then we waited. I was a little surprised that we didn't get a child immediately. Then it happened on March 18, 1998 while I was shopping with my friend Chris I received the phone call that would change my life forever. The social worker wanted to know if we would take a little boy who was 18 months old and his 3 month old baby sister. I was so excited I couldn't wait to get home.Richard and Katy came into our lives that very evening. They were beautiful but they didn't smell so pretty! My daughter Ashley and I gave them baths and fed them. Ashley read Richard a story while I rocked Katy. They stayed with us for 15 months and then the dreaded phone call came. Richard and Katy were going home. I know I am supposed to be happy and that the goal from the very beginning was reunification. I had watched the parents with Richard and Katy and I truly felt in my heart that they were not ready for the responsibility. Katy was so frail when she came to us she was failing to thrive, she spit up all the time, had frequent diarrhea and many ear infections. She was just beginning to blossom. I feared for her safety. There was nothing I could do but pray to God to watch over these children and keep them safe. I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to let go. I loved these children and I didn't know if I would ever see them again. With a broken heart and tears streaming down my face I stood next to Clint as we said our goodbyes. I will never forget the looks on their faces. I felt as if they were asking me why they had to go away.Three weeks had passed since our sweet little babies had gone away. My heart ached and I thought of them constantly. The second week in July I received a phone call from D.H.S asking me if I minded speaking with Katy's doctor. The worker informed me that Katy had been found unconscious in her crib and rushed to the hospital. She had suffered a metabolic crises and because of a lack of oxygen she had brain damage. When she awoke from the coma she was unable to speak, sit up, stand or walk. The doctors needed to speak to someone that knew when Katy had attained each milestone such as walking and how well she talked. They had nothing to compare her current condition with. I asked if we could come to the hospital and be with her. When we saw her tiny little body in that big hospital bed with all the tubes coming out of her I couldn't believe it was the same child. I stayed with her night and day. I took her to the play room and coaxed her into taking tiny little steps with help. I got her to take small bites of food. I bathed her and brushed her tangled hair.The doctors explained that Katy had a rare metabolic disorder called Medium Chain acyl CoA Dehydrogenase. Medium chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, or 'MCAD,' is a disorder in which your body is unable to breakdown fats to make energy. Normally, fat is broken down into energy by "enzymes." This energy keeps your body running whenever it runs out of its main source of energy, a sugar called 'glucose.' In MCAD, a very important enzyme for breaking down fat, the medium chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase enzyme (MCAD) is missing or does not work correctly. This means that people with MCAD can't break down fat for energy when they run out of glucose. When people with MCAD fast, they can experience a range of serious life threatening symptoms or even death. Persons with MCAD cannot use this fat to make energy, consequently, the body begins to fail and malfunction once the food the person has eaten runs out. The main treatment is to avoid going without food for very long periods. Children should eat high carbohydrate meals like sugar-containing drinks, cereals, and pastas when they are ill. Children with MCAD should follow a low fat diet. If not detected and treated appropriately, MCAD can result in death. Untreated MCAD can lead to mental retardation and death.Katy was released from the hospital into our care. Richard went to another foster home due to all the therapies and constant care Katy needed at this time. Richard never made it back to us. He was adopted by a family that fell in love with him while we helped Katy with her long journey back. We spent everyday working with Katy encouraging her to walk and talk.On April 27, 2001 when she was 3 1/2 years old Kaitlin Elizabeth Kimble became our daughter. She was officially ours. When the Judge announced her new name and put her in my arms I felt the same joy I felt when my biological children were born. The same feelings overwhelmed me and I knew that God had brought us to Katy and that she was supposed to be with us and never have to say good bye again.Now it is December 2, 2007 and Katy will be 10 years old on the 24th. She is in the third grade. She is truly a gift from God. She brings us so much joy. I will admit though that it isn't always easy. Katy has developmental delays and ADHD do to the metobolic crises. She goes to speech, occupational and physical therapy twice a week. She has a Para professional that helps her because Katy has not learned to read. She needs constant supervision as she does not think things through. She is very revved up and is on medication to help her sleep. I was very much against giving her any medication in the beginning but after being up until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning trying to get her to sleep and regularly being late for school, I soon realized that this was a good choice for Katy. It slows her down enough to be able to go to sleep and she is able to wake up in the morning feeling rested and ready to go to school.Katy has three older siblings Chris her oldest brother is 27. Randy her brother is 26 and her sister Ashley is 24. She has a niece Brooklynn who is 6 and a nephew Hayden that is 3. She has another nephew Peyton that is 3 1/2. Join me as you peek into my life and all that it entails as a Mom to three grown children and Katy a 10 year old who keeps me on my toes. I'm Nana to three beautiful grandchildren and wife to the love of my life. The journey continues......

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Do You Do It?


As a foster parent I have had my share of questions from people that don’t seem to understand why we do it. I think the number one question I get asked is how do you let them go? They go on to tell me that they just couldn’t bring a child into their home and then let them go. I will be the first to tell you it isn’t easy but no matter how much it hurts we do heal. God gives us the ability to let go and to trust that he will continue to provide for each and every child. Another question is how do you deal with the delays and the baggage that most foster children come with? I believe that God prepares us for every child that we take into our home. While it may not be easy he allows us to handle each situation as it arises.
The welfare of the children is important they are the future. My prayer is that we model Christ like unconditional love and support so we can break the chains of abuse and guide each child into lives filled with faith, hope and love.

3 comments:

ashleykimble said...

I love the pic. Katy was so tiny! You have touched a lot of lives through foster care. You may not ever know the difference you have made...that's the hard part, and even though you may not hear it, I know that the kiddos will always be thankful for you giving them a warm, safe home and for loving them.

Linda said...

I admire you for opening your home and heart to foster kids! What a great ministry! The love you show them might be the only example of stability they see in their life. You make a huge difference and don't listen to the foolish remarks of those who don't understand. You'll be blessed by your obedience!

Billie said...

I hope someday that I can consider fostering...I know that right now we are not called to that. I would really like for my kiddos to be much older.

I think that sometimes people thing that when you do something, it must be because you find it easy. It's good to remind people that what we are called to is not easy...we just do it out of compassion, faith and obedience.