Our Newest Clark Adventure | Safe-Families.org

[ The text below was written a week ago yesterday - Tuesday, August 12th. 
Photos have been taken over the last week.]

for probably five years now
we've wanted to jump in on this adventure.
This REALLY COOL adventure.
An adventure that is making a difference in the lives of kids
 all over Chicago-land.
{And it's now in other states and countries, too.}
And it's impacting their parents, too.
 In big ways.
From the first moment I heard about this movement
my heart has wanted to jump in and help.

Safe Families is this  
REALLY cool organization 
started by this  
REALLY cool guy that happens
to go to our REALLY cool church.
And our church is big into Safe Families.
And that makes my heart sing,
much like these singing creatures below.
Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy.
Dave, the founder of Safe Families,
took a HUGE risk and
went to Chicago's mayor a bunch of years ago and 
said that he thought he could rally a bunch of families
that would be willing to take in children BEFORE they got to
the point where they had to be taken from their homes
by DCFS (Dept. of Children and Family Services).
Basically, Dave thought this might help in keeping
kids out of the system,
giving the parents an opportunity to get the help they need,
so that they could keep their children with them.

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it if you went to
their website to read more about it
because how I just explained it really isn't doing the program justice.
It's a BIG deal, this Safe Families thing.
Go HERE to read more.
Please do.

So really, 
I have LOVED Safe Families from the very first time I heard of it
back in the early 2000s.

But I'll be honest.
I wasn't ready to do it.
I wasn't ready to scoop up a little one 
and take him/her into our home.
It just seemed too daunting.
And a little bit like a whole lotta work.

So I've lived with this tension for a long time.
The tension of selfishness.
We are finally at the point where parenting is easy.
And by easy, I don't REALLY mean easy.
I just mean EASIER.
As in, no diapers. 
Or diaper bags. 
Or sippy cups spilling in the back seat of the mini-mini.
Or crushed up cheerios throughout the car. And house.
No more leaning over the car seat to click in the seat belt.
Did I say 'no changing diapers?' 
Because remember, 
I'm the gal that dry-heaved her way through changing most every
one of Jackson and Maddie's dd's (dirty diapers!).

And so the tension of selfishness has locked heads with my desire to follow 
God's very clear heart on the matter.
God's heart beats STRONGLY 
for the orphan and the widow 
and those that need clothed and 
fed and the hungry and the oppressed.
The past five or so years, 
Isaiah 58 has been a passage that I have loved and 
have longed to live out in my life.

 So today (last Tuesday) 
starts the beginning of a new journey. 
Our first Safe Families child has come to live with us for a month.
And sweet.
{ And he can BITE like a tiger.
And scratch like a fully-clawed kitten.}
 And easy. 
{At least today he was easy. Not banking on that tomorrow.}

And he only dropped the F-bomb two or three times today.
I hear the "b*tch" word is in his repertoire too,
but we've yet to hear that one! 

**Edited as of today, 
9 days into this adventure: 
the kid can drop the 'beesch word like no other. 
I have been called "beesch" more this week
than EVER in my whole life.
Like I've never been called that,
so for a 23-month-old to be calling me that.
And totally SAD. 
Words for a whole 'nother post.

He turns two while we have him.
Which means Maddie has already started planning his birthday party.
She has not stopped smiling since she found out yesterday that little
"J" would be coming to stay with us.
She has patiently been saving two blankets that she sewed herself,
for our 'first SF child.' 
She got her room ready with a play area and the pack-n-play ready.
A stuffed animal in its place.
Love OOZING out of that girl.
And Little J-man follows her around,
asking for "Mannie" and puts his hand up to hold her hand.

And Jackson.
Sweet Jackson.
His first response when we found out a young little guy would be coming.
"Oh boy. Young ones take SOOO much attention."
And also, "I am NOT changing any diapers." 
But true to his beautiful spirit, too, 
tonight as he was brushing his teeth and I was standing in the hall,
he looked out at me and quietly whispered, 
"Mom, I LOVE "J"." 
 Oh yes, he can MOVE to the GROOVE.
And CLEARLY, I need to wash these shorts.

And so, here we go.
Out of my comfort zone.
If you know me at all, this is a big leap of faith and a big answer to my heart's prayers.
This is nothing short of miraculous
I'm asking for a God-sized chunk of courage for this adventure.

So much more to share.
Lots to process.
The last week has been amazing.
And hard.
I forgot how much work toddlers are.
Actually, I didn't forget at all.
I just haven't had to walk that road in some time
( on purpose, because I'm smart like that. =)
So now, it's time to dig in and do what God has called us to do.
Care for those that need caring for.

to show you photos of his sweet little face,
but alas, we can't do that, for privacy's sake.
So just pretend you're looking at
you ever.did.see.
And that'll be him.

SO here we go ... on the ride of our lives.
 And as a little FYI,
I said I'd try one placement and see how it goes.
That's what I can commit to at this point,
because that's how scary this was (and is) for me 
to take this leap.
 So we'll see.
I plan to blog my processing of this journey
and together, we'll figure out next steps.
But for now, I'm living in the moment,
one day at a time.
That's all I can handle.
And honestly, that's all God wants me to handle.
He says, "You do what I've asked you to do today, Alysa,
and I'll carry the burdens/diapers/exhaustion of your tomorrows."

SO there you have it.
You know as much about this journey as I do!
Now QUICK, go read about 


Helen Handley said…
Love it! We are a SF too, and I blog about it (among other things) at WeGotOurHandsFull.com It has been a blessing beyond our wildest dreams...and also stretched us in ways we couldn't have predicted. Good luck on your adventure...its a ride!
Alysa said…
Hi Helen (any relation to Ann?) ... I will definitely check out your blog -- would LOVE to read about your SF adventures ... God is good to give us these journey's, isn't He? SF hugs sent your way!!!

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