Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My name is Heather and I am walking out of a refiner’s fire

My name is Heather… and I am walking out of a refiner’s fire.

I admit my life has been easy.  Two great parents, a fantastic sister, no divorces, no death or disease, and opportunities abounded.  I married an amazing man and started a charmed family life.  We struggled with infertility and although it presented hardships and challenges, after 6 years we adopted our first child. (My husband will tell you that is a glossy version and that it was actually really hard.  It was hard, but that’s another article entirely.)  Our son made everything hard go away.  He brought such joy and love that I could easily move forward putting the “infertility trial” away.  Three years later we had a miracle surprise pregnancy and our daughter was born. Cruise control is on, A/C pumped up and I am rolling down easy street.

Easy street ends, sometimes drastically, sometimes slowly, but inevitably it ends and two years ago I hit the dead end of my own personal easy street.

My husband had a prompting. A spiritual experience that directed us to start foster care classes.  I went along.  I trust my husband, and if he felt strongly then I would see where this takes us… until it gets hard.  Then I would want nothing to do with it.  We completed our classes and then waited.  Secretly I prayed and hoped that a baby would just drop in our laps so this foster care idea could just fade away.  We were approved as foster parents at the end of December and then on Monday January 23, we got a call.

Little girls.

Parent’s rights should be terminated soon.


Drugs and Alcohol.

Domestic violence.

Current foster home not working.


Move right away.

We went to our local child services office and met with the caseworker.  Step one of a good foster care worker: downplay everything.  Make this “opportunity” sound too good to be true.  We asked if we could take a few hours to pray and think about this.  We went for a drive and talked about the changes this would mean to our family.   How would our children adjust?  Were we ready for two or FOUR more children?  Was this the right step for our family?  The answer came and I dropped my husband back off at work.  Back to the Child Services office I went, and one more meeting with the caseworker.

“YES” I said,  “We will take the two older girls and if you end up needing us to, we will take all four.”

Then I left….  And NOTHING. Tuesday came and NO contact with the agency.  Wednesday came and around 10am I got a call from the adoption worker,

 “I hear the 'L girls' are coming to live with you?”

“Yes”, I said,  “We told the caseworker we wanted to take them in, but I haven’t heard so I guess we will see.”

She sounded surprised, “You haven’t heard from her?”

“No” I said.

“Oh" followed by a long pause,  “Well they are coming and when I talked to her in the office she said they would be there around 4:00pm.”

“OK…" long pause, "well, we’ll be ready.”

The last thing the adoption worker mentioned, “It will be all four.”

“O…K!” I replied.


Back to the store I went to buy more bunk beds, bedding, pillows, etc.

I called my husband and told him to "plan on 4".

He said “I will be home at 3 o'clock then.”

“No…. I mean 4 little girls are coming!”

It was easy to open the door to these adorable, traumatized, little girls that were upset and hurting.  It was easy to find them a bed, buy new clothes, get them some toys, etc.  Temporal things are easy- they come and they go. The brakes hit when I had to be fully and emotionally invested, even when my girls weren’t.

We went from 2 to 6 kids in 48 hrs.

Now our family consisted of children ages 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. Now I was dealing with therapy, caseworkers, lessons, different schools and preschools, melt-downs mine and theirs, church, our business, and everything else in between.  We had turned our lives upside down and I started to lose myself.  Because of certain behaviors I became stricter.  I had to get on a rigid schedule and my carefree life fell away.  I became vigilant in my parenting.  I was reprimanding, setting up boundaries, and trying to meet everyone’s demands and needs.  I was drowning.  I may have gone under a time or two and wondered if it was worth kicking back to the surface.  How do I help my four girls, who need me desperately, not to fail as everyone else prior in their lives had?  How do I help my two children who just want me to be the mom they are used to?

Who am I? 

I am a tired, drained, rigid, frustrated, angry, and lost person.

How do I overcome this?  Where can I turn for help? Who can I trust?

For the past two years I have lived in a glass house.  I felt like everyone was looking in and seeing the dirt, the mess, the chaos, the discord, and I had no way to stop it.  I was trying so hard to be Superwoman, and failing at it over and over.  We do that to ourselves as women you know.  We are trying to be everything to everyone and often losing ourselves along the way.  I finally hit rock bottom.  That’s a hard and scary place to be.  It means the reservoir is all dried up and yet life is still moving around you.  I had some choices to make.  I met with a good family friend who helped me to see that rock bottom isn’t all bad. In fact it starts to allow us to receive personal revelation on what we need and how we can be helped both spiritually and emotionally.  It also offers the opportunity to build again and start to heal.  

The sign at the end of my road wasn’t really a dead end, but rather a narrower two lane highway.  I started to see tender mercies.  A meal dropped by.  A friend who just hugged me when all I could do was cry.  A husband who built me up and said "don’t give up, we need you!"  Parents who kept calling saying "you are a good mother, keep going." A text from my sister just saying she loved me.  A gratitude journal from a friend that she had kept for me, about me.  But most of all, a loving Heavenly Father who kept reminding me through each of these acts of service that He loves me.  I am valuable and I have a divine mission!  My mission is to help each of my children recognize their potential on this earth and to rise from the refiners fire with me and to stand as a forever family.

My name is Heather… and I am a Mother. 

God intended me to be so.

**Remember the purpose of the "My Name is" Series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow. Heather will be reading the comments and I know that she welcomes your love, words of encouragement and support.

*Heather, this is beautiful and so are you. The world is a better place because of amazing people like you and your husband, and these little beings are blessed beyond measure. Your story moved me to tears because I know it's undoubtedly hard… but you are doing something so remarkable… so selfless… Thank you for sharing the raw, yet very tender parts of your life. It's inspirational.

Read other stories of inspiring women in the "My Name is" seriesHERE

Follow My Name is Jacy on FACEBOOK to stay up to date :)


  1. My parents got that phone call as well about my siblings and adopted them through foster care. It has always been a roller coaster, but we all know that we learned the lessons we needed to learn.

    1. I hope all my kids learn that and will love and appreciate the choice we made in extending our family. We definitely like roller coasters around here.

  2. You are the BOMB dot COM! I love your amazing story! I would recommend the book "This is How We Grow" by Dr. Christina Hibbert. She had a very similar experience with her sister's passing and "inheriting" her two nephews. She has some amazing advice and tips, she is also a very good friend of mine. She also does an online emotional health group if you're interested. She's amazing just like YOU!

    1. Thanks so much for the book recommendation. I will check it out. I appreciate the kind words.

  3. I am so grateful for the mothers in my life that choose to be there for me after my mom died. I was 3 months old when she died. And yes some of those mothers where through foster care. Keep hanging in there the work you are doing is so worth it. I am now a happy wife and mother because of wonderful women like you!

    1. I am so grateful you posted this, and I am grateful that you had mothers who tried for you. That is the best we can do...keep trying.

  4. An inspiring lady indeed! I find having one enough work at the moment so can't even imagine having six and is such quick succession!

  5. Heather,
    You and Randy are an incredible inspiration to all. Dave and I truly admire you both!!! At family gatherings, it is apparent to see what a great mother you are and how you have created such a loving environment to your family.

  6. Wow! I am cheering you on!! You are always always loved and carried...even if you don't feel it. <3 <3

  7. What an amazing woman and family! God is smiling down on you. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  8. Inspiring! Thank you for sharing!


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