All posts by Suzy VanDyke

Full Hands: Fostering in 2018

Helloooo my friends!I have not blogged regularly on this platform for awhile. In 2017 I was in survival mode with many trials (see previous post), the main one being my Dad’s rapid illness with the disease ALS, and his passing in July of 2017. Cedar was a newborn when my dad started getting sick, and I just couldn’t keep up with everything.

In 2018, Lukas and I did foster care. I intentionally chose to “microblog” over on instagram that year, because with a baby, one year old, and two year old I couldn’t make it to my computer much 😉

But I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about our foster care journey here on the blog as well! So this is a little overview of our journey. I also have videos saved under my highlites over on instagram.

In July of 2018 we got a call for a newborn little boy. It was our first foster placement and I was so excited! Lukas was headed to Honduras a few days after we got the call, but we decided to say yes anyways. He ended up not coming to us until the day that Lukas left, so I was a single mama with a newborn, one year old and two year old so it was a pretty funny week! My church stepped in and brought me meals and ladies came to help – I felt so cared for.

Our goal of getting into fostering is to ultimately be able to offer a permanent home for one or two children who are not able to be reunified with their family. This precious baby boy was described to us as most likely adoptable so it seemed like a good fit.

After a week, Lukas came home from Honduras and got to meet the little guy! And then two days later I got a call from a social worker saying he was moving to his grandparents the next day! This was my introduction to the craziness of foster care – you really just have no idea what is going to happen!

I bundled up that precious little one, and wrote him a note telling him how loved he was the first few weeks of his life, and that we would continue praying for him. I gave the note to his grandparents. They were wonderful people and we have even kept in touch a little bit.

I’ll always remember that precious little baby boy!

About a month later, we accepted a placement for a 14 month old boy. He was adorable and ended up staying with us for 3 months. This placement challenged our family in many ways. The kids were alot closer in age. There was only 7 months difference between our foster son and youngest.

It was hard emotionally for my youngest son, who felt more threatened with a kid close to his own age, and it was difficult for my husband who had a hard time bonding. Another difficulty was with timing – as entrepreneurs, our businesses presented some new challenges we had to walk through, and that added to fostering created an atmosphere that was very difficult for my husband emotionally.

Because of the difficulties of that placement, we prayerfully decided to take a break from fostering, which ended up being a break for all of 2019. The Lord graciously provided 2019 to be a year of rest, healing, growing closer as a family, and strengthening our marriage.

So, do we have plans to foster again? We would still love to adopt from foster care, and are praying about whether to start pursuing that again right now, or wait a little bit longer. So I will keep you posted!!

It is such an incredible comfort to know that God has all the details already worked out, and that He is always working for my good, the good of my husband the good of my children – and for His glory as we seek to love Him and honor Him in all things!

The Hardest Year in a Long Time: Goodbye 2017

I’m sitting here at my dining room table writing this with my three year old sits next to me painting a picture and asking questions. Which makes it a little bit harder to write than when I started this blog in 2015 and he was a wee baby.

I haven’t really been on this platform, my personal blog much this year for many reasons.  And I’m in the mood to think through what the past year held for me, and journal it out, so you are fore-warned that this may be a longer post than I usually write, and a bit rambling. 🙂

2017 was one of the hardest years I have had in a long time. I didn’t know I could feel so many emotions. Most of them sorrow and loss. After my second son Cedar was born in the fall of 2016, it seems like everything hit at once.

To put it into perspective, we had just come home from living in Honduras for 3 months, and we had just started a new business which is always alot of hard work.

A few hours after Cedar was born peacefully at home, we had to rush him to the emergency room because he was turning blue from lack of oxygen. He had tachypnea and had to have supplemental oxygen and stay in the NICU for a few days. I remember laying in bed completely alone after giving birth thinking this wasn’t how I had imagined it. Praise God Cedar was able to come home to us and nothing was seriously wrong.

A few months later Cedar got the virus RSV and had to be rushed to the hospital again. This time he was hospitalized for a week and it was much more serious. This was an introduction for me to hospital food and beds. God provided for us emotionally, financially, and even gave me additional blessings –  I was able to share the gospel with  tons of people who rotated in and out of my room. It was like my very own missions trip without leaving the country!

Cedar left the hospital after a week but the side effects of it all  is that he is susceptible to asthmatic attacks, especially when sick, so I have had to really keep an eye on him this year (which meant no church nursery, which meant hardly any church for me!)

Two months after Cedar was born, I got a call from my mom telling me that my Dad was sick. And that she thought it was ALS. If only I knew at the time that this conversation was a pivot, setting the course of my year on a completely different trajectory than I had imagined.

Little did I know when that silly ice bucket challenge was happening on facebook years ago, that my own father would come down with the disease that no one knew it was raising awareness for: ALS. Aka Lou Gehrigs disease.

The disease hit my dad hard but he wasn’t officially diagnosed until March. Little did I know when he was officially diagnosed with ALS that he would only live a few more months. I flew out to the east coast to see him a few times. ALS is a horrific disease and I am thankful that God took him quickly. I loved my dad very much but our relationship was complicated – and sorting through the shock of a loved one dying along with sorting through questions, anger, and other feelings, and figuring out how to keep on going in a new life dynamic is extremely hard.

I don’t know how people go through life without God. Especially during grief. The loss of someone you love is shocking. Even as I write this, 5 months after he has passed, I can barely believe he is not here on this earth anymore.

Besides navigating my dad’s illness and death, and Cedar’s health issues, this year was “strange” for me because we were working a new business and working hard to get that off the ground. We launched a kickstarter campaign. We hired people in Honduras. We moved our L.A. based workshop into our house and Lukas and I started sleeping in a fold down bed in our living room. We were in the midst of the adoption process and pursued adopting a teenager that we had met, and that fell through. A loved one faced another crisis. Oh, and two of my sisters got married right after my dad passed away. And a young lady crashed on our couch and ended up living with us for three months because she didn’t have anywhere to live, while we were already sleeping in our living room. These are just snippets of my year… 2017.

It’s a funny thing to me now that my word of the year for 2017 was “LIGHT”. I remember journaling in January, thinking about how much I longed to be a light to others in this world. How I longed to shine for Jesus, to stand for truth. To write inspiring social media posts that pointed to God. To share the gospel with the lost.

While I was in GA for one of my sister’s weddings two weeks ago, I was talking to my sister in law about how I had no idea what the word “Light” meant for 2017. I certainly didn’t feel like a light. I had barely been on social media, I certainly hadn’t hit my own expectations of being a light.

When I got home, I was having my quiet time with the Lord one morning, and came across these verses,

“For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.” Psalm 18:28

My heart started burning within me. This was the answer, this was why my word for 2017 was light. It had NOTHING to do with me and my efforts. It had everything to do with GOD and how he would sustain me through the darkness of this year.

Oh how thankful I am!!! I could not get through such sorrow this year without my Savior. Jesus saw me through every step of the way. He held my hand as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and led me in safe passages.

When you have encountered the loss of a loved one with the aid of the Lord, your heart is able to come to a place that echoes what the Psalmist said,

I will fear no evil, for you are WITH me.

The reason I was able to survive this year was because I was never alone. Jesus was with me. And I know He will continue, throughout the rest of my life.

Thank you God for being with me through this difficult year. You know that even now my heart breaks with the weight of sorrow and loss. I thank you that I can trust you in all things and that your sustaining grace through this year was just further proof that you can handle all things in my life. Thank you that I can completely give you all the sorrow, and all the hard things, that I don’t have to carry this weight. Thank you for the freedom you give. Thank you for the love you pour out. Thank you for your Presence and deliverance from evil. I love you Jesus!

God I have so much hope for 2018. Will you please light my way, will you please continue to be the light in my darkness. Please open my eyes to see the world as you see it; my ears to hear your truth; my heart to care about what you care about, and my hands so that I will not covet, and that I may serve you completely. Thank you that you do all the heavy lifting in our sanctification as we turn to you with our whole hearts.

How was 2017 for you, my friend? Good? Hard? All of the above? I would LOVE to hear from you.