Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Month of Waiting

Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:30-31

Facts and Figures
   In this month's section I wanted to talk a little bit about WIC. If you aren't familiar with it it's a food stamp program for Women, Infants, and Children here in California. Foster parent's aren't eligible for the program but foster children are. Basically it's a form of welfare to ensure that children in the US are being fed. At the beginning of this process no one explained the program to me other then this is the name and you get checks for food so, here's my journey in discovering how the program was run.

  I have never been in a welfare office before having Bella and I didn't know what to expect. Back in March when I got her I followed the recommendation of my social worker and got her enrolled WIC. I wasn't sure what I was doing because there was no information on how the program worked or what I needed or where I needed to go.

   Because I got her after she was born I didn't have the program or requirements explained to me. The lack of communication was horrible. When I went in I got her checks for formula and went to cash them at a local store. I didn't know it had to be a specific brand. So, I went and looked into the ingredients for the formula that they paid for. I don't know about you but I've grown up in a bit of a health food family so I know what I'm looking for. I have an education and I consider myself pretty smart when it comes food knowledge.  The only formulas that WIC would pay for had the first two ingredients as corn syrup and processed sugar. I almost blew a lid. We fight so hard against being over weight in this country and there right in front of me was 2 ingredients that were proven to cause obesity in children. As you go through the government programs it's hard to not think they are targeting the lower class with foods that can lead to health problems especially with lack of education and information of said products.

 I just kept thinking about all the drug exposed children who were being fed this less then nutritious formula. Why aren't we giving them the best that we have instead of our worst? I went back to WIC and I talked with them about changing the formula to organic or goats milk formula or breast milk anything that is healthier. They literally told me that all of them were the same and it didn't make any difference. They suggested I try soy and I knew at that moment they had no idea. If you're out there reading this and thinking why are these ingredients so bad I dare you to look them up do research about the effects of soy, processed sugar, and corn syrup what you find might change your health forever. I have to make a disclaimer right here. I'm not the healthiest person in the world but I am aware of my choices and when I choose something unhealthy at least I know what I'm choosing.

So, I didn't get any formula from WIC after all and bought the organic stuff on my own, if I could have afforded it I would have bought breast milk but it was out of my budget. Eventually at 6 months they started giving me baby food on my checks which I could buy Earth's Best with which I was so grateful for. At 12 months they were still giving her baby food and I had to request they give me checks for solid foods because she was already eating table food at that point. Now we are getting $6 worth of fruits and veggies, beans, bread, eggs, cheese, cereal, and TONS of milks I'm talking 4 gallons a month. I'm getting so much whole milk in her checks that I've literally been dumping it down the drain because there's nothing else I can do with it. I've tried giving it away but everyone I know is either on WIC too and has too much milk themselves or I have friends who don't drink milk. As soon as I took Bella off the bottle she stopped drinking milk so then I even had more then before.

I want you to hear my heart on this matter, I think WIC is a great program but I feel like it's really out of touch with reality and it's wasting money where it could be saving. Instead of giving so much whole milk later why don't they put that gallon or two of milk money towards buying organic formula. I usually never get involved in politics but I want to say to those people who believe that people on welfare are fat lazy people without the will to look for a job that is incorrect. Usually people who need food stamps are foster children and single mothers and most those mothers are working and still can't make enough to feed their family. If you haven't been to the bottom don't judge those who have you don't know until you've been there. I've been around a lot of single parents who the only way they can get food on the table is through the food stamp program and they work.

When we talk politics we have to think about the children. Even with this program I heard just recently that children are starving all over the place in the US. Come on people think, children can't work they need our support and help. While I believe there are holes in the system I'm still grateful for it. I know when I've been in the WIC office many times I've felt the shame and poverty of those around me. It's degrading to have to ask for the government to feed your children it doesn't feel good. Many times I wanted to tell people I'm just a foster parent I'm not here because I can't buy food but I kept my mouth shut because I wanted to feel what it was like to have people assume things about me that weren't true. We can't judge others for how they buy their food. The first time I cashed my check in at Ralphs I didn't know what I could or couldn't buy so I got all this healthy stuff and the cashier had to return it all. The lady behind me got super mad at me while I was standing there handing the guy my checks she huffed out of the line and into another one. I felt humiliated really, it does take a lot longer for the cashier to go through all your checks and make sure you got all the correct products. I never went back to the Ralphs to cash my checks again.

The point of all this is that we can't assume things about people. That day I felt the poverty, the class separation, and the lack of support. I felt in that day what I'm sure many single mothers feel many times over as they go through those check out lines just trying to feed their family. The next time you see someone paying with food stamps have grace for them and thank God that we have a country that is able and willing to provide our children with food.

Thoughts and Journal Entries
May 2012 

     It's been a long anxious wait. I woke on the first of May with this overwhelming sense that I needed to call the lawyer. I made the call and found out that she was waiting for me to call her back. Initially she called me the day after I called her in April but because I was out of range with my cell I didn't get the call and of course she didn't leave a voicemail. So I hired her and the fountain of paperwork began. I had to send her money and I had the money but it was designated to paying my car payment. I've made my car payment every month on time and beyond the minimum for over 2 years now. My room mate at the time suggested I call them and ask if they can tag the payment on to the end of my loan. I called and I'm telling you I got the worst service ever! They basically told me I would have to pay double my payment in 2 weeks because I couldn't prove I had steady work. I had to decide to finish adopting my child or make the car payment. It was one of those moments where I thought is humanity really this heartless? There was no grace just law but I chose to pay the lawyer.

 After I made that decision it was as if God said ok you stepped out in faith so here's the provision. I ended up paying my car payment only 2 days late. God always provides for His children when they are going after what is in His heart. After all that there was paperwork back and forth for the remainder of that month. I however had no idea how long it would take. Just thinking about how far God has brought us through this journey I'm in awe that I'm standing here in this moment. Here's the breakthrough for this land releasing the spirit of adoption through adopting my daughter.

 While the waiting is going on my mind is completely racing into our next season. I know with all my heart as soon as I know the date of the finalization of adoption the transition will begin. I feel God telling me to rest and be anxious for nothing so I'm trying with all my might to hold on to that. I'm more then excited to change seasons because with it will come great freedom. I know I'm moving from a desert season to a promise land season. The season of the desert is where God provides for everything and the season of the promise land is the co-laboring with God to conquer the promises. I'm ready for the land full of milk and honey!

 This month I finally got my book published "Encountering God Through Soaking". I'm excited to see what God does with this new chapter of our adventure!

Cinco de Mayo celebration downtown LA

Momma's Day at the beach!

First ice cream cone of the summer!