Posts tagged love

Fresh Update

The Greatest of These is Love, Part 2Faith Hope and Love logo
Written by Heather Lojeski

In the short three months since our last article; Faith, Hope, & Love has grown immensely. Our goal has been to make sure that no child is handed a trash bag for their personal belongings when they are displaced from their home due to abuse, neglect, or tragic event.  We are well on our way to making this goal a reality.

We have been working with Racine County Human Services to provide duffel bags to every child entering foster care.  Recently, it was brought to our attention, there is no plan in place to provide duffel bags to children in short term, crisis treatment.  Read More…Together, with Racine County Human Services, we made a plan to provide two bags to every crisis treatment foster home that may receive children during: evening hours, weekends, and holidays.  This is just one of the ways we are making sure that no child has to move their personal belongings with a trash bag, and we are able to provide personal care and comfort items to children who may have nothing.

Another way we are impacting the needs of hurting children in Racine County; is through Wheaton Franciscan’s Fresh Start; an alternative-classroom program that provides support to at-risk students as part of a collaboration with the Racine Unified School District.  To date, we have delivered 20 bags to Fresh Start and already are hearing stories of success.

The next large step that we have taken, is to provide law enforcement officers of the Racine County Sheriff Department with duffel bags.  Each squad car is now equipped with a minimum of one duffel bag and soon each car will have two bags.  According to Racine County Investigator Tracy Hintz, “When children need to be removed from a home for situations such as abuse, local authorities work with them to meet their needs.”  Until we delivered those bags though, they had nothing to physically hand the child.  “This makes a difference.  This is going to be something a child is going to remember,” Hintz said.

By the end of August, we will have duffel bags in each squad car in Racine County, including: Sturtevant Police, Mount Pleasant Police, Racine Police, and Caledonia Police departments.  We will continue to work hard to fulfill our goal of making sure each child receives a duffel bag in crisis situations.

About:

Faith, Hope, Love is a ministry of Living Light Christian Church and co-directed by husband and wife team, Mark and Heather Lojeski. Mark and Heather reside in Racine and have 10 children ages 7-23.

Faith, Hope, & Love – a ministry of Living Light Christian Church
740 College Ave
Racine, WI 53403
262-902-0556

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In Transit

The Faith Hope and Love logo (2)Journey of Hope
Written by Heather Lojeski, co-director
Faith, Hope and Love – Duffel Bags for Children in Crisis

Last Thursday,  I had the privilege of being a part of the “Journey Home” experience; the life of a child entering foster care.  Our morning began on a school bus, and upon entering the school bus the group of us were given a black trash bag; which we would later find was how most times the children move their personal belongings.

The beginning of our trip was a narration reminding us of our family, homes, and pets; we had left that morning on our way to this event.  How would we feel if a person of authority had interrupted our morning and said we were being moved from our home because it was no longer safe?  Would we be scared, angry, or sad?  Read more…As we continued on our drive, we pulled up to a home (we later found out it was the home of a foster parent).

At this stop, a human services investigator and police department investigator boarded the bus.  They walked us through their portion of the transition to foster care and the tasks they are involved with.  It was hard to fathom that in the city of Racine, we have 4 ½ investigators for the sole purpose of looking into abuse cases and they are overloaded.  As we continued on our journey, we learned about the training involved in becoming a foster parent; each parent goes through 36 hours of training and it takes approximately 2-3 months to become a licensed foster parent.

Our next stop was the Racine County Child Advocacy Center, which up until 2008 did not exist and would have made the journey for a child much longer; as they had to drive to Milwaukee or Kenosha County for same services.  At the Racine County Child Advocacy Center, the staff is able to perform child abuse assessments and rather than have the children go through questioning by more than one individual; due to the ability to perform video taping of investigations. Following this stop along our journey, we took time to hear from two case managers regarding their task of helping to find the child a  temporary home initially, and then a permanent home when necessary.

We heard a story of a situation that they were called upon to assist with regarding a child who was having difficulty during the investigation process and was refusing to speak with investigators.  When the case manager arrived and began to talk to the child, the child informed the case worker how she no longer trusted adults and was not going to talk.  The case manager was able to ask what could the agency do to help make the situation better for the child.  Surprisingly, the one thing the child really wanted, was just to know her dog was OK.  Once the case manager was able to assure the child the dog was being cared for; the child was better able to talk.  This is just one of the many stories we heard, that shows just how complex their job is; including the fact that each case manager has 30 children under their care per month.

Our next stop was the Racine Circuit Court, where we met Judge Constantine.  We learned about the judicial process that takes place within his court room.  The court room process can take as short as 45 days, or as much as 12 or more months.  All parties involved: biological parents, foster parents, and case managers; when they work together, can assist in shortening the length of time the children remain in foster care and the length of time the case remains in the court system.  We learned in Judge Constantine’s court room, that most times; biological parents realize the great resource, foster parents can be.  Many times even after the children are reunited with their biological parents; the foster parents still remain involved in the child’s life either by having visitations or providing respite care.  This was just one more way we learned about the amazing work foster parents provide to the children of our community.  As was said all day today, “Foster Parents Rock!”.

The courthouse was our last destination of the tour, but on the way back to the facility; we were privileged to hear from a couple who have been foster parents for 15 years and have seen over 150 children come through their home.  In the process they have adopted 6 children, and still continue to provide care to children in need within Racine County.  We also met another couple that has been providing foster care for many years, and ultimately ended up adopting one of the children in their care.

These foster parents and their stories are humbling and this experience was something I will never forget. Our community’s hurting children, should never have to move their belongings in trash bags; they are worth more than that.  Faith, Hope, & Love – Duffel Bags for Children in Crisis has set a goal of making sure each child entering foster care will have a duffel bag for their personal belongings and know that we believe they are priceless.

Faith, Hope, Love is a ministry of Living Light Christian Church and co-directed by husband and wife team, Mark and Heather Lojeski. Mark and Heather reside in Racine and have 10 children ages 7-23.

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The Greatest of These is Love

Faith, Hope and Love – Duffel Bags for Children in Crisis Faith Hope and Love logo (2)
Written by Heather Lojeski

We have hurting children in Racine County.  Some of these children may have been victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect or were unable to be cared for by their family.  These children desperately need to experience unconditional love, a sense of hope, and faith in for the future.

Did you know that in the United States approximately 500,000 children are in foster care on any given day? Read More…For approximately 125,000 of these children, there is no plan for reunification with their parents and little prospect for adoption. Three out of four children are separated from at least one sibling when placed in foster care. Children often change foster homes.

When neglected, abandoned and abused children enter the foster care system; unfortunately most come with very little belongings besides the clothes on their backs. If they have a few items, they are typically transported in a trash bag. What ever these children have left of their self-worth should not be carried in a garbage bag. They deserve better.

As a child that grew up in an abusive home, a former foster parent, and worker in a camp for abused and neglected children; I have experienced first hand, just how important providing love, hope, and faith to the hurting children of Racine County.  Faith, Hope, and Love will be providing duffel bags/backpacks filled with items to help in providing comfort to children in crisis situations.  We believe these items will provide a sense of security in the midst of turmoil.

Each child, given a bag from Faith, Hope, and Love; will receive: fleece blanket, stuffed animal, storybook, and personal hygiene items.  In the future, we will be also placing two days of clothing and shoes in the bags.  We also are preparing to provide a special bag for infants entering the foster care system that will contain: fleece blanket, small stuffed animal, board book, powder, baby lotion, baby wash, baby wipes, and diapers (in the future, this bag would also contain two days worth of clothing).

We can help create a sense of Faith, Hope, and Love for these children through the assembly of the duffel bags/backpacks.  Our goal for the first year, is to distribute 200 duffel bags, and each duffel bag costs us $34.  We are excited to announce that the lotion, shampoo, and conditioner for the 200 bags; has been donated by Paris Presents Incorporated.  Individuals and businesses are able to assist us reach our goals through both donation of items on our wish list below, and monetary donations.

Faith Hope and Love dufflesFaith Hope and Love duffles shelves

First 5 Duffle Bags filled and delivered.^
Stock room shelves ready store donations>

Wish List – We request that all items be new, thank you.

  • Duffel Bags
  • Backpacks
  • fleece blankets
  • stuffed animals
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • combs
  • brushes
  • storybooks – please none of the scary nature
  • flashlights
  • batteries
  • baby wipes
  • diapers
  • baby powder
  • baby lotion
  • baby wash

Please consider partnering with us as we reach towards the goal of 200 duffel bags to provide Faith, Hope, and Love for the hurting children of Racine County.

Sincerely,

Faith, Hope, & Love – Living Light Christian Church
740 College Ave
Racine, WI 53403
262-902-0556

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Faith, Hope, Love is a ministry of Living Light Christian Church and co-directed by husband and wife team, Mark and Heather Lojeski. Mark and Heather reside in Racine and have 10 children ages 7-23.

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2012…Bring It On. Bring It ALL On!

All For One and All Will Poop
by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Racine, Shannon Barsch

A few Sundays ago my son Kadyn was complaining that his tummy hurts and within record breaking speed he ran from the couch to the bathroom.  Seconds later, noises of puking, groaning and diarrhea creep out from behind the closed door.  Then I hear “Mommy?”… at this point I am afraid to enter, unsure of what I may find and not to mention smell. So I put on my “mommy badge”, take a deep breath,  and head on in. Read More…

Wheew!  Everything made it into the toilet and the only evidence left behind is the unforgiving smell that will linger in the air the rest of the day.

Move ahead a few days and every parent’s nightmare is unfolding without my knowledge…

Upstairs my youngest son is napping, or should I say supposed to be napping.   All of the sudden, I hear a loud THUMP!  I think to myself “Oh great, I guess he is up from his nap already.”  So I march upstairs and open his door, observe there in disbelief and tell myself I must be dreaming.  Nope, reality sets in. There, standing in front of me is my beloved son Sean, naked from the waist down, with the smell of poop permeating through the air.  Quickly. I examine the scene and find his missing diaper laying there on the floor with the poop not in the diaper, but laying next to it….YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!  (yes, notice the number of exclamation points here!)

I scan the room and there is poop EVERYWHERE!  Even worse…it’s in his hands!  Never have I been so disgusted.   After his bath, we head back to his room with a bucket of bleach water and a garbage bag.  I start to throw away things that I just don’t feel can ever be fully clean again and douse the remainder with bleach water a few times over.  So an hour and half later, the smell of poop is replaced by bleach.

A few days later it’s my middle child’s turn…

After lunch, Ethan falls asleep on the couch, which puts me into pre-panic mode….this child hasn’t napped from the day he turned two.  But maybe, just maybe, it’s a fluke.  One can hope, right?!  Not long after, I hear him moaning as he makes his dash to the bathroom.  Again, here come those noises from earlier in the week, this time followed with “Mommy, help me”…   I walk in, only to inhale that dreaded poopy stench.  In short order, the look of panic overwhelms his face.  I know that look all too well and I quickly position his head over the toilet bowl.  There goes my poor little guy, puking everything he has ever eaten into the toilet.  Whew, potential disaster avoided and off to the couch we go for some much needed cuddling time.

Slowly the afternoon gets better…everyone seems healthy and I think we are all in the clear.  All three boys and I are watching Scooby and the youngest is sitting on my lap cuddling.  I think to myself, “Wow, this is great: everyone is relaxed, no one is screaming, fighting or chasing someone… this is the life”.  It seems that as soon as those words came to my head, from out of nowhere, there is a dreadful noise and in seconds there is puke covering me from the knees down to my slippers…  “Uh oh, Mommy” is all Sean says as he looks at me with the all the love in the world.

So this is my life…puke, poop and bleach.   Some may not understand and that’s ok, but I am glad I took the “mommy road”.  Despite all the gross stuff, each smile and call of the word Mommy makes it all worth it!

In addition to Shannon being the mother of 3 young boys, she’s married, and volunteers her time to her children’s school’s fundraising efforts and contributes to the Just Add Kids Happenings Calendar of Events.

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Growing, Growing, Gone

He’s Eight!  Ain’t it Great!?

Well, one would think so.  But, he’s my baby, and I can’t seem to accept it.  See?  I still refer to him as “my baby”.  What is wrong with me?  Is it my refusal to accept the fact that I am getting old?  Or is it because I know, just like with my older two kids, there lingers around the corner that unpinpointable day when his body will no longer be of the small snuggable variety, or he just doesn’t want to be physically coddled (at least in public).

So we’ll celebrate and have a great time.  I’ll post pictures of him through the years on my Facebook to honor this milestone.  I’ll smile in the process. And I’ll cry.  Read more.

As days, weeks, and years continue to come and go faster and faster, this birthday reminds me of how special each and every minute is with him. I’ll appreciate those spontaneous “I love mom”(‘s) that flow so naturally from his mouth or is drawn out thoughtfully in crayon on a white sheet of copy paper. He has said it, and has made hundreds of them.  And I know that there will come a time when I’ll long for the day that he was acting like a sugar overloaded nutcase at the dinner table.

A week or so ago, a friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook page.  Always so crunched for time, I typically don’t take the opportunity to view all of the videos my friends post, however, this one caught my attention. I “shared” it on the Just Add Kids Facebook page, and am sharing it here as well, just in case you are not on Facebook or missed it there.

Enjoy, “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”

and “Happy Birthday, my little man”!  I suppose I should consider changing that term of endearment soon, eh?

http://www.justaddkidsonline.net

Just Add Kids

 

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