Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Molly Alexander of Miss Molly's Designs

I happened upon Molly's blog, Beautifully Broken Me, a couple of years ago when following links on a jewelry artist's blog. I realized right away that not only was Molly's jewelry beautiful, her words were, as well. Molly writes from the heart, and what a kind, caring, generous, God-loving heart she has!

Please welcome Molly as Guest Blogger in the comments once you finish reading her story:

{Molly's family: Zach, Molly, Josh, Sawn}

What would you do if you were asked to take in a troubled teenager and were given one day to make your decision? This is the question we were asked nearly two years ago. To understand the situation better, let me back up a bit…

My husband Shawn, our son Zach and I moved into our relatively secluded suburban neighborhood nearly seven years ago, when Zach was in 4th grade. We love this community that has two K - 8 schools and a high school, all within a couple of miles from our home. We are big youth sports people, and immediately had Zach in Pop Warner football. By the time Zach was in 6th grade, we had also started a Middle School Youth Lacrosse League and began recruiting players.


One of the first kids to come out for Lacrosse was Josh. He was one of those kids who immediately starts tugging on your heartstrings from the moment you meet him, and we got to know him better throughout the season. He came from a rough background – we didn’t know how rough at the time – and obviously needed people in his life that cared about him. So we kept an eye on him and made sure he continued to play Lacrosse for us as he moved from house to house, friend to friend – most of these homes without rules or parents who had a clue about where he was. When we would hear skateboards going by the house at 1:00 AM, we knew it was Josh and his friends. He would show up on our front porch all the time asking for water or food or just to come in and hang out, and it soon became obvious that the home he was staying in probably wasn’t the best place for him.

What an understatement…

On January 3rd, 2009, we got a phone call at 8:00 AM asking us to come to the CPS office that day at 1:00 PM to testify on Josh’s behalf in a guardianship hearing to remove him from the home he was then staying in. As Josh had never been in “the system”, this was all a strange process for him, and we were happy to come to support him. By the end of that meeting, the CPS director asked if we would take Josh as his Foster Parents. We weren’t nor had we ever been Foster Parents, and we didn’t really know Josh all that well, except through Lacrosse, so the question definitely shook us up a bit. We had always said to each other that, if the opportunity arose, we would take him in a heartbeat, and it was time to step up. We knew we had to talk with Zach before we gave them an answer, and when we did talk to him, he was amazing and agreed that we definitely needed to open our home up to Josh.

So on January 6th - Josh’s 16th birthday – we took him out to dinner and asked him to come live with us and be part of our family.

And he said yes.

And so began our journey as Foster Parents. It has been so much harder and so much more rewarding than we could have ever known. We started learning more and more about Josh’s background, and boy, were we naïve. We still don’t know everything he has gone through in his lifetime, but we are learning it, bit by bit. We were Josh’s 5th home in 6 years, and that alone kept him from having any trust in us at all. I think he was just waiting for us to discard him, just like all of those people who came before us. Not an easy thing to overcome, for sure.

So, from the classes we took and the experiences we’ve had, here are some things we have learned over the past two years that have helped our family tremendously:

  • God’s plan isn’t always our plan.
  • Don’t expect a child to be grateful for being taken in. In fact, they will most likely be suspicious of you and your motives – not grateful. If you are doing it just for the gratitude, you are doing it for the wrong reason.
  • Be flexible.
  • Throw your expectations out of the window. You have to get to understand a child’s behavior and personality before you can know what your expectations should be.
  • Don’t forget to spend time with your own kids and make sure they feel valued.
  • It is OK to take charge of what you need to: school, testing, meetings, doctors, etc - don’t wait for the system to do it for you, or it probably won’t get done.
  • Don’t expect them to trust you. Too many adults have given them reasons not to trust, and you will have to earn it from them.
  • Don’t give up, even when it seems impossible. Nothing is impossible for God. And it isn’t about you – it is about your child.
  • Even though you say “I love you”, don’t expect it in return.
  • Don’t ever stop saying “I love you”, no matter what the reaction is. Our job is to love a child, not to change them. Changing them is up to God.
  • And finally, have faith that, even if you don’t see it, God IS changing them.

I am grateful for the opportunity God has given us to be a part of Josh’s life. He is doing so well and has overcome so much, and we have made sure that he knows he always has a home with us. He actually has plans for his future – something new for him - and talks about having self-respect and self-worth, and that is a miracle in itself.

{Shawn and Josh}

What I will leave you with is this: most teens in the Foster Care system end up in group homes, as most Foster Parents don’t want older kids. I had a placement agent tell me that once a child reaches 12 years old that they rarely even try to place them and instead send them directly to the group home as they are automatically considered “unplaceable”. Once these kids reach 18 years of and age out of the system, over 90% of them will be homeless, drug addicts or gang members, with a very short life expectancy.

So if you are thinking of becoming Foster Parents, consider taking a teen. There is a lot of work involved, but the work is nothing compared with the rewards. To give a child a second shot at life is such a gift, and there are so many who are just looking for someone to love them and value them. I promise you – it WILL change your life.


Molly, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story with my readers. How can it not touch someone's heart? Hopefully it will help someone consider being a foster parent to a child who needs love and stability.

Ok, everyone ~ I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting Molly's websites so here they are:

Molly's blog, Beautifully Broken Me:

Molly's website, Miss Molly's Designs:

Molly's Etsy shop:

Take care and God bless,



  1. Thanks so much for letting me share our family's story with you and your readers, Lana. Foster Care is very near and dear to my heart, and I hope this post encourages others to consider helping children in need of safe, loving homes.

    :-) Molly

  2. What an amazing person Molly is! We have good friends who have fostered and adopted teens -- it's not always easy, but it is worth it in the end.

  3. Molly has an amazing story, thank you for sharing it! Wishing you a Happy New year! :)