Book Review: Welcome to the Roller Coaster

May is National Foster Care Month. Get to know the many faces of foster care. #FosterCareMonth

To kick off National Foster Care Month, I have a treat for you! Have you ever wished for a secret window into the real lives of foster parents? Maybe just a little peephole into their inner thoughts and feelings? How about a no-holds-barred-tell-it-like-it-really-is account of the roller coaster that is foster parenting? I thought so, and you’re in luck!!

I received a complimentary copy of Welcome to the Roller Coaster to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own. 

Fourteen foster moms, who have fostered a combined total of over 135 children, decided it was time for the world to see a real picture of foster parenting - the joy, the heartbreak, the frustration, the fact that we don't live in a Lifetime Movie....Fourteen foster moms, who have fostered a combined total of over 135 children, decided it was time for the world to see a real picture of foster parenting – the joy, the heartbreak, the frustration, the fact that we don’t live in a Lifetime Movie….

I have the privilege of knowing a few of these women personally, and I have to say – they have really outdone themselves. Welcome to the Roller Coaster is a candid, unapologetic  collection of stories straight from the hearts of real foster moms.

If you are a foster parent, or know a foster parent, or have thought about becoming a foster parent, or even just wondered if Ms. Hannigan is the real-deal, this book is for you.

From the first call for placement, to reunification, to a child moving to an adoptive placement, Welcome to the Roller Coaster covers the gamut of foster care realities and of foster parents’ emotions.

I was astonished by the openness and honesty of these moms, who laid their triumphs and struggles bare in their quest to not only show non-foster parents what this life truly looks like, but also to assure other foster parents that they are not alone on this wild ride.

I’ve talked about the necessity of building your Foster Parenting Sisterhood, and Welcome to the Roller Coaster is a built-in sisterhood that you can have delivered immediately to your Kindle!

Book Review ~ Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids

Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of this book to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

For everyone who thinks I can’t make a long any story short, I am going to cut right to the chase. I didn’t read much past the introduction of this book; I won’t be reading it to my kids; I suggest you don’t either.

The author, Sarah Young, states in the introduction that the devotions in the book are some of the messages she has received directly from God through a process that sounds suspiciously like automatic writing. Directly. from. God.

I was quite taken aback by her claims, and embarked on some research about Sarah Young and her previous book, Jesus Calling. What I found was very alarming. It seems that the author does indeed rely on automatic writing for receipt of her messages. Now, she doesn’t appear to ever use the term “automatic writing,” for very good reason – the practice is not only NOT scriptural, but also considered to be a psychic ability by practitioners of the occult.

As tempted as I am to get into the whys and wherefores of all the things wrong with this, instead I will link you to A Precautionary Review By Pastor Mark Barrett of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

I will not deny that the devotions I did peruse are inspirational, with worthy sentiments. And the author includes scripture that supports each devotion. Regardless, the theological issues are, for me, insurmountable.

All of that being said, if you are interested in any of the Jesus Calling products, you can get them all at the above link for 50% off starting on Friday, November 14th. To kick off this amazing sale, there will be a Twitter Party Nov 14th 1-2 pm EST. Use the hashtag #JesusCalling to participate – 5 winners will receive the 10th Anniversary Edition of Jesus Calling plus a $50 gift certificate for Family Christian Bookstores and 5 winners will receive a $50 Family Christian Bookstores gift certificate.

It has recently come to my attention that not all of my readers can easily tell when I’m being sarcastic. That is truly unfortunate, so finding a solution was imperative. ^Obviously, the easiest answer is to assume that if something can be read with sarcasm, it should be;^; but that’s not really workable, I guess. After reviewing several options for a “sarcasm font”, I’ve come up up with my own system. Whenever you see italics inside carrots (^snark^), that is my “sarcasm font”.

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What’s In a Name?

There is an on-going controversy debate discussion in foster-care adoption circles on changing a child’s name at adoption –Should the adoptive parent:

Change only the last name?
Change the last and middle names, but leave the first name alone?
Change all the names?
Keep first and middle birth names as double middle name?
Rearrange first, middle, last and new names to create an obscure anagram?
Should the child be given a choice? 
At what should the child get input?
At what age should child make the decision –
Should it be a guided decision?
Carte blanche? ….

Blah, blah, blah….

I don’t want to talk about the rights and wrongs of changing names. Not today. Maybe not ever.

We changed Squish’s name when we adopted him. We kept his first birth name as his new middle name in case he ever decides he wants to go by that. Trust me when I tell you that he will not ever want to go by his birth middle name.

We will be doing the same with Squirm’s name for the same reasons.

When we got approval to start using Squish’s new name, he had been going by his birth name for a year and a half. He knew his birth name, Squirm knew his birth name and on occasion, Squish even answered to his birth name. Never mind that all his teachers and classmates knew him by his birth name.

The Twins’ therapist suggested that one way to help with the transition would to be to get some personalized books with Squish’s new name to read with them – if I could personalize a book on adoption, so much the better!

And so the search began…

and continued
until I gave up.
Have YOU tried to find a foster-care-adoption-appropriate book that can be personalized??
Well, let me save you the trouble, because one found me!!!!!!!!!!

Two weeks before Squish’s adoption was finalized, I was contacted by and asked if I would interested in reviewing one of their newest titles – I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond. This is actually one of my absolute FAVORITE adoption books, so you can imagine how excited I was to personalize one for Squish!!

I was actually dreading the personalization process because I’d already checked out a couple of personalized book websites… let’s just say I wasn’t impressed with the user-friendliness.

But the process at Put Me In The Story was EASY-PEASY!


Find the book you want to order and click on the “Personalize Your Book Now Button.”

The personalization frame pops up so you can enter the child’s name, who the book is from, and a dedication (the dedication was the hardest part of the process for me – I have a hard enough time with Twitter – how am I supposed to say something meaningful with only 100 characters??? But I guess the dedication shouldn’t be a book in itself, so maybe the limitation is a good thing).

This is also where you upload a photo for the dedication page – you can even crop or rotate the photo right in the frame!

But here’s the coolest part of the Put Me In The Story process – once you’ve entered the names and dedication and uploaded your photo,


How freaking cool is that?!?! You can preview one or two pages at a time to make sure you like how the personalization looks and flows – before you commit to anything!!


I was so excited just from the previews that I was almost in tears. Then the book arrived on Forever Day Eve!


And it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.

*I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I was not financially compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.*