Exchange Co.

Exchange Co. is a coffee bar and bake shop. Located in Historic Downtown Simpsonville. We are excited to offer coffee, crepes, cookies, and much more. Specializing in Gluten Free foods.

All you need is love… and a few other things

I have had several people come across our blog and they gently reminded me that we had not updated the blog in over a year. “Well did you start fostering?” is a common question I have heard in the past few months. I apologize for the unintentional cliffhanger.

Since our last post we have had 4 placements, 2 newborns and a set of siblings. It has been 13 months since we officially started fostering and it has been an incredible journey of growth.

We have learned about love, pain, and community. 

Love isn’t always a feeling. When you are struggling to get a crying child to sleep, or getting up every 2 hours to feed a newborn dealing with drug withdrawls, love is not the first emotion on your mind.

Loving children who come from hard places can be difficult; loving the parents who have caused these children to come from hard places is even more difficult.

I’m constantly reminded of Jesus' example of love. In Ephesians 5:1-2, were commanded to imitate Jesus by living a life of love. I’ve read the bible through multiple times and I have never read a command to hate or judge others. There are broken people who need love and hope.

On this journey, we have been extremely humbled by the support we have received from our community. Our church and small group have wrapped around us to help encourage and support us.

I do not believe that every family can or should take children into their home, but I do believe that everyone is called to serve the fatherless. What I realized is that everyone has a place in the care of orphans and by serving foster families, you are serving the orphan.

 During the summer we had 3 foster care placements, and to be completely honest, we were drowning. We have since learned our limitations and boundaries for when we get that phone call for a new placement. We had families wrap around us in a way that still brings me to tears. Families bringing meals, mowing our lawn, helping with laundry, groceries, and child care. This support made such a difference. One night when I was up at 4am with a crying child, I was obviously exhausted and frustrated, but as I walked around the house rocking this little one I could still smell the dinner that had been prepared for us and was reminded that someone cared and that someone was thinking about us. This encouraged me like you would not believe.

This concept of living in community is very new to me. I believe it is very biblical, yet lacking in most churches today. This idea of having all possessions in common, free for the sharing. Not in a commune, communistic way, but in a free will, I chose to give up my time, my possessions, my abilities, to others in need.

When one member in the body is weak, others are strong and can help support. Later on it will likely be where the roles are reversed and so the cycle of serving and giving continues. Putting the needs of others before your own is against our very nature. Our survivalist instinct, says, “nooo, save your energy and care for yourself.” No doubt, caring for yourself is of utmost importance, however, we must find a balance.

I will do my best to update our journey more frequently, but overall, through the difficulties, we have been so blessed by each child that has come through our home, whether they were in our home for a week or a year.

Knowing that God has allowed us to influence each of these kids- potentially changing the course of their future and helping break the cycle of addiction, poverty, and abuse- is worth it all. 


"I couldn't do foster care"

As we continue on our journey towards adoption we have hit a few roadblocks. Region 1 adoptions which handles adoptions in the Upstate, has postponed adoptions until January. The agency is extremely  short staffed and has been unable to keep up with the work load. They are in the process of hiring and training new caseworkers in preparation for next year. This was obviously disappointing news for us however we are trusting that God has other plans for us and just happy to be on the journey. In the meant time we are looking into foster care through Miracle Hill. The process is very similar so we are able to transfer much of our paperwork and training. Foster Care will add some challenges that we were not expecting like the possible lack of permanency of a child in our home. But this is the door that has opened so we are walking through it. Also the need is so much greater with Foster Care right now. Many of you may have read articles recently about children sleeping at the DSS office due to a lack of foster homes.

What we really were setting out to do was grow our family and permanently add to it, but that seems to currently be on hold which is ok. Although the goal of foster care is temporary care with the hope of reunification, sometimes it does turn into a permanent adoption with the foster family. Each child is unique, as is their family and parental situation. I have shared this with a few people and the common response has been, "I couldn't do foster care." Many of these individuals have expressed the emotional heartbreak they would have parting with a child that was temporarily placed with them. I completely understand that concern. We have experienced this in the past working with children.

I say this, with all understanding and compassion, but it's not about you, or me. It's about the kids, its about others. Although the emotional separation of a child or any person that you invest in is difficult, is that really a reason to say, "its not for me."? Should we therefore not help those in need because of how it might negatively affect us? Should we not give to the homeless because they might, "misspend" our hard earned money? Should we not serve our community because it may take up our time or be hurt by the actions of others? As C. S. Lewis said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."

 I know this is a sensitive issue, and not every family is in a position to foster, however, the point is, serving others is hard work. It can be messy, and painful but at the end of the day it is about the two greatest commandments summed up in Jesus' teaching, Love God, Love others.

So be in prayer for us on our journey, we are open to what God has planned for us and are seeking that whatever it may be.

I will leave you with this verse that has been a great comfort to us when things don't really go our way.

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

Our Adoption Journey

      We would like to invite all of our family and friends to follow us on our adoption journey. As many of you know, it is our desire and mission to help raise support and awareness in the community about the need for foster and adoptive families. Exchange Co. has already been successful in reaching this mission. We are currently beginning the process of adoption through the State of South Carolina. This is a new journey for us, we have already learned a ton and have already put several hours worth of work into it. We will be posting blog updates through our website and Facebook page. We have three main goals in sharing our story: to inspire, educate, and cultivate a culture of living life in exchange for others.

1) We want to share our story in order to inspire other families in our community to take the leap of faith and give their lives for the fatherless. Undoubtedly, our story, like many others will be filled with excitement, as well as difficulty. Our hope is that we will be genuine and real about our experiences.
2) We want to use our story to educate others on the adoption process. We hope to share practical information that will help educate the community on the various requirements of foster and adoptive families.
3) As our mission states, we exist "to create a culture of living our lives in exchange for others." This is not about us, it's about those in need. Our desire is that in living in community and sharing life with others, we can help inspire and cultivate this culture. Whether raising biological or adoptive children, it takes a community. Ask yourself, "am I living in community?" "Does my community hold the same values that I want my children to learn?" "Do I serve those closest to me, do they add value and help to my life?"

Thanks for joining us on our journey, there is more to come!

-Michael and Roxanne