Sunday, September 30, 2007

If I Could See Down the Corridors of Time...

There are certainly days where I wish I knew what the future holds... is it 4 children or 70 as Budding Author desires? Is it forever foster care? How will things play out for Little Boy Blue? Is there a baby sister for Little Mommy?

My personality foolishly attempts to plan, predict, manipulate and change life. It is ironic then that our current situation leaves no place or need for my control. Funny, I cannot do a thing to change today no matter how much research I do or how organized I may be.

I laughingly wish to see the future; yet if I really knew what tomorrow held, would I even have the courage to take the next step?

This is my lesson... If God had pulled back the curtain and shown me what 2007 looked like, I would have said 'No thank you, this heart can't handle that. You'll have to pick someone else.' And I would have missed it all!

It all boils down to faith. Do I trust that the God of the universe cares for our family? Do I really believe that He knows Baby Girl and Little Boy Blue and will care for them without my help? Do I really believe He loves me and knows what my heart can handle? Do I really believe that He will work all things together for His good? I do.

Adoption Comes in Many Shapes & Sizes

This weekend, Little Mommy and I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower in honor of the adoption of a beautiful baby boy. His Mommy and I used to be in a bible study group a few years back, before we moved to the boonies. This baby has been prayed for in so many different ways by so many people. It was a privilege and blessing for me to hold him and see how those prayers have been faithfully answered.

The story of his life is a huge reminder to me that adoption comes in many shapes and sizes. The Lord provides safe homes for babies and children in a wonderful myriad of ways. Some families are created through domestic adoption (closed or open), some through international adoption, some through grandparent or other kinship adoption and some through the state foster care system. Some children are placed in families with no children, others are intentionally placed with new siblings. Some children are placed with their biological siblings, others are not. The most important part is not the means, but the end - a loving home in which to thrive.

The Texas foster care system is how our family will be woven and spun. When I look at Prince Caspian, and see how he 'fits,' I know it could have been no other way. My grateful heart dances today!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Joined at the Heart, Prince Caspian and I

We received a package this week with 3 special books in it for Prince Caspian! It was a wonderful surprise from a dear law school buddy of mine and his sweet, growing family. There was one book called 'My Mommy and I' which has captured Prince Caspian's and my attention.

Specifically, it is a colorful board book telling of great things that 'Mommy and I' do together. The very last page is what gets me every time. It says... "We're joined at the heart, my Mommy and I."

Isn't this a beautiful, simple way to describe adoption? We may not have the umbilical cord connection, or the nursing moments that bond a Mommy to her baby; however, there is no question that we are joined at the heart. He has fit into my heart just perfectly, like the missing piece to a puzzle.

**Not that every day has gone smoothly... yesterday was particularly challenging. At one point I found myself working with Budding Author on schoolwork, trying to help Little Mommy with her 'reading', feeding Little Boy Blue a bottle (which he spit up on everything) all while Prince Caspian whined inconsolably. (If Prince Caspian is tired, our world is painful! If he has gotten great sleep, our world is great fun!)

Me, I'm just the conductor for this out-of-tune orchestra. And there are times when I'd rather be playing on the xylophone rather than keeping everyone on track, believe me!

Back to Prince Caspian. It has been 3 weeks since he joined us and I feel like he has been a part of 'us' forever! Thank you, God, for helping us get past our fears to be able to just love this little guy.

"We are joined at the heart, Prince Caspian and I!"

Friday, September 21, 2007

We are Alike, She & I

Although I've been quiet on this blog this week, my heart has been anything but quiet. It beats in my chest with excitement, thanksgiving, love and disbelief. The excitement, thanksgiving and love portion is easily understood. The disbelief portion probably requires some explanation...

I've written about Little Boy Blue's Mommy in the past... she and I are connected by this precious baby. Never did I desire to meet her in person, never did I fathom that I would look her in the eyes and see a woman more like me than I ever imagined.

In fact, I've said to God before (and a very special friend) that I could never actually do it, meet her I mean. And then, the letter came. CPS wanted us to meet with them and his Mommy to discuss permanency plans for Little Boy Blue. Unbelievable!

The meeting went very well and the goal is still reunification. Honestly, it was a surprise blessing. I cannot clearly explain in words what it did for me to see her in person. I do know this... she went from being this negative image in my mind to being a living, breathing person, in the flesh. I saw our similarities and also our uniqueness. She and I certainly have more in common than I ever imagined. By commonality, I do not mean likes and dislikes or physical similarity; I mean she and I are both fallen human beings who have made poor choices and are in need of a Savior. It really is that simple.

I have great hope for her and for Little Boy Blue. I can see a Mommy's love shining through, I see a heart and mind capable of so many things. And, I am praying that she feels only God's love through our family. May we cease to judge and begin to fervently pray. Please join us, if you so desire.

Do you believe people can change? I've heard on and off my entire life that people don't change. If that is true, why did God even bother sending Christ to this earth? Is His salvation and redemption only for the future? Are we stuck in our poor choices, doomed to repeat them over and over? May it never be so. We believe in a God who came so that we may have LIFE; so that we might be changed through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Before I get too theological and scare our Pastor to death, I'll end with this. We believe, without a doubt, that Little Boy Blue's Mommy can change and we believe in the One who can speak to her heart and extend His sufficient grace to her to make that change come about. May she see Him everywhere she turns and may she be so touched by His life-changing power that she never turns back.

This is a difficult place where we have arrived... we are in this fostering thing for the long haul. I'd never have expected it or desired it, but here we are. If I had my preference, I'd say 'forget it, I give up, this is way too difficult.' And then I look into Little Boy Blue's eyes, I see our children loving him with something very real, I see my husband lovingly exercising his little body to relieve the continued stiffness and I realize that he is ours, at least for a season.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Normalcy (however that word might be defined) has returned to our home. Each person's spot is now settled!

I've compiled a list of things that have changed and things that have stayed the same since our family has grown...

Changed Things:

  • Diapers... exponential growth in quantity.
  • Food... Prince Caspian is an extraordinary consumer. I cannot even imagine what teenage years are going to look like! We made our first family shopping trip to Sam's last Friday evening. What an event.
  • Going out... leaving the house with all of us is an adventure. I plan ahead and yet I always forget something.
  • Volume... things are loud and busy when everyone is at home and awake.
  • Comments... People stare at us all and eyeball the youngest two and ask 'now how far apart are they?' or 'are you done?'

Remaining Things:
  • I still have 2 children and a husband who are potty-trained... yippeeee. Let's look at the bright side!
  • My sleep is complete. I haven't missed a wink since Prince Caspian joined us.
  • I still adore my husband. We are partners in this labor of love... it would be impossible to explain the level of commitment he has for our family. As many of our old friends are separating or divorcing, I am SO grateful for the steady foundation that he provides our family.
  • This journey is one I still feel called to patiently complete. We don't know how many children or what our family will ultimately look like; however, the ride is as interesting as the destination!

Friday, September 14, 2007

What a Difference a Week Makes...

Precious Prince Caspian has officially turned a corner in his adjustment process. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were quite difficult over here at our place. Wednesday night our home group from church was here and things really got better from then on!

He is waking up happy, going down for bedtime with mostly a smile and eating, eating and eating. We are just tickled!

On another note, my Mom's surgery went well. She is feeling better today than she has in many months! That is an answered prayer! And get this, her surgeon actually prayed with her before the surgery. He said his profession is more than a career, it is a mission!! What a ray of hope...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm Still Reading...

For some reason, I feel compelled to report back on my summer reading. Yes, I still read... even with all of the activity around here. In fact, reading is my one indulgence (well, maybe Dr. Pepper, too.). I simply cannot wait to get to the end of a day and have even 10 minutes to myself to tackle that pile 15 books on my nightstand. I'm sure you pity my husband. Luckily, he usually has a book going, too.

So, here is what I have read this Summer:

Love Your God with All Your Mind by JP Moreland. This is now a classic for me. If I had read this book back in my twenties, I imagine so many things that would have fallen into place regarding my faith. Thank you, Mr. Moreland, for providing a book I will return to over and over.

Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher. Very interesting book on a segment of conservativism and how it plays out in everyday life.

The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls. You absolutely must read this book. It is the true story of one family who did not get 'caught' by Child Protective Services, but should have. The writing is excellent and it will make you laugh, cry and stand in unbelief, all at the same time. Thanks Mom for recommending this one!

Suite Francoise. Still not done. I've enjoyed a peek into France; however, seem to get bogged down. I'll keep on until I finish this one.

The Iliad by Homer. Read about half of it, then re-read parts of it with Budding Author as he studied Ancient Greece. Finished up by watching the movie, Troy. While there are some unnecessary parts to this movie which bothered me, overall it is an interesting portrayal of a possibly fictional event. Budding Author and I keep going back and forth on whether we like the Greeks or the Trojans best... after seeing the movie, I have a new appreciation for the Trojans, poor guys!

The Question of God: C.S. Lewis & Freud in a hypothetical debate. Very interesting read. This will stay on my shelves for our children to explore someday.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. A novel dealing with an ethical choice of a doctor which will haunt him forever. Excellent, quick read.

OK, what else? There were a variety of other library books and several others for our local book club. My memory fails me at the moment.

Humor me, sometimes I need to write about something other than foster care :) If you enjoy a good book with a cup of coffee, let me know what titles I must read this fall!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Days to Remember...

Not perfect days... just days to put away in the memory box to remember when these 4 little people become adults and venture off. Days to remember when things get quiet around here. Right now, I cannot fathom a quiet day.

Yesterday was rough... Prince Caspian's 2 eye teeth emerged and a previous diaper rash reared an ugly head. He was sad most of the day. As my Mom put it this morning, "You've been through this before as a Mommy of 2 others, so you know that it will soon pass."

And today is a new morning, but challenges remain. Prince Caspian is busy eating crayons, babbling in his special language and wanting to constantly eat! This boy can put away the groceries. I've never seen anything like it!

Meanwhile, Budding Author and Little Mommy are moving along. Little Mommy seems to feel a little left out. Today we moved her doll house down to the living room so that we can all play with her. Budding Author is challenged to get his schoolwork done amidst the chaos. I'm challenged on many levels... organization, patience, clean house, meal preparation, etc.

I would love to hear how your life is going... in fact, I need a breath from outside these four walls. :) Enjoy your day, whomever you are out there!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Update on Little Boy Blue

This is the very best Friday I've had in weeks... primarily because of Prince Caspian, of course. I love the way he has integrated into our family. He is a trooper... and a pleasure to parent.

As for Little Boy Blue, he has had to relinquish the spotlight for a bit. Today was his visitation with his Mom. The case aide said she was wonderful with him today. She brought an exersaucer and fed him baby food. She made him giggle uncontrollably, too.

We have a new case aide who gave me more information about the visit than I've ever had before. In some ways, this is a good thing. It makes me very happy to know that his Mom is really sincere and wants to have him back. The case aide said she asked many questions about our family. It may be time for me to send a letter back to her, from me. We are still sending the letters from Little Boy Blue. Maybe she needs to hear about our family, a sanitized version for our privacy, of course.

In my heart, I'm really leaving lots of room for flexibility with Little Boy Blue. There is a high likelihood that he will be returned home. The example of Prince Caspian's foster family has given me a new outlook on being a 'bridge' between an old life and a new one. In Little Boy Blue's case, the old life (in utero) and new life are with the same Mommy - just different circumstances and hopefully, a changed heart. I'm a bit more comfortable with it all now. Budding Author loves to hear about Little Boy Blue and his Mommy. In fact, he thinks it will be a wonderful thing if Little Boy Blue gets to go home. Go figure!

Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading along while I ramble!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Range of Emotions

Today has been a day to remember! We were all up early, blowing up balloons, making a banner and baking and decorating cupcakes. Of course, the kids were bickering and even hitting one another! Go figure!

I woke up in the middle of the night and felt anxiety settling in... and sweetly, I was reminded of the verse in Philippians that carried me through my tough pregnancy with Little Mommy. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." It is true. And, guess what, I slept like a baby for the rest of the night. That peace that passes all understanding is real and beyond my paltry explanation.

Prince Caspian arrived around 11:30 a.m. We were still signing all of the CPS paperwork. He sat in my lap like a little gentleman. Then we had some lunch and as Budding Author put it "began partying." Cupcakes from head to toe for Prince Caspian... and play, play, play! We unpacked his toys and put them in with ours.

Nap was difficult... probably the most difficult I've ever attempted with our kiddos. He cried unless someone was in the room with him. Finally, my hubby had the idea for me to lay on the floor by the bed. So, I lay with my eyes closed next to the bed. And, finally, precious baby lay down and closed his eyes.

He will grieve for his foster family; of this, I'm sure. They are dear people and loved him immensely. May we have that 'peace that passes all understanding' as we patiently comfort him and wait for the little boy to bloom where he has been planted.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Magical Weekend

It went by very quickly, our time with Prince Caspian. And, now, I'm sitting here trying to remember every detail of his little face. Hubby just left to take him back to his foster home. This really does not make sense; he spent the night at our house last night and now he goes back to his foster home for two days. It seems like this is counterproductive when the ultimate goal is a smooth transition. Again, I must remind myself that these are the rules, this is the way it is to be done and we are just participants.

Saturday we took Little Mommy and Budding Author to meet their new brother. It was love at first sight for them. We also found out why our family was chosen for Prince Caspian... because our family parallels his foster family in many ways. Both families have older siblings, both families are active, both families are Christian... great reasons. We will certainly emphasize the sibling reason for Little Mommy and Budding Author. What a very personal thing for both of them!

We took all of the kiddos (including Little Boy Blue) to a playground and carousel. Then we all went to Olive Garden. Prince Caspian is a wonderful, mild-mannered baby. His foster family has taught him wonderful manners. And, did I mention his beautiful smile? We love him.

We returned Prince Caspian to his foster home Saturday evening and picked him up Sunday morning for our overnight slumber party at our home. On the way home, we stopped by to see one set of grandparents. What fun! It couldn't have gone better!!

Prince Caspian seemed very comfortable at our home. He met the dogs, cat, goats and chickens. He slept in his new bed, he played with his new toys, he loved on all of us. We are blessed beyond measure. Our only challenge: our 12-year old schnauzer has issues with our toddling Prince Caspian. She has already been a loose cannon - snapping at our kids and once biting Little Mommy in the face. We must find a new home for her; a home where she can thrive in her last years. If anyone who reads this is interested or can help us find her a great place, please post or contact me.

Here is the Terrific Trio walking down our very own Long & Winding Driveway:

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Sometimes I have to pinch myself ... this is REALLY happening! Blessings to you on this celebratory day!