Sunday, December 30, 2007

Love Without Fear

For several months now, this 'love' thing has weighed on me. What exactly is God asking us to do when we love another? Are we to love only when we receive love in return? Are we to wait until someone loves us first before we love another? Are we to 'guard our hearts' and only love in pieces? Or are we to love with our complete being expecting absolutely nothing?

Often people comment to Alex or me, "Oh, I could never be a foster parent because of the hurt of letting go." The letting go hurts, a bunch. However, when we make statements such as the one above, are we really allowing love to work in us? Or are we acting, at least partially, with our own interests (to be loved in return) in mind?

When we began this interesting journey, we expressed that same statement above to one another. The hurt of letting go was precisely the reason we wanted to be an 'adoption only' family. Then Covenant Kids got hold of us... and they asked all of the families in training to pray about being foster-to-adopt families instead of straight adoption.

This is such a difficult thing. I do not claim to understand the depth of God's love for humanity; nor do I claim to understand the love we are to show to a hurting world. I do know this - such a love, one that exists beyond all self-motivation, is supernatural. It is of God. It is impossible for believers to 'create' on their own.

1 John 4:18 says "There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life - fear of death, fear of judgment - is one not yet fully formed in love." (The Message)

Do we experience and exhibit 'well-formed' love? Other Bible translations express this same concept as 'perfected love.' Do we allow the Holy Spirit to lovingly work through us, trusting that God will assuage the grief of letting go? Do we really even trust God with our hearts?

2007 has been a year of serious contemplation, meditation and transition for me. It has been a year in which I finally gave up (at least partially) my agendas, my expectations, my perfect plan. Surrender is a much better place... it requires so much less of my energy. Plus, it allows me to truly experience and share love without fear. What a concept.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry, Merry Christmas

May your day be merry, bright and filled with the love of our Christ, born in a manger bare to bring love and grace to a world in great need!

**I did have a family picture posted; however, Little Mommy wasn't fully 'there' when it actually posted (the picture looked fine in my preview :)) Anyway, maybe another time. Blessings to you!

Monday, December 24, 2007

And the Stockings Were Hung...

When I think of special Christmas memories as a child, my Mom is at the very center of every one. She diligently made our celebrations special with scavenger hunts, ornaments, baking and Christmas carols.

There is one special tradition that has continued as we have added children to our mix... the handmade Christmas stockings which hang on my Mom & Dad's mantle each year. The stockings have always been symbols of 'welcome to the family.' It all began when I was a babe... this is the beautiful stocking my Mom made for me.


When Alex joined our family, my Mom made this one... complete with a fishing pole because fishing is something Alex enjoys. The stocking was a sign that he was really 'in' the family.


Next, Budding Author and Little Mommy received special stockings (pictures deleted :)) ...

And this year, two new stockings. One for Prince Caspian and one for Little Boy Blue. These two stockings mean a great deal. Our choice to adopt and foster is one we prayed would be embraced by our families. The emotional upheaval of our choice does directly impact others... especially my Mom. We are grateful that both of our families have chosen to love these two and to welcome them officially into our midst. And these stockings are a symbol of just that!

Oh, in case you wonder about Little Boy Blue's stocking without a name, we decided to leave the name off until next year. If he goes to live with a family member, we can put his name on there and send it on with him as a reminder of his Grandmother. If he stays with us, we will add his new name, too. Either way, he has a special stocking all his own.


You know what? My Mom doesn't have a handmade stocking of her own. I've often thought that maybe I could whip up one for her to make the stocking display complete. However, my 'whipping up' just might take the entire year. Sewing is something I dream of someday being able to do. Maybe one of these years ...

Until then, thanks Mom. You have a gift for making new family members feel like old-timers and welcomed immediately. And the stockings are just one way you do it!! Merry Christmas.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Termination is an Ugly Word...

I've really come to hate that word... 'termination.' It sounds ugly to me. Termination of parental rights or 'TPR' is the term used to legally dissolve a parent's right to their child. Involuntary, of course. If it is a voluntary act, it is called 'relinquishment'... not quite so ugly, but permanent, nonetheless.

Little Boy Blue's Mom did not show at the status hearing. Her attorney attempted a 'continuance' to allow her to show and beg for leniency. The Judge said 'No.' So, TPR trial (in front of a jury!) is scheduled for the very end of January. And, since Mom is losing her parental rights, no more visits for Little Boy Blue with Grandfather or Great-Grandmother. Shock to my system.

Before the hearing, Friday morning, CPS called at 8:00 a.m. to see if they could pick Little Boy Blue up at 9:00 a.m. at the 'meeting spot' for a visit. They had forgotten to let me know that the Grandfather & Great-Grandmother wanted to see him. I do not like that type of last minute notice... however, I pulled him together and sent him off, little did I know that it might be his last visit. Usually, we send a letter about his week(s) and some pictures. I was lucky to just get him dressed and his diaper bag ready in 30 minutes.

He came back from the visit at 12:00 noon and he was starving. For some odd reason, no one fed him. So, he went from 7:00 a.m. to Noon without food. We put 2 bottles and baby food in the diaper bag. That makes me spitting mad!

Another weird thing... the CPS transporter said that Grandfather did not come, but that Grandmother was there with Great-Grandmother. CPS had just told me that morning that Grandmother was deceased. So, who is the mystery woman allowed to visit with Little Boy Blue?

The saddest part... CPS told us that Great-Grandmother said there are other family members who want him. She has not been known for complete truthfulness, so all of this is speculative. Home studies must be completed and criminal background checks done before he will ever be moved.

Yet, in the midst of the chaos that surrounds itty-bitty, yesterday morning it was decided that Little Boy Blue would be baby Jesus in our church's Christmas program. I will just take him up and sit him in the manger for all of the other beautiful children to peek upon. He will love that!! If only all watching could know how special is this opportunity for this particular baby boy!!

God, You are so good to us. I've been teary and emotional thinking about our year and the many things You have graciously taught us about real love. What blessing, what joy, what peace!

And with every end, there is a beginning...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Little Boy Blue Come Blow Your Horn...

Here's the update on Little Boy Blue. His Mom has been out of state for almost 3 months. Throughout this period of time, the extended family said they did not know her whereabouts. At the last visit he had with his great-grandmother and grandfather, they admitted to having lied about it all. Plus, CPS received an anonymous call stating "Ms. Smith fled the state. Her parental rights should be terminated and Little Boy Blue given to the family he is with." Odd. (Alex jokingly asked me 'You didn't use our home phone to make that call, did you?'... ha.ha.ha.)

The hearing tomorrow is a status hearing. If Little Boy Blue's Mom comes, she is facing some serious business. Termination is moving forward. His attorney does not want her to have any more visits... she feels it will not be in Little Boy Blue's best interest to see his Mom if her parental rights are being terminated. We'll see what the Judge thinks.

Now for the possibly sad news... the attorney also mentioned that there is a cousin in Georgia who is a CPS caseworker there who could be considered for Little boy blue. There has been no mention of this to us by our CPS worker... and believe me, I've asked a million times about different family members.

So, today I've just reminded myself over and over of why we are doing this. I've prayed almost constantly for a quick resolution to this (thanks to Gracie's reminder weeks ago). And I've thanked God for the joy of loving this little boy. I guess it is that simple - just tell that to my heart!

Here's to sharing our life with you... thank you for your interest and your prayers on behalf of our family. We feel blessed and honored.

P.S. I'm still holding out hope that my strapping Scotsman, Alex, will chime in on this blog over the holidays. He says he has something in the works :) ... he just guards his words much more than I.

Introducing the Cast of Characters...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Budding Author (7)
Little Mommy (4)
Prince Caspian (17 months)
Little Boy Blue (8 months)


There are many competing thoughts in my brain right now. My desire is to get them on paper quickly so that they do not fade with the days. However, I haven't had the time to enter all of the e-mail addresses to make this blog private. I have to enter each e-mail address to send an invite to each of you... the task seems daunting. Yet, I have so much to say... maybe tonight.

For now, Little Boy Blue needs your prayers. Tomorrow is a hearing which will be a turning point in his case. And, as I watch him playing by my feet, I'm grateful that he has no idea what is happening. He is free. Free to just be a little boy, growing, learning and hopefully, feeling loved.

When I do get this blog converted, the first thing I'm going to do is post a few pictures... just so those of you who haven't seen these lovely faces can see who I've been writing about. All of these nicknames have real names and faces behind them!! I promise you something... when you see the faces of Prince Caspian, Little Boy Blue and Baby Girl, you will not believe these are the faces of foster care. Isn't it funny what we convince ourselves to believe about foster children?

On that note... we went to a Christmas party sponsored by Covenant Kids this weekend (even with runny noses). Every single child there (well over 200) was a lovely, beautiful human being with God's fingerprints all over him/her. When I think about it now, I'm so moved. All of these families - welcoming children of different races and backgrounds. It just reminds me of what love is... it is not an easy task. But, oh the joy!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sick, Sicker, Sickest

What a week! Boys with colds, girls with flea bites, and a light-headed Daddy & Mommy after a total house extermination. Disgusting, huh? I agree. Little Mommy and I have been eaten up by those tiny creatures. Why don't they like the boys? And how exactly did they invade our home with all of our furry friends outdoors? Hmmmm.

The boys certainly had their share of misery this week, too ... runny noses and colds make for grumpy babies, toddlers and Mommies.

On Wednesday, we had 3 case worker visits scheduled. Of the 3, only one actually arrived. One forgot, one rescheduled and one was welcomed with Kleenex by our sickly family.

ECI came to evaluate Little Boy Blue again. It is a long story and one about which I will share additional details when I convert this blog thing to private mode. In fact, I will probably be doing that privacy thing this week.

So, if I haven't heard from you, feel free to let me know you want to tag along. If you don't actually know us, that doesn't automatically rule out an invite... just give me some info about why you are interested in our family, where you live, where you grew up, social security number :), that type of thing!! No, all kidding aside, just let me know who you are and I'll gladly send you an invite.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Seemingly Unrelated

What do these things have in common:

*A beloved snail collection featuring one Mommy snail and 15 million babies;
*A black velvet Christmas dress with black patent leather shoes;
*A homemade 'dance pad' made out of packing bubbles by big brother for an early Christmas present;
*A tea all prepared for Baby Jesus and Mommy; and
*A fort in the woods where hours are spent building and hanging with big brother.

You are right! These items all belong to my Little Mommy. She is a beautiful, inquisitive, eclectic mixture of girly-girl and tomboy. Maybe I'll post a few sweet photos of her when our blog goes private...