Monday, September 8, 2008

And... It's Another Boy!

Good morning world! At 4:00 a.m., Little Boy Blue decided to wake up and not go back to sleep. Whew! Somehow this child knew that this was his big day! And so we were off - a full car (including Alex's Mom) heading to Adoption City.

The actual adoption hearing was over in a flash. Little Boy Blue was quiet and sweet and Prince Caspian wanted to stand right beside me with his arms around my leg watching every moment.

The Family - 2008

It has been the year for BOYS!

Mommy's new camera sure shows off my blue eyes!

Adoption Day is complete with a Cake... Balloons.... Banner...

And off they go...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tomorrow ... is only a day away!

a 3-month old Little Boy Blue

We are counting the hours! Little Mommy made a beautiful sign for Little Boy Blue to hang in our kitchen. The baseball cake is made (not too pretty) with his name on it. The baby book is off to a good start. Everyone's clothes are ironed and ready for our 6:30 a.m. departure time.

This weekend I spent some time cutting, pasting and reading my blog posts about Little Boy Blue. Remembering all of the ins, outs, ups and downs of the last 15 months makes this adoption seem all the more amazing.

A 17-month old Little Boy Blue

I will post again tomorrow with pictures of his special day ...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We are Getting Close ...

Little Boy Blue's adoption is less than one week away!! (Insert huge sigh of relief from yours truly) We have our big meeting with CPS on Friday and then the adoption should happen Monday morning! Yipppeeee.

Meanwhile, I truly have so very little to say. This blog has been such a vital part of my living and breathing through our adoption experience. Believe it or not, I've been at this blogging thing for over a year now... and I'm coming close to the end of my writing on this subject; I find that most of my thoughts on fostering/adoption have all been shared with you. I'd like to do one last blog post in the next few days about my Little Boy Blue finding his permanent haystack. (Remember the nursery rhyme?)

For now, my 'Long and Winding Road' is approaching a beautiful meadow of open fields with much possibility. No doubt, our road will bend and curve into the underbrush many more times. Today, though, I feel a warm breeze coming off of the tall grass and I'm ready to take off hand-in-hand with this brood God has given me.

Maybe I'll start a Michigan memoirs blog, or something totally kooky to document our time in Michigan - far from friends and family. Maybe I'll start posting more on our school blog. Maybe I'll just rest quietly, teaching my children and loving my husband. Maybe.

Thank you from the depth of me for sharing this profoundly emotional journey. Your companionship here has meant the difference between my standing and crawling on some difficult days. I mean that.

Peek back in and I'll finish up with something fitting as these days wind down. May God deeply bless you; may you know how very much He loves you. And may His hand be yours to hold as you walk your very own 'Long and Winding Road.'


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Shell of My Very Own...

Something is amiss with me right now... I've withdrawn in to this lovely shell of my own making. So many things weigh on me; and yet, I feel guilty about being so burdened and unwilling to ask for help. Ugh, the conundrum of it all.

My hubby started his new job last Monday, the 4th. He has traveled for most of the weekdays ... and we are looking at a good amount of travel until we sell our house and get settled in Michigan. Dislike is a mild word to describe my feelings about being a single Mom of 4 these last 2 weeks. Frankly, I do not know how single Moms manage.

Everyone is feeling Daddy's absence around here. Prince Caspian walks around saying 'My Daddy bye-bye' or 'Eeers my Daddy?'. When the garage door opens he immediately runs to it screaming 'Daddy home.' It is emotional.

And yet, what makes me withdraw at a time when I could really use the support of others? There are moments that I cannot even think beyond the tasks to even have or be a friend. In fact, those moments are numerous right now. So, friends of mine - I love you and miss you and need your prayers right now :).

I also realize that my husband could be in Iraq right now ... there are always situations much, much worse than my own.

Yesterday, I received Little Boy Blue's entire case file. Remember how I said there would be nothing in it that surprised me? Well, I was wrong. My stomach was nauseated as I read of the events that took place from his conception to his delivery. My precious baby, how resilient you are! You are a miracle; your life a testimony.

Sometimes I feel as if I cannot bear telling these boys about their pasts ... I feel so small and inadequate to be Mommy to these two boys who deserve the world. My attempts at analysis and my questions about 'why' in relation to these two never cease. Fostering has required me to give up my 'skimming the surface' on big questions and dig deeper. It continues to be uncomfortable.

Little Boy Blue's adoption will be September 8. When I stare in his big blue eyes and hear that contagious laughter, the weight I feel from reading his file lifts and hope springs afresh.

Still plugging along,

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Do I Still Have Any Blog Readers?

Hello strangers! It has been quite a while, I know. Lots of 'stuff' happening around me. I feel like a whirlwind is continuously blowing through our house.

Meanwhile, I've been meaning to write this very important post for more than 2 weeks!

Several times on this blog I've mentioned my e-friend, Gracie. She and I stumbled upon one another in 2007 back when our blogs were in the public domain. Since then, she has been a constant support and encouragement for our fostering experiences. Our friendship is a joy to me. The story of Gracie and her husband, Dave's parenting journey is touching and beautiful. Please take the time to read about their experiences here.

Gracie and Dave are also adopting a little girl named Adriana from Guatemala. Not only are they adopting a little girl, she is a very special little girl. Adriana is 20 months old and suffers from several special needs, including a dislocated hip, cortical blindness and epilepsy. This couple needs our prayers for this adoption. They also need assistance to get Adriana home!

It is a privilege for Alex and me to make you aware of this awesome opportunity to help to tangibly support the adoption of this little one. We believe this need has been placed before us for a reason... and we ask you to take the time to pray about contributing to this very, very worthy cause. Team Adriana is preparing for a triathlon in Alabama to raise funds and awareness for Adriana's adoption. Since we do not live in Alabama, we are supporting from afar.

All donations are tax-deductible and are handled through the Shepherd's Crook adoption ministry. Just make sure to include the name 'Adriana' in the description. Any donation, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated by this precious family. We urge you to help give Adriana the hope of a family and the medical treatment that she desperately needs.

Blessings in Christ,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Odd Days

These days are unique. These days are unlike any I've lived so far. These days are a concoction of expectation and loss.

It nears the day of farewell to our friends headed to Brazil. I cannot begin to name the deep sadness that covers our family about their departure. While we heartily rejoice in their calling and pray diligently for their safety and for their mission, we want to crawl under a rock and come out 3.5 years later when we see them again. Yes, it really will be 3.5 years from now when they come home for a furlough.

My typical mode of operation is to avoid good-byes. I'm better with the celebratory part. And yet, my friend reminded me this week that closure is important for our kids ... and closure is important for me. So, I wade in the deep water of their departure... I wade deeper into our own departure from a place we've known most of our lives.

These days are different. These days don't allow for much in the way of normal. These days are stepping stones leading to tomorrow. May I hop expectantly from one stone to the next without regret, all the while dipping my toes in the cool, clear water of faith.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Glimpse of God's Heart Around Every Corner...

We all place barriers on our hearts. Like it or not, we just put limitations on ourselves and our ability to love. This false perspective of our limitations paralyzes us from 'loving the least of these', as well.

Please don't get me wrong, here. I have no desire to 'guilt' you into considering fostering or adoption... I don't have or want that power. :) However, if God happens to be nudging you and you keep saying 'no, thank you' please prayerfully reconsider. Believe me, I'm in that place right this very minute... Quicker than Dallas, (as they say around these parts) I can run through the reasons why a 'family of 7 or 8' would just not work for me. (I'll spare you all of the gory details!)

And yet, there is a strong conviction for Alex and me that our efforts in this area are not complete. Maybe we will foster, maybe we will adopt, maybe we will raise money for an orphanage somewhere (Poland or Brazil?)... who knows? God knows. And He has not let our hearts rest in this area ... He prods and pokes and makes us both very, very uncomfortable.

Please watch this video, Taking a Chance on Fu Yang... I believe your hearts will be touched by this man's unexpected discovery. We have found situations like these to be around each corner...

Take, for example, a call I received back in January. On the other end of the phone was a stranger; a pregnant young Mommy, without a husband, whose family was completely against her keeping a bi-racial baby. She was calling to see if we might consider adopting her baby when it came into the world.

Our discussion led to something unexpected, she really wanted to keep this baby! It was a privilege to help her figure out how to support the baby, even if her family never came around. And now, a picture hangs on our frig door of a chubby baby girl, 4 months old, with a precious sign that reads 'A Gift from God.' This beauty rests in the arms of her Mommy, with her Grandmother and Great-Grandmother right there beside them. I praise God for such a miraculous turn of events. Forgiveness is supernatural... and, for that matter, so is love.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Gifts of a Saturday!

This past Saturday was spent in an all-day training for Covenant Kids to maintain our foster license. We always seem to dread this 8-hour Behavior Management training. This year was no different... especially since there was a new trainer. Would she make us stay the entire 8 hours? Would she put us all to sleep? We sounded like grouchy teenagers as we headed out at 8:15 a.m. without enough time to stop for a Starbuck's.

Our day turned out to be inspiring and encouraging. Those two words describe perfectly what it is like to sit in a room of 25 Christian foster/adoptive parents and swap stories. Why do I always forget this prior to the training sessions? I believe God uses these other parents to sharpen us and to move us along to that very next step He has planned ... When we leave these meetings, we always ask ourselves 'How can we ever
stop doing this?' What seems like complete craziness to the world seems perfectly normal within those walls.

Let me give you a few examples of these folks:
*A foster/adoptive family with 9 kids - some are homegrown, some transplants, some seedlings that will grow in someone else's garden;
*A single adoptive Mom back for her 2nd round after adopting her son over a year ago;
*Grandparents who have 3 grown children who are almost ready for their first foster/adoptive placement;
*A precious couple who struggled for years with infertility. They are fostering 2 little guys (brothers) and will be taking their soon-to-be-born sister in July. These children will most likely be returned to their biological parents; one struggles with schizophrenia and both parents are only 19. The couple we met desperately wants to adopt but has chosen to foster and wait patiently.

Do you see yourself in any of those people? ... ordinary folks with stories much like yours and mine. What a way to spend a Saturday! Oh, and the trainer was engaging, funny and gave us some great tips for the toddler whining that breaks the sound barrier in our home.

***Oh, another thing. A very good friend of ours up here in the boonies has just been licensed as a foster/adoptive Mom. She is a single woman with 2 grown daughters. She had plans to adopt from Russia and then found out about a need for foster/adoptive parents right here in our county. Originally, her heart's desire was to foster/adopt one baby girl. Friday, she got a call about two sets of sibling girls that are free for adoption (one set ages 3 & 5; one set ages 4 & 6). She is actually contemplating taking 2! Please pray for her... God knows her name and the names of these 4 little ones who need a Mommy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I May Be Too Literal ...

Remember how our CPS caseworker mentioned we could adopt Little Boy Blue on the 91st day after the 90-day appeal period ends?? ... I suppose I am too literal for my own good. With all of the talk of moving bouncing around our house, we obviously desire things to progress with the adoption as quickly as possible. Plus, we just want him to be ours, permanently.

We found out today that she was exaggerating. It will take several weeks after the 90-day mark for them to get their documents together and do the official 'presentation' of his file to us. Since we've had him so long, nothing should be a surprise to us. However, we legally have to wait 24 hours after reading his file to say we want to move forward with his adoption. Next we have to sign paperwork and then, and only then, can the final hearing be scheduled.

What is another two or three weeks, I know, I know. And yet, I get my knickers in a twist over things like this. I like all of the information up front. Don't sideswipe me with more 'stuff.' We also found out that Covenant Kids will have to redo our home study to include Prince Caspian. And, they have a mile-long report to file to the court.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Castle-Builder is 8 Today!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A gentle boy, with soft and silken locks,
A dreamy boy, with blue and tender eyes,
A castle-builder, with his wooden blocks,
And towers that touch imaginary skies.

A fearless rider on his father's knee,
An eager listener unto stories told
At the Round Table of the nursery,
Of heroes and adventures manifold.

There will be other towers for thee to build;
There will be other steeds for thee to ride;
There will be other legends, and all filled
With greater marvels and more glorified.

Build on, and make thy castles high and fair,
Rising and reaching upward to the skies;
Listening to voices in the upper air,
Nor lose thy simple faith in mysteries.


Budding Author is 8 today. He still builds castles of the Lego sort. And I believe he still imagines he is a knight fighting a fierce dragon and rescuing the town.

I can remember the night he was born so vividly; the mix of fear and excitement that swirled around his unexpected arrival. Alex calls the birth of our first child one of the major highlights of his life. I would whole-heartedly agree.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Sigh of Relief and a Look Forward ...

The termination is complete and Little Boy Blue is free to move forward in life and gain a permanent family. I am thrilled for him and thrilled for us. Sadly to say, I don't have any grief at all for the man who contributed to Little Boy Blue's life. He has never seen his son, nor has he ever contacted CPS with any interest in him. He has missed out on this very special life. Given how I feel about Little Boy Blue's Mom, you might think I would be praying for him. The thought has never crossed my mind. Hmmm, something to ponder for another day, I suppose.

For today, I'm just excited and hopeful for his future. Only 90 days until he has a new first and last name and a forever family!! Cheers to you, little one!

Please let it be today ...

You know, I go through these times where I totally and completely forget that Little Boy Blue is our foster baby. Our family functions well and he is one of us after a year of living here. And yet, there are these reminders that throw me back into the land of the living.

His attorney visited on Tuesday, his caseworker last week, his therapist last week and his Covenant Kids caseworker next week. Each month, I have to fill out a report on his life ... and in May I completely and totally forgot to do it. Why? Because it feels like he is mine, why would I need to write down in detail when I put Desitin on his bottom? Seriously, that much detail is required.

Today is the termination for his Dad. I really, really, really pray that this happens today. His case needs to come to a conclusion.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drugs & Babies - A Personal Comment, - Part 2

Last Summer, I wrote this post about our thoughts in relation to drug-exposed children. It is still a difficult topic for me, perhaps because it is so up-close-and-personal now. My question these days relates to the privacy of our children with regard to this topic.

Do you remember the movie
St. Elmo's Fire? At one point in the movie, the Rob Lowe character is having dinner with the blond character's wealthy, well-mannered family. Remember when the mother glances at Rob Lowe, leans over to another guest and whispers behind her hand with a very memorable expression ... "Drugs." While that comment was funny in that particular context, it is not something we want said or even known about our boys.

So, how do we speak to encourage other persons to consider fostering/adopting drug-exposed little ones without compromising the privacy and well-being of our own two??

Obviously, if you read this blog, you know the bare fact that both boys were drug-exposed. And yet, with the exception of one or two of you, you probably do not know or care about the specific details. (Sidebar: We would gladly speak openly to any of you who asked about their situation knowing that the information would not be sensationalized.)

Other people, even strangers, are much more extraordinary in their curiosity. Now, I don't begrudge curiosity for the sake of furthering the cause of fostering ... but, when it labels or attempts to define our boys, it becomes problematic. Plus, we humans seem to have a delight for all of the dirty, dramatic details... maybe it makes us feel somehow better about ourselves because 'at least we didn't do
that.' I know I struggle with this warped perspective often.

There are times when I want to simply come up with a different answer to the question 'How far apart are they?' because that question inevitably leads to 'How did you get pregnant so soon?' or 'Were you just crazy to have them that close together?' which inevitably leads to my eeking out in a small whisper 'We are adopting them' ... which next leads to a discussion of the where, when, why and how of such things. Finally, we get around to the subject of foster care, which, by the way, brings
everyone into a frenzy of one sort or another. It is interesting how people go on and on about the horrible state of our foster care system ... we all feel so free to talk about this topic and how 'awful' it is for 'those' children. And yet, we do not have a better solution.

I promise, the conversation is just that predictable. On vacation, I almost decided to say the boys were a year apart just to quell the curious. People are just trying to be nice, I know. And, on other topics, I'm the first to talk and talk and talk. I just never want our wee ones to think their lives are the subject of odd conversation. Additionally, our older two do not know the details and won't unless the younger boys choose to tell them their stories.

Bottom line, as I write this I realize that it has to be the prompting of God to share our story and not some odd feeling of peer pressure. So, that is where I will leave this vent. If you have any other ideas, experiences or suggestions on this topic, I'm all ears.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beach Bums Return Home ...

Each May, my side of the family ventures down to South Padre Island for a week of part family vacation / part family reunion. This year was the first visit to the beach for both of the little boys. It was great fun to watch their discovery ...
No, I'm not a girl! Those curls are just my Mom's way of keeping me a baby :) (Several people asked about our baby girl - what?.)

They are making me wear this silly thing even though I don't even like the water!
Last year, Little Mommy would hardly get in the water; this year, she puts Budding Author to the challenge...

I just know I can catch them, just give me one more try!

All dressed up ...
Big brother and his parrot friend.

Allow me to show you my cape!

Daddy and Little Crab Cake...

My Mom & Dad with our 4.
Our big boy fished in the ocean and caught 3 fish of his very own! He saw dolphin and even a hammerhead shark.

We are happy to be home to get some rest from that vacation we just had :)... isn't that the way it always goes?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We are Alike, She & I - Part 2

Last Fall, I wrote extensively about Little Boy Blue's Mommy, here and here and here ... It boggles my mind how a stubborn woman like me could ever be changed as drastically as God has changed me. One obvious way He has changed my heart is in relation to Little Boy Blue's Mommy.

After she relinquished her parental rights, I continued to have this burden for her on my heart. She would pop into my brain at least 10 times per day. My hubby & I continued to pray for her salvation and complete recovery and healing. I felt led to have a friend contact several ministries that work with women in jail settings. That same friend and I have also diligently prayed for her ...

A few weeks back, I finally made good on my promise to send Little Boy Blue's family some pictures. I also wrote a letter to his Mommy and one to his Great-Grandmother. My prayer was that in some way I could reassure his Mommy of something, I wasn't sure exactly what... maybe I was just trying to make sure Little Boy Blue would have an open door if he ever wanted to contact her.

I've checked the P.O. Box we set up several times since then and it was always empty. Until yesterday. Two letters sat in that little gray space. My heart raced as I saw one was from his Mommy and one from his Great-Grandmother (GG). Tears just ran down my face as I read of a Mother's love for her son... one that would sacrifice her own desires for his best interest.

Here are a few of her words:
"I have a good feeling in my heart about you and God meant for this to happen, no matter how difficult it is for me, I embrace the comfort I feel when I realize he is with other children in a beautiful home, with a creative, kind woman and a good family. I do feel that you have given him a better chance at a good life than I could have in my position... After I signed I knew that I had done the right thing for him, instead of being selfish like I wanted to be."

That stops me cold. She wrote 4 pages along these lines. As I read her words, I felt so happy for Little Boy Blue and the fact that he will get to meet her one day, if he chooses. How wonderful for him to have that option!

And she mentioned God and prayer several times... I have great hope for her life. Maybe one day I'll write her back and tell her about the God I know and how He can pick her up, wrap her in His arms and restore her life. I know from experience that He is faithful.

For today, I bask in her words of affirmation. I no longer have to imagine what she thinks about us having Little Boy Blue, now I know!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Clutter Coach

At what point did I ever think that I needed:

4 bathrobes
30 diaper burp cloths
20 baby bottles
35 t-shirts
2 Coca-cola puzzles (over 500 pieces each)
43 scarves of varying color and size from my working days

Somewhere along the way, I've fallen for the notion that "If one at $2.99 is a great deal, then I must need 2 or 3 at $2.99, right?!" As a consequence, my house has become a battleground for great deals gone bad.

And yet, a page has turned, a new era has dawned... and I'm cleaning out with a vengeance! Wanna know the really cool thing about this? I have a dear friend who spent her entire day with me yesterday coaxing me out of my 'keep it' habit. And, she is still my friend... an even greater thing!!

In almost 9 hours, we got through my kitchen, two closets upstairs and my closet. That doesn't sound like much, does it. Our output was 6-7 extra-large black garbage bags full of trash and a huge kick-start on the garage sale that is going to happen in June.

I have a LOOOONNNGGG way to go still and it overwhelms me... but, I have a 'clutter coach' of my very own. With her help, the material stuff is going 'bye-bye' and freedom is on the other side.

Wouldn't you like a 'clutter coach' of your own?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Makes a Mommy...

With Mother's Day just passing and another adoption on the way, I've been thinking about the question of 'What Makes a Mommy?' ... Do genes and DNA make a Mommy? Does providing the basic necessities of life make a Mommy? Does reading 'I Love You This Much' for the 500th time make a Mommy?

At what point did I become Mommy to Prince Caspian? He called me Mama almost from day one... not out of affection for me, he didn't even know me. But I was the closest thing to the closest thing he ever knew of a Mama... his foster Mom. Did I become his Mommy when I signed the paperwork saying I would take him into our home as a foster/adopt placement for 6 months? Did I become his Mommy when I lay down beside him for his naps so that he would know someone cared in this strange place? Did I become his Mommy when he started enjoying his baths? Did I become his Mommy when that gavel struck down and said he was legally mine forever?

I don't know the when or where. I just know it happened. One special day, his heart decided to really trust me. I'd love to claim that moment as my own and say I'm just a perfect Mommy. Hee... hee.. But the truth is, God chose to weave that love into both of our hearts. I know I'm different because of it.

If you have a few extra blog-reading minutes today, here is a great post from a 'cyber friend' who has adopted 2 girls. The Truth About Adoption is a worthwhile post to read.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What Kind of Flowers Grow in Your Garden?

With all of the Spring garden action going on around here (including much weed-growing), I've been pondering the topic of sowing and reaping on a regular basis. In fact, the card I bought for my Mom even had a 'growing' theme.

Am I sowing 'seeds of love' into the lives of our family members? Do I water these tiny seedlings with laughter and encouragement? Do I turn their little faces toward the Light, the source of all of our hope? Will I see God's bountiful harvest in their lives as they become parents and spouses?

Today was a very special day... my very first breakfast in bed. Alex worked hard this morning to make cherry pancakes, bacon and eggs. He brought me coffee and forced me to stay in bed to have my quiet time. This time was very meaningful as God really brought the above questions about sowing His seeds in our family. He also made something very clear to me regarding the look, feel and size of our family; but that is too much to share for this day.

After church, I spent the afternoon with my Mom, just the two of us. There were no little noses to wipe, no dirty hands to clean, no hungry mouths to feed, no tiny hand twisting my shirt into a security blanket, no tantrums and no tears. We had a ball ... and she graciously allowed me to pick out my own birthday present, a few shorts and blouses. I'd say I'm a lucky gal!

I finished my afternoon off with grocery shopping (saved over $100 for you bargainers) and headed home to a freshly cleaned car (rare thing for me out here in the sticks) and a tired hubby.

What a day!! How was yours? Did your precious wee ones shower you with their love? Did you hear the still, small voice of God saying 'Well done!' I hope so.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Smack Dab in the Middle of Life ...

As I sit here, firmly planted at my kitchen table with my morning cup steaming by my side, I realize that on so many levels I'm in the middle. Age wise, according to longevity studies, I'm quickly approaching the middle mark. Maturity wise, I'm 'somewhere in the middle.' And on a personal level, we are smack dab in the middle of a tumultuous job situation.

We are a one-income family, for the most part. My tidbits of legal work do not add anything of financial significance to our family. This places the financial burden completely on the shoulders of my ever-so-capable, strong and handsome Strapping Scotsman. He is one of those who stays with a job until the lights go out, so to speak. He works for a consulting firm in the pharmaceutical industry. Last week we found out that the client he consults with did not get their product approved by the FDA. It will be at least a year before this happens. Not good news. Consulting is a project-by-project gig. The consulting firm he works for does not have another project, they were banking on the one that did not get approved. Therefore, they can only promise Alex a job through the end of May.

We trust that this transition will be resolved and that it will be abundantly clear the direction we are to move. So far, Alex has considered and applied to jobs in Salt Lake City (shock to my system), California (we would live at a very different standard of living!), Denver (great idea!), Research Triangle area of North Carolina (Christy, I'd love to be closer so that our little ones could meet one another and play together!) and Maryland (where I lived as a child.) Could the Waits Family be on the move? Possibly. And yet, something could absolutely pop up right here in North Texas.

Please pray for us, as a family. Uncertainty with employment is not easy, as many of my closest friends know from personal experience. Please pray for Alex's stamina. May we all rest in the One who knows exactly where we will land and when.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and be concerned about this family. I'm so grateful to have this sounding board and mode of communication to the people we love most. It is in no way comparable to those one-on-one visits we enjoy; however, it beats the alternative!


Pride Posts Updated...

For those of you who have clicked through on the 'Pride' topic to my friend's blog, I don't think I gave the correct link to the 1st post; my apologies... here are the links to all 3, I do believe:

Thoughts on Pride - First Post
Recognizing Personal Pride - Second Post
Recognizing Personal Pride Part 2 - A Vertical Pride - Third Post

Blessings and may your pride be squelched today :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

It's a Bird, It's a Plane... No, It Must Be a Flock of Coupons!

The oddest thing happened to me on Wednesday. It was almost so surreal that I have to check myself and determine if it really happened.

I have come to love coupons. Thanks to Wendy, I'm back in the Grocery Game. I used to play the Grocery Game years ago with Bobo, Angi & Ally, but then it just became too complicated when I moved to the sticks. With soaring grocery prices and great encouragement from Wendy, I have officially hopped back on board.

Over these last few months of clipping coupons, I've amassed millions of these paper gems. I've saved our family hundreds of dollars on groceries which makes for a very happy husband. These millions of 'coups'
were neatly organized by shopping category in a pink, plastic organizer that travels with me to the grocery.

OK.... so, Laura, get to the story! Wednesday morning I had about 45.2 minutes to shop for groceries and make a few more stops before heading to pick up the two little guys. So, I jump out of my car with coups and purse under my arm. I still don't know how it happened. I've replayed it over and over again in my brain wondering just how strong that wind could have been to dislodge my grasp.

What I
do remember next is hours of work clipping coupons literally flying from my arms and filling the sky one by one. My hands could not move; I was absolutely helpless to prevent further loss. The coups quickly filed out of my organizer like little soldiers headed for the sky.

And then it was quiet. The storm passed and the damage was complete. After a survey of the disaster, it seems that only the 'household' coupons mutinied, while the paper goods and cereal coupons were happy to remain under my watchful care. I may note that the 'household' section was my largest and most important collection. Alas.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


The week of being a single Mom went fairly well... until the very last 24 hours. While I'd love to sit here and say that I was SuperMom, the reality is that I made mudpies out of most of Thursday. All week, I tried to do this dance of juggling toddlers, dirty diapers, fights between older siblings and capturing dust bunnies. Yet, when I took some time at the end of the days to contemplate, all I could remember was stepping all over everyone's feet.

I have a friend who keeps the wee boys for 3-4 hours per week for me. It is beyond description what this time does to renew. It has absolutely nothing to do with my love for them or my desire to spend almost every waking moment with them. It is simply recharging my batteries so that I can be a better Mommy. To those of you who 'have it all together' this may sound really weird. To those of you stumbling along this dusty path called Mommyhood, you know exactly what I mean.

I know, without doubt, that God did not intend for us to go it alone. Why do I attempt in my difficult moments to dig my heels in and go with me and God, without seeking encouragement and support from the godly people who surround me?

Why can't we be more transparent with one another? Do we think we will shake someone's faith by admitting that we aren't perfect? Truthfully, it is the exact opposite, I believe. To see someone, whose faith I respect and admire, struggle along grasping for God all the way just gives me the desire to draw near to Him all the more. Then, why didn't I pick up the phone and call someone? Hmmm... could it be that grandfather of all sins, pride?

I have to digress .... One really neat thing happened Thursday. I have made a friend via this blog named Gracie. She and I have exchanged many, many e-mail and much encouragement regarding fostering, adoption and faith. And yet, I've never heard her voice... until Thursday. When I came home from picking up the little boys, there was a message on my machine from Gracie!!! I called her back and we actually got to visit for a bit. I was absolutely shocked, tickled and very blessed. In the midst of my prideful moments, God sent a ray of sunshine.

My friend, Kerri, has written a series on pride on her blog. There are so many excellent points made within the 3 posts she has written so far on the topic. Here is the 1st post. My struggles last week absolutely stemmed from my pride... Friend, next time, you may be getting a phone call!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who, What, When, Where, Why & How

How did I get that picture of Baby Girl? Why did I? Who did I contact? I've had questions of all sorts about this topic and here is the short answer:

During the transition of Baby Girl from our care to the care of her permanent family, we were able to spend 2 hours with the family at Stonebriar Mall on Mother's Day 2007. Many of you know that her new family has two Mommies. This was God's challenge to us - can you love these women despite their personal choice that you disagree with?

These two hours were a time for this family to meet Baby Girl and for all of us to decide about the timetable for her transition. These women were very kind and gracious to us. They are foster parents and, at that time, were still waiting for the adoption of Baby Girl's brothers to be finalized. They were understanding of our feelings and made it clear that we could contact them any time we were ready to have updates on her, etc.

I find it sad that it took me almost a year to be 'ready' to see pictures of her with her new family. The grief process was much longer than I ever anticipated. But, as I mentioned in the last post, God was faithful to bring the grief to a conclusion. Suddenly, I found myself ready to see her and celebrate her life.

After hubby and I spoke extensively about the matter, I emailed one of the women this week. She was again very kind and gracious and sent me many pictures. She wanted to know all about our family and never even asked 'what took you so long?'

My feelings are all over the board here ... yet I really, truly feel such a profound sense of peace for her life and for ours. And as I've mentioned many times before, I look forward to seeing her again one day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Baby Girl Grows Up...

Do you recognize that cutie in the middle? It is our Baby Girl, today at 16 months old. I sit here with the biggest smile on my face and the greatest sense of peace about her life. God is good to give grief a conclusion, isn't He? It is also precious to see just how much alike these 3 look ... these are her brothers! I say a resounding Amen to this, don't you?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still In the Land of the Living ...

To blog or not to blog? Things are nutty with two toddlers; it is much different with another one walking about. My smiggens of time that used to be open for blogging are no longer. So, what to do?

Hmmm. I love to write. Sometimes I sort through issues by planning out a blog post. I've even printed off portions of the blog for Prince Caspian's baby book. How relieved was I to have my feelings on paper for him. And yet, if I cannot blog regularly, do I even continue?

I started this effort as a way to avoid mass e-mail to keep folks updated on our fostering journey. Today, there are rare times when I feel the need to update ... we have an adoption under our belts and one prayerfully on the way.

A dilemma, to be certain.

These days are full. So many things to appreciate; so many things to ponder; so many necks to hug and bottoms to wipe.

Here's hoping your corner of the world is sunny and your garden grows well, literally and figuratively speaking.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Delays of a Legal Sort

Yesterday was Little Boy Blue's supposed 'final hearing.' The DA was planning to terminate his birth Dad's parental rights. They cannot find this man; at one point, they thought he was incarcerated in Odessa. Now, he has disappeared. It is difficult to legally terminate on a missing person. There are many hoops to jump through to make sure 'legal notice' has been sufficient.

So, there was a mistake. One of the attorneys missed something on the citation that was published in the newspaper. The Judge is bound by the law to require proper notice. So, the Judge has put the termination hearing off until June 5; then the permanency hearing on June 13. The 90-day appeal period will not begin ticking until then. We are disappointed, no doubt about that. And yet, so what? So he's not ours until later this year ... does a date change anything about the way we feel? Absolutely not.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rollercoaster Day ...

Today was just plain weird. I cannot say it turned out to be a great day; nor can I say it turned out to be a horrible day. We had highs and lows and everything in between. There were points when I was about to be bald from pulling hair out to points where I sat quietly and planted seeds because I could do nothing else productive.

I have a very whiny toddler on my hands. He is teething, I think. (Let's give him the benefit of the doubt here.) He wants to be outside at all times. He cannot stand the thought of my paying attention to Little Mommy instead of him. (his brothers are fine objects of my attention; just not his sister) He wants to eat non-stop. (While I'm prone to exaggeration, I am not exaggerating here, I promise!) Oh, and he's approaching 2 in a few months.

So, really I should just be patient with him and allow him the freedom to move around, etc. But there's this pesky little, tiny thing called school that most days has to get done. Bother.

And, I have this itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny problem called impatience... actually, my lack of patience is an enormous problem. I keep going back to God every single morning
and He faithfully reminds me that His mercies are new every day... I can start over and try again with His help to be a better, more patient Mommy today than I was yesterday.

Happily, the day ended on a good note. Arriving at that end required several moments when I stopped school and changed direction. One such moment, I put everyone in a quiet spot, including me. One such moment, I sent an e-mail to a friend asking for immediate prayer. One such moment, I pulled out a book we bought Prince Caspian in honor of his adoption and read it aloud to everyone and just bawled my eyes out. (I can't remember the title right now, but I'll be sure to share it another time.) One such moment, I imagined myself on a sandy beach with my husband in Hawaii saying our vows and having utterly no idea that this would be the way it all played out.

You know what amazes me? My kids are so forgiving. I love that about them. They understand that we walk the same challenging road and they recognize that I, too, make mistakes. And they are so quick to apologize and say they love me no matter what. It is true that we learn much from our wee ones. If you doubt such wisdom, just come visit my home on any given day. You will see one family learning much about love and forgiveness.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen!

He is alive!

I awoke today feeling the weariness of a week of absolute craziness. Yesterday, I realized Easter was today! I felt like I was spiritually asleep in terms of what Easter means to me. 5:00 a.m. I awoke with a start. I wanted to go back to sleep so badly. Yet, something stirred within me to get my lazy self up and prepare for the risen Christ.

What a blessing ... I had an opportunity to read the stories of the resurrection in all 4 gospels before anyone got up. It was the perfect thing to get me back in gear and focus on the reason for this special celebration. Plus, it prepared me for the message that was to come when we went with my parents to their church. It was a convicting message that I more than needed to hear about sharing the 'good news' of our faith.

Guess what else happened today .... Little Boy Blue's 1st Birthday! Little Boy Blue is ONE today. What a fun day. I will admit though - making 2 of those cakes in one week was really trying on my patience. And to think that June now holds 4 family birthdays ... just makes me want to shriek and run for cover!

Finally, we have had the distinct honor of having Alex's cousin from London stay with us on and off this week. His funny stories, his french horn, his faith and his delightful accent have been a welcome to our Spring Break. And, as you can tell, he has HUGE fans in our family.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's a Boy!!

We have a new son!! A new, official male member of the family! It is official; he is ours... for keeps. We aren't just playing dress-up with him anymore.

The day started off VERY early... up at 5:00 a.m. and out the door at 6:00 a.m. Wee ones went straight from bed & jammies to car. Big kids and extra big kids got dressed up and began the 2 hour trek to Fort Worth, the town that gave birth to our Prince Caspian! Oh, first we dropped off Little Boy Blue at my friend, Theresa's house. Lucky lady... wee bairn all to herself for hours after he had a very difficult night.

We arrived at a beautiful, brand-new courthouse ready to go.

An interesting aside ... the court schedules all uncontested matters during a 30 minute time frame first thing in the morning. Uncontested included about 15 divorces and our adoption. A divorce takes literally 60 seconds. Sad, isn't it?

The Judge was just incredible. She immediately took hold of our Prince Caspian and made him feel like a true Prince Caspian. Special toys she kept tucked away for moments like these ...

She made us feel very special and very fortunate. Sweet boy had been waiting almost an hour and a half before our case came up. We were all feeling a bit weary, but the Judge gave us a huge energy boost!

Grandmom, Papa Jim & Granny Sally were there for the event, followed by a huge brunch at IHOP.

Back at home, we had a party ... complete with an Elmo cake! Bubbles and noise makers were provided by Covenant Kids.

My precious son, I cannot wait for you to look back on this day. I pray that you feel every ounce of love that our family poured out just for you today. You so deserve this special celebration!! Just 8 months ago today we found out we were chosen to be your family.

I go to bed tonight so tired, but oh so thankful! Sometimes I kiss those little chubby cheeks and I wonder at how I can ever thank God for such a gift; the gift of another son; the gift of you! Happy Adoption Day, Little Man!! Your Mommy & Daddy love you.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Photo Opportunity ...

Isn't he the cat's meow? I've been working this week to get a few special pictures of Prince Caspian to use for an adoption announcement. In addition, I'm working on his baby/adoption book. It is such a pleasure to revisit these memories and realize just how far we've come in a short 6 months. Enjoy these photos of my tiny boys... growing like little weeds!

Had to include this one of Gabey-baby, too!

A rare picture of Mommy with Prince Caspian ... why is it that I'm always on the other side of the camera??

Friday, March 14, 2008

What I'm Learning ....

Thank you so much for those encouraging comments and e-mail. Your words, friends, just encourage, encourage, encourage. I'm grateful for each one.

The meeting last night was lovely ... not a huge turnout, but very interested people came through the door. One local judge spoke about what she sees in her family court; a CASA volunteer explained how these volunteers help provide a broad range of services to foster children; Covenant Kids shared great information about the agency and their non-profit ministry; and one other foster Mom and I shared our stories. (Alex really needed to be at a baseball thing with Budding Author, so I went on my own.)

I was first-up and was able to share our story without tears ... surprise! The precious Mom after me made me cry with her words that were straight from the heart.

The most interesting thing about the entire night was that the audience was made up of primarily people over 45 years of age. Several attendees were of retirement age and had already completely raised their biological children and were seeking to foster. Don't you find that incredible? I do.

Lately, as we have contemplated what the future holds for us and fostering, one thing that continually comes up is our age. Why? Why are we so bothered by the fact that we are turning 40 this year and have young children? Is our vanity that large?

Our society certainly places a premium on youth; yet, we aren't supposed to operate by society's goals, right? Why am I bothered? Why when I look in the mirror do I see an aging, tired face and think 'Oh, we could never take any more kids.' That is just nonsense.

I was reminded last night of the faces of children waiting for homes. A reminder like this gets me contemplating a commitment to fostering for the rest of my life on earth. How? I don't know. It just makes no sense for a family who has been blessed with room and love to say 'no.'

The other foster Mom did say I'd stepped on her toes by what I'd shared about loving Little Boy Blue's Mom. I reminded her that by 'loving' I did not mean that I wanted to be his Mom's best friend or that I supported her bad decisions. It just means that I see clearly the bondage his Mom is in and I recognize her need for a Savior, just like me. I think it puts things into perspective. Not an easy proposition, by any means. But we are required to love, like it or not.

As always, I'm just walking one step by one step ... hoping God will shine the light on my path just enough for me to be able to step-up and not trip over the next stair.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Input Needed...

Thursday night we are sharing our fostering story for a foster parents recruitment event sponsored by Covenant Kids. The anticipated attendees are church-going people ... most of the advertisement was done through local churches.

We are both going to share for about 5-7 minutes each. I'm telling our experience and Alex is going to 'rally the troops' as he puts it. We are not supposed to focus upon Prince Caspian's adoption, but rather on foster-to-adopt in general.

So, with that background, I'd like for you to read what I've compiled and offer suggestions. Is anything I'm going to say inappropriate for the audience? Go gentle on me, now!

"The seed, the idea of adoption, was planted before either of our natural-born children arrived. When we were told that we might not be able to conceive, adoption became an exciting option. Ultimately, we did conceive, twice. We were and are thrilled to be parents of two healthy biological children, ages 7 & 4. As our family has grown and matured, it was as if a person or two… or even three, were missing. It wasn’t a sadness, or a reduced sense of happiness; just an odd feeling that those chairs at our table were meant for someone permanent.

In August of 2006, our hearts were convinced that we were to adopt a child through the Texas foster care system. So, we began training to be an ‘adoption only’ home. During training CK asked everyone ‘adoption only’ to pray about being a foster or foster-to-adopt home. God slowly began to show us that this was not about us … but about Him and His greater purposes. So, we agreed to be a foster-to-adopt home. A foster-to-adopt home accepts foster children who may end up being adoptable as their case progresses.

After much preparation, our home was officially licensed with CPS through Covenant Kids on Valentine’s Day 2007. What a day to start this amazing journey.

Two short days later we received our first placement, an infant girl who had been abandoned in Dallas. We loved her instantly. From the very second I saw her face, all of the doubt about my ability to love another child vanished. We nicknamed her and she quickly became a part of our everyday life …

The chances of her staying with our family were very, very high when no one came forward to claim her after 30 days, then 60 days… But God had other plans for her life and for ours. The surprise call came out of the blue…. Our precious baby girl had brothers. Two completely opposite responses surfaced almost immediately... First response - Praise God! Two brothers! Second response - No, it simply cannot be! We had it all planned out, we'd already decided on her name, her bedroom, her first car, where she would go to college... OK, so not quite that far. But we LOVED her. We drifted back and forth between these two responses until we finally just began to accept. We take the gift for what it had been, pure joy!

We had the unbelievable blessing of watching a child unfold; of witnessing the transformation of a little one reaching out to a family who desperately loved her. How could we even ask for more?

Was this our 'plan', our ideal situation? Absolutely not. But did we finally rest in peace after wrestling with God? Absolutely.

We began asking some big questions about our faith … 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 'guard our hearts' and only love in pieces? Or are we to love with our complete selves 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; yet, when we make statements such as the one above, are we really allowing God’s love to work in and through us?

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 us, as believers, to 'create' on their own.

So, the question we had to ask … can we allow God to lovingly work through us, trusting that He will ease the grief of letting go? In other words, do we really trust God with our hearts?

We did not jump back in immediately. We decided to provide respite care for other foster families… Respite is short-term care for foster children when other foster parents need a break of some sort. During our 2 respite placements, God showed us that we could feel the same intensity, the same depth of love for other children. We found out that our calling to be foster-to-adopt parents was really from God; the love we felt was His love toward these children.

Our next placement was a baby boy, Little Boy Blue. Even as they were bringing him through the door, I thought to myself, "what if I cannot do this again?" But there he was. The choice was already made. He was to be loved by me, at least for now.

With Little Boy Blue's case, we had an even more difficult proposition to consider - loving the 'someone else' who caused this child to be considered neglected, abandoned, abused and unloved. I do remember the very first night we had baby girl … my sweet husband was up all night worrying that there was a Mommy somewhere searching for her baby. You see, although she was abandoned in a very ugly place, my husband still believed in a mother's love...

So, how do you love someone who does this to a helpless, innocent, child? Just like we love any other person... Only with the miraculous, life-changing Spirit of God can we view people through His eyes and not our own.

For a time, Little Boy Blue had weekly visits with his Mom and extended family. I was not doing well in the area of loving his Mom.... I began to pray for God to peel back the layers of my own prejudice and judgment and allow me to see his Mom for who she was. And, God was faithful to do just that.

Every week for his visit, I would send pictures and a note written from Little Boy Blue to his Mommy. And, then one week, I received a note in return. Funny, when you put a face on someone and you read words of gratitude, it is very difficult not to sympathize and even 'like' that person. Brutal honesty, I did not want to like her. But I found that I sort of did... you see, she and I are connected by this precious baby. She gave this child life!

Even then, I did not desire to meet her in person. Never did I fathom that I could look her in the eyes and see a woman more like me than I ever imagined or wanted to admit. In fact, I remember saying to God that I could never actually do it, meet her I mean. And then, the letter came. CPS wanted us to meet with the caseworkers and his Mommy to discuss permanency plans. Unbelievable! The very one thing I did not think I could handle had come to pass.

Honestly, it turned out to be 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. She and I are both fallen human beings who have made poor choices and are in need of a Savior. It really became that simple. In her, I saw a Mommy's love shining through, I saw a heart and mind capable of so many things.

After that meeting, our prayers changed. We believed and still believe, without a doubt, that Little Boy Blue's Mommy can change and we believe in the One who can speak to her heart. We began to pray that she would see Him everywhere she turned and, believe it or not, as a family, we were actually praying that she would have a chance at getting him back.

That was not God’s plan. After a series of serious missteps, she relinquished her parental rights to Little Boy Blue just over a month ago, almost 9 months since he arrived at our house. While it is not certain that we will be able to adopt him, it is looking really, really positive.

But, the story does not end there. Shortly after Little Boy blue arrived, we were selected as the adoptive family for another little boy, our Prince Caspian. His parental rights had been terminated before we ever met him. When he came to live with us, we knew he was going to be a part of our forever family. His adoption will be finalized next Monday, on St. Patrick’s Day.

There is no doubt that we, as believers, are to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. For our family, that means physically doing the caring. For other families, it may mean something altogether different. That is what I love about God... we all have a different task and we are perfectly equipped to complete the task that He asks of us.

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 these children and will care for them? 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.

God has promised to be a Father to the fatherless; and He allows us to participate in this exciting task. Incredible.

This is my lesson... If God had pulled back the curtain and shown me what 2007 was going to look 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!"

Friday, March 7, 2008

10 short days ...

and Prince Caspian will be OURS!!! Just got the call from our attorney. St. Patrick's Day will have a whole new meaning for our family.... adoption. WOW.

Alex has decided to plant a magnolia tree in honor of Prince Caspian. That excites me ... to think that we will have fragrant, cream blossoms as a reminder of his precious life.

Funny aside. I was impatient this morning with my kiddos. During school, I had to take a Mommy break so that I didn't lose it on everyone. Also, our home phone was almost cut off because I forgot :) to send the bill in. As I sat in the kitchen swallowing spoonful after spoonful of Nutella, (ever try that yummy stuff?) the phone rang. It was the attorney. Quick way to make a Mommy feel remorseful, I'll tell ya that! Plus, I'm glad my phone wasn't disconnected.

We are so happy, we could burst! I cannot wait to show you pictures of the blanket my Mom is making for the newest member. Oh, and I want to do adoption announcements ... amidst the millions of other details

Filled with joy,

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hither and Yon

I've become a horrible blogger. Just lazy, I guess. Or maybe, could it be the sickness that pervades every square centimeter of our house?

Yesterday, we added another sickie to the ranks ... Last week, it was Prince Caspian with an ear infection, then Little Boy Blue with the same. I took a sore throat over the weekend which has turned into a nice viral infection. Today, I took Budding Author to our friendly family physician and he has the flu or strep or both.

Interesting aside ... we gave Budding Author his first dose of Tamiflu and he had a very weird halluncination-type thing happen. My trusty Fox News anchor told me this morning that other children have had psychiatric side effects to Tamiflu in Japan. So, we've decided to skip the Tamiflu and hope the antibiotic is what is needed.

How are you?? Anything exciting happening in your life that you might need to start a blog and share?

A few things to catch up on here:

Little Boy Blue is taking steps. Prince Caspian is perfectly on track with his speech and other developmental areas and does not qualify for ECI (yippeee). We weren't so oblivious after all!

I have many things cooking in my head to write about and not enough time to write... isn't that true of every area of our lives?

Until then,

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Celebrating Wendy ...

Have you ever met someone who just surprised the daylights out of you? Have you ever listened to someone's story and wondered 'could I ever do that?' Have you ever just stood, mouth gaping open, in disbelief at the strength of character of another human being?

That is how I view my friend, Wendy. And sometimes, when we are on the phone, I sit with my mouth literally open ... disbelieving.

Almost one year ago, Alex & I went to a mandatory training at Covenant Kids. Baby Girl had been with us a very short time and we had zero 'approved babysitters.' Baby Girl had to go with us. The 3 of us sat right next to Wendy.

Sometimes, I can be shy. I know it sounds really humorous; yet, it is true. There are times when I will sit for hours next to someone and pretend they aren't there while I'm engrossed in whatever I'm doing. I sat next to Wendy and hardly said 2 words.

She struck up a great conversation with me... asking all about beautiful Baby Girl. At that point, we were still in awe of the whole situation with her and just sure she would be ours. Wendy asked lots of questions and listened intently.

Wendy is a teacher at a private school in McKinney. She is single and young. (Anyone under 35 is young to me!). At the beginning of 2007, Wendy felt led to become a foster Mom. She is a person of deep faith. Here she sat in training with us as we oooed and aaaahed over Reese.

We left the training that night and didn't see her again until June at a CK evening at the Ballpark in Arlington. There is Wendy... and she is so friendly to us! She had just received her license as a foster Mom. We had just sent Reese to her new home. Boy, how quickly things change.

She was anxiously awaiting her very first placement. She was ready with car seats and a stockpiled pantry. By the end of that same week, Wendy had her first placement ... 2 boys ages 6 & 8, brothers, who had been removed in an emergency situation. She tells it in a funny way ... she got a call and a few short hours later they were all sitting around her kitchen table eating dinner. That was June of last year.

Fast forward ... these 2 boys spent the summer swimming, going to VBS, being baptized, starting a new school, experiencing Christmas and Santa for the very first time, meeting new friends and becoming attached to Miss Wendy. Wendy's class at school made a way for them to go to Sea World over Christmas vacation. What an experience they have had!

These 2 will be leaving Wendy next week. A relative placement has come through for them ... a blessing in many ways. And yet, can you even imagine the feelings of these 2 as they leave a place that has become 'home' to them? And Wendy, how will her life be forever changed?

I just needed to share her story... for so many reasons. When I look at Wendy, I am strengthened. She has done this alone, by herself, without the help of a husband. But, she has had the strength of her God, the calling that came from Him. And, she rests in His plan for these boys.

Do I dare to trust the Lord the way Wendy has? Do you?

Tell me, is that not the most beautiful picture of God's love that you've seen?

Be strengthened, my friend, Wendy. May these days be full of laughter and fun as these very precious lives open a new chapter. And may you rest in the arms of the One who called you to this very important task.

Final Hearing Date ...

A date has been set for Little Boy Blue's final hearing ... March 27th. Yipppeee. That makes the 90-day appeal time ending on June 27th. Great news for our family. It is very hard to believe that we will adopt 2 boys in 2008!

On another note, we have been asked to speak to prospective foster parents in the Sherman/Denison area about our experiences with CPS. The goal is to paint a very realistic picture of what foster-to-adoption is like for families who are entering this process. We are honored to do this for Covenant Kids. Our experiences have been very typical and will hopefully help someone with setting expectations.

It is interesting that they really don't want us to talk much about Prince Caspian's adoption because his situation was very atypical. Usually, children his age are adopted by their foster parents, so a straight adoption through CPS of a young child rarely happens. So, while we would love to talk about our Prince Caspian, he doesn't get to be the focus.

**Tune in later this week as I celebrate my fostering friend, Wendy, who is a single Mom whose faith sharpens mine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Picture is Worth ...

"Look Mom, No Hands!"

Any day now. It is coming, I feel it ... his first steps are rapidly approaching. Whew. I view this new thing with both excitement and hesitation. I've carried my camera around today so that I would be 'ready-Freddy' just in case the event took place. Here are a few shots of the crew ...

"Ooo, Ooo, Ooo, I Wanna Be Like You Ooo Ooo"

"Adam's Apple"

"Tickling the Ivories"

"What About Me, and Me, and Me?"

"Live!, Cooking with Prince Caspian"

Fun has many faces, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quiet Mommy Speaks...

For some reason, writing has been a bit slow for me this week. I feel like Tigger inside; yet, my voice sounds something like Eeyore. Interesting combo of personalities, huh?

Here is what is up in our world ...

1. It is V-Day! A day to celebrate luv, luv, luv. My sweetie of a hubby wrote me a poem in honor of the occasion. Funny thing, I never realized that he was a poet. And yet his sweet words were precious to me and too precious to share!

2. Today is the one-year anniversary of our becoming a licensed foster family. Yipppeee. I celebrated that aspect of the day by cautiously opening the nursery room closet and peering deep inside the depths to discover 3 huge black trash bags with baby girl clothes. A friend is having a baby girl and our church is great about rotating clothes. It is my turn to rotate.

So, I ventured in ... The rush of emotions simply blew me right off my feet. I found the sweetest clothes that I'd purchased for Baby Girl - a onesie that says 'I Love Daddy' and two onesies decorated with beautiful ribbon. These she never wore; we found out just days after I purchased these that she would be leaving. I also found the very special pink 'horsey sweater' that a church friend gave Baby Girl the day after she arrived in our home. And I found the purple soft bunting that looked so beautiful on her. And so on...

I sat and cried huge crocodile tears while my hubby and baby Prince Caspian looked on. Prince Caspian was confused. Alex was a bit emotional, too. It hit us both completely and utterly by surprise. That is how grief is, I guess. What should have been complete so long ago still lingers.

3. We have had millions of questions about what we plan to do next as foster parents. With circumstances as they exist right now, we feel led to do the following ... IF one of the boys has a future sibling, we would like to be the first family considered to adopt that sibling. Outside of that situation, we will take at least 6 months off after all adoptions are finalized and then we plan be a foster home for short-term infant placements. (According to Little Mommy, we are only taking baby girls.)

We simply cannot give up this license when there are many babies who come into the system for a few weeks waiting for extended family to pass a home study. Many families who want to take infants really want to adopt and are, therefore, not able to take short-term babies. We were that family one year ago. We would not have dreamed of taking a short-term infant placement.

So, here we have come completely full circle. The circumstances are so different on this side ... we have 2 boys to call our own. We can be a real 'foster family' now... after our break, of course.

Tah, Tah for Now! Or TTFN in Tigger-speak!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

As I Was Just Saying...

... in my last post how cute Prince Caspian's language development has become. Really, I had no idea that he may be truly delayed. Ouch.

Today, ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) was here to do therapy with Little Boy Blue. Due to Prince Caspian's 'neediness' he often participates in the therapy, too. Lucky Little Boy Blue. The therapist/LPC has subtly asked me questions for a few weeks about Prince Caspian's speech and lack of pronunciation. I did not pick up on any of the subleties. In my mind, he is perfect and Einstein, too, in case you were wondering.

Yesterday, my Mom asked me about his speech and I poo-pooed it and got out my 'What to Expect the Toddler Years' book and read about how individualized speech development is, etc.

Back to today... after Little Boy Blue's therapy, I asked the therapist outright what he thought about Prince Caspian's speech. He laughed and said he thought he needed a referral for ECI. He said he had wanted to say something more direct to us for several weeks, but did not want to overstep his boundaries and make us upset.

We are in no way upset. To the contrary. We understand (on some level) that this child has been exposed to toxic substances, has been moved 3 times in the foster care system and may have some issues as he grows. We are his champions and will 'go to the mat' to get him the services and resources that he needs to thrive and develop properly. All we need is information and we are off.