Thursday, January 31, 2008

Loving Little Boy Blue

The day began early, early at 2:30 a.m. with my mind reviewing all of the endless possibilities of the upcoming hours. I did not realize how much this day would weigh on both Alex and me.

With Prince Caspian, we were spared all of this. By the time we heard anything about him, both parental rights had been terminated. We never met his biological Mom or Dad. We did not walk in the precarious position of loving-and-letting-go with him. It is beautiful to be able to feel confident in our future with Prince Caspian. With Little Boy Blue, we have borne the ups and downs while, thankfully, he has been blissfully unaware.

We left our house an hour and a half before the court time. (the drive is typically only 45 minutes) On 380, we encountered two very bad accidents and quickly found ourselves hurtling through the countryside, late, to the very thing we have anticipated for so many months. To top it off, we got lost.

Fortunately, the court was back-logged and our timing turned out to be a blessing to us, as well as to Little Boy Blue's Mom. Is it not funny how what we think is the enemy slowing us down, is actually God giving a tidbit of grace to another Mommy's heart??

She decided to relinquish her parental rights to Little Boy Blue.

If we had been there 5 minutes earlier, we would have been in the courtroom when the guards brought her in and we would have had to witness another human being's deepest hour. I am grateful that she was able to be with her family in the courtroom without our distraction.

We were then brought in the courtroom for the admission of evidence relating to the Great-Grandmother and Grandfather. The testimony revealed new information to us; information about abuse on all levels, information about family dysfunction and information that allowed us to see God's hand in removing this one baby from these cycles.

I hurt. My tears are unending for Little Boy Blue's Mommy. My tears are unending for what her life growing up must have been. I cry a river of thankfulness for this baby's life.

We also found out that CPS has located his birth Dad. He is incarcerated in Odessa and has 6 children. The attorneys are working to terminate his rights. And, then the 90 day appeal/intervention period begins. We continue down this long and winding road, one baby step at a time...

For this moment, I just look to tomorrow. Tomorrow Little Boy Blue has a good-bye visit with his Grandfather and Great-Grandmother. The Great-Grandmother is really pushing us, through an attorney, to allow future visits. We are absolutely sticking to our guns on this one. I cannot imagine a situation where it would be in his best interest to continue a relationship. We will always be open with him, and Prince Caspian, about the beauty of adoption and the gift that their biological Moms both gave them. The revelation of additional information will come as they mature appropriately, and not before.

I pray that Little Boy Blue's Mom finds rest. I pray that she knows peace. I pray that she will find Him and He will change her.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Big Day is Thursday!

12 hours and counting down. The trial is on schedule for tomorrow morning. It has been moved to another court due to a continuing trial. I'm going to assume that the new judge will hear all of the information and be prepared to stand in the shoes of the old judge. Please God, let this be the case.

We've gotten wind that the Great-Grandmother is seeking ongoing visitation for herself and Little Boy Blue's Mom in exchange for Mom's relinquishment. We are NOT on board with this. We do not think this is in Little Boy Blue's best interest. Thankfully, his attorney 100% agrees with us.

I do not know what we are facing tomorrow. This I know; regardless of how relieved we will be to see one more phase of this completed for Little Boy Blue, I still feel a lingering sense of sadness for his Mom.

We are relieved that it does not appear that we will have to testify. I did not relish the thought of being 'in her face' about him. Now, I can concentrate all of my energy on keeping the tears at bay. I do not want to cry - happy or sad tears - in the midst of these people who are suffering.

Will you pray for all of the parties involved? It is not going to be an easy day for any of us.

Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Crown Without a Princess ...

No, I'm not a princess or a queen, much to my dismay. It isn't actually that type of crown to which I refer. I have put off dental work now for over 8 months. The idea of a crown was not delightful to me; in fact, the idea was downright frightening. It has been 30 years since I've had any type of dental work. So, I just decided there was no way I really needed a crown, right? The dentist was just pulling my leg, right?

Actually, as the months past and I blatantly disregarded professional advice, I realized I needed 2 crowns instead of 1. Approaching 40 years of age brings so many delights, doesn't it?

Yesterday morning, my mother-in-law came down to watch the brood and I headed to the dentist. I can think of at least 2.4 million other things I'd rather do with a morning without children than where I was headed. Could I bolt and sneak off for coffee and donuts and forget the entire thing? I so wish I had more of that personality.

So, I spent 2.5 hours in a dental chair while someone cheerfully ground away at my teeth and then left with what felt like an enormous bottom jaw. Oh, happy day!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventuring with God ...

Our Pastor and his wife, Kerri, are special friends of ours. They love the Lord and have always listened closely for His call in every area of their lives. Today, they announced to our church that they will be answering His call in accepting an appointment as missionaries to Caxias do Sul, Brazil. Big news for our church family. Big news for the Waits family, too.

Almost 4 years ago, when we moved out to the sticks, our biggest concern was finding a church home. We prayed and prayed and the first church we visited was Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship. We never visited another church.

Our church is a unique place. I would say that our congregation is made up of 'serious Christians.' By that, I don't mean serious people. We laugh and cut up more than most. (Remember that Chili Cook-off win by yours truly with the Gillespie handmade trophy!) But, we are all seeking to be closer to God. These people are the real deal in a world of imitations. And, at the helm, is our Pastor and his family. He is our teacher and the founder of this church.

So, it is with both sadness and excitement that we share in their news. We rejoice at God's mighty work in their family. They are facing an entire year of learning Italian AND Portuguese; no small task. I'll tell you this; they will be prayed for by their church family here in North Texas. Our prayers will be many on their behalf.

Please visit their blog, Adventuring with God. Go back and read how God has called this family gradually at some points and not-so-gradually at others. Share in their excitement and anticipation. And, if He speaks to your heart, join their prayer support. You will be blessed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One Giant Step Forward ...

As I was sitting here typing an e-mail about how our lack of information on Little Boy Blue's case is driving me crazy, I received an e-mail from our caseworker. She did not get to come for the visit today and instead sent her assistant to view LBB and make sure he was in one piece.

The caseworker's e-mail was fabulous news for our family. Termination trial is set for next Thursday. Assuming the termination happens, there are NO family members willing to take him on a permanent basis!!! NO family members. While that is a very sad thing, we are elated! We have moved up on the list to #1 at this point.

There is always the possibility of a relative intervening during the appeal time (90 days after termination). Yet, this is unlikely.

More information - Little Boy Blue's grandfather wants him to stay with us. He has expressed appreciation for our care and feels like Little Boy Blue belongs here. We are very willing to provide the Grandfather and his Mother, LBB's Great-Grandmother, with pictures and letters. The logistics of protecting our privacy still must be worked out.

Can you believe it?? This precious little one who we have imagined and dreamed to be ours is likely going to be ours. What an indescribable gift.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hello, Mr. Darcy ...

If you love Jane Austen and/or Masterpiece Theater, you will get excited by 'The Complete Jane Austen' series that is showing on PBS through April 6th on Sunday evenings. Tonight is Northanger Abbey at 8 pm central. Of course, my all-time favorite Jane Austen is Pride & Prejudice, and I specifically love the Masterpiece Theater version.

Have you ever watched Pride & Prejudice with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson from 1940? Personally, I like the costumes and sets to be at least semi-accurate to the time period setting of the story. I felt like I was watching the musical Oklahoma for British literature fans.

So, grab a cup of Earl Grey and enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Will We Trade Our Dreams For His?

"Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me ....

Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle?"
- Casting Crowns - 'Somewhere in the Middle'

Music stirs me. Music touches the deepest parts of my soul. Music speaks to me. Or maybe I should say, I believe God speaks to me through music.

Casting Crowns is one of my favorite groups of songwriters. In reality, they are poets. I've shared another of their songs on this blog ... one about how a life can crumble gradually. It speaks to me about the need for me to act with sensitivity in relation to Little Boy Blue's Mom.

The song 'Somewhere in the Middle' has played over and over in my car as I've driven the 3 miles down the farm-to-market road toward our home. I've asked myself over and over and over 'am I caught in the middle?' Sometimes I'm resting in His peace while other moments I'm caught up in the details of living in our world. You can listen to the song by clicking below.

Will I trade my dreams for His? This line pierces me. My dreams are my dreams. His dreams are something much more challenging. The path to His dreams causes me discomfort. Yet, my dreams only result in quests for more self-fulfillment. His dreams, while difficult, change me. If I'm unwilling to change and grow at God's prodding, what purpose is there for me?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One Life, One God ...

My Mom brought an outstanding video over for us to watch yesterday. It was called 'Indescribable' with Louie Giglio. He spoke on the absolute vastness of our universe and the enormity of our God. I absolutely recommend this video. You can see a tidbit of the it here ... I was so grateful of the chance to be reminded of just how small we are and how really powerful and huge is our God.

Our Pastor recently spoke about the power of one... one human life working in conjunction with one very big God. This 'One' idea has really stuck with me. He reminded us that one person, doing what God has called him or her to do, with God's help, can make a difference. It doesn't have to be a huge difference; it can be the difference for just one.

I've written in the past about the difficulties of 'closing our doors' to more children knowing that there are so many more waiting. I know that God knows our limits and has it all laid out. I also know that this burden we feel may lead us to very different ministries involving children, very different from foster care and adoption.

One person with One great and mighty God ... Astonishing!


Friday, January 11, 2008

A Step at a Time...

Little Boy Blue's visit today went well... the transporter said he laughed and played the entire time. She also said that the family is coming to terms with the fact that he may not end up with them. They asked whether (if we got to adopt him) we would be willing to communicate with them and maybe allow visits. Alex and I have talked about this at great length.

We are open for discussion of visits, maybe once per year. We would gladly send lots of pictures and welcome any pictures and letters from their end. Everything would have to go through a middle person to protect the privacy of our family and Little Boy Blue. This may sound crazy to some of you.

I'm obviously speaking very prematurely ... just laying it out there in the 'what if' category. A woman can't help but hope, can she?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

All in a Day's Living...

Yesterday afternoon, I thought myself prepared. It was that time again... doctor visits for the little boys. Prince Caspian's 18 month check-up and Little Boy Blue's 9 month. And I, once again, scheduled them back-to-back. Why do I do this to myself?

Side note ... Prince Caspian's immunizations are just a mess. He was in 2 foster homes; the first, provided zero records on whether he had 2 week or 2 month shots. The second, provided us with a shot record including 4 month shots and 12 month shots and nothing else. We love his second foster family. They are wonderful and obviously have their hands full with 7 kids at a time. So, after repeated requests to the former pediatrician's office for a complete records, we end up with the same information... we will have to start over.

Additionally, we recently received copies of Prince Caspian's birth records ... why weren't these provided in our initial file?? We discovered some information within them that require him to have blood work ... his Mom has Hepatitis C. This disease can remain dormant in children ... attacking without much notice. There is less than a 10% chance for it to have passed to Prince Caspian; nevertheless, we really would have liked to have had this information earlier. It would not have changed our decision by any means. If for some reason he does test positive, he could have future Medicaid benefits available that would not have been available if he were completely healthy. Follow that?

Back to the visit. Gratefully, Little Mommy wanted to go with me ... get this, she wanted to comfort them after their shots. I told you she was a Little Mommy.... complete with the nagging, hands on the hips and also a sensitive, protective nature toward these two. Thank you, God!! Little did I know how much I would need her help.

We hauled the double stroller out, a side-by-side one which barely fits through any door. We (I) filled out reams of Medicaid paperwork and wait. We move back into the exam room and Little Boy Blue begins to scream... and the screaming does not cease until we get back in the car almost 2 hours later... Weigh and measure the two littlest and wait some more. Waiting seems much longer when a child is unhappy. Where is Barney when you need him? So, there I sit with two half-naked boys (one exercising his vocal chords), a double stroller, a Little Mommy and a Big Mommy in a very small exam room... waiting.

The exams went fine and it was decided that both were also required to have TB tests and flu shots, since they are officially 'wards of the State of Texas.' So, we wait while the sweet nurses prepare all of this paraphernalia.

Little Boy Blue's shots went fine - he was upset anyway, so what are a few shots??

When the two nurses tried to take Prince Caspian's blood, they discovered that his chubby arms hold 'rolling veins' ... too much fat around those veins to be able to stab them with a needle properly. Thus begins the most miserable 20 minutes of my life. I try to hold him down while they literally dig around in his arm as he wails and writhes like a wounded animal. Meanwhile, Little Mommy is trying to get a peek at the action while comforting Little Boy Blue in the stroller who is also writhing and begging to be removed.

They tried Prince Caspian's other arm and blew a vein without getting enough blood for the test. The nurse looks at me and says 'Are you sure you want this test done?.' OK... Hepatitis C often requires a liver transplant in a young child. YES, I want the test done. However, I'd rather come back another day after my child has a chance to re-bond with me and be reminded that I am nurturing rather than torturous.

I believe my rescuer, my husband, will take the boys back tomorrow afternoon to have their TB tests read and attempt to locate a steady vein. Yes, I'm a chicken!

And for those of you who often ask, 'How do you do it?' ... You can see, often, I don't. But I sure keep on pluggin' ... Lori, my question to you is 'How did you do it with twins?' People do it all of the time, with multiples. But how?

I felt like a wrung-out, wet washcloth. Come to think of it, I still feel that way :) ... just kidding. I'm recovered from yesterday's trauma and just pray that my Strapping Scotsman has a better go at it tomorrow!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Big Year for Little Boy Blue...

When I think about this year, I've realized that the person who has the most at stake this year in our current 'family' is Little Boy Blue. Prince Caspian is settled. Yes, his adoption will officially take place in March - a huge celebration.

But itty-bitty is the one who has the decision of a lifetime being made for him this year. We received news today that the termination trial starts on January 31st. Little Boy Blue has one more visit with his Grandfather and Great-Grandmother this Friday. They will be bringing a list of relatives who want a home study done to be considered as his permanent family. We are absolutely the back-up plan ... which is a better place to be than no consideration at all, right?

We really are trusting that the very best will happen for Little Boy Blue's life. The thought of letting him go pierces me; and yet we've known all along that either his Mommy or a family member were the first and second choice.

Thank you, thank you, dear friends for praying and loving this baby boy. I know how many hearts will break with ours if we have to say good-bye. Yet, because of the many people we know are praying, we will rest in the answer.

You, each of you, are a blessing to this family. It is so wonderful to walk beside all of you in this life.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dreaming of a Garden

Today has just been breath-taking... this beautiful, warm day was unexpected. And I've enjoyed every minute of it!!

Before the sun ever even came up, I was poring through my favorite seed catalog, Seeds of Change, and circling the 'must-haves' for our garden this year. I drained my coffee cup completely and was wistfully hoping for a few more minutes of browsing when everyone popped into the kitchen. Good morning world!

Alex surprised me by taking Prince Caspian and doing all of our grocery shopping for the week. Since our school kicks off on Monday, he knew that I would have a lot to cram in along with the shopping. I'm a really happy Mommy at this moment. His selflessness allowed me to plant 200 bulbs with Little Mommy and almost finish organizing my 'teacher stuff.' Thank you, Alex!!!

So, back to the garden... we have a HUGE area tilled up that Alex is going to fence in this year. I'm dreaming of climbing beans, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers... and so on.

And then we have the peach orchard that gets better each and every year. When we first bought this place, the peach trees were very thirsty! It has taken several years to get them on track and this is THE year... I just feel it!

Last year, Alex found free grape vines which produced a bit last year and promise to deliver even more grapey goodness this year. The strawberry patch should be ready to knock my socks off this Spring!!

I'm also dreaming of what to do with all of the harvest!! I always do this ... I realize I shouldn't be counting my harvest before it is planted... yet, I must have a goal in mind. So, come Fragaria, Lycopersicon and Cucumis! And, welcome Spring... we are patiently waiting!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year, Baby Girl!

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Dear Baby Girl,

It is that day where the new year peeks like magic over the horizon! The hope, the plans, the dreams. I remember one year ago so vividly. It was the time before you ... In those days, not so long ago, we hoped, we planned and we dreamed. Funny, we were so naive about our plans to adopt.

Last January, we prayed diligently about the child who would join our family. In February, you came. Our hearts were forever changed. You awakened within us a love for children without. You stirred a fire within us for children abandoned. You introduced us to the simplicity of love for children needy. Thank you.

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How are you, mi hija? I have no doubt that you are being loved and protected by your two big brothers. You are very lucky - every girl needs a big brother to look out for her! Are you walking around on those tiny feet? Is your hair long enough to put in a bow? Did you love Christmas? Did Santa bring you a special treat?

Much has happened since you left... not just one more child, but two have come our way. Budding Author & Little Mommy are as wonderful to these two boys as they were to you. It has been one of the very best years of our lives.

For you, on this New Year's Day, I pray:
  • That you will come to know the depth of God's great love for you;
  • That you will grow to be a healthy, happy young lady;
  • That you will cherish what you have of your family;
  • That our paths might just cross again one day, here or in eternity.
Baby Girl, your little life accomplished much for God in this family. You changed us. You changed me. There is a place in my heart that will forever have your name written all over it. My time with you was a very special gift from God.

May God hold you, dear one, in the palm of His loving hand.
Your Foster Mommy