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.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Year of Prince Caspian

How unbelievably coincidental is it that our Prince Caspian, will be adopted in the year that the Chronicles of Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, is released! In fact, the movie will be released in May, just 2 short months from his A-Date.

The first Narnia movie, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, was, in my estimation, a movie masterpiece. As I sit reminiscing, I can this moment feel the adrenaline rush of the battle scene. The forces of good versus the forces of evil... yet, I know who wins. The music, stirring every nerve within me. The goodness and strength of Aslan who arrives at the perfect moment. How can it be topped from a cinematography standpoint?

While the Christian allegorical application of the Chronicles of Narnia is not exact, precise or even meant to be so, the stories were nonetheless written by one Christian thinker to whom I owe a large 'thank you.' C.S. Lewis got me seeking; a huge feat in-and-of itself. Seeking leads to things, you know. And, if you seek, you will find.

Prince Caspian, our Prince Caspian, is a delightful fellow. His words are multiplying rapidly, yet still garbled. I love this age ... where the intimacy of family allows for communication which to outsiders appears as just mumbling. It is a secret language, understood only by those standing in the inner circle. How I rejoice to be in his inner circle! My favorite current word of his is 'nose' ... it comes out as a country boy 'nooooooouuuuuusssssss.'

I do grow weary of his whining these days. A reminder about 19 month olds is always welcome my way. While his words multiply, they cannot quite keep up with his brain as it seeks to communicate; hence, the whining... for the most part. Some whining just stems from wanting to be and do what big brother and sister do with Mommy during school hours. So, we make adjustments.

And in a mere 16.25 years, I'll be dreaming of my own Prince Caspian and how the years flew by. May my tired Mommy eyes stay open for the entire ride.