Our journey

Two years ago today, Jeremy received a phone call in the middle of a shift at work. It was the call we had been waiting for–a placement. We were asked to take a placement of six month old twins. We were suppose to only be licensed for one (hadn’t even received the license yet) but we were told they would file a waiver and rush the final step of our approval process for the license.

My husband eagerly said yes.

I was two months pregnant.

He called me after he accepted the placement. We were beyond excited. After all, this is what were waiting for.

We were foolish, oh so foolish.

I rushed home to help Jeremy suddenly prepare for two babies with the reality of what we were doing not sunk in. Jeremy was running around like his head had been chopped off borrowing an extra car seat, crib, and going to the store to buy bottles and formula.

What else did babies need? Oh right, diapers.

We called placement because we didn’t know the size diapers that were going to be needed and placement had no idea. Jeremy was also on the phone with a local organization to help foster parents (4 Kids of Tampa). They were going to bring clothes for a six month old girl and boy as well as bring a variety of size of diapers.

The panic had still not set in yet.

We both made it home and began setting up the extra crib and washed bottles. A representative from 4 Kids showed up at house with clothes and diapers. Then the waiting game began…

We received the phone call about placement around 2:30 and the twins showed up around 5:30. We saw CPS and the transporter pull up in front of our household and we both went out to meet our newest members.

I remember them pulling little man out of the van and placing him in my arms. Tears came to my eyes because I had no idea what had causes this precious little human to be needed to be in my house. I hugged him and he just stared at me with wonder. Jeremy grabbed H-bug and she just smiled. She has always been that smiling child.

We made our way into the house and signed our custody letters and looked through the yellow jacket. The yellow jacket is a folder that has all their information in it–their social, a picture of them for identifying purposes, results from their trip to the doctor (foster children are always seen by a doctor when they are taken into custody), and the custody letter. We were handed 2 backpacks that had a tiny can of formula in each of it (the twins were on different brands), one diaper, and one outfit. Little man’s backpack also had a nebulizer inside and medicine.

I asked about the nebulizer and they told us how often it needed to be administered and then they left. Jeremy and I looked at each other and said, “Now what?”

We laughed because we had no idea what to do with 2 six month old twins.

We took the twins outside and began documenting how the twins looked. I googled how to use a nebulizer in order to ensure I was going to do it correctly.

Thank goodness for google.

We came back inside and began  looking through clothes that 4 Kids brought us and picked out pajamas. By this time it was nearly 7 and we began getting the twins ready for bed.

I gave little man a nebulizer treatment, he wasn’t a fan.

H bug just stared at us and smiled.

They were unable to sit up on their own so we just sort of held them.

By this time Jeremy began holding little man and I took over h bug. We changed them and fed them their bottles and laid them in their cribs.

We were so naive.

We were lucky–they went right to bed. I am sure they were exhausted. Their entire world had been changed and they couldn’t even communicate.

After they went to sleep, Jeremy and I began talking with each other and the overwhelming responsibility began to set in our brains.

At this time ,we had no idea how long they would be with us. We had no idea what our future would hold with them.

I clearly remember discussing with Jeremy how heartbroken this mother had to be. I cried thinking about what she had to be going through on this night without her children.

I prayed.

I got on my knees and prayed for this woman I had never met. I prayed for Jeremy and I being able to raise her children forever how long it was to be.

I cried.

I worshiped God.

Fast forward two years….

The twins are still in foster care. I have no idea how long they will be in foster care. I have no idea if we will be able to adopt them this year. Trust me, if I knew I would be shouting from the rooftops.

I do know this…

This is a calling.

The case is 2 years old.

We are on our 3rd FDS (family development specialist).

We are on our 4th case manager (yep just got a brand new one last week).

We love the twins.

My daughter loves the twins.

My life has been irrevocably changed. Forever.

 

Advertisements

Life changing dates

January 31st is a day that I don’t think I can ever forget. It was a day that was a last ditch effort before truly just resigning myself to never being able to have a biological child.

2012…

The prior 4 years of trying to conceive a child were filled with heartache, questioning, and worthlessness. It was painful.

I remember a couple of weeks before while I was on Winter Break at my friend’s house where she told me she was pregnant with her second child and my heart dropping just a little more. I was beyond thrilled for her but at that same moment I was trying to swallow the idea of never having a biological child.

The prior week I had been to see the doctor to monitor my ovulation and to see if I would finally be able to an IUI. January 30th I woke up and tested and it was positive. I called the doctor and they wanted me to come in on the morning of the 31st for my IUI.

I clearly remember waiting in the waiting room and I was wrecked with nervousness. My bitterness started to seep to the surface and the begging/pleading for this to work. I went home after receiving the IUI and thinking this has to work.

The next two weeks were beyond slow moving. I had random signs that made both Jer and me hopeful but at the same time I didn’t want to become too hopeful.

I remember going to my friend’s daughter 1st birthday party and I was actually starting to believe I was pregnant (hopeful) on February 12.

On February 14th I woke up and tested. I remember screaming to Jer that there were two lines. Two lines..two lines. Beyond excitement as I called that same friend at 6am and practically shouted the news on her voicemail.

Pregnant..finally.

January 31st and February 14th have amazing meaning to me. Those dates came so long after so much heartache and pain. Those dates are joyous to me.

So here I sit two years later and the question that pains my heart in new ways is the question if we will have anymore biological children.

Seriously?

It took us 4 years to finally conceive Adalynn and you want to know if we want more?

Seriously?

Well the answer is YES.

Is it possible?

Anything is possible with God. At the same time I am trying to prepare my heart that may not be my story. It may not be my story to ever have another biological child. I don’t think I am okay with that yet, and honestly I am not sure I will ever be.

I loved being pregnant–loved it.

I didn’t have my ideal birth with the need for an emergency c-section. I would love the opportunity to have VBAC.

However, I also am realistic that these things may never happen.

Jeremy and I both want more biological children, it is still a painful subject. It still hurts.

So I beg of you to never ask if we want another biological child when we accept more foster children into our home. Honestly, you will just be breaking another piece of my heart away. I cannot have children at the drop of the hat and I am heartbroken over it.

I don’t think I am resentful anymore. I don’t think I am angry anymore. I just know this is my story.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for my precious Adalynn and the twins. I love them and wouldn’t want it any other way. I know I will love whatever future foster children come into our house. I will and I am not sorry for my story. My story is my story and it has made me the way I am.

I am lucky because I do have a biological child. I have foster children. I have a full life.

Trust? Huh, what is that?

I am trying to put into words the emotions of the past two days.

Heartbreaking

Heavy heart

Tears

Dread

Disbelief

Prayer

God

Confusion

Miracles?

Holding my breath

Could it be?

Really?

Huh?

He said, she said.

These words float within and out of my head as I think of the past two days. Can I really elaborate more about what is going on in our lives? Nope. Does that stink? Yep.

Foster care, case plans, case managers, and justice system make my head spin. My head spins because we woke up yesterday thinking one thing and that afternoon our hearts were instantly broken. We went to bed with determination and on our knees in prayer. We woke up this morning trying to find a way to cope through this hot mess. This afternoon we received a phone call and now another 180 degree turn.

I am so confused.

I am hurt.

I am hopeful.

At the end of the day, I have to learn trust God on this one. Trusting God can be difficult on something so big that we want control over. Control, a funny word. We so desperately crave it but it brings just more stress.

I have to learn how to let go and trust God. I have to take a deep breath and turn it over. A struggle in my life.

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who [a]wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will [b]mount up with [c]wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. -Isaiah 40:28-31

I am working on this verse.

Please continue to pray our family.

Foster Care Guarantees

As we have been spending the past couple weeks preparing to renew our license for foster care. So many thoughts and emotions press on my soul. Foster care is not for the faint heart.

Foster care is heartbreaking.

Foster care is rewarding.

Foster care is my calling.

Foster care makes me want to scream at the top of the lungs.

Foster care brings immense joy to my soul.

We are discussing changing our license to 3. We want to touch more lives. We also have to face a harsh reality that this current placement may not last to adoption. Any future placement may not turn into adoption.

People ask all the time, “How do you do this? How can you stand the thought of giving them back?”

Seriously? Is this easy? N-O!

The idea of handing back children who were taken from their homes for a reason is terrifying. I am suppose to have faith in the court system. Well, boy oh boy, I do not.

I have to have faith in God. I have faith that God will somehow mend my heart for those goodbyes. I have faith that God will see me through the ending of a placement and/or a new placement.

There are absolutely no guarantees the twins will stay with us or that any foster child will stay with. I don’t think I am okay with, well I am definitely not okay with it. Regardless it is what I signed up for.

The one guarantee that I can count on is God. Jeremy and I pray constantly for the twins and their future–regardless of what that future will be.

 

 

Gift giving

As a parent there is a brand new level of excitement over Christmas time when you have toddlers in the house. Last year was A’s first Christmas and it was wonderful don’t get me wrong. This year is a whole new world.

Little man, H bug, and A are precocious toddlers who are wandering around and get excited over the littlest things. This year Christmas morning is bringing such excitement that I can barely wait until it comes.

The hubs and I decided last year after going a bit over board on Christmas that we wanted to become very purposeful in our gift giving at Christmas.

The hubs bought A a Dr. Seuss book last year and wrote a beautiful inscription inside the cover of the book. He has decided that he would buy her a Dr. Seuss book each year and write inside the cover for her a little note. It is a beginning of a tradition.

I had a slightly harder time coming up with my special gift to A, I just bought her an ornament. As I spent the past year thinking what could my gift each year be, it  hit me. I have decided to make a photo book documenting each year of A’s life. Her first photo book is from birth to her first birthday.

We are doing the same sentimental presents for the twins as well for however long we have them. I made H bug and little man a book documenting the moment they came in our lives at 6 months until their 2nd birthday. The hubs bought the twins their own Dr. Seuss book and wrote beautiful inscriptions to them.

We decided those are our sentimental gifts to the kids.

We decided last year that we would buy the kids one big gift (or three smaller gifts that would cost the same as a big gift). The twins are only 13 months older than A and we decided if we did purchase a big gift all 3 would have great use out of it. We ended up getting 3 smaller gifts for the kids–toddler quads.

We also have stockings that just have some randomness inside them. That is it.

Boy, oh boy, has it been hard. I want to buy more. It has been very difficult to restrain ourselves but so far so good.

This is how we choose to celebrate….

I remember when I first was married and my husband worked at a church in Brooksville something very profound struck me. It was Christmas time and we were talking about Santa Claus with some of the other adults. This one woman stated she wished she never told her children about Santa because when her daughter found out he wasn’t real the little girl asked, “Since you lied about Santa were you lying about God?”

This really struck me inside and stuck with me–I was convicted. It was in that instant we decided we would not teach Santa to our future children. It was a very personal decision and one that  I know many people do not agree with in any shape or form. Many people think we are robbing our children out of the magic of Christmas. I disagree.

I don’t mind Santa. I don’t mind him in the same instance that I don’t mind cartoons. My children watch Disney Jr. and love Walt Disney World. I just don’t want my children to be taught that some fictional character is who brings them their Christmas presents under the tree.

My husband and I are very purposeful with the gifts underneath our tree, we spend a lot of time and thought behind the gifts. I want my children to know that we picked them out. 

I don’t want my children to agonize over being on the naughty or good list. I want my children to experience Christmas with joy and not wondering if they will be getting coal in their stocking. I want my children to be taught the story behind Christmas and learn about Jesus. I want my children to learn about a Savior who forgives unconditionally regardless of a naughty list.

I know I cannot escape Santa at Christmas and I have no intention of escaping it. At the same time you won’t see my children making up a letter for Santa Claus. Do I have all the details worked out yet? Nope, not in the least bit. Who does though?

Do I think your a bad parent or a bad Christian for doing Santa Claus? Absolutely not. Who am I to judge you? Will I tell your children there is no Santa? Absolutely not.

This is how I choose to celebrate Christmas with my children. This is my family’s very personal choice. A choice that I am well aware many do not make (or agree) with for their family.

1st Birthday Party

Today I celebrated my beautiful daughter’s first birthday! It was exciting, bittersweet, and lovely.

We decided to have her party at Gymboree–its one of her favorite places to play at. We kept with an owl theme. I have fallen in love with the website Birthday Express for my party decorations. We ordered the twins decorations as well as Adalynn’s from the website. Since the party at Gymboree was to only be 90 minutes long and with 30 minutes in the party room, I chose to do light snacks (veggies and fruit) and cake pops to keep the eating to a minimum and to ensure time to open presents. I found the 90 minutes went by quickly and the party didn’t drag on.

Underneath Adalynn’s birthday banner was the food table. Also under her banner I placed her monthly pictures on the wire string in the party room. I am so glad that I did this because it really captured how she has changed over the past year.

Adalynn's Collage