She was “served” in prison. By law she has 14 days to respond. It’s day 13 and nobody has heard from her. The beginning of termination of parental rights is moving forward. I’m biting my lip with nervousness. Does she know that Baby Girl is safe, happy, healthy, and loved? Does she know anything about us? Does she care? I really don’t know. All I know is that it’s been over 21 months since Baby Girl entered foster care, entered our care. We are ready to adopt her. We are ready to be her legal family. We are waiting.
We heard back about the boys today. After trying to get ahold of social workers by myself, I asked our social worker from our agency to help us find out more about The Boys. We wanted to know if we might be a good match to be their family. As it turns out, the boys have an approved family pursuing them already. This is a PRAISE! I am so incredibly happy for them. So incredibly happy. Only thing is, my heart hurts a bit too. I had this sinking feeling when our social worker told me that, “if you were praying for the boys to have an excellent, happy, and loving family, then your prayers were answered. If you were praying that it would be your family, then I am very sorry.”
So, I will let go of all of those thoughts that I’ve had during the last two weeks. Thoughts of what our first vacation would be like with The Boys. Thoughts of shopping for a first car with Teenager. Thoughts of redecorating a bedroom for Only Boy and Brother. And, then there is the whole fact that I have to share this news with my kiddos after school today. I am dreading that. The tough thing about foster care and adoption is that we HAVE to involve our children. We have to ask them their opinions on things that will affect the rest of their lives. We have to ask, “Would you be willing to bring two more kids into this family? They might come with some baggage, bumps and bruises.” We have to involve them, but then when they say, “Yes! We want to do that,” and we look into it, well its just hard when the answer is, “no.”
So, there’s the story of The Boys. Its over. I pray we get to see them again someday! I pray we’ll run into them with their new family! That would be so awesome!
After dinner it was playtime! I set up a “bead station” in the dining room where the girls and some of the boys made bead bracelets and necklaces. Most of the boys; however, chose video games and nerf guns for their entertainment. Teenager sat and talked with the house father as he is much older than all of the kids at the Children’s Home. I enjoyed watching the interactions between all of the children. Some good, some not so good, but all really great examples of how children from “hard places” deal with stress and fun during playtime. Some children get very overstimulated quite easily. Some get overly angry over very small things and still others pout. I was really happy when I saw Brother react very similar to how my son reacts to playtime stresses or disagreements. He simply would walk away and do a new activity with a different child. I saw no aggression and no pouting. He loved to call me over to “watch this!” It was fun to be the person he wanted around and it was also very encouraging to see how he enjoyed being around us and got along with each member of our family. He loved Baby Girl and followed her around trying to make her laugh for much of the night. We ate our ice-cream sundaes all together, piling on way too many marshmallows and much too much whipped cream! It was fun! Only Boy and Brother wrestled in the grass after a quick thunderstorm passed and allowed us to go outside. Brother pushed Baby Girl on the swings, rode his bike, threw the football with me and Only Boy, and at one point said to me, “Hold on, she looks lonely over there, I’m going to go play with her for a little bit.” He was referring to my Middle Girl who was riding a bike and enjoying trying it out alone on the basketball court. It was so sweet though! He just saw that she was alone and was in tune enough to know that someone who is alone might also be lonely, so he took it upon himself to go over and spend time with her. I was impressed! Teenager played some practical jokes and pranks and at one time had me convinced that I had left my windows in my truck down during the storm and that my vehicle was filled with water. He totally had me going for a second and then he broke a smile and yelled, “Gotcha!” It was really funny! His sense of humor really shined through and I could tell he likes to play tricks and have fun! At 8:00 p.m. the fun had to end though. The house parents announced it was time to go inside and get ready for bed. I quickly gathered my kiddos and started towards the front of the house. Brother followed me and said, “Do you have to go?” I said, “Yes, but we’ll come back soon, okay?” He said, “I don’t want you to leave, can I go home with you?” I hugged him, “Wouldn’t that be fun,” I said, “but, no not this time. We’ll see you again really soon.” All the kiddos walked us outside to our truck, but Teenager and Brother were the only ones who stayed at our vehicle as I loaded it up. Teenager put Baby Girl into her carseat and buckled her up. She usually totally fights getting into her carseat and won’t let anyone buckle her! She almost always screams, “I do it! I do it!” But, this time she didn’t resist and let him strap her in. I was amazed. Then, the hugs. Teenager came to me and gave me a hug saying, “see ya later,” and Brother had to hug every single member of our family at least twice. We all waved and said, “goodbye, see ya later,” as we drove away. My heart was full. We had the best time!
The day we met these boys, only a week earlier there had been a connection. Every single family member felt it. We all did. Every single family member has been on board since the moment we met these boys to at least find out a little more. We know they are children without parents. We know they are in the system and that is NOT where children belong. We know God has called our family to foster care and adoption. We know it. We know it like I know that the grass is green and the sky is blue. It is just one of the many reasons that God created me. He created me to be a mom. He created me to mother. He created me to care for those that someone else couldn’t. He created me to love unconditionally regardless of where someone comes from. He gave me a purpose and a mission and a family that feels the same way. Wow, this life is amazing! God is good! I am happy! We are blessed! Let’s see where next week takes this. We have a lot of praying to do, phone calls to make, and things to talk about.
We headed over to the Children’s Home right after school yesterday. I bought 5 awesomely good pizzas, brought all the fixings for ice-cream sundaes, and we brought video games and beading kits to make necklaces or bracelets with the kiddos. We arrived at the house around 5:20 p.m., by the time I had collected the kids from school, drove to get the pizzas, and found my way back to the home which is about a 30 minute drive from our house. The kids and I prayed several times as we drove the 30 minutes to the Children’s Home. We prayed that God would let us minister and love on each and every child there and that we would especially get to spend some quality time with The Boys. I think I’m going to have to give each of them a “blog name” now. We’ll call the oldest of the two, “Teenager” and we’ll call the younger of the two, “Brother.”
I didn’t know what to expect on this visit. We had such an amazing time the first time, so I was nervous about trip two. Why was I nervous? We were just going to hang out and spend some time with some new friends. But, I was nervous. As we pulled into the drive-way of the Children’s Home I saw them. They were standing on the front porch. Teenager waved at us and Brother came running toward the truck. I parked, we got out and Brother ran right to Only Boy and wrapped his arms around his chest yelling, “I missed you Buddy!” I almost burst into tears right there. The connection we felt was real. The boys picked up right where they left off, goofing around and being silly. (Now, I know some of you reading this are VERY educated in adoption and foster care and of course because of that know a lot about “RAD” Reactive Attachment Disorder. I am aware that children from hard places, often will make connections with just about anybody. I have read A LOT about RAD and am not blind… I know the danger signs with RAD, but it still just warmed my heart to hear him say that because honestly, WE HAD MISSED HIM TOO). Okay, so moving on… Teenager came up to the truck and asked, “Where’s the big guy?” “He had to fly tonight,” I said. “Oh, I thought he might fly his helicopter over here to eat with us,” he joked. I smiled and I handed him the pizzas. After all, I had brought them for him! He was the reason that I got “delivery pizzas” instead of bringing the stuff to make homemade! He smiled and said, “PIZZA!” We all walked inside. I brought flowers from my garden for the house mother to show our appreciation for them letting us come to visit again. We were just so happy to be back.
The younger boys took to the game room and got out their games. I started to set out the food. I asked the house mother if we should start to eat and she said sure, that I could call all the kids into the dining room. I went to get the boys and they were already sitting back in their “gaming chairs” playing a racing game on the XBOX. I smiled and took a picture. No matter the future, I just wanted to remember that moment.
We ate. We played. We talked. We had a blast!
Twenty-one months ago we said, “hello” to two of the bravest, sweetest, most adorable little ones in the world! Sixteen months after that day, we had to say, “goodbye,” to Little Man and it was ROUGH! I didn’t feel very brave at that moment. I felt like my world had just been crushed. But, we couldn’t fall apart. We had to keep going and today more than five months after that day, we celebrate our twenty-first month as Baby Girl’s family. I still don’t feel very brave. Some people say, “I couldn’t do it, I don’t know how you live with the fact that you may have to let her go.” I say, “If it wasn’t for God and His grace, I couldn’t. He is the only thing getting me through!” But, I am so very happy that we said, “hello” twenty-one months ago and risked getting our hearts broken. It was worth it, because today I am so very content and hopeful! I love our precious Baby Girl and want the very best for her!
We love you Baby Girl! Happy 21 months as part of our family! You have brought us SO MUCH JOY!
I contacted the group home where The Boys live today. We’re going back for another visit on Friday! We can’t wait! We’re so excited to visit all the kids, but especially The Boys again.
The first time we went I asked both of them what their favorite foods to eat were. The oldest said, “food!” The youngest said, “pizza,” and then his brother added, “oh, yes! Pizza!” I said, “do you like homemade or delivery?” The oldest boy said, “they really like to make homemade here, but I like delivery!” So, we’re taking take-out pizzas with us on Friday and a few gallons of icecream to do icecream sundaes!
I had asked the younger brother what he liked to do best when we visited last time and he very excitedly replied, “video games!” So, my son is bringing all of his X-box games and hopefully they’ll be able to find a game that they both enjoy and can play together.
The kids are so excited and the houseparents at the group home seemed happy to have us back when I asked if we could come and visit again. It should be fun!
They are all I could think about today. Did they have a good first day at school? Are they doing homework tonight? Did someone take their picture this morning standing by the bus in their brand new school clothes?
I would have. I want to know about their day. I’ve only met them once, spent only a few hours in their presence, but those two have my attention. I know them now, children who are without anybody to call their own. So, tonight as I lay my head on my pillow, I will do the only thing that I can do for them today. I will pray.
I never really knew how I would feel if I met a child who is “waiting.” (Waiting for a family that is) I didn’t know of any until last Saturday. I mean, my husband and I have inquired about several sibling sets on the state “Heart Galleries,” where they post pictures and short biographies about children who are “waiting.” But, personally knowing, meeting, and interacting with children who are waiting… I just hadn’t had the chance.
This Saturday our family went along with our church to visit and throw a back-to-school party at a Children’s Home in a neighboring city. We took tons of school supplies, games, balloons, food, and candy! We planned to spend the day playing with the kids. It was last Saturday that we met them. I’m going to call them, “The Boys” for now. Oh my gosh! Precious! That is all I can say! Just precious! I expected them to be hesitant to hang out with us, maybe act guarded or “hard.” But, they didn’t! The exact opposite! We had the best time! So, oops… Now I’ve done it. I have two faces, two names, and two little lives that I can’t stop thinking about. What is going to happen to them? They are in a great (I mean, really fabulous) children’s home, but children do not belong in group homes! They belong in families! Who is going to raise these boys? Who is going to drop everything when they need something? Who is going to love them forever? Only God knows, but the truth is my heart is a bit wrecked after Saturday. Now, I know them!
It’s my birthday! I woke up this morning to Baby Girl running into my room, grabbing my face with her tiny little hands and pushing my lips together while she said in her cutest little voice, “Kiss me mama!” What a way to start my day!
When asked by my husband back about five months ago what I would like for my birthday this year, my answer was immediate. “I want to adopt Baby Girl.” Little Man had just left and although they are siblings (half siblings, but we don’t use “half” in our lil world) their cases are extremely different. Beginning in 2015, after almost 14 months in care, Little Man’s case moved towards reunification while Baby Girl’s case stood still for months. After Little Man’s reunification with his birth family at 16 months with us, the question as to what would be the next move in Baby Girl’s case was raised. We had been asked many times before, but we were finally “officially” asked if we would like to adopt her. I remember, I screamed, “yes,” as soon as the social worker had finished her sentence. My husband held my hand. I bawled my eyes out! I picked up Baby Girl and cried into her hair. My baby, my precious little princess could soon be our’s forever! That was five months ago. Today is my birthday. No adoption date or TPR (termination of parental rights) date in sight. No communication between the people who are supposed to be moving this along. But, you know what! That’s okay! Because, there is this other holiday coming up and my husband will soon be asking me, “Hey babe, what would you like for Christmas this year?” and I will say, “to adopt Baby Girl!”
My favorite thing to do for dealing with stress these days is to dig in the dirt. I pull weeds, yanking them out of the ground and tossing them into the trash pile. I plant seeds, water them, check on them several times a day waiting for them to grow. I love capturing some of it all on film too. So, here are three of my favorite pics from my garden so far this summer.
Look at the bee! He’s been working very hard in my garden this summer!
This lovely sunflower is just beginning to bloom!
This is my absolute favorite one! God is so amazing! He put such care and attention into all of His creation! Look at the detail He put into designing this beautiful butterfly!
I really hope the pumpkins, carrots, lettuce, and kale all work out too! If so, I’ll be sure to take pics of the harvest!