I miss you!

Dear Little Man,

I can’t stop thinking about you today.  It was exactly six months ago today that I had to let you go.  Six months.  It doesn’t feel like that long ago.  I still ache to hold you again, to be your mama again.  I miss your sweet voice, the smell of your clean skin and soft curly hair.  I miss your hugs, your screams of joy and your laugh.  I miss you!  I pray for you!  I still love you!  Are you okay?  Are you happy?  Do you go to preschool?  Do you use the big boy potty yet?

I’m taking good care of your sister.  We love her so much!  I pray that one day in the future, I’ll be able to find a way to let the two of you see each other again!  I will try!  I promise!

You changed my life Little Man.  You changed me.  You left a legacy of love in this house… unconditional, crazy devoted love.  The place in my heart that is your’s will ALWAYS be your’s.  No matter what, you have my love.

Love,

Mama

12 months ago

12 months ago I thought it would never happen. 12 months ago I was forcing myself to “keep busy” in the waiting. 12 months ago I got enough sleep every night and sometimes awoke in the mornings totally refreshed before my alarm clock even buzzed. 12 months ago I was sometimes “bored” and had to come up with things to do to keep busy. I organized my cabinets and used my label maker a lot. I sewed beautiful dresses for my then youngest girl and I substitute taught at our church’s preschool. 12 months ago my husband and I watched a movie together nearly every night before bed. 12 months ago was a LONG time ago!

Then, 12 months ago two little people entered my life on a cold Wednesday night, scared, tired, and hungry. My life has never again been the same!

Today, I have 5 kids! Today, I never get enough sleep. Today, I drive my children to three different schools, change two diapers every two hours, brush two extra sets of teeth, take 5 little ones to doctor’s appointments, dental appointments, soccer games, dance lessons, music lessons, basketball practice, and so much more! My life is full!

I was completely in love with my family 12 months ago and today I am even more in love with them! I may have bags under my eyes! I may have put on 10 extra pounds, and wear yoga pants more than anything else, but I’m happy!

I’m so glad God gave us “our precious two” 12 months ago!

They didn’t show…

Today… this morning… it was the moment that I had been dreading.  Eleven and a half months have gone by since we became foster parents to Little Man and Baby Girl and all of that time, I felt had been leading up to this very moment.  The permanency hearing for our precious foster babies.

I couldn’t fall asleep until 1:00 a.m. the night before and then awoke back up at 4:30 a.m. the next morning before my alarm even went off.  I got on my knees, my face to the floor of my bedroom and I began to pray.  Every fear that I had inside of me, I cried out to The Lord.  I begged for His mercy and His grace and His peace that passes all understanding.  I drank my coffee, woke the babies and dressed them.  We drove the 2 hours to the courthouse.  A fellow foster mom sat with the babies as I sat alone with our social worker in a courtroom that was empty for 30 agonizing minutes.  Court was supposed to start, but it didn’t and all I could hear were lawyers talking loudly in the hallway.  Every few moments, I would ask our social worker, “Where is the judge?” or “What time is it?”  I was restless and nervous, “let’s get this over with,” I thought.

After what seemed like forever, a uniformed officer entered the courtroom announcing the judges presence.  He walked into the courtroom in his long black robe followed by four lawyers and the supervisor of DHR and that is when I realized it… they didn’t show.  The biological family was not here.  Not one family member from our precious foster babies’ birth family was present.  This was the permanency hearing to decide the future of their lives and not one family member was present.  Not one of them showed up.  The judge asked, “are the parents here today?” and I wanted to stand, I wanted to say, “I am here!  Me… I am here!”  But, I sat tight and didn’t say a word.  Even though these babies are my world.  Even though they are as important to me as my three biological children at home, I didn’t say a word.  My social worker had warned me not to speak unless spoken to.  I sat still and calm and prayed, “Jesus, be with me, be in this room.”

At the end of the hearing it was decided that our precious ones would return home with me today.  They would stay with our family.  We get to keep them!  Maybe not forever, but at least for now and my heart was filled with JOY!  There was joy and there was sadness.  My thoughts went to the biological family.  What is going on in their lives that they couldn’t be here today?  They were given plenty of notice, their lawyers were present, but where were they?  Why didn’t they come?  I may never know.  They did not show.

Six Months Ago

Exactly six months ago today we were “waiting,” waiting for foster children.  We had been licensed foster parents for a little over a month and a half and the waiting was killing me.  I would carry my cell phone around with me and check it obsessively for missed calls. I just knew I was going to miss that very first all important call asking us to take children, but I didn’t!  That day six months ago started out pretty normal.  I went to my daughter’s school to volunteer, got some lunch, and ran some errands.  It was a Wednesday, so I was also getting my lesson plans ready to teach the kindergarteners that night at church.  When the time came to pick up my three kiddos and one extra friend from school, I got in the van and took off for the first school.  I was happy to see the kids and asked them about their days.  The first stop light we arrived at was a red light and my cell phone began to ring.  I looked down to see the name of our social worker pop up on the screen of my phone.  I wasn’t even excited yet.  I figured it was just another routine call to ask for some new piece of paperwork needed for our file or to ask us a question about something in our file.  I had no inclination that this would be THE CALL!  I answered my phone.  “Hello,” I said and heard the voice of our social worker on the other end of the line.  “Hi,” she said, “I just received a call from DHR and they have two children they are picking up right now that they are looking for a home for; the only information I have is that there is a three year old little boy and a seven month old little girl.”  My heart skipped a beat!  “Let me call my husband,” I said.  Needless to say that call went VERY fast and he said, “Let’s go for it!”  I made my return call and found out that the social worker from DHR would call me in a few hours to set up a time to drop the kids off that night.  WOW!  Now, my heart was really racing!  I got the kids home, picked up my cell phone again and made a call to a friend who could cover for me at church, teaching that night.  We then started to get things ready at the house.

I changed the sheets on the extra “big boy” bed in my son’s room and put clean crib sheets on the crib in my room.  I washed some dishes, called my husband and asked him to pick up a few baby items at the store on his way home and donuts!  I don’t know where we had heard it, but someone told us that donuts were the official love language of food, so we HAD to have these!  Then, we waited.  It wasn’t until 9:00 pm that night that a strange car pulled into our driveway.  We had all been taking turns standing at the window and watching for “the babies” to arrive, so when the car entered the drive, we were all jumping around with excitement.  My husband and I  asked our big kids to go to their rooms for a while in order for Mommy and Daddy to talk to the adults and so that we didn’t overwhelm the babies when they first came into our home.  I was so afraid that they would be scared of us!  I had been praying continually since that very first call earlier in the day that God would give the babies a sense of peace and calmness as they entered our home.  I knew this day had probably already been very traumatic for them and I wanted to make the rest of it as easy as possible on them.

We opened our front door and my husband and I walked to the car to help unload the babies and the bags of things that DHR had bought for them that day.  Both of the babies were asleep in their carseats.  My husband carried Baby Girl inside and one of the workers carried in Little Man.  I grabbed diapers, wipes, and formula and we all headed inside.  We talked a short while about what would take place in the next couple of days.  There would be a 72 hour court hearing and we wouldn’t know a lot more until after that had taken place.  We were told that a worker would pick the babies up at 7:00 am on Friday morning to take them to court.  I then asked if we should wake the babies up before they left, so they knew they were in a different place and we all agreed that would be a good idea.  My husband took Baby Girl out of her carseat carrier and held her in his arms.  She was so incredibly tiny and petite.  I took Little Man out of his seat and started to talk to him.  He let out the beginning of a cry and I immediately carried him into the kitchen to open the donuts.  BEST ADVICE EVER!  Not only did he enjoy the donuts, but I think he was quite hungry, he barely chewed and shoved as many donut holes into his mouth as he could.  We quickly learned that we would have to portion things out for Little Man and watch him closely, so that he wouldn’t choke himself.  I looked over at my husband now.  He was gently swaying back and forth with Baby Girl.  It was such a tender moment.  She was so tiny and helpless and he is so big and strong, yet so incredibly gentle and loving.  It’s in moments like that one that I fall more deeply in love with the man that I married.

The workers said goodbye and left.  Then the giggles and whispers from our big kids could be heard coming from the back bedroom and we knew they were excitedly waiting to meet the babies.  We walked back to our oldest daughter’s room where they were all waiting and opened the door.  They all squealed!  The meet and greet went very well!  Kids just seem to have a way with other kids, it’s like instant friendship!  They all were so excited to see and play with each other.  Settling down was hard that night and we were all up pretty late, but we were together.  The waiting was over.  We were together, a family.  And we knew that we would be there for these two precious ones for as long as they needed us.