Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Celebrations

Today was a day to celebrate....
 
 
To celebrate that day, 3 years ago, that our little G came into this world.

 We celebrate that he is here with us as part of our family on this very special day.

 We celebrate the changes that we've seen in this precious boy in the last 13 months.....
 


 
 Yes, today was a day of celebration.....





for us...


But I can't help but think of his biological family..how was their day today? Did they think of him all day?  I think they most certainly did.  I know that they love him dearly.  He went for a visit yesterday and came home with a cute new outfit from his Dad and candy and other little treats from Mom.

Were they thinking of the day he was born?  Missing him so terribly that it hurt?  Did they feel regret for the mistakes they've made to bring them to this point?  I just can't imagine not being with my child on their birthday.  

Our family is big on celebrations.  We celebrate the big things..birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  But we really don't have to have a reason to have a party..we'll make one up if given the chance...
Chicken wings were on sale and Mark can throw down on cooking some wings so ya'll come on over!!  That kind of thing...

We celebrate life...and the Giver of life....

We celebrate family....and friends...

And all that the good Lord has blessed us with...

 I pray that today was not very hard on G's biological family. It was the 2nd birthday that they have missed.  I pray they have peace and continue to work toward him coming home to them if that is God's will. 

 And if that does happen....if the day does come where we have to pack his things and say our goodbyes...

We will celebrate

Celebrate our time with him...and all the beautiful memories we've made....

However, if it's God's will for him to stay with us forever....

Well, let's just say that will be a bigger party! 

Happy Birthday, baby boy!  What a blessing you are to our family! You are loved more than you'll ever know! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In Every Way..but One



This week on the 24th, we will celebrate 13 months that our first little foster child "G" has been with us.  You can read all about the day I picked him up HERE.  I've thought and thought about how in the world I can express in one blog post exactly what a year it has been.  There have been ups and downs...good times and bad...lots of laughs and a few cries...but any year in any life is that way.

G transitioned very well into our home.  It was amazing actually.  Being he was our first, I had no idea what to expect.  I brought him home that first afternoon and he melded right into our family.  This picture is after he had fallen asleep that first night and I laid him in his crib.  He slept the entire night!  No tears.  I still wonder what may have been running through his 23 month old mind at that time.  Thankfully, he had come to us on a Friday so we had the weekend to bond a bit. 

We learned about each other a little each day.  That first evening when we sat down to dinner I was all ready to feed him.  He wasn't verbal at all so I had no idea where his other development skills were.  Well, let me tell you.  This kid had NO trouble at all in the feeding skills.  It was funny actually.  I had him in his high chair and sat down in front of him to feed him.  Held the spoon to his mouth and he looked at me as if I were the dumbest human being on earth.  Would not open his mouth at all.  Did his signature whine and jerked his head to the side.  Oh no, I thought...(remember, I'm an instant worrier)...he's not going to eat!  Then he held his hand out for the spoon and I handed it to him...he brought the plate a little closer to him and DUG IN!  He definitely didn't need any help in this area!  :-)

So on we went...learning about each other a little every day.  He bonded with us quickly and seemed to trust us instantly.  Other areas, however, have taken quite a good while..



There have been moments that took my breath away...the first time he called me "Mama"...those moments when he, unprovoked, wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed me tight...picking him up from day care and he smiles and RUNS to me..him crawling up in my lap and laying his head on my chest while looking up at me with those big brown eyes and saying "I yuv ewe, Mommy" Watching as he and our grandson Kaden play together as if there is no tomorrow...watching as he absolutely BLOSSOMS into who God created him to be..


There have been moments of pure frustration..frustration with the foster care "system" in general...frustrated with caseworkers who won't return your calls or forget to tell you that there was a visit today...frustrated with not knowing if he'll be here forever or if we'll one day have to trust God's will and give him back..frustrated with myself for not always having the patience with the "process" or the kids themselves..frustrated with biological parents who don't always do what is right for these kids...frustrated with strangers who look on with disdain as G has a tantrum in the store while not having a clue where this kid came from or what he's been through...and frustrated that they probably don't care...and yes, frustrated with the kids for the temper tantrums or other behavior issues...and dare I say, at times frustrated with God Himself for even thinking I was capable of doing a good job at this and calling us to it in the first place..


There have been moments of pure exhaustion...falling in to bed at night with absolutely NOTHING left...falling asleep before my head even hit the pillow only to have the alarm clock go off what seems like 5 minutes later...only to get up and do it all over again...sitting at work staring at a computer screen at 1:00pm on a Tuesday with my eyes barely open..knowing all that has to be done both at work and home that day before my head can hit the pillow again...yep, exhaustion has definitely played a part. 


There have been moments of pure joy...watching as G opens up to others and allows people in to his world...smiling more than cries..the tantrums becoming less and less frequent as he slowly learns to handle his feelings in other ways....watching our son Kobe as he and G play and thinking how proud I am that Kobe 'gets" it...the reason we do what we do for these kids.  Watching G dance to his favorite song..."Helicopter" by B-Shoc (this boy has some moves!)...watching Mark lay in the floor with the kids piled on him and hearing the shrieks of laughter coming from the kids...listening to our now very verbal G tell us about his day at school and how he went potty all day with no "accadents"..."I did it, Mommy!!"

Oh, how we love this boy...he has become a part of our family..the thought of him going home brings instant tears to my eyes...

He is our son....in every way but one.

Biologically, G belongs to another family...another set of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles...he is someone else's son, grandson, brother....God sent him to them for a reason.  Of that, I am sure. They love him dearly.  I have no question of that.  I have met them...listened as they spoke of him.

In every other way...he is ours.  And even if the day comes where we are called to let him go..he will forever be ours..forever in our hearts. Those moments with him will forever live on with us...


When we started this process, even before we were licensed, my prayer to God was this:


"Father, I pray that you send us the children that you would have us care for...for as long as you would have us care for them.  Send those that you will us to have..whether it be for one night or forever."

G has been with us for nearly 13 months now.  And this week on the same day we celebrate 13 months with him..we also celebrate his 3rd birthday.  We were so blessed to celebrate his 2nd as well. The best thing about it is..no matter where God has him..here or there..we will celebrate his birthday for all the years to come. 






And knowing that makes it a little easier to trust God's will in his life and in ours.  No matter what the outcome will be, we are forever changed by knowing G and having him in our lives.  And if being here with us has made even a small impact on this little ones' life..then we've done what we've been called to do. 

You are so loved, sweet boy!
 We are so blessed to have you as part of our family!


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Homestudy


The homestudy..
many of you that have gone through this may or may not have had the same reaction to this part of the process that I did. I'm not sure why it made me so nervous to have someone ask me such personal questions...but it did.  I don't really get up close and personal with folks. I used to have the best of friends that I shared everything with.  But not any more.  I mean, I have lots of close acquaintances but very few close friends.  I'm not one on the whole "sharing your feelings" kinda stuff. Like "you are the way you are because of what happened then" kinda things. I guess I'm just more of it happened...deal with it...move on.  So when two ladies (as lovely and sweet as they were) were sitting at my dining room table asking very personal questions, I was a wreck.  My life hasn't been perfect..I haven't always made the best decisions (GASP) that would later make for the best of answers on a homestudy to become a foster parent.  But as it were, again, none of my worries were warranted.  Yes, it made me think of things but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.  The ladies were so sweet.  
 
Come to find out..are you ready for this?...nobody's perfect.
And while your letting that sink in...there's more..

 I've also come to realize that God's not looking for perfect...he's looking for the WILLING.  Those that are willing to step out of their comfort zone...step out of their comfy little lives and be willing to follow Him.
 No matter how hard it is..no matter how awkward and uncomfortable it gets.  He wants those who can set aside their own little plan to be a part of something BIGGER..something BETTER...something AMAZING!  His plan is ALWAYS so much better than ours! 

Here I am, Lord...send me!

That's not to say that the homestudy interview didn't have it's awkward moments. To give you an idea of some of the questions we were asked:
What are your parents names and occupations...easy. What type of relationship did your parents share?  Thanks Mom and Dad..bout to celebrate that big 50th.  Ya'll made answering that one easy. :-) What are your brothers/sisters names and date of birth? Are they married?  If so, to whom?  Another thank you to my brother Eric and sis in law Karen...almost 22 years...ya'll making me look good here. :-) What schools did you attend starting from kindergarten til your highest level of education? What was your best childhood memory? Ahh, lake trips with the family! What was the worst? :-( List the dates and names of any previous serious relationships, engagements or marriages..hmmm, well, Mark and I met each other in our early 30s and have a blended family so there was some serious relationships to list there. How did you meet your spouse?  That ones easy..I love telling that story :-) How long did you date before getting engaged?  How long were you engaged before you married..errrr, that one is a little more difficult..we did everything backwards.  Hey, when it's right you know it's right.  List all previous employment..List everywhere you've ever lived with dates and why you moved. What is the worst crisis you've faced in your marriage?  How did you handle that crisis?  What is the hardest time you've been through?  The death of my best friend 5 years ago when she was 36 years old...I love you J....What type of discipline did your parents use?  Do you agree with it?  Well, umm, I didn't then!  :-) 

So, there you have it.  As usual, my worrying and stressing made the days leading up to the homestudy much worse that the interview itself.  One of these days my mind is gonna connect to that scripture I know so well:

I mean, really..He called us to this place..we are certain we are following His will for our lives..why in the world do I worry??  It's the human in me I know.  
A year later, in all the trials that have come since, He has never once let us down..and yes, I've worried and stressed in that years time..meeting the biological parents for the first time..sending that 5 year old home to an uncertain home life..dealing with behaviors that I've never dealt with before..questioning my abilities..my limits.  Foster parenting can be hard..it can get awkward..it can be downright uncomfortable..physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting..

But another quote I've always loved says it all:

He never said it would be easy; 
He only promised it would be worth it!

And when I stop for a moment and remember His abilities and His grace and His mercy....and the fact that He has no limits...well, that makes watching a 2 year old scream and fall out in the floor because his shoe has come untied and I haven't gotten to him to tie it fast enough just a little easier to handle. :-)

Thank you, Father!