Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A time to cry, a time to laugh, and a time to pack

Today I pack. I pack up our stuff to go see family, but I also pack up our little J man. He will be leaving us tomorrow forever. Letting go never gets easier, but after letting so many go, we start to learn "coping techniques". Is that good? Who knows.. but we just ask for our friends and family to pray for one specific thing. J cries every.single.week. when he leaves for his visit with his mom. Please pray that tomorrow when CPS comes to pick him up, that he will not cry when he is taken away. Seems selfish I guess, but I don't know if I can endure that pain again. I went through that with D and it just about killed me. Also pray for J, that the Lord will open his eyes to the need of our Savior Jesus Christ as he grows up.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maybe This is Our New Normal

I have wanted to update my blog for the last few months, but have not been able to access my account. I was losing hope there for awhile, thinking that I had lost it all. As you can see, I got back in! :)
  God has done some awesome work the past few months. We have really seen Him move His hand in our life. Let me say this though, God moves His hand in our life every single moment, we just fail to recognize that. We can't take a breath without God allowing that to happen. Cliche? No. Just a simple truth we forget frequently.
  After we let our little D-Man go the beginning of May, we continued to follow the Lord's calling of doing foster care. We took in a 6 month old baby girl. Baby K came to us with some caarazzzzyyy hair. (that's not why she was in care haha) I will never, ever, ever forget that head of hair. I don't think I have ever seen that much hair on a 6 month old. Needless to say, my desire to do a little girls hair (without her arguing with me) was about to come true. I got to learn so many techniques and tricks to hair styling. Besides the hair, baby K was extremely sweet. She was such an easy baby. We always gave her "K Kisses" and every time we would ask if she wanted "K Kisses" she would get the biggest smile. ( K kisses were just simply kisses with her name tacked on lol) She was such a joy to have. When she left, she went to be with her family who love her so much. We are always scared to let them go into the unknown, but she is in a home that loves her so. After baby K, we welcomed another little girl into our home!! So many girls! We have still had our Baby boy J, so Joshua still has someone on his team ;) Baby J and our new baby girl S, are one month apart. We have gotten to experience "pretty much TWINS"! We have our insane times with them, but for the most part, it is sooo nice because they are both on the same level. Both walking, self-feeding, play well together, etc. :) They both love to give each other hugs too. Sweetest thing ever is to see 2 littles hug.
 We love to talk about the individualities of each of our kids. It's fun and funny to look back over the past year and remember and laugh at the "not so funny at the time" events that occurred, but we have also come to a point to where we can look back over the past 13 months and see what a blessing it has been that God has allowed to have children in our home. I have prayed and prayed that God would allow us to have a child of our own (through adoption or pregnancy), but my eyes were opened to something within the last few months and weeks. God's intentions for creating me were not to fulfill my fleshly desires. Does He give us the desires of our heart if we delight in Him? Yes, but His purpose for creating me/us was to glorify Him ultimately. So maybe the Lord has us on this path for a reason that I have been overlooking. We keep looking forward to when we have a child of our own, but when we do that, we are missing out on how God wants to use us right here where we are now. What a challenge. So if never having a child of our own and serving the Lord through helping orphans would bring more glory to Him than us having a child of our own, then so be it. I never thought I could come to that point, but I have, and it is only because the Lord has worked on my heart and brought me to that place. As I always say, I am looking forward to the next step of this journey :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Learning How to Let Go

We have come to a point in the Foster Care/Adoption road that we have always been terrified of... losing one you love so deeply. From Day 1 of Introduction into Foster Care/Adoption we were told that these kids will not be yours permanently and that it may be hard to let them go once they have lived in your home for months at a time. We had the head knowledge of that for many, many months. Having the head knowledge and actually learning that are two totally different things.
  The evening we went to pick up our little D to bring him home, our hearts learned how to love in such a way that neither Joshua or I had ever felt. When we layed our eyes on that little guy we ached to keep him, but a tiny part of our heart was guarded because we knew there was still that chance of him only staying a short time. When we got the initial phone call about D, we were told there might be a chance he will be up for adoption. Later, we were told to look long term with D. We heard so many times "Would you be willing to adopt him?" The anticipation of adoption was built up so high. So as months went by, that guard we had was let down and we let little D come into our hearts full force. We still always knew there was a chance he could leave, but we ignored it and told ourselves the lie that it would never happen to us. The day came when we found out he would be leaving us. There was no more phone calls we could make, no more people we could convince, no more hoops we could jump through. We had come to the end of all of our efforts. My heart broke in such a way that I really wasn't sure how to push on. I didn't want the days to end. I didn't want to put him to bed at night, because I knew we were one day closer to letting him go for good. In the midst of such a sad time that day of finding out he was leaving, I didn't realize what the Lord was doing. From the day we found out he was leaving, the Lord gave us almost a full month to mourn and grieve the losing of D. What a blessing. I needed to hold that little boy while I cried and hurt. During that month, God gave me such an indescribable peace about D leaving us. I can't explain it because when I think about losing a child, my first reaction would be to get incredibly angry and bitter towards God. I would ask "Why God??? WHY??" I would want to hurt somebody, and scream at them and tell them how it should have been handled differently! God gave me something different though. He gave me a peace that allowed me to pack D's clothes without getting mad. He gave me a peace that allowed me to cherish some sweet moments with him instead of wasting my energy on pondering things I should have done differently. He gave me a peace that made me thank God for what He was doing in our life even though I couldn't understand. Did I cry? Yes. Did I hurt? Yes. Did I ask why? Yes. But through it all, I saw the Lord's hand in every single step. D will always be my first son. I will not get to raise him, take him to kindergarten, teach him to ride a bike or anything else that I always dreamed of, but that's ok. God knew better than I did and all I was told to do is to just trust Him.
 As I was thinking about writing down my thoughts on the situation of D leaving, all I could think of was how we are learning to let go of him and letting God take control. I don't think I could have found a more appropriate song to share with this post. I couldn't get the link up for you to listen to it, so here are the lyrics.

I'm holding this picture - You drew when you were four -
It was one we proudly hung - On our refrigerator door -
I found it in the attic - In your old dresser drawer -
By a pillow that we made you - And a blanket that you had -
When we learned to chase the monsters - From underneath your bed -
And I remember -

How I learned how to hold you when you cried - I learned how to let you be strong -
Learned how to calm you in the dark - Learned how to listen with my heart -
I learned how to watch you grow - But how will I learn to let go -

And when I walk in your bedroom - The memories that I keep -
Are bedtime stories - And rocking you to sleep -
And as I held you - You'd drift off to dream - And I know
it might sound crazy - Now that you are grown -
But yesterday still feels - Like the day we brought you home -
And I remember -

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting to know them

I started telling the story of our first placement (child) in the previous post. As you probably already know he was not our one and only! I am not going to go into detail about each and every child we have had in our home. For one, that would take about 27 posts, and two, I want to protect the children and not post too much about their situation or behaviors. What I am going to do though, is tell a story about each one that we absolutely will never forget. Each one of the kids that comes into our home holds such a special place in our heart, and so I want to share a little bit of that with you.
  After D was in our home a few months, we had the opportunity to take care of two little girls(sibling group). One of the girls was 4 weeks old and the other little girl was 7 years old. I am going to refer to them as L(4wks) and R(7yrs). Having three kids in our home came with many challenges, but I loved having girls in the house! I will never forget the incredible challenge of getting all three of the kids up every morning and in the car just to drive two minutes down the road to drop ONE of them off at school! Haha! If our mornings would have been monitored with a video camera, we would win $10,000.00 on America's Funniest Home Videos.... no doubt. R was always throwing a curve ball at me with her outfit choice for the day. D and L never failed to spit up(or something else) right as we were headed out the door. Most days I forgot to even look in the mirror before we left, so I was a sight to see myself. I will never forget the day we took R shopping for the first time. She didn't come with clothes, so part of me was frustrated, but the shopping side of me was STOKED. That shopping side of me got squished when I realized that this little girl was no where near a lover of shopping! That was ok though, because it ended up being a quick trip for the family of five! Such a funny time that involves so many more details. Little L was so extremely tiny when we got her that we weren't really sure what to do with her. By the time she left, she had gained some weight and melted Joshua's heart by smiling for the first time... at HIM! He loved it! We had the girls in our home about 5 weeks. We think about them frequently, and every now and again a funny story will come up that will definitely bring a smile to our faces. 
  As time goes on I will share more stories about some of the other children that have been in our home. There is so many emotions that come with foster care. I wish I had enough room to explain everything that comes with it. If you are reading this, and you might be pondering caring for foster children in your home... I will be the first to tell you to go for it and dive in to it head first. God instructs us to take care of the orphans, and even though these children's parents are still living the majority of the time, they still have a deep need for love and care. Foster care is not for the faint of heart by no means, but I would not trade the last year of our lives for anything. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This journey we are on

My intentions were to start this blog about 9 months ago, but as you see this is our very first post! I want to catch up on what these last 9 months have held for us. I also want to share a little bit of our history as a couple. I know that will probably take a few posts to do that and this post has the potential to be very long, so bear with me.
  Joshua and I were married on December 23, 2006. The 6 months of engagement held many, many conversations about many, many things. One of those things were children. Joshua and I both agreed that one day down the road, after we have had our biological children, we would love to adopt children. We had NO IDEA what that looked like for us. We just knew we wanted to do that. We had also told each other that we thought it would be good to wait at least 4-5 years before we had children. Let me just say this... don't ever tell God what you will and won't be doing. Little did we know that the plans we had made would be completely turned upside down, turned around, flipped inside out and reshaped to fit God's plan for our life and marriage.
  After about two years of marriage, we had realized that I was having some health complications and that going to the doctor soon would be necessary. During my appointment with the doctor, I was told that being able to get pregnant would be impossible without fertility drugs. They had diagnosed me with PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome). I left the office in complete shock. I was so scared that my dream and ache to have a child would never be fulfilled. At that point I started sobbing and praying and was reminded that God was able to do whatever He wanted, no matter what the problem was. A year or so passed and we came to the point of wanting to know for sure whether or not having biological kids would ever be possible. I started seeing a doctor who suggested we start trying fertility treatments. With much consideration and prayer, we decided to try. We went through 4-5 months of pills, shots, ultrasounds, doctors appointments after doctors appointments and the results were always negative. The doctor finally looked at me and said there is nothing more I can do for you so I am referring you to an infertility specialist for in vitro fertilization treatments. With that said, Joshua and I both dug our heels in and said no more. We can't take it anymore. So we stopped with all treatments and wondered what would ever become of our little family and what the plans were that God had in store for us. We were scared, hurt, nervous and unsure. My heart has always ached to have a child of my own. Coming to the point of knowing that biological kids would not be possible for us, hurt me in such a way that I can't even begin to put it into words. 
 After many months of praying, asking and trusting the Lord for His plans, we rested in the fact that He had great plans for Joshua and I as a couple.......without children. In 2010, we moved back to Fort Worth and were blessed with a house. We knew the Lord had a plan for this house and we wanted to open it up to people that were in need. Again, we had NO IDEA what that meant for us! After a few months of being here, the Lord impressed upon our hearts adoption and possibly foster care. Many emotions came with that. We finally did some research on an agency that we had heard about, but didn't know much about it. The agency was Buckner. We decided to go to an information meeting on foster care/adoption. We said that we would continue to follow through with this until the Lord shut the door. Needless to say, He never shut the door. In fact, from that one night of the information meeting in April of 2011, our lives have never slowed down. From that point on, we felt led to continue with foster care. 
 In September of 2011, we got the news that my dad had passed away.( I know that seems random, but it really does play a huge part in this process) :) We flew to New Mexico for the funeral. While staying with family during this time, we got the phone call that we had been licensed and on top of that, there was a possible placement(child) waiting for us! All they told us was he is a four month old African American boy. Of course we said we would take him. I was blown away! It was literally like God had shut one door and immediately opened a new one. A few days later they called us and said that they actually had TWO children they would like to place with us. The other was a 10 month old little boy. They told us there is a high chance that both boys would be up for adoption at some point soon. We told them again, yes, we would take both of them. 
 When we arrived back home from the funeral, we welcomed little D into our home. He does have a full name, but we can't share it publicly on here, so we are just going to call him D. The other little boy didn't work out, so we just got D, the four month old. We were so scared the night we went to pick him up. While driving the 30 minutes to go get him, the realization of having a child in the home and actually being parents was completely overwhelming. It hit us that we had no idea what to do with this child except to make sure we keep him alive and breathing! The moment we walked in that door of his foster home, our hearts COMPLETELY melted. The fear left. The unsure thoughts disappeared. I have never attached to anything/anyone so quickly in my life than when I looked into that little face. Watching Joshua with him completely melted my heart again. I knew life was about to take a CRAZY kink and we were going to be going a totally new direction, and I was totally excited.
 This is a very long overview of the journey we have been on the last 6-7 years with our family. Many more details are involved, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to share those with you at a later time.