Monday, March 31, 2008

Just Cause She's Stinkin' Cute


















Adoption Update

My caseworker heard back from the pregnancy counselor this morning. Last week the counselor and my caseworker both talked to the birth mom (we will call her N for privacy) and she said she was very excited to hear more about us. She was going to check her work schedule, and then pick a time for the three of them to meet together. However, the counselor has not heard back from her this week, despite calling N more than once. She is thinking that N might need time to sort through this in her head and in her heart. The sad reality is that no matter how much she might want this baby, she is barely keeping her head above water with the two she already has, and even on welfare, she is having trouble financially. I'm sure that reality does not make it any easier on her heart, though. I can't imagine what she must be feeling right now. The counselor is hopeful N will still make an adoption plan. If she can wrap her brain around this, then we will move forward. There are still several months left in her pregnancy for her to go back and forth. Maybe that's why most agency's wait until the 7th month to start matching! If she decides to keep the baby, I am at least grateful for this connection. We now have a crisis pregnancy counselor who has all of our information on hand. She deals with girls like N on a daily basis, and perhaps there will be another birth mom who wants to create an adoption plan for her baby if N falls through. So for now, we just wait and see. I am good with that. I did not expect much more. It would have been wonderful for everything to just happen smoothly, but nothing is ever easy when it comes to issues of the heart. Again, I can't imagine what these brave birth mom's go through! I have a new respect for them. Boss and I continue to pray that God will lead us to our baby. Maybe that baby is N's, maybe it is not. Regardless, N is currently on my prayer list and I would ask that you put her on yours, as well.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Girlfriends

I have always been blessed with good friends. I was never the most popular during my grade school years, but I always had at least one special friend, if not more, to share my days with. I remember a particular group of girls during my preschool days and a particular group as well, during elementary. I always enjoyed getting together and being a part of girl scouts, etc.

Sarah
















I found my first best friend in junior high. Her name was Sarah Larkin  and she was my saving grace during those dreadful years. We slept over ALL THE TIME, crushed on boys together, and it was with her that my love of Sonic Vanilla Cokes and country music began. Once we stayed up ALL night long listening for George Straight's song They Call Me The Fireman, to come on the radio, so that we could win tickets to his concert. I am not quite sure when or why our friendship faded, but eventually we each went our separate ways. However I recently hooked back up with her on, and it has been such fun peeking in on her life!

Lauren























In high school came Lauren. Lauren was the best friend a girl could have. Sometimes, it felt like we shared a heart. She always knew what I was thinking and she was always there to listen. She made me a better person, dressed me up for my very FIRST DATE, let me cry when I got dumped for the very first time, and was my maid of honor at my wedding. We are kindred spirits and I LOVE her! When we went to different colleges we drifted apart, but every so often we email or call, and it is as if no time has passed at all.

Jeana

















In college I had so many great girlfriends! There was always someone to go shopping with or to share my heart with. There are really too many to name, but I was never lonely, and college was a great time in my life. I sometimes wish I hadn't been so desperate to grow up, and had enjoyed my time there a bit longer before heading off to the land of adulthood.

After I got married, things changed, as they should, and the girlfriends seemed to thin out. Boss and I moved away the first month that we were married and truly began our life together all on our own. We didn't make many friends during that first year of marriage, but I was never lonely. Spending my days with Boss was enough. We truly became each other's best friend.

However, during the second year of marriage, I began to long for girlfriends once more. I would get together with some girls from church every once in a while, but that was about it. I really started feeling down, and began praying that God would send a special friend my way. I wanted to share my heart with someone who was in the same stage of life that I was in... young motherhood, newly married, no money. I wanted someone that just UNDERSTOOD the stresses and joys that those first few years of building a life together bring. After months of praying, God didn't bring me one great friend, he brought me two! And both of them lived on either side of me just a stone's throw away!

Angie














I met Angie and Kristin (pictured above) while houseparenting at ACCH. We were all the same age, we had all been married for the same amount of time, and we all understood the stress of the mission field we were in. Angie is a mama three times over (three in three years), and Kristin is the proud mama of one little angel. We had great times eating at Dion's, drinking sweet tea while watching the kids slide on the front porch, and sharing our hearts about our families, husbands and futures. While the working environment was not the best, and I know we all had to move on, sometimes I miss those two women so much that it hurts! They are strong Christian women and they make me want to be a better wife and mama. Everyone needs friends like them. How I wish we still lived by each other, so that we could enjoy being mamas together and so our kids could be great friends.

This brings me to where I am now. We have lived in Ohio for over a year, and I have yet to find a kindred spirit. I love everything about the life we are building here except for that. I imagine we will be here for quite some time, but I can't imagine raising my family without girlfriends close by! I miss having someone to call at a moments notice to grab lunch when I'm having a bad day. I miss having someone to ask to watch my kids if an emergency arises. I miss Boss and I going out with couple friends. I miss my friends! I am praying that God would bring me a friend here, and I am trying to have patience as I wait. It is simply more fun to walk this road we call life, with girlfriends by our side.

So here's to girlfriends, both old and new. My world is better because of you.


Baking Fun and Bunny Cakes






Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Next Step

My caseworker told the potential birth mom and her counselor that we were interested last Friday. Apparently they were tickled pink that Boss and I were interested, and they would like to move forward with the next step. My caseworker has proposed that he meet with the birth mom and the counselor next week, so that he might explain to them how the process would work, show her our family picture and tell her a little bit about us, and to get to know as much of the birth mom's story that she is willing to share. He also wants to get a feel for how serious she seems about all of this. I want to know if adoption is completely her decision, or if the counselor is only encouraging her to make that choice.

If they like what they hear about us, and my counselor has a good feeling about the birth mom, then we will move forward, perhaps with a phone call or an actual meeting in the next couple of weeks. Again.....wow! I am trying very hard to keep clear head about all of this. This is the very beginning of our adoption story and I know that the journey could take many twists and turns, the plot could thicken at any time, and that it could very well be filled with lots of tears and drama. The part that keeps me sane is praying for the happy ending.

So, we will wait and see. In the mean time, I have paperwork to complete, and I still have the problem of a mushy brain. Boss has taken the girls to his parents for a few days, so perhaps I will get something accomplished between counseling appointments, family visits, and hanging out with the big girls. Thank you for taking the time to check in.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Maybe a Match

I feel as though I have been a bit absent lately, and my only excuse is that my brain has felt like mush for the past week. We got a new resident who has thrown my world for a loop (she is leaving for higher level care on Thursday), we have had a stomach virus making its way through our house, and Kate and the new girl have BOTH not been sleeping through the night. Mush, I tell you. Every time I sit down to write, I can't put two words together. However, I wanted to let you know of a phone call that we received yesterday.

Our original adoption plan has been to complete our home study with our caseworker, and then send our completed home study to an agency to begin the wait for a match. Once matched, we would then use our attorney to finalize everything in the end. However, my caseworker told me yesterday, that he had received an email from a lady who is a volunteer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. This lady has been counseling with a young woman who is wanting to give her baby up for adoption, and she was wondering if our caseworker knew of any families who were wanting to adopt. Since my caseworker typically does not place babies, we are the only couple on the list.

Here is what we know. We believe that the birth father is Caucasian, and the birth mother is bi racial. The birth mother already has two children and no husband. She was adopted herself, and her adoptive parents are members of a church that is not far from our home. The birth mother came into contact with her own birth mother a few years back, and she believes that has caused many problems in her life, so she is very much for adoption, and very much for not interfering with the adoptive parents trying to raise the baby. She wanted to find a couple who were members of the church like her adoptive parents, so I believe we are the first couple she is looking at.The baby is due sometime in August. August! She should find out the gender this month. My heart pounds at the mere thought that this woman could be carrying our third child!

I know there is much that can happen. Perhaps the birth mother will choose someone else. Perhaps she will change her mind about adoption completely. Perhaps there will be a drug or alcohol history that we are not comfortable with. There are many days before August, and I am fully aware that many things could happen.

So, what do we do now? My caseworker sent an email today letting the crisis counselor know that we were interested in moving forward. The next step will either be a phone cal,l or perhaps just sending her a bit more information about ourselves. Then we will take it from there. Will you pray for us? I am trying to keep the attitude that God already knows which baby is ours, and whenever that baby comes along, things will simply work out. Maybe it will be this sweet baby, or maybe it will be another. All I can say is that this is starting to feel real!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Step One

We just received our first packet of papers to fill out as the first step in the home study process. I can't believe that this is actually happening! I am so excited! I will keep you updated as we continue to travel along this journey.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sad

In my job, I come across terrible neglect and abuse cases. Sometimes on a daily basis. The girls that come into my care, usually come with a huge stack of intake papers that tell snapshots of their story. None of their stories are pretty. Some of them make me sick. On Monday, we got a new little girl with the worst story I have read..

People often talk of being pro life, which I am passionate about, but it seems that the discussion ends there. You see a picture of  a fetus, proving it is a real baby and is deserving of life, but in my opinion, just giving a child life is not enough. If someone is going to give their child life, what gives someone the right to ruin that child's life before they even take their very first breath? Why don't we ever see pictures of the children, and later the adults, they grow up to be?

Tell me, do these children ask for their mother to drink alcohol and do cocaine during her pregnancy, so that their physical growth and looks are stunted forever? Absolutely not. Does a child ask to be fed rat poisoning in her bottle as a baby, which did not kill them, but was just enough to kill many of their brain cells? Did they ask to be mistreated by the men in their life, so that they are never able to enjoy the intimacy God designed to be in a marriage relationship? Does a child ask to be left alone in a playpen for days on end, so that now they have trouble accepting care from those that truly want to give it? The answer to every one of those questions is no. And it makes me feel sad that these mother's dictate the future their child will have, because these mother's chose to make selfish choices.

Most of the time I read the paperwork once, so that I know what needs to be worked on, but I let it go at that. I treat these girls as I would any other girl, and make as much progress as I can while they are in my care. Thankfully, most of them have been in therapy for years before coming to me, and we are truly just working on a plan for their futures. Most of the girls that I see have been adopted by loving families who want the very best for them. But sometimes, every once in a while, I can't forget about what I have read. It keeps me awake at night and it makes my stomach hurt. And sometimes, I feel sad and just need to vent.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow Day

Coloring in new coloring books while watching the snow fall. Heading outside to catch snowflakes on our tongues. Making snow angels. Warm soup on the stove. A bubble bath with an entire bottle of bubbles. Footed pajamas. Cuddling on the couch to watch movies. Reading bedtime stories. Sleeping in daddy and mama's bed. Wait, we do that every night. Making memories that will last a lifetime. That is what we do on a snow day.



































































Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Day In The Life Of A Children's Home House Mom

People are always curious when I tell them what we do for a living. They either think houseparenting sounds great and want to know where they can sign up, or they imagine us living on a compound, where life is anything but normal.

Being a house mom can be great and incredibly rewarding, but it can also be very tiring and emotionally draining. If anyone is considering doing serving in this minitry, because it does provide a way for mama's to stay home with their children and still receive a salary (plus all living expenses are paid), you cannot do it for that reason alone. The kids have an innate way of being able to tell if you truly care about them, and if they know you are there for the wrong reasons, they will make your life a living nightmare. Trust me. And even if they do know that you care, it can take a lot of work to break through the layers of stone that they have built up over the last fifteen years of their lives. That being said, we do not live on a compound and our life is very normal! We have a schedule, we laugh, we go to school and church. We eat out as a family, go to Wal Mart, the movies, and the mall. I admit that the big girls tend to get a bit silly whenever we venture out into public, but that doesn't stop us from going. I just make them walk fifteen steps behind. Maybe. So here you go. A glamorous day in the life of a children's home house mom.

4 am - Our internal alarm clocks go off, and we hold our breaths waiting for Kate to wake up, as we are still not used to her sleeping through the night!

6 am - The real alarm clock goes off, followed by Kate, and my sweet husband gets up four out of five days a week to handle the morning routine. I am spoiled and blessed! At this point, I roll over and go back to sleep, knowing that the house is in the hands of my capable husband.

6 am to 8 am - Boss gets all of the girls up and out the door. He makes sure that they take their medicine, their lunches are packed, that they are dressed appropriately, and that they have their homework. Again, I am so blessed. I usually wake up around 8 am in time to spend a few minutes with Boss and kiss him as he walks out the door.

8 am to 10 am - If there are no appointments, then Emma, Kate and I usually stay in our jammies during this time. We have a silly tradition of getting dish cloths to place over the girls laps, so they can sit on the couch and watch cartoons while they eat their cereal. It is so cute to watch Kate get her cloth and head to the couch every morning. I will miss this time when they start school!

10 am to 2 pm - On Mondays and Wednesdays we have no plans, so we stay at home and play or color, or we use that time to run errands. Tuesday is our busy day, as I have a staff meeting, we go to ballet, and then we stop at McDonald's for Happy Meals and play time. On Thursday mornings, Emma's friend Carly comes to play and then I have a staff luncheon, and on Fridays we are part of a playgroup with mama's and kids from our church.

2 pm - I am always home by 2 pm, so that I can get the house picked up and have snacks made for the big girls who arrive home from school at 2:45 pm.

3 pm to 5 pm - I put Kate down for her afternoon nap, and then we have snack time, study time, and there is usually some sort of drama that needs to be worked through. I also use this time to prepare dinner, and we usually eat around 5:30 pm.

6 pm to 8 pm - After dinner we have chore time, and then we usually play a game or watch TV. During basketball and volleyball season, we go to the games at Boss' school.

8 pm to 9 pm - The big girls get their showers and then head to their rooms. Our family spends some quality time together, before Kate goes to bed at 9 pm.

I am a night owl and usually use that time to unwind, blog, fill out paperwork, or read. I usually head to bed around 11 pm.

So, there you have it! We are just like any other family. Our days are long and full, but we are most definitely blessed, and for the time being, I would want life no other way.