Monday, April 28, 2008

Home Study Update

Boss recently got his home study paperwork in, so we are completely finished with the paper chase. I will be scheduling family physical appointments for the first part of next month, and then all that is left is for my caseworker to visit our home and interview everyone. That part might be scary.

We are fingerprinted and have foster and adoption training as part of our job as houseparents, so all of that counts towards our home study, as well. There may be a few things that I am forgetting about, but I believe that after physicals and interviews, we will simply be waiting for our caseworker to type everything up and send it in to the state to be approved. I have heard that it can take up to four weeks to get back, so I am hopeful that we will be finished with everything by July. What a great day that will be!

After that, we have to do decide if we want to chance waiting for a private adoption, or if we want to send our information into an adoption agency and let them take over with the matching process. So many choices! I am praying God's guidance and wisdom over it all, so that when the time comes, we will know which direction to take. I do feel as though we have been moving a bit slowly through all of this, but I am okay with that.  I am choosing to believe that things will happen naturally when the timing is right.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sensitive Soul

My Emma is the most sensitive soul you will ever meet. When I look at both of my children, it amazes me how God uniquely crafted each of their personalities. They are complete opposites. While Emma stands off to the side of a group, just hoping and wishing that someone would ask her to join, her sister barrels her way into the crowd and makes herself a part of the fun. I love everything about the differences in my daughters, but lately my heart has been worrying about my biggest girl.

Emma is beautiful, smart, funny, silly, and creative. She rolled over at ten weeks, crawled at five months, walked at nine months, and was talking in sentences at a little over a year. She slept through the night at seven weeks (which is a huge thing in our house),, and is such a complete joy to parent. She did go through a biting stage, but it ended quickly, and whenever I tell her about it now, she can't believe she would have done something like that! For almost four years we have spent nearly every day together, and I wouldn't trade that for anything! However, my biggest girl is about to turn four, and with four has come emotional tantrums and excessive worrying.

Emma likes things to be just so, and lately, the smallest thing sets her on edge. She worries all the time over whether other kids will want to be her friend, or if they will laugh at her. If another adult corrects her, she cries and begs me not to make her go around that adult again. She is already worried about which souvenir to pick out of the shop on vacation, because what if the ones she does not pick feel left out, because they don't have someone who wants to buy them? She worries about Heaven. She worries that her daddy will not be there to carry her in. What BIG things for an almost four year old to be worried about.

I remember years of worry in my own life, mainly during junior high and high school, and I hate that Emma feels this way at such a young age. I am praying daily that God will give me wisdom in how to make her feel bold and confident. My heart squeezes when no one asks her to play, but I know that I can't fix everything for her. And I hate that.

But I know that God has plans for her little life that is really still just beginning. Because with her sensitivity, comes great compassion for all things. Emma does not care about race or if another kid looks differently than she does. She can find the good in everything and everyone. I pray daily that God will fill her heart with peace, strength, and a love for Him. I pray she will always remember who she belongs to, and that that knowledge will take away some of her fear. And I am thankful that even though she is about to spread her wings and fly off to preschool, that at the end of the day she will fly back home to me. My Emma is such a sweet, sensitive joy, and I am thankful that she is mine.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Fresh Start

It's official. Spring has finally come to Ohio. The sun is shining, the grass is turning glorious shades of green, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the lake is sparkling with rays of warm sunshine. I love it! Right about the time I fear the darkness of winter is going to last forever, the world warms up and everything gets a fresh start for another year of growth.

Isn't that the way it is in life? Some seasons are dark. Troubles come, tears fall, and disappointment seems to loom around every corner. And at the very moment we fear we cannot take any more, the sun peaks out from behind the clouds, and gives us rays of hope that everything is going to be okay again.

This time last year my sweet, my college educated, hard working husband and I were standing in line for food stamps. Boss was having a hard time finding work that paid well, we were having trouble paying our mortgage, and extras in life were out of the question. That day last April, I watched as tears of frustration and disappointment roll down my husband's face, and I was heartbroken. It seemed that no matter what we did, or how hard we worked, we could not get ahead. Slowly but surely, we started to believe that our dreams were disappearing out the window. For months I prayed that God would lead us out of that darkness and into the light.

And now, exactly one year later, my husband is working the job of his dreams. We live in a cozy h, and our dream of adoption is finally coming to fruition. The sun is shining and you can see our smiles from miles away.

Sometimes I still panic that one day we will find ourselves once more in the darkness that surrounded us last year. My palms sweat, my heart races, and I think, Please God, don't make us go through a season like that again. But then I wonder, would we appreciate the sunshine if we hadn't walked through the darkness? Would the sun be quite as warm, the grass as green, the flowers nearly as beautiful, or the lake as dazzling? I don't think so. I don't look forward to seasons of darkness, I don't know anyone who does, but I am beginning to trust that the Heavenly Father uses those times to draw us to Him. And then, when the time is right, He allows the sun to start shining again and we are ready for a fresh start and another year of growth.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

N's Baby

Today we received some very sad news. The birth mother we were talking with went to the doctor yesterday feeling like something was wrong with the baby, and the doctor could not find the heartbeat. The doctor then ordered an ultrasound that revealed that the baby had died. They were very surprised as N was around twenty weeks pregnant, and that is usually past the point where typical miscarriages happen. N has been sick, and one of her other children currently has a virus and is in Columbus Children's Hospital, so they think perhaps she had a virus that killed the baby, or perhaps it is just one of those things that cannot be explained.

I am heartbroken, but not for the reason you might think. I never got completely attached to the idea of this sweet baby, but I am heartbroken for N. She has so little in this world, and to lose a child that she obviously loved, while having another in the hospital must be completely overwhelming. Even though she was contemplating not raising this baby, I know she loved it deeply, or the decision she was facing wouldn't have been a hard one.

I do rest in the fact that God is in control, and I do believe that he was watching out for that little one. It doesn't make it easier, but now N won't have to make the toughest decision of her life. And our family can move on, too. I was already struggling with wondering what choice to make if N did choose us. I worried she would choose us, we would take the baby home, and then she would change her mind. Now the answer is clear. 

And this little one can go straight to the place where there is no pain, hardships, or tough decisions to make. I am comforted in that. As for us, we will keep plugging along with our home study. Boss will have his paperwork in this week, and next is physicals for our entire family. I am not sure what happens after that. Please do pray for N. I am not sure when, but at some point this week she will have to deliver her baby that she never got the chance to know.

That is all I have for today. All I can say is that our adoption journey is completely real to us now. We started down a path not knowing where it would take us, and we still don't know, but N's baby was the first bend in the road. Although I never knew this little one, I am thankful to have the chance to write about him or her here. This baby's life was thought about and prayed for. I will forever remember N and this baby as the very first steps in our journey, and I am confident that if we continue to look to Him, that God will guide us as we continue down this unknown path.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Twenty Days

Twenty. That is how many days the stomach virus has been running wild through my household. I suppose when you have eight people living under one roof, it is bound to be passed back and forth, but this is getting ridiculous. I started it off back in the middle of March, then Emma got it at Easter, Boss during Spring Break, one of the big girls last week, Emma again, and now me once more. If I never have to clean up bodily functions again, it won't be soon enough. I am so tired of feeling yucky! But enough about that.

I have not heard anything new on the adoption front. However, I have not really left my house to talk with my caseworker either. I finally got all of my paperwork in, and now we are just waiting on Boss to fill out his part. I do seem to be plagued with baby fever. And baby fever is much better than the stomach virus!

Kate is being very cute these days. She is talking more and more, and her favorite thing to say is,  I cared! I cared! Translated, I'm scared.. She says it over everything, and then she wants you to hold her and pat her back. Emma has been struggling with needing attention lately. We had that very troubled young girl in our home for the last month (she left last Friday), and the entire experience was tough on Emma. I am thankful all of my other experiences with our foster girls have been positive, and I am thankful that my boss was so proactive in getting this girl out! I will never let foster care impact my daughters negatively. Anyway, Emma was tired of this girls tantrums, and the fact that I was constantly having to hold her down when she started into her tantrums, and Emma was doing crazy things to try and get our attention. Thankfully, she has perked right up over the weekend and is back to her silly self. It was a rough month!

Next weekend, Boss and I are going to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Five years! I can't believe it. Our anniversary is really in May, but that is when we are leaving for our family summer vacation to the beach, so this is the only chance we have to celebrate. We are going to stay at a Bed and Breakfast on the river. I love my husband and can't wait to spend some alone time with him. I think it's just what we need.

Anyway, that has been our life in a nutshell. The weather has been awesome here, and I am hoping we are feeling better soon so that we can get out and enjoy it. On the upside, all of this sickness has really helped out my diet, and maybe it won't be so tortuous to pull out the spring clothes!