Wednesday, November 27, 2013

J.O.'s perspective

First of all, let me clarify.  This is not a post written by J.O.  There are so many reasons for that but the main one is because I'm not even sure he knows I still blog.  He doesn't really get those know, like facebook and stuff like that.  He doesn't understand the whole concept of writing like you are talking to people and then he's always way too curious about who is even reading it.  Lets be honest....I understand that it's usually just my mom and MIL (thanks guys) but I like to pretend it's more.  When he starts questioning it, then I just become way too self conscious about it.  He also doesn't understand reading other people's blogs that you don't know.  One day, I was looking at cute pics on a blog and reading all about their day and he walked up behind me and asked who that was.  I quickly answered..."oh you know, so and so".  He said, "who?"  It was then, I realized, I only "knew" them in blog land so I tried to save face but he just walked away confused.  I feel quite certain he went upstairs to run a check on my SS number or something.  I mean, I did kinda sound stalkerish.

Anyway....I thought it would be good to give J.O.'s perspective but from my point of view.  Make sense?  I highly doubt it but here it goes.....

When we first brought B home, J.O. didn't say much at all.  In fact, he didn't really talk for a couple of days.  Looking back now he was overwhelmed, confused, and wondering if we had done the right thing.  I remember we were standing at the kitchen sink a few days later and he finally started talking.  He told me it was just much different getting a phone call and having a baby within 30 minutes and he just didn't have that natural attachment that I had.  He just assured me he needed a bit to adjust.  And he did.  It was much slower than I adjusted but I slowly saw the bond forming.  He would take a little longer than necessary to rock him to sleep at night, he would go in and comfort him in the middle of the night, he would take him outside when he was fussy and walk around with him.  When B started smiling, he would only smile at J.O. and he loved that.  They quickly formed a bond and when he left he was babbling 'dadadadada' plain as day.

When we found out B was going to start visiting family, I wanted to talk about it to a fault.  It's what I do.  However, J.O. doesn't respond this way.  This makes it difficult, because I sometimes don't want to open up to anyone but him.  It makes for a lot of one sided conversations.  Anyway, we knew he was going, and the week leading up to it J.O. was really wanting to fix the situation.  This is how he handles things.  He has always had success at school, work, etc and so he just thinks he can think of a solution and make it better.  However, we all know it doesn't work that way with DHS.  This made it hard for J.O.   He didn't want B to enter the life we knew he would enter.  The first weekend he went, J.O. really struggled Friday night.  He was worried about his safety and needs being met and just worried that we weren't there to take care of him.  However, by Sunday he was okay.  He felt no news was good news and that things would be okay.  J.O. adjusts much quicker than I do.

When the time came for B to leave, J.O. once again was very quiet.  He didn't say much but wanted me to know how much he would miss him.  He felt a peace (like I did) that B was leaving all along and that this is what we were preparing him to do.  He made the comment that, "we knew all along he was leaving" and for that it closed the book for him.  I'm just not as able to do that.

Right now, J.O. still knows we are doing the right thing.  The reality is, J.O. will probably be the only "dad" B will ever have.  The toddler we have on the weekends doesn't have a dad in her life either and he doesn't take that lightly.  He realizes that his job is almost more important than mine in some ways.  These kids have women in their life (although unstable) but the missing equation is a dad.  The toddler listens to J.O. so much better than me and she looks to him for everything.  They are longing for that father figure and for a time, J.O. is able to step in and play that role.

Friday, November 22, 2013

We've got so much, so much, so much....

Today was a busy day.  This morning Trey had his Thanksgiving Feast (brunch) at 9:00am and I knew that sometime after that B's caseworker would be coming to move him.  The program started with the kids singing a song that went basically like this....
"We've got so much, so much, so much to be thankful for."  They would list their family, friends, God, etc.  It was a super cute song, but standing there listening to that in the cafeteria with the day looming over me was almost too much.

However, that little song spoke volumes to me about B and his life.  We have so much to be thankful for in the span of time we have had him.  We saw his first smile, heard his first laugh, heard his first babbles, learned quickly his love for water, his dislove of sleeping at night, his frustration at it being a minute too late when he wanted his bottle, his love of Addison and all things Addison related and so forth and so forth.

We also have so much to be thankful for in the way God's hand has just been visible all over his life.  The intervening when B needed somewhere safe to go, the foster family that took him for the first month and gave him excellent care until he came to us, the family that cared enough to work hard at getting him back with relatives, the caseworker that has 30 kids but when she was at our house she played with B like he was her only one, the family and friends that came together with no questions and loved him like he was born into our family.

Watching his caseworker drive off today was the hardest thing I have done to date.  Not because I thought B would stay with us forever.  No, in fact it was the opposite.  God clearly spoke to me several months ago and told me plain as day that B wasn't mine.  However, as I watched them drive off I have the very natural, normal emotions of sadness and also an extreme burden for these children who are in foster care.  I am so burdened for those who don't have a family weeping at the thought of them leaving.  They've never had anyone care about them that much.

A lot of you have asked, so I thought I would answer your question.....we are of course planning to continue to open our homes to these sweet children.  We are going to make sure B is settled and then J.O. and I have a getaway planned in 2 weeks.  After that, we plan to pray and seek God's will for the next child who enters our home and that could make for an interesting Christmas.  One thing I have learned and been reminded of constantly today....God never makes mistakes and God's plan is always perfect.  For that we have so much, so much, so much, to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The vacations not over......

I have mentioned before that I am doing the Gideon Bible study at church right now.  What I might not have mentioned is that I am getting a double dose.  On Tuesday mornings I help lead the discussion with a group, and on Wednesday night, I attend and learn from another teacher.  The best part about it is, we are one week ahead on Wednesday night so I look really smart when I head to class on Tuesday.  I'm not sure those ladies have figured out my secret.

Anyway, yesterday we finished up our Tuesday class.  Part of the day that I discussed started with the example of her children (Priscilla Shirer) on vacation.  They go to a camp each year and one of her boys spends the entire time worrying about when they are going to have to leave.  He can't enjoy the time together because he is constantly worrying about it being almost time to go.  This is so much like Trey when we head to the beach each year.  He wakes up every morning asking when we have to leave, how many days are left, and when it comes to Friday he is so bummed that it's our last day, he can't even enjoy it.

We found out last night that everything is now in place for B's relative to receive temporary custody.  However, we are not going to move him until Friday because that is what works the best for everyone. I immediately started thinking...okay, 2 1/2 more days with him.  We will be able to hang out together on Wednesday but I need to run errands, I need to go get this, this and this for him to take, I need to figure out how to handle Friday morning with him at school and so forth.  I felt like Trey...the countdown was on.

Then, one of my friends, who I also learn from on Tuesday mornings, reminded me that the vacations not over.  I don't need to focus on the few days we have left together but make the most of it.  I need to finish strong and be thankful for the time we have had B.  It's going to be odd not going to pick him up on Monday.  It's going to be quiet next week without a crying baby to hold while I cook dinner.  It's going to be hard when Addison realizes the finality of the situation.

But until then...the vacations not over.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Feeling left out....

Once again, it's been a bit, but for what it's worth I thought about blogging several times and to me, that counts.

This past weekend was a first for us in a long time.  It was just the 4 of us.  B was with his family and 'Anna' didn't stay with us because we drove up for the football game Saturday.  We had planned to spend the night in Fayetteville Saturday night, but the game was ugly and we just kinda wanted to get home to our bed and have the day Sunday with the kids.

I learned something else this weekend.  Before we started fostering I always assumed my kids would feel left out and we would need to make some special time just the 4 of us.  While of course I agree that it's important that we spend time with them, I realized they in no way feel "shorted" because we have had other kids around.  In fact, all day Sunday they kept asking about B and when we would get Anna again.  I realized that what kid doesn't love extra kids running (or laying) around their house?

There were so many small worries we had before fostering that now seem so trivial.  Our kids are in no way slighted because we can't always jump in the car last minute and go see a movie, and eating out is just not worth it.  However, they are getting such a glimpse of what it's all about.  I mean, my kids are 4 and 7 and they understand that there are kids out there without a family.  They understand that sometimes choices that these parents make, mean they are not able to be with their kids anymore.  Because of this, their friends are also learning a ton as well.  They care for these kids like they are their own brother or sister, but they have an understanding that I think we lack:  Things don't always turn out the way we think they should.

One day, Trey asked me why B couldn't be with his mom and I was explaining it in terms he could understand and he got quiet.  A few minutes later he told me he knew why he was going with the family member and I asked why.  He said, it's because B has been in church and we've been praying for him, so now he has to go tell his mom about Jesus so she can make better choices one day too.

Trey, at 7, realized something that I had not even been able to consider because of my own selfish desires.  Hopefully one day, we will see this very thing come true.