Monday, December 30, 2013

How things are going…..

To say we have completely settled in as a family of 6 would probably be a lie.  We got the girls a week before Christmas so nothing has been normal or a regular schedule.  'Anna's' daycare has been closed the whole time school has been out and "A's" daycare has been on a limited schedule.  I have yet to see what it will be like getting 2 kids to AB, one child down Hwy 10 and one child to Colonel Glenn.  I have a feeling we will all be on a stricter routine at that point.  Luckily 'Anna's' daycare is in the process of trying to run a van to pick her up in the mornings so if that goes through it will be a huge blessing.  The afternoon pick up however, might be a different story!

The girls however, have adjusted so well.  'Anna' was here so often that she never broke stride.  The baby took a bit longer but now is on a better routine and loves having big sis with her.  The other day she just sat in the floor and watched her while laughing as hard as she could.

We got the girls on Tuesday the 17th and that day Addison came home sick with the stomach bug.  Trey woke up with it Wednesday morning but had a very mild version.  It hit me Thursday morning and I was down for the count. J. O. had to do drop off and pick up for everyone, not to mention handling a baby who was still all out of sorts.  If there is one thing I have learned, it's that every time you do anything with "fatherless" kids Satan uses whatever he can to get in.  I was sick in bed thinking we had made a huge mistake.  I couldn't handle 4 kids and I was officially going to become that crazy lady people whisper about.  You know the one who is running around like a wild woman.  Yeah, that was going to be me (and probably still is).  Addison wasn't adjusting well and even told us to take 'Anna' home at one point.

When I finally started feeling better I realized that God must have something huge in store for all of us with these girls.  Satan was working overtime that first week to make me doubt every decision we had made.  J.O. was exhausted, I was still weak, the kids were cranky, the baby was scared and that left an almost 2 year old running the house.  However, as I realized this and knew what was happening, things changed.  That's not to say I woke up last week and everything was rainbows and Sunshine.  Not at all.  I've already had several paperwork issues, Addison is still slowly adjusting and so forth.  However, I can't help but think of when we got B.  Trey had a terrible stomach bug that lasted for days when we got him and then B pretty much cried the first few nights all night.  I was overwhelmed, exhausted and wanting to go back to normal.  However, I wouldn't trade the time we had with him for anything.

I sent my mom a pic last Sunday of all 3 girls dressed up and ready for church.  She just wrote back how blessed I was to have these babies and I couldn't agree more!  I wish you could all see the faces with these sweet names.  It's not the image of foster care you usually imagine.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Not the life I planned…...

This is one of those posts that people probably read and realize I am still a very selfish human being.

There are lots of days I would LOVE to go back to our old "normal".  There I said it.  I always said I would only have 2 kids and I would work.  I wanted 2 kids because lets face it….when you add more than 2 you become outnumbered.  You also have to add a chair to most breakfast tables.  It's quite annoying.  Most tables come built for 4 and if you want to add a 5th chair you have to make the thing become ginormous and who has room for that in a 'breakfast' area??  

Seriously, these were the reasons I had.  I also planned to work when the kids became older because to me, that's perfect.  You can get out of the house and they can go to school or childcare and you can justify ordering out because you are too tired to cook.  When you have been at home all day (all be-it just as busy) there is really no excuse in most peoples eyes for not having dinner made.  Now, don't get me wrong…I worked full time last year and it's no gravy train.  In fact, I didn't really like working full time.  I never felt caught up, I always felt rushed and I hated it when a child got sick.  However, I always thought I would work part time.

Then we started fostering.  It's been great.  Seriously, I have felt all along we were doing exactly what God has called our family to do.  We had strict guidelines….birth-1year and only 1 child at a time.  They needed to be relatively healthy and a good sleeper would be a plus.  I was willing to foster, but on my terms.

And these guidelines worked out great at first.  Baby B was a true blessing and we loved having him with us.  We knew we had him for a purpose and had a wonderful experience with his caseworker, DHS and everyone.  There were several 'bumps' along the way with his case so it also prepared us to expect the unexpected.  It was during this time we met 'A' and knew she had come into our life for a purpose as well.  We weren't really sure what that was but we knew we were supposed to help with her.  We had her and baby B together at several points and always managed, but it was hectic.  

When B left, we had several weeks just the 4 of us again.  It was nice, peaceful and a quiet calm. We knew that a break was just what we needed and took full advantage.  It was during Thanksgiving break and the kids and I stayed in our pajamas as much as possible.  

Then court with 'A' and her aunt happened.  It wouldn't be productive (or fair to the family) to give any details, but today we will be getting 'A' (23 mths) and her baby sister who is 9 mths old.  We will be their full time foster family.  To be honest, I have faced this with a lot of resistance.  I mean, we have 'A' all the time anyway so that won't be a big change.  2 under 2, full time, will be.  

I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes I reminisce about the good ol days.  The days of 2 kids, a dog and a breakfast table that fits without an extra leaf.  However, once again I can't help but think how much we limit God when we put limits on what we will let Him do.  This won't be easy.  Nothing worth doing ever is.  This may not be the life I planned, but thankfully it is the one that God is allowing me to lead.  I can't wait to see how God works in our family through toddler 'A' and baby 'A'.

I may need to think of some new initials.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

The air up there…..

If you have read this blog for any period of time or just know me at all in person, you know I'm not the bravest person.  I run early in the morning and although I love the stillness of the morning and the fellowship with friends, I am constantly on guard.  There is a reason I run faster when we get to an unlit place.  I mean, I'm no speed demon, but I figure if someone is lurking it may deter them a bit if I at least look halfway fast.  

When J.O. and I met I knew he loved to be on the go.  I mean, I lost count how many times him and a few guys would hop a flight to Vegas for a long weekend.  Or he would head to Colorado with friends or just go away somewhere over breaks and weekends.  Me on the other hand, not so much.  For one thing I like to plan.  Then I like to rationalize.  Do we really need to spend the money, where will kids stay (even though both parents are local and willing), I don't really have time, and etc, etc.  However, the underlying reason is usually because I HATE to fly.  Like HATE it.  I used to not be this way. Growing up, we flew several times and I was fine.  However, now I am much older and wiser.  It's just not natural for a huge piece of metal to soar through the sky with all these people and luggage weighing it down.  Not to mention, you know people aren't obeying the in flight electronics rule.  I mean, I think they should really physically check that your cell phone is on airplane mode.  I would volunteer to help.

However, knowing who I married, I agree to fly and travel.  We don't go often at all but when we do it's tons of fun.  This Thursday we left and we left with heavy hearts for our little girl we get quite often.  We knew there were going to be some changes coming up with her and the siblings, and just left with uncertainty of whether we would see her again.  I literally was walking to the plane when the caseworker called me and we chatted.  It was just on my mind.

The worst part of flying for me is take off.  To me, if something is going to go wrong it's going to happen then.  Engine deciding to stop, plane not getting air and so forth.  As we took off I had my eyes closed and as we were climbing it was very turbulent.  The weather had already started moving in and it was cloudy and rainy.  It took awhile to get above all the thick clouds and it was just bumpy and extremely unsettling.  However, all of the sudden we got above the clouds and the sun was shining very brightly.  There were blue skies surrounding us and the ride was very smooth.

At that point I couldn't help but think how often I live in the turbulent clouds.  Walking on that plane I wasn't giving 'A' over and praying God's will be done.  I was coming up with every scenario possible to have my will done.  I was very unsettled and just in a very rough place.  But when I got above the clouds and saw the peace and the calm sun, I realized this is where I need to live.  I need to live in the peace and assurance that once again, whatever God can do, is so much better than what I can attempt to make happen.  

Sure, I can let my desire for this little girl be known, but after that I can't try to force hands.  I am going to try daily to decide to live above the clouds and rain, and let the peace and assurance that can only come from God being in control take over.

Monday, December 2, 2013

First of all, I normally don't write things like this but just had this on my mind today.  It's more for me than anyone.

Today has been one of those days where I have had a lot of things and people on my heart.  I have been thinking a lot of B today and wondering how he is doing, I have been thinking of the toddler that we get (and her siblings) because they are heading to court tomorrow, I have been thinking of the friend we made when we started this journey and the baby they are fighting for and so forth.

I started thinking….we have only been doing this since May and every situation we have encountered has been drastic.  There were so many turns with B's situation that literally made us all go "huh???", there have been so many things with "Anna's" situation that make you go "seriously???" and it just seems like everyone I meet lately has a different story.  Now, don't get me wrong…if you keep up with anyone on Facebook associated with fostering and adopting there are great things happening.  There are kids being adopted, there are tons of people rallying together to make sure all these children have presents to open Christmas morning.  I mean, just this morning I was buying some shoes for a child our Sunday School class "adopted" for the holidays and the very young salesman told me that their shoe drive alone gives shoes to 60 or 70 kids in LR.  To me, that's pretty awesome.

But what about the parents of these kids?  What is going wrong?  Why is every situation drastic?  Why do these parents lose their kids and have absolutely no one there to support them.  Yes, in a lot of situations they have made some terrible choices and are facing very real consequences, but like I've mentioned before…B's mom is a victim of an endless cycle with no one to help her get out.

It got me thinking….we, as Christians, claim to have something these people need….and we do….we have the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.  However, why do they not want what we have?  Is it because we have become so legalistic in the way we present it they want nothing to do with it?  Is it a problem that we spend more time inwardly judging and criticizing someone because they use X-mas instead of Christmas that we can't see past our own noses?  I mean, if someone writes that they must be anti-Christ right?  Why else would they write that?  Never mind the real thing the X means.  We don't care about that.  Or the clerk that tells us Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  We are too busy spouting back Merry Christmas in a way to let her know WE still celebrate CHRISTmas to consider that she's one of the people who has been at work since Black Thursday and makes minimum wage.  She goes home to 3 kids and can barely pay rent and all she can remember is some Christian who turned her nose down at her for saying Happy Holidays.  I mean, aren't we in the holiday season?

I am not saying we shouldn't stand up for what we believe in.  On the contrary.  I had someone tell me over the weekend that she literally had no one.  She feels in this fight by herself and she's trying as hard as she can to make ends meet.  She knows I am a Christian because I am open about it with her, but she wants nothing to do with church.

Just makes me sad because I want everyone to have what I have.  I literally couldn't survive without the unending love, grace, mercy and HOPE I receive every day.  Maybe sometimes, we (I) should strive to be more hands and feet and less mouth.