Sunday, September 28, 2014

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

As we near the end of September I can't believe that 2 months has passed so quickly since the boys have come into our home!  I can definitely say that we are much more settled and stress free than we were that very first week.  Man oh man...that seems like a lifetime away!  I am finally to the point where I can comfortably take all of them out by myself.  We have had scream free grocery store trips, seamless church visits 2 times a week and happy plays at the park!  Our next big adventure will be in a few weeks - I'm taking all 3 of them with me to Port Neches to visit family!  EEK!  With 2 potty trained kiddos, that means LOTS of stops along the way!  Not to mention, one of our DVD screens got cracked by a car seat incident so we'll see how that goes! :) 
We've also been blessed to find a wonderful new church family in the last month.  Although we LOVED and will always love our Praise family, this church has definitely welcomed us with opened arms.  The kids love going and ask everyday if we are going to church!  I've already attended a women's ministry dinner and we are part of a great group of parents on Wednesday nights!  We've also been introduced to several other foster families in the church which has lead me to an awesome foster/adopt mom's group!  I'm so thankful for everything falling into place.  It's not perfect, nor do we ever expect it to be, but it's pretty darn good!
As far as we know, the boy's mom is doing really well with her plan.  We know that the EARLIEST she will be able to get the boys back is around February, but we also know that the judge can extend it to August (she has up to a year to work her plan and stick to it...longer if an extension is granted).  They see her every Tuesday and I'm learning not to take the things she says personally.  I've never met her, but the case manager will tell me the "concerns" mom has and it always gets me so upset.  I live with the boys every single day - I know that they are bathed, fed and loved every single day.  She picks on little things like "why aren't they wearing the shoes I bought them" or "B has an ear infection because he won't let me clean his ears, I assume foster mom never cleans them" - he didn't have an ear infection, FYI! :)  The case manager has to reassure me that this is mom's way of controlling an uncontrollable situation.  I will continue to do what I'm doing - loving these boys and showing them how Christ can work in their lives!  My next major update with the case probably won't be until January unless something crazy happens! 
Around the same time of the next hearing, our NEW HOUSE should almost be completed.  I'm expecting it to probably be closer to March because it's being built in the winter and the ice up here really stinks! :)  We've already finalized our showroom choices and now waiting on permits and such.  Hopefully they will break ground in the next month or so!  YAY! 
Hope everyone is having a wonderful beginning of FALL!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Let's Play Catch Up

I finally found my long lost login for my original blog so this post is basically just all of the posts from my NEW blog!  I'll start updating on this account from here on out...

So I felt something yesterday that I haven't felt in years!  I was reading Facebook (duh, what else would I read LOL) and came across a gender reveal post for a 3rd baby of a friend of a friend and I got a little sad.  Not sad like I used to be...just a little. Now please don't take it the wrong way because I am so freakin' excited for my friends and family expecting babies and I love seeing pictures, learning the gender, reading updates, etc!!!  This is my own inner battle.  The sadness that if I want a baby that we can't just "try" - I go thru a process.  Even then, it's not necessarily permanent.  It's selfish and I know that.  It is what it is! 
Then a second later I see Aubrey come around the corner and my eyes fill up with tears.  This is the baby that God has given me.  I was lucky enough to be her mommy from (almost) day one!  This is the one who calls me mommy, cries when I leave the house, excited to see me when I pick her up from daycare, cuddles with me on the couch, reminds us to say prayers before meals, sings her ABCs to me in the car everyday, helps me clean the house (clean up, clean up)!  My little mini me!  My life!  My perfect, sweet, crazy little baby girl!  Then I thank God for the struggle I endured.  I understand it now.  This is what it was for.  This beautiful angel baby is the reason I cried so many tears at the idea of never getting pregnant.  She's my miracle baby and I couldn't imagine life without her. 
I also have to be reminded that the 2 little boys who have dominated our home over the past 5 weeks were not sent to us by accident.  They have allowed us to feel the craziness of a full house and enjoy every minute.  They may not be with us forever, but during there time here we are learning patience (even when we thought we had no more to give), unconditional love and selflessness.  Life lessons for everyone in our family. In return, I pray that they take with them memories of us and our love for them. 
I give all thanks to God for the blessings that are right in front of my face.  I have no reason to feel sorry for myself - my life is full of wonderful miracles and beautiful gifts from God!
Prayer requests:
That our daycare situation clears up SOON and that we won't have to move the boys from the daycare they love so much!
The boy's mom - that she continues her plan and keeps a clear head so that her babies can be with her again because I know they miss her terribly.
That we feel peace about the "system" and all of the administrative hiccups we've encountered so that it is not a deterrent for future foster placements in our family.

Friday, August 29, 2014
So we are coming up on a month of having the boys with us!  Although they are sweet and pretty well behaved boys (considering their ages LOL), I feel stressed out every day.  My precious baby girl is also having a hard time adjusting.  I hear constant yelling because someone took her toy, looked at her toy or called me mommy (they mimic what they hear from her).  We are all still getting used to our changes and, although I feel it getting better...we have a long way to go.  We've considered a few times early on that maybe we should submit our 30 day notice and just move along.  Then I have to think about WHY we are doing this.  It's getting us out of our comfort zone.  It's putting us OUT there and fulfilling our duty on earth.  These boys need a safe and secure home and we have that.  So why do I feel frustrated every day?  Why do I want to hide in my room?  Am I a bad parent?  Should we stop fostering?  Any advice on how to handle a house full of 3 and under kiddos is greatly appreciated!
I also miss having a social life!  I need friends.  I need friends to have a girls night and I need friends who want to have play dates.  I really think that if we could just get out of the house every now and then, each of us would be better for it. 
As far as the plan, it sounds promising, but it's still early.  Mom has signed up for all of her classes, shows up to every visit and sounds very focused on getting her life together.  There is a hearing in 2 weeks and every 3 months after that. At the 6 month mark, they will see how she is doing and then they will have a better idea of the boys' future.  The judge in our county is pretty strict so he expects her to follow her plan perfectly.  For the sake of the boys', I do too.  Our oldest one obviously misses her and it breaks my heart when he has a sad day!
Now I'm off to get baby girl so we can have a girls only afternoon! :)
Friday, August 8, 2014
Tonight I had a silent heart to heart with our oldest boy. He had a wonderful day running around and having a great time. Bed time was going smoothly as usual. He quietly went to lay in bed (he doesn't talk much anyway) and I tucked him in, said goodnight, then walked out the door. About 10 minutes later he was standing in the hallway! His eyes were so sad. I walked him back to bed and sat at his side! I rubbed his back and told him that I knew he was sad. He whispered "mommy". My heart instantly broke. As tears rolled down my cheek, I assured him that we would take care of him and keep him safe. I could feel him take a deep breath and relax. 
I can't imagine what his little heart and mind are feeling! I'm sure he is so confused and even in his moments of giggles, there's a little sadness. He's such a sweet little boy and has experienced more than most. Prayers for peace over him!!! 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Just some thoughts to document my feelings since I know at some point in my life, I'm going to look back and barely remember some of this!

1. Boys are way different than girls!  I know everyone is saying "no sh**" right now, but until you actually experience it, OH MY GOSH!  My little girly girl who wears jewelry, bows and carries a purse doesn't know what to think about these boys who will just run into eachother for no reason - or run their cars into eachother and crack up laughing!  We girls are very confused :)

2. 3 children 3 years and younger DO NOT always play with eachother.  I thought "great, they will have instant playmates"!  NOPE!  Sometimes they are fine but most of the time they are fighting over something like a white Lego. 

3. Mommy really values her sanity.  Nap time, although I would love to be cleaning or napping, has turned into just sit and do absolutely nothing.  I stay as quiet as I can so that I can juice that nap for as long as I can and regain all of my marbles!

4. I grieve my family that once was.  I know it's been less than a week, but I grieve my family prior to the boys: One little person to put to bed - Fast grocery store trips - Worry free playing at the park - One bath - Potty trained little girl.  Selfish?  yes.  In the same breath, I understand that these boys need us AND in the grand scheme of life, the time we devote to loving them and keeping them safe is minimal yet crucial. 

5. Praying does wonders for the mind.  Every night when I put the boys to bed, I rock each one of them and say a prayer over their heads!  The calm and peace truly help to clear my head.  OH...and prayer works! :)

6. My house stays cleaner and more organized with 3 kiddos than it did with 1.  I also cook a decent dinner every night and have managed to take a shower every day! 

7. I'm really impressed with my patience. 

8. Foster kiddos are still kiddos.  They still play, laugh, run, cry and learn.  They cannot be discounted or pushed to the side because of a situation they had nothing to do with.  They cannot be thought of as a "burden" or "messing up plans".  There are no consequences or mistakes...only purpose.

9. I need a social life more than ever!

Monday, August 4, 2014
As most of you know, we had a foster placement on Friday afternoon.  Two little boys - 3 years old and 20 months old!  Although we were asked SEVERAL times by both CPS and Buckner if we thought we could handle 3 kiddos 3 and under, we were confident that we could!  FALSE! JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL...the first 24 hours were the most stressful 24 hours I've EVER experienced.  I literally cried for the first day and a half and most of the time felt so overwhelmed that I couldn't get off of the couch.  Chase and Zoren were awesome by stepping in and taking over the house.  Something that I would normally be doing.  These poor little boys!  They are really not any more trouble than any other kiddos their age.  It was totally not was me!  Of course a lot of if was very selfish.  We had a great vacation planned for the weekend and then off to my mom's for the week.  We still brought them on our mini vacation, but I felt so restricted trying to keep up with all 4 kiddos! Needless to say, it ended well then we headed home.  Today has been our first NORMAL day at home.  Chase had work today but I'm off all week so that helps to set a schedule for the boys. 
We managed to all wake up and get breakfast on the table.  I miraculously managed to get all 3 kids to sit down at the table for all 3 meals and they actually ATE their food.  Amazing!  I also got them all down for naps, played outside, snack time, played with flash cards and still kept my house from falling apart and most of my sanity intact.  By the time Chase got home, I thought I was going to pass out!  All kids were bathed and in bed by 8:30 (well....except for the little girl sitting next to me now WIDE awake)!!!  I'm so tired.  I don't think I give enough credit to stay at home moms with multiple children! 
The boys have a visit with their mom tomorrow morning so I'm curious to see how they are when they get home!  I know their mom is probably missing them more than they know.  From my understanding, they have never been away from her and she was very concerned about where they were going and who was taking care of them.  The reasons for their departure from her is still a little foggy.  The little one has an old burn on his back that was never treated and got pretty infected.  He was in the hospital for a couple of days to have it treated so that may have been the spark.  He's doing great though - he's such a trooper! 
So now at the close of day 3, we've decided to at least make it into next week when they start going to daycare.  If at that point, we feel like it's still not something we can handle, then we will let CPS know.  We have an amazing Buckner case manager who is very sympathetic to our needs and fears (and kudos to our previous case manager for being a great confidant this weekend when I was losing my mind)!!!  This has definitely been a learning experience for all of us. We have a much better understanding of our capabilities and what patience really looks like
I placed an ISO ad on our local online garage sale Facebook page looking for a car seat and met some pretty wonderful ladies that are also foster mommies!  I know that God placed these boys and those ladies in my life for a purpose!  It's hard to question things when you know there are no mistakes!  I'm also very thankful for the friends in the area who have offered their homes, hearts and ears to me in order to relieve some stress!  Oh - and I can't forget everyone that has called and had to listen to me cry like a wimpy baby lady - big THANKS for that!
Tonight I have some specific prayer requests for you:
- for the boy's mom, that she is able to follow plan and be reunited with her babies
- for the boys, that they continue to be comfortable in our home and learn to trust us a little more every day
- for Chase, that he find the patience and compassion I know he has in order to be a role model for these boys as long as they are with us
- for Aubrey, that she continues to enjoy having instant playmates and learns a life lesson along the way
- for me, that I'm able to have patience and sanity to do the best for these boys and love them and keep them safe while in our care

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
As of Monday, our foster/adoption license was officially updated.  We are now on the open home list which means that we can get a phone call at any minute for a kiddo to come into our home! 
I have to remind myself that this may not have the outcome it did with A.  We may very well be a temporary safe place for these kiddos until their parents or a family member is able to take them.  I expect myself to get anxious when I think about it, but I don't.  I'm much more secure this round.  I have a much better understanding of how the system works and what our part is in this whole situation.  I know that if a child returns to their parents or family member, that we will have done our very best at showing them unconditional love and care for as long as they are with us.  I also know that when they leave, I will always and forever have my baby girl.  I can see God's plan for us so much clearly than before - although I also understand that at any moment our lives can shift directions without any warning.  His path brought us baby girl FIRST so that we knew that we would have the strength to continue in our ministry of fostering other children.
Hopefully I will have updates for you soon, but until then I have prayer requests!  Please pray that when we receive the phone call, that we are given the wisdom to make the best decision for the child when it comes to placement, pray that we become closer to God throughout the waiting process so that we are ready for the next step, pray for the babies in foster care so that they will be comforted and safe while in an unknown environment.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I've decided to start a new blog for 2 reasons...1 - I wanted to start fresh with our new adventures and 2 - I absolutely cannot remember the email address I used for the previous blog!  I'm sure it will come to me eventually, but as of right now...I have no idea!  If you are interested, our original blog can be found at!

Well, we are officially settled into our new home after 7 months of trying to get comfortable (and missing my family back home).  Baby Girl loves her daycare and we get to see Z every other weekend!  She's playing soccer so we actually get to see her more often than that!  I love having that girl around! :)  We both have good jobs and I really enjoy getting to spend evenings and weekends with Chase after all of these years.  Chase also recently graduated with his Bachelors degree and I am so proud of him!  Needless to say, we are doing pretty great! 

As of yesterday, we have completed our last training class with Buckner of North Texas that is needed to update our license.  We have a few little loose ends to tie up but nothing that should take too long!  Once we get our remaining info to our home developer, we will be licensed.  We have decided to keep our license the same - 0-3 years old and Foster to Adopt.  We played with the idea of adoption only but I'm constantly being reminded that this is bigger than us.  This is not about our selfish desires. 

There are several things that we have learned over the past couple of years and things that I need to remind myself as we enter this new arena.  I know that our placements may not flow like our first placement did.  I know that our babies may be reunited with their birth parents and that we were never meant to keep them forever but only for enough time to place our thumbprint on their lives.  I know that visits will not be easy and that I will become attached to each and every child that enters our home.  I know that God will always take care of us and be our strength when we are weak.  I know that we have a wonderful support system whose prayers are mightier than any word. 

With that being said...I ask you to pray with us and for us.  I ask that you pray for a smooth transition back into the foster/adopt world.  I ask that you pray for our sanity as we wait and wonder when that phone call will happen.  And lastly, I ask that you pray that we are able to make a decision that is in the best interest of that child's needs when we do get that phone call. 

I look forward to MANY more posts in the future with our new journey!!!