I recently read this blog post from Attempting Agape and said, yes, yes, yes. These are questions I was wondering about 4 years ago and the investigation is part of what lead me to foster parenting. (Also, it was seeds God had planted in my heart from my childhood and a timely comment from a fellow blogger who was a foster mom.) Often people who are interested in adopting domestically look through the waiting child lists that are posted by most states and also through the U.S. program AdoptUSkids.org. When I was doing that years ago I was curious why there weren’t any babies or young kids on the lists. In a nutshell, it’s because—if they come into care that young—they’re stuck in the limbo of the foster care system for several years before they end up on a waiting list. And most never make it to the waiting lists (thankfully!) because they’re adopted by their foster parents or a community member before that point. Jason and I realized that as foster parents we could be on the front lines of helping kids in need, rather than coming in right at the end of their exhausting, traumatic foster care journeys.
If you are are wondering what you can do to help even one child, consider becoming a concurrent foster placement for a child or sibling group.
Yes, its risky for your heart. Oh so risky. I understand, I do. I’ve done it. I’ve lived it. I’ve cried over kids returned to birth parents, I’ve ached. But, I also know that it is worth it. It is so worth it.
When I saw our baby for the first time on the ultrasound screen my first thought was: a heartbeat! My second thought was: it looks like a little frog! Our belly baby has a nickname: Baby Froggie. The actual ultrasound pictures don’t look like much. The ring is the yolk sac and the baby is below, head on the left about equal size to the body on the right side. The ultrasound measured 7w1d, which means yesterday I was 8 weeks, due around April 21, 2015.
I prefaced showing Ali the photos of her new baby brother or sister by explaining that the baby is still very small, the size of a blueberry, and the photo is hard to make out. She excitedly looked as I pointed out what’s what in the photo and said, “Awe! It’s so cute!” What a sweet big sister. She’s currently thinking the baby will be a little sister.
Later that night I had to laugh when I saw this tiny little frog, not much bigger than our baby right now, clinging to our back door. God has a great sense of humor! We’ve had frogs visit before but never one this tiny.
If you read my last post, you know that we’re expecting a baby. This time, the baby is in my belly. What?! I’ve spent a lot of time in disbelief the past few weeks. Not that I didn’t think it was possible but I just hadn’t really gone there mentally. I just wanted to be a mother; whether it happened biologically or through adoption didn’t matter to me. Even just being a foster mom was so fulfilling to me. Once we adopted our sweet Alianna in 2012 my mom-heart was totally content. But in the back of my mind there was a small hope for a forever sibling for her—one that she could grow up in our home with and grow old with.
I’m super excited to have a baby, another child—and particularly one that will be a part of our family forever, one that won’t leave. In other words, I’d be just as excited if we were adopting again. There is no difference in my heart. But this time, we get 9 months to prepare! In the past we’ve only ever had hours to prepare for a new kid. We get to name this one, too—from scratch! That’s pretty special. I’m confident in caring for a child—I’ve had five, including a teeny preemie. However…
I’m pretty nervous about the whole reality of being pregnant and giving birth. I’m kind of a wimp. So far I haven’t been too uncomfortable. It’s been more like mild PMS symptoms that have lasted four weeks.I’m tired and I basically need to eat all day—at least every two hours—and then I feel pretty good. I’ve been hot a lot of the time—very unusual for me! I have to pee approximately 15 times a day. The idea of a little person living inside of my body is amazing and also freaking weird. It has always seemed like such an alien concept to me. Lord, help me to have peace about it before I start to feel our baby moving.
“You know that always happens. You adopt and then you get pregnant!” I burst out in laughter when Jason said that to me shortly after we high-fived and hugged and stared some more at the positive pregnancy test. “What are you going to say when people say that?” he asked, “Because you know they will.” I told him I’d probably laugh just like I did then. I laugh because it’s so far from reality. Our reality is that we were actively preventing pregnancy from before we adopted our daughter up until earlier this year. I hate those kind of comments because it’s heartbreaking for people who have struggled with infertility before pursing adoption then adopt and still don’t get pregnant. One is certainly no guarantee of the other. I know lots of those moms and they’re my sweet friends. My biggest problem with the above statement is that it implies that pregnancy is what we really wanted all along but we settled for adoption. That’s not our story. We actively pursued foster parenting. It was hard work. It wasn’t a back up plan. We chose to become foster parents as our first way of becoming parents. We fought hard to adopt Alianna. As I mentioned above, being her mother as well as being a foster mother—a mother to many—has filled all of my dreams for motherhood. I have no regrets or unfulfilled longings. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
That said, we really are excited about this belly baby. As much as I was in shock originally, this baby is totally and completely wanted and welcome. All three of us are very excited. Alianna was such a wonderful big sister to baby Firefly and I’m really excited that she’ll get to be a big sister again, this time for good.
[Quick note: Several people have asked how this will affect us foster parenting. We have no plans to quit foster parenting. We're still on the list of available homes, waiting for a call that could come at any moment. We may consider taking a year off around the baby's arrival and then reevaluating. But as of right now, nothing has changed.]
We said yes to a placement of a newborn. Not sure yet if it’s a boy or a girl.
Estimated arrival: April 2015
The biological parents and big sister are all pretty excited.
Oh, I should probably mention, this baby—about the size of a blueberry—is in my belly.
As of yesterday, four of our six hens are laying eggs. I’m hoping now that we’re up to 3-4 a day we’ll have enough to share with family and friends. August brought a lot of long, hot days and I tried to let the girls out of their run to roam the backyard for a bit everyday. We don’t let them out all the time because they’ll eat all our plants and poop all over everything if we don’t supervise or limit the time. But they love to run and flap their wings and roll around in the mulch to take dust baths (necessary to keep cool and shake pests off their skin). Plus, I love to interact with them. They’ll come up to the back door to look into the living room and sometimes my favorite girl Sunny S.U. will even knock on the window with her beak to say hello.
One humid afternoon I took a container of blueberries out to share with my hens. (I like to thank them for all their fresh eggs!) Once the girls realized I had treats, they started to gather around. Most of the birds are afraid to get too close to me. I like to make them put in a little effort to get the treat so I’ll extend my arm as far as I can to offer a berry. A couple of the girls will snatch the berry and jump back to check it out and then gobble it down, not getting close enough for me to touch them. The three youngest birds won’t even get that close. They’ll scratch around the garden, barely paying attention to the berry frenzy the others are enjoying. Because I’m generous and I want them to learn to trust me, I throw a few treats to the most fearful ones, too. I have to practically pelt them with the blueberries in order for them to notice and enjoy the gift.
Then there is Sunny. Buff Orpingtons are known to be friendly chickens but I’m amazed at how different she is than the others. She’s never been afraid of me. While I was sitting on the steps throwing berries out to the distant ones, I realized she was standing quietly right by my feet. She wasn’t scared. She wasn’t impatient or greedy, pecking at my stash or me, as they sometimes do. I can reach down and pet her soft feathers and she’s never backs away. She was peaceful and content to stand by me and wait for any treats I might offer. I have six birds but my sweet, faithful Sunny got half of the berries.
I had a revelation that afternoon about Father God. He delights in His children and loves to give out blessings and good things. So often we’re afraid to get close to Him so we act like we don’t care. We’re content to scratch in the dirt for our own treats, ignorant to the fact that He’s freely giving out better options if we’ll only look at Him. Then other times we get the confidence (or desperation) to get close and snag a gift or a blessing but then jump back again, into a safe distance. I wonder what it would be like if we would really sit at His feet without any reservations, not because we’re greedy or desperate, but because we simply like to be close to Him. And undoubtedly, the ones who sit loyally at His feet will get more of the goodness.
I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming
(From “The More I Seek You” written by Zach Neese in 1999)