Off Day(s)

05/23/2013

I woke up yesterday in a fog with my alarm clock and my back up alarm clock both going off. I (attempt to) get up at least an hour before everyone else so that I have time to shower, take the dog out, have a cup of tea, spend some time with the Lord…not necessarily in that order. However, because of sleeping through my alarms I was greeted bright and early by a little boy holding an empty sippy cup that he had just retrieved from the kitchen cabinet. I fumbled around and filled it up for him and told him a needed a few more minutes to rest. Five minutes later he returned to my doorway holding an oatmeal packet. Ok ok. I’m up. Jason is out on tour for a few days so it’s just me and the two kiddos. I managed to get them both up and ready and we got out of the house on time. I only forgot 5 things. I remembered 2 of the 5 before we were too far away so I swung back home for Buzz’s afternoon snack and the flowers I bought for his day care teacher.* (The other 3 things I forgot to do were: turn down the temperature on the thermostat, start the dishwasher and take a sweater to work… in case anyone cares.) My mom was watching Ali and texted me in the early afternoon that my baby girl had a fever of 103 in addition to her really snotty nose.

It was definitely an off day.

I realized as I was scrambling out of work early to pick up Buzz from day care so I could get home to my sick little girl that I have so much to be thankful for. Ali was in good hands—wonderful hands—with my mom who is not just an experience mom and grandma, but also a nurse. I’m thankful for Buzz’s day care—it’s been so good for all of us and I really appreciate that the state helps to provide this service for foster families. I’m thankful for my dad who picks me up every Wednesday and takes me out to lunch. I’m thankful for my husband who is encouraging and supportive even when we’re states apart for a few days. I’m thankful for an encouraging card that came in the mail from a friend I don’t see often enough. I’m thankful for the senior art director at my office who was willing to help me out of a sticky situation with a logo design at work—I really value her advice, skills and gracious encouragement. I’m thankful for my neighborhood MOMS club and for the sweet ladies who have been taking time out of their busy schedules to bring us meals three days a week. It has helped tremendously!

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This morning, Ali and I took a short walk in the park after dropping Buzz off at day care. She was feeling pretty yucky but by the time we got home, she started acting like her usual spunky self again. I’m hoping it was just a short-lived virus and we’re at the end of it now. I’m really thankful that I am able to work at home a couple days a week so I could be home with my sweet little bug today.

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*I bought flowers for Buzz’s day care teacher because… SHE DID HIS HAIR!!! I had jokingly asked her last week while she was fixing a little girl’s hair, “Oh! Can you do his hair too?” She said she would. On Monday she noticed that his hair hadn’t been braided over the weekend (as we had planned with two different appointments that didn’t work out.) She did it! I am over the moon grateful. We were at the point of 2-year-old vs. adult power struggle and he would not even let me touch it. I think she’s going to agree to style it for me on a regular basis and I’ll gladly pay her.

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Ali Mae at 22 Months

05/21/2013

 

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Oh, Ali Mae! You are now 22 months old. This past couple of weeks since Buzz arrived have come at you like a knuckleball. I’m sorry for how difficult and unpredictable it has been for you but I also believe that you are learning and growing so much. You are a sweet little girl but you are not afraid to assert yourself. You are easy going but you have a strong voice. You are a lover but also a fighter. God knew exactly what He was doing when He created You. He knew you would eventually end up in our family and that one day you would become “a foster sister” to other kids in our home.

Don’t lose your joy, precious little girl. Your place in our family, in our home, in our hearts is established forever. You will never be replaced. You will never be removed from us. I pray that God fills us all with so much love for each other that we have more than enough to give out to others. Thank you for sharing with Buzz… Sharing your home, your toys, your parents. It’s a lot of ask of an almost two year old and I know you’re doing the best you can. We’ve all had to make a lot of sacrifices but I want you to know that the job you have in all of this is so vital. You are an amazing sister to Buzz. You lead the way and show him the ropes around our home and our family. Your confidence, contentedness and joy are helpful for him to witness.

Your Daddy and I have noticed that your words have been exploding lately and we suspect it comes from an increased need and desire to have your voice heard. We hear you, sweetheart. We hear you say “Ali’s drink, ” “Cereal please,” “Can I have more?” “Mommy’s Day” “Ali’s Day” “Ali’s Daddy” “Apple juice” “Bubbles?” “Show? George?” (Curious George is your new favorite show.) And when we do miss your words, Honey, thank you for being patient with us. We’re all tired and little on edge lately. You are still an encouraging, radiant ball of sunshine in our home. Everyday I can’t help but marvel at your ever increasing beauty!

You are doing great with your swimming lessons. I’m so proud of your attitude and your bravery. This last Saturday, you hopped in off the side and I let you go under for a few second before lifting you up. You’ve been practicing blowing bubbles and not sucking in water. When I pulled you out of the water you wiped your eyes and said “Good job, Ali!” I’m glad you’re feeling proud of yourself. We’re going to have so much fun in Grandma and Grandpa’s pool this summer. Thank you for being you, Ali. I love you so much!

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A Hat, My Heart and My Ego

05/20/2013

On Tuesday, Buzz started daycare with shabby looking double strand twists in his hair. His mama called it “crazy hair” when we saw her on Saturday but also said “it’s not that bad.” By Tuesday it was looking even more crazy. His day care is 95% black people working there and attending so I was feeling pretty embarrassed when I dropped him off. I told his teacher that I know it looks bad and I have an appointment on Friday for him to get new cornrows done. That night, I unstyled it so I could wash and moisturize it.

Wednesday, I put his hair in a ponytail against his wishes. But what were my options at that point? So off to day care with a pony tail. (Side note: ponytail was suggested by his mom if I couldn’t style it.) When I picked him up in the afternoon, only a tiny bit was still in the ponytail and the rest was all crazy wild and free. If that wasn’t bad enough, immediately upon seeing me he dropped down into the wood chips in the playground and rolled around. Yeah, wood chips all up in his crazy hair. Ugh.

So another bath and detangle and moisturize session that night. Getting the wood chips out of his hair was NO FUN AT ALL! Since the ponytail didn’t work out and he was scheduled to get cornrowed on Friday, I sent him to daycare on Thursday with an afro. Not a cute afro. A crazy wild, my-white-foster-mom-has-thrown-in-the-towel afro.

He could not have cared less. (Thankfully?) However I was feeling guilty. I went on to Target to run some errands. First stop: boys section to look for a hat for Buzz. I picked up a few in the toddler section…a blue and white striped conductor style one that I decided was too small, a straw fedora that was too hipster, a Spiderman one that Jason vetoed via picture text.

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Finally I saw some adjustable hip hop/skater style hats over in the bigger boys section. I was on the phone with his case worker at the time and Ali was trying to open a bottle of allergy medication so I just grabbed one. I also found his hoodie sweatshirt on clearance. He only has one hooded sweater that fits and he loves it; especially with the hood up. I couldn’t resist this one with eyes, horns and teeth—even one good tooth! Oh, how it made me smile. I laid them out on the chair in his room and hoped he’d like them.

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His crazy afro didn’t look any worse at the end of the day when Jason brought him home. No wood chips, Thank God! His immediate reaction to the hat was that he wanted me to take the tag off. He likes it! I thought. He ran off to go outside with Jason and Ali, hat in hand. I convinced him to let me put it on him and took some pictures so he could see how cute he looked. It lasted for a few second before he took it off and started running around the yard with it. He was swinging it around by the tabs in the back and smacking it against the driveway. He hates it! I thought. I’m not gonna lie. It hurt my feelings. It was a gift and he was treating it like trash. A few minutes later it was lying in the dirt and he was off doing something else.

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After dinner we went to the playground. Again I was able to convince him to put the hat on when we got out of the van. It was mostly black folks at the park—can you tell this white mama is feeling self-conscious about not doing well with her black foster son’s hair? Again, it was on for a few seconds and then he handed it to me. I wore it for the rest of the park time so I could have my hands free to take photos. He hates it, I’m convinced. Thankfully, I didn’t hear a single critical comment about his hair.

Twenty minutes after putting him to bed that night, from where I was sitting in the living room I could hear him creeping down the hallway. He was looking down at his feet trying so hard to be quiet that he didn’t see me standing there waiting for him. He had put his bare feet into his sneakers—wrong feet, unlaced—and he had the hat on backwards. He looked like he was about to leave on an adventure (which is totally not funny because of an incident a few days prior…). Instead of scolding him, I said “I like your hat!” He likes it!

I got him back to bed with a snack. (He was looking for a cup of milk when I asked him what he was doing up). I agreed to sit with him for a while as he was getting settled. He snuggled up in bed…with his hat. Oh, he really likes it!

Jason got him up the next day to take him to some appointments. I was already at work so I texted and asked if he wore the hat. Jason said yes. He had been wearing it since he woke up and he loves it. My mama heart is so happy!

Disclaimer: (Because yes, I still have an ego…) I’m fully aware of how important hair care and style is within the black community. I have a whole slew of appropriate black hair products and have done a lot of research. I’ve gotten pointers from friends and from his mom, as well as product from his mom. It’s not so much a matter of not knowing what to do… it’s a matter of not having the time and energy to do the “practice, practice, practice” that it requires to get good at styling black hair. I fully intend to get good at doing it myself; but sometimes you need to know when it’s time to outsource. I’m feeling pretty good about the style I eeked out last week in my first attempt. This week it felt like there were so many other higher priorities. That is why I scheduled someone to put his hair into a longer term protective style for us…however he was not willing to sit for a styling.


Double Blessing

05/16/2013

I was generously blessed with this amazing double stroller by a woman I had never met. She follows my Instagram feed (Hi @curlybirds!) and apparently reads here too. I am incredibly grateful that someone would take the time out of her day to drive across town to deliver a beautiful and certainly valuable double stroller to my house. Ali and I got to meet her and her six year old twin daughters, too. What lovely, lovely people!

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Thank you, again, so very much!


Getting Settled

05/15/2013

I’m way behind on blog posts. I still haven’t posted about Ali’s and my trip to Florida a month ago or the swimming lessons she started. I have pictures of mid-century modern things we’ve bought and sold. I have pictures of our blossoming landscaping. I was behind before Buzz showed up 12 days ago but now I’m REALLY behind. However, it’s easier to write about what’s currently going on.

• Yesterday was Buzz’s first day of day care (in our care) and it was so good for all of us. The consistency of a daily routine, structure and opportunity to play with other kids all day will be great for him. It was also a much needed break for Ali who has been kind of stressed out (acting out for attention, yelling and hitting a lot) and we could tell she was craving down time, as well as some individual attention from Mom and Dad. I worked at home yesterday with just Ali. Holy Cow! I got so much done! I thought working at home with a child was challenging but after struggling all week last week with two, it was a piece of cake. Day care isn’t cheap and it will use up most of the daily board rate that the state gives us for Buzz’s expenses but it’s worth it for us. This is what Ali did after breakfast:

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• We all picked Buzz up together and went shopping for a new grill. I love when stores have double child seat shopping carts, especially when they’re shaped like a car. This is the first time we’ve taken both of these kids shopping. They were driving each other crazy. (Get it?) Seriously, they pick on each other like brother and sister. Ali is a pesky little sister constantly grabbing his steering wheel or flicking his hair. He whines and tattles and is always pushing her back into her side of the car. Then she smacks him. Then he fake cries. (Anyone have suggestions on how to foster sibling love and kindness?)

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• Our old grill was a surprise wedding gift from my cousin Dan. I was 18 at the time and I thought, A grill? That’s so…grownup. We’ve used the heck outta that thing over a decade and moved it to 7 different apartments and homes from Erie, PA to Nashville, TN. It was such a wonderful, thoughtful wedding gift. Now here we are 10 years later grilling our first dinner on the back patio of our dream house on a gorgeous May evening with a spunky little Hispanic girl we adopted and a playful little AA boy we’re fostering. I never in a million years would have pictured this as my life from that vantage point but here we are and I love it.

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• Speaking of love, it’s not all brother-and-sisterly squabbles. They do like each other. After dinner they wanted to swing in the hammock together and then they were working together to fill containers with rocks in the courtyard. And the sweetest thing yet… Jason was putting Ali to bed while I was putting Buzz to bed. He brought Ali into his room so I could give her a hug and kiss goodnight. As they started to walk out, Buzz said “Wait!” We asked if he wanted to say goodnight to Ali. (We’ve suggested this several times before and they usually refuse anything other than an occasional “night night” or wave.) They both leaned in for a hug and then a kiss. MELT.MY.HEART.

• Neighborhood moms are so generously bringing us meals 3 nights a week and it lifts a huge burden. If I haven’t already mentioned it, Buzz will likely be with us a couple months but of course anything can happen in foster care. I love his mom. We’ve been texting back and forth a few times through the week. She was super helpful in getting me his immunization records so I could get him into day care. (DCS…not so much. They pretty much dropped the ball last week and this desperate mama decided to take matters into her own hands…without of course “going over their heads” because, ah hem, we’ve been warned.) We’re constantly referring to ourselves as Mr. Jason and Ms. Martina to Buzz, both out of respect for his parents and because we believe he’ll be reunified with them soon. However, he has started calling me “Ma” and Jason “Da.” I’m not sure how to avoid this because Ali is calling us Mama and Daddy all day. Also, I don’t think he’s able to say “Ms. Martina” or “Mr. Jason.” I just hope his mom is not offended if/when he calls me Ma in front of her someday. I tried. I really did. Ali, on the other hand, sometimes calls me “Nina.” Or “Ali’s Nina.” Oh that girl!

So that’s where we are. Blogging has been a little scarce because I’m still fighting to recover my energy. At the end of the day when I have the choice of sorting out my thoughts here or going to bed, I usually fall asleep sitting up before I even make the decision. But we’re definitely getting settled and life is starting to feel more manageable. Thanks for hanging out here and sharing this adventure with us.


Mothers Day 2013 Reflections

05/12/2013

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Mothers Day continues to be a roller coaster of emotions for me. I am thankful for the many wonderful mothers in my life. My own. Jason’s. My sisters, sisters-in-law and good friends who are journeys simultaneously with me into motherhood. Ali’s first mom who gave her life, loved her, did her best for her, and then gave us her blessing to raise her precious daughter. And now there is Buzz’s mom who is heartbroken and working hard to play by the rules and get her son back. She’s been very easy to get along with and loves her little boy and he loves her too. She sent me a happy mothers day text on my way to church and I sent her one back with a photo of these two beautiful children that I got to spend the day with, mothering. I’m an exhausted, blessed, weepy mess and I’m going to attempt to use this space to sort out my thoughts tonight.

I’m not usually the type who cries reading mothers day cards, but there I was at my parents’ church this morning crying over a Hallmark card before I even got to the handwritten note from my own mom, who is relentlessly loving and encouraging. Mothers Day never used to be an emotional day for me. I wrote about that last year. I always knew in my heart that I’d be a mom and I wasn’t sad while I was childless. I haven’t lost a mom or a child or dealt with other situations that makes women sad on mother’s day. And yet these past two mothers days I’ve been an emotional wreck.

People often tell me that they’ve talked about doing foster care someday. In my head, my response is “but then you decided that you like yourself and your life, so you thought better of it.” I’m joking, but not. Because I like myself too. In a clear-headed, God-focused moment Jason and I decided whole-heartedly to surrender our plans and dreams for what our family might look like and become foster parents. We feel called to it. Most of the time. Other times, I long for my former comfortable, easy, predictable life. I certainly have my fair share of “what the heck are we doing? And why?” moments lately. But I do know why.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I can’t read this passage (Matthew 25:34-40) anymore without sobbing, because I’ve done most of those things and I’ve seen Jesus’ face in the face of one of the least of these. I can’t go back to putting myself first anymore.

Except when I do. Because I’m not perfect. I pour out my mama love until I’m empty. I’m strong until I buckle under the pressure and I crack a little. I need time to heal. To recover. To refill. This week has been hard. So very hard. And good, too. We’ve been giving this thing all that we’ve got and I feel completed poured out. Empty. I see that Buzz has made a tremendous amount of progress in a week. It makes my mama-heart so proud that he’s feeling comfortable and safe here now. Progress is tangible. Hard work is exhausting.

A woman at church yesterday told me that I’m living her dream. Huh? Her dream I think she said was “to adopt a some kids from Africa.” I didn’t feel compelled to tell her that both of these kids where born in Nashville and that one of them is in foster care. I’d love to know what my face looked like when she said that as I was wracking my brain to come up with a response. I hope I smiled politely. I kind of wanted to smack her in the face and say, “Do you have any idea what this week has been like?” But I know she’s seeing a different reality than me. I know because I do that same thing when I see a picture of a family with kids of all different colors and I think: How lovely! How beautiful! I want my family to look like that. She’s seeing the happy young white mom with the dark brown boy with crazy hair, a mischeiveous grin and a puppy dog backpack and the caramel brown little girl with a big pink flower in her curly black hair, with the infectious smile and owl backpack. And if I do say so, they were both super adorable yesterday. But it’s not all flowers and puppies and sweets around here.

There are tantrums and tears. (Sometimes from the kids.) There are butts and noses that always need wiped. There are accidents to clean up. Wanders to chase down. Slow pokes to pull along. Buckles to buckle, shoes to tie, velcro to fix, cups to fill…one thousand million times a day. In one week I’ve become the mom that’s shouting “Share! Play nice! Walk please! Slow down! Come on, let’s go! We don’t hit! Gentle please! Don’t bite people! Leave the dog alone!” way too many times a day. I’ve relied on the TV as a pacifier more than I care to admit. (Sometimes for the kids.)

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I have to stop and wonder: between me and that woman, which one of us is seeing the real picture? Both of us? Maybe neither? Perhaps we’re each only seeing one small part of the greater picture the Master Artist is creating.


This Time

05/08/2013

I have lots of things in my mind to process and share, it’s just a matter of finding the time this week as we’re all still getting situated. This is our first placement of Foster Care Round 2 and there are some really significant differences this time:

1. We have another child.

I know this is obvious. In a lot of ways, it’s made this transition easier. Our house is already pretty child-proof. We have lots of toys, a playroom, kids shows loaded up on our Netflix, bath toys and shampoos and soaps, high chairs, sippy cups, etc. We’re familiar with toddler behavior and have a lot of well practiced discipline and parenting techniques. We have toddler friendly foods and an understanding of little kid schedule. All of these things were a huge learning curve with our first placement, Ladybug, who was 16 months old. There are also some challenges that come because of having two kids. The fighting…I mean learning to share. Two kids running in opposite directions. Taking turns. Dividing our parental attention between two. Attempting to adapt them both to the same schedule. Double the: bodies to wash and dress, teeth to brush, butts and noses to wipe, shoes to put on, car seats to buckle, sippy cups to fill, backpacks to pack, toys to wrangle, boo boos to kiss. It’s also double the: cuddles, giggles, comforting hugs, smiles from strangers, sighs of relief when they’re both finally asleep, safe and sound at night.

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2. A community of fellow moms.

The first time we became parents we had a few friends who were already parents but not a ton. I wasn’t part of any groups or clubs. This time, holy smokes! It wasn’t just our immediate friends and family offering to help. I sent out an email to our neighborhood MOMS club right after Buzz was asleep on Saturday morning requesting clothes because he hardly came with anything. At 8:30 am the first mom was out my doorstep with a big box of clothes, shoes, underwear, socks, pjs, toys, diapers. (Some of which is pictured below.) Throughout the day, we got 3 more deliveries. I thought we could handle it from there but in a weak, desperate moment yesterday I put out another plea for a few grocery items and some babysitting help. Before I knew what hit me I was sitting at my computer weeping as phone calls, texts and FB messages started pouring in with offers to help. One friend left immediately for the grocery store with my short list of desperate needs. Another mom from the MOMS club called to set up a meal calendar. Another couple of friends offered to bring meals this week. I am blown away but the support from our community! Also humble enough to admit that I need help this time.

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3. Grieving people.

The most significant difference with Buzz’s placement is the emotions. Ladybug didn’t really show signs of grief. She was angry sometimes and I’m sure there was some confusion or frustration but she didn’t really seem sad. We never met her birth mom. The family member we did meet, the one who got custody of her, didn’t seem sad either; just frustrated and angry at the department. Ali was a little baby and as content as any baby I’ve ever met. Her birth mom was not outwardly sad, though I know she was struggling. She was very tough and didn’t let her guard down very much. Buzz has been much more sad and emotional than I expected for a 2.5 year old boy. He cries daily, says “I want my mom!”, pouts…it’s very clear that he’s grieving. When we first met his mom she was also very visibly sad and scared about how everything is going to turn out. That combination has just about wrecked us emotionally, too! The most significant thing God is teaching us right now is compassion. He wants us to know what it feels like to be near to the brokenhearted, the way God is near to the brokenhearted. If you ever feel like You can’t find God or you don’t feel His presence, get around some broken, desperate people. That’s where He is working, moving, healing, loving. That’s where He is. But let me clearly warn you: It’s a gut-wrenching, heart-tearing compassion.

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And then life got messy. Again.

05/06/2013

Friday night I fell asleep on the couch watching TV. I woke up and saw that Jason was asleep too. It felt like 2am but it was only a little after 11. We peeled ourselves off the couch, set the alarm, turned out the lights and crawled into bed. Early for us on a Friday night but I had planned to be up at the crack of dawn Saturday for Ali’s swimming lesson. A few minutes later Jason’s phone rang and he ignored it, too sleepy to take a call from an unfamiliar number, though we both knew what the call probably was… a few minutes later I couldn’t resist and went out to the kitchen to check my cell phone. 1 missed call. Our home phone. 1 missed call and a voice mail. While I was checking the voice mail, my cell phone rang again. As we had guessed, it was a placement worker calling about a 2.5 year old boy that needed somewhere to go. We had a full weekend planned with swimming lessons, family visiting, a surprise birthday party for my mom, a good friends son’s dedication celebration. Not to mention catching up on sleep. In the short moments I had to say yes or no, I realized that inconvenience was not an appropriate reason to say no. So I said yes. Two hours later, around 1am a terrified half dressed little boy was delivered to our house by two social workers. For the sake of this blog, I’m going to nickname him Buzz. (Because he loves Woody from Toy Story but I’m not going to nickname him Woody…)

It’s been a long weekend. Exhausting. Emotional. Full of family and friends. Busy. Fun. Tiring. Eye-opening. It’s been so many things. We have a very sad little boy living with us. We had a visit with his mom yesterday and she’s even sadder than he is. I can’t imagine the pain that they’re both going through right now; it’s been heartbreaking to witness. I’m thankful that we had the opportunity to meet her and have a visit away from the department and to hear her side of things, which frankly makes much more sense than the fragmented and inconsistent information we’ve gotten from them so far. We have a team meeting soon and we’ll hopefully find out more about the permanency plan for Buzz. Based on what we know so far, we’re whole-heartedly rooting for reunification and believe that’s best for Buzz; there is no reason to assume he’ll be with us long term or forever.

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We’re all adjusting. Ali and Buzz are getting along quite well, with just a few squabbles over sharing. Ali is having to share not just her toys, but her parental attention. It’s a big change but she’s doing pretty well. Buzz is responding pretty well to discipline. Jason has been doing an incredible job with him. When he’s getting out of control, Jason will take him aside and have a talk with him and he comes back behaving appropriately. I’m so proud of how my husband is doing as a fill-in father and Buzz is really taking to him. He’s attaching quickly to all three of us which is so healthy. I like the shy little boy when he’s timid about a new situation and wants to hold one of our hands or be carried, but I also like the confident little boy who runs around and plays with other kids with a huge grin on his face.

 

I assumed the first day he was being on his best behavior and that we’d start to see more acting out as he got more comfortable but so far it seems like the opposite is true. I think he was in flight/fight/freeze mode (mostly freeze) the first day which was clouding his communication among other things. Sunday seemed much smoother. For a little guy who is dealing with a tremendous amount of new people, places, things, rules, etc. and at the same time dealing with the trauma of being separated from his family—he’s really doing remarkably well.

This is hard, there is no doubt about it. But God is so close! We’ve had wonderful opportunities to pray over Buzz and even to hug/cry with/pray over his mama. It’s truly awesome to see someone’s tense, fearful posture relax and sigh relief as we pray for God to bring peace and comfort to their hearts. God hears and cares so much about his precious babies. Loving Buzz is the easy part in all of this. Adjustment is tiring. The emotions can be truly exhausting. It’s a blessing to see God move powerfully. He is near to the brokenhearted!

So our life got messy again. I guess that’s what we signed up for. Prayers are definitely appreciated. For Buzz. For his mom. For us. For everything!

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Note: I never share real names or pictures of faces of any kids who are in state custody. It’s for their privacy and safety.


Two Long, Simultaneous Processes … Complete.

05/02/2013

It’s no coincidence that we started the process of building a new home and adopting Alianna at the same time. She arrived at our lovely little ranch home in September 2011 and we learned pretty quickly that she was going to need to be adopted. Although we anticipated we’d be fostering for a while before adopting any child, we were thrilled to move in that direction with the precious little girl we rapidly fell in love with.

But, we still hoped and planned to continue fostering kids who need a home and substitute parents for short or long term and we realized we were going to be limited on bedroom space and options for kids. We would have only been able to accept a placement of a girl who could share a small bedroom with Ali. So that’s why we began the process of moving to a bigger home. Originally we were going to buy an old fixer-upper so we could stay in our already established, historic neighborhood. When a rare piece of property came available (due to a house fire and then demolition of the previous home), my dad convinced us to consider building a custom house. The land was 7 houses down from my parents’.

We put an offer on the property before knowing for sure that we’d be adopting Ali. In November 2011, we got custody of Ali (through a dramatic turn of events that you’re well familiar with if you’ve been around here long), purchased the property for our future home, put our current hom on the market and started talking to architect Ryan Thewes to plan our new house. Eighteen months later both processes finally wrapped up. How about that?! If you’re a nerd for dates and timelines, here’s a breakdown of both of these processes that ended up running side by side.

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I feel an unexpected amount of closure. Two major, life-changing process have just completely wrapped up.

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Now what? Seems like time to start a new adventure…


Foster Care Round 2 Timeline:

05/01/2013

2/28/13 Home visit/inspection for reopening (exactly 1 year after we closed our home from Round 1)

3/22/13 Get approval letter in the mail, dated 3/7/13. We’re officially open

4/23/13 Call to case worker about some documents and mention we haven’t received any placement calls. Three hours later we get a Call #1 for a 2.5 year old boy. We say yes. Less than an hour later placement worker calls back to say they found a family member.

4/26/13 Call #2 for a 17 year old boy. I say no (due to age and circumstance).

4/26/13 – 4/28/13 Respite for Sunshine, an 11 year old girl (arranged directly with her foster mom, who is an acquaintance)


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