Who are Foster Kids?


It’s been 7 weeks since Firefly left and I’ve been enjoying the unofficial break from foster care. We’re still on the list but we only got one lonely call while we were on vacation. It’s never far from my mind, though, especially when my phone rings with a number I don’t recognize. I read this great post today called Dear Church, you are called to foster care.

Matthew 25:31-46 is the passage of Scripture that resonates most with me as a foster parent and this post echoes my heart. As foster parents we’ve had opportunities to interact with parents or children in all of these situations. And that’s just the five kids we’ve had the chance to love.

The children in foster care represent the addicted, the imprisoned, the trafficked, the abused and neglected.

They reflect divorce, immigration, single parent homes, and the unemployed.

They carry the stories of parents who are homeless, churchless, widowed and broken.

They are little ones who are weighed with special needs, illiteracy, and teenage pregnancy.

They are not invisible or far away.

Go read the rest of the post here.



Easter Sunday 2013




We started off our Easter Sunday early since Jason was playing in the band at church.

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We enjoyed hearing the choir warm up.


Ali got the whole nursery to herself for a while. She loves the slide, of course.



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Later, my parents and in-laws came over for Easter dinner. Grandpa let Ali decorate his face with stickers. What a good sport!


Oh, these two melt me!

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Hey look, a good family photo! Thanks for taking this Mom! And thanks for putting shoes on, Jason!


And one outtake: Uh oh…someone has learned how to cheese for the camera.


Phone Photo Friday


Precious’ first time at nursery in our new church building.

Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d life!

Precious Dedication


On June 24 Precious was dedicated at our church. In case you’re not familiar with “baby dedication” it is kind of like infant baptism but without the water. It’s a chance for the baby’s parents to publicly commit to raising their child in the values and beliefs of our faith—Christianity—and for the church as a whole to commit to supporting the family. At our church, our pastor speaks a special, elaborate blessing over each baby. We follow the Biblical tradition of blessing—extending a hand toward the one being blessed (usually the right hand) or placing a hand on the head or chest. A blessing is similar to a prayer.

First, our pastor loves to hold each baby and show him or her off to the congregation. I warned Precious about this and asked her to be nice to pastor and not cry. She listened! A little scared but she didn’t cry.

My parents, Jason’s parents and my brother- and sister-in-law and niece were there. Our parents were up on the stage with us for the dedication.

Our dear friends were also having their son dedicated that day.

Before all of this, our pastor asked Jason and I to come up and share the story of how Precious joined our family and all the drama that happened with DCS, the court, custody and the private adoption. It’s quite an amazing, miraculous story and we were glad to share it. Jason is very comfortable on stage (he’s a professional musician so he’s in front of huge crowds all the time) so the plan was that he would do most of the talking. But somehow, halfway through the story I got the microphone. I think I actually did quite well—I didn’t feel very nervous when I was talking. My mom recorded the whole thing and I can’t bring myself to watch it—I’d rather just think I sounded confident and cohesive!

As we were wrapping up, pastor asked my parents to bring Precious up.

After church we went out for lunch with our family and then spent the afternoon in the pool. Here’s Precious with her cousin Eliza. It’s getting to be nearly impossible to get both of these girls in a picture together without one or both in a blur of motion. This one is the best I got.

I’m thrilled that we got a family photo to remember the day, thanks to my sister in law Ginger (above cutie’s mama). I meant to get a photo of all of us dressed up on Easter and we missed our chance due to afternoon naps. It may seem petty but Precious has been a part of our family for 9 months now and this is the first good picture I have of all three of us. Actually—it’s all four of us! Lucy managed to sneak into the shot and even looked at the camera. That was a happy surprise when I was looking at the photo later.

I haven’t posted an adoption update lately. We’re still waiting for our finalization hearing to be scheduled at the courthouse. For some reason, the clerk is very slow about getting back to our attorney who has been leaving voicemails daily. The chances of us getting on the July adoption docket are looking slim now; hopefully we’ll get in on the August one.

A Weekend Recap


“Some weekends are so busy, I can’t wait for the week to start.” – Jason

We kicked of the weekend by having some friends over for a late dinner. Jason grilled some chicken (I love being able to grill year-round!) and I made PW’s baked lemon pasta. It was a delicious hit. Late dinner led to late night chattin it up with good friends.

Saturday morning I kissed Jason goodbye and headed off to a PJ breakfast baby shower. Brilliant! (Was that your idea, Jenna?) So fun to sit around with a bunch of my favorite ladies in our comfies eating waffles and quiches and watching our friend unwrap lots of adorable little girly outfits.

I spent Saturday afternoon preparing for baby shower #2. Making a bunting banner. Baking a guitar-shaped cake. Cleaning the house. Arranging the table and furniture.

Saturday I had a girls night with my sister-in-law and our good friend while our husbands were all out on the road.  It was fun to watch a chick flick – He’s Just Not That into You. I have to say, it’s kind of a depressing picture of marriage and dating these days, though. Definitely makes me appreciate my marriage!

Jason got home sometime in the middle of the night Saturday and was up and gone to set up at church before I woke up Sunday morning. I was a couple minutes late but the service was great. Something is about to explode. It’s so exciting! People are so hungry for more of God’s presence that no one wants to leave.

I did eventually scurry out so I could get back home to finished prepping for the Rockin’ Baby Party. Bake artichoke dip. Tie balloons to the mail box. Give directions over the phone. Set out chips, salsa, guacamole, hummus, crackers, pita, sushi, guitar cake, punch. The party was a hit and I hope our friends were blessed. I didn’t think to count but I’m pretty sure that’s the most people we’ve ever had in our house; definitely the most kids we’ve had running around at one time. Lucy was a great vacuum gobbling up all of the cake and crunched chips that the kiddos left behind.

Fun weekend but we were pooped! We were both asleep by 10pm on Sunday night which is extremely rare in this house. Phew!