Thursday, May 9, 2013


Every single day I am in awe of the support that we have received on this journey. As anyone knows, having children is not cheap. We went from a couple to a family of five literally overnight. All of the extra financial responsibilities that we suddenly had should have caused a panic in us. We were suddenly responsible for the actual costs of the adoptions, travel, having to be away from home for three weeks, getting these kids home and having to buy furniture, bedding, clothes, personal items, food, etc.  People would ask if I was worried about it and I had to say that I was not. Sometime I felt like "they" thought that I wasn't being realistic about the extra costs coming our way, but I knew that if God was placing these children in our home, He would provide. He came through in a big way! We were blessed with a grant from Sacred Selections. This along with monies from 1213 and donations from One Stone paid for our adoption! We were told not to worry about the money... just to take care of those babies! Once we knew that the finances were taken care of it was easy to focus on our new children.

We have had family, friends and friends of friends who have helped to clothe our children. So many people were willing to do whatever they could to help. I got boxes and bags of gently used clothes that were perfect! These hand-me-down clothes have been such a blessing! A year ago these kiddos were a lot smaller than they are now. They have all grown at least two sizes since we brought them home less than a year ago and one of them has even grown four sizes! If we had to go out and buy new clothes every time that something didn't fit, I don't know what I'd do. I know that there will soon come a day that I DO have to buy new clothes for a rapidly growing boy or girl, but the help that we have had in this department in this first year has been a tremendous blessing! 

We have been blessed in so many ways. So many of our friends and family have blessed us monetarily. I was surprised at Christmastime when we randomly received generous checks from a couple of unexpected places. Without these blessings, our first Christmas together would have been good, but because of a few caring friends and family we were able to do a little better than that. Before we even came home as a family, a young lady from the church that we visited handed me a check and told me that she and her husband so appreciated what we were doing. We had only just met them that day!

The extra expense of suddenly being responsible for three children was definitely a shock to our systems! There are still moments that I am overwhelmed at how much more I spend at the grocery store. I get a little stressed when shoes start shrinking or all of the boys' socks disappear. The electric bill is higher than ever and we cancelled our very basic cable plan (who cares about that anyway?).  I buy lots of toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes and wonder why we go through those things so fast. I didn't ever have to buy diapers, but I do buy nighttime pull-ups and those puppies aren't cheap! No matter what, we have a lot of love in this house. Although we wouldn't be considered wealthy by many other Americans' standards we ARE. We are blessed with everything that we could possibly need and lots and lots of what we want.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Whirlwind Days

I know that I am leaving things out. Everything happened so quickly yet it seemed to take forever. I realized the other day that it was a month from the day that we knew of these babies existence to the day that we left our home to get them. We definitely had stress filled days and nights. There were times that we were so sure that we would be parents soon and times that we were equally sure that these babies were not to be ours. We had mountains of paperwork, things that just had to be done, hours spent on the phone, prayers all the time, worries about finances, babysitting. I had a niece that was about to be born in another state and I wanted very badly to be there for her arrival if at all possible. There was just a lot going on and all the while I was wondering if THIS time it would all work out. And it did, of course. Just to give a little run-down here:

April 19- Find out about three little cuties needing a forever home.
April 20- Call Social Worker to get help with copies of home study. She basically refuses and I am able to take care of it.
April 23-Call Social Worker again. No answer. Email. No Reply.
April 24- Ditto
April 25- Call again. This time get an answer. Very nasty treatment and Refusal to help.
April 26- Drive an hour away to meet with her boss's boss. Get some help, but not all.
April 27- All FBI clearances, state clearances and child abuse clearances MUST be in. They are not. I feel hopeless. 
May 1-  Adoption lawyers suggest getting an adoption agency to help with clearances and post placement    
visits. Contact an agency they recommend and get turned down because of the distance.
May 3- Talk to the current caretakers of all three children. Get so excited and Finally start thinking that it     might be really coming together!
May 7- Get an adoption agency lined up. They get to work IMMEDIATELY getting us the remaining info    that we need to bring our babies home.
May 8- My birthday, pretty uneventful day considering all the chaos.
May 9- Skype with the boys. We had a problem with our camera and we could see their BEAUTIFUL   faces "in person" for the first time, but they could not see us.
May 10-Skype with boys again for a few minutes. Not very talkative on either side. We didn't want to scare  them and they just wanted to play. We were smitten! We also decided along with their caretakers that Skype was too distracting, the phone would probably be better.
May 11-Drive to my sister's home on Friday. Plan on staying until early Monday morning. Pray that Baby is   born before I leave to go back home.
May 12- no hint of baby.
May 13- Mother's Day. Baby Leah makes her debut. I KNEW she was a girl! Get a phone call from my boys and they yell, "Happy Mother's Day, Mama!" I know that someone put them up to it, but I will never forget hearing my boys call me Mama for the first time. Happy Mother's Day indeed!     
May 14-Kiss baby Leah goodbye and drive home, daydreaming about the day in the near future when I will meet my babies in person.
May 15-18 Wait on news that all the paperwork has been cleared and we are good to go.
May 19- Drive away from home as husband and wife ready to take on additional titles of Daddy and Mama.

Adoption Agency

Well, if you know the rest of our story, you know that it didn't end with my last post. The clearances were not just going to appear and I could not get them even though they were my fingerprints. The adoption lawyer suggested that we contact an adoption agency to see if we could explain our plight to them and get them to help us with the FBI and state clearances. By this point it was into May and we were told we had to have everything in by the end of April. We hurriedly looked for an adoption agency. Since we live in a small town we didn't have any options here that we could find. We ended up getting an adoption agency a couple of hours away and I just fell in love with Judy. She was everything I was needing right then. She was so sweet and helpful and QUICK! She helped us get the fingerprinting set up and sent in all the information that she could right away. She went ahead and agreed to do our post placement interviews and helped ease the stress caused by our other situation. When we started working with Judy, things just got easier. Everyone at the adoption lawyer was great on their end, but we were needing someone on our end and Judy was there with everything we needed. May 7th we secured her services and the agency she worked for. Two weeks after being accused of having a private adoption agency, we did actually get one.

Bumps Along The Way

The next few days after hearing about these babies were a frustrating, scary whirlwind of emotions, chaos and desperation. The day after getting the call, we called our Case Worker to tell her that we had another situation involving a private adoption. That did not go well. Even though we had been very upfront about our desire to help children that came our way, either through the state or private adoptions, she treated us like criminals. I was really sad about the way that she treated us. Until that moment, we had never had any problems with her. We had loved her through out the whole process. She was always so nice. We had trusted her with the most intimate details of our lives. She had been in our home on many occasions, we talked about wanting to be parents all the time.  All along this path we had known that we were interested in adopting AND fostering. We had always been open about that, in fact I would often ask to make sure that our home study could be used for other states if something like this came up. I was always assured that "yes, once your home study is approved, you can do whatever you want with it." I knew that with our connections in the adoption world we would randomly get calls (like we have for years) and that we would pursue each case as far as we could. She had always said that was ok. Always! Until that Friday. When I called that day to ask for an emailed copy of our homestudy, she snapped at me and said, "This just all seems pretty deceptive to me!" I was blown away! I didn't even know what she was talking about. What had I done that was deceptive? I asked her and she that it was deceptive of us to use DCS to get a "free" homestudy and then use a private adoption agency. I told her that we were not using a private adoption agency, this was something that we heard about the night before and we wanted to be able to adopt if we could. She said, "WELL, I'll email this to you at the end of day. I'm too busy right now!" Well I was mad (and emotional) by that point, so I told her not to bother bc I had a copy at home that I could scan. I was going to do that anyway but time was of the essence and I called assuming that it would be an easy thing for her to do. Monday rolls around and the lawyers office called and said that we needed to get some info changed on our home study, it needed to say specifically that we could adopt up to age 5-6 (something that was supposed to be very easy to do and she offered to do before when she wanted to place older children with us). So I called and left a message. No reply. Then I emailed. No reply. Wednesday rolled around and the lawyers office called me. They needed this info ASAP. So our contact at the lawyers office called our social worker. She told me that our SW was not nice at all and asked her how long we had been working with a private adoption agency. Joy (the case worker for the lawyer) said that as far as she knew we were NOT working with a private adoption agency and this just happened last week. Anyway, Joy called me and told me that I need to call our SW again and tell her that we needed the addendum to the homestudy and our FBI, state and fingerprinting clearances before we could proceed. She said that our SW told her, "You want those? YOU get it!" Again, I am shocked! Our SW has always been nice to us, never would we have expected this! So I called her again, This time she answered and she was spitting mad! She said, "Well I just p*** ** off "Mary Jo" ( or Joy) at "heart for Joy adoptions" (not even the right name) but oh well!" She smugly repeated to me what she told Joy and that basically she didn't have time to do their dirty work for them. Since they were a private adoption agency they could do it themselves. AGAIN, I say, we are NOT dealing with a private adoption agency. We are NOT! We have a friend in another state that has a friend at the lawyer's office. That is all! We are not working with a private adoption agency. Then she told me that what I am doing is fraudulent and that the tax payers in our state aren't paying her so that I can get a free home study to adopt. I reminded her that SHE herself told me that I could do this. I reminded her that Jonathan and I were always very above board when talking about the fact that one day we might get a call like this and we would like to proceed. Instead of agreeing that she had told us numerous times that we could do whatever we wanted with our home study, She said, "Well, I'm new and I didn't know that people commit fraud like this and that people really do just try to use us as a free home study with no intention of ever fostering." I tried to say again that that is not what we are doing. We are not trying to be frauduelent, We are interested in both fostering and adoption. We just want to help kids, in whatever capacity that we are presented with. She wouldn't listen. She told me that the home study approved us for adoption and she could do no more. Several times she asked," What do you want me to do, it says you can adopt?" I told her that it needs to specifically say in so many words instead of saying it in a round about way. And the age needed to be changed. I also told her that we also needed to have our fingerprinting, FBI and state clearances. She told me that was nothing she could do. Our home study did say that we could adopt, I don't know what else your "private adoption agency" wants. She also said, "If you get these three children, then your home will be full and I WILL call you when I get a cute little newborn and you won't be able to take it because your home would be full, and you WON'T have babies!" That was hands down the MOST hateful thing that anyone has ever said to me. I was at a loss. I really didn't know what to do after that. I was an emotional mess. Someone that I thought was on my side had just blasted me. She called me fraudulent and deceptive and absolutely refused to help me and said hateful and hurtful things to me. I called my adoption friend and cried. Not for the first time and not for the last.  Dana told me that I needed to get in my car right then and go to her supervisor asap and tell her what we needed. It was almost 5 and her supervisor's office was over an hour away, so we waited until the next morning. In the meantime I hit my knees and prayed like never before. I wanted to protect these babies and be the Mama that they needed. Oh, how I prayed for those babies that night. The next morning, a Thursday, we left early. Jonathan took off work to go with me. I really needed him. He said he was looking at it like labor and he wanted to be with me if I was in labor! Jonathan and I both kinda wanted to go in guns blazing (not literally, of course!) and tell the whole story about how we were done wrong, but Dana calmed us! She said to go in with a meek and quiet spirit, don't back track, don't give the week's history and see what that does for us. EXCELLENT ADVICE, I must say! Had we not been so emotional, scared and frustrated, we might have thought of it ourselves!  She also told us to be prepared to wait the entire day. Ugh, I was not looking forward to that. We had come across the supervisor before and she was not really an approachable person. We were both pretty intimidated to have to do this, but we weren't quitting if the end result was going to be these kids. I kinda felt like I was headed to the lion's den. I told my sister that maybe God would shut the lion's mouth for me too! We got to the office pretty early the next morning. The secretary had asked who we needed to talk to so we told her. She told us that lady was not there, but she'd give us someone else. So we talked to this other lady for awhile and we were nice and meek and quiet. She did ask why we didn't go to our own social worker and I almost broke down in tears, but I just said that she told us that she wasn't able to help us. Then, she made us wait in the conference room for awhile and she told her boss. I'm not sure if it was our SW's boss's boss or if they were on the same level. Either way, she wasn't as scary (God did shut the lion's mouth for me!) She told us that she could get the home study changed and she called our SW who suddenly could take care of it right away. The FBI and state clearances she could not get. They WERE the property of the state and had to be redone. We tried calling the state to see if we could pay for them since they were already done and we needed them before the close of day Friday, but it was a no go. By the end of a very trying and emotional week, I realized that we COULDN'T get these children. Those clearances just would not be there in time.

Getting THE Call

On April 19th 2012 I was very tired after a long day of babysitting. I think maybe there had been no school that day, so I had 4 siblings all day, plus another little boy that I kept. It was a busy day. I was tired and falling asleep when I got THE call. I contemplated letting it go to voice mail, but when you are waiting to be a Mama, you almost always check before just letting the phone ring! Well this call was from our adoption friend. She said, "I've got a situation. I have three siblings looking for a forever home. Two boys and a girl. Ages 5,4 and 2. We need to know by tomorrow at noon." I said, "Ok, yes! Well... let me talk to Jonathan!" Dana told me that she didn't have a lot of information on these children yet and I might need a little more time to think about it. I told her that I'd call her back soon with an answer. I talked to Jonathan for a few minutes and we decided that we would pursue this as far as it took us. Called Dana back and said YES! We are ready to see where this leads. We were scared. We were only thinking that we would be comfortable with accepting children up to age 4. We had just agreed to a 2,  4 and a 5 year old. These "babies" had special needs that must be met. They had experienced trauma in their little lives that must be dealt with. When we said yes, these were the only things that we knew. After saying that we were willing to pursue this we started getting emails that night. Emails of paperwork that we needed to sign, emails full of information, doctor's records and names of these precious babies. We found out that both boys had birthdays very soon, so as scared as I was to have a 5 year old, it was made a little scarier knowing that I'd also have a 6 year old. It's a bit scary for first time parents to start with 5 and 6 year olds! The things that they had experienced in their young lives made me so sad. Very quickly I felt like a Mama Bear and just wanted to protect MY babies.  

Things change...

Wow! Things sure have changed since my last post! I will try to catch up in the next few days. Maybe months, who knows! :) When I last posted we were in the process of becoming Foster parents. We had started the classes and started our home study. We were moving right along, or so we thought. We were supposed to be approved as Foster parents no later than December 15th, 2011. When we asked, "What happens if we aren't approved by then?" the answer was always, "You have to be. You WILL be approved." We had finished our classes and finished our paperwork by November 15th. We knew that we wanted to be on the ball. The sooner we could get approved, the sooner we could start getting "babies". Our case worker kept assuring us that we were on track. The beginning of December came and went. Nothing was happening. We were trying to be patient. We were aware of the fact that we were dealing with the government and it probably wouldn't be done early, but we hoped that it would be. December 15th came and went. My friends sent me flowers in congrats, but still no approval came. We waited another week. No word. Christmas came and went. Then New Years. We were almost finished with January when we FINALLY got the news that we were approved as Foster parents. We would love to start out with itty bitty babies, but we knew that being willing to foster sibling groups would get children in our home sooner. After six years of marriage, we were ready to have a family. We had hoped to start receiving calls right away, but for some reason it did not happen. January ended, February came and went, March came in like a lion as always. No calls! How does this happen? I was always told that there is always a great need for Foster parents.
When we were taking classes and getting our home study complete, we asked our Case Worker if our home study could be used for a private adoption as well as state. We let her know that we were not using the services of an adoption agency, but that we did have friends in the adoption world and sometimes we would get calls about children needing to be adopted. Our goal is to help children. It didn't matter to us if they were children in state custody needing a temporary or forever home or if they were children needing a forever home that came to us in another way. We asked about this several times because we didn't want to be unethical in using a state funded home study if we MIGHT someday adopt privately. Each time we asked, our case worker assured us that once our home study was completed it would be ours to do with as we will.
By March of 2012 we were starting to wonder if we would EVER be parents or Foster parents. in mid-March we got a call from our Case Worker about siblings that were outside of the ages we were comfortable with. It was the only call that I said no to. It was the only placement call we had gotten. Also in mid March we got a call from our adoption friend, let's just call her Dana. She told us that there was a birth mom pregnant with triplets due in August. Were we interested? Uh, YEAH! I know some people would think this crazy, but I have always WANTED multiples. She submitted our information to the birth mom and we waited. There is nothing like waiting to hear if you have been chosen by a birth mom. It is not easy! I am sure that it's not easy for her either. Well at the end of the month we found out that the birth mom had chosen another family. It was hard to hear, but we were still waiting on being Foster Parents, so it wasn't as hard as it had been in the past when we weren't chosen. About that same time we got a call for two little girls in our age range needing Foster Parents. We said YES! The next couple of days rolled around and it was decided that these two girls would live with a grandparent instead. This was our only acceptable call and only the second that we had the whole time we had been Foster Parents. This was hard!
To be Continued...

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Child of Mine by Edgar Guest

"I'll lend you for a little time
A child of Mine," He said. "For you to love the while he lives
And mourn for when he is dead.

It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty two or three;
But will you, 'till I call him back,
Take care of Him for Me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you
And should his stay be brief,
You'll have his loving memories
As solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,

Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn,
I've looked the wide world over
In My search for teachers true,

And from all the throngs that crowd
Life's lanes I've selected you.

Now will you give him all your love,
Not think the labor vain,
nor hate Me when I come to call

To take him back again?"
I fancied that I heard them say,
"Dear Lord, thy will be done.

For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may.
And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay;
But should the angels call for him
Sooner than we've planned
We'll brave the bitter grief

That comes and try to understand."

Edgar Guest

I love these words so much. I truly think that I can find comfort here and in God's word when my heart gets broken. I know it will be broken, but I am ok with that. I understand a little of Hannah's heart when she gave Samuel back to God. Something that struck me recently that made me think of her in a new way. I've always wondered how she wanted a child so much, but just weaned him and sent him away, even to give him back to God. I mean what's the point?  A few weeks ago, I suddenly realized that I was basically signing up for the same thing... "Please God, give me a child, I know I'll probably have to give him back to you, but please let me have him for a little while". I recently realized that her years of instruction while she weaned him, helped him to be the man that he was. Even though he lived in Eli's house, he grew to be godly, while Eli's own sons grew to be wicked. Her training in his early years lead him to be a man of GOD. I pray that I can be someone's Hannah. Even if these babies go home, I pray that my influence will be as hers was. I also pray so much that I can be an influence to the birth families. Mama was such a good example of that, she tried to be someone that those single moms could call on for support, well after those babies left her home and went to their birth mommies. I hope that I can be like these two Women of God as I become this scary thing called a foster parent.