Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yesterday Was Plain Awful... you can say that again....

Ahhhh! I had a bad day yesterday. I could not stop crying! By the afternoon I had cried myself into a terrible headache and I was just so worn out from the crying. I just missed my Mama so much! Some days are just so hard! Most days are so hard, just easier to manage. I got "caught" crying several times yesterday by Azlee. I think that she was worried about me! :)
Yesterday was actually a good day, just a hard one emotionally. Daddy bought a house here in Tennessee much closer to me and across the street from my sister Suzanne. I think that we are all excited about it, but it is hard that they are closing the chapter on living in Bowling Green. Mama would have loved to live here across the street from grandkids and so close to me and Johnny and our future babies. She would have LOVED it. Knowing that she will never be here, living this close is super duper hard. BUT, it is so exciting for Daddy and the girls to be so close. I think they are all so excited about it too, but there is sadness even in our excitement. It's just a little hard to be as excited as we want to be.
Actually, I am having a much better day. Yesterday was just one of the days that I was just sad and I was just gonna be sad no matter what. Today I am  just my normal, "I can't believe that we "just" lost Mama" sadness. We knew that she was leaving us 30 weeks ago today. It still seems unreal. The night before I had just opened her hospital door, popped in for a minute and said, "I'll see ya in the morning, Mama, Love you". I never dreamed that those would be the last words she would ever hear me say. That night she went to sleep and never woke up. I do see many blessings in the way that she died.  I just wish it had been 50+ years into the future! I am so glad that, as far as we know, she never knew that she was dying. She didn't worry about all of us being helpless without her and have the same sadness about not being able to see her grandbabies grow that we have. She wasn't scared. She just went to sleep, and then she went Home.

Soooo, anyway, We are moving Daddy and the girls this weekend. From BG, KY to the woods in TN. Wish us luck... the whole lot of us have bad backs! :) Mama was always the packer. She could pack things into a car/truck better than anyone I ever knew. When Angie, Sam and I went to FC, she got all of us there, all of our things for the year and we were in the car with the rest of our 9 person family, who also had to have clothes for a few days! Maybe my brother-in-law Ethan can help us. He is actually a close second to Mama in the packing department. We hope to get the whole thing done this weekend!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

Two years ago Jonathan and I were excitedly awaiting the arrival of our first child. We had decided to adopt and we had heard through one of my good friends about a birth mom who was looking for adoptive parents. My friend's mom set up a meeting with the birth mom. We sent her letters and pictures and she sent us ultrasound pictures. We finally met and talked for a little while. We told her how excited we were to possibly become parents soon and she told us her fears of raising this child alone. Though she wasn't a christian, her parents were and it was important to her for her child to be raised in that atmosphere. We seemed like a good match to her and it wasn't long before she let us know that she had chosen us to raise her child. We were so excited! She was due on January 5th and she told us that we could be at the hospital when her baby and ours was born. She wanted a few minutes with the baby before giving up her parental rights. She seemed very aware of the sadness it would cause her. Though it is hard to see someone else in pain, I loved the love she had for that baby. She was considering the best for her child and it was great to see that she had no lack of natural affection, even though choosing to let someone else raise her child.  I was on cloud nine. I was so incredibly excited! Finally, I was "expecting"!
Within a month after choosing to let us be her child's parents she changed her mind. We got the call on Jonathan's birthday. While we had only "known" for a month that we were going to be parents, we had known of the possibility of being able to raise this particular child for almost 3 months. There were so many emotions that I was experiencing in this. A lot of the time, though it seems foolish now, I hoped that she would change her mind again. I really thought that she would. I was happy at the thought that if she were able to raise her child, that child would be with a mother that weighed her options and thought about what was best for her child, even if that meant letting someone be the parents. It was easy for me to think of trusting in God's timing through this. I really thought deep down that this was part of His plan. I thought that her changing her mind was just going to be part of the process. I thought a lot about the fact that she changed her mind once, she might change it again.  I really really thought that. It was hard to hear the initial comment that she had decided to raise the baby herself. She let us know at the same time that she was having a boy.  My heart was broken at that time, but soon I was back to thinking, "In God's time". I wasn't sure how it would happen, but I was pretty sure that she would change her mind again.
She didn't change her mind again. Her little boy was born on New Year's Eve 2009. We have never met him, or seen pictures of him and we don't know his name. I think of him often. "Losing" him was the hardest thing that ever came my way. I grieved for him for nearly a year after his birth. I cried all the time for so long. I felt like my grief couldn't be understood by most people. I mean, it wasn't like I had a child who died. It wasn't even the same as a miscarriage. My child still lives, only not with me. Never with me. I never even got to meet him. 2010 was the hardest year of my life, start to finish. For most of the first part of the year, I was grieving over the loss of "my" son. By the holiday season, I was starting to be "ok" and then tragedy struck. I lost my sweet Mama on what would have been his first birthday.
Though it took a while to see the blessings in NOT becoming a Mama when I wanted to, I have been seeing little blessings all along. Losing this child helped me face the greatest fear that I have always had with foster parenting. I know that when you become a foster parent, you ALWAYS run the risk of allowing a child that you love go back to his or her birth family. That is heart breaking and I thought I'd never be able to do that. You want to love the children in your home with everything you have, yet it's scary to think that they might not always be there. Mama and I had many conversations about this before she died. She had wanted us to become  foster parents for a long time before we were open to the idea. But we, and I especially, were worried about this very thing. She let me know again again that it was the hardest part of the process. BUT she always stressed that no matter how long a baby or a child was in our life and home they could be a blessing to us and we could be a blessing to them. She also told me that people make hurtful comments about it all the time. Saying things like, "I don't see how you do it, I could never give a child back to a bad situation". She always said that she would let those people know that the point isn't that you "let" them go back, it's that you let them in in the first place. Sometimes things are out of your hands, but you pray for God's guidance and you do whatever you can to help others, even if your heart is broken in the end. That was hard for me to get. I mean, I saw her be so sad every time a child left her home, but I didn't think I could do that. Before Mama died, I knew the heartbreak of losing a child that no one but you really considers to be your own. I've done it once, and it isn't so scary to me now. It is still terrifying, but I know that I can do it now, because I've done it before. It's way scarier to think of having a child in my home for a long time and then having to "give them back", but I know that I can handle what I'm given. I know that it will be hard, but I've faced loss before and came through it. One thing that Mama liked to remind me of, was that you never know what might happen with your biological or adopted children. You aren't guaranteed to raise them to adulthood either. In that sense Fostering isn't much different. There's a greater chance of suffering the loss through Foster care, but the risks are there regardless. I think the "loss" of our first baby will bless us in the future as we become Foster parents. Sometimes I feel like this may be the answer to WHY we weren't able to become parents on New Year's Eve 2009. Another little blessing, though I admit that it's a little silly, is that my baby's first birthday wasn't the day his Nana died. Though now, none of my children will ever get to meet their wonderful Nana, I think that first birthday would have haunted me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back in the Day

My cousin Keith found some old pictures of my parents yesterday. I cried really hard when I saw them, but I was so glad that he found them and posted them on Facebook.
He started falling in love with her at 14!

I kind of remember them like this, so maybe this was in my lifetime.

Sometimes seeing things like these pictures or revisiting memories of her can just take my breath away with sadness. I had a little bit of a hard day after seeing these yesterday, but they are so special to me. I am so glad that Keith posted them. I think that each burst of incredible sadness is part of the grieving process and so when it hits me so hard, I just go with. I think that tears help. God over all, but also memories, tears, prayers, my family and my Johnny are getting me over this loss. It is a huge loss, some days are so much harder than others, but I know that we are going to be ok.

One of my best friends' sister-in-law lost her mom last night. I don't know the details, but her mama was 55. I know that she is going to have some really hard times ahead. Please keep her in your prayers. Her name is Lisa and I know that your prayers will help her. Knowing that so many were praying for our family was so comforting to me. I was so thankful for facebook of all things in the days before and after losing mama. The constant reminder of friends and family keeping us in their prayers was amazing and it was such a blessing to me. Imagine, facebook being a blessing, but that was exactly how I saw it in those days. Knowing that literally hundreds of people who love God were mentioning our family to him was priceless. If the "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" as James said (And I believe that with all my heart!) then so many praying was definitely availing much!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Whoo! I have been so tired lately! My family being in town last week wore me plumb out! :) I loved every minute of our visit, but I still haven't recovered from the lack of sleep. Being so tired meant that  I was not a fun babysitter last week. I'm still tired on Sunday night, so this week isn't looking too good in the fun department either! Actually, I think I'll just take naps with the babies and maybe that will be enough  to help. I have plans for a few projects this week, so hopefully I will be a little more fun than last week anyway. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


I have a new guilty pleasure. It reminds me of circling things in my Nanny's Sear's catalog when I was a kid. It is Pinterest. You have to request an invite but it is so much fun once you are in. I have wasted too much time on it already. It is a place for new ideas on food, home decorations, crafts for kids or just about anything! I have even tried some of the things that I have pinned. I just click on things all day long that I like, or I'd like to do or try. It really does remind me of when we were kids and Nanny would give us her Sear's catalog and tell us to circle what we wanted for Christmas. We would each circle just about every toy in there and write our names beside it. She was always able to find just what we wanted with that system. By the time that Christmas rolled around we had forgotten half of what we circled so we were still surprised at what we got.
Request your invite and get to pinning! :)

Fourth of July

Most of our family was able to get together this past weekend for Independence Day. We had a really good time, even though we missed Brittnye, Mary Anne and Clay. We were all able to get together at Suzanne and Ethan's, affectionately referred to as the RNCC, or the Red Neck Country Club. They have everything there. An awesome Tree House, which had the grand opening of The Shark Bar, Emilea's and Abbie's restaurant, on the lower level. Regretfully, I never made it to the Shark Bar last weekend, but I heard that it was AWESOME! I wish that I could have at least made it to the Free Popsicle event that they had, but I was too busy trying to make my awesome cheesecake. It was delicious, but not quite as awesome as I had hoped.  Definitely should have made an appearance at the Shark Bar in any case.

This is the awesome tree house. The Shark Bar is located on the lower level.

The RNCC also has a pool and Four-wheelers and I spent a lot of time in the pool with the water babies. We LOVE the pool in our family! We had the babies birthday party while most of us were together. Kaylea and Amos are two this year. Kaylea turned two in April and Angie didn't have a family party, so we decided that now before Amos' lucky birthday of 7/11/11 we would have a family party for the two of them. The theme this year was Cars. They are both interested in Cars right now, because of a certain movie that I have yet to see, and it made a great party for the two of them. I got them both Cars pillow pets.
Emilea also had a race this year. It was supposed to be a 5K but we knew early on that it was much less of a distance than that. The course was supposed to be from her tree house to Papa's new house and back. I doubt that's even a 1k, but we were humoring her. It rained really hard for a little while right before we were going to do the race, so when we finally were able to do it, it was pretty soggy out. .We decided with all the mud, it wouldn't be a great idea to run up and down a hill in the mud, so the race was just on the road to Papa's house. The kids all had fun with it. I'm not sure if they would have wanted it much longer than that anyway. I think that the adults who were signed up were a little disappointed in the "5K", but I am not a runner, so I was all for the shorter course! :)

Family weekend

It is always so nice to be with my family and to get to spend more and more time with them. It is so good in a way, but in another way, it makes Mama's absence so much more noticeable. I don't know how that is so, because the fact that she isn't here anymore is never far from my thoughts. I had to choke back tears so many times on Monday. My heart breaks for all of us, but sometimes I try to put myself in Daddy's shoes and it is too much to handle. He does good to try to be here for all of us when we get together like this, but you can just tell that it is hard for him. On the way home from Suzanne's on Monday I was by myself in the car and cried nearly the whole way home. I cried so much that I threw up as soon as I walked in the door. I hate it when I do that and it's not the first time I've done that since she died. Daphne and I were talking about it later and she said that when she gets like that she knows that Mama would have said, "Calm down, you are going to make yourself sick". I know that Mama would not want me to be that upset! Mama would want us to enjoy our time together without thoughts of sadness because she isn't there.


We are still trucking along in the foster process. We have sent in some paperwork and are kind of waiting right now for things to progress. I worry a lot about how to interact with the biological parents of the children who will be in our home. From my own family's experiences I know that there are several kinds of parents. The parents that worry me the most right now are the parents that love their children the best way that they know how. You or I would think that the care they give their children doesn't translate into love at all, but they feel like they are doing the best that they know how. I was talking with one of my sisters about this the other day and I mentioned that I wish I knew what Mama would say about it. She said that she was with Mama in a situation like that once and she told me what she did. ...
In May of 2007, Mama got a call saying that there was a newborn baby girl at the hospital for her to pick up. My sister went along with Mama to pick up this precious baby. Georgia was a 4 pound baby addicted to drugs and with physical problems more than likely associated with Fetal Alcohol syndrome. My sister said that she was so mad at this mom for treating her unborn child in this way. It is, obviously, very irresponsible to use drugs and alcohol, especially when pregnant. This baby was so tiny and was jerking from the withdrawals of drugs that she was experiencing. My sister said that as they were leaving the hospital room with this tiny little baby, the mom was crying like her heart was broken and after telling mama to take care of her she said, "Please don't cut her curls!" My sister said that she was so mad and wanted to hurl back... "YOU have no say in her life anymore! YOU did this to her!" BUT in that moment, Mama looked back at her with love in her eyes and said, "I would never do that to YOUR baby" And then she turned to walk out of the room and almost as an afterthought, she turned back around and said, "All the babies in my house call me Nana. You are her Mama." Mama reached out to her and helped comfort that grieving mother all the while caring for her infant daughter. Georgia's mama said that she didn't know that her activities would have such an effect on her baby. That's hard to believe, but Georgia's mama took parenting classes as often as she could and got into every self help program that she could find. In the months to come, Mama invited this young mother to church with her and she came. She went with her to doctors appointments and mentored her as she turned her life around.  It wasn't long before Georgia was back at home with her mom. But Mama was always Georgia's Nana. Georgia would spend some weekends and vacations and Holidays with us. She really was part of our family.  Georgia got to spend her birthday weekend with Papa this year. She misses her Nana so much, but she loves her Papa too!

Nana and her Georgia at Daphne and Austin's wedding
(This picture was stolen from Beth Murley!)

The families that Mama and Daddy fostered don't all have happy situations like this one did, but Mama always tried. She was always aware that the children who came into her home had a likely hood of going back to their families, so she tried to have a relationship with that family. Sometimes that was impossible, but the better the relationship with the birth families the better she felt about their situation. I'm still trying to figure out how to do this when we start fostering. We are intending to foster to adopt, but we know that there will be cases where we will have children into our home and they go back to their birth families. Either way, I am praying that the relationships between us and the birth families are as good as we can make them.