Monday, June 17, 2013

Blessed Beyond Measure

June 13, 2013 marks a special day in our family.  This day marks the day that the daughter of my heart legally became our daughter.  PrincessA is official!  We had some precious family members stand with us before the judge- including 8 children!  Mr.A's nieces and nephews were able to be a part of the day.  So, between those 4 and our 4 we had 8 of the most amazing children ever.  After the hearing being delayed over an hour our kiddos were still as well behaved as we asked them to be.  Needless to say, everyone got cake at lunch afterwards!  During the hearing, while Mr.A was being questioned as a witness, the Princess leaned over and touched my necklace.  We had coordinating necklaces for the occasion- mine a circle of silver with a heart cut out, and hers a heart.  As she touched my necklace she said, "Mommy, my heart came from your heart."  I think that says everything.
We continued to celebrate throughout the weekend.  God has given us incredible friends that took some general ideas I had for our adoption party and made it amazing.  I cannot say thank you enough!  We were so blessed to celebrate our expanding family with so many friends and family.  It was truly a picture that family extends far beyond the bounds of blood.
On Sunday we were finally able to dedicate the Princess before our church.  It was a sweet way to end our weekend of celebration.  Then we took naps!
The week was filled with joy for others in our circle as well.  Two sweet families we are glad to call friends finalized their long awaited adoptions as well.  Praise the Lord!
The best way I know to end today's post is with our family memory verse from last week- "God adopted us into his own family.  He wanted to do it, and it makes him very happy." Ephesians 1:5 (paraphrased so our children could understand it better).

Ways you can pray:
Although there are always things to pray for, I am asking that you simply praise Jesus with us this week for His many blessings, and for the fact that His plan is always better than ours.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lots of News!

This has been a long time coming, so settle in for a long read. J  

April has been absolutely crazy.  Everyday God is showing me that He is sovereign and in complete control.  We started the month with my grandmother spending some time in the hospital unexpectedly for some major heart problems.  She is home now and getting stronger everyday.  I spent 5 days with her (and my family) while she was in the hospital and getting settled back home.  I was humbled and challenged by the determination, love and passion demonstrated by both of my grandparents.  Then I was amazed at the out pouring of love their small town gave them and continues to give them.  Friends and church members brought food, their time, and have offered anything else that could be of service.  The insurance/law office next to my grandfather’s barber shop (where he has been barbering for 60 years) brought food and fellowship.  A local bbq restaurant told them that when everyone stopped bringing food that they were going to bring a meal.  The pharmacist has helped them get the right form of medication, supplies, and even delivered medicine to their house himself.  Now, I realize that you get to know a lot of people when you live in the same town for almost your entire life, but as I answered the phone calls that would not stop coming I heard the same statements over and over again: They have always helped us so much.  Your grandmother has brought me food when I needed it.  She has always been there for me.  They are such special people.  What amazing examples of living Christ’s love that have been placed in my life in the form of my precious grandparents!

“Where were your children all this time?” you may ask.  MrA. mustered all of his Super Dad strength and lived as a single parent for all 5 days.  He had lots of offers of help (thank you so much!) and did take up a couple of the offers, but overall was pretty set that he could do it.  And he did!  The house was not destroyed, and the children had a blast with their daddy.  Even PrincessD had bonded in a special way none of our other babies have bonded at this early of an age with him.  I could not ask for a more supportive and loving life partner.

So, missing 2.5 days of work wasn’t quite enough for me.  The next week all of the children decided to get sick at various points in the week.  Thing2 and PrincessA started the week off with fever filled viruses.  PrincessD came up in the middle of the week with pink eye.  Then Thing1 decided to end the week with a cold (but thankfully no fever).  Phew- are you tired yet? I AM!  I think that everyone is on the mend this week.

The best news came Thursday in the midst of all the germs and exhaustion.  PrincessA’s CPS caseworker came for a visit and to schedule a day for us to review the princess’s file we have waited months to receive.  HUGE step!  So, Monday, MrA. and I settled into a room at CPS where we were handed a 4 inch stack of paper.  The worker reminded us that there was a lot of redundancy in the file and to take as much time as we needed.  Even with all of the redundancy we were on major information overload after over an hour.  But, we made it through the entire history of this sweet baby’s case.  Mostly we learned details of the big picture drama we already knew.  Our hearts broke for her and her family.  It also renewed my commitment that PrincessA is where this vicious cycle of poor choices stops for that family.  We now have adoptive placement scheduled for next week!  Praise the Lord!  This placement next week is our agency and CPS meeting at our home to have us sign a bunch of paperwork to begin the process of changing PrincessA’s name, making her placement officially adoptive instead of foster, and is the last major step before consummating the adoption at court.

How you can support our family in prayer:
  Pray for our sanity as we anxiously await for our court date.
·         For my grandparents as my grandmother continues to get stronger and my grandfather takes care of her.
·         For our children’s health.
·         For PrincessD’s case…there is nothing really to report, but I know that her family needs to make healthy choices for her and themselves.  But she did roll over last week and is cooing and laughing all day long!
·         Pray that MrA and I would remember to stop each day and just enjoy the chaos that is our family.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moving Forward

My intent has been to post something for a week now, but I'm going to use the "I have four kids and am absolutely exhausted" excuse.  We found out that PrincessA's case has finally moved to adoption prep.  Praise the Lord!  If things go the way they "normally" go we could be finished with the process before Easter.  If things go the way they have been going, who knows when we will be finished.  We are grateful that it has moved at all.
PrincessD will probably not be with us long term.  A family member is being checked out to assume placement.
My heart is heavy today because Mr.A lost an aunt early Sunday morning.  She is the baby of Meemaw's family and was taken quickly.  We are praising God that she is no longer sick, but she is missed greatly.

Ways you can pray:

  • Pray for our family as many travel to the memorial service to remember and celebrate Mr.A's aunt.  Pray that the family will find comfort in the Lord.
  • We will meet PrincessA's adoption worker on Monday.  We are hoping for a quick and smooth process.
  • PrincessD has a permanency conference on Monday.  Pray that wise choices will be made for her future.  She also has her first parent visit on Monday.  Pray for Birthmom and Birthdad that they would begin to bond with this sweet angel and begin to make healthy choices for themselves and her.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crazy In Love

Over Christmas break Thing1 was quite infatuated with our newest nephew.  He is a lover of all babies.  So, while at my in-laws with the entire family he decided that PrincessA needs a little sister to sleep in a bunk bed with.  There were some conversations about if he would like another baby to be at our home.  Mr.A did not care for these conversations and tried to discourage them.  He thought we were past the infant stage and that  we were heading in a slightly different direction.  By the first week in January God had shown us we are not completely out of the baby stage.  We re-opened our home to accept another placement on January 3rd.  That Sunday night we got a call from a friend and fellow foster parent.  A sibling to 2 of her girls had been born on Friday and they had been offered the placement.  Unable to take in another small child she asked if there was any chance we would be interested in another baby.  Even though they couldn't take the baby they wanted to know that their girls might know her and that she would be in a good home.  By Tuesday evening we had PrincessD in our home.  We are still in awe at how quickly and perfectly everything fell into place.

PrincessD is a beautiful, healthy baby.  She came to us 20 inches long, 7 pounds, and ready to be held.  We don't know what the future holds right now.  It is at the very beginning of the case and several factors may play into it (like an available family member that would make a better placement).

Mr.A is in love.  Thing1 is an awesome helper.  Thing2 loves to entertain her.  PrincessA is warming up quickly.  I am trying to take it all in.  So, in answer to the question- are you crazy?  Yes, we are crazy in love with our ever growing family!

Thank you to our amazing family (both blood and otherwise)!  I am so grateful that God has placed people in my life that see a need and persist until I admit I need help.  It is a huge lesson in humility and practicing what I preach in letting others receive a blessing by helping our family.

Ways you can pray:
  • Pray for our adjustment.  Mr.A and I are of course dealing with limited and interrupted sleep, added paperwork, appointments, and visits.  We are also learning how to spread ourselves out to 4 children.  Thing1 is amazing as a big brother, but acting out in other ways.  Pray that he learn/we are able to teach him better ways to communicate his feelings.  Thing2 is actually adjusting beautifully so far- pray that it continues.  PrincessA is between the boys in how she is adjusting, but nothing out of what I expected.  Pray that she continues to blossom.
  • Pray for the finalization of PrincessA's adoption.  That the right people would get the file and move with it.
  • The 16th is the first hearing for PrincessD's case.  Please lift up the judge, attorneys, and CPS workers that they may have wisdom and great discernment as they are faced with life altering decisions for this precious baby.
  • Pray for PrincessD's birthmother.  Pray that she would come to know Jesus in a personal way.  Pray that she would begin to make decisions that are healthy for her children- even if they are not easy for her to make.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year...Still Waiting...

2012 has come and gone.  It has been an amazing year!  PrincessA has grown in ways I never would have dreamed when she entered our home a year ago.  She is not even the same child!  The boys have grown-up and are quickly becoming little men.  During waking hours my house is filled with superhero stories being acted out, baby dolls being fed and rocked, and the occasional scream of protest when someone's space has been invaded.  MrA survived yet another round of lay-offs in his company (rumored to be huge, but was actually very small)- praise the Lord!  He will also be moving to a different position within the company in February- one that he thinks he will enjoy more.  In the Spring he also participated in a MS-150 bike ride (rode 150 miles in 2 days).  And I have kept my head above water!  Well, I've done better than that most days.  This year I rediscovered how much I adore serving with my husband.  We are both busy separately and with the kids, but this year we have done even more together.  To end the year He instigated a clothing drive for a local children's home in our area.  At first I was a little overwhelmed since he did this right before Christmas and he wanted to sort everything before we took it to the home.  In the end we go an amazing response from friends and our church family.  Such an amazing response that we were able to purchase a new pair of shoes for every child there.  Who doesn't love to shoe shop?!  We went with all 3 kids and Academy was very helpful.  It was such a neat way to serve as a family. I love my family, and the place that God has us in right now!

Where are we? We are still waiting.  Waiting for the adoption prep department to accept PrincessA's file, waiting to know what will come next for our growing family, waiting, waiting, waiting.  This may sound like a bad thing, but right now it's ok.  I've been praying for a long time that God would help me enjoy the journey- not get caught up in the end.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to have resolution to PrincessA's case.  I would love to have everything mapped out for us.  But adoption finalization or not changes nothing about our family in this moment.  We don't need a judge to tell us we are a family- we've figured out that part.  As for the map, if I got the map I would think I was in control.  I think that too much as it is, so I'm trying to let God keep the map for us and trust Him to guide us in decisions we make for our family.

I hope that the beginning of 2013 has you as excited about what God is going to do in your family as we are about His plans for ours!

So, how can you pray for us in 2013?
-Pray that we continue to find a healthy balance within our family
-That we are observant to where God is leading us and trust in His timing
-For our health (PrincessA had RSV and Pneumonia right before Christmas, Thing2 had double ear infections at Christmas, and I had a horrible chest cold the whole week of Christmas)
-For action and wisdom of those involved with the case (CPS, ad Litem, Judge, our Agency)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Moving Forward

CPS got the paper they needed letting them know that the mandate (that states the appeal was denied/rights are still terminated) is official on Friday.  This was very much due to PrincessA's attorney doing the leg work to see what the hold up was.  In the next 30 days the case will move to adoption.  If everything goes right we are looking at finalizing in December, January at the latest.  It feels like it has taken forever, but December will only be a year since this sweet baby entered our home.  She is almost unrecognizable in the things she can do, her personality shining through, her confidence, and her appearance.  Alot of it is normal changes that happens in the course of a year of development, but I'm so thankful that we could provide the healthy family and home for her to blossom in because I don't think it would have happened where she was.

Since school has started we have been going like crazy.  Both boys are playing soccer, and the Princess gets very frustrated that she can't yet.  Right now I am home with Thing2 with some unknown illness that had us up at 4:30 am.  Hopefully we'll know what it is this afternoon at his doctor's appointment.  Poor guy will also have surgery on November 1st.  It will be outpatient and is routine, but I have decided that it's never routine when it's your baby being put under anesthesia.

So, the big question is, "Where will we go from the adoption?"  We wish we knew!  If you know me even a little bit you know that I like to know the plan- in it's entirety.  That is not where we are right now.  We are praying about what we feel God is calling us to and His timing.  In the immediate future I'm looking forward to just being able to breathe.  Once the adoption is finalized it will be the first time in 2 years I won't have to write progress notes, schedule home visits, ask permission to take my child out of town, document, document, document.  I know that time to just be a family will be good for us.

Ways you can pray:

  • That we would be sensitive to God's direction and timing in our family's life.
  • Things will go quickly and smoothly with the adoption.
  • Thing2 will get healthy, and that his surgery will be uneventful.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breathing Easier

Over the last week and a half we have discovered that the appeal has been heard, a ruling has been issued, and a mandate handed down.  Not that I understand any of it, but I understand the important part- Birthmom  lost the appeal and cannot make further appeals.  We will now be able to go forward with the adoption!  Whether it will actually be completed by Christmas or into next year we don't know, and right now it doesn't matter- PrincessA is safe.  Praise the Lord!

Yesterday, I was getting my hair cut and the hair dresser and I were talking about our kids.  I mentioned my daughter, and, even though it was by far not the first time I've referred to PrincessA as my daughter, it held different meaning.  If real life had a movie sound track playing you would have heard a flourish of strings that seem to make you take flight.  That's what happened in my heart and mind at that moment.  It was like I finally let go of the burden of "what if" that seems to lurk right over my head ready to settle at the first moment my guard is down.  There are no more "what if I have to give this baby back?" "What will happen when she leaves here?"  Now the "what ifs" will fall in line with all of the "what ifs" that I have about the boys.  I really don't live in constant fear or worry, but normal mommy/parent thinking.  Over the last 3 years God has taught me alot about the fruitlessness of worry.  Worry over things I can't change just makes me sour, irritable, and not a very nice mommy, wife, or friend.  Worry over things I can change but don't is stubborn pride and sometimes flat out lazy.  So, I'm letting go little by little of the fact that I have no control.  The push to have control creeps back in constantly, but I'm learning more how to remember that God's plan is always better than mine.  I'm learning that I really don't want control.

Next week starts a new school year for us.  It will be Thing1's last year in preschool.  I'm excited about this year for my little darlings.  I'm getting excited myself about starting back at work.  I have always loved the beginning of school.  I have decided that this year is going to be a year of finding the joy in everything.

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

Ways you can pray for our family:

  • That the adoption process would move quickly and smoothly.
  • That the beginning of school starts with excitement and joy for my family as we work out changes in schedules, new sports, work, etc.
  • For PrincessA's birth family- that they would be able to move forward from this making healthy choices so that it would not happen again with future children.
  • For wisdom and discernment for Mr.A and me as we look to the future of our family.  We want any additions to our family to be in God's timing and not our own.
  • For my sister's family as they are adjusting to the addition of a 2nd beautiful baby girl.  They now have 2 boys in elementary school and 2 girls under 1.  Serenity now!!  Pray as they continue adjusting that the new baby would bond with them quickly and that they would be given great wisdom and knowledge in how best to help her.  Aunt Jen & Uncle Bacon- I'm super proud of your decision to do what you've seen God call you to even when it's hard!