Friday, June 8, 2012

Better to have loved and lost....

than to never have loved at all. Do you believe this saying? I do. I always have. I mean, love is great, right? Is there a better feeling than to love and be loved? Lord willing, Matthew and I will grow really old together. But if the Lord wills to take him away from me, will I regret loving him? No way.

People ask me a lot about foster care. Many are interested in doing it themselves. Some are serious about it, others are cautious.

One of the main questions people ask is "Isn't it so hard to get attached and then have to let them go?"

Yes. You will get attached. And, yes, it will be hard to say goodbye. The other day I was driving in my car and something (I can't even remember what) triggered a memory of Isabelle. The next thing I knew, I was crying. I could not believe that a year after she left, here I was still grieving the "loss" of her. But it occurred to me "would I trade the 7 months I had with her just to avoid this random moment of sadness?" Of course not. Our lives aren't lived if they aren't full of memories so great that the loss of them brings us to tears.

And that's my nice answer. My not-so-sensitive answer, the one I reserved for my husband when he raised that same objection to becoming licensed, is...that's a self-centered perspective. Are we only going to help others when it is convenient or comfortable for us? No, we can't live that way. We are talking about kids who are being abused and neglected. Are we saying we would rather them stay in those situations than have to experience our feelings of grief? Or are we simply saying "someone else will do it"? I know not everyone is meant to be a foster parent. Some people have very excellent reasons they should not. I'm not attempting to guilt anyone into something they don't want to do. But I am encouraging people to not let fear paralyze them.

After Isabelle's placement, we told our agency that we wanted to take the summer off from fostering. They were happy to oblige. And Isabelle's social worker was very mindful of Elijah and his attachment to Isabelle. She ensured that her transition was done in a way that would provide appropriate closure for him. Unfortunately, not every social worker is that awesome but I mention it to say that there are things you can do to make the kids' moves as peaceful as possible. And if you have good social workers around you, they will be understanding of how sensitive of a time it is for your family.

Monday, May 28, 2012

April and May happenings

We are 4 months into our wait for the Ethiopia adoption with, quite frankly, no end in sight. According to the current wait times, we will be waiting another 14 months but that is subject to change. So on to more exciting news... Isabelle (our first foster daughter) was adopted in April! I can show her picture now, and share that Isabelle has an older brother and sister (biological). When she was with us she was separated from them because DSHS was unable to identify a home that could accomodate all three. We are only licensed for one child so we were out. And while we were open to adopting her, the desire is obviously to keep siblings together. So last May Isabelle was moved to a foster home that was willing to take all three kids and adopt them if it came to it. Eventually, Isabelle's birthmom asked to enter into an open adoption with the foster mom. She is so happy to be with her brother and sister and her new family! This picture is from our camping trip last year and her mom says we can take her with us again this year. We are so blessed to have her in our lives still!
And after a year of doing some short-term/respite foster care we got our second long-term placement. On May 7th, MJ was placed with us. He's two years old. Eli has loved all of the older and same-aged kids we've had stay with us. But honestly, he's struggled with this younger one. Fortunately he's coming around. And it's opened the door for some meaningful conversations about how important it is to help people even when it's not comfortable or convenient for ourselves.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2.5 Months down

Two and half months down....and we are moving right along in the line. Interestingly, we have moved up in the girl lines and the sibling line, but not so much in the boy lines. Last time around it was the boys that were being referred like crazy. Hmmm, Eli might get his wish for a sister...

This last month was quite interesting. Our family coordinator at the adoption agency emailed to ask me to clarify our age request. It's kind of a known fact that the ever-so-innocent "I just want to clarify your request" is actually code for "I have a child that I might refer you depending on what you say." You see, we are approved for a child or two up to 5 years old. But our request is for 4 years old or younger. It was done that way so that if we were referred a child that was 4 years and 11 months old we wouldn't run into trouble if they turned 5 before we picked them up from Africa. So I reaffirmed our request for 4 or younger and...nothing. Then a 5 year old boy showed up on the waiting child list. He was adorable let me tell you. And it nagged at me. We're standing in a line of 100 people, waiting for a child. All the while I have the paperwork to adopt this boy who is waiting for a family. I stressed and stressed for two days. I couldn't sleep. Finally, after talking with Matthew, I called our family coordinator, apologized for acting schizophrenic, and asked about the boy. She said another family (actually several) had inquired about him and one was reviewing his case to pursue adopting him. I was simultaneously happy for him, relieved that I had gotten worked up over nothing, and yet disappointed that I had "missed the boat". It was just too many emotions jammed into 5 days.

But now that's over, and we're back in our line just awaitin'...knowing that God is in control and I can't mess Him up.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One month down

Well, we've been on the waitlist for the adoption just about one month. We've moved up a bit in the young sibling line and the toddler girl line. Otherwise, pretty much the same place we were when we started.

We got big news regarding Isabelle (our former foster daughter) last week. Her mom relinquished her rights in order to enter into an open adoption agreement with her current foster mom who is going to adopt all three kids. I can't say I'm "happy" about it. I'm for birth families being together whenever possible, and it makes me sad that the kids will be living lives separate from their birth mom. However, the adoptive mom is wonderful, birth mom will still be involved on some level, and the kids are well-loved by so many people. And adoptive mom has said that we will always have a place in Isabelle's life, so the prospect of watching our very first foster child grow up for the next 15 years (hopefully more!) is amazing. We've been so blessed by our foster care experience! We haven't had another placement yet, but we've been doing respite for other families. We'll have our first teenager this weeked (eek!) and another toddler for a week at the end of the month.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Wow, I have really neglected this blog. I guess I thought that since not much was happening on the adoption front that I didn't have much to post. But looking at the last couple posts, I realize that I left a lot of things hanging out there! So here's a rundown of the happenings here.

Regarding foster care: Our foster daughter is no longer with us. Last May she was moved to a home where she could be with her siblings. And it appears that the current foster mom will be adopting the kids in an open adoption agreement with the birthmom. We've gotten to see her several times since the move and she is doing great! We haven't had another placement since then, but we do respite for another little boy about once a month. Eli just loves having sleepovers with his foster sibs.

Regarding adoption: We are officially on the wait list! It took us forever to complete our dossier! Mainly because we were waiting on our tax refund to pay for it, and our refund was held hostage by the IRS until about October while we were being audited. But alas, we did get the refund and our dossier was sent to Ethiopia on 1/27/12. It will probably be quite a while as we wait for our referral. The current wait for a boy is 10-16 months and 11-18 for a girl. Our request was for one child 0-3 years or two kids 0-4. So, if you're interested, we are #76 in line for a baby boy, #75 for a baby girl, #40 for young siblings, #25 for a toddler boy, and #34 for a toddler girl (these are estimates, actually). So if each were referred equally, it looks like the best bet is we'll get a toddler boy. But you just never know!

Regarding church: So previously I mentioned that two of our pastors left to pursue other ministries. We had a couple months of transition and now Matthew is the preaching pastor and Mike (our former children's pastor) is the associate pastor (but still in charge of kids because he rocks at it). We were pleasantly suprised to lose very few members with the turn-over, and the church has been very resilient for the little church plant that it is. Our outside support keeps shrinking (because we don't need it so much) and we're very near to be being self sufficient. Praise God!

Regarding Eli: Elijah has been attending the school district's developmental pre-school program since he turned 3 almost a year ago. He gets to ride the bus and all! He loves it. And his teacher and speech teacher just gush that he is doing so good. We're hopeful that after a couple years of pre-school he will be able to jump right into Kindergarten without needing an IEP anymore.

I think that'll cover it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Default to Yes

Many of you reading this are not aware of how or why our second adoption started. So let me tell the story for those of you interested.

AWAA has a “waiting child” list for Ethiopia. This is a list of orphaned children who need to be adopted and are waiting for homes because they generally have some sort of special need (medical concerns, older in age, sibling groups, etc.) We look at this list from time to time and pray for the children to find families and homes.

One day I was looking at the list and came upon a sibling group of two children, one of which was HIV+. For some reason, I felt immediately compelled to go upstairs to Matthew, even though it was very late at night, and ask what he thought of adopting them. We prayed, and decided to pursue it.

Now, just to clarify, we will not be adopting these children. Before we could even get far enough into the process, the children were pursued by another family- praise God. But I bring it up to share our hearts and what God has taught us.

You see, when we prayed, we both said that we felt like God was NOT saying “these are YOUR kids, pursue them headlong!” But rather, He was saying “default to yes.” He has commanded us to care for orphans and widows. And when the opportunity to do so presents itself, He wants us to default to doing so. So rather than praying “should we care for this orphan?” we pray “is there a reason NOT to care for this orphan?”

I do believe that every big decision should be bathed in prayer, wise counsel, and consideration. And I know that not everyone is called to adopt, or foster. Just the same, not everyone is called to go overseas for missions. But we are all called to participate. So for us, we will default to yes.

Friday, December 31, 2010

For Reals

Alright, we finally did it. For real this time...we mailed in our program agreement and first payment for our next adoption. So we should be getting a call in a week or so telling us who our Family Coordinator is and our instructions for paperchasing. Also, our Social Worker will be notified to contact us to do the homestudy. She's a pretty speedy lady so that part won't take long, I suspect.

Even though we've done this before it's a whole new ball game this time. First of all, we're in a different state which changes things. Second, Ethiopia now requires two trips rather than one. And third, our agency now requires us to do Hague training which we didn't have to do last time. So, while I have gotten a bit of a head start on the paperchasing, I really do have to wait for my instructions.