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What forever means

We often toss around the word forever. What it means to one, it may not to another. For my family, forever means something difficult to put into words.

Forever means finally falling sleep each night knowing our son will be our son forever, instead of falling asleep wondering if tomorrow or next week will be the last time we hold him.

Forever means our son has our last name. It means that my husband and I will forever have the same worries as any parent: will he grow to be a man of integrity, character, and compassion?

Forever means that a young woman made some incredible decisions in the midst of an unimaginable situation. It means our son’s birth mother is loved beyond reason.

Forever means I am mommy & my husband is daddy to the most amazing child, our son.

Forever means many years to come with love from grandparents, a great-grandmother, uncles and aunts, cousins, friends and a godmother.

Forever means no more: monthly social worker visits, permission forms to take him out of state, and odd looks at the doc when his last name differs from ours.

Forever also means writing “unknown” on family history sections of medical paperwork at the doctor.

It means knowing he is adopted and is loved by two mommies, birth and adoptive.

Forever means so much more than this and this mommy’s cup overflows wth joy. Adopting from foster care has been tough, but every tough moment is outweighed by the love and joy of our son, by sweet moments shared as a family, and by remembering that becoming a family didn’t happen by chance.

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When I can’t build “that wall”

Before you get a placement, it’s easy to be theoretical. “I’ll love the child, but I’ll build a wall so I don’t get too attached.” “I’ll be a foster mom, not a real mom, so it won’t be hard.”

Not quite. The moment my husband took our foster child out of the car, I cried. It wasn’t a theoretical placement at that point anymore, it was a sweet, innocent child who was scared and had no idea who we were. For hours that first night he just stared. He shook. I cried. It was 2 hours later, when he finally made a noise. Then he laughed.

The next morning he was still trying to figure things out, but it didn’t take long for him to reach his arms out for me and want snuggles. His little joyful heart began to shine, and again, I cried, but because I was happy.

There’s no need for a prefix of “foster” before “mom.” I’m just mommy. I do everything a bio mommy does. I get kisses. I walk around with his slobber on my shirt all day. I wipe his little nose with my sleeve when a tissue isn’t nearby. I’ve been peed on (yes, keep it covered!). I’m who he cries for when he wants something. He falls asleep in my arms and lights up when he wakes and sees my face! I keep saying “I” but my amazing husband has done all this and more as well!

Speaking of my husband, I can’t explain how amazing it has been to meet “daddy.” I thought I knew everything about him, but it’s almost like meeting another part of him. I love it. I love when he comes in from work and both he and munchkin light up when they see each other! I love their sleepy time snuggles (husband’s favorite job!), I love watching him love our munchkin.

Back to that wall I was speaking of, there is no wall. How can there be when you answer every need a child has? People ask what will happen if he is reunited and leaves us-I will be broken. That’s a very real possibility, but it doesn’t make a difference in how we love him and care for him. I’ll love him forever. He needs love and he has it flowing abundantly with us and our family. He is spoiled and that’s okay! Most of all, he is loved and will forever know what it’s like to be loved by great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mommy, and daddy.

Foster care is tough, guys. If not for Jesus we couldn’t do it. We are trying to make an eternal difference for our munchkin and that’s all we can do. I know some people talk about building “that wall” but I don’t know how. I really don’t care to build it. I don’t want anything in the way of showing this child all the love that exists in this world. So, no wall for us. And if the “what ifs” happen, we will rely on Jesus, family, and sweet friends.

Time for coffee. Xoxo

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Waiting and Getting Our Feet Wet!

In honor of National Adoption Month and National Diabetes Month (via proclamation from President Obama, whoop whoop!) I feel like it’s my month! Oh ok, and it’s our 6lb peek-a-poo’s birthday, my birthday, and my husband’s birthday. Ergo, my month!

Waiting is the least fun part of the process. The paperwork, the home-study, the autobiographies…waiting takes the cake as worst. We worked so hard to get everything finished so quickly only to wait.

This has made me search deeper and grow more in Christ. It’s made me depend not only on my husband for strength, but on the peace that Jesus has for us. I know that He is good. I know that by being in the center of His will, our waiting is only a small piece of the puzzle.

We were able to do respite care last weekend (respite is basically temp care for the foster parents who have the child(ren) in their home). It was a wonderful experience and the kiddos were excellent. They broke me heart, I cried when they left (yes, only after 24 hours), they were a joy, and I am so grateful their current foster mother sends me pictures and keeps me updated.

We had craft time, went to the pumpkin patch, made dinner, made cookies, watched movies, colored with chalk, drew the world’s longest hopscotch, and did cartwheels (which I don’t recommend doing a front handspring if you haven’t done one in 10 years, just trust me, or don’t trust me and ice a pulled muscle for a week).

I can’t wait to see their journey end with permanency. It was great being a mommy for a weekend, now let’s make this thing happen for good!

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Happy Sunday!

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Small Group. Family. Friends. Support.

Support. I’ve mentioned the importance of it before, so I thought I would elaborate.

Small Group. My husband and I attend an amazing church where loving people is only second to loving Jesus. Because of its size, the importance of small groups (make a big church small by engaging in fellowship) is emphasized.
I’m in a small group with a group of young women all facing infertility and/or on an adoption journey. We text each other throughout the week, pray for needs and discernment, and lift each other up. We are all in different stages of adoption (from just considering to waiting on that baby!) and our journeys are different. One is waiting on a domestic infant adoption. We are waiting on a foster placement and hopefully an adoption through the foster system. Another is considering an international adoption. Our routes are different. Our routes are beautiful. I love these ladies and I am so happy to share our journeys with each other. Not to mention we get together every 2 weeks to drink coffee, eat dessert, and chat! Anything is possible with coffee and friends.

Family. From the beginning (both struggling to get pregnant and the official “we’re adopting” stage) my parents have been standing by our side. My dad even bought the first gift for our child before we even started the foster classes. When I created a wish list for myself, my mom found it online and bought a few essentials for us. It was the thoughtfulness behind her gifts that meant something, not the gifts, that revealed her excitement and support. She gets excited about stopping by and looking at anything new we put in the nursery. She tears when we talk about the future kiddo(s) we will adopt. It’s so good to have this.

My sister, brother, their spouses-they constantly asks us if we’ve heard anything or if we need anything. They pray over us. They cover us with love. They are ready to go to the store at 3 am for diapers and onesies if we get a call (or pull ups and t shirts if it’s a toddler). I see joy when they ask. I see love when offer. This kind of love can’t be replaced and this journey wouldn’t be the same without them.
Oh, and I love that my grandmother and I can have hour long chats about adoption. We have a special bond, as adoptive mamas. Adoption is in our blood🙂

Friends. I have friends who are more like family. Like my family, they ask for updates. They ask what we need. They surprise with little happies. They make me cry because I realize I have some of the best friends in the world. I couldn’t do this without the love and caring hearts of my friends.

Online. This is the type of support I didn’t think would mean much. I was kidding myself. There’s a world of mommy bloggers (both experienced and non-experienced) with wise words. I have learned to look at things from a different perspective: words that hurt or bother me, discovering triggers and addressing them, or dealing with disappointment.

How can you support us? You can love us. You can pray for us. Pray for the child(ren) that will be placed with us. Talk to us! The random text messages make the days of waiting easier and more bearable, even random funny ones. Laughter is good for the soul.

Xoxo,
B

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It’s Official! We are licensed foster & adoptive parents!

It’s here, it’s here! Today is the day we have become licensed foster and adoptive parents with our county DHR! It’s been a process and I’ve learned patience (that will be a necessity from here on out).

We turned in our initial application with DHR at the end of March, finished the training course at the end of July. Finished up the paperwork a few weeks later and just waited on our final approval.

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We are blessed for the opportunity to love on local kids. It’s exciting! Now we wait for our first placement, which could come in 5 minutes or 5 months.

But it’s official and I am a happy wife and mom. Yes, I’m a momma to a sweet child (or children) in our county that I haven’t met yet. That feels good to finally say.

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The Nursery

As we near the (hopefully) last home visit tomorrow as a part of our licensure as foster/adoptive parents, I am a bundle of nerves. Prayers are certainly appreciated! We finally put the crib up last night. I won’t lie, I cried as I laid the teddy bear my dad bought on crib. It’s real. It’s tangible. It’s empty.

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The crib was certainly a labor as I am not meant for the furniture painting business. The story of the crib is dear to my heart. It was referred to me by a friend who saw it online. I met a sweet young woman in a parking lot to exchange a little cash for her used crib. The beauty of the story is that she was a former foster child herself, adopted as a teenager, and now the crib will be used by a foster/adoptive child in our home. I get teary eyed thinking how it has become full circle in a way.

As I stare at the gender-neutral bedding I fell in love with, on a crib that was stripped, sanded, primed, and painted by myself and my amazing hard-working husband-I pray that if it is just one child, or many, that each child that lay their head on the crib feel loved, safe, secure, and feel the loving arms of two parents who want the best for them.

I am anxious and excited. Nervous and happy. Fearful and trusting. I can’t ask for enough prayers and good vibes our way.

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GPS Process: A Labor of Love

Preparing to foster and adopt through DHR is not without it’s fair share of paperwork. At a glance it was overwhelming, however our social worker has spread it out over our 10 week course which has made it very manageable.

Speaking of our social worker-I’ve heard horror stories in the past about them, however ours is amazing. She is passionate about the kids in our county and she goes out of her way to offer support to current and prospective foster and adoptive parents. Her heart is huge and you can tell her commitment to our county’s children the moment you meet her.

We have finished the 10 week GPS course-wow, it flew by! The biggest challenge was/is not the paperwork (still have a few things to finish up), it’s preparing our hearts and minds for potential situations our child could come from. It’s heartbreaking and scary, however we believe we are equipped with the knowledge and knowledge of resources to deal with some situations.

The first home study was informative and laid back-not scary. Because we don’t have children at the moment, our house is tidy, but she made sure we knew before she wasn’t coming to make sure our house was perfect-just a safe place for a child.

At this point, we have a CPR certification class next week, have some paperwork left and some safety gates to install, then we have our second home study and be licensed. This process has been eye-opening but NONE of the myths I heard about foster care/DHR are true. Well, they admitted waiting can be a while-but none of the “Russell will have to cut his steak with a butter knife because you have have real knives;” the “all the kids have terrible problems;” the “you can never have babysitters or go anywhere…” are all false. It’s kids. It’s kids that need a safe and loving place.

Support. Our family has been so amazingly supportive throughout this process. Asking us for updates weekly, what they can do for us, how can they help us prepare, but most of all-by reminding us that they are ready to love any child that walks through our door. That’s what’s made this process easier-knowing that my parents are ready to be Pops and Gigi, my siblings and their spouses are ready to by aunts and uncles, that my own grandparents are ready to be great grandparents, and my aunts and uncles are ready to assume their roles-all knowing a foster placement could be temporary or could turn into an adoptive placement AND this is all regardless of the race, ethnicity, gender, or age of a child that enters our home. That’s what love is. It’s unconditional.

Our county and state need foster and/or adoptive parents. If you have ever considered becoming a parent to a child, either temporarily or permanently, don’t let the myths of DHR scare you away. Attend an orientation meeting, open your heart and mind.