Where Does the Time Go?

Today is a very special day in our family. Today is Miss M’s third birthday! As we celebrated this weekend, I looked back through some baby pictures of her. My, how she’s grown. She was such a beautiful baby and is now such a beautiful little girl. Even more amazing was how much Z and D have grown since her birth. Pictures of them holding her show how young they really were!

It’s so easy when raising children to think they are older than they are. I think because we see the kids everyday it’s easy to miss how much they grow and change over the months and years. I know that I am guilty of expecting more of my kids than might be fair. To me they seem so big and I sometimes forget they are still just kids.

As February approaches, in what seems to be lightning speed, I am reminded that I have been blessed with another life – another child. This I do not take for granted. These lives were given to me as a gift from God. God trusted me enough to love them, raise them and teach them about Him. For this I am grateful. For this I am thankful.

People look at me like I’m crazy when I they ask if this is my first child and I say, nope this will be the fourth. It seems people just can’t understand why anyone would want any more than two children. When I tell them we are licensed for foster care and adoption, you can see the confusion in their eyes. I secretly enjoy this and love to watch their expression. It’s almost like they go from happy and excited for me to a look of sympathy. So funny.

My prayer is that I am constantly reminded of the gifts that I have been given and that I never take for granted these gifts and the lives that I have been entrusted with. Help me God to remember to breathe when life gets hard and days get long. Help me to be the very best mother that I can be, even on my worst days. Thank you for these blessings. I can never say thank you enough.

I will end with this. I heard a great quote the other day. “Parenthood is long days and short years.” How true that is.

Wow! It’s Been a While! So Much to Share.

It’s been a while since I posted. I was really giving my head and heart some time to process things.

A lot has happened since I last wrote a post. Let’s see there’s this:

then there were six

Yep! That’s right. We are expecting another baby in February! It was a shock to say the least. After trying for over a year and then just giving up, who would have thought that we would randomly and without any medical help – get pregnant!?! I was in shock. I found out after starting a HCG diet. It took me a good week to believe it. In fact, I’d say that I didn’t really believe it until I saw the ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. It still feels surreal. We’ll see baby #4 again next Friday. Maybe seeing him/her again will make it feel more real. I told Douglas the other day that we are a big party all on our own! When we go to restaurants now, we’ll be a big party and it will just be our family! Crazy.

In adoption news. On the day we found out I am pregnant, about thirty minutes later actually, we got the call from our social worker that our license has been approved to foster/adopt. We are now licensed for two children aged 0-21. Being pregnant complicates things. In our state you can only have five children in the home to do foster/adoption. So, after baby #4 arrives, that means we’ll only have room for one foster child. We’ve told our new worker (whom I think I’m really going to like) that we will wait until after the baby to accept a placement. That will give us time to adjust to being a family of six before we take on another child.

Friends told me when we started this process that both were going to happen. They predicted that I’d end up adopting and then get pregnant, not that I’d get pregnant before we’d adopt. I guess in a way they were still right. The day we found out was so overwhelming and exciting. There really aren’t words.

We are starting to look at houses. We all fit in ours but with the kids getting older we are feeling the need to stretch out. I’m not sure if that will happen soon or if we’ll wait a couple years so we can pay down some debt, but a bigger house with more square footage is definitely in our future.

So, I guess at least until February, I’ll use this blog to write about the pregnancy and adding another biological child to the family. And then, we’ll get back to talking about adding a foster child to the mix. God has big plans for us – maybe bigger than we even realized. I just have to trust that this is all his plan and that we’ll end up with the children He has chosen for us.

 

 

Mother’s Day

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On this Mother’s Day, let’s take a moment to remember all the mothers, including those who have lost the right to parent their children. We might never fully understand the reasons why, but these women have experienced significant loss. I imagine this day is extremely hard for them.

 

Tests and Trials

I know that God tests us. I know that He does this to help us grow. I thoroughly believe that I just went through a huge test and I’m happy to say, I learned a lot. For the past month or more I have had lots of big life decisions. I’ve often said I felt like I was in a hallway of doors, waiting for one to open, praying for God to answer and show me the right door to go through, waiting in the dark. Suddenly, several doors swung open at once and I felt paralyzed. Which door do I go through? Prayers went up, but I couldn’t feel God’s presence. It was a dark and lonely place to be.

The doors held behind them different huge life opportunities. A new job. A new baby. An adoption. Graduate school. Any and all of which would impact the other and essentially close an opposite door. To say I was lost would be an understatement. The stress of the decisions and the fear to move left me in a miserable place of blackness. And I found myself in the pit of depression.

To be completely honest, this wasn’t my first round of depression. I suffer from a mood disorder and unfortunately for me, depression is a place that I visit on occasion. It’s a destination no one wishes to go and a place that seems destined to hold you forever once you arrive. After taking some time off work and giving my brain a chance to relax and heal, the darkness slowly started to lift and I can once again say I see the light.

The scariest thing about depression is that when you find yourself there, at least for me, I find myself in the farthest place from God. I can’t feel Him, I can’t hear Him, I don’t trust that He’s there, it feels as if He is just gone. With the sunlight streaming back into my life, I can once again see that God never left my side. He had not forsaken me. God was always there. For that I am grateful.

So, what doors did I close? After the depression lifted and I had my brain back (it really felt like I was living in a fog for a while), it was clear which doors needed to be closed. So I’ve closed the door to the new job – it required travel. That requires me to completely change what I live for – time with my family. I’ve closed the door to grad school, at least the program I was applying to. Timing is not ideal and there are several other reasons. I’ve closed the door to the new baby. This was probably the hardest. There will probably always be a part of me that longs to have another biological child. But, this bought of depression (not my most severe by any stretch), helped me to realize that I don’t do well with post-partum hormones and for my health, that isn’t the best option for me.

So I’m left with one door now. Adoption. The door that I feel God put there, not me. All the other doors were doors I set in front of myself. I set up that hallway of torture. I put those things in place – perhaps in an effort to control something, anything.

I feel like this was all a test to see if I’d come out the other side with the right answer. I don’t always have to understand the reasons for the trials, but I can appreciate the knowledge that I gain from them.

This time I learned:

1. When I try to be in control of everything instead of trusting God, I create my own hell.

2. God never forsakes us or leaves us, even in the pit of depression.

3. God’s plan for our life will always prevail.

4. Sunshine always returns, even when the darkness seems like it will stay forever.

5. I have a great support system (friends and my family) for hard times.

Writing about my mood disorder is hard. It makes me feel vulnerable and weak. I’d ask that if you don’t have anything positive to say about this, that you just keep moving on to another blog. This one might not be for you. I try to be real. This is part of me.

I’ll leave you with this scripture – it means a lot to me after this trial:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Finally, It’s Off to the State

Finally, 10 weeks after our last MAPP class {but who’s counting}, our paperwork has been sent off to the State for review. It took several emails to our social worker to inquire about what was going on. Several emails telling us it was happening that week. Several more emails to inquire again and then a few more from the worker that apologized for the delay.

One word sums up this process: F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G.

Oh, and we found out that we are getting a new case worker. Our worker has been reassigned due to “staffing changes”. So not only will we have to learn someone new, but the new worker will go into the most important phase of the process – the matching phase – without really knowing us from Adam. Yay! That makes a lot of sense. {bleeding sarcasm}

I feel so sorry for the children in the system. If this system is this difficult for two grown, well-educated adults – it must be a million times more complex and frustrating for the children. Oh that’s right, the children don’t really have a voice. They are just picked up and moved, garbage bag in tow, and dropped off at the next foster home. How sad. My heart breaks for them and the pain their hearts must feel.

We’ve grown so frustrated with the process that we’ve all but moved on. Life has been busy. I’ve had an opportunity present itself for a new job, we’ve not changed out Miss M’s room, we’ve gotten comfortable with our life. Maybe we’ve become too comfortable. I certainly don’t think about the adoption every day like I once did. Now it’s further down the list with all the other major life decisions I seem to constantly be facing.

What’s the right answer? I’d like to wake up in a year and see what my life looks like. Then I’d adjust to the decisions I made and get used to the new norm. Every decision I’m faced with seems to close a door on another decision. If I take a career move, it means more money and financial freedom, but it closes the door on adoption. If I choose adoption, it means I’m choosing to live in debt and not have a college savings for my children. If I choose to try to have another baby, it means I’m giving up on the children out there that so desparately need a home. No decision feels good.

Who knew when we started this journey that by the time the packet went to the State, we’d be second guessing if this is even something we can see through. All I can do now is pray – pray for guidance, discernment, wisdom. I certainly need a lot of it. Will you say a prayer for me and my family? We could use some help.