Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Life with H

I have had baby H for a month now.  One whole month.

It took a while.  When people called me his mommy at first I would smile slightly and nod, but no part of me connected.  He was new.  This was all new.  I didn't feel like a Mommy.  It was such a weird feeling somewhat like a babysitter, but not even that.  It was just the weird dance of transition.

But then something changed.  I'm not sure when or where - but oh - this weekend I was just overwhelmed with love for this little man.  When I dropped him off at daycare on Monday morning, I teared up, knowing how much I was going to miss him during the day.  I AM his Mommy!

And at the same time, I watched him get carried away for his Saturday morning visit by his bio-mom at the park, not crying, just staring intently into her face.  He knows her, even if he's not sure how.  When I leave him with anyone else he cries - a new development since he has started forming a healthy attachment to me - but with her, no tears, just some other emotion.  Confusion?  Wonder?  I'm not sure.  But I watched him with her and as they were joined by two of his excited siblings.  I am his Mommy, sure, but so is she.

I cannot even begin to describe the mix of emotions that I felt during his visit (his first with her since his placement with me).

But this I know - God is in control.

And as for H - he is a sweet, GOOD baby.  He is still sleeping like a rock star, eating me out of house and home already, has a smile that stretches from ear to ear, and is still working on getting teeth #'s 3 & 4.  (His first two teeth came in during his 1st week with me).

H is my little joy and Jesus is my sustenance. 

And now I am acutely aware that I have only 9 days to plan H's 1st birthday - if anyone has some cute bug themed ideas for my little bug-a-boo, let me know!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Unexpected life

So...remember the "placement that almost was?"  As many of you know from my Facebook page, he is now the placement that IS.  Meaning, an 11-month old little boy now lives at my house.  Christmas Eve will mark 2 full weeks with me.

In brief, it has been:

  • A whirlwind
  • Crazy
  • Frustrating
  • Tiring
  • Wonderful

Little man came to me teething, sick, and scared as I was adjusting to no longer being just a single woman living alone.  Total life change for both of us.  It was ROUGH.  There were tears from both of us.  Then I got his cold and it got even harder.

Through the faithful prayers of friends and the listening ears of friends and my wonderful Mom and amazing helping hands, we made it through those first days.  

Now, I have a happy, healthy, giggly, BIG baby who is keeping me on my toes!  He's doing great at daycare and sleeps through the night like a rock star.  Tomorrow he has his first visit with his biological mom at a nearby park and then Sunday we fly to Indiana for 9 days for Christmas.  Prayers would be appreciated for both of those events.  I consider myself an expert packer and traveler, but this is a whole new ball of wax!  We fly at bedtime, so pray that my little rock star is able to sleep in my arms during the flight and transition well to the car and then to bed at my parent's house Sunday night.

PS - if you would like to see pictures of Baby H, message me and I'll send you a private link to a page of pics!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Feeling Like a Dud Foster Parent

So here's the thing.  I'm struggling with some guilt this week.  Not because of the 2 babies I almost got last week - as scary as it was, I was going to take them.

It's from the kids I turned down this week.  Even typing that sentence makes my heart twist.

During orientation and foster parent classes it was reiterated to us to know our limits.  Don't take a placement you know you can't handle or you are not set up for out of guilt.

Now I know why.  Because in the moment your heart aches, you may cry for the child - and you still have to say no.  It's AWFUL.

I decided that I would take either gender of child, ages 3 and under.  This week I have been called about a 6 year old boy, an almost 5 year old girl, and a 4 year old boy.

 There were multiple reasons I couldn't take these kids.  A big one is the age - since Christmas is just a few weeks away, I didn't want to take in a child and then leave them for 9 days and/or take them on a plane ride away to Indiana, completely disrupting their lives (not to mention a serious blow to my savings - last minute plane tickets, anyone?).  I'm not set up for older kids.  I have baby and toddler toys, clothes, etc...  One of the children was ready to be adopted.  I knew that I wasn't right for that.  I'm not ready to immediately adopt.  I'm not going into this to adopt every child.  If God opens that door and it is what is best for that child, then I will do it - but it is not my goal.  My goal is to offer a safe and loving home to children and be Jesus to them and their families.  Another child acts out sexually.  I am not ready for that.  Realistically, I'm 29, single, and chaste.  I have no training in this realm.  I know enough to know that this is out of my league (right now - I do want to be better equipped to help children who have been sexually abused someday).

So I feel like a dud foster parent.  A small part of me fears they will stop calling me if I keep saying no. The rational part of me reminds me that I did tell them 3 and under...that they know I will be here constantly from January on...that I even told them my preference to take any challenges except sexual abuse to begin with.  My heart aches for these little ones.  I pray that they found amazing homes for them.

I will continue to wait and jump 10 feet out of my skin every time my phone rings.  And relying on the beautiful prayers and encouragement of my family and friends.  And gaining some strength by re-watching this video:

I realize that this post and my last may make it seem as though I'm positively miserable.  While I may be jumpy when the phone rings, all in all I'm having a lovely Christmas season and enjoying time with friends.  Christmas shopping is done, goodies have been baked, and parties forthcoming.  Life is good, Jesus is amazing.  

The placement that almost was...and the one after

Last week I got THE call.  A 10 month old baby boy needed a home.  Would I be willing to take him the next day?

Excitement.  Fear.  Crazy running around.  I couldn't focus the whole rest of the day.  I was giddy.  I was nervous.  I texted everyone I could think of.  I posted on Facebook (161 likes and 56 comments, to date).  I kept thinking of all the things I didn't know about 10 month olds!  I talked to his social worker and she seemed so nice and excited I was taking him.  She'd been his case worker since birth and she seemed really fond of him.

My friend Emily came home with me that night and we cleaned, I bought bottles and snacks.  We switched the furniture in the kids' rooms so that the crib would be in the boy room - all of which involved removing the doors from their hinges because I couldn't find my allen wrench to take the crib apart.  I moved all the breakable ornaments on my Christmas tree up a few feet.  We washed all the boy clothes I had.

He was to come at 3 p.m on Friday.

I stayed home that day.  I watched a Beth Moore Bible study.  I cried.  I prayed.  I giggled.  By early afternoon I was so antsy that I went and got some bananas (good, basic, baby food) and some Chick Fil-A.  I know some of workers and they could tell I was particularly high strung, so they inquired, rejoiced with me and gave me free cookies.

Let me just take an aside here and say I am still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, prayers, and well wishes I received about this.  WOW.  God is so good to me.

2:45 pm rolled around.  I was just finishing up my sandwich when my phone rang.  I looked in the driveway to see if maybe they were pulling in.  Nope.  I answered the phone.  The case worker, sounding very apologetic, told me that the judge had ruled that baby boy should go to a family member.  The day before it seemed like there were no family members left to take him.  I'm happy for him, truly I am - it's wonderful he still has family who loves him and will take care of him.

But boy was I disappointed.  And feeling like my Chick Fil-A cookies were now undeserved and shouldn't be eaten and that I had cried wolf on Facebook and text messages.  (I did eat the cookies though - I needed the chocolate).

A short time after I was called for a 2 month old boy.  I was so overwhelmed and confused by so many emotions at this point.  For over 24 hours I had been waiting for one baby boy.  Now, I'm asked to decide on another.  I asked for a couple minutes to pray about it.  I prayed, I knew - I would take him.  But my phone rang again before I could call them back (less than 2 minutes had passed) - a family was there dropping some things off, they were going to take the 2 month old baby home with them.

Roller coaster of emotions.

So here it is, 1 week later and I still don't have a placement and I'm feeling pretty sure again, that I won't have a placement until after I return from Indiana at Christmas.

Then again, who knows?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Life is happening!

  • Approximately 1 year and 10 months since my boss said the immortal words, "We think you should pray about becoming a foster parent."
  • 1 year, 5 months, and 16 days since I first told my parents I was going to become a foster parent.
  • 7 months and 28 days since Foster Parent Orientation.
  • 5 months and 2 days since I finished Foster Parenting classes.
  • 4 months and 19 days since my Home Study.

While I was out of the country, out of phone reach, out of email reach - a message was left waiting for me on Wednesday, the 24th.  And this was waiting for me when I pulled in my drive this afternoon:

I will talk more with my licensing counselor this week about timing of taking placements - but it's for real now folks!  The State of Florida has deemed me fit.  I am praying that the Lord will equip me with everything I need to be so much more than the minimum that state requires.  Both the hardest and the greatest is ahead.

Thank you to all who have been praying with me in the journey thus far.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking...

Here is what I have.  Time.  Lots o' time on me wee little Irish hands.

Okay,  technically they are German-English-French-Irish American hands, but that takes longer to type.

Which I've now typed.  But it's okay, because I have the time to type it.  Catching on?

After 3 months in the local office, my application finally (!) got sent on to The Children's Network.  Last week, I was emailed some corrections and additional papers to sign for things to be finished up with them.  Currently, I have no idea where my application is!  Children's Network?  Florida Baptist?  DCFS?  No clue.  Every part of me wants to email my licensing counselor every day and ask.  But I'm trying to squelch that desire.

When I was getting ready for college I never called the school once with questions.  Never once.  Didn't occur to me.  I just figured I would learn what I needed to know when I needed to know it.  Same thing when I moved down to start with NMSI.  I don't think I ever emailed or called.  That was just how I rolled.  I went with it.

But now, right now - it takes everything in me not to call or email every second of every day.  Outwardly I project calm.  Inwardly, the wheels are turning.  When am I going to get licensed?  Why is it taking so long?  When am I going to get a placement?  Should I get a placement?  Am I really fit to be a parent?  Can I handle all these changes?  Will I turn into a crazy-eyed monster without sleep?  This is what happens when you have time on your hands.  Too much thinking!

The reality is, I have no idea when I'll get my first placement and I've stopped guessing.  I wrote my first post in this blog almost a year ago.  I decided to become a foster parent almost 2 years ago.  I'm still deeply excited and deeply terrified.  The reality is that I will be heading back to Indiana for 10 days at Thanksgiving for a conference, my best friend's wedding, and the holiday.  Then a few short weeks later return for Christmas.  That makes placement (if I do get my license somewhere in there) tricky.  Realistically 2012 will probably not be the year I become a foster parent.  I'm boxing up my dreams of sharing Christmas (my absolute favorite holiday) with a little one until next year.

With all this time on my hands, I do sometimes wander into doubting God's timing.  Yet, I work in a ministry where I see God's perfect timing play out time and again.  I'm thankful for that reassurance.  As the old saying goes, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future."  Praise God for that.

And I'll try to limit my emails and phone calls.

Friday, September 21, 2012

12 weeks...

and counting.   My application is still at the local office.  Sitting.  With several others.  It's been 4 weeks since I last posted and my status hasn't changed.

Life hasn't stopped though.

I've been to Kenya and back - awesome - amazing time.

Also, I currently have members of a Christian rock band (and wives!) sleeping on my pull-out sofa and in my guest room this week.  Their housing fell through at the last minute and since I currently don't have any foster kids, I could open up my home to the folks of Willet.  They play at Crosspoint tonight and it's been fun hosting them the past couple of days - it's not everyday you can say that you have a band sleeping on your couch!  They're great people and they have an AMAZING heart for service.  Great people, check them out - their song, "You are not just holy" is one of my favorites.  You can give it a listen on their website and see some of the awesome ministries they have started.  

That said, I AM thankful that God has been giving me many opportunities to use my house to bless people before I have foster children.  I know God is using this time to shape me into the Mom I need to be for whatever children He has for me to care for - just pray that I can have patience!!