Friday, December 28, 2012

Our journey through foster care & adoption... so far.

 Even before Jake and I were married I knew I wanted to adopt someday. Then, we got married and had 3 kids in 3 years and one with a lot of health issues. This pushed the thought of adopting far from my mind. A few years later, some close friends of ours adopted and the thoughts came creeping back in. Then I met a woman who had adopted two children and we became friends. I was seeing first hand the amazing blessing that adoption can be for both the children adopted and for those who adopted them. I started thinking more about it but Jake was not on board. I'll admit that often times I can be pushy to try to get my way but with this I knew I could not push Jake into it, and I didn't want to. So, I prayed about it. And prayed. And prayed. Every so often I would mention something about it to see where he was at but I could tell it was not something he was open to. So, I kept praying. I asked God to either change his heart or mine. One day, I was looking at the profile of a little boy online who was up for adoption and Jake happened to come in the room and ask what I was doing. I told him and, as is usually true of Jake, he didn't say anything.

A few night later we were lying in bed and he started talking. He talked about how this was not something that he felt was on his heart but that he knew it was on mine and he thought he could "grow into the role" of being a foster/adoptive parent. I was shocked. I don't remember saying anything which is VERY unusual for me. :)

We had many more talks before we decided to get licensed through a private agency. I felt very much that we should adopt a child with medical needs. Children with medical needs are very hard to place in foster care and knowing that we'd had experience in dealing with medical needs made me feel like these are the children we should be looking at adopting. So, we started the licensing process which is long and involves a lot of paperwork! Fortunately for us the adoption training that is required(and is only offered twice a year) was coming up just a few weeks after we'd started the process so this expedited things quite a bit for us. We were officially licensed in December 2011, just 3 months after beginning the process(which typically takes about 6 months).

Once we were licensed we started the process of being matched. The way this worked through our private agency was that we had a worker who would send us information on kids that we might be interested in adopting. We had decided we would only look at adopting kids younger than our biological kids since many people advised us to keep the birth order. During this time I was also looking at an online photolisting of kids in foster care who are up for adoption and I came across the profile of a boy, who was much older than our biological kids, and I just kept being drawn to him. I knew he didn't fit at all what we'd said we felt like we could do but there was just something about it him that made me feel like we needed to get more information. Jake was less on board but agreed to meet him. Typically, you do not meet the children before being matched with them but in this situation we were allowed to do so.

We met with this boy and a team of people assigned to him and it was eventually determined that his needs far exceeded what we were capable of. In fact, some people on his team did not feel he could live outside a group home setting.

A week or so later, the worker of this little boy we had just met contacted our worker and told her that there were 2 boys up for adoption and she thought of our family. She knew we were looking for younger kids and kids with medical needs. Our worker said it was very unusual that they would ask for a specific family and so we felt like this was a good sign that maybe this was "meant to be". They said we needed to decide by the next day whether or not we wanted to adopt them.

Four days later we met the boys. We spent an hour with them in their foster home. The worker said the transition process would be different since we lived so far away. Usually transitioning takes a few months at least. I told her that I would be on Spring Break that next week and was willing to stay for a week to slowly transition(ha, slow!) and then bring them home. She thought this would be a good plan!

Exactly one week after meeting them we brought them home. They were 4 months and 15 months. They were in our home for 3 months and we chose to let them go before they were adopted. I could write a novel about those 3 months but suffice it to say they were the most difficult 3 months of our lives. I had friends, who had adopted, who carried me through those months and I am forever grateful for them. Most people didn't know how hard it was because I felt like such a failure if I'd have told them the truth.

After the boys left it was very hard and I don't think many people understood. There was a sense of relief, yes, but a greater sense of sadness, guilt and failure. I very much missed them. I still miss them. I think of them often and wonder how they're doing. I knew I could not be the mother they needed but that did not make the pain of letting them go hurt any less.

After the boys left I started going to counseling. I knew I needed to deal with that loss as well as many other things in my life. I learned a lot about myself, a lot about how to deal with stress, and a lot about not expecting perfection out of myself or others.

I was really angry after the boys left, both at myself and God. I couldn't understand why God would put something on my heart and then we failed. I questioned myself and whether or not this was really something I could do. I felt like maybe I just wasn't a strong enough person for the job.

The boys have been gone nearly 7 months. We are in the process of getting re-licensed through a different agency to look at adopting out of state. There are times when I wonder if we can do this again, if we'll fail again, what people will say, what they'll think but not say. We don't understand why things didn't work out the way but choosing to close the door on foster care & adoption out of fear of the "what if's" doesn't feel right.

A coupe things I have learned through this process:
-Don't worry about what others think. DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK!
We have had many people, including some very close to us, say hurtful things about our choice to foster/adopt and our choice to continue pursuing this after things didn't work out with the boys. I am not saying you shouldn't listen to what others have to say but often times people just don't understand or they think you'll ruin your life(yes, this has been said to us).

-If you haven't walked in their shoes don't judge!

This one is simple, you just don't know unless you've been there. You might think you know what you'd have done or what they should've done but, you don't.

This is by far long enough for one post, I'll write more in another post sometime and maybe fill in some more of the details.

Thanks for reading, our journey is not over!

From the article below:

"We choose to do what is right because it is RIGHT. For no other reason. Not because it feels good or because it will be so rewarding. Sometimes we may not see that reward until we see The Father’s face and He explains to us why we had to walk that road. But I would rather suffer the heartbreak to be obedient than to run away from pain and miss the joy of loving who God has called me to love. If Christians are too afraid of pain to risk loving children they can’t keep and whose futures they can’t control, who will? If we aren’t willing to do what’s right just because it’s right, what do we expect other people to do? "

 Full article here, read it, it's good:

Monday, November 26, 2012


Awhile back I bought P90X and did approximately 6 days of the program before giving up. This tends to be my pattern and it's frustrating because I know it's all about willpower. So... I'm starting again and this time I WILL finish. I know I cannot feasibly do the program everyday, especially once I start school again in January but I do hope to at least accomplish 5 days a week. I don't have a lot of weight to lose but I do need to get in shape and get toned. Now that I'm taking Singulair for my asthma I don't really have a great excuse not to get in shape.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's been awhile.

I think my last few posts have probably been titled the same thing since I tend to take a long hiatus from blogging and then come back, only to leave again.

My dad encouraged me to start my blog up again so even if I've just got one reader that's enough. It's nice to journal life and I enjoy reading back to see what was going on in our lives at different times.

I am nearly half way through nursing school and some days it feels like I'll never make it. It's stretched me, that's for sure! I'm learning a lot and I have no doubt that I'll love nursing so I just need to take it one day at a time. Much easier said than done of course. Jake will graduate in December with his business management degree and we'll see where that takes him. I'll be glad to have him done with school because while we always wait until the kids are in bed to do homework it definitely gives us less to no time to spend together.

The kids are doing well in school. Kylie is in 4th grade and has a lot of friends, enjoys school, and recently started basketball. She is struggling a lot with her vision and has an MRI and some other testing coming up next month to determine why she has developed double vision in the past year. Kaydence is in 2nd grade and also loves school! She has been much less anxious this year and has matured a lot since 1st grade. She recently started taking piano lessons and is catching on very quickly! Emeric repeated kindergarten and has the same full time para and classroom teacher which has been very nice. He is learning a lot and progressing in his own time! He tried t-ball this summer but didn't love it. I think he just didn't really understand the game which tends to make him upset and anxious. I'm not sure that we'll try any other sports anytime soon.

Since I last posted we had some significant things happen in our family. In March we took in two boys through foster care with the intent of adopting them. Sadly, they were only a part of our family for 3 months. I'm not going to go into details about why they left but ultimately it just wasn't a good fit and we knew that so we made the very, very difficult decision to let them go. I still miss them. However, we still feel very much called to adopt a child from foster care and are beginning the process of fostering another child sometime. We're nervous but know that we have learned a lot of great lessons and are trusting God that we'll have wisdom in any decisions we make in the future!

There are many, many children living in the foster care system that need a home. I feel as Christians that we are all called to take care of orphans and whether that means being a foster parent yourself, financially supporting someone doing foster care or adoption, or finding other ways to help, these are all important. November is National Adoption Month and many people are very unfamiliar with domestic adoption through foster care. If anyone has any questions you can leave a comment or email me and I'd love to talk about it with you!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I can eat fast but can I juice fast?

It's been nearly a year since I posted here, wow!

So, awhile back I bought a juicer that I found on sale for an amazing price! I've used it a few times and then stored it away not unlike many other novelty appliances I've purchased in the past.

And then, I watched this:

The movie is about a man who is overweight, on multiple medications, and has a chronic, miserable health condition. He believes he can cure his condition solely through diet. He goes on a 60 day juice fast. In the process he meets many people, including a truck driver who happens to have the same rare condition that he has. This man ends up doing his own juice fast and he too cures himself of this condition.

This is a fruit and vegetable juice fast and juicing is more beneficial than just eating all of those fruits and veggies because #1 juice is more easily absorbed and #2 it's much easier to drink a glass of juice than it is to eat a head of kale, 2 apples, carrots, etc.

If you have the time, watch this documentary!

All of this to say I am doing a 10 day juice fast. I'm starting on Monday, March 5th. I will eat or drink nothing but juice and water for 10 days. I guess I'm blogging here figuring this will help keep me accountable but also because I want to document how I'm feeling, weight loss, health benefits, etc. And yes, I think with even just 10 days I will feel better!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Make a Wish-Day 2

We got picked up in our limo bright and early Monday morning and took a 3 hour flight to Orlando! The kids did really well on the plane in spite of the fact that we really didn't pack them much to do! Oops. The airline let us board first and the pilot announced that he was dedicating the flight to us and everyone clapped! :)

One of the first things we saw when we arrived in Florida was this lizard. I love lizards and tried all week to catch one but they are super fast! Kaydence was scared of them so she wasn't nearly as thrilled!

After we picked up our van we headed right to Give Kids the World where we checked in and were told to head off to eat lunch. We went to Katie's Kitchen which is a restaurant at the village that serves both lunch and dinner everyday. The kids couldn't believe everything was free! :) Shortly after lunch we got checked in and then it was off to explore the village!

We had our own private villa and they'd stocked the refrigerator with pop, chocolate cake, and left presents for the kids on the kitchen table! We all changed into shorts right away and decided to see what all the village had to offer.

The girls(and Jake) made their way to the Ice Cream Palace right away which serves ice cream, sundaes, banana splits, and shakes everyday from 7am-9pm. That would be the first of MANY daily visits to get ice cream.

I really don't even know how to describe how awesome Give Kids the World is. It's such a magical place and they really think of everything possible to make your stay wonderful and help you forget real life. The doctors, therapies, appt's, prognosis, everything. I think I spent less than 5 minutes all week thinking about anything other than what we were doing then and there. And that's how they intend it!

After exploring the village I headed to the orientation center where they give you all your tickets and tell you about the village. Jake took the kids to the theater where they had an activity going on. I don't know what it was but I know it involved whipped cream pies flying!

We put the kids to bed early since we'd had such a long day and then we ordered pizza! The village offers free pizza after 7:30pm so we took advantage of that often! Overall the day was tiring but good. The warm weather and sunshine along with the flowers and green grass were enough in and of themselves to see!

Stay tuned for day 3! :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Make a Wish-Day 1

Today isn't technically day 1 since we're not flying out until tomorrow but Make a Wish did give us a hotel stay before we left so I'm considering this day one! I want to make sure to journal each day so this seems like a good way to remember everything we did!

We got up bright and early for the 4 hour drive to Minneapolis. The hotel water park was only open from 10-1pm so we wanted to get in right away. We arrived just in time for it to open and the kids had a blast.

We spent about 2 hours in the water park and then drove over to Mall of America(which is directly across from our hotel) and had lunch at Bubba Gump's shrimp co. We stopped at the Disney store so Kaydence could pick out a princess dress to wear to Magic Kingdom. We'd found one for Kylie at a thrift store a few days earlier. Emeric didn't seem to mind that he didn't get a prince outfit. ;)

After a couple hours at Mall of America we headed back to our hotel. The kids were bummed because the arcade was closed but they were all so tired that hanging out in the room seemed fine with us!

Right now we're waiting for our pizza we ordered and then plan on getting the kids in bed early! Our limo is set to arrive at 6am!

Less than 24 hours until WARM WEATHER AND SUN!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Worn out!

I think school is wearing this boy out!

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