Saturday, September 26, 2015

Becoming Foster Parents

The process to become a foster parent isn't easy on the heart. For 6 weeks we spent the majority of our Saturday at the training classes. These were in depth and long classes. We struggled being away from our son for that long and with the material we were learning. There were many times I'd need to listen to Christmas music after class to shake off the gloomy feelings.

And there were so many times we almost gave up.

After all, what are the rewards for the foster parents?

As a foster parent you face parenting challenges you never counted on experiencing. You open your home and your whole heart to someone who may be with you for mere days. You open your family to a barrage of questions from outsiders. You open yourself to judgments from everyone around you and to the stereotypes our culture has given you. As a foster parent you agree to shelter and protect a child while knowing your protection is very, very limited.

But then you get that phone call. There is an innocent child that needs you. They have no one else.

How can you say no?
Even if you're told they'll only be with you for 3 days?
Your heart is already gone.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Embarking on a new journey

I have not blogged since November and there's a reason for that. Through prayer we have decided to certify to become foster parents and, hopefully, adopt through that route next. 

This was not an easy decision, nor has it been an easy road so far. But now I finally feel like we're to the exciting part! 

We're almost done getting certified and the baby room is all set up and ready to welcome whomever God sends our way! 

At first I wondered about keeping this blog, but I've decided to blog also about our experiences of adopting through foster care because, after a search on Pinterest, there's a shortage of advice out there on the subject!

Thanks for your continued prayers for our family as we strive to grow our family, one beautiful child at a time!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Strengthening Relationships with Birth Family

I know I've seriously neglected this blog but honestly not a lot has been happening in our efforts to grow our family lately.

But I wanted to write a little bit about our amazing opportunity to spend almost an entire day with some of Nathan's birth family last month!

We live in different parts of the country but thankfully Nathan's birth mom lives in the same state as the rest of our extended family making it super convenient to hang out with them when we go home for weddings or reunions.

Last month we headed back home for a wedding and got to spend almost an entire day with Nathan's birth family! It was his birth mom, his half sister, and later even a biological aunt and his birth grandparents! AMAZING DAY!

First we went to the Boo at the Zoo and had so much fun! Nathan and his half sister are soo close and get along so well! It melts my heart to watch them interact with each other! I feel so thankful that Nathan can have special relationship with her, especially since he doesn't have any other siblings yet.

They could almost pass as twins!
But what's funny is she's older but he's taller!

They play so well together, they act likes best friends
AND siblings because they'll fight and squabble too!
In fact, she got grumpy and he kept running after her at the zoo trying to cheer him up.
He didn't get her nonverbal cues that she needed some alone time to calm down.
She kept running away.
Finally he shouted "STOP BEING A FEISTY PANTS!"
It was hilarious and all the other zoo guests around started laughing LOL!

After the zoo we went to Olive Garden!
We came here a few times while she was pregnant with Nathan 
and the day she relinquished her rights.
It was fun to come back now years later with both kids too!

This was before they started fighting over the smartphone LOL.

Afterwards we headed to Gardner's Village to check out their Halloween stuff. His bio aunt introduced us to apple pie caramel apples.
It was amazing!
Most of the day we spent comparing Nathan's facial features to his birth mom, sister, and aunt.
So fun!
Having similar physical features is something I've taken for granted being in a biological family.
So I was so glad that Nathan has relationships with his biological family so he can feel that sense of sameness too.

Afterwards we went to his birth grandparents house!
It was nice to catch up with them and Nathan played with their dogs almost the whole time.
He was in dog heaven!
At one point he ran inside and asked grandpa a question and actually called him grandpa!
On his own! I hadn't even taught him to since we rarely see them!
It was so neat and I could tell it meant a lot to his birth mom.
Lots of love in that room!

It was such a great day and I felt so grateful we got to spend this time with them!
I hope Nathan remembers it years from now!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thank you

Thank you to everyone for their kind messages of support and love after my last post. 
It really means a lot to know so many care about our family. 

We love you! 
our most recent "family photo" happens to just be our feet!
time for a new photo!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The one full of raw emotions. 8 months later.

I don't know how to start this post but I really feel I need to. Maybe it'll help someone else. And me.

Last November we were excitedly anticipating adding a baby boy to our family. He was due in March and we were so excited! My heart had so much joy as I got to know his mom and planned his nursery. Finally our dreams for a second child were coming true!

Two days before Christmas our hopes were shattered as we learned she had decided to parent with the father. Immediately I felt peace and respect for her decision.

At the same time I had never felt so much pain.

Waves of pain hit me for the next 2 days. It brought me to the floor in a ball as I sobbed and felt like everything inside me was breaking. I hadn't known your heart could literally break. It can.

I couldn't even go into the baby room and just shut the door.

Christmas morning was beautiful. Despite the tragedy of losing our would-be son, it was a very happy day! I thought to myself, "Great! I'm going to be OK!"

After the Christmas magic died down though I wasn't OK. I was still in pain. I couldn't even pack up the baby clothes. My brave sweet Nathan put the clothes into boxes for me as I sat and cried. I felt horrible that he was the strong one taking care of me, instead of the other way around. It made me cry even more.

I have no idea when I was able to genuinely smile again but I know it was weeks later. During the weeks after Christmas I was exhausted. I couldn't seem to get back into the swing of things. I'd lay on my bed in the afternoon wondering if I'd ever feel happy inside again. And I remember really hoping that I would. I remember thinking how silly I was. How I was being ridiculous grieving for someone who had never really been mine. I wanted to shake it off and I really wanted his due date to pass. I kept pushing myself off my bed to do normal things hoping that would help.

Luckily February brought the Olympics. A GREAT distraction from my pain. During that month I felt I had "healed" enough to text the mom with words of friendship and joy for her. She immediately texted me back grateful and happy for my friendship. Days later she texted me when he was born and his stats. I was so grateful to know he was finally here and hoped that would help me move on with my own life.

In March I continued to try and throw myself back into my life and get back to normal. I thought I was making excellent progress. I was still doing preschool with Nathan and his friends. I was going to church, studying the scriptures, trying to socialize with friends. But what I didn't see was plain to those closest to me. Something was wrong. I was off. For the first time ever I didn't do anything to celebrate St Patrick's Day. One of my favorite holidays. Getting together with friends felt like a chore. Being there for others felt like work and a burden.

At the end of April I visited the mom and the baby. I had some things I wanted them to have. The visit went well and I felt like it brought closure for both of us. I went on my way, continuing in May to do fun things with my family and rocking preschool.

I honestly felt everything was OK.

After preschool got out though I started spiraling down. I didn't even see it until July. Gavin saw it and was concerned but didn't say anything because every now and then I'd have a good day and so he'd hope I was climbing out of it.

By the middle of July I felt like I was losing control of myself. I was lashing out in anger at those I loved most. I broke down to Gavin saying I felt sick inside. I didn't know how else to describe it.

Finally, this week I looked up the stages of grief. And finally the past 8 months made sense.

I had never thought before that I could still be grieving. I hadn't felt the grief to be justified. After all he was never "mine".

I'm still not OK but I can honestly say that for the first time in 8 months I feel like I'm climbing up instead of sliding down. I feel progress inside every day. And every time I talk about it to someone I feel a little bit better. I still have bad days or bad moments.

For the record, no I'd never thought of suicide or wanting to quit or give up. Even in January I had optimism that I would heal and get better. This is grief and depression from loss, not clinical lifelong depression. Although now my heart is more sympathetic to those that do suffer from that kind of depression. 

Gavin has been the biggest support and so helpful. He counseled me to grow close to my Savior. As I have, I feel like that's made the biggest difference. As I've drawn closer to Him I've felt the pieces of my heart fall back into place. I've felt things in my life click back into place. I finally feel like my smiles are starting to radiate real happiness.

I hope that as I've bared my soul that you'll be gentle to it. We could all use kindness when life gets hard.

I'm so grateful for my Savior. I'm actually grateful our next child hasn't arrived yet and that God has given me this quiet time to heal. I'm so grateful for the support of my family. Gavin and Nathan's love and patience with me have been the best thing I could have asked for. This has taught me so many things, some that I'm still learning. It's humbled me. It's taught me to be kind to myself, to be conscious about my health and things I'm doing to contribute to that. It's taught me what grief feels like and how I can be a better friend to anyone that goes through it.

I know this is a risk with adoption and I know a lot of people this has happened to. For all I know it could happen again to us. I hope not, but if it does I trust there's a reason and a lesson to be learned.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Changes but not change of plans

So I'm sure everyone by now has heard and read numerous material about the changes to LDS Family Services and their adoption services. In short, if we're not chosen by the end of the year then we'll need to start over with another agency.

For me, that makes my brain panic and want to quickly jump ship to another agency while it's easier (right now we can transfer our home study usually rather than start completely over since we're still certified to adopt). But while my brain wants to do this, we're not feeling prompted by God to follow that direction. We've felt inspired to hold tight and wait. And so we wait.

If you haven't already done so, please share this blog around the web to help us spread the word!

Also, this guy turns 4 next week and says every day that he wants Baby to come home to us.

It'd be a great Happy birthday if you could take a moment to spread the word via Facebook, email, blogging, or anything else! You never know who's praying to find our family!

Also, if you'd like to receive some of our adoption pass along cards, please email us with your address and I'd be happy to mail some of those out! Thanks!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Waiting, Hoping, Praying, Working

I promise we're alive over here! I haven't had any news to report on this blog but I'm faithfully updating our family blog.

We're still waiting and trying to spread the word as much as we can hoping that the right person will see our information. Right now I think I'm feeling pretty optimistic. I've been mailing out our pass along cards to family and friends so I feel like at the very least that I'm trying to help things along in a small way. We're busy enjoying summer, each other, and our neighborhood pool so that keeps our minds off the sad part of waiting a bit. Lately I've just felt peace that things are happening that I can't see and that all in good time our next little one will join our family. Exciting to think about!

Thanks again for everyone's prayers and support! I know it's working!


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