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I have learned countless lessons from my children, at least once a day I find myself humbled and amazed by the knowledge small children seem to posses that we lose somewhere on the way to adulthood.

Today’s lesson came while taking our three year old son to buy “Big Boy Underwear” because he needs a jump start on potty training. Perry knows where to go potty and how, he can go by himself even…. but he doesn’t. This morning he was playing with a toy in the living when he suddenly turned around and started grunting. I asked what he was doing and he responded nonchalantly “Oh, I’m pooping”. I scooped him up and raced him to the potty, the whole way reminding him that he knows he should not poop in his pants and that he is a big boy. He was unruffled by the whole scene and once we got to the bathroom I asked him where he was supposed to poop and again he responded as if there were nothing amiss, “Poop goes in  the potty”. That was the moment I realized, he fully gets the concept, he is just choosing not to use the potty because he thinks going in his pull-up is easier. This discovery lead us to our post dinner Mommy-Son Target run for big boy underwear.

 

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We go to Target a lot, for a variety of reasons. One reason is that I love it, I think Target is a mini vacation.It is aisle upon aisle of books, home decor, cute clothes and of course the essential we need at a moments notice.  Target is a Mommy haven, it also happens to be less than two miles from our house. With five children I try to make sure we have time one on one as often possible and this was a great opportunity for some Perry and Mommy time.

From the minute we entered the store Perry was a ball of energy and excitement, I am sure to the casual observer it must have appeared that Perry had never been in a store before in his life. Every display, sign or person we walked past was gushed over with equal zeal.

“Wow, Mommy what is that?”

“Look at the dress”

“There is Christmas on the ceiling”

“Hi boy”

“Let’s go that way”

“Look over there Mommy”

On and on he went, I really do not think he stopped to breathe the whole time we were there. I could not get over his unadulterated joy at a quick trip to the store. We were about half way through when he looked up at me eyes filled with wonder and breathed “It’s amazing. I love you”.

I wondered as I watched my son delight in the magic of a Target run when I lost the ability to see the divine magic in the everyday? Where did I lose that wonder? Possibly more important than when or where I lost it is why did I lose it? I need to get it back regardless.

We are surrounded by amazing, wonder inducing, beautiful things every day and we can lose sight of this fact as adults. We are living in a world so diverse, complex and beautifully created that one could find no end of joy if we approached our daily tasks and errands with the same joy as a three year old. There is joy in that Target run, there is joy in the sink of dishes and the piles of laundry, there is joy in the errands and the work. Everywhere you go and in everything you do there is joy, the trick is to find it.

So stop, smell the roses…or if you are near a Target hit the candle aisle and delight in the joys of the seemingly mundane. Everything in the world was created for a purpose and our purpose here is to find happiness and joy while progressing, the joy is hiding in plain sight. There is no magic formula to find joy; we won’t find it once we get that promotion, buy that house, drop those pounds or find those riches. The magic is all around us and within us, we just have to tap into it and remember what it is like to be three.

I am eternally grateful I have five little miracles here to teach me these lessons and I hope I learn them well. I don’t want to miss out on the wonder of a single moment.

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When our first child was oh, about four months old I decided I desperately wanted to homeschool. I had done my research and I was convinced this was the best approach to education for our family. I had my own educational background in a Special Education major and probably months of time spent researching homeschool vs. public school vs. private school (in case we won the lottery I suppose) all to back up that decision. Everything seemed great and I was confident I had time to research curriculum and co-ops to my hearts content before Caleb was old enough to begin school.

Then life happened. We went from one baby boy who had just turned one to five children. Now my oldest should be starting kindergarten in the fall of 2016. Shortly after our family grew so dramatically and I was juggling multiple therapies and case worker visits and an adjusting group of children who had all experienced a lot of trauma in their short years- I had a mommy melt down and decided there was no way I could homeschool. I couldn’t be enough Mom everywhere at one time to pull it off. I drove around in my car crying about it for awhile and just decided I just was not capable and should forget it.

Shockingly, this knee jerk, emotional decision has not been sitting well with me. If I was positive homeschooling was right before how could it be wrong now? I also have seen tremendous growth in my babies lately and I am realizing how short this time of survival mode living will be in the grande scheme of things. So where does that leave us? My oldest has started attending a traditional preschool and he loves it. I have no idea about curriculum or co-ops or homeschool groups and I have zero idea how I would start. To be honest I am not even sure which direction I think we should go in as a family. One thing I am sure of is that we need to pray about it and that soon we will be guided to the right path.

Homeschooling, can I? Yes. Will I? I’m still not sure.
P.S. I have been finding great comfort and encouragement in the homeschooling blog It’s A Good Full

This Side of The Font

There are moments in time that irrevocably alter us, changing us at an almost cellular level. For me some of those moments include the day I married my husband, the day our first son was placed into my arms, the day I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the day I received the conferring of the Holy Ghost.

It’s been a little over a week since I was baptized and became an official Mormon. It’s taken a while for me to even begin gathering my thoughts about this experience. I have never experienced anything like it, and I know I will never forget the beauty of that day. The day couldn’t have been more perfect, the weather was perfect and so many loved ones gathered to support me and our family as I took this monumental step. In the last week I had an appointment for our oldest son and I had a very surreal experience when the provider we were meeting with asked me to identify the religion our family follows and I answered without a second thought that we were a Mormon family.

When I first felt myself being called to The Church (that story can be found here) and to the restored Gospel I was so worried that our loved ones would not be able to get behind such a radical change. I knew with the surety of an eternally encouraged child that my parents would support me no matter what, it was everyone else (myself included) that I was worried about. How foolish that fear turned out to be, something I realized fully as I looked around at the large number of people who gathered to support and celebrate my baptism. I cannot think of it, or look at the pictures without tears filling my eyes. We have friends and family from all walks of life and from all faiths and still so many showed up to support me following the path I had been called to walk. As with almost all new converts I had to physically restrain myself from grabbing everyone I knew to try to convey how amazing my baptism felt and how deeply I desired for them to feel it for themselves. I know from my own experiences on the other side of that interaction that such behavior rarely has the desired effect. So I restrained myself and just attempted to let my unfettered joy speak for itself. To everyone who came to my baptism and to all who sent me words of love and encouragement, I want to take a moment now to again thank you. The support of those you love in matters of importance to you should never be underestimated in value.

I, somehow, agreed to bear my testimony at my baptism and as the day drew nearer I became more and more terrified by the idea. I am not afraid of public speaking and I do not embarrass easy. I do, however, cry easily. I knew how deeply moved I was to be going through this experience and I was worried that my testimony would either not touch the gravity of it all or I would end up a wet mess that no one could understand. I was taught by a few combinations of Elders but the main two; Elder Tengberg and Elder Woodbury are both spiritual giants and I am continually in awe of their strength, faith and love for serving Heavenly Father on their missions. I was certain next to both of them, my testimony was going to be the linguistic equivalent to a finger painting being shown next to the works of Monet. Nonetheless, I was able to stand up and share my testimony of how I found my way to The Church;  how I came to know that this is The One True Church, that The Book of Mormon is true and that President Monson is a Prophet of the Lord.

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The day of my baptism ended with a day long picnic in the sun with friends and family. The kids got to run and play, we all got to spend some time with those we love and we celebrated me finally finding where I was meant to be in life. And somehow this amazing journey wasn’t over. I still had the gift of the Holy Ghost to receive the next morning at church.

Sunday started with its own miracle since my husband, who is amazingly supportive but not (yet) a big fan of going to church, decided to attend church with the kids and I. Every time we all can go to church as a whole family is a sacred and beautiful gift. As we were settling into the pew for Sacrament Meeting our children were all extra restless from their day of adventures the day before. I was just beginning to feel overwhelmed with trying to juggle our five children (three and under) when it was time for the conferring of the Holy Ghost. I was so blessed to be encircled by such strong and faithful Priesthood Holders as I was given the gift of the Holy Ghost and a Priesthood Blessing. This too was an experience unlike any I have ever experienced and one I feel I cannot accurately describe. There are a few things that seem to continually weigh on my mind and heart and as I was receiving the immense gift of the Holy Ghost and my blessing I felt such peace for once that everything was going to work out as it should and that there was no need to worry.

The week following my baptism was one of the crazier weeks we have ever had and I cannot imagine having gotten through that week without the joy and peace from my baptism still carrying me forward. There are no real tangible things to represent this huge change and yet from the moment my face broke the surface of the water as I emerged from my baptism, everything had changed and realigned.

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I just wanted some chocolate, chocolate always makes it better, even Harry Potter characters know that truth. I thought I had a fairly good poker face on and then I caught sight of myself in the reflection off the drive-thru window… who was that woman with disheveled hair, dark bags under her tear filled eyes and pale skin? My poker face does not exist, I wear all of my emotions on my face for the world to see. Unfortunately for the young man working the drive-thru window a message of support from my sister came through my phone right as he came to the window and tears broke through and trickled down my face. He was gracious but very uncomfortable, I do not think many people cry in the drive-thru window.

To begin with let me be clear, I am very acutely aware of how blessed we are to have such a large beautiful family. However, one can be aware of the blessings and still be living in a rough period. We have had a rough couple of days here. Our weeks have already become consumed with four different therapy appointments each week and many, many doctors appointments. We are slowly getting a handle on what exactly is going on with our children and how to best help them through the storm. This week we are going to be adding at least three more services for them. I am so thankful that these services are available for them and for the amazing people who are helping us connect our children with what they need.

Living in a state of being on guard for any potentially dangerous behaviors leaves one exhausted when you are doing so for one child, when there are four soon to be five I have found that even while sleeping I do not rest. Even when the stars align and they all sleep well at night I am often up late trying to read up on SPD, RAD, LD, CMT and a host of other combinations of alphabet soup. Our children have come so far in the short amount of time they have been in our home and I am so proud of their progress, determination and hard work.

The number of times in a day that I am forced to accept of the fact that I am but one person, with the limitations of being human is unbelievable. Whether it is when two of the four are having a hard time and in need of comfort and my hands are full or if it is because we are running out of time to schedule therapies in the week. Everyone tells me how great the kids are doing and how improved their behaviors are, and still I end each day feeling like I should have done more to help them through the struggles they face.

As I drove home yesterday with my chocolate and tears I knew my Mom guilt had won this afternoon and that I needed to give myself some grace, let the tears flow and prepare to dive back in. I drove home praying and telling God how inadequate I felt and laid all my worries for my children in His hands. Someday things will be more figured out and we will go through the motions of therapies, appointments, meltdowns and set backs with the calm of the experienced. There is only one way to that space and it is through these new days of finding our way. There will be days I will be crying in the drive-thru, yet even on those days there is pure love in every facet of our days. Thankfully we have our Heavenly Father to help us through and we do not have to do it all alone.

Dreams of Insanity

I remember the day I told my husband that I wanted eight children, we had just started dating and he looked panicked at the mere thought. He was quick to tell me he thought one, maybe two children was plenty. I knew having children biologically was going to be a challenge for me so I did not give our different numbers too much thought. Fast forward six years and here we are awaiting the birth of our fifth child, another boy. We now have three boys and a girl; ages three, two, seventeen months and one year. Our birth mom is cooking our new little boy and he should be welcomed into our home and the world this April.

Six years ago when I envisioned eight children I can honestly say I had no clue what that life would look like. For example, it was a hard adjustment for me when I realized I would be driving a cargo van for most of my life now. I did not realize how many everyday task like washing dishes or planning dinner would change with so many children. I did not realize how having such a large family immediately sets one apart from the majority of America, where three children seems like a lot. I did not realize how little I would sleep or how rare a moment alone with my husband would become. I did not realize that doctor and therapy appointments would rule every week’s schedule. Most of all I did not realize how full my heart could be.

Our large family has some unique qualities due to the fashion in which it was stitched together. All of our children have joined our family through the miracle and tragedy of adoption through the Foster Care System. This has meant that two years ago we had zero children in our home. Let that thought sink in, in two years we went from zero to five. I read an article once, that I cannot find to reference unfortunately, that stated that parents need roughly a year to adjust to adding a child to their family. I am wondering how long it takes then for a family to adjust to the addition of five miracles at almost the same time? Another unique challenge for our family is that ALL five of our children have experienced loss, trauma and have higher needs than their peers.

We are slowly finding our way as parents to so many beautiful souls. The biggest lessons we have learned so far are; to embrace the insanity because there is beauty in that insanity and to remember we are learning how our family works right along with our children. We all need grace, love and hugs when hard days come.

Winter Is Coming

Winter is coming! I have to chuckle as I write this now popular phrase from Game of Thrones, a book I have tried and failed to successfully finish, twice. However, the phrase applies. Winter is coming and for us that means RSV season lockdown at the house. We are days away from the little one and I being sequestered to the house for the next six months. That means no going to the grocery store, no running errands, no trips to Starbucks, no leaving the house for anything except doctors appointments. Last year at this time I had no idea our son was about to be born, prematurely, and that we would be meeting him and bringing him home from NICU in about two months. There was no time or need to think about how I would spend the next six months at home. I was surprised by the new addition to our family and spent those six months snuggled in a shocked glow of happiness to have this little miracle home.

This Winter is Different

This year is totally different, for a variety of reasons. To begin with, I spent last winter in a prolonged and heightened sense of near panic that is almost impossible to describe. Our son came home with a variety of machines and for the first few months home would still have apnea episodes that lasted long enough for him to begin turning blue. There is a state of never being able to truly relax that only parents of medically fragile children know. The fear and expectation that at any minute the alarms will sound and your child will be having a medical emergency. Even as I type this I can feel my chest tightening as I return to that place. This year we are monitor and machine free. Hallelujah!! As long as Miracle Man can stay healthy all winter we will remain free of those machines.

However, that was only the beginning of my fears. We knew from the day we chose to foster-adopt that there are no guarantees, children will come and go in our lives and it is our job to love them and protect them for however long we have them. We knew this, were trained to know it and discussed it often and then the day came they placed my son in my arms and I forgot it all. From the second I saw him I knew, this was something different than I prepared for, he was meant for us and we were meant for him. It instantly felt like I had found a puzzle piece by accident that perfectly fit into the puzzle I had been working on for years and been unable to finish. We reminded ourselves often that nothing was guaranteed and that God would ensure our little one ended up wherever he was meant to, even if it meant he returned home. The winter had a lot of moments that it seemed possible that he would return to his biological family and as we fell more and more in love with our Miracle Man it became impossible to imagine our lives without him. I knew what we had gotten ourselves into and I believed in what we were doing as surely as I knew that if he left us I would never be able to fully piece my heart back together. We are beginning our lockdown this year with the first of two court hearings to finalize our adoption of Miracle Man. Before we are off lockdown this year he will legally be a member of our family.

Like I said, this winter is different.

Last year he was an infant so in between heart stopping monitor alarms, specialist appointments and visits with his case workers and biological family he slept most of the time. We were very lucky that he almost never cried, we actually did not hear him cry on a regular basis until he started teething. This year he is a toddler. Wow. How time flies. He is crawling now and will probably be walking long before we are off our lockdown. He takes few naps and thanks to the imminent arrival of molars, he is often not a happy camper. He keeps me on my toes all day, not due to medical emergencies this time but due to his hilarious and unpredictable baby antics.

Surviving The Winter

I am a planner by nature and this year I have had plenty (probably too much) time to think about the upcoming six months of lockdown. I have come up with and rejected so many plans for how we will spend our time in the house this winter that it is insane. There are a few things I want to accomplish this winter but I am trying to refrain from making a must-get-done-list because that turns me into a crazy Monica Geller, Type A monster. Ideally I will at least work on the following tasks this winter:

  • Continue reading my way through The Western Canon
  • Sort and declutter to have a massive yard sale in the spring
  • Help Miracle Man learn more words, signs and to walk
  • Publish at least one freelance article a month to build my portfolio
  • Get myself back up to running a 5k with ease (thanks to my new treadmill)
  • Create more healthy recipes for the family
  • Try to make some big-ish decisions that are hanging around my head

The other part of this isolation is the eye-opening experience of being unable to leave your house to visit friends and family. This was a surprising discovery for me last year. As long as you are healthy you can visit us, we just cannot come to you. This dramatically cuts down on the people you see and talk to, at least it did for us and I can already see it going that way again this year. I can count on one hand (and that’s if I am being generous) the number of people who went out of their way to stay connected with us during our germ exile last year. The main result of this, after you get over your feelings being a little bruised, is that you soon begin to feel like you are starring in your own version of The Shinning, with less murder and alcoholism thank goodness. I adore my son more than words could say but last year he was not a very good conversationalist. This year at least he will be able to have the big talks with Mama: babas, toys, songs, snacks, ABC’s and animal noises. This year I know what to expect though, so instead of being continually disappointed by who is not showing up or reaching out I am going to be extra thankful for those who do. It makes all the difference to have someone stop over, even if it is for a quick cup of coffee and a chat.

The Last Week

This week has been so busy as we prepare for Miracle Man’s first birthday party (held early so he could have one before lockdown), court next week and the beginning of our germ hiatus. It is such an interesting place to be. I know what to expect of my next six months and yet I know it will be nothing like last year. So I have been checking off my lists, running my errands and marveling over things like trips to the grocery store because I know how soon those things will be missed. I am sure the pets cannot wait for the return of RSV season lockdown/ Mama and baby are here to play with us all the time. I am standing on a precipice, about to begin a new and second adventure and I am intrigued to see how it goes this year.

Wish us luck and send us germ-free happy thoughts.

Reading The Western Canon

_Words are a uniquely portable magic_Oh, words. I love words, all of them. Words truly are some form of magic that can transport you anywhere you could wish to go and paint endless pictures. For as long as I can remember I have loved words; reading words, writing words and Lord knows I could talk the ears off most people. This love has lead me to the life of an author, writing is the world’s best outlet for me. As a writer I am always looking for ways to hone my skills.

With that goal in mind I have decided to undertake a (as close as possible) complete reading of The Western Canon. The Western Canon is a list of 798 books that many scholars agree shaped the development of Western Culture. The Canon list was created by Harold Bloom and is a highly debated list. The canon is often referred to as a list of books by old, white men and a quick scan of the authors included confirms that. If one were to construct a list of great books today there would, for sure, be more diversity. Therefore, as I am reading through the ages I may add books to the list that I feel are necessary. Some of the works included in the Canon are things I have already read, however I want to reread them all within the scope and arc of the history of literature.

Bloom’s Canon

Bloom’s Canon is split into four periods of time; The Theocratic Age (2000 BCE-1321 CE), The Aristocratic Age (1321-1832), The Democratic Age (1832-1900), The Chaotic Age (20th Century). There are twenty-six authors specifically focused on throughout the Canon to include:

  • Shakespeare
  • James Joyce
  • Dante
  • Chaucer
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Cervantes
  • Montaigne
  • Wordsworth
  • Moliere
  • John Milton
  • Samuel Johnson
  • George Eliot
  • Goethe
  • Charles Dickens
  • Franz Kafka
  • Proust
  • Jane Austen
  • Tolstoy
  • Henrik Ibsen
  • Walt Whitman
  • Frenando Pessoa
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Freud
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Jorge Luis Borges

So Many Books

 Getting Started

I decided to read through the immense list in chronological order in order to be able to fully appreciate all allusions, references and innuendos. Starting with The Iliad by Homer. I vaguely remember skimming through The Iliad years ago and I do not remember being impressed. I am only a short way in now and HOLY COW. Homer is blowing my literary socks off. The man had an amazing ability to twist words into magical phrases that I find myself rereading over and over again to soak up his creative genius. Here is to a long journey through many literary worlds and to the inspiration provided by the millions of authors that came before me.

“The smooth-tongued chief, from whose persuasive lips

Sweeter than honey flowed the stream of speech.”

~The Iliad

 

For more information about The Western Cannon please consult

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages By Harold Bloom

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KK6DGMI

 

 

Leaving Behind The NICU Machines

Final Goodbye

A lot has happened since our little Miracle Man was two pounds and in NICU fighting for every breath, for every heart beat. It is almost hard for me to remember where it all began as I look at our healthy, bouncing twenty-six pound boy. Our son who came home with more wires attached to him than most TV’s have is now completely cord and monitor free for the first time in almost eleven months. Hallelujah, and yet I am terrified. It is so hard to let go of the security those machines provide, especially when you have been able to depend on that technology from day one.

Miracle Man came home on oxygen 24/7, a heart rate monitor, an apnea monitor and a pulse ox monitor. First thing to change was the amount of time he was on the monitors, then the oxygen left during the day, then the oxygen left a night, then the heart rate and apnea monitor left and now we are finished with the pulse ox monitor. No cords, ever? No numbers to verify how healthy he is at the exact moment I want them? How does that work?

Monitors, Monitors Everywhere

Monitors, Monitors Everywhere

Preemie Parents

Preemie parents are a different breed, those first few glorious days, weeks and months with our little ones are colored by the constant worry about their bodies not being ready for this big world. Every breath is precious, every obstacle overcome is headline news in our lives, even the simple ones. We gain ridiculous amounts of knowledge in a short amount of time. I use words and acronyms now that I forget are not commonplace for most parents. Few parents can tell you the typical heart rate, respiration rate and saturation levels of their babies at sleep, play and while eating. For most parents, once the baby starts sleeping through the night the parents are able to sleep through the night as well. Preemie parents are setting alarms to get up and check the various monitors all night. It is just a different life. Not better, not worse, but different.

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Goodbye Hurts

I know when we first came home from NICU I was so upset that our monitors at home did not display numbers like the monitors in the NICU. While sitting beside our Miracle Man’s crib in the hospital I could watch the numbers and the pattern of all his various vitals and I could see alarms coming before they started and sometimes intervene before the event occurred. I did not have that luxury when we got home. I had to wait for the alarm to sound. That was my first sign that I was hooked on the ability to instantly check in on my son’s vitals and health. No wondering and less worry I could look and know in a second.

Each machine leaving was an adjustment. We would go to a specialist appointment (Can I get an Amen Preemie Mom’s? We see those specialists more than our husbands sometimes) and leave one machine short and I would be simultaneously happy dancing through the parking lot and fighting off panic. It would take a few days of me feeling like I could not take my eyes of Miracle Man for a second before I would relax and adjust to the new limited machine configuration.

Now we are down to zero machines and I am in the middle of my happy dancing panic. Miracle Man fell asleep easily and now comes the hard part; I am supposed to sleep with no verification that he is doing well. I know he is doing amazingly well and that he will be fine. I will just have to remind myself that about a million times between now and morning.

God’s Plans Amaze

 I have not had a moment to spare lately to update everyone following our journey. Here is a warning ahead of time: hang on to your hats (it has been a crazy ride) and grab some tissues (it has been miraculous and beautiful). As I write this I am listening to my beautiful and miraculous nine week old son cooing in his bassinet as he takes a nap. If you had to stop and reread the last sentence a few times to be sure it was real you have a rough idea how surprised we are that this is actually happening. To ease understanding while we fill everyone in here are some notes ahead of time; we cannot and will not be releasing our son’s name so for now he will be known as Miracle Man, his case is a legal risk fost-to-adopt case, he was our first placement, our agency almost never has infants.

Last I updated the blogosphere about our progress in the fost-to-adopt process we were waiting to finally have our safety check complete so we could begin the matching process. Getting licensed was an unexpected ordeal with many pitfalls, false starts and errors along the way. I now know why each one happened and by the end of this tale you will as well. As our Friday appointment approached to finalize our certification as a foster care and adoption home we were so nervous that yet another issue would crop up and disturb the process. For this reason we were trying hard not to get our hopes up about having children in the house anytime this year even. The day before our safety check my friend and neighbor calls to tell me that her five year old daughter came downstairs that morning with interesting news to report about our certification. Addy informed her Mom that the night before she had prayed that our safety check would go well and after her prayers she talked to Santa (she apparently has direct contact with Santa) and he informed her that because we had our Christmas Tree up and we had been good that we “for sure” were getting a kid by Christmas. The sweet innocence of this statement lifted our hearts but we informed Addy that you never know when it could happen but we hoped Santa was right. We did not think Santa was telling Addy the truth but it did not prevent it from being a cute tale.  The big day arrived and everything (for once) went smoothly, we were certified and we could begin the matching process. We jumped into matching with both feet. The first week and a half after we were certified we were following up on potential matches and getting calls about new possible matches multiple times a day, every day. We knew there were a lot of children in the foster care system looking for forever homes, however we did not fully grasp how many there really are until we began the matching process. It was overwhelming at the beginning to be discussing so many possible options but we were trusting God to lead us to the right child(ren). With all these possibilities nothing was really moving forward with any speed and we still thought it would be months before our house had little souls within its walls.

It was at this time that our lives took off in an entirely new direction. Our Case Worker told me that when she did our safety check it broke her heart to see the crib in our bedroom because she was fairly certain she would never be able to match us with a little one to go in that crib. Then a week and a half after our certification she was in her office working on another family profile when she felt the need to stop and go for a walk around the office to stretch her legs and clear her mind. On her travels she passed the desk of the Placement Specialist at our agency who was on the phone doing the intake process to place a child into foster care. Something about the call caught our Case Worker’s attention and she went to stand in the doorway to hear what was needed. The Placement Specialist waved her over and told her the situation. They were getting a six week old infant who had been born ten weeks early and was currently in NICU. Our Case Worker said as soon as she heard this part she knew he was meant for us, they instantly suggested us to County (during the intake call) and we were chosen for Miracle Man before his intake was even completed. Had she not decided to go for a walk who knows how things would have played out in this case, we may never have even made it to consideration for his case since we were so newly certified. The court hearing to make it official was two days later and that night Tyler and I were finally able to go to NICU and meet our little miracle.

The moment I laid eyes on Miracle Man I knew he belonged with us and he had found his way home. The next week was a long haul as we were basically living in NICU watching our little guy get stronger by the moment. Out of sheer curiosity Tyler and I decided to look back and see if we could figure out what we were doing while our Miracle Man was being born. As soon as we did this God’s hand in this match was undeniable to anyone involved in our case. Miracle Man was born on the morning of October 7th, literally one minute before he was born we received the call that our background checks had been miscoded and that our certification would be delayed. I was in tears when I saw the hand of God holding us off to ensure we were available to welcome our son home. As always, though we often forget, God’s plans trumps our plans every time.

Now to get to the bragging about our perfect little Miracle Man.  He has a beautiful buttercream complexion, strawberry blonde hair and deep blue eyes. As I stated he was born ten weeks premature and he was only 3lbs. 4oz. when he was born. Due to how much he had to fight to stay alive those first days his weight dropped down to a little over 2lbs. Due to his prematurity he was born severely anemic, with a hole in his heart and pretty significant RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome). Most, if not all of, these issue are things that will improve with time. By the time we left NICU he was up to 6lbs. 6oz., his anemia was improving, the hole in his heart had closed (although he still has a murmur), he was down to only ¼ liter of oxygen needed and he had gone five days with no serious incidents of Apnea (where he forgets to breath) or Bradycardia (his heart rate dropping way too low).  He came home still on his oxygen and an Apnea monitor that alarms if he stops breathing or if his heart rate goes too low or high. He has been doing amazingly well at home, he has few alarms and often is able to self-correct and begin breathing on his own. We are still in for a long road with doctors, therapies, case workers and early intervention services but we are sure he will continue to get stronger. He is surprising everyone with his strength and ability to improve by leaps and bounds.

As for the legal risks involved with his case, that has fewer clear cut answers and plans. Miracle Man has five other siblings out in the world, none of whom his biological parents were able to retain custody of or parental rights.  Given the biological parent’s long and storied history with the county the case worker wanted to ensure she found a placement for Miracle Man that could work as an adoption resource (where we are headed). Nothing is for sure until we go through the process but every case worker involved in this case is very confident that this will quickly begin moving in the direction of Adoption. We knew he was ours from day one and while we know there are no guarantees that is no different than parenting any other way. We are never promised a tomorrow with our children and all any of us can do is love them every day we are given with them. We are looking at a long process of 15-22 months before any adoption would be complete. It is a beautiful and tragic miracle that we are able to welcome him into our family and we are thankful for his biological parents and their love for him. They are just not equipped to care for him as he needs. This little Miracle Man has a lot of love in his life.

Well, now that we are all on the same page with our newest fost-to-adopt adventure I am going to put this laptop down so I can return to my favorite activity, snuggling with our Miracle Man and watching him grow and thrive. God bless you all.

Writing a Novel

I want to take a moment to connect the two worlds I am writing for. I write for this amazing blog and I am also currently working on a novel for The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo is a creative experiment that challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel in one month. My novel is titled “Smoke On The Diamond” and as of yesterday evening I have written 9,064 words. I wanted to share this journey with everyone here. I have included below a synopsis of the novel and a few rough draft excerpts. For more information on NaNoWriMo please visit http://nanowrimo.org

Synopsis: Living in St. Augustine, Florida, Fiona is surprised by her apparent fortune when she learns she has inherited a manor home in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. When she then lands a job as a research assistant at the local college in Chambersburg it appears she is destined to uproot her life and move to this sleepy mountain town. As soon as she arrives Fiona begins to suspect there is more to this old family home than originally meets the eye. Within the walls of Thornapple Manor lie family secrets and the key to Fiona’s future. Finding those secrets will take Fiona down a treacherous path, a path that will reveal to her power she never knew she had, power that has saved her family once before and will be needed now if she hopes to survive this journey.

 

Excerpts:

“The tree looked as twisted as an old woman railing at the Gods. The branches reaching towards the Heavens as though they could pull the clouds down. The shape of the tree was only part of what made it so unusual. The tree appeared to have recently been set ablaze. The bark was black and gnarled. The blaze appeared to have spared only one solitary leaf at the very top of the tree. The leaf was the deep brown of autumn as if nothing was amiss in the world.”

 

“The attic was remarkable, although “attic” only seemed appropriate because the location of the room was at the very top of the house. She had been prepared for boxes, spiders and lots of dust. Although the rest of the house was covered with a layer of dust and neglect the attic appeared as if someone had just walked from the room. The attic walls were lined with countless books and objects that were foreign to Fiona, pestles, jars of herbs, chalices and candles of every color. The center of the room held a large table covered with more jars and bowls, pendants and open books strewn about as if her Aunt had been in the middle of some bizarre project. Throughout the room were large cushioned chairs that seemed to be begging for someone to curl up on them with one of the many books found around the room.”

 

“Fiona smiled as she slipped her hand into his. His hand was rougher than she expected for a professor, it felt like the hand of man who worked outside a lot. His hand was large and warm. Fiona had to remind herself she needed to let it go after she held on a moment too long. Jericho smiled and waved as he headed off towards his office.

Well, well, well Fiona thought to herself. There was no one like him back in Florida. Fiona became aware of how warming his presence was as soon as he left, she immediately notice the chill in the fall air and began walking to warm herself up. Jericho McFarland indeed.”