Tag Archive: Adoption


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.

 

IMG_7177

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.

IMG_7178

 

We have gone from zero to five children in less than two years through adopting from foster care and that has been amazing and crazy in equal measures. It has also resulted in a life of crisis management, where I basically live crisis to crisis as our kiddos work through some very difficult challenges. I rarely have time to think too hard about tomorrow, let alone process all the big emotions I feel during the foster to adopt journey. Last Christmas Eve we were blessed to be able to adopt our first little one, who is now our middle child at 21 months old. We are now preparing to finalize the adoptions of three of our other children next month.

I recently went to complete all the entrance paperwork for our oldest child to start full time pre-school in the fall. The meeting started off as expected, lots of mind numbing repetition of “sign here”, “initial here and sign here”.  The school employee then nonchalantly told me that parent-teacher conferences happen three times a year. I felt like someone had suddenly plunged me into cold water- taking me out of the repetition and crisis management mode to give me a glimpse of the enormity of what is happening. Three times during this next year there will be parent-teacher conferences and I will be attending them as the parent. Wow. We really are becoming his forever parents- no prefix just his parents. It was not a foster parent-teacher conference but a parent-teacher conference. Suddenly the paperwork I was breezing through mindlessly took on new meaning.

We have felt they were all our children from the moment we met them but to know that soon they will be our children forever, legally, is huge. You would think that all the diaper changes, behavior talks, monster in the corner checks, snacks and cups made, boogers wiped and accomplishments cheered would make the parent word stick. Apparently it hasn’t sunk in yet. Thankfully, I have these glimpses that show me how much it hasn’t all sunk in and I can laugh at myself for being thrown by such simple phrase as “parent-teacher conference”. 

Years ago I worried we would never be parents. I was terrified of never getting the chance to see my husband tickling a squirming boy laughing and yelling “Daddy you’re getting me”. I thought I would never have small hands reaching up and eyes alight with cries of “Mama” as I entered a room. I prayed I would experience those things and part of me always felt sure I would but fear is sneaky. Fear will worm in to all of your hopes and dreams if you let it. 

We have one child’s case still up in the air and if these glimpses have taught me anything it is to not doubt the promises of The Lord. All things will work together for our good and the good of our children. I hope to soon to able to say we are preparing for our final adoption but I know if things turn out differently and our youngest leaves our home that as painful as that will be, Heavenly Father will have a plan for greater things for him and for us all. I am not letting fear worm into my hopes and prayers for an amazing future for any of our children, including the ones who don’t share our last name yet and I am reminding myself that I am for real and forever a parent now. Wow. Still seems too good to be true. 

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.

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.

Changing Our Perspective

Expectations not being met; that is the main source of frustration we feel going through most experiences in life. The tricky part is we sometimes do not consciously know what we are expecting until it does not happen. Unmet expectations have been the main source of the pain and frustration we have felt during our certification process to allow us to adopt through the foster care system. Some of those expectations originate with us and our desire to be parents. Some of those expectations were set by the information provided to us by different representatives of the agency we are working with to complete our certification. Not to minimize the many errors that have occurred during our process; lost paperwork, mis-coded background checks, delays, etc. however; most of our pain is rooted in expecting things to move smoother and faster than they have. We have been working through our frustrations and trying to view this situation from the right perspective so we can appreciate what is happening. It has not been easy, when you have expectations deeply engrained in your mind it can be hard to let those things go. Letting your expectations go is key to being able to approach the reality of a situation and find the good within what you initially see as only bad.

Our case worker (with good intentions) has repeatedly been giving us unrealistic expectations only to let us down when reality came crashing down and she was not able to deliver what she promised us. This has happened so many times it left us angry, hurt and wanting to lash out and fix the problem. I have been very conscious of not wanting to make a decision out of that anger and because of that we decided to explore our options but hold off on any permanent decisions. It was easy to say we just need to change agencies and that would solve everything. That may solve some problems but it would undoubtedly bring new problems into the mix. No matter how you approach something as complex as adoption you will be relying on other people to get through the process and those people are just like we are; they are wonderfully and humanly flawed. Therefore mistakes are going to happen and you are going to be let down. That is the nature of the world and nothing worth going after will come without some scars. We did our research though and we spoke to other agencies and other foster families. The biggest difference we found was that it appears that our agency focuses more on waiting to place children in our home because their goal is more geared towards adoption while other agencies are more focused on getting children in the home immediately and worrying about adoption later. This is not to say that the different types of agencies do not do things on a case by case basis, this is a gross generalization to make the differences more apparent. With that knowledge we had to decide which direction to head in next. Stick with our agency and their approach or make a change?

The first step to making that decision was letting go of our anger and expectations long enough to make a clear headed decision. I was so excited for every step of this process and after all of the let downs I became numb to the situation. When we were told our certification could be completed this week I could not find my joy at the progress, it seemed to be missing. This was the hardest part for me. I felt like I had let the pain rob me of my hope and joy. I spent a lot of time yesterday praying and soul searching to find my joy again. Most importantly, I reminded myself I have zero control over how things are meant to work out. God has a plan and I need to remember that. I needed a new perspective of the situation in order to not lose myself to the pain of the process.  After we discussed it all we went back to the fact that everything happens for a reason and maybe these delays forcing us to be patient have happened to slow us down. Parenthood is our goal but it is a marathon and not a sprint. Perhaps the reasons have been for us to discover what makes our agency different and to truly take the time to ask ourselves which would be the better route for us. We have decided that for the time being we think that struggling through the wait to find a more permanent match is the best route. We want to be someone’s forever family and perhaps this is how we are meant to get there. We do not know what the future will hold or where God will lead us next. All we know is that both of us, despite the countless reasons to feel differently, feel that we should stay with our current agency and see where that leads us.

Our safety check is scheduled for Friday and there is a matching event on the 19th that we are planning on attending. We hope God leads us to our children soon but we have again found our joy and faith in the knowledge that He does had it all worked out. Someday He will lead us to them, when they need us and we are ready for them.

To say the journey towards parenthood has been a challenge for us would be putting it mildly. After all of the challenges we faced when we were completing fertility treatments, all the loses and all the close calls it seemed like the foster care to adopt process was so straight forward that things would finally go smoothly for us. Apparently to become parents we are meant to fight and crawl our way there. This week started with us waiting to hear from our case worker who was on vacation last week. We were waiting for her to finish our profile and then set up our final home safety check to open our home up as foster and adoption resource. While she was on vacation our out of state background clearances were processed. The two additional states (Michigan and West Virginia) processed our background checks and sent the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Works (DPW) the forms showing we both had no criminal record. DPW was in the process of training new employees who were tasked with coding our paperwork and sending it back to our agency. The forms were coded incorrectly and the State of Pennsylvania sent our agency an official letter stating we both had previously been charged with child abuse. Our agency then trusting the state knows what they are doing had to call and tell us that it appeared we had lied on our application and we would not be permitted to adopt. I instantly knew something had to be wrong but that did not prevent me from falling apart. To be told our dreams could never come true and that I would also probably lose any chance of working with children (my career goal) was the worst news I have ever gotten. I am so SO thankful that our case worker believed me when I told her that either of us having a record was impossible and that DPW must have made a mistake. The Case Worker’s job is to protect the children within the system and she would have been completely following procedure to assume I was lying to her and to leave us on our own to fix this disaster. I am so thankful she trusted me and trusted that she knew our hearts and that this was not possible. It took a painful two days to work it out but the Director of DPW personally got involved and fixed our records to reflect reality. Since we decided to pursue Adoption through Foster Care we have been overwhelmed with a feeling of peace and certainty that this is what we are meant to do with our lives. However, it has not been easy by any stretch. We have had paperwork get lost, changed case workers three times, had to correct mis-filed paperwork, multiple delays, injuries and now we had to endure being falsely accused of something awful all due to a trainee putting the wrong code on our paperwork. I really find it hard to put into words how painful this experience has been. In the 3 years, 4 months and 1 day since we officially decided we were ready to become parents we have been put through some intense challenges. I know that every single heart break has been worth it and will allow us to appreciate the miracle of our children more. I feel like I can finally breathe again now that this has been settled. Our case worker is now hoping to finish our profile in the next week. As soon as that step is done she can come out to the house to do our safety check and we will be open that day. I am just so thankful today that everything was fixed, our case worker is on our side and most importantly I am so thankful to have God walking us down this difficult path to making our dreams come true. 

Parenthood in 3, 2, 1……

When you have been dreaming of something for years it can seem crazy to have those dreams come true. We have dreamt of having a family for so long and come close so many times that it seems insane that it is actually happening.  Last week we had our final interview with our case worker at our Foster Care & Adoption Agency.  The interview went great and we really like our case worker. She is honest, open, and hardworking and she herself has adopted through the foster care system more than once. She said our openness will make us easy to place children with and that since she cannot always find people interested in sibling groups she will call us first with large families. 🙂 The only steps left to be completed are our family profile being fully written based on our answers during our interview and our final home safety check. Our case worker is out of town this week on a vacation but said she was taking our profile with her to finish at the beach.  As soon as she is finished writing our profile she will come out to do our safety check and get our sign off on the profile. That day we will officially be open as a foster/adoption resource family. WOWZA. So, if all goes as planned sometime in the next two weeks we will be open and welcoming little ones into our hearts and home.  With all of the delays and false starts I was starting to think it would never happen for us and suddenly it is right around the corner and moving fast. We are so excited and to be honest a bit nervous about the huge changes coming our way. Send us prayers as we navigate the waters of new parents. ❤

We all have our weaknesses, things we never seem to master or do well. Waiting patiently is something I am not sure I will ever master. In certain situations I have more patience than is reasonable, however those situations almost always involve me trying to keep the peace or a situation where my impatience will hurt someone else. When it comes to being patient with myself or with my own life, well now that is a whole other kettle of vegetables (the vegetarian version of a kettle of fish). I think I need to accomplish things instantly or I become frustrated with myself and when I feel ready for something new to happen in my life I want it to happen on my timeline. Oh what a silly human I am sometimes. I know and truly believe that everything happens in the right time for God’s grand plan and that His plans are always so much better than my own. I cannot seem to remember this fact when I am expected to wait for something though. I am never sure what to do while waiting. I just get antsy and that is a feeling I do not enjoy. I am currently very antsy because I am being forced to wait on a number of fronts.

“The Wait”; that is where we currently find ourselves in our family building journey. We have completed all of our paperwork (some of it more than once because it got lost) and now we have to wait for our final background checks before we can complete our interview and home study. After those steps are completed we are certified and our adoption/foster care can finally truly begin. Unfortunately we are a month in to the wait for our out of state background checks. In Pennsylvania if you have lived in any other state in the last five years you then need to do a background check for each of those states as well. The process for those background checks has a lot of steps.

  • Step 1: We fill out the forms
  • Step 2: The forms are checked by our agency
  • Step 3: The agency sends the forms to the state of PA
  • Step 4: PA sends the forms to the necessary states
  • Step 5: That state then begins the process of the background check
  • Step 6: Once the background check is complete the approval has to follow  the same path back  to our agency

That is a lot of people to trust not to lose the paperwork and a lot of bureaucratic hoops for one set of forms to jump through. The most frustrating part is that nothing can move forward with our adoption/foster care until this process is over and there is nothing we can do to speed it up. So the house is ready and the paperwork is done, we have made a family flyer and we are all ready to go. As soon as we are allowed to proceed we are ready to finalize our certification.

We are now experiencing the worst part of the adoption process “The Wait”, it is enough to drive a person crazy. When you are expecting a child naturally you know roughly when the child will arrive, how many children there will be and in this day and age most people even know the gender of the baby. Most importantly, you know the child will arrive as an infant. When adopting through foster care and leaving your options open you do not know when the child(ren) will arrive, how many children there will be, the age of the child(ren), or the gender of the child(ren). That leaves your mind with no way to mentally prepare for your new child(ren) to come into your heart and home.  Oh the variables. Our plan to survive the wait was to stay busy and prepare our home as much as possible. I deep cleaned, baby proofed and organized every room in our house and I prepared every kids room as much as possible until we know the age and or gender of the children that will be living in those rooms.

ImageImageImageImage

The next step to surviving the wait was going to be painting all the rooms of our home. I do not like white walls and every room in our new home has white walls or old fashioned wallpaper. I was able to begin the painting and then there was apparently another plan in the works. In the middle of the fun wait period life threw us another curve ball just to keep things interesting.

Image

 I have been training to run The Color Run 5K in DC next month and I have been enjoying living in the mountains by hiking whenever possible. Last week while hiking I tripped over a rock and hurt my knee. The Urgent Care Doctor said I may have torn some cartilage in my knee and that it was probably badly sprained as well. He said I should see an Orthopedic Surgeon if it did not improve with rest while using the crutches. I have had knee surgery twice before (I am klutzy) and I know what various types of knee pain typically mean. My knee is not improving and it looks like I will need surgery to repair the damage. This may add another delay in our adoption, not to mention I am not a person who sits and rests well. I go see the Orthopedic on Tuesday and I am hoping we can resolve this as quickly as possible to inflict minimal disruption to our adoption process.

I am still trying to stay busy, as much as possible while unable to walk without crutches. I am also using this time to remind myself that God has a plan in mind and whenever our hoop jumping (or crutching) days are over we will welcome the most amazing little miracles into our family. In the meantime I guess I will sit here and wait as there are not many other options available. The quickest way to somewhere you want to be is to travel the path in front of you.  I guess I will just be traveling that path on crutches for a while. 

Image

We have all heard it: It takes a village. That is especially true when adopting or doing foster care. When we decided to adopt through foster care we were happy to start our training and to learn anything and everything we could to prepare us for this huge step. As we finish our paperwork, and prepare for the home study and final certification we cannot help but notice what for us is a big hole in the training process. We have been given countless resources to prepare us as a couple for the realities of adopting a child through foster care. To include the trauma the child has been through, emotions the child will be feeling, the adjustment period for us all and the experience of a child being with us for an undetermined amount of time and then returning to their birth family. After all of our preparation we feel as prepared as one can be until we actually have the experiences, experience is always the best teacher. However, there has been no mention in our training and little in our own research on how to prepare the close knit group of friends and family we have for the realities of foster care and our subsequent adoption. Yes we will be welcoming new miracles into our hearts and home, however these kiddos will have experienced things that many of us never have and they will therefore be approaching life differently than the children already in the family. So this raises the question how do you prepare your friends and family for the outbursts, the anger, the mistrust the child feels and the chance that once they all fall in love with your new addition the kiddo may return to their biological family? Here is how we have approached preparing our friends and family:

1.      Overly share all the information in your training and your own research. Anything that surprised us or made us re-think how we always imagined parenting we shared with those closest to us. This allows everyone to be on the same page and to know why we will be doing things differently than one might expect.

2.      Communication: Tell your loved ones your concerns, expectations and plans for coping with the losses. The more information everyone has the better.

3.      Remind your friends and family that although they may be hurt by a child leaving our home, the child returning to their family is great. When the next child comes into your home your new addition will need your family’s hearts to be open again. All of these kiddos deserve all the love we can give them for however long we have them.

4.      Suggest any informational books on the subject that you can. Most will not have the time to read them but there are many great resources for them to have on hand if they ever need them.

5. Surround yourself with people who have completed adoption or Foster Care before. Experts always help.

It really does take a village and in the case of foster care and adoption through foster care our village needs to be prepared for a slightly different road than traditional parenthood, grandparenthood, Aunt/Unlce-hood, cousinhood, etc. It is going to be different and amazing for sure. Let the adventure begin. 

Last Friday I found myself standing in our local Post Office parking lot taking deep breaths and suddenly thinking I may puke in the mailbox. That happens to us all at the Post Office right? No? Hmmm. Well let’s backtrack a little here; I came to the Post Office to mail our final packet of adoption paperwork. Tyler and I have been working towards building our family for over three years and we have been working towards adoption specifically since the beginning of the year. So I knew this was coming, in fact I have been working towards it daily, why the sudden panic?  Why when our dreams are about to come true do we suddenly find ourselves having dramatic reactions to the next logical steps?

I have been working through my checklist for adoption so diligently. Kid’s room completed: Check. Make copies of necessary papers: Check. Fill out forms until my arm falls off and dies: Check. Baby proof the house: Check. Hyperventilate in the Post Office parking lot: wait that is not on the list.

Here is what happened; I realized that my list is complete. We are done. I have been preparing and preparing for parenthood for years and now the preparation time is almost done. The only step left to complete is our home study interview. Do you know what crazy thing will happen after that step? Someone will hand us a child (or a few children) to care for and love; maybe for a day, a week, a few months or forever. Holy Parenthood.

I was able to digest all of this information, take a deep breath as millions of mothers-to-be have before and push…. in my case it was pushing the door open but I still had to push to become a Mom.