Tag Archive: Faith


It’s Not The Coffee

Before I joined the LDS church I had a coffee problem, like I made a 12 cup pot of coffee for just me on a daily basis and frequented coffee shops on top of that. I was a coffee girl, just imagine a real life version of Lorelai Gilmore. About a year ago, right before I joined the church I gave up coffee to follow the Word of Wisdom. Suddenly, after a year of being coffee free I have been missing coffee, a lot. Why?

Today as I walked through Target I passed the Starbucks located in the front of the store and the familiar smell of a coffee shop filled my nose and at the same moment an epiphany hit me hard, stopping me in my tracks. It’s not about the coffee, not at all.

Life has been great, crazy, miraculous, and rough lately. In the last three years absolutely everything about our lives has changed. Three years ago I would have described myself as a coffee addict, a neat freak of Monica Gellar proportions, an avid reader, someone who loved things like knitting, cross-stitch, hiking, antiques, etc. Three years ago we lived in West Virginia minutes away from my best friend and Tyler’s side of the family. Three years ago we also were not parents yet, we were aching for a child. Compare that to today and we live in Pennsylvania, about forty minutes from said best friend and family. Today we also are the parents of five children four and under. Additionally, and most importantly, if I had to describe myself today it would be as a stay at home mom and a wife and that’s about it. I no longer drink the coffee, I had (until recently) completely given up on trying to fight the mess created by so many young kids, I rarely have the brain power left at the end of the day to read, I still like knitting and cross-stich but needles and crafts don’t do well when combined with toddlers and babies, I have too many kiddos not walking to be able to hike and taking kids to an antique store is a recipe for disaster.

It is not about the coffee, it all comes down to the fact that all of these crazy, wonderful changes has resulted in me now having no clue who I am anymore. I am not sure who I am in this new life we have created. We moved to a new state changing a lot of things, we became parents to a large family overnight changing lots more, add in joining the church and there is almost nothing that has not changed. I try to take time for myself, I am not good at it but I try and when I do I try to do the things I used to do only that isn’t working. I am not the same person anymore and so much has been going on that I am not sure what this new person needs to do for relaxation. Typically, you became a parent when one baby comes into your home and you have a window of adjustment to try and figure out the balance of individual and mom. We added five kids at once and the chaos meant I looked up one day, today, and realized I have no clue who I am?

Now I need to figure out who this new chick is. How do you figure yourself out?

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He Came to Save Us

“He came to save us” our four year old Damien said with a smile on his face and a light in his eye. I nearly fell over and had to take a few deep breaths so I didn’t start sobbing in the middle of our Family Home Evening.

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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints practice something called Family Home Evening (FHE) once a week. Family Home Evening is a time to grow and deepen our bonds as we study the gospel together. This practice of studying the gospel as a family has gone on since the dawn of time. However, in 1915 church leadership encouraged families to have one night a week devoted to studying as a family.

Family Home Evenings can be such spiritual and uplifting times, and with five children four and under they can also be a three ring circus. With children crying because their play time was interrupted and babies wanting to eat or sleep added to the moth like attention span of children this young I occasionally have asked myself why we bother trying to teach them anything.

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Tonight for FHE we decided to talk about the birth of Jesus Christ and the true meaning of Christmas with the kids. After our opening prayer and song we read from Scripture about the night our Savior was born. We then watched a Veggie Tales clip from YouTube that showed the story briefly to engage the kids with characters they were already familiar with. To finish up before we lost our short hold on their attention we watched the breathtaking video of The PianoGuys’ “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. The video is beautiful and at one point shows Mary holding a newborn baby Jesus, I said to the kids “Look, there is baby Jesus” and that is when Damien showed me exactly why we wrestle the kids into focusing on the gospel every week when he said joyfully, “He came to save us”. It was a simple statement and one I could tell he was proud he knew and understood.

When Damien, Perry and Alize joined our family last year they had no experience going to church or knowledge of the gospel. We were kind of generic Christian attending a Methodist Church when the kids came home and since then we have found our way to the fullness of the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we are growing alongside our children in our knowledge of the gospel. It is so important to us that the kids grow their testimony’s and this was a huge milestone moment for us all. They really are listening, even when they seem to be doing everything but listening.

Damien could sense how proud we were of him and when it came time for our closing prayer Damien was bouncing in his seat waving his arms asking if he could say it. I leave you tonight with the sweet prayer of our four year old:

“Heavenly (Heably) Father, Thank you the baby Jesus and Christmas. In the name Jesus Christ, Amen.”

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From all my reading on the subject of homeschooling I find relief in the knowledge that I am not the only Mom who has felt a bit like I am riding a merry-go-round in my head on the subject. I find myself literally mid thought changing my mind on the subject and the closer we get to our oldest being of age to start Kindergarten the more frantically the merry-go-round seems to spin.

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To homeschool or not is a thought that dominates my mind lately, no matter how many times I remind myself that the decision doesn’t have to be set in stone I still feel like this is the pivotal moment for the decision to be made. Damien currently attends a specialized Preschool where he receives the extra support he needs to succeed. He loves his school, loves going and his teacher is phenomenal. If this had been our only experience with preschools I would feel fairly confident (despite my original plans to homeschool) sending him off to Kindergarten next fall, unfortunately this has not been the only experience we have been through. Damien was enrolled in his current preschool before we finalized his adoption and it was part of the local county supports he was involved with before joining our family. With the idea of kindergarten looming we decided it would be a good idea this past September to enroll him in Head Start so he could experience a more Kindergarten-like setting (his current preschool only has 6-8 kids in a class and is only two days a week). Head Start was complete disaster that ended in me pulling him from the program and filing both state and federal grievances that lead to an investigation. Without getting into the specifics of what happened at Head Start the situation involved many of my main concerns with public education; lack of trauma informed care, no acknowledgement of the student as an individual, rigid policy with no reason, etc. We returned Damien to his original preschool and things returned to normal and now next week we have a meeting about transitioning him to Kindergarten and I am so worried. I worry about a repeat of the Head Start debacle. I worry about class size. I worry about my son who struggles with transitions succeeding in a traditional public school setting. I worry he will lose some of the magic that makes him Damien as he conforms to the school norms. I worry about the focus being on standardized tests and not on creating a lifetime learner.

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I love the idea of homeschooling and I could write an endless list of the reasons to homeschool so in that way it seems like a no brainer and yet I still go back and forth. I am concerned about sending Damien or any of our other children to public school and I am also slightly (sometimes extremely) worried about my ability to successfully homeschool all five of our children and meet their various needs. When I imagine us five years down the road I can picture an amazing homeschooling rhythm and I have so many lesson ideas I cannot contain myself, however when I think of getting started with school next year I get so nervous and I feel frightfully unprepared to juggle my first year of homeschooling and four younger children at the same time. I worry about the logistics of getting them all to the various extra activities I want to involve them in if we homeschool to add more diverse experiences and socialization opportunities.

Round and round my thinking goes. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Does anyone have a magic ball that can give me the exact right answer or some assurance that if I decide to homeschool I won’t fail my kids? Of course I know what I need to do in this situation, as with any situation when I am stuck, I need to take it to the Lord in prayer.

I pray for clarity.

I pray for courage and strength.

I pray for wisdom.

I pray to be sure the decision we make honors Heavenly Father and ultimately helps our children grow closer to Him as they grow into the amazing young men and woman they are becoming.

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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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Are You Done Now?

“You’re done now, right?”

Oh, the number of times we hear that question. Anyone who has more than one or two kids hears this question often, just as families with only one child are always asked if they are adding more children. 

Our answer always makes eyebrows raise and looks of astonishment appear. We “think” after five children all brought to us through the tragic miracle of adoption (in less than two years) that we are done adopting; however, we are not sure we are done having children. We have always believed that whoever was meant to be a part of our family would show up and we still believe that. We are not willing to close the door on having biological children. We have always known Heavenly Father would create our family in the way it was meant to be created and we do not feel that he is finished with that yet. Now, ideally I would hope we have a year or two before any more little cuties arrive but I also know Heavenly Father’s timing is always perfect.

So I think the question should be re-framed; is God done building our family? Who knows for sure, but I hope not. 

To answer some of the other oft asked questions: 

Are our hands full? Sometimes. 

Are our hearts? Always! Our hearts are bursting with all this love, but that’s the amazing thing about humans- we can ALWAYS love more. 

Are we saints? HA! Definitely not. We are simply blessed beyond belief to have all these amazing little souls as a part of our family. 

Are we nuts? Probably, but life is no fun if you play it safe. 

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. 

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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When my husband, Tyler, and I were matched with our first son we worked with an amazing case worker, Regina. We felt an instant connection with Regina and remained close after she left our agency. Later we would learn that Regina was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Shortly before our son was adopted I began having a recurring dream about Regina, the dream never changed and I started having this dream every other night. The dream always consisted of Regina and I in her kitchen talking during which conversation I would ask her to tell me a bit more about her faith. I could never remember what she told me, the next part of the dream I could remember was me deciding to convert and then I would wake up. I always woke up feeling at peace but dying to know more. I delayed mentioning the dream to Regina because I was afraid it would come off wrong, and possibly insult her. A month in to me having this dream every other night I received an e-mail from Regina in which she told me that she did not typically do this with people she met professionally but that if I was open to it, she would love to share her faith with me and what she believes about families. I have never been a believer in coincidence so I shared my dream with her.

A few weeks went by before Regina and I reconnected. I was having a bad Mommy day and was out for a drive praying about our children and crying. As I ended my prayer I told God, these dreams were driving me crazy and if He was serious about this new direction He needed to send some Missionaries my way because I had so many questions and if converting was not the path for me the dreams needed to stop. The very next day I got another message from Regina that she wanted to know if she could come visit and bring some Missionaries with her to answer the questions she knew I had. That was the moment I said “Okay, God, I hear you”. The dreams stopped the day I met with the Missionaries.

To many people I know this sounds a bit crazy, to have a dream, even a recurring one, and follow that inspiration. I was blessed to be raised by parents who encouraged me to find my own path, my bliss and to follow it. I was raised with the knowledge that we all have our own journey and encouraged to find my way. I have been looking and tried many paths and none felt true and right until I followed a dream and that dream lead me to The Church.

I have been what we call an investigator of The Church for a few months now and have scheduled my baptism for April 18th. I am so happy to be claiming my path and to officially join The Church.

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.

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.