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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.

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Why Are You Angry?

In the last few months I have noticed an interesting trend. Tyler and I are new to Chambersburg and Pennsylvania so we are meeting new people every day. During introductions the topic of course comes up; “What do you do?” I have noticed a strange combination of responses to my short answer: “I am a housewife”. Women especially have amazed me. Almost every woman has responded in the same way, a look of shock and anger followed by a snide comment (“That must be nice”, “I could never sit home all day”, “Aren’t you bored?”).  First of all ladies; really, stop attacking and belittling each other. Life is hard enough.  Additionally, more than this bizarre response I have noticed what it triggers within me. I immediately find myself rushing to justify that choice by explaining that we are adopting through foster care and during that transition we want to offer as much stability as possible for them. I have stopped doing this, why do I need to justify the choices we have made for our family? Everyone does what they believe is best for their family and this is what we feel is best.  Why does our choice make so many people angry? Our culture is so quick to base our estimation of a person’s character, heart and intelligence based solely on how they pay their bills. I catch myself doing it to others and obviously even to myself. It comes so naturally I do not think we even stop to think about it. This reaction has become so engrained in our subconscious, the very limited notion that what you do as a career is who you are as a person. I could stop these people who are offended by my choice and tell them I am simultaneously working on finishing a degree in special education and another in counseling. I could tell them I am also a writer who is currently working on two very different novels. I could tell them that I truly believe raising your children well is the most important thing you can accomplish. I could explain that we made this choice knowing we would be financially limited but rich in many other ways. I could describe the many ways I volunteer in our community and help those around us. I do not need to tell them any of those things. Anyone who immediately dismisses me based off my career choice does not need to be welcomed into my world or shown who I am as a whole. In the grand scheme of things it was not too long ago that my choice was the preferred choice, becoming a housewife was simply what women did, often because they were not given any other options. Today we are lucky enough that few doors are closed to women today, and those that are can be rammed open by determined effort. So in this world of choices why can we not embrace the choices everyone makes as an acceptable or honorable choice? I have done the looking within myself to see why the reaction I get impacts me so much. Now I simply extend grace to everyone and take the disgusted reactions in stride. I am a housewife, that is not all I am and it is not a bad thing to choose to do with my life. I have a lot I would like to accomplish in my life and the most important part of that life right now is my focus on raising our children and welcoming them into our home and family. 

The Kid’s Room

Ok, I will admit it: I am a little crazy with the planning and wanting everything to be perfect and kid ready before the adoption agency comes to do our home study. Do we “need” to have the kid’s room complete and everything exactly perfect the very second the home study is done? Per the agency: no, a general idea of where things will go is perfectly fine.  Per my insanity: ABSOLUTELY! Every room (whether kid centered or not) should be freshly painted, perfectly in order and decorated. Poor Tyler, he really takes my obsessive need to have it perfect in stride. Last weekend Tyler and I painted the kid’s room and I used the Gift Cards we received from our adoption shower to order the new bed set and room décor items to make it just right. This weekend I was able to put it all together; we are only missing a few items that are still enroute to the house. I keep finding reasons to go stand in the doorway of the kid’s room and just soak in how close we are to welcoming our kiddos home. It is hard to believe. We have been working towards a family for over three years now and we are so close to that dream becoming a reality that I cannot wrap my mind around it all. I have to pinch myself a few times each day to be sure this is really happening. We are still waiting to get the crib from Tyler’s cousin and then all the kid places on the first floor will be complete. We will not have the second floor complete until later this fall when we can fix some of the cracks in the wall, repaint and create at least two more sleeping spaces and a play room. However, every time I walk down the hallway and glance in the rooms on this floor it already looks like children live here. All we are missing is the magical tinkling of a child’s laugh.

Now I am off to try and repaint the rest of the first floor and get the crib stuff set up before the agency comes to check out the house. Everyone send Tyler love and hugs because his wife is about to drive him crazy with the prep work.

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Painting the Kid’s Room

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The view from the hall. Still waiting to add a decal above the bed that reads”Every child is a story yet to be told”

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The Entertainment Corner (and you can see a corner of the bassinet)

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The Changing Area (with two of our Furbabies modeling) that will soon have a giant white “A” and “Z” hanging over the changing table.