Tag Archive: Parenthood


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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Merry-Go-Round

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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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. ❤

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.