The roller coaster, for baby L's case, that is! After signing the open adoption agreement last week, we were told by the SW that things would go pretty quickly after that. She said we would be in court within the next few weeks, and she would keep us posted. Then I contacted the GAL/CASA who said that the attorney for her mom who wrote up the agreement had not yet presented it to baby L's mom. She wanted to get all of our signatures first. I have a feeling she had talked to baby L's mom about it, but had not yet shown her the paperwork. Or, maybe not? Now we continue to wait. I hope to hear something this week. We have always been very supportive of baby L's mom, but we now know she is not following through, and the past few months were her last chance at gaining her back. She has not attempted to visit with her daughter in over 3 mos. Since she did not participate in what she needed to do to get her back, the open adoption is her next best option. If she does not sign the agreement, we will be heading to court in about 8 weeks for her tpr-termination of parental rights trial, which she would lose based on non compliance with her plan. So, I really hope she undertands this, and will sign the open adoption agreement. I have been praying that she will somehow be at peace with it when she signs. I really want her to have the option of an open adoption, so I pray she makes the right choice.
I really want off this roller coaster. I never liked roller coasters anyway, I never ride them at amusement parks. And this one has been never ending, like the longest ride ever...I am so ready to jump off!
Today after DH got off work, we drove over to DSHS and met with baby L's sw. She went over the open adoption agreement, and we signed!!!
The way it works now is that she (sw) will wait to hear from baby L's attorney. She said that baby L's mom may have already signed the relinquishment, but she is not sure. When her mom does sign, after 48 hrs. are up, they will take the paperwork in to court within a few days, where the commissioner will go over it and grant the relinquishment, and open adoption plan. Usually if the bio parent is there, he likes to ask them questions to make sure they understand what they are signing and what it all means. If they don't show up, their attorney can answer the questions for them. DH and I plan to attend this hearing, and it should be within the next couple weeks. I won't exhale until that part of it is done, because I still can't believe this is all happening so suddenly. The sw made it sound like it is all a done deal, but I am still being cautious. (remember, there have been relatives involved who passed the homestudy and were highly interested in her) So for right now, this seems miraculous, and I am praising God for it all. I will share more details, and update when the hearing happens, and believe me, when it does happen...I will be celebrating from the rooftops! At the end of that hearing, baby L will be considered legally free, and we will be in the adoption process with her! Thank you Jesus, for your abundant gifts! There is nothing more precious than a child.
Upon returning home from homeschool gymnastics class today, I checked email, and found that there is already an open adoption agreement written up for us, and the dept. is waiting for us to come and sign it!!!
Just now trying to get in touch with DH, so we can get it signed this afternoon!!! The next step will be taking it in to court, and that is where her mom will relinquish, and it will be finalized. At that point, we are told, we are transferred to the adoption unit, and the paperwork will begin for her adoption!!! Thank you all for praying!!! We are not out of the woods yet, but getting close!
I got word today that baby L's lawyer sent an email with a proposal of an open adoption/relinquishment. That's all it said...so we are left hanging!!! She said it has to be approved by the adoption unit with the dept. and then they will need our signatures!!! I don't know when this is all going to happen, but it could be anytime. Please keep baby L and us in your prayers. This is a crucial time, and a time we have been waiting for for so long. Of course, the email was very short, and brief, so this is all I know. Baby L's mom has not made contact since before Christmas, so this is all still so shocking to me, because she was always so interested in getting her back. Thank you for your continued prayers, and I hope to be back very soon with an update on this development!!!
As a family of six, I find myself running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, often. This was not my vision when accepting two foster babies. But, the fact is, they are active and needy! They are toddling around now, into everything, eating everything, climbing on everything, and doing everything I'm not ready for them to do yet! Add to that changing diapers all day long, feeding them, dressing them, putting them down for naps, taking them to numerous appts, and playing with them, and you have an enormously busy schedule! But what about my 9 and 4 year old?? I definately didn't want this foster care journey to make them feel left out. Then there is DH and I. There are days when we are spent, done, throughly exhausted and needing a serious break. We had to make some changes. As the mother of the house, I know it is my job to create a calm and peaceful environment. That was my goal, as I just couldn't allow our lifestyle to get out of control and feel that there was always too much to do and too little time. Here are some of the things we implemented to make some positive lifestyle changes:
1. First thing in the morning, I turn on calming and uplifting music. Usually classical or christian. We have morning devotions and prayer time. We all eat breakfast together, and then do chores. The babies then go down for naps, and the older girls then have one on one school time.
2. The girls are encouraged to play together in the afternoons, and it is explained to them that God has blessed them with each other, and they are enjoying coming up with new games to play together (all 4 of them!)
3. Once a month we now have someone watch the babies while we take the girls out for a special night out just for them! The last time, we took them to dinner and then bowling. They loved it!
4. DH and I get one-two "free" days a month! So, we will each watch the kids all day while the other does whatever they want to do all day long. This is so needed, and so wonderful. I can go off shopping, or go meet with friends, or just go take a nap if I need it. It's been great.
5. We stick to a regular bedtime and bedtime routine. The 3 youngest all go to bed at 7:30pm. Miranda then reads for an hour and goes to bed at 8:30pm. This way we have the evening to relax, or get housework done that we weren't able to work on during the day.
6. We limit outside activities. We attend two homeschool co-ops once a month. Our oldest is involved in only one outside activity a month, and right now she is taking a break until pony riding classes start up again. If everyone is healthy, we attend homeschool gymnastics and Awana once a week. There are tons of other homeschool groups and activities I would love to be a part of. They are things the girls would love, and we have thought about joining them, but it came down to looking at our life, and the time we had, and it just wouldn't work. There will always be time to try new things, and each year we will evaluate what that will be. The most important thing is that we are not overly scheduled, but that we have a balanced, simple life, where there is always time to learn about the Lord, and spend quality time with family and friends.
Today baby C's social worker stopped by for a visit. He asked about what terms we could offer for an open adoption with her. He wrote down the terms we would be comfortable with and is going to take this information to the parents to discuss. This subject has not yet been brought up with them, and we both believe they will not agree to it, so this case will have to go to tpr-termination of parental rights. The reason they want to offer this now, is because if they were to agree to it, we could start the adoption process now. If they don't agree to it, the waiting game will continue, and the tpr trial will most likely not be scheduled until December 2011 or January 2012. This is due to the courts being booked out that far. They will set the date sometime in July, and they are usually six months out. So...it is unlikely that these parents will agree to an open adoption right now, as they like to contest everything, so unless I hear otherwise, her case will probably not end for close to another year!
I also got a call from the GAL regarding baby L. She was wondering if I had heard from her social worker. She said there are emails going around still talking about the open adoption/relinquishment, so she was wondering what was happening with all of it. I have not heard a word from the social worker, so we both tried to contact her today, to find out if there is an update...let's hope she calls back with some "real" news tomorrow. I am so ready to hear something. I just want to hear that some decisions are being made in the best interest of this sweet baby. She has been with us for 20 months now.....I hope to have an update soon!!!
Sometimes it feels like this foster care journey is a lot about waiting for certain dates. Waiting for court hearings, waiting for the visit from the social worker each month. Waiting for news, waiting to attend meetings. It is never ending. Sometimes, once the day arrives, you think-this is the day! The day I will find out something! Then, after sitting for hours in a court room, listening to 40 other cases, you go home with no new information. Then you find out the next so called "important" hearing is a few months down the road, and you wait, anticipating that date, with some hope that once again, you will learn something. Possibly the fate of the baby you have been caring for and love so much, possibly an answer to prayer.
Then, that date arrives, and you find out the hearing is postponed, or the attorney decided they weren't ready, or some other odd situation disrupts the plan. And...once again, you wait.
Right now I am greatly anticipating a court date in about 3 weeks. The SW felt this was not an important hearing, but the GAL/CASA has told me otherwise. I am praying this date will give us some substantial news about baby L. I have also been told that I may hear something before then.
Now, there is the visit from the social worker for baby C tomorrow. He said he's bringing information about an open adoption. This makes no sense to me, since these parents are fighters. They are not doing the plan asked of them, but they don't seem like the type that would allow an open adoption at this point. So, I hope I do find out more after meeting with him. Usually I don't, and it turns out to be general information, but I can hope it is something a bit more serious.
Waiting, hoping, praying. Thanking the Lord it is ALL in His hands.
We have now been asked by the social worker of each of our foster babies about open adoption. They both wanted to double check with us again if we are still willing to adopt both of them, and they wanted to know what terms we would want in an open adoption.
Both situations are very different. Baby L has a young mother, and no father involved. She has shown interest in the past but currently is not and is not following her plan. Baby C has both parents, who are together, but failing to follow through with any services, and her case is heading in the adoption direction as well.
The attorney's for these parents are suggesting that they relinquish their child. At that point, they will be legally free, and the adoption process can start. If they relinquish, they have a chance at the open, or semi-open adoption, therefore, remaining in contact with their child. Another reason a relinquishment is better for the parents is because, if they bring another child into the world, the state will again go through the process of providing them with the option to engage in services, and become healthy enough to parent their child. If they do not relinquish, then I am told the termination of parental rights trial is held, the parents lose their rights, and have no option of an open adoption or ever seeing their child again.
I have learned a lot about this process over the last year. I am starting to see a bit of light at the end of this long, long, very long tunnel!
Hopefully we will hear an update soon on whether or not the parents of both are willing to make a relinquishment/open adoption plan!
Last saturday, as I walked into the facility I work at on a very part time basis, I was met by one of the therapy aides who was scheduled to work that day. I have worked with him before, and found that he is a very strong christian man. He's the type of christian that some people may not understand, in that he lives his christianity on his sleeve, it envelopes everything about him, and it's as if every move he makes is guided by the Lord. I was intrigued to meet such a young man with a such a walk with the God. He does his job with joy and enthusiasm, always smiling, and always willing to help. He is extremely courteous, and most of all, unwilling to let someone cross his path without finding out if they are a saved christian, or not. His boldness and openness about Jesus was refreshing. Each time I have worked with him, I became more and more impressed with him, as he truly was carrying out his christianity in a way I don't often see... ever. Admittedly, not even in myself.
On occasion I have worked with him and a few of the other employees there together. Over a short while, I began to see something very disturbing. The supervisor over this dept. and the other therapy aide treat this man terribly. At first I thought I was somehow hearing things or seeing things wrongly...because I just couldn't fathom how anyone could possibly mistreat this person, one of the most kind people I have ever known. It made no sense. I witnessed it again, and again, and then overheard some other therapists talking about it as well, recounting how these two people are very mean to him. I actually witnessed one of them yelling angrily at him over something very small. It shocked me. I have never worked in an environment with such angry, seemingly very mean people. It was hard to believe, and especially that he was their target.
I began to devise a plan. I would find a way to talk to him one on one. I wanted him to know how disturbed I was and that he should not put up with such mistreatment. I wanted to share that if and when he was ready to leave this place of employment, that he could use me as a reference. I honestly didn't understand how he could work under this type of treatment and complete lack of even basic respect. I didn't end up having that opportunity for awhile, until last saturday.
That morning as he was talking about what the Lord was doing in his life, and sharing stories of others around him that were coming to Christ, how he and his wife open up their home to neighbors and anyone that needs help, I finally shared with him a little about what I have observed. I shared that I was concerned for him. I honestly wanted to tell him to just give them a peice of his mind, and quit. I mean, how he endures that type of treatment in his workplace, where he works so hard to do what is right, and what is asked of him, was beyond me. He has a true servants heart. I know I wouldn't put up with it, and I would not have lasted a day if they treated me even slightly the way I have seen him treated.
What came out of his mouth next is what changed me, and what has stuck with me, in the back of my mind since this conversation over a week ago. He said that first of all, he brought it to prayer. He also explained that first and foremost, he gets up early each day, spending time in prayer, in God's word, so that the holy spirit will build him up, give him wisdom, and prepare him for anything that he might come up against that day. Secondly, he took this issue to his mentor, stating how important it is that we all have a spirtual mentor in our lives to go to for Godly wisdom and counsel, as well as prayer. I agreed. Then, he shared something with me that struck me to the core. He explained that one day he got a call at home from one of these two employees. She was immediately screaming and yelling at him over the phone about some paperwork that she thought he should have completed the day before. I believe this, because I have witnessed her yelling at him over the phone in the past, and was always amazed at his ability to handle it. Instead of defending himself in any way, he told me that he responded in love. In love...! He actually said to her in the most gentle and kind voice that he was sorry, andheasked forher forgiveness. But that's not all...he then told her that he is striving to be as good of an employee as she is and that he is hoping he will someday be as organized and as professional as she is. He ended by asking her once again if she would forgive him!!! And her response? She calmly said, "I forgive you." His wisdom is apparent, as he also explained to me that he knows this anger is not really about him, and that there must be something going on within them, that causes them to treat him that way. He said there are hurts they are dealing with that they have not resolved and healed. Again, I agreed.
I can tell you, that if it was me she was talking to, I would have been so offended and so angry that she thought she had any right to talk to me that way, that I would not have handled it well. I am sure I would have attempted to defend myself, and probably would have ended up very frustrated, and hot tempered myself. So hearing these words come out of his mouth, and knowing that he truly did handle it in that way was a lifechanging, profound and humbling moment for me. The best way I can describe it is that I felt the presence of God right then and there. I saw a man humbly walking out his faith the way all of us that call ourselves christians should be. I saw someone taking the gospel seriously, and not relying on their own emotions and actions to dictate how they would handle a situation.
I saw Jesus.
I actually felt that maybe, just maybe I would someday be able to respond in love, the way he did, to someone who is lashing out unfairly at me. It's not my nature, and it's the one thing that I have had the hardest time changing since becoming a christian many years ago. I was blessed by his willingness to share how the Lord was working through him in this tough situation, and how he continues to thank the Lord for this job, and work at it daily, serving those around him. I was blessed to see true christianity right before my eyes.
She has been walking for a month... She says momma and dadda... She waves... She laughs... She claps... She is very attached... She is happy... She loves to eat... She points at everything... She is such a blessing, and we have so enjoyed caring for her this past year! Happy Birthday, sweet little one!
It has been awhile since I last updated on our foster babies! (FYI, in the sidebar, I have info, and a sneek peek at each of them) Baby L has been with us since she was 7 weeks old, and she will be two years in a few months! She is still as adorable as ever, talking, climbing, laughing and smiling. Her mom was found not guilty a few months back, and was told to work hard toward her goals to get baby L back. She was highly motivated, (or at least it came across this way), but after she attended a short rehab program, she never called to visit with her again..we are a bit surprised, since she has all along shown a lot of interest. The termination of parental rights trial is coming up in June, but her attorney is asking about us doing an open adoption. This would mean baby L's mom would have to relinquish her rights to her before this trial comes up. As far as the relatives are concerned, the social worker told us that they have not called in months, so at this point, they are looking at an open adoption with us. Of course, I am cautiously optimistic at this turn of events, as I know we could be told something different the next time we talk to the social worker. Please keep baby L and us in your prayers, as it is FINALLY coming down to the end of this case (I hope!) and baby L should soon know where her permanent home will be!! Next month we will be in court, so I hope to have some specific details and find out much more!
Baby C turns one year old this week!! She has been walking for a month already! She is happy, cute, and very attached. She is right on track developmentally-so she has made wonderful strides since I brought her home from the hospital as a tiny preemie last year. Last month in court her plan got changed to adoption! Whoo hoo! Due to the nature of this process, the next hearing to update the status isn't until July:( Her parents show up to every court hearing but they have not participated in even one aspect of the services they have been offered. So we continue to wait...and wait...and wait.
Thankfully, through this process of caring for foster babies, we have truly learned to surrender it to the Lord. We live each day, knowing the Lord is ultimately in control of their destiny, and we love them up, and train them up the best way we know how. And you know what? We are blessed beyond measure.
Now the same thing is happening here. I told our pediatrician about it and she wasn't even aware.
Here, they look at you funny if you mention that you may not want this for your child. They draw up the vaccine without even asking your opinion. Wow. How many parents just sit back and allow this? How many parents out there are not informed? These days it is not hard at all to do some research. It took me 5 min. to find the above articles, and I have many more supporting them, saying the exact same thing. Our pediatrician, although I love her, and think she really cares about the health of children, told me she only listens to the american medical assoc. What about looking broadly at what is happening in the world, all around the globe, and learning something from them as well? Why won't they fully inform themselves? These are questions I am asking myself, and shaking my head at...I just don't get it.
We are a christian adoptive family! God has pieced together our family in a way that is more beautiful than anything I could have imagined! We have adopted internationally, as well as through the US foster care system, but most importantly we have all been adopted by God! Ephesians 1:5 says "God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ".
We live on a small hobby farm, and homeschool our six children. Life is full!
My first miracle born in 2001. After giving birth to her, I realized that being a mother was the best job out there, and children are a miracle and precious gift from God. She is a true country girl at heart. Horses are her passion. She is an amazing big sister to her 5 little siblings!
Adopted from China in 2007.
Her sweet spirit fills our home with beauty and love. She is our little dancer, and introduced me to the world of recitals, dance practices, tutu's and ballet! Most of all, her love for Jesus shines bright, and even at her young age, she has a passion for orphan care and missions. These are subjects she talks and prays about on a daily basis! Can't wait to see where the Lord takes this girl!
Adopted from U.S. foster care, July 2013.
God's surprises never cease to amaze me. He is Laney's full sibling who came to live with us in Nov. 2011. Our son since the day he arrived. This is the sweetest boy you will ever meet.
Adopted from U.S. foster care November 2011.
Words cannot describe the joy this precious pumpkin brings to our lives! Another sweet miracle fromt the Lord. She was our first foster baby, arriving at the age of 7 weeks. We were blessed to adopt her in November of 2011. She refers to herself as a princess, and is also a lover of kittens, books, and dancing. I guess many more dance practices and recitals are in our future, lol!
Adopted from U.S. foster care, July 2013.
She was our second foster child who came home from the hospital at one week old. She livens up our days with her endless energy and strong will! It has been such a joy to see her and Austin have the chance to be together as brother and sister, and they definately have a bond that makes my heart smile!
Adopted from U.S. foster care July 2013. What a surprise it was to see that the little boy I pictured in my mind, who only the Lord would know, was actually in need of a forever family! Another miraculous gift from the Lord. He arrived at 4 mos. of age in Oct. 2011. Cute as can be with a contagious laugh and smile.