Friday, August 31, 2012

Random Deep Thoughts

I don't know about you, but long car trips by myself in the car cause me to think deep thoughts...and I am often inspired to blog about them. Today I spent a total of 3 hours in the car alone, driving in the beautiful mountains of Washington state, near Mt. Rainer. I found myself gazing at God's amazing beauty all around me, admiring campgrounds, and the lush green forests, rivers, and lakes that were everywhere. As I was driving back, I was listening to a CD I picked up along the way of Native flute music. It was mesmerizing. I guess I was in a trance like state on the drive home because I was reflecting upon my life, amidst the beauty of God's creation. Only, my thoughts were not that of how wonderful my life has been, but how in my early years I experienced some near death situations. There have been so many close calls that could have taken me off this earth, however, I am still here and in one peice. As the flute was playing and I was high in the mountains, facing one of my biggest fears--the cliff next to me, I remembered back to when I was around 10 years old. That was the day I think I faced my impending mortality for the first time. I was at a party at a lake with a bunch of people my parents always hung out with, and I was not raised in a christian home, so this was a party where there was much alcohol, and most of the adults were drunk. I was playing with a childhood friend, who's older brother decided to run up and grab me and throw me off of a dock into the lake. I couldn't swim yet, and remember going under, over and over again, popping up once in awhile hoping someone would save me, and finally my friend saw the look of pure fear on my face, and jumped in and pulled me to safety. Obviously, I have not forgotten that incident. Another time, I was with my dad at an event and I grabbed a lamp post that had a short in it. I was stuck to it, and literally being electrecuted as I stood there, unable to let go. A man stood up from his seat and knocked my arm off of the post, and I was okay. To this day, I think that guy was my guardian angel. I lived. Another time I was canoeing in the Puget Sound with a group of kids, and a big storm came up. The waves were so big and they were filling our canoes. A canadian boat rescued us.  I've been in a car accident, a motorcycle accident, I've been lost in the woods. And yet, here I am today, all in one peice as if none of those things have happened. God is so good, and so faithful, and I look back at my life sometimes and can't believe all that I went through as a kid, and wonder how I made it. I think all those situations have shaped me into who I am today. I'm a pretty serious person. I am super careful with my own kids, and want to protect them with all I have in me.
I often think of the American dream. I am so glad I am here in this country that is so blessed. I am not here to gain all the riches I can, and to build a big house, and a big bank account. I have been able to travel to far away lands and adopt children, which has been amazing. I have been able to share my home with foster children who need families, and adopt even more. I am so blessed. I am so glad God spared my life through all those situations and accidents that I encountered growing up. I hope to do so much more in this life, and can't wait to see what more the Lord can use me for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Part three!!!

SO very sorry to leave you all wondering what I will get right to it. I called bio mom, and she answered. I explained who I was, and she was very surprised. I explained that we are willing to offer yearly visits to them for both children. She stated, "Wow". I think it was much more than she expected. I feel at peace with this decision. She said she would be dropping her appeal as soon as possible. She is trying to get her boyfriend, the bio father to do the same, but based on his history, it will be a miracle if he drops it. He isn't the one dying to see his children. We really want to adopt these two together, so that it will be a special day for both of them, and I have always felt that way. If he doesn't drop his appeal on our fd, he may appeal all the way up the courts, which can take two years, and I really don't want bio mom to have to wait that long. The next step is for the dept. to call a meeting with all 4 of us "parents". We want to present our offer to them both, and the dept. will explain in person again why he needs to drop his appeal so we can get the adoptions finalized and they can have a visit. We are all hoping for a positive outcome, but have no idea how this dad will respond because he usually responds very negatively to anything that has to do with dshs, or the courts. Generally, he is not a happy camper. for the question we have all been waiting for. How did they find out who we were??? I did ask her over the phone, and I was praying I would get a straight answer. She was silent for a moment, so I was thinking that maybe she was trying to come up with some story, but she told the truth. She got our names and address off of a prescription diaper rash cream that was in the diaper bag and sent on one of the visits!! I know this is true because last Sept. when we went to Disneyland another foster mom watched her for us. She came down with an odd rash the day we were leaving. The foster parent took her in to see the Dr. for it the next day. She was prescribed a medicated cream, and unfortunately the foster parent then sent if off on her visit the next day. Now there is always a chance that we sent it in the bag accidentally the next week when we were back, but I am usually very careful about those things and rip off any identifying information before placing it in the diaper bags that are sent on visits with bios. So, anything can happen! You just never know, and I think if biological parents want the information bad enough, they will get it. It's not something that scares me from fostering, as I know God has all of this in His hands, and maybe, just maybe this all happened for a reason, and He is working His good out of it all. We can't predict the future, but we can pray that the outcome will be positive, and over time, having contact with these parents might just be what was supposed to happen anyway.  God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His plans are not our plans. Only time will tell as this story continues to unfold.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


So, I left everyone hangin after we found the letter in our mail box from bio mom of our little sibling set....
Since that event took us both totally off guard, we realized we needed to make a plan of action. This plan would not be popular with the dept., but it was a plan we came to after much thought, and prayer.
I called a meeting with the dept. I asked how our info. could have gotten out to them. Noone had a clue. We had no clue. Our CASA/GAL has moved away, so I wasn't sure if she could have given it out, but didn't think so. At the meeting I shared our plan. Our fs has been legally free since infancy when his parents relinquished him to his aunt for adoption, which didn't work out because he actually was given back to his bio parents by her (the dept. didn't know this until we got him). His sister has been with us since birth and these parents just lost their rights in Feb. of this year. So, both of them are legally free. We wanted to adopt them together, and have been waiting to do this, but both parents have appealed the termination of their rights on our fd. We had a lot to consider. Do we just go ahead and adopt him, and wait out the two years for his sisters adoption? Since fs was with the bio parents for 3 years, mom is very attached, and it has been very difficult for her these past 9 months. Do we offer visitations to parents who have been so deceitful with the system? What's in the best interest of these two precious children we have in our home who call us mommy and daddy? The dept. felt these parents do not deserve visits after we adopt them, due to the fact that, number one, they lost their rights. Number two, they did nothing to work their plan to get their children back, legally.  Number three, based on their behavior in court, they did not feel these parents would be good for these children. We took their advice, that is, up until the letter landed in our mail box. I know this mom is hurting. She loved her son, but chose to do things the wrong way. Her choices have landed her where she would never have the chance to see either of them again. For some reason she was unable to do what was necessary to get her children back. The letter was her last desperate attempt to reach out and find a way to see him, even if, it was just once more (in her words).

I have read some studies that talk about adopteess and birth parents. I know that in many cases the outcome is much better if the adoptee just has some info and just knows something about who their birth  parents were, no matter who they are and how they live. They just need to know. Two of my adult friends also believe knowing who their birth parents were as a child would have been a very positive thing for them growing up.  We considered this. It made sense. The dept. could only offer to help us get a restraining order. Well, that didn't make sense to me at this point. These parents aren't threatening us. It's just a mom that has made some poor choices who desperately misses her son. I know this for sure.

So, back to the meeting with the dept. I shared that the game plan has now changed. We could no longer follow their recommendation. These parents know who we are and exactly where we live. We don't want to always be wondering if they are driving by, stalking the house, or looking for the kids. We also think that in the long run, it really will be in the best interest for them to know who their birth parents are. So, we decided to offer a once a year visit, that will be written up by our attorney on a legal document. The dept. agreed that our decision will be okay. The next step was for me to call bio mom on the phone number she provided in the letter. I was to explain to her what we had decided to offer, but the deal is that in order for her to get a visit, we have to get both of their adoptions finalized and we can only do this if they both drop their appeals. I was also going to ask her straight out how she got our names and address.  I put it off, but finally picked up the phone and called her the other day...and she be continued.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

There is no anonymity

Sure, you may have been told you would be anonymous when you took a foster child into your home. You may have been told that foster parents names are never given out, or that the dept. takes great strides in protecting your privacy. That's what we were told, and for the most part, believed.

Let's look at our society, and social media. Technology seems to advance at a great speed on a daily basis. Soon we will be walking into stores where our faces will be recognized electronically, and personalized ads will be sent directly to our phones. It is not difficult to find information on line and in many other places. In foster care, you are not only caring for children, but you are attending court hearings, and getting legal papers with all kinds of information. Some of the paperwork I have gotten will have blacked out areas, but the next week I might recieve the same document with the same information that is not blacked out. We attend meetings where the facilitaor may "forget" and blurt out your name in front of people who aren't supposed to know. Then, if the bio parents, are persistent, they may even follow one of the transporters back to your home, while everyone is completely oblivious as to what is going on. There is even a law in my state where bio parents that have their children in foster care can go to DSHS and ask to find out the location of where their children reside. Ridiculous, if you ask me. But, my point is this...and I believe this should be covered in the 30 hrs. of foster parent training that is required for licensing...just assume you will not remain anonymous. We now know it is almost impossible to remain anonymous. We thought we were completely anonymous to the bio parents of our sibling set, our now 2 yr. old daughter and 4 yr. old son that we are in the process of adopting...that is until 2 weeks ago, when I walked out and checked my mailbox and found a handwritten letter to us from their biological be continued...