Saturday, January 17, 2009

Little Snippets....

I have been trying to put together an update all week and honestly could not find any spare energy at the end of my day. We have welcomed 5 different newborns to this family, but not one new baby can compare to adding a walkin', talkin', love-needin', insecure, tryin' to find their place in this scary world "big kid". We have discovered a new kind of exhaustion. It is an extremely blessed, happy exhaustion, but emotional exhaustion none the less.

Here are some fun, happy things we are seeing and hearing:

-Girls laughing, giggling, and chasing eachother around the house

-Boys clicking lego pieces together and sharing the awesome finished products with eachother

-Kids praying for eachother, and asking eachother for prayer

-The sharing of beloved stuffed friends from one brother to another to comfort a newcomer with his nightmares

-A hug from one little sister to comfort a new big sister at the end of her good cry

-Amazing noise and chaos outside on the green machines and bikes (I'm sure this used to be a quiet street ;-)

-"I did it!" after hours of homework practice for 2 kids so behind in school due to circumstances they couldn't control

-"Mom and Dad" screeched from all 7 of our children

-"Mom, will you wash my hair"

-"Dad, can I come too?"

And the practical update...we did sell our Grand Caravan this week quicker than we thought and are now crazily shopping for a 9 passenger (or bigger) vehicle. The Suburban only seats 7...brilliant planning eh? We have also discovered that an extra large front loading washer/dryer would be WONDERFUL!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Celebrating New Journey's

Today I sit here, finally able to find a sliver of a moment to write an adoption update. This is day 10 in our latest adoption journey, and while I have not been very faithful in updating through our blog in the past, I am hoping to do better in the future. It is so hard to keep track of who we email, and who we don't, so the blog was supposed to help with this problem...that way anyone can check for and update whenever there is time. With all the privacy issues surrounding our new additions we have to be very careful, and we can't post photos of their sweet faces until all is final. We can post fun things that are said and done, or things learned by all that day!

After 2 private domestic adoptions we thought we had seen and done it all. We were experienced. We understand bonding, respect and love our children's birth families, love the culture and heritage they originate from, and are so thankful for the blessings of Isabelle and Eli.

Starting the foster-to-adopt/straight adopt process seemed like an easy thing to do for us. Much of the paperwork was already in order, and the training classes were a breeze. What we were not prepared for we felt would be easy to learn as we went along, so we jumped in with eager hearts! We were licensed in January of 2008 and had our first placement of a sibling group of 2 in March. It was a sibling group of a 5 year old girl and a 2 month old boy. They were beautiful, precious children with very typical issues for first time foster children. There were some heavier circumstances that necessatated a move, but honestly that placement scared the pants off of us and made us think we were crazy for even considering this program. It felt as though all the fears that had stopped us in the past from pursuing this avenue had been thrown before us in a short 5 day period. We told our agency that we were only interested in a little girl younger than Isabelle and had several other ideas of what we could handle.

Insert Luke. Our two week placement! We call him our bonus baby, the little guy we TOTALLY didn't plan but fit right in. We knew he was meant to be here, but that still didn't answer the lingering feeling that we had another little girl waiting to be ours...

Then along came the "little sweatheart" we have mentioned before....the almost placement we had in August. We said goodbye to her in the beginning of December as she moved on to be with her family in Florida. It was a bittersweet goodbye with big hugs, hidden tears, and huge prayers. But God had known we needed that little girl for perspective. She had shown us how wonderful the right placement of an older child could be....and we had let the agency know we were again open to older children. The week after we said goodbye to her, we got the call that made us a family of 9!

For those who didn't get our email or that only read the blog, we just welcomed a sibling group a 2 into our family. Our new daughter is in 5th grade and our new son is in 1st grade. They are beautiful kids with amazing smiles and a twinkle in their eyes!

It was such a time of learning for us as we made it to this point. We got phone calls asking us to take babies after Luke, babies that our hearts wanted but we knew logically we couldn't handle. We found out that we made it to selection staffing (the meeting that the CPS staff has to select a family for a child) and were chosen for 2 different sibling groups of 2 the same week. That week also happened to be the same 5 days that we had the placement I mentioned above...the one that almost closed our doors forever. We submitted our information/homestudy for many children that "we knew for sure" were ours, but then never heard anything from the caseworker. Each time we put ourselves out there we would pray before we did it, and put a piece of our heart on the line. "No" actually became a welcome answer, because it was better than hearing nothing and wondering if a family had been chosen.

But, you see...that is the best part of a faith walk....the journey when you look back. You can see God right there, guiding your decisions and helping you to grow in Him. The amazing similarity between all 5 of our adoptions is simple to see. The exact moment that we gave up on trying to control the situation we were in, and just asked God to let us know when He needed us...asked Him to show us who our child was to be, that was when we got the call. Not once was it who, or what, we thought it would be. Each time better than what we could have asked or hoped for!

Now that the journey is officially on the blog I feel like I can move on and post things that happen in our day. I can use Luke's name because that is what we use now but it was not his given birth name. His adoption should be final this March. I will call our oldest female addition "little miss" on the blog and our oldest male addition "mr. man" for privacy sake :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our 13th Wedding Anniversary!

Ben and I have so much to be thankful for over the last 13 years. God has richly blessed us with a best friend in eachother, many life experiences, wonderful children, a beautiful home, many years at home for Angie, a dream "job" for Ben, extraordinary friends, loving family, etc.... Thank you Lord, for the years you have given us and may there be many more!

Fun Holiday Stuff

This Christmas season we had a fun experience at the Polo club here in Austin. They hosted a party for foster/foster to adopt families that was so much fun for all! The highlight of the day was definitely the horses...and the cookies with all-you-can-pile-on frosting...and facepainting too.