Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Still here!

Yesterday was a big day! I woke the boys up at 7am in order to get them to our case worker in time for them to make it to court. B-boy woke up with a fever and feeling worse than ever, so we all made the executive decision not to send him to the courthouse (not really certain how much trouble we would get in, but it all turned out ok).

The night before, my husband and I, under the advice of a dear friend who is a play therapist, decided that we really needed to talk K-man through what was happening the next day. Here is what we decided to tell him when he asked, "What am I going to do when I wake up?"

"Well, K-man, you're going to go to court tomorrow. Have you ever been to court before? You're going to see your momma and your brothers and (insert long list of names here). K-man, do you know why you're staying here with us? Your momma has a few things she needs to do before you can go and live with her again. Until she finishes those things, you're going to stay here with us, and boy have we been having a good time, right?! She's been working really hard on those things, because she loves you and misses you so much. Tomorrow, the judge is going to talk to your momma and see if she's finished doing the things she needs to do. If she has, then you won't need to stay here with us anymore, but if there's still a little more she needs to do, then you'll come back and stay with us for a little while longer. No matter what happens, remember that God is with you wherever you go."

At different times that night, we tried to emphasize how much we had enjoyed having them both here, we talked about fun memories we had made together. We didn't make a big deal out of it or anything, but we tried to leave the option open, in case they went home and we never saw them again.

The next morning I dropped K-man off for court and brought B-boy back home with me. That was 8am. I didn't hear a word from anyone until 12:30pm. They had been on trial for an hour or so before the mandatory recess they always call around lunch time. They would re-convene at 2pm. The word from our case worker at that time was that they would probably go home that day. I was rattled...not knowing what to think. I went to take a shower to try to get my mind off of everything. Part of me wanted to cry as I reflected on these sweet boys whom I might never see again - especially a 3-year-old who would be able to remember and think of us. The other part of me, selfishly, started to think about all of the free time I would have and all of the things I might finally get done. My stomach was in knots for many reasons.

Finally, around 4pm, I heard from the case worker. They were on their way to my house for at least another 30 days until the judge would review the case again for progress. An answer to prayer, for sure...she just kept repeating how shocked she was that the judge kept them in care. She was certain there hadn't been enough evidence. K-man was clearly exhausted after no nap and clearly confused about what had happened. Still, we were glad that we had briefed him on what would happen. At bed time that night, we said our prayers, turned off the lights, and heard him crying over the monitor. Poor little guy is trying so hard to make sense of it, but he just can't in his little 3-year-old mind. Today has been more normal, but I think he's still got a lot going on in his head and in his heart.

Thank you so, so, so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray that we will take full advantage of these next 30 days that have been given to us. It's so easy to grow weary and wish the time away. Pray that we would have joy and that we would not squander what little time we have.

And another prayer request - I finally took B-boy to the doctor yesterday, and he was diagnosed with RSV. This is a nasty respiratory virus that could have him feeling bad and contagious to other children for 3 weeks or more. PLEASE pray that he continues to be his usual, happy self throughout the duration. Also, please pray that this would be short-lived. You mommas know how quickly the walls can start to cave in on you when you're trapped in your house all day every day - having to forego all of the normal outings that bless you with adult company and conversation.

More updates to come soon, I'm sure!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Court Monday

Days have been really good over here lately. Life is really settling in. K-man continues to surprise us with his sense of security in going to child care several times a week. We also continue to stand amazed at his hunger in learning about God. He has been diligently praying for a few people in our church - one who has a hurt foot and one who had a cast on her hand. The other day, the lady with the cast on her hand no longer had the cast. I told K-man that God had healed her hand and she didn't need the cast any longer. He looked at me with WIDE eyes..."God healed her hand?!?! How he did that?!" Still, he runs to her in order to look at her hand and stand amazed, trying to take in the mystery of how God healed her.

B-boy has been doing great...until yesterday when he came down with a pretty bad cold and our first fever! Can you believe we've been doing this for about 10 months now, and this is our first child with a fever?? I guess we should count our blessings, but you Mommas know how hard it is to be house-bound with a sick child. Please pray that this doesn't turn into bronchiolitis, which he had when he came to us. If it did, it could last 3-6 weeks, and I just don't even know what I would do. (but God does...I need to remind myself of that.) The good news is that this has given me some additional help in attachment with B-boy. It's still not quite there, but nurturing him while he's been sick has helped a bit.

And now to our primary need for prayer...the boys have their first adjudication hearing on Monday morning at 9am. Basically, this is a court hearing which will determine whether the boys will stay with us a little while longer or be returned home.  This is a huge day for all of us. Please pray that the Lord would grant each of us peace and that he would grant wisdom to the judge. Specifically, we are praying that the boys will stay with us for now and that we will continue to see spiritual fruit in K-man's life. We, of course, pray also that the Lord would be mightily at work in their mother's life. We are just praying for more time. If that is not in the Lord's will, Monday will be a very difficult day. My husband and I are not going to be able to go to court with them as we typically do, due to work conflicts. If the boys go home, we will have no opportunity to hug and kiss them goodbye, explain to K-man what is happening, nor try to send them off with any kind of lasting blessing like a letter, Bible, written prayer, photographs, etc...(important for us, but mostly for them). Pray that the Lord will minister to their hearts regardless of how the situation goes, and pray that we are able to rest in His sovereignty.

I will post an update as soon as I am able on Monday. Thank you for walking through this with us!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Interesting Question...

Twice today, K-man has been going through his usual long list of questions that he likes to ask. Today, it went something like this...

"What is Mr. C?"
We answered, "Mr. C is my brother."
"What is Poppy?"
"Poppy is my dad."
...and on and on we went until it came out...twice...

"...and what am I?"

At this point, we've heard this twice today. Both times, we've asked, "Well what do you think?" and we've tried to laugh and joke about it, not really knowing how to answer his question appropriately. I'll have to leave you hanging tonight, but I thought it was an interesting insight into some big questions with which his heart is wrestling. I'll let you know if it comes up again and how we choose to handle it. Any insight from other foster moms out there? Speaking in terms of "friend" seems inappropriate, but so does speaking in terms of "my child" or "my son"...even temporarily. Thoughts?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I stand amazed.

Thank you all for praying. I cannot say it enough. I have so few words today...I'm utterly speechless. K-man woke up happy, as usual, this morning, and we went over what we were going to do over and over and over...

"We're going to brush our teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, get in the car, drive to the big church, check in at the computer, go say hi to the fish, you'll go to your class, I'll go to my class, B-boy will go to his class, and after no time-outs in class, we'll get in our car and go to the library, come home, eat lunch, and make some cookies to take to our friend who is hurt!"

K-man LOVES these kinds of step-by-step explanations of the day. He'll recite them over and over.

We got to the church, and the computer wasn't quite ready for us, so I filled out forms for each of the boys while K-man said hi to the fish and proceeded to say, "Hi" to everyone else he saw. My dear friend at the desk told us his teachers names and told us that Mrs. Betty LOVES huge. We happily walked to his classroom, peeked inside (he was the first one there), and said hi to his 2 teachers. Mrs. Betty was sitting at the table, and I was dumbfounded as I watched K-man run into the classroom and throw his arms around Mrs. Betty, whom he had never met in his life. I stood in the doorway for a minute, waiting for him to come back and say bye, but he never did! He sat in Mrs. Betty's lap, played with the toys she showed him, and GIGGLED WITH GLEE!!

I closed the door and walked away...literally speechless. When I picked him up, he RAN into my arms and told me all about how Jesus stopped the storm by saying, "Quiet...Be Still." Then, we went to visit some of my other friends in the church. He gave hugs to everyone, sang songs, told jokes, shouted "Roll Tide!" Haha...I was almost tearful as I watched...didn't quite know whether to laugh or cry!!

What an amazing day we have had, and I must give credit where credit is due - to the God of the universe, who is both infinitely powerful and intimately concerned about the things with which our hearts wrestle. If you've not seen a miracle unfold before your eyes lately, I hope you'll be able to stand in awe with me at the mighty, loving God we serve. Hallelujah!

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly 
than all that we ask or think, 
according to the power at work within us, 
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, 
forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Just wanted to quickly post a most wonderful week (for the most part)! Our first week of "classes" is almost over, and K-man has made MAJOR improvements. We've been able to reward him and praise him every time we've picked him up this week, and I couldn't be more excited. The only thing that makes me MORE excited is hearing him pray about it and talk about God giving him a "nice heart." Tomorrow will be the real test, when I take him to a class full of teachers and students he does not know yet. If you think of us, please pray! 9:45am! If we have a good day, we're going to the library afterward, and then we're going to make some cookies for a friend who is hurt (K-man's idea :)

At church tonight, I sat back and marveled as K-man ran up to people he hardly knew, hugging them, saying hi, giving high fives, totally abandoning his brother in his stroller, squealing with delight! Then, we picked him up from class and he said excitedly, "God's laws are perfect! And they're in the Bible!" (We read about the Ten Commandments tonight since he kept talking about God's laws, and he was so excited as we read.) Later, we were walking by a poster in the church about global missions. He asked about the pictures and about the big map of the world. He was captivated as my husband talked to him about the world and showed him where we live. "K-man, who created the world?" I asked. Without hesitation, he said very seriously, "God."

I just can hardly contain my joy as I sit back and watch these things...what a delight!!!! As we go forward, I would ask for prayer in presenting the gospel to this little man. It doesn't seem as though they will go home after court on January 23rd, but stranger things have happened. Regardless, they will most likely not be with us very long. We are trusting in the Lord's timing and trying to teach K-man the Truth of scripture at His pace, trusting that seeds will be planted and take root at some point. Just pray for opportunities and wisdom in presenting the gospel. Pray that we will be vessels, ready and willing to speak His Truth - not getting ahead of God, but not being lazy either.

One other prayer request is for the boys' visitation schedule. Their weekly visit was canceled unexpectedly on Tuesday (quite aggravating, because I had to call and find out for myself). We found out today that there have been some issues and we will be changing transportation/visitation providers. This may set visitation back a week or two. K-man really thrives on those visits. Since the canceled visit on Tuesday (that he didn't even know was happening), he has asked at least three times if he can go see his momma...highly unusual for him. He's also woken up from 2 naps in tears, which he could not explain, and he's just had several strange behaviors that have cropped up. Pray for his tender heart. Pray for a speedy process in working out visitation schedules. Pray that our new transporters will be as kind and well-equipped as our previous ones...we're sad to see them go. Pray that, if nothing else, K-man and B-boy will be able to visit with their brothers soon. Continue to pray for their mom, that the Holy Spirit will move in her life, humbling her, redeeming her, and giving her the grace, mercy, and strength she needs to transform.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
Romans 15:13

Here's hoping for another positive blog post tomorrow after 10:45am!!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Brief update! First, let me say a huge thank you to all who have been praying over K-man's separation anxiety! The battle is not totally behind us, but we have several HUGE victories under our belts now. For those who might be interested in helpful hints, here's what has really worked for us:

  • Role play: We role play going to church with his toys, cars, stuffed animals, nativity set, etc. all of the time now. It was fascinating to watch his reaction come out even when pretending. In the beginning, he always asks if his stuffed animal can go to my class instead of his...haha. The more we've played, the more he's gotten used to the idea.
  • Talking it up - constantly: We talk about going to class and how fun it's going to be ALL THE TIME...for at least 2 days beforehand. Knowing what's coming has really helped a lot.
  • Rewards: OK, so I don't love bribing, but in this emegency situation, having a reward system has really helped K-man cope with his mixed emotions and make good choices. We lean on quality time rewards. One of our most effective was going to the library after class, checking out a movie, and going home to snuggle on the couch with popcorn while we watched as a family.
  • Security objects: Each time I leave him, I leave him with something "valuable" to me. Sometimes, I wear a cheap bracelet and I take it off and give it to him. If I'm not taking my car, I'll give him my keys to put in his pocket. It's been such a good tool for me to teach him that when I say I'm coming back, I'm really coming back. He LOVES this, holds onto it for dear life, and it's the first thing he looks for when he sees me at the door.
  • Prayer, prayer, prayer: I pray about this. My husband prays about this. Our friends and family pray about this, and we pray with K-man all the time about this...asking God to give K-man a "nice heart" because we know that God is the only one who can make our heart nice...thanking God for being with us wherever we go. I can't even begin to tell you the fruit we've seen from praying with K-man...what an overwhelming blessing.
Enough of that...just please continue to pray with us about this issue. Yes, it's somewhat normal 3-year-old behavior, but in his case, we can see that it is a reflection of a deeper heart issue - he is not sure who loves him and who doesn't. He's not convinced that we are going to do what we say we're going to do, and he's not confident in the Lord's presence with him and love for him.

In other news, I had the privilege of meeting B-boy and K-man's 2 older brothers the other day (D and N). They all had to have developmental evaluations (normal protocol), and DFACS doesn't provide transportation for that. I was a bit nervous as we walked into the room. I was interested to see how the other boys treated me, and I was interested to see how K-man treated me in light of the fact that his brothers were there. When we entered the waiting room, I instantly heard a 9-year-old voice yell with glee, "[K-MAN]" and then I saw his 6-year-old brother come bounding over to him. The 9-year-old immedaitely came to see B-boy...everyone was hugging each other, kissing each other, laughing, and being extremely loud...haha! I went into the waiting room playroom with B-boy and sat on the floor with the boys. Watching from a distance, I made several observations.

First, I immediately saw K-man working through some confusing emotions seeing me in the same place as his 2 brothers. It was like worlds colliding, I know, and for a little while, he didn't really know what to do with it all.

Second, all of a sudden, I realized why K-man has difficulty playing by himself. He never has to!! He has grown up in a family of 4 loud, playful boys. No wonder it's foreign to him when he doesn't have someone to interact with.

Third, I couldn't help but laugh as I saw reflections of K-man in each of his brothers. The things they would say, the way they acted...just tickled me to death as I watched and listened!

Fourth, I was so struck by the kind spirit of each of these boys. I had a great conversation with the 9-year-old. They were all helpful, kind, generous...just sweet boys. It's so nice to have faces in my mind as I pray for them now. Please join me in praying for them - that they are in a good home, and that they are being loved and cared for, but most importantly, that they are being introduced to the saving grace of Jesus. If not now, that they will be one day. Who knows...maybe K-man will introduce them when they all go home :)

After about 15 or 20 minutes of playing with his brothers and not really knowing how to interact with me, K-man surprised me by plopping down in my lap with a story. He was affectionate and loving, and we and all of his brothers sat and read stories. It was a sweet time that I have been so thankful for since that day.

I don't know what the Lord is up to in this particular case, but he continues to reveal to us that He is doing mighty, mighty work...even in the midst of those days that seem to drag on forever with seemingly no fruit. Pray that we would be steadfast and motivated by nothing else other than to glorify God in all that we do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Roller coaster

We continue to have wonderful days followed by not-so-wonderful days. Fortunately, wonderful days far outnumber the bad ones. A few interesting developments...

K-man has stumbled a couple of times and called me mommy. He quickly corrects himself. I've told him once that it would ok if he wanted to call me mommy, but for now we're sticking with Mrs. _________. He's starting to be quite the snuggler, hugger, and kisser from time to time. It's such sweet time, but it's typically followed by some evident confusion on his part. We've also entered into some pretty severe separation anxiety on K-man's part. Deep down, we know this is a good sign that he's developing a sense of attachment that he desperately needs. On the other hand, I'm really struggling as I anticipate what life might look like next week when I will need to drop him off in child care several times a week to teach classes, go to Bible Study, and go to church. PLEASE pray for this transition next week. We have some strategies in place, and we're praying like crazy, but I really covet your prayers for K-man to be able to trust that I will, indeed, come back to get him when I am finished and that God is with him wherever he goes.

Around Christmas time, K-man started feeling a lot of home-sickness for his momma. It's been heartbreaking to watch or to hear the crying over the monitor in his room. It's been even worse as we've started to see him act out in response to the confusing emotions he can't seem to articulate. We're constantly having to think through our response to outbursts. Do we punish? Do we comfort? This definitely keeps us on our toes, but the fruit from our discipline has been neat to watch. The Lord is definitely guiding the process.

Christmas day was a beautiful, beautiful thing. We definitely came face to face with the challenge of balancing Christ and the materialism and fantasy of the Christmas season, but all-in-all, we had a great Christmas, and K-man has a far deeper understanding of Jesus' birth. I can hardly even put into words the excitement we have when we hear him talk about Jesus, knowing that he had never even heard the name a month ago.

On our drive to visit my family, I downloaded this "Seeds of Praise" CD and we listened to it in the background as we drove. Much to my surprise, in the midst of a typical never-ending conversation with K-man, he stopped and asked what they were singing about. We were listening to "The Mouth." the lyrics were...

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." 
Matthew 12:34

The Lord has used that verse so many times to speak to K-man's heart. At random times in the day, he will talk about our explanation, and when disciplining, it's been an amazing conversation tool. I can't say enough good things about this CD and the fruit we have seen.

Perhaps what we were most worried about was K-man's response to the hordes of people we were going to visit on Christmas day. I prayed over that like crazy, and I know many of you did as well! The Lord worked some kind of miracle. We had no issues all day!! We're talking about a 12-hour day of traveling and visiting with strangers...all this for a child who regularly closes up and occasionally erupts with anger when new people are around. We were shocked at how great the day went. In the end, K-man treated our family like his family. He joked with them, gave big hugs, played football in his very own football helmet (compliments of my brother...an amazing gift...again, it's such a shame that I can't post pictures). We abandoned all hope of good nutrition, so no food battles...haha...it was just such a sweet day - one that surely ministered to these boys and one that encouraged my husband and I as well.

So...prayer requests...

  • Please, please pray for K-man's separation anxiety. Pray that the Lord would give my husband and I wisdom in how to handle it. Pray that the Lord would give K-man confidence in our love for him and, ultimately, in God's love for him. Specifically, pray for the "classes" that he'll be attending on Monday mornings, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can also pray for his classes at church on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday nights.
  • Pray for K-man's anger in general. All of a sudden, he seems to get angry as a default response to frustration. Please pray that we would be able to guide his heart to a more appropriate response. Pray that we would know when to be stern and when to be gentle. It's been such a hard balance.
  • Pray for my attachment with B-boy. For some reason, it's just not coming very easily. I assume that a lot of it is just the fact that I've been busy attaching to K-man, but either way...it's uncomfortable. I would appreciate your prayers.
  • Pray for their mom and 2 brothers. Pray boldly that their momma will come to know the Lord and that He will breathe new life into her.
  • Pray over their next court date, set for January 24th - wisdom for all people involved, especially the judge.
  • Pray for their case manager, who has not been very responsive thus far.
  • Pray that the Lord would continue to sustain us. It is so easy to lose sight of the gospel work going on and get tired of the drudgery. Pray that He would provide frequent opportunities (as He always has) for my husband and I to re-energize and rekindle our passion for His work in these little lives for which we care.