Thursday, May 31, 2012

Little Guy

Well, after much confusion, Little Guy did finally come to live with us on Tuesday evening. His mother had signed papers to give custody to the state on Sunday. On Monday, our agency had gone to the hospital, waited for 4 hours for discharge paperwork, gone to pull the car around to load Little Guy up for the ride. Then, all of the sudden his mom returned and had potentially changed her mind. Not really knowing the law amidst all of the confusion, the nurses at the hospital would not discharge our Little Guy, so he stayed one more night in the hospital. Then, we got the call to pick him up Tuesday evening in order to stay with us at least until court today (Thursday).

He was born at 6 lbs. 10.2 ounces, so he's a tiny little thing. We've never had a baby quite this small, so we're on the learning curve for sure. I think my husband is in heaven. We've discovered he just adores babies. Sleepless nights and all, he's pretty fun to have around, but now we're still waiting for news from court this morning. He may go home with mom today or he may come back to us. If he comes back here, we're going to have to get down to business...pulling out my baby books again and getting this little one to sleep at night!

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's a boy! Welcome Little One!

We welcome a 3-day-old baby boy into our family this evening! It was quite unexpected and unplanned. We have been intentionally taking a break since the boys went home, because my husband is rehabilitating a herniated disc in his back. When we got this call, however, we both felt compelled to say, "yes." The basic gist is that this Caucasian baby boy is actually being placed for adoption and will, most likely, be adopted by a family in our agency in 2-6 weeks. They have not yet been through training, so the agency needs someone to take the baby until his permanent home is approved. Thinking of this precious family who has been praying for a baby to have as their own and all of the emotions caught up in their journey and also knowing how rare this is for a Caucasian infant to be placed for adoption voluntarily, we caved! Also, as my husband said, "We're talking 8 pounds! Surely that can't hurt my back!" So last night we said goodbye to a full night's sleep, but we can't wait to meet this little guy and learn what it's like to care for a baby this young. I'll keep you posted. I should have a lot more free time to do so this go-around! One baby? Just sleeping, eating, and diapers? Piece of cake! ...we think.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What We Miss About B-boy

  • His crooked smile
  • His chipmunk laugh
  • Noise...constant noise
  • squeals of delight!
  • This was mostly annoying at the time, but I look back on it and just laugh. He never learned to roll from his back to his stomach, so I just remember how it got to the point where I could tell by the tone of his voice whether he was on his back or not. He would be absolutely giddy for a little while, but I knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would cry out in despair because he was stuck on his back like a turtle...ridiculous.
  • When he had only learned to crawl backwards, he would get himself stuck in corners or half-way underneath chairs. Poor guy, but he gave us lots of laughs.
  • Watching him with Layla. Those two were the best of friends, and B-boy could do just about anything to Layla...she just liked having him close.
  • His strength! From day one, that boy had muscles of steel.
  • The way he would squeal with delight anytime K-man gave him some attention. It was a reaction he didn't give to anyone else.
  • That full-faced grin that crept out from behind his pacifier.
  • The hair...the Don King hair
  • Bath time was not a big hit for a while, but once he could sit up and splash, it was such a fun time, and in the end, when the two boys were in the bath together...those were some of our sweetest moments. So loud! ...So wet! So fun!
  • watching him learn to scoot, crawl, stand...can't say it enough, I don't think there is anything better than watching kids learn and develop before your eyes!
  • 2 hour play time in the crib around midnight most nights.
  • The rattle of the crib heard all over the house. He would turn sideways, put his feet on the side rails and just rock back and forth and laugh :)
B-boy baby, I have to "ditto" most of what we said for your brother. We miss you like crazy, little man, and our home is not the same without you. Everyone who met you quickly adored you, and it's easy to see why. You were just about the happiest kid we've ever known. We pray you will grow to turn that happiness into elated joy over the truth of the gospel. We pray that you will grow to honor your mother and obey her. We pray that you will continue to have strong leadership in your brothers. We pray that the Lord will use your optimism for the sake of His kingdom...that it would help you and those around you to cope during difficult times. He certainly used you in that way in our home. When the going got rough around here, there was always B-boy to lighten the mood and break the ice. Trust in Jesus, B-boy...and lean not on your own understanding. Realize quickly that the things of this world, though they may bring temporary happiness, they are not the source of real joy. Realize these things, repent, and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will not stop hoping in the Lord for these things.

"The Lord bless you and keep you; 
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

What We Miss About K-man

Ok this list could go on for miles. I'll try to keep it reasonable!!!
  • singing the Victor Vito song and the Books of the New Testament song all day
  • the way he replaced "v" with "b" and many other sounds with "sh"
  • oh that we miss that laugh!
  • the way he said my name...every 3 seconds...haha!
  • hearing him pray...and thank God "for Jesus, who died on the cross for us." I'll miss how he would simultaneously try to say everything that my husband said when praying, but in the end, I'll miss the few times he chose to pray on his own some very sweet, meaningful prayers.
  • his amazing creativity
  • he had just started to really tell jokes...that was a lot of fun
  • listening to him talk to his brother
  • his sweet, tender heart toward others - great sharer, being gentle and kind with babies, saying "I love you."
  • his compassion - always wanting to pray for and serve people who were hurting
  • books!! Oh the love he had for books! Such a fun trait to watch unfold!
  • cooking :) it's just not the same in the kitchen by myself these days
  • the shouts from the backseat that he literally could not contain - a constant stream of "Ooo, I see a convertible car...Motorcycle...Cement Mixer...Backhoe...Sarge has another brother...American flag...Prius car...etc."
  • "Hold up..."
  • "This is going to be a special, special surprise!"
  • "I had so much fun!"
  • His determination and patience when working on a difficult task...such a hard worker and creative spirit.
  • "I was patient"
  • Watching him conquer his irrational fear of fish...or "sish"
  • Frequent references to the "Garbage Barge"...long story
  • watching him learn, so diligently, his letters and numbers. There is nothing better than watching children learn!
  • hugs and kisses...especially the hugs that required a running leap into my arms :)
  • seeing him remorseful once he really started to mature into that concept
  • snuggling with popcorn and a movie
  • Trainspotting. This was probably the sweetest memory most of us have of K-man if you had the privilege of taking part. For an already high-energy, excited little boy, seeing a real train took it to a whole new level!
  • Music time at the library. Wow, he came a long way, and in the end, I was extremely proud of his new-found security in that environment.
  • Books he would often recite - "Twirl, twirl...Boogie, boogie down...Shimmy, shimmy, glide...Cookie's arms to the left and to the right...kick, kick, kick...and that's the end!" "I'm a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face," "Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom," "I'm gonna take a trip on my train," "Gox box socks," "Duck had a close shave."
  • He loved to drive or ride the stroller through puddles, and he would always say with a huge smile, "Splish, splash, splosh!"
  • Evening walks with the wagon
  • Picnics in the front yard
  • Phrases he picked up, like "Bummer!" (from me) and "Bust my buffers!" (from Thomas the Train)
  • "Shake, shake, shake your beanbag..." He LOVED that song
  • His fascination with the gospel..."That's a God died on the cross...and then he rose again."
  • He had this funny way of passively making statements that implied a request. Sometimes they were a bit aggravating, but they usually made me laugh. "Ms. _______, y'know...I really like candy...(hint, hint)." or "Ms. _________, what did you say? You said you want me to eat a cookie? Is that what you said?" Haha...too clever for his own good sometimes.
  • Towards the end especially, he really wanted to please us and model after us, which was fairly new. He would say, "I don't like bananas," but if I said, "You don't?" He would often say, "Do you like bananas? Me too! I like bananas!"
  • bath time
  • "saying Spanish"
  • playing his "airtar"
  • the way he would ONLY play the piano if he had his "fire hat" (fireman's hat) on
  • obsession with back flips after the circus (and he was quite good at them)
  • his giddiness over riding on my husbands shoulders
Oh, K-man, I'm having to hold back sweet tears just thinking of all this. You were a very bright light in our home, our neighborhood, our town, and our church. I don't think we will ever stop thinking about you. Precious boy, we pray that the Lord would continue to give you a fascination with the gospel...that you would have a hunger for His Truth that you just can't satisfy...desiring to know Him and seeking to glorify Him in all you do. We pray that you will stand as an oak of righteousness one day and that the Lord will use you in incredible ways to bring His love and redemption into the broken lives that surround you. We will never stop hoping in the Lord for these things. 

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor."
Isaiah 61:1-3

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easter Baskets - Part II

I'm feeling rather guilty, because I had all of you praying diligently over the Easter baskets we were planning to send, and I never clued you in on how the Lord has really honored those prayers! First, here are some pictures of the finished product and a list of what went into each of the baskets:

Mom's Basket

Pink Bible with her name engraved in silver, hundreds of scripture passages highlighted throughout!
A Mother's Devotional Book
A daily calendar with scripture and words of encouragement for each day
A black wallet with white polka dots and a big letter "T" (her first initial) on the front in hot pink
Bath and Body Works soap set
A second prayer shawl made by my mother in her favorite colors (pink, black, and gray)

9-year-old Brother's Basket

Slim Bible with his name engraved and the Roman Road highlighted
The Chronicles of Narnia boxed set
Book about Jesse Owens
Chocolate cross
Other candy

6-year-old Brother's Basket

Adventure Bible
2 CDs (Rebel by LeCrae and Between Two Worlds by Trip Lee)
Book about Baseball with Hank Aaron
Chocolate cross
Other candy

K-man's Basket

Jesus Storybook Bible with CD that can read to him (He knows it he'll have his own copy at home!)
Veggie Tales - "God Loves You Very Much"
"The Little Engine that Could" book
Chocolate cross
Other candy

B-boy's Basket

The Big Picture Bible
2 Nursery CDs - One with Bible Songs and One with Bible Stories
Stuffed Bunny

We also sent them with hard-boiled eggs, vinegar, and a package of egg dye. Unfortunately, our transporter that day was a man of few words, so when they returned from the visit, all we got was, "Yeah...everything was good." ...awesome.

However, on the following Tuesday, we had our regular transporter back, and the report she gave was much more encouraging. She had a look of joyful disbelief on her face as she told us, "Their momma loved the Easter baskets! When we got there today, the first thing she did was run to get her Bible to show me!"

Praise the Lord! Please join us as we continue to pray for fruit to come from those materials in their home. Pray that when they sit to watch a movie, they will choose "God Loves You Very Much." Pray that when they're looking for an afternoon soundtrack, they'll gravitate to these new CDs that will pour Truth into their lives. Pray, more importantly, that when their mom is overwhelmed and feels like she's hit rock-bottom, that she will open that pink Bible and be challenged and encouraged to repent and turn to Jesus for life, freedom, strength, and peace.

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven 
and do not return there but water the earth, 
making it bring forth and sprout, 
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 
it shall not return to me empty, 
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11

Friday, May 4, 2012

Another Goodbye

Our boys are gone, and we've had a couple of weeks now to heal, but I would be lying if I said we didn't still miss them terribly. Here's how the day went when they finally went home to be with their momma.

You'll remember that the last time the boys had court, we were told that the only reason they didn't go home was because their momma needed beds. 3 weeks later, the story was the same (technically not mom's fault...DFACS was supposed to get this done). We kept asking our case manager, the lawyer, the CASA (everyone we could think to ask) whether the boys would go home this time or not, but no one could give us a definitive answer. We assumed they would go home, but logistically, there was no reason they should go without beds.

So we did what we could do. Wednesday night I gathered what I could gather without it triggering K-man to be suspicious and ask a bunch of questions. The rest, I wrote down on a LONG list to be gathered the next day, if needed. Thursday morning, I taught my class, as usual, and K-man had the opportunity to say goodbye to all of his dear teachers and friends just in case. Then, we drove home. I got lunch on the table, and then I got a phone call. It was my amazing agency case worker. Unfortunately, her words were, "The boys are going home. Somebody will be there in 45 minutes to an hour to pick them up."

Thankfully, I think the urgency of it all protected me from getting too emotional in that moment. I looked at K-man and explained to him with an excited tone that today was the day he was going to live with his momma and brothers again. I reiterated, as we had been discussing for several weeks, that once this happened, he wouldn't be coming back to this house again...he would live with his momma forever now (we hope!). His reaction was interesting to watch. First, he said, with a bit of a grin on his face, "but I'm going to be said..." I told him that I would be sad too and missing him, but that this was a good thing, and we started to talk about all of the good things about going home. Then, he said, "I don't want to eat." we left the lunch table, and I started to gather things from all over the house to send home with these two.

K-man watched and helped a bit, and seemed generally excited. I was able to give him 2 recordable books from Halmark that my sweet mom, Bebe, and my brother had recorded to send home with him. He ADORED those (such a great idea), so he spent much of the next hour turning the pages with excited anticipation while I got down to business. My husband came home and had a few minutes of fun before it was time for the big "goodbye." At one point, K-man found his Easter candy and asked if he could have some. For a split second, I thought about the prospect of Easter candy with no lunch, but then reality hit, and I said..."Why not!" We filled the transporter's car with so many clothes and toys...I can't even tell you how much stuff we sent home with them! Finally, we loaded up the boys. K-man, again, said, "...but I'm going to be sad..." I held him as tight as I could and told him I loved him over and over and over again. We put him in the car (no tears) with his 2 new books and his Mickey Mouse, and then we all prayed - my husband, the transporter, K-man, and I, with B-boy listening in from his car seat. It was a sacred moment with no tears. Then, we shut the door, waved as the car drove away...

...and then the floodgates opened while my husband and I held each other and cried.

Since then, emotions have come in waves. For a good week and a half, I couldn't so much as turn a corner without thinking of those boys and grieving all over again (rarely sobbing...most often a strange mix of joy and sadness). I think the full weight of it hit my husband instantly when they drove away. It took me about a week before it all hit me. Even so, it's hard to explain, but the immense joy we experience is far greater than all of the sadness. I find myself anxious to fill our home again! The longer it is empty...the longer we have to wait...the harder it is! If you fear that you would never be able to foster because of the emotional goodbye, please hear me say that the Lord would sustain you! I was certainly no less attached to these boys than anyone would be. I didn't guard my heart. I loved them with abandon! People often ask if each child takes a part of our hearts with them. Certainly, each and every one of them has left somewhat of a hole, but the Lord has filled those holes to overflowing with joy, memories, gratitude, and a deeper understanding of Christ's love for us.

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you."
Psalm 55:22