Tuesday, June 4, 2013


"Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand." Psalm 37:23-24

I've waited almost 9 months to tell this story. It's painful. It makes me angry. I cried, the ugly cry and I needed to figure out how to explain what we experienced without tarnishing the reputation of adoption. I feel that I'm a testament of the goodness of adoption so I, in no way, would want to deter anyone from adopting if they feel called but this is our story, I'm proud to share it, we will build our family through adoption and if anyone personally knows us who's reading this, my stubbornness becomes electric in times like this. Electric. So after months of training, time away from our boys, 1/2  a homestudy we closed (in October) our file with the agency that we were contracted with.
Without going in to a million details, because is the morning and I'm drinking coffee not a bloody mary, the expectations of our agency drastically changed. We weren't naive, we had full understanding of their policies, took a lot of time making our decision and they changed things on not just us, but everyone. Not little changes, but big changes. They weren't changes that helped the foster children, they weren't changes that protected them from abuse, neglect and trauma and they sure has heck weren't changes that we were made aware of during our training. Basically, these were changes that protected the agency from any further prosecution because of abuse cases in their own foster homes. As my husband said, in his businessman mind, "they're doing a risk assessment on us". They, as it appeared to us, were in the business of covering their asses, no protecting children. So, after our first homestudy, meeting in October, learning about the news changes in the agency in those moments with the social worker, we decided that it would be a disservice to our biological children and to all of our hearts to continue with them. I lost my shit.
We had so many failures already. If we got back 2 years about and sift through posts, although I can find beauty and hope in them, we have struggled to grow our family through adoption. As my husband says, we don't really have to know why, we just have to keep on working. (his work ethic is impeccable) It's true but at the time, we had no plan. I'm a planner, I plan things, it's my job. I have three kids under 7, it's sorta what I do. You feel me? No plan. Zero plan. I haven't had those types of feelings to process with children around. We had to tell the kids, we had to deal with the fact that our goal we'd been working towards, was disintegrating. We had to tell family, and friends that we had no plan. I'm pretty good at expressing my feelings and I'm still struggling to find words. Have you ever just sat there and cried? I did. Not because I was angry, because we wanted those foster kids. WE wanted them. Just normal folks, willing to change the dynamic of our family and try to put those kids back together with the pieces that we had for them and we were excited to do it. Knowing all the struggles ahead. We were ready and they thought we were a risk. So we had some healing to do to say the least.

After 6 months or so after closing the file with the agency we decided to move along, completing our homestudy for domestic adoption. We knew we'd need it and just getting it over with was our primary goal. I really wasn't in the mood to talk about our childhood trauma much anymore so getting that done and over with was a number one priority. After we completed it, it was a big weight off our shoulders and we felt like we could really move on in finding how to build our family. Just recently, we've put in another, and hopefully our last, paperwork in with an agency here in Texas for the adoption of one or possibly a sibling group of kiddos through the state of Texas. We, have a plan folks, feeling good about it. We prayed a lot, A LOT, we talked about it with the boys and we're ready to get this show on the road. So...here we go again. ( insert Whitesnake song here, minus girl on car from the music video). Thank you Jesus.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Why should we be when we already are?

I have spent tireless hours in our swagger wagon the past few weeks now that school has started. Three back packs. Three lunchboxes. One nap mat. Six snacks. Three water bottles. I could go on and on. If you asked me when I was 22 and right out of college if I saw myself doing that 10 years later what do you think I would have said? I would have said "sure". I'm not sure if it's because of my parents or my environment, but I never had this yearning to make a lot of money, to marry some big wig or have a powerful job. In college I never even thought about how much money I'd have to make to survive and I didn't even realize math majors existed until I met my husband. I never knew what I wanted to be. I guess I had this inkling that I didn't have to be anything because I was already something and I just had to wait it out.

When Chris and I had our first son, I could tell he was just like me even as an infant. It was my first time experiencing similar characteristics in my entire life since I'm adopted and it was amazing to see me in him. He was and still is, bubbly, talkative, emotional, creative, and empathetic. He has this sense about him, knowing that other people's feelings are important. Making sure they feel loved is important. It made me realize that I don't have to be anything because I am me, just for him and his brothers. It was the first time in my life when I realized what God needed me to be. Selfless.  It's what all mothers are really called to be. My birthmother, the few hours I got to spend with her before I was brought to my mother, selfless. My mother, adopting a child knowing it would bring complications to her own family, selfless. Mama Mary, accepting the ultimate challenge of giving birth to The Son of Man and watching him die on a cross, beautifully and perfectly selfless. I wanna be like that.

When we experienced our first adoption that fell through last year I was angry, I did my "ugly cry" a lot. We had named her Faith, she was just perfect, so much hair, tiny little long fingers that I knew wrapped around her brother's fingers would be a blessing to us. We couldn't imagine the birthmom keeping her because she had previously placed 4 other children for adoption. But she wasn't our blessing, in fact she wasn't ours at all and we were called to be selfless. That's a hard lesson to teach but we did it and are thankful for God's grace and mercy because we know there's more to come.

So, one day in one of the "go to gymnastics, stop at Chic fil A and then head to teeball" nights, we were going around saying what we wanted to be when were grew up. I always go first, because I'm the boss, and I tell them I'm not a grown up yet so I still have time to think about it. James, a scientist. Henry...we can just hope that he's not doing something dangerous, and Lucas said he just wanted to be himself. I think that's the perfect answer. We should all have that answer.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oh snap...that's finished!

Four wonderful words. We're done with training. Holy crap, I feel like this is a huge step forward because we have worked so hard to get here! We still of course have to get our homestudy completed but after 40 hours of trauma, neglect, sexual abuse, CPR, first aid and psychotropic medication training I feel like we've accomplished a really big step. We met a few other families on Friday who were in very similar situations with young biological children and they were also fostering to adopt so it felt really good to feel like we weren't the only ones out there. It's really easy to feel like you don't have support but it's been really important to us to keep in contact with our agency, and they've been great so far. We're also really thankful for the prayers of our friends family as we went through our training so THANK YOU!!! So here's the deal....
Since we're fostering to adopt we have a couple of choices of what we could do. The first option is straight up fostering. The goal of fostering is reunification with the parents so we're 100% sure that we're not going to be doing that. Another option, would be for us to be in the "legal risk" program where the goal of the placement would be finding adoptive parents but there would still be a period of 18-22 that it could take for the parental rights to be relinquished. The last option is for emergency placements. With emergency placements you can just get a call, no knowing anything about the child, and it they try to figure out the plan for the child while they're in your custody. We're thinking right now, we'll be doing legal risk since it would give us the best option for a placement to stick. Next step is we schedule our fire inspection with the county and get our homestudy scheduled. We'll be ready to roll end of October...can't believe it. Keep up the prayers that everything goes as planned and we don't have any hiccups! High five everyone!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We All Have a Story

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

In our first training class this month our trainer's first question to all of us was "why do you want to foster or adopt??"  When it came my turn I, of course answering for both Chris and I, said, "I was adopted". It seemed appropriate but wasn't completely true.We had a story, just like everyone else in the room and we just weren't willing to completely divulge it.  Training has been rough at times. I think the hardest part was our entire evening on Shaken Baby Syndrome and SIDS. I've had this burn inside of me ever since I was little, that "you can't scare me" or "you won't make me back down" personality trait that made me stay planted and I remember praying as I was sitting there asking the Lord to keep me still and to listen. It's important to hear the stories, to know the abuse because it will help us understand possibly behaviors of our future child. Chris had to walk out and take a minute before he could really talk about the information that night and that's ok, we all needed a minute that night. To tell you the truth, after deciding to adopt through CPS we had very little support from  family and friends. For us, a bit shocking, but not completely surprising. Most asked WHY?? Why adopt one of "these children"? Why would you put your family, especially the boys, through something possibly traumatic and painful just to add a child to your family...we already have three kiddos right? "Are you willing to...? "What will happen if....?" "Are you ready for....?" These seem to be normal questions but what it's made us realize is, no matter who's questioning us, the only validation that we need is God's. We don't have to explain to everyone why we're doing what we're doing. We don't have to explain why our daughter will not be "second best" because she was a foster child before an adopted child. We don't have to explain why our daughter will be in our home because we know God's plan for us and we have comfort knowing that he's gotten us this far. I'm glad I was given a stubborn personality because I could easily try to appease everyone, but no this mama. You're setting us up for failure? For tears? I don't think so. We will flourish, we will grow we'll have road blocks and barriers but they won't be bigger than Him. You see, we rest in that. I wish I had had the courage that night to tell my story, the story of my birth mother, my family, my children and the beauty that we have found in knowing that our God is bigger than any of our pain and suffering. So we're choosing to praise Him everyday for the children we already have, for the ability to have babysitters all month twice a week so we can do our training, for our awesome trainer Angela from Spaulding, for the time we get to sit together and actually talk about the important things in our life, for our new home, for all of the prayers from friends and family, and for each other. Praise is a choice and we're choosing to praise Him through everything.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Giggle When I'm Nervous

The past six months since we've been back in Houston sort of feels like we've been white water rafting with no oars. Jumping from side to side, making sure we're afloat but having fun at the same time. It use to feel scary but now we're use to it and have learned to lean into our faith. We know The Lord is always there in the boat giggling at us. The other day Chris commented on my giggle. "Uh, oh...that's your nervous laugh." I had to admit. I was nervous. We had been waiting for the approval of our agency app and now that we had been approved and our training was scheduled I was hit with this wave of emotion, and that emotion was anxiety. How was I, the "emotional one", going to handle talking about psychotropic drugs, sexual abuse, neglect, attachment disorders and rage for 6 hours a week? I mean crap! I teared up at the information session! This is ALL BEFORE the home study. I really needed to pull it together. I needed some quiet. I needed to process my feelings and I needed to pray. We all needed to pray, so that's exactly what we did. We don't have all the answers to our questions, I still giggle a lot, but we have great friends that giggle with us, sons who make us smile even in the mist of the waves, one who always has his hands up on the ride and a BIG God. Bigger than our anxieties, bigger than our fears and way bigger than our raft. We start our training June 5th!! Please be in prayer with us!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It is well with my soul

Last night I was at mass with a good friend of mine. I couldn't take my eyes off of the beautiful children in front of me, the three oldest of five, singing their hearts in praises to our loving God. My mind, normally filled with anxieties, was peaceful and our hopes for more children seemed much closer than they did just hours before I had walked into that church. We had gotten a call that we're scheduled for our state training and home study in the months of June and July which would have us ready for placement the beginning of August. My mind exploded and we sort of giggled in nervousness but we're "high fiver's" and it was a really good high five yesterday. We're scheduled, that's big. We can totally pull this off and the idea of four, possibly five kiddos makes me smile. Such a gift to us from none other than God himself. Please be in reverent prayer with us for our training and homestudy to go well, for the child or children who'll be placed with us and for the comfort and peace of the biological family members. It is well with my soul.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Too Many Buts

I feel like we've been in limbo one too many times but I know that this time won't be the last. Part of the adoption process is just that, not knowing what's going to happen or when you'll receive your placement. Because of our recent change of plans we knew there would be a different sort of emotional challenge that we have been trying to prepare for. Children who are placed by CPS are placed for a reason. They've been neglected, abused, hurt by someone who is suppose to love them unconditionally. I'm not sure there's really a way to begin to understand that, but we're trying to wrap our minds around it. We also know that with the amount of children in the state of Texas, close to 6000 that we'd have a placement quickly. Unfortunately, we got a really big BUT after we we heard that were had been approved this week. My brother passed away back in Sept and because there has been a death in the family we were told that we'd have to wait 7 mo's to even begin our training. Although I understand a waiting period for "life changing events", I felt I had the obligation to at least try and explain my family dynamics to them. Long story short, I ended up crying on the phone with them and passed off the communication with them to Chris...my brave and less emotional husband :). So, he called yesterday and they do feel that our situation is different than any other that they've really experienced so we're hopeful to have the decision appealed and start our training. It's hard not to feel like a Mama Bear, knowing that our daughter is out there somewhere waiting for us. We want to protect her but know she has a struggle ahead. It kills us to think that we'd have to wait for her to be in an abusive situation for 7 more months just because of my brother's passing. We're trying to remember to praise God this weekend for the great kiddos we have and be thankful for their health, empathy, compassion so when our daughter arrives, we'll be there to love on her.