Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our "new" life, His original plan.

I was talking with a friend at lunch a few weeks ago and realized something terrible. I had become one of “those” people that I didn’t ever want to be! The purpose of this blog was to first glorify The Lord through our experiences with fostering and adoption but also to show the ugly, truthful side as well as the happy with a side of rainbows. We were discussing the issue of women feeling like they have to have it all together all the time. The kids have to be perfect, love your husband more than life, and your house better be spotless! We all know this isn’t true but it’s what we usually post on social media. I told her the truth about a picture I posted recently and felt terrible about it after our conversation. It looked like a perfect dinner with my husband and Selah but in reality it had been a dinner with Andy on the phone dealing with an issue and Selah screaming her head off and acting crazy. Then that one little moment of peace after the phone drama and the screaming I snapped a “perfect” picture. We only want to celebrate the “perfect” but we all have those days, those screaming fits, and the drama on the phone? So why are we all ACTING so perfect? Well, I was convicted and told my friend that I had really let myself down with this blog. I haven’t posted since S & J moved out! So you may think everything’s been smooth and calm since then with no craziness. NOT TRUE! I have so much TRUTH to tell and I’ve been praying the past few days of the best way to go about updating you all through the past six months because it’s been quite the rollercoaster.
The last blog post I wrote ended with I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us next. When I typed that and thought it out in my head I thought surely he would give us a good rest; and by good I meant a couple of months. But, just as I had gotten comfortable with our “new” life of date nights, cooking dinner and yoga classes God gave us our new surprise. I told you previously how much a phone call could change your world when you foster. I remember the time, and place as well as what I was doing as soon as the phone rang that day. The conversation started with “Mrs. Williams, we have a new baby here in custody and we’re looking for someone to take her.” Oh. My. Word. My heart started racing and thoughts of “What is Andy going to say?” “How is this going to work out?” “Is my heart ready for this again?” and a million other things start going through my head. As soon as I got off the phone I went to go call Andy and he walked through the front door with a smile on his face. I told him I just got off the phone with the Social Worker and he said “Me too!” I looked at him and said, “What are we going to do?” and he said, “I guess we’re gonna have a baby tomorrow.” It seriously blows my mind when I think about the time frame and how quickly life can change forever. We got a phone call around 5 o’clock on Thursday night, we had court at 9am on Friday morning and we picked up Selah from the hospital at 7pm that night.
            February 5th was the day that S & J left; it was just as terrible as I thought it would be. That entire day and the next were filled with an emptiness that I had never felt before and tons of tears. I knew I couldn’t stay like this forever and prayed for peace; I woke up that Friday, February 7th and honestly felt a peace in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was like God was literally telling me it’s going to be fine and I have great plans for you. I picked myself up and we decided to make the best of our time. We went on date’s almost every night, we cooked dinner together, and I finally started going back to yoga class. We actually were able to sit and enjoy each other again and it was fun just having time together without interruptions.
            February 7th was a special day; it was the day our sweet Selah was born. The day that my heart felt peace and had no idea why, two days after “our” kids left God brought a new blessing into the world. This wasn’t a peaceful day at all for her though, born to a cocaine addict and born into a world of terrible withdraw. Selah is such a blessing and a miracle in so many ways. Her mother did cocaine three hours before delivery (as well as throughout the pregnancy), which was an emergency C-Section. She was born a month early (originally due on Andy’s birthday, March 7th) and weighed only 3lbs and 7oz. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks before coming home to us on February 21st. The first few weeks were hard. It was hard to see a baby so small and be born into such great struggles. When we brought her home she was 4lbs and 8oz and still having terrible withdraw symptoms. There were times when she would quit breathing, she would have seizures and seemed so lifeless most of the time. I tear up thinking back to those times because they were so hard and seem so long ago compared to the happy, energetic baby we have now.                        
            To be honest, this time around the situation has been a little easier just because there was no emotional baggage from a terrible past filled with abuse and neglect. Things were terrible for Selah at birth but nothing that has emotionally scarred her today. She came home from the hospital straight to us so it made things a little bit easier with the adjustment period instead of working through the years of struggle that most kids in foster care come with. I have to be completely honest and say that I use to struggle with loving Selah’s mom. How could you do that to a child? Why do people act like that? But in the recent weeks God has strongly convicted me about this and I now pray for her daily. How can I be so in love with this child and not love the woman that she came from? It’s a hard pill to swallow but once The Lord made this clear in my heart it’s hard to think any differently. We have monthly visits with her family and they started pretty easy. She was really small so she slept most of the time, they would take pictures, and I would put my happy face on and everything was fine. The last visit I went to, her mom picked her up and immediately she started screaming. Her mom started talking to her saying things like “Momma missed you” or “Don’t you know momma loves you?” These things are so terribly hard for me to hear. All my fleshly thoughts arise and I want to scream things like, “You didn’t love her all those times you were doing drugs!” or “You haven’t called to check on her in over a month.” How terrible are those thoughts but they are so honest and real. It’s so hard to go to visits and be called “Mrs. Williams” instead of “Mom.” I wash the bottles, I get up during the night, I change the diapers and helped her through withdraw and she still gets to be called “Mom?” Those are my thoughts and I feel terrible but I’m human and this is a hard place to be in that seems so unnatural at times and others it feels like I couldn’t picture my life any differently. The hardest part of all was watching Selah reaching and crying for me while her mother held her. She has no idea who she is and it’s such a hard reality. But it also brought a peace in knowing that she wanted me to comfort her because she was scared; it was a little boost of hope in what seemed like a terrible situation.  
            Selah is the most beautiful little girl I think I’ve ever seen. Everybody says she looks like a doll and she needs to be a model. She is the light of my life and I will love her forever no matter what. The love between the three of us makes me smile just thinking about it. Things aren’t easy but it seems so worth it just getting to love on her everyday. I have tons of people ask me “What’s wrong with her?” and “Is she gonna be normal?” (Seriously, these are common questions asked due to the drugs during pregnancy.) So to answer the question we really have no idea. But, WHO CARES? She’s so perfect to us. She has been growing well and is a little behind on some developmental milestones so we are starting physical therapy next week. The doctor thinks she looks great and is developing well, she’s just a little behind due to being born so early. We are seriously so obsessed with her and I long for the day that I can post her pictures everywhere!
            August 21st was six months that she has been in state custody. After six months the judge makes a decision of terminating the rights of the parent or giving the mother six more months to get herself together. The long awaited day is tomorrow, August 25th. I have prayed for this day and this judge and everyone involved. Tomorrow could be such a big day for us. When I was praying through this blog post I thought “Maybe I should wait until after court to post/write because then I’ll know the outcome” then I was quietly reminded that it would be the easy way out without showing my true feelings which is what I’m intending to do. It’s a vulnerable situation to be in. I have zero control of my life right now. Tomorrow could mean six more long months or it could mean we can immediately start the adoption process to make Selah a “Williams.”  I have complete faith that The Lord’s plan is still perfect and no matter the outcome I will love her with all of my heart. I am so anxious and trying to be patient knowing that everything will work out for our good and His glory. There is a battle in my heart tonight, picking out what to wear and practicing using her legal name so I don’t mess up tomorrow. It could be such a happy day or such a sad one but nothing can change the love in my heart for her, our sweet Selah Jane.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Today was the day

Today was the day. The day that two pieces of my heart walked out the door. I knew it would be hard and I knew I would cry but seriously?? I don't think I have any tears left. I found myself last night asking God "Why are you taking my baby away?" But once again He told me, 'this is my plan, not yours and I promise I have perfect plans for you.' So I kept rocking and holding Jayden tight and finally put him to bed.

Can I just tell you how hard it is to rock your baby to sleep for the last time. I was just thinking, other than fostering, there aren't many times that you 'know' this will be the last time you rock him to sleep. And the way I loved him, and prayed for him and kissed his cheeks last night taught me something. Once I have my forever kids, I'm not promised tomorrow with them either! I pray that I can always hold on to and love my children like it's "the last time" because all kids should be loved like that.

Getting out of bed has never been harder than it was today. Washing bottles for the last time. Folding that last load of baby laundry. And packing up his diaper bag for the last time. It was just as hard as it sounds, and my heart literally hurt. But I had to be strong. Strong for my babies. But once I closed the door behind them the tears came again. Standing in the same spot in the kitchen that I cried when we got home from that first doctors appointment with S almost a year ago to the day.

The difference was, the hug that happened between me and my husband. The first hug was a "I'm really scared, I don't think I can be a mom yet" today's hug was "You have loved me through all of it and we did this TOGETHER" And it was so much more comforting. They say hard situations make you grow closer and I fully believe that. I've seen my husband do amazing things and be the biggest supporter for our family and for that I will always be grateful.

I thought I had pulled myself together and was going to lay down and try to rest when I went into J's room and found his baby book with a note saying "I wanted you to keep this, I know how special it is to you. Love you mom, S." So of course I had to look through it and see his footprints, hospital bracelets, first pictures and I can't say I held it together then either.

The hardest part for me has been not being able to explain this to Jayden. He's so little but he still knows who Andy and Kristin are and I can't imagine who is going to rock him to sleep tonight but I just pray he doesn't wonder why it's not me. I know it sounds silly but who knows what goes through babies minds.

I prayed on Saturday that I would at least get one good night of rocking him to sleep and cuddling because those of you with children know how precious that time is. And I got to rock him to sleep every single night since then and I am so grateful. Every night was perfect and comforting that God heard me and gave me so much sweet time with him. He did all the cute perfect things that I always loved like rubbing his face in my shoulder and sticking his bottom lip out and smiling in his sleep. Those were sweet moments that I will always have and it has made this a little easier.

So now what? Where do we go from here. Well I said I wasn't going to write another blog because I didn't want to seem like I wanted a pity party for myself because I don't at all. I just know people are going to ask how was it? and how are you? And I thought maybe this could answer all of those and hopefully save me some random 'crying in public' moments. So here is my answer:
 I am thankful for everything the Lord has blessed me with. I am really excited for the future because I know He has amazing children just for me. I am sad, but I don't want to be defined by my circumstances. God has bigger plans and He's not through with me so I can't sit at home and feel sorry for myself. He has given me the strength for this past year and He will give me more now. So all in all, I'm doing good and we're excited to see what the future holds.

I can't explain how much support we have had the past few days. Everyone has been so encouraging and supportive. I've gotten so many calls and messages that you all are praying for us, we got flowers this morning from sweet friends at church; it's always so nice when you're reminded how many people are behind you and supporting you. I just want to say thank you for everyone that has helped us on this adventure because we all know 'it takes a village to raise a child' and we had so much help.

When God brings an end it is also a beginning and I cannot wait to see what our next journey holds. Thank you Lord and all glory and honor to you

Friday, January 31, 2014

That time God wreaked our world, again.

As you can imagine, there just isn't much time for blogs when you have a newborn but now that he's almost five months old I guess it's time for an update. Can I just say how much God has taught me since this time last year. It's been almost a year to the day that I found out about S and if I only would have known where I would be this year I would have laughed and said "you have got to be kidding me" I think the word for the past year would have to be 'emotional'. Bringing a child into your home off the streets, walking with her through pregnancy at 13 and then helping her deliver and raise a child wasn't exactly in my five year plan but praise God that He has bigger plans than I do! And that He gives me the strength to get through all of it!

This year has been exactly how I always pray my life will be. I don't ever want to just live life, day to day, no real emotion or passion with a 'lets just get by' attitude. It has been the deepest hurt followed by God restoring and bringing me back to such a peaceful place and then the next day full of laughter because J did something way too cute. It may sound bipolar but what I'm trying to say is our emotions have been at one extreme or the other and thinking back on it I've learned so much. Mostly, how to trust the Lord through all of it sometimes because it's my only choice, and I pray I will always live with that faith.

So when you're fostering or adopting the phone ringing is a huge deal; sometimes annoying, sometimes exciting, and other times devastating. Well we finally got that devastating call this past week, the one where they tell you they're coming to get your children for further placement. Now, if you're around us at all you know these are OUR kids. As in, S calls us mom and dad and J lights up when he hears our voices. These are the kids that I've loved with my whole heart since I heard of them and you're going to just take both of them away?? We all know that with fostering this is a normal occurrence but for me these are the thoughts running through my head. To be completely honest, S has had some really bad times lately and I know a more therapeutic setting is honestly in her best interest. We love her more than words can say but you have to know when it's time and what is really best for her. J on the other hand, he has felt like "ours" from day 1. He didn't come from a different culture and want to go back to his "old home" and he never tells us "I just want my family back" These are all expected behaviors from S and we still love her through it but we are the only family that J knows. And it kills me to think that I won't be there when he's crying for us. When S comes to me and says "J wants you, you're the only one that can make him stop crying" or "J has been crying since you left but now he's fine" I can hardly handle these thoughts, that my baby might be crying for me and the Lord only knows if we'll ever see him again.

Like I said, S has had some really hard times lately and they've told her that she has one more chance and if things don't change they're putting J in state custody. This would hopefully mean that if this happened he would come back into our home as a foster child. Our number one prayer is that God's will is done and 'our' kids His kids are where He wants them but of course my fleshly prayer is that J will one day be back with us. Although, since we got this news, I've been so at peace about the whole thing because I know everything that has happened so far as been part of God's perfect plan, why would He stop now?

Our greatest prayer is that hurting hearts will be healed because we are all pretty upset right now. It truly feels like someone is coming in your home and just taking YOUR kids and there is nothing you can do about it. It's frustrating that I feel like the 'system' is failing because the plan is that they will go back to the same horrible situation they came from. But after a lot of tears and asking "why" I have come to realize that I am crazy for worrying. God MADE us, and it's not my job to decide what He should do with us!

In my heart I know that God has the most perfect children picked out for us and wherever they come from it will be in His timing. But to be very honest it still isn't easy these last few days to put J down or to put him to bed when I just want to rock him and hold him tight all night long. I'll miss S sitting in the bathroom watching me get ready even though it use to drive me crazy along with comments like "Mom I ain't tryin to be gay or nothing but you is really pretty" lol. I have loved every minute of my crazy life this past year and these will always be my first two children and hold a special place in my heart forever.

God can teach us amazing things through hard circumstances. These past few days I have seen my husband step up and try to make me as happy as he can. He has helped do everything with the kids because he knows I'm struggling. I've learned that Andy is not going to settle for me being upset. He will not stop until I'm smiling and what a good quality to have in a husband.
I've also learned that we have two sides of amazing grandparents for our 'kids' whoever they may be. Our parents have loved these two like they are their own children. And we also have a church family who has gone above and beyond to help us and we will forever be grateful.

The truth is that God has a plan very different from ours, we just have to have the faith to let Him. And yes He will give us much more than we can handle (I'm not sure who came up with that silly saying that he won't) because we need Him, and He wants us! I pray that our journey has helped someone is some way to bring awareness to the issue of foster care or just to have faith and let God take control. I've heard "you and Andy are just amazing people for doing this" one too many times. I HATE hearing that. I don't want the glory, God does. And I could not have survived this without Him.

Wednesday February 5th is the day. There will be ugly crying and smiles and I'm sure a lot of hugs. I dread this day but I know I'll get through it and so will the kids. God isn't finished with us yet and they can always say that Andy and Kristin love me but God loves me more. And in that, I feel that I've done my job.

The week J came home!

Naked baby naps are the best naps :)

Be still my heart..

"Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise." --Andy Stanley

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Is this real life?

So, let's just talk about how behind I am in the whole world of blogging.. Okay, now that's over with, let me update you on my crazy beautiful life. This may take awhile.....

Where do I even begin? The last time I wrote I updated you about plans to move S in our home. Tuesday April 23rd we received a call that the process of moving S here was going to be terminated and unless we could get everything completed by the end of the month then they would have to find some where else to place her. After spending two months with her and bringing her into our home for visits and mostly the fact that I knew God had planned this entire thing I just wasn't going to let that be the final answer. So, I cried and complained for about 10 minutes in Andy's office at work.

(Timeout: most women when receiving news like this just want their husbands to hug them and let them cry and say everything's gonna be fine. Not my husband, not this day. He sat at his desk, didn't hug me, and said something along the lines of "Kristin, are you seriously gonna let them tell you no? All we have to do is pray and make some phone calls" This is not the response most women want, but it made me toughen up and do what I had to do instead of whining about my situation.)

We prayed about it together right then and let it be. I knew I had done everything I could do, I was literally leaving the whole thing up to God more than I ever have with any other situation. Literally one week later exactly and about two hours later I was in Andy's office (seriously, I do not go there very often which made it kind of crazy how it happened) we were about to go to lunch and I get a phone call. It's S's social worker and she said "I am going to pick S up today or tomorrow and we will meet you at your home, I'll call when we're almost there" Okay, hold on. Yes exactly a week later our prayer was answered. Were we finished with our folders of paperwork? Or our 27 hours of training? Not even close. But those are minor details in the eyes of our Lord. He wanted S in our house and He is the only way she got here.

On April 30th, we got a call that afternoon that we could go pick S up from the girls home. We were to help her pack and bring her home and the SW would meet us there. When we think of packing, we think of boxes. And loads. And multiple trips. We get to the girls home to "pack" and walk into her room and there is one medium sized box and a duffel bag. Literally all of her clothes were in one bag and everything else she owned was in the box. Of course after looking around we found a few items she had forgotten but I think that was just one more box. To think that her "whole life" of belongings would fit in one large box just really surprised me at the time. I know I should've expected something like that but you really don't believe it until you experience it yourself.

After S moved in she was still made to attend school in Hernando which is about 15-20 minutes away from here. So making that drive twice a day for 3 weeks was fun, but thankfully that is over. Since then her days consist of eating and resting mostly. It's hard enough to be pregnant, but she is only 13 and it's summer! We found out that S is having a BOY! Andy won that bet :) We had a fun little reveal party with some friends and I think she is getting excited about it being a boy now. Except when we're out and she sees a really cute baby girl with big hair and then she gets a little sad lol.

But to be honest...

I've had a 9 hour spine surgery with pain that still affects me to this day. I've gone through numerous heartbreaks whether that be with family, friends, or past relationships. Within three months I got married, turned 21, and became a pastor's wife and then moved to a new state a few months after that. And I've also completed three years of nursing school at one of the top schools in Memphis.
I can honestly say this [fostering] is by far the hardest thing I've ever done. Period.

One of my biggest pet peeves (for lack of a better term) is that 95% of adoption/foster stories that I hear are all butterflies and rainbows. Now, in real life experiences that I've shared with friends that have done one or both of these that is not the case. But I feel that our country glamorizes adoption to  just be "the new thing" or "the cool thing to do". Let me tell you, there is nothing glamorous about it. It's rewarding in that I know I am in the will of God himself but to be honest, that's really the only "happy" feeling I get. This may sound completely selfish to some but it's just the truth of my life lately which I feel is the purpose of a blog. When you pour your heart and soul out to one person and give up numerous aspects of your life, risking things that could determine your families future and then they look at you and say things like "I didn't beg you to take me in" during the heat of a discussion its not "fun" at all. I don't say that to down S, I say that because the truth is that our lives and relationships have been really really hard and frustrating lately. Does this mean that every day is bad? Not at all. S can be very sweet and thoughtful but for anyone that has gone through the things she has and what she still is going through they're going to have some bad days.
My favorite questions are "Why did yall do that?" and "Where did you find her??" and "What made you want to be parents?" Actually I'm laughing right now replaying questions I've heard people ask me. But my favorite answer is "You know its really kind of funny, God just told me to." For one, it's the truth and two, I didn't "look" for her. I also didn't exactly want to be a parent at 22 while I'm still in school. And to answer the question of why we did this.. (Warning: This may sound harsh) I do not honestly think you can be a true believer of Christ and born again child of God and not have a heart for orphans. That doesn't mean adopt five of them, that means have true compassion and do what you can with what you have been given. Did I have all the free time in the world, or money to provide everything for a child? Absolutely not. But I did have two extra rooms in my home, an empty bed, an extra spot at the dinner table and a faith big enough to know that God would work out the details. That doesn't mean you have to foster either. There are children's homes all over our cities. Go find one. Volunteer. Spend time with them because I promise all they want is to know someone cares. I'm not at all saying this to "lift myself up" those of you who know me know that is not at all my intention. My point in saying all of this and really the purpose for this blog is to open up your eyes and bring light on children that don't have any hope. I've always had a heart for adoption but I thought my only choice was to wait until I was 25, start the paperwork process, wait a year for a match and then fly to Africa or China and bring my new child home. That is SO closed minded but that's how I thought I could "help the orphans" Now that the Lord has literally given me this opportunity and basically laid it in my lap I have researched and learned and asked questions and want nothing more than to help the masses. Not just one child or even two. Yes I want to adopt and yes I have a passion for that aspect but more than anything I want to help other people understand the importance of this issue. You don't have to go to Africa, or Haiti, or China. We have thousands of orphans in the U.S. I only had to drive 15 minutes to pick up S. And there is a house full of girls waiting to be fostered in the home she came from.
If nothing else comes from me sharing my story I hope it has at least opened eyes and hearts that were once closed about adoption or orphans in general. Here are some numbers to think about. If this doesn't hurt your heart a little then you may want to check your pulse

In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families
in the foster care system.  115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.

Source: AFCARS Report, No. 19

Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans
who have lost one parent.  There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development.  These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death.

I've also read that there are around 5,000 children orphaned each day around the world. This is so shocking and I cannot keep quiet about it. Yes i want to fix everything for every child but we know that's not possible. I hope these numbers stay in your head and remind you to at least pray for these hurting children. I know some of you may think I sound like the sad commercials we all hate watching on TV asking for money just for food and water. But honestly, until you have a child in your home that has lived on the streets and has gone to jail for stealing food to feed her siblings it's hard to comprehend that this is reality for many kids. I can remember a number of times when S first got here. I would open up the microwave and there would be her plate with like two bites of food left. She always saved her food. She would eat half of a brownie and put the rest in her bag. I've never gone to bed hungry so I can't empathize with her but it's a sad reality to see happening in your home of an old habit that use to be a way of survival. 

I know this has been the longest post ever but that's what happens when you don't write for 3 months! Okay, on to prayer requests for the here and now.

-Pray for hearts. All of the hearts in this home because they're all struggling in some way. We do not know what the future holds for S or baby J but we know either way and whatever happens is going to be difficult and painful.
-Pray for decisions to be made. We need to go to court which was suppose to be the first week of May. It still hasn't happened. S has to decide what she is going to do. September is quickly approaching and we do not have a plan as far as her keeping him, or adoption, or who knows. It's hard to think you may have a baby in your home in 2 months or you may not. (Especially for a woman like me that needs to plan EVERYTHING. Yeah I'm getting over that slowly but surely.)
-Pray for S with the last stage of this pregnancy. She is 31 weeks. We're so close. I feel like I'm about to have a baby. I go to the doctor every two weeks, I remind her everyday about her meds, and I try to feed her as well as I can with her select food options lol.
-Pray for Andy and I as a couple. Fostering is hard on a marriage. I mean he has rehearsals, meetings, trips, and everything else that comes a long with being a worship pastor. I have school four days a week, doctors appts every two weeks, visits with S's family which is an hour away, as well as the everyday duties of a wife. We're so busy that I feel like I've neglected most of the people close to me because there are literally not enough hours in the day. And I apologize for that. It's hard to balance and prioritize a million different things with so many people relying on you and I'm doing my best. As far as Andy and I, we really do not have the money but we are determined we're going on a vacation in August after school. We are so looking forward to some time together and away from the stress of life. This will be such a great time for us to regroup and recharge before starting a busy fall schedule as well as having a newborn on the way! My phone will be off! :) Off topic, but we have been married for almost two years already! I can't believe it.

I just want to say thank you to everyone that has been praying so far. Things are hard but they're good. God has really shown off lately with the way He has perfectly planned so many things. I know everything will work out for my good and HIS glory! I will really try my best to be dedicated to updating everyone. As you see it is almost 2am but it's quiet and no one is around so it's a perfect time to stay focused. Please keep praying and know that they are truly appreciated!!


The diva's room :)

 Easter basket, complete with hot chips, pickle, pickled sausage and candy ;)

 It's a BOY! Cupcakes opened at the gender reveal party.

Baby stuff! We have a car seat, stroller, pack and play and some clothes. That should be enough right?? Not really. We still need a lot and I've had people asking for the registry so i'll post a link!

This ultrasound was at like 21 weeks? We got one two weeks ago. Baby J has HUGE feet! Basketball player in the making?


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Update with S!

" Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." James 1:2-3

This is my verse for the year. I just knew that this year was going to be hard but amazing and this is the verse He gave me to get through it. I honestly think of it daily especially when issues come up with S which seems to be daily. Being a foster parent is not what I had planned at all and its harder than I ever imagined but if we don't fight for her then who will?

This might be a long one so just be prepared. I haven't written an update in a while so here it goes!

       So life with S in our life has been a change for sure. She is not officially here yet but we see her about every other day or so. We recently had a DNOW at our church and she got to be apart of it which was really good to kind of open her eyes to the Lord and that church isn't just a routine, being a follower of Christ is a daily opportunity and choice. Andy and I have recently just realized like oh my word she came from poverty basically raising her self on the streets to being in a pastor's home. Big, huge change and to be honest she's doing better than I could hope for.
     We also had S here for Easter which was really fun. I kind of joked about it because getting her Easter basket ready was not what I am use to. For example, we had hot chips, pickles, pickled sausage etc in our basket haha. Made me laugh for sure. I love that life is so crazy right now and so not what I had "planned"

School: So the plan for school is to home school as soon as we can. Right now the kids are picking on her and she isn't able to concentrate like she needs to. We had a meeting today which went well in that she is no longer being "targeted" for having discipline problems. She is also on track and her grades are good enough that she won't have to continue school through the summer. The plan is for her teacher to come to our home twice a week to test her, see her progress, and help in her problem areas while I keep her on track and do whatever I need to do throughout the week. We go to speak to her doctor tomorrow to try and get a letter recommending that she be home schooled to help with nutrition and rest as well as her emotional well being.
Prayers: That we can get her home school started as soon as possible even if she is not living here full time yet. Also that bullying at school will stop (this "momma" is tired of seeing her cry).

Baby: So we went to the doctor last week and she is measuring well but she is still not eating enough. She has lost 3 lbs since she got pregnant which we all know is not that great. We go again on May 2nd for her next check up and ultrasound so hopefully we will find out what she's having. Which she is very ready for. S is praying for a girl by the way! She is now almost 18 weeks so we're getting to the half way point.
Prayers: Weight gain. Calm nerves (she gets very nervous every time we have an appt. as every 13 year old would if they had to go to the "girl doctor")

Andy and I: Today we finally got our resource worker. This is a big deal in that we now have someone on our side that can help with the process and someone to talk to and ask questions. Finding a nice human being in the state to deal with has been an all around challenge so I am incredibly thankful that we have a very kind resource worker. This is a huge blessing since she is the one that we are depending on to get us to the next point. For those of you who don't know, she is the person that keeps us informed of what paperwork we need to get done, where classes will be, getting us prepped for our home study, and whatever else needs to be done and when. The list of papers we have to get together is CRAZY! As well as 27 hours of classes that are only available an hour away. But I know that we can do this and I trust that the Lord will get us through. Also I start back to school on May 6th so I need to get as much done in the next couple of weeks as I can just so I don't have to completely stress out when nursing school starts taking over my life.
Prayers: We need things to move as fast as possible! We need classes to be available. We need paperwork to go smoothly. We also need to have a great relationship and attitude with everyone involved. I have to admit I get frustrated when 5 different people from all over MS are calling asking a million questions.

As you can tell the Lord is going to have to provide many things in order for this to get done in a timely manner. I know HE can do all things I'm just going to need help remembering that and staying patient is hard for me. Prayer is honestly the most important thing that anyone can do to help us right now. I've had many people ask what we need and what we're gonna have to buy for the baby and the truth is that babies need lots of things! So when the time gets closer we will make a list of needs for baby s. I am going to take her soon to register for necessities at Target or Wal-mart and when I do then I'll post it and if you want to help in that way it would be amazing. The only thing we HAVE to have for the home study is a crib so if anybody has one of knows of someone getting rid of theirs please let me know. Other than that we just need prayers and lots of them! Thanks so much for the support and it means so much to hear kind words of encouragement because this is anything but easy but I know it's part of His plan which makes it worth it.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Manicures and Taco Bell

Wow, things have been crazy and busy lately. Just want to update on our whole fostering process because I've had a lot of people asking questions. Since my last post we have seen S three times.

Our first visit was to take her clothes shopping and to eat. We told her she could pick anywhere in Southaven that she wanted to eat and the sweet girl picked Taco Bell. So we take her and tell her to order whatever she wants, this results in her ordering one taco. So we get our food and sit down and after a little bit of small talk there was a pause and out pours the stories. Stories that I didn't really want to hear but needed to just so I could know her heart and what shes been through. She began to talk about how she's never met her father and that her mom just went to jail. She shared stories of how she had been abused along with her younger brother. And then out of no where she looked up and said "I just want to be your color" (chill bumps immediately appeared). How do you respond to that? So I asked her why she wanted to be my color and she said "Black people just fight and argue and white people like peace" As we know that is not at all the norm for either race but in her eyes that's what she has been taught through her experiences. She also seemed completely shocked when she found out Andy and I were married. She asked me "why did you do that?" and said "I hate weddings". Through many questions and explaining a lot of things she started to understand but the fact that the concept of marriage was so foreign to her was an eye opener. We truly come from a completely different culture than S and I need to remember that. She also told me that I was a copy cat; I asked her why and she said "Because I wanted to be a nurse first!" Needless to say it was a good night and we learned a lot about each other. It was also a great night because it was the first time Andy and I tried a pickled sausage ;)

Our next visit was this past Saturday, we were meeting the girls at Chick fil a in Olive Branch. Let me just say, I have a brand new respect for this company and will be supporting them more than I did before. They were serving lunch to the girls in the home S is from and Andy and I were invited. They had set up a table with flowers and a table cloth and had menu's. They let the girls pick anything they wanted to eat and even had a "waitress" at the table to bring them things. They also got a gift bag when they left which they all loved. We got to speak to the director of marketing for over an hour and she was so sweet and thoughtful with the girls. One of the girls even said "This is the best day ever!" They really enjoyed it and so did we. After this we took S to get her nails done. (After we stopped at the gas station and grabbed a pickled sausage of course) It was so much fun just to get to do something with her other than just dinner. She of course chose pink and said her's looked cuter than mine did :) Andy was a trooper and sat in the nail salon while his girls got pampered.
Yes we had fun Saturday but it felt different. It felt like she was actually a part of our little family and that we all fit together. Every where we went she was right beside me and even followed me to the bathroom at the nail salon. She's getting attached. Which is wonderful and scary all at the same time. I wasn't expecting it so soon at least from her side. I loved her the moment I met her but that was because I knew God had placed her in my life. But for her, I thought it would take months for her to be able to trust me and get close.
Sunday she got to come to church and I see her as soon as I walked in and Cathy (her house mom) says "Don't let her fool you, shes been looking for you since we got here" So she came and sat by me and as soon as Andy got on stage she said "look there's Andy!" The service started off like any other, small talk and us sharing some candy but then we had a guest preacher who spoke on loving the "outcast" and "the least of these" Listening to that sermon with S right beside me brought things to a whole different level. It reminded me of the responsibility God has trusted me with in helping to shape and teach this precious child and to always love her like He loves me.
In the middle of the service I glance over and see her holding her hand out looking at her nails, so I hold mine beside hers and she just looks up at me with the biggest smile. A moment that seems so small but it was huge to us. It was a reminder of the time we shared together and the fun we had that previous day.

Things are moving slowly in our process of getting her here full time but that's okay. We see her on the weekends and we love the time we have together. I'm praying that everything works out for her good and I know that will happen, I just have to remember to trust the Lord every single day that this is His plan and it's not on my timing which is emotionally challenging. Sometimes I just want her here. Especially last week when she was sick, I just wanted to be her "mom" and to love on her.

This next week is her birthday and Andy's so it's gonna be a party in this house ;) We also have a doctor's appt coming up next week so if you could all pray about that, I know S is nervous. I guess that's all the updates for now, thanks so much for all of the prayers!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Love never fails

So I found myself sitting in my kitchen floor last night staring up at our new refrigerator piece. The first ultrasound photo on our fridge and it's not mine. As I thought about the journey we are starting it brought me to tears, I just sat and asked God, "What am I doing? I cannot do this." And it's true, I cannot! But with Him I can; along with help from friends and family as well as our wonderful church family. WE can do this! No sooner than I could get that prayer from my lips I noticed the magnet I just so happened to quickly grab without thinking, and the tears came again.
Love never fails. And as my wonderful friend Kim says "Love just works"

So you're probably all wondering where this random ultrasound came from and in fact it is not random at all. There is a wonderful and precious little girl that God has placed directly in our paths and we are going to have the privilege of welcoming her into our home for however long the Lord see's fit. She is 12 years old and this is her ultrasound photo that she received yesterday. You can only imagine the pain she has gone through in her short life that would encourage a decision such as this. Andy and I know we do not have the right answers as to why but we do know that she needs the love of Jesus and the love of 2 people as parent figures in her life to guide her.
February 7th will always be a great day to us. It's the day we got to meet "S" and start our journey together. We still do not have every detail worked out as you can imagine but there are a few things that we do know. As of next week we will start the transition process of bringing her into our home. This will include shopping trips with S and I, dinner dates as the three of us together, and then overnight and weekend visits. If all goes well then she will be moved in by the end of this month. Just to give you a small recap of our day yesterday..

We get to the girls home she stays in now and load up to go pick her up from school. As we pull up, Nikki one of her house moms goes inside to check her out. Andy and I are sitting in the van anxiously awaiting a sweet young girl to walk out the front doors. After seeing numerous kids walk out and Andy shouting "Oh I think that's her" and "Look that might be her" Finally out walks Nikki with S, our hearts are pounding and it felt just like the moment I had always pictured in my mind while daydreaming about adoption/fostering. Hearts are pounding and here she comes, "Will she like us?" "What should we say?" "Should we have brought a gift?" "I just hope she likes us!" All of these thoughts running through my mind as S climbs in the car and crosses her arms. We had a doctor appt about 15 minutes away from school and the entire ride there she sat in silence with her arms crossed. Of course more thoughts run through my mind as I wonder what's running through hers. We get to the doctor and shes still very uncomfortable as any 12 year old would be at the "girl doctor" and I get to go back with her for the ultrasound and the doctors consult. More thoughts "What am I doing? After today, I will be the one taking her to every doctors appt. What questions should I ask? I have to be "mom" for her, she's 12 and has no idea what's going on." While waiting for the doctor finally words came from her, and a comment I would've never guessed. "I want a pickled sausage" Okay, just so you all know I have no idea what this is! lol. And I really have no idea where to find one of these but it has become my goal before she gets here to find these things! Of all things in the world, our first bonding moment was about a pickled sausage, whatever that may be. But I thank the Lord for it because it gave us something to laugh about together. As we leave the doctor and head back to the girls home she seems to open up more around the other girls and we all have a few laughs as all the girls beg us to stay for dinner as well as ask Andy to give guitar lessons to everyone as soon as possible! I think we also had an invite to a science fair. Needless to say, these girls are begging for our attention. But I notice sweet S sitting in the corner smiling every time I look over. As we get ready to leave I ask her what her favorite color is and she excitedly answered PINK! I told her I was going to get her room ready and it would be very pink with a pickled sausage waiting for her. She laughed and said okay. As much as I wanted to hug her I tried to give her some space and not be crazy but a feeling of love for her has already taken over inside of me. I love her. Not because I feel sorry for her and her situation but because I feel God himself has planned this entire thing and he has prepared me for this moment for a long time. I love her because He has given her to us. Not to spoil, not to feed, but to love her with the love He gives us and share His love with her as much as humanly possible.
I do not think it's a mistake that I took a semester off even though I had everyone telling me I shouldn't. I prayed about it a lot and felt God was telling me himself that it's the right choice. Now I see what he had planned. And some may disagree with my choice and that's okay, but I know I'm doing what God as called me as a woman to do and there is no greater joy.

What can you do for us? PRAY! We are fostering a child that comes from third world country conditions. She has never had a doll, never had a Christmas tree, and has never been able to be a child. She also is a little behind in school, she has 9 weeks left for this year and most likely once she moves in I will start homeschooling her myself with a teacher coming in twice a week to help along the way. Big changes are coming our way and we really pray that our friends and family support us 100%. I am starting today to get her room ready which will be our guest room (also known as the room where we throw everything) so there is lots of work to do. Just a couple of big things we need as far as the room goes is a headboard for a full sized bed and a shelf for her school books. If anybody knows of one that would be great! As for me, it's time to get everything pink! The Williams' have a girl on the way and we cannot wait!