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?