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