Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bring On The Rain

For the past 4 days, we have been living in a camp fire..... literally.  There are so many things about living in Alaska that are unique. One of the unique things is that in the summer, our state burns up. There are currently over 100 fires in our state. And those fires have engulfed our air with smoke. It is wretched and pretty nasty. I would like it to stop. Please, bring on the rain... no lightning please. That is how some of this mess started.

It's been several months, so much has, and continues to happen in our home, family, and lives. One of the most significant is that our girls remain with us. The goal remains reunification, but there is no date set for that to happen. Nothing looms over our home.... just uncertainty for them, and as a result, us. We are approaching the one year anniversary of their arrival, and I must say, that there is something powerful about one year. For me, after a year, my guards, which are pretty strong and resistant, come down. I no longer keep the children, emotionally, at arms length. I can no longer picture our home without these two girls in it. I am not sure any of us, including the girls, would survive a permanent separation. The thought breaks my heart into million of pieces. No matter how much The Lord grows me up in my walk, I find myself trying to barter with God for these children to remain. I plead not just with a broken heart.... but approach Him with a "let's make a deal" attitude. Am I alone in this? It's pretty embarrassing to admit. Here is a loving and good God who says to His children.... come, and talk to me..... and I, mostly wait, till I need something.... and I come with the notion that I may have something to offer...... and really, my pleading is often times, for my own heart, not to break again. He hears... He listens..... He comforts... He is faithful..... But He does not play "let's make a deal" with me.

Right there, next to the drama that surrounds our case with the girls..... is a life changing even that occurred on Friday June, 19th......I wondered if some of the crazy that I felt over the case with the girls, would somehow overshadow the complete joy and miracle that had finally arrived... the adoption of our son. As I share this, tears flow, freely. I don't deserve this little one's love, but he has chosen to give it to me. He is our son.....IT IS LEGAL..... though he has been in our home, for almost two years.... adoption day is really a miracle. It is the difference between being engaged, and having the ceremony, signing the paperwork... standing before an official... and making it legal!! Being married, is way better. And in my heart, there is the assurance that he is ours. We have many bumps in the road, but he wants to be ours. He accepts and has taken his place boldly, much to his older sister's disapproval (our 7 year old is not adopted, so the day was full of many emotions for her, and sometimes, she seems to demand that he acknowledge her in the hierarchy of birth order). The day was full of many friends and some family..... Our church family stepped in and blessed us, simply by sharing the day. There is this strong desire to have your child, who came in with much brokenness.... see, visually, how very much they are loved..... and it was beautiful. We finished the day with a BBQ. The kids all waded in the kiddy pool, played on the swings, and snuck in a zip line ride.

Oh, and we also had two more kiddo's join our home,  right after court. They are not permanent. They should be quite temporary. And we are all adjusting to 8. Sleeping is a tad bit touch and go.... there is a lot of repeating and food issues galore....I am praying for these littles.... the first few weeks are traumatizing, with just them being away from everything they know and that is familiar. They are effected.... and I have no answers for them. And we now have to use 2 cars, if we want to go anywhere.

Also, we may be getting licensed through TCC.... to take in placements. It would mean, instead of going and dealing with the state. We would be dealing with the tribes directly. We know we are not the preferred placement, but I wonder, if dealing with the tribes, is the better idea!!! Will let you know................. Pin It Now!

Friday, May 15, 2015

I'd Really Love to See You, Tonight

It has been a rough few months for me emotionally. I went on a date with my husband, last night (Gasp, I know!!). He looked at me, as I was just sharing how hard it has been to just get out of bed! It is hard to face the day, everyday.... and I can't peg when this became a struggle. It didn't happen just one day... Boom! But I feel like I should know why, and when, and certainly, how to make the struggle end. But I do not know.

As Toby shared with me his own struggle, he looked at me and said "it's ever since we said goodbye to K" and that idea has been rolling over in my head today. Has it really been since then? He seems to think that we haven't grieved properly, and that is the cause of the emotional lead, that  leads me to dread each day. But I am not sure that I know how to grieve properly. How do I MAKE myself process a loss that I can justify, in my head..... but still ache for in my heart? And I wonder if I loved her properly?  As I was washing the dishes today, I wondered if she still drooled when she got mad and cried....I know that it's such a weird thing to think about... but it was distinct... it was her! I wonder what her life is like.... if she is loved....I believe she is! But sometimes, I wonder, still. This is the part of foster care that makes people run..... but life is full of loss, you can't out run that.

So we face another immanent loss looming before us. We were supposed to say goodbye to the two girls that we have had for 9 months now, twice. Yet tonight, they sleep in our home, safely. The girls have been through an emotional beating, as the back and forth, and back and forth, have taken a toll.... without reunification. Honestly? I am tired!!! I am ill equipped for dealing with the effects. I need prayer. There is a review call in a few days regarding this case. I am essentially just going to be asked "how are the girls?"..... and I want to say the right words, I want to honor God, and not just say whatever I want, or speak out of my frustration, and anger. I want to convey the damage of the uncertainty in these girl's lives, after 9 months in care. At 9 months, this case is a mess. I have no answers but the back and forth can not be, the way it has been. I hold my 7 year old, while she cries, having no answers. She cries because we "leave her out", when she is not with us. She cries because she "does not remember". She cries because she doesn't know, and I think really that is as honest as it will ever get.  But it could be so much worse. She could be acting out.... instead, she feels. both girls are a bottomless pit of needs. So much need for safety, love, constant affirmation, hugs, more affirmation, and yet, more hugs..... and I love you's, which I echo back. I know this is truly a gift, but some days, my eyes are blurry and I can't see that gift.

Every part can be difficult, but that hope... the strong desire, for the kids, that I know God will put in our home..... that doesn't fade. I have moments of wanting it to all go away, but they are moments. If I got a call tomorrow, asking for us to take another case on...I would. This may be a strength... or it may be a weakness.... it depends on the day. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

And Just Like That It Will All Change

I am much more calm on paper. My friends, especially the close ones, can tell you that I tend to me much more intense when you meet me in person. In fact, you will either like me, or strongly dislike me..... fun fact, every single one of my closest friends throughout my life did NOT like me, when we first met.... turns out that the joke was on them, cause they all very much loved me, in time.

 I say this because I really lost it when I received news regarding our 2 foster daughter's case (Sorry Ashley for the "colorful" descriptive words I used when I found out the news). We foster parents can all unanimously agree that visits are the most challenging part of having foster kiddos. No matter how strong of a bond you build, or how safe and constant their lives become.... visits remind everyone that you are not a family. I do not mean this in a cruel or unkind way. But no typical family has to stop, then switch realities. There's flow and rhythm to a home, and a family. It is interrupted constantly with foster care. But with reunification.... the visits get longer and the overnights come.... which all lead to what the goal is always for kids in foster care... that they go back into a safer more capable bio family, situation. BUT, what if that goal cannot be accomplished. What if it's not in the best interest of the child? Then those visits are worst than the pits. And what if there's a new development that interrupts the reunification date? This is where our family and these two girls are.... it's called limbo. I am not fond of limbo. I very much like to what is going to happen next.... especially when it comes to my family.

But my life, my house, my time, my heart, and my mouth..... are not my own. As I follow Jesus, He slowly takes everything, and replaces it with Himself. So there is much uncertainty in a case that was supposed to move out of our care in 3 days. With foster care, everything can change. I do not know what will happen, but I am praying with all my heart, that everyone involved will think of and do what is best for these girls. Sometimes, the cases become about the parents... and the workers involved begin to think they are the heroes in these biological parents stories.... and things drag on longer than they need to.... at the expense of the kid's well being (btw, I have enjoyed dealing with every single one of the 16 kid's social workers).

Every child deserves to know where they belong. They deserve to know, without a shadow of a doubt, who it is that will protect, guide, defend, listen to, and love them. They need to know that there are people who are for them. We all long to find our place, the place we belong ..... children need that, as much as food, from birth. Kids in the system show you how devastating the disruption of meeting that need is..... or worse, they show you the faces of those who never had the need met, since birth. It does something to a child, to not have that. So we wait. Our girls and our family are in God's hands. I wonder what God's up to. Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Romance is Over

I went out with an awesome group of women friends the other night. Never mind that I was over an hour late because I had to hustle to bring my brood back from swim lessons, and my hubby insisted that I make a smoothie for my oldest, before I headed out (in desperate need of a shower). I made it! I was able to connect with beautiful mothers that I rarely get to. It was great, and rejuvenating. A couple of conversations spawned up about adoption. So, of course, I had a difficult time keeping my ever yapping, mouth, shut.

But the talking from a few nights ago, got me to thinking about how easy it is to romanticize adoption. It's what I did. I had the whole sad, but beautiful story, already written in my mind, long before we actually pursued adoption. It was tragically moving. The children were wounded but grateful to finally have a family, and be loved. On and on it went. But reality went nothing like my little romanticized world.

The truth is that adoption is messy!! No matter the route you go. In foster care, it's even more messy. I have been in the thick of it. I have had to try to let my pride get squashed.  Let go of any decency that I expect from rational human beings. I have had to say goodbye to expectations. All the while trusting in God and being reminded, daily, that my life is not my own. It is a daily death. I throw internal fits before Him, constantly.

As we reunify our 2 girls, I feel like I am being stretched to the max. I would like to give up on the whole situation. I do not want to be kind and eat dirt, before their biological mother. This is the truth, so the accolade of how great I am, really are not accurate. I have no love of Christ for the woman who is currently making my whole being cringe. I have no compassion and very little understanding. I have to continuously ignore texts and not respond to constant internal buttons being pushed. It is not natural. It is not normal. What is normal is to let her know exactly how I see the whole ridiculous matter, but I cannot.

Our house is in emotional shambles. We are terrible at saying goodbye. It doesn't come easy or naturally. I cry. And I am not even sure how I would like the story to end, for the girls, for their mother, or for our family. I just know that I do not like today, well actually, Monday. When the whole chaos begins of them teeter tottering back from our home to hers.

Eventually the pain will lessen. I have learned that is true. But the dull ache will never disappear. I ache for the little girl that we said goodbye to 3 months ago. I miss her. Our kids will tell me they miss her, at random parts of our mundane day.  All I can say is, I miss her too.

The thing about our adoption story is that one day....I will be able to reflect on this entry.... with remembrance of the painful journey. But there will be Joy. It is just how it always works with God's children. The painful events of this life are meant to declare Him faithful. To make Him shine. His Glory to be magnified. "She cried out to her God, and when all seemed hopeless and she looked foolish...... He answered".... That will be the last chapter in my story. I truly believe that. Not because I am worthy.... but because He is good.

So the romance is over. I am tired, all over. Pin It Now!