Saturday, August 2, 2014

Great haircut

By the title I'm sure you are thinking "what does this have to do with foster care?" :)  Today I went to get a scheduled haircut with a woman I've seen only once before.  When I arrived she was running way behind and hubby was waiting for me to get back to go run his errands.  They offered to have another woman who was not busy do my hair.  I am not picky and anyone can do my hair, so I said "yes please!"

We discussed how many kids we  have and then she asked "are you done now?!"  I explained that we are foster parents and no...we are not done :)  She said "I have to tell you something really cool!"  She went on to explain how she was a former foster child.  She had been in the CA foster care system and had been through 3 placements.  The final placement wanted so badly to adopt her and her sister, but the biological mother was able to get the kids back.  Not what the children wanted, but no one listened to the children.

Many years later she re-connected with her former foster mom and she said "she is my mom and he is my daddy.  They always have been and always will be."  Her and her sister flew out to CA and after that Idaho (when they moved) to visit them and they FB/text almost daily.  The foster mother was amazed that the girls sought them out and wanted to reconnect.  She couldn't believe the girls remembered them.  Sometimes I think that we as foster parents minimize what we have done for children.  B. and her sister were in their home for 2 years and those were the 2 years that had the most impact in her childhood. She told me about all the things that they taught her and how so many things have stuck with her.

This brings Choo Choo to mind :)  He may be living somewhere else calling someone else Mom and Dad, but ya know what??  I think he'll always remember his time with us and who we were to him.  Many of the children we foster are so young, but somewhere deep in their spirits our love matter if we had them for days, months, or years!

On top of all that she gave me a great haircut and charged me a very small amount!  She said that she cuts mostly kids/family hair and she appreciates that we need to stay on a budget.  So thankful to have found B. and heard her story :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Little Prince stays for now!

I have been terrible about blogging here and if this is the only place you follow me, I apologize!  You are probably wondering who in the world Little Prince is!  About a month ago around 1:00am a sweet bundle of joy was dropped off at our home.  He was 3 months old and as cute as could be!  He's been with us for about a month and today as the first court hearing for his parents.

You see....both his parents are living  in a highly secured gated community if you get what I mean.  They have made some really bad choices.  I was not required to go to court this morning, but I know that LP is their first baby and I cannot imagine (in spite of their choices) not being with my baby (especially the first!)  This will be their only chance to see him because visitation will not commence until they are released.

So, I got up early (court was at 8:30), got the kids up early and dropped them off at a family friend's, drove the 1/2 hour there, went through security and went up to the court waiting area.  While I was waiting in the line for security I saw a group of family members and there was an empty car seat.  As I walked in to the waiting area, they were sitting there and I heard them whisper his name.  I made eye contact and they asked "Is that {LP}?"  Yes, I told them and asked who they were.  There were 2 grandmother's, a grandfather and 3 aunts.  They all came rushing over to his stroller and tears streamed down each and every one of their faces.  The love and sorrow they all felt came oozing out and LP was totally overwhelmed.  They asked a few questions about him, but really just gushed over him until we were called in.  The empty car seat meant they expected to take him with them.  I wondered what they had been told.

I took him back in my arms and prepared myself to walk into that court room.  We were instructed not to talk to or touch his birthparents.  As they saw their son for the first time in a month the tears rolled down their cheeks. I sat opposite them and held the baby up so they could see him. The harsh reality of the consequences of their choices was staring them in the face. Whatever their choices and consequences it was clear that they love this baby! I even got a "you better stop that!" look from the bailiff when I held him up on the way out.  Ooops!  Anyway, it is clear that this baby has a ton of family that loves him.  The problem comes when most of them have records and have been deemed inappropriate to take care of baby.  

There were family members that have had homestudies done.  The first was denied, but *could* be approved if certain things change before our next court hearing.  The other is still being determined and the woman is out of the country right now.  She better high tail it back by the next court date if she has a hope of getting this baby.

After court I let the extended family have some more time with the baby and they all said their goodbyes.  Visitation was awarded to both sides of the family.  2 hours for each side.  I know there is a staffing tomorrow and I bet we'll find out when all that will start.  The family members were all very grateful and thanked me for taking care of him.  Our next court date is pre-trial on 8/14 with trial the week of 8/18.  On the 14th the homestudies will be reassessed, so if either one of them passes Little Price will be leaving us.  It is my assumption that they {bio-family} will do everything in their power to get this baby back to family.  As long as it is a safe environment I am all for it.  I look at Choo Choo's case and if his family would have fought to get him from the very beginning so much trauma that he is going through now could have been avoided.  It's crazy how fast you can fall in love with someone.  We love Little Prince so much and he will be missed a lot, but then we also know the flip side of staying in foster care altogether too long.  

Please continue to pray for our Little Prince and what God has in store for him!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Our first visit with Choo Choo!!!!

Today we had the enormous blessing of seeing Choo Choo again!  It has been 7 1/2 weeks since he left us.  We planned for a BBQ at a park in-between our houses.  As we drove there I was had butterflies in my was he going to react?  sad? happy? confused? ????

When we arrived Uncle was already there and had snagged us a pavilion.  The rest of the family was a few minutes away.  When they finally pulled up we all ran across the grassy area (some faster than others-lol!) and the kids all embraced him.  It was precious!  But then ya'll...he saw me!  He got a huge smile on his face and gave me the sweetest hug...and he wouldn't let go!  Hubby got there and he wanted a hug too, but nope.  He only wanted to his momma!  After a few minutes he finally let go of me and hugged the hubby too :)  We all walked back to the pavilion and he immediately wanted Michael and I to go play on the play structure.  Ya'll...for my boy....I put my big tooshie down that tiny little slide over and over to hear him giggle!!!

It was hard in the beginning because he called me by my first name.  I understand it but I didn't like it :)  After a little while he called me Mommy and it's like no other feeling I can describe!!!  We went back and forth to the pavilion every once in awhile for food or a drink, but he kept pulling me away to be alone.  He wanted me to sit on the stairs with him and eat we did.  He wanted me to take him to the we did.  He got a bit sad and asked if he can come home with me/us.  "Oh will ALWAYS be my baby and I will ALWAYS be your Mommy and I think of you, but you live with Uncle B and Aunt M. now.  I am excited I get to see you  though!"  It seemed to calm the sadness...for a bit.

Over the 3 hour visit he would run and play with his brothers (old and new) and then he'd come back for hugs from Mommy and Daddy.  Several times something very minor happened (a hurt finger, baby tried to eat his shoe, etc) and he broke out in tears that broke my heart.  It felt so good that he wanted me to comfort him and just hold him through the tears.  There were tears, there was happiness, there was another level of acceptance. 

Goodbye (again) was HEART WRENCHING and as Aunt and I hugged and cried together there was talk of beach trips and movie trips and more get-togethers.  I think this visit is definitely the hardest one for sure.  Praying for lots more fun get-togethers very soon!  His bio-family loves him very much (and the extended family that came too).  I just wish that things had been different...that my sweet boy never had to experience this trauma in his life,  but then I wouldn't know the amazing, wonderful little boy that he is!  God uses ALL THINGS FOR HIS GLORY!  We are blessed beyond measure that we got to visit with him today!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A new understanding

As foster parents we are asked to take a perfect stranger into our home, love him or her as if they were our own child, and then give them back.  After that we are to brush ourselves off and decide to do it all again. 

In our 4 1/2 yrs of fostering we have had a whopping 5 (including Squishy) placements. LOL! The first one never left, Choo Choo was our second and we all know how that ended.  3 and 4 were very short term and their goodbyes were not heart-wrenching (2 wks and 5wks).  Of course Squishy just got here.  So.....that leaves Choo Choo as our one and only heart-wrenching goodbye so far.  Many others  have been in this situation over and over and over and I commend you! 

This being our first experience means a new perspective.  I've felt several times over the past 6+ weeks like a birthparent.  Of course the situation and circumstances of why the child was taken from me are very different, but the pain is probably very similar.  We raised Choo Choo from the time he was 3 days old to 3 yrs old.  We were his parents in every way possible except that all important piece of paper. 

I have a new approach to birthparents because I know what if feels like to literally ache for your child. I know what it feels like to wonder what they are doing every single second of the day.  Are they sad? Do they miss me?  I was happy when the CPI called about Squishy's first visit today.  I will be sure to communicate as much as possible ( and is appropriate!)  I will send lots of pictures each visit to let them know their child is thriving and doing well.  I will honor them on special days like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  No matter the situation, that parent will always be the one who created them and even though many bioparents can't take care of their children, they almost always love them.  I honor ALL my children's birthparents on Mother's/Father's Day. 

I also have a new appreciation for my first two children who came to us through bio-parents (not foster care related) who made the ultimate sacrifice for their child.  This has always amazed me, but now that we have made a similar sacrifice and paid a hefty (emotional) cost, I stand in awe of them even more. 

I am happy to say that Choo Choo's Aunt sends me pictures and they even honored me on my birthday by having Choo Choo make me an AMAZING birthday card that I will cherish forever!  I get to see Choo Choo one week from tomorrow!!!!  My mind is racing as I think about how he will react to seeing us, especially with a new little one in tow!  Although the visit is a week before Mother's Day I am pretending it's Mother's Day because ALL my children will be together :)


I think most of my readers are also following me over on FB, but for those of you who just check in here, I will give an update from this week!

On Tuesday night we accepted a placement for 14 month old BOY.  YES!  I joked on FB that God thinks I need more practice or I am really good at it :)  He is the most adorable boy and several of his features remind us so much of Choo Choo!   It's like rewind has been hit and we get to do it all over again :) 

He sleeps really well so I am very thankful for that.  He eats (and eats and eats and eats) pretty much anything that I offer him (except eggs).  He ate Thai food (non-spicy ;) ), brussels sprouts, all sorts of veggies, etc.  The thing he liked the most and immediately recognized was PIZZA! 

In just 4 days with us he is already bonding with us!  I can't leave the room the without him crying for me.  It's a total meltdown if I go the bathroom! If he becomes uncomfortable in public he backs his little tooshie over to me and wants up.  He's one of the sweetest cuddlers ever! 

He just left for his first visit with Mom and his siblings.  All 3 of his siblings have medical needs so they are currently meeting at the hospital so they can all be together.  I know virtually nothing about this case or the history of it.  So for right now I will take my job as foster momma seriously and just love on this baby! 

I was curious how my kids would react and everyone is LOVING him!!!  They like to play with him and even when he hits them or throws a toy at them they are so gentle with him and correcting with their language.  Yesterday I took the kids to the Aquarium and snapped this picture of him outside in the water play area.  It was soooo sweet :)  Love that smile!!

Oh and his online name will be Squishy because he's got the cutest baby fat thing going on and you just want to squish and hug him all the time!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It snuck up on me!

This week I seem to be very emotional about Choo Choo.  Every.single.thing. reminds me of him!

Like this....

It is an anti-bully commercial on Cartoon Network.  For some reason my sweet boy LOVED it and it came to be known as "his" commercial!  It brought me to tears a few days ago :-(

I think that having him open his presents (with his therapist last week) and knowing that aunt/uncle really have no reason (other than caring about Choo Choo's transition) to contact me is a hard reality.  I really don't think they will contact us again.  It breaks my heart for Choo Choo who deserves a better transition!

And then it hit me.....EASTER! This is the first holiday without my baby :(  It all clicked as to why I haven't felt like making a big dinner or really feeling happy about such an amazing holiday!  Then the crazy wheels in my head kept going and realized he won't be here for my birthday and Mother's Day is just a few weeks away.  I am BLESSED with 3 other children and don't get me wrong...we will celebrate, but at the same time a piece of my heart will be missing on that day :(   

Our household is learning to live without his sweet face here everyday but it sure isn't easy.  Love/foster care/adoption can be costly but oh so worth it!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Last week I found out I had a homeschooling event with my boys in the same city that Choo Choo lives in now (about 45 min from away) and so I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet with aunt/uncle/choo choo since they wouldn't have to drive anywhere and I could just give him his gifts/lifebook.  I waited and waited and never heard anything back from either of them :( 

I honestly need closure and I need to stop "hanging my hat" on every promise of a visit.  I contacted Choo Choo's therapist (who also lives in that city) and she met me this morning and she is going to pass the things along to him.  She said she'd Skype with me as he opened the gifts (early next week) so he would make the connection that these things are from us (and not her) ;) 

So....his things are with him (or will be very soon) and I feel like the ball is in their court.  If all the promises and nice words are true then they will contact me.  If not, then I feel horrible for Choo Choo and sad that he could have had a better transition, but I have to let go.  I can't keep doing this to myself or my kids.  He is gone.  He is out of our control.  They have no legal obligation to contact us ever again. Of course I pray that's not the case and perhaps they are just trying to find their new normal as well.  I guess only time will tell......

At the homeschooling event I met another foster mom who is starting the reunification process with their first placement.  She has what I desire to see in foster care.  A mom who worked really hard to get her baby back.  A mentoring relationship between foster mom and bio mom and continued contact desired post-reunification.  As I told her our story we both shed a few tears knowing the opposite extreme. 

I think we are getting close to opening our home again.  The Band-Aid has been ripped off.  He's gone.  We are establishing what our family looks like without him, but it still hurts.  I see his picture and it hurts. I was going through old voicemails and found one where he says "Hello?  Hello Mommy?  You there?" and I broke into tears hearing his sweet voice again.  He is my baby.  He ALWAYS will be.  There is a part of my heart that has been forever changed by that sweet, amazing, beautiful little boy.  A part that still bleeds some.  The scar is forming though and I don't regret that scar one bit.  It is a reminder how God used my family to make an eternal impact on the life of one child. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Phone call

This morning Isaac went ballistic over something so small and I knew that something was bothering him.  If one of the other kids did this...ehhh...but with Isaac I knew something was bothering him.  I let him calm himself down and then asked if he wanted to talk about anything.  He said no.  About a minute later he came over to where I was and said he missed Choo Choo and that he had a dream about him last night.  I asked what happened in the dream and he said that everyone was there and Uncle said he didn't want Choo Choo to see us again.  He started crying a bit and said he was afraid he'd never see Choo Choo again.

I have been able to talk to Choo Choo twice now (but not the kids) and we have gotten pictures.  I asked him how he felt about calling Choo Choo when he got home from daycare.  Isaac's mood lightened and he said he'd like that a lot.

I texted uncle to ask him if that was ok and Choo Choo called me instead :)  It is both an upper and a downer to talk to him on the phone.  It's so comforting to hear his voice but then at the same time he just isn't himself.  You can tell  he's soooooo sad when he talks to me (although I have been reassured that he is happy too and he is dealing with things appropriately). 

This evening I called again and the kids, hubby and I spoke to him.  The kids were so excited but they didn't get our "Choo Choo" on the phone.  They got a sad little boy.  Isaac got off the phone and said "that doesn't sound at all like Choo Choo"  I hadn't told him anything about my calls.  My Mom can attest that that boy LOVES to talk on the phone, but these calls are different.  These calls are painful and healing all at the same time.  His answers are "yes, no" or "ok" for most things.  If we say that we miss him or love him he will reply with the same thing. 

I really pray that we can work a visit out soon.  My kids need the closure and Choo Choo certainly needs to know that he will continue to see us and be a part of his life.  I asked Uncle about a visit but...ya know.   We will see when this all actually happens.  I may be in his area for an event soon, so maybe I'll ask if I can drop by and it doesn't have to be anything formal at all....I really want to give  him his lifebook and presents and especially a HUGE HUG!!! 

I am so grateful that Uncle/Aunt are keeping in contact with us and that Choo Choo has at least heard everyone's voice and knows that we still love and care about  him and haven't totally disappeared!

Friday, March 21, 2014


I received the first box of diapers today!!!!  Keep 'em coming ya'll!!!!!!!!!!!  I have a goal of 1000 diapers (total, not packages) and I am praying we can bless the socks off of our agency with even MORE than that!! 

I need your help to do that!!!! 

Email me if you need my address or I'd be happy to come pick them up if I know you IRL! 

New Normal

It's been 1 week and 2 days since our sweet Choo Choo left.  From Wed-Sunday of the first week I wasn't myself.  It was hard to think of anything except him.  My mom, sister and her two kids had been here from Mon-Fri and it was Sat. night that it all hit me.  Everyone else went to bed and I was up, bawling and looking at his sweet face through the tons of pictures we had taken the past 3 years.  It was very cathartic and healing to be able to just let it all out.  Sunday evening another wave  hit as I realized that I didn't get to go pick my baby up :(

Monday morning my spirits were lifted as a phone call was Choo Choo!!!!  He didn't have a lot to say, but when I talked to Uncle he commented that just minutes before I texted (to see how he was doing because it was killing me) he said that Choo Choo asked several times for Uncle to take him to my house now.  This week was his first full week at daycare....what an adjustment this little boy has had to make!

Monday we started our new normal!  It was back to homeschooling, exercising and eating right!  Boy that long transition and crazy schedule for over 2 months was not good for any of those things listed above!  It feels good to get back into a regular routine.

Tues we got a call from placement saying that they knew we were on a break, but were wondering if we could take a 1 yr old.  At that point we weren't even a week out from saying goodbye to someone of 3 years.  We just weren't ready yet, so we said no :(  Even though Choo Choo's goodbye is still fresh it wasn't easy to tell her no.

Wed (this week) I was out on a boat ride with the other boys when I got a text from Aunt.  It had two pictures of Choo Choo!  Unless you have experienced this type of loss, I don't think you can truly understand what that means to a mommy/daddy!  It brings so much peace knowing he is happy!

We are definitely on the road to healing, but I am looking back over the past week+ and now that I have been through it, I want to do more for families with children coming and going.  Our neighbor brought us a meal which was just what a needed Sun night and my sister sent me a huge thing of chocolates which are delicious, and we received one card.  Lots of FB messages have been nice to receive.  I'm not sure if people just don't know what to say, are afraid I'll break into a crying mess, or just don't care????  If you are thinking/praying for someone....let them know. Make it personal!  Call them on the phone and speak to them.  Personally, the very first week I didn't want to cook at all.  Give families a gift card for eating out or bring them a meal.  Invite them out for coffee to chat.  Offer to watch their kids for free so they can have a date night.  Ya'll...if you can't foster, then support those who are.  It's a hard road and we battle places of brokenness and sadness that most will never be able to imagine.  Don't wait for someone else to fill a need for an adoptive/foster the hands and feet of Jesus and DO IT!  Ok...I'll get off my soapbox....I guess expectations (which I shouldn't carry...I know!) failed me.  Thank God for his peace and presence  here during this time!

I am really surprised (but I shouldn't be) how much God's grace has just covered us this whole time.  Hubby and I are doing very well considering and the kids have been doing pretty well too.  They talk about him and we look at pictures and reminisce about memories.  There hasn't been the bad behavior/tantrums that I expected so that is amazing.  Today was a really rough day however and I'm not quite sure I have an answer for could be Choo Choo's leaving or something totally unrelated.  They all were sensory messes, so I had them doing lots of sensory activities.  The OT said that emotions and emotional situations can heighten the sensory system, so deep breathes and one day at a time :)

This morning Uncle texted me for information which is all in his yellow folder (which gets sent with a child from placement to placement with all their pertinent info).  I told him it was all in there and he said he'd have Choo Choo call me after school today.  Will it happen?  I don't know and I can't hang my hat and depend on anything he says, but it's awesome knowing that there will be continued contact between our families and Choo Choo is doing well :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Our final goodbye

This past week has been very hard for our family.  As we entered this week we believed we'd officially transition Choo Choo from our home to Aunt/Uncle's on Wednesday and then  have a "final goodbye" picnic/party with them and some other family members on Saturday. 

Monday evening my mom, sister and her kids arrived for a visit with us and to say goodbye to Choo Choo one more time.  They live nearly 1400 miles away, so this was a special visit.  We spent lots of time together Tues/Wed.  Wednesday morning I started to prep Choo Choo for our final goodbye and that this time he wouldn't be coming back.  He *knew* but just didn't want to believe it.  He had a major meltdown that morning and I just took him my room (hubby was already in there) and as Choo Choo screamed I just held and rocked him and told him it all was going to be ok.  Tears started to flow down my cheeks...I just couldn't hold  it back anymore.  Hubby came to hug us both and Choo Choo calmed down a bit.  He went back and forth between us.  He'd hug and cuddle one and then go to the other.  He did this for quite awhile and we all just grieved together. 

We spent the rest of the day, until drop off, at the Aquarium having some more fun together and creating those last memories.  It came time to leave and Choo Choo kept saying he wanted a snack.  I told him I didn't have any and he kept asking "can we go home?"  Ahhhh.....that was one hard car ride to meet his Uncle.  He ended up falling asleep 10 min. before we got there :(  Those naps are not good under normal circumstances! lol!

We pulled into the parking lot and everyone got out of the car to say their goodbyes.  Lots of hugs and kisses.  Choo Choo was so confused and kept walking back and forth from our family to Uncles trying to comprehend what was happening to him.  This broke my heart.  He was just so sad :( 
We finally ended our time together with promises to see him on Saturday with presents and treats.

Thursday evening I got a text from Uncle cancelling the party (with no reason) and saying maybe we can get together for an egg hunt next month.  Clearly, Uncle did not realize what this meant to us and that it wasn't just a nice get together.  This meant closure for Choo Choo and closure for our family (our kids!)  We've been talking about this for awhile  now and everyone was looking so forward to it. 

It's been 3 years of this type of behavior.  He says all the right things and makes promises to do things with absolutely no follow through.  I SO wanted to believe that after transition things would change.  They haven't.  He promised Choo Choo they would call before bed on Wed night...they didn't (not the first time).  He promised the party...not happening.  He has talked about get-togethers and overnight visits.  Emotionally I just have to set it all aside and I can't keep hoping for things to happen.  I have to trust that God's got this and I (we) have to start healing from this tremendous loss in our lives.  When/If God has a plan for us to be in his life (in whatever way) then He will make that happen. 

How are we doing?  It hurts really bad :(  I already miss him so much.  With time and God's grace I know things will get better though.  I pray that God gives me an opportunity to give him his lifebook and gifts that I had not sent because I wanted to give them to him at the party.  We need that closure and it will mean so much more coming from us rather sending them in the mail.  Although, if mail is the only option then at least he would have them. 

My visiting family left today....I am feeling super emotional and not at all like cooking, so take out it is!  Praying for a better day tomorrow!



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well...not yet!  In April I will be having a birthday and I recently saw on another foster momma's blog a great way to celebrate!  So thank you Catie (if you read this!) for the idea and I pray that our agency is as blessed as yours was!  I'm sending this out early to give ya'll plenty of time! :)

In case you are not familiar with she decided to ask friends/family/blog readers/anyone (!) to donate items in honor of her birthday.  Each year she has done something different to bless her agency and foster families as they all step out and reunite families and care for children.

I have decided that I would like to walk in her footsteps and reach out to you all to celebrate my birthday in a similar manner!  The Children's Home Society is our agency and we have been so blessed by them over and over in our 4+ years as being foster parents.  We have grown to be good friends with our social workers and feel they do a superior job at taking care of us as foster parents, but especially caring for the children!

I would LOVE to bless their socks off with donations of diapers (we'll start there this year :) ) I'd love to flood their office with so many different size diapers to bless the foster families and children with.  Size newborn-6 and pull ups too!!  If you want to add wipes or any other goodies that's great too!!  I know many of you are excellent couponers and can snag these at great prices!! 

If you know me IRL feel free to call me and I will pick them up or you can drop them off here.  If you are out of town mail them to me or if you would like to just make a straight donation to CHS I can provide you with that address too!  Email me at for any info you need and I look forward to blessing others this year (and not focusing on my age-lol!) 

Don't worry, I'll send a few reminders along the way :-)

Monday, February 17, 2014


Last Thursday evening we accepted a respite placement of a 7 month old little boy I'll simply call "C."  He was soooo cute but very high maintenance!  The kid was over 20lbs easily and just wanted to be held.  His FM told me that he needs to be rocked to sleep, held when eating (table food),  etc.  She is a single FM (my hat goes off to all of you who do this alone!) and he is the only child in her home. can imagine him coming to MY house!  We do not do quiet very well here! lol!  He was a bit overwhelmed at first, but overall adjusted pretty quickly.

Having him here was weird.  Everything I did for him I would daydream a bit back to when I did that for Choo Choo.  Making/feeding him bottles, rocking him, laying him down, playing with particular toys and so on. 

Yesterday I served in the infant room at church and there was a sweet young 20-something in there.  Her comment to be was "babies and I don't get along!"  I thought "why are you serving in here then?" lol!  I told her she may change her mind in time and she said "I doubt it!!!"  After a bit I put "C" near her to see what she would do.  He immediately tried to pull himself into her lap.  She accepted him and the rest was beautiful!  She sang with him, played with him, and by the end was telling me what an amazing thing we were doing for him.  She said that her family had adopted a boy from foster care on his 14th b-day :)  While we were cleaning the toys after all the parents came she said "can I show him to my mom?  She's in another room."  I told her "sure, why not?"  I walked with her over there and she said to her mom that "when she grows up" she wants to adopt!  :)  Several other women, some of whom I don't even know, were so excited to gush over a baby and one even said "I heard through the grapevine you had another one!"  Really?  I don't know you, but that's great! 

I was really tired yesterday (he didn't sleep well) and I'm getting a bit of a cold, plus I had a horrible headache.  I feel bad for the woman who said "I could never foster because I'd get too attached and couldn't let go!"  Ok...we foster parents hear this (bad) excuse ALL the time and perhaps I was a bit short with her, but let's just chalk that up to not feeling well and "things we don't say to foster parents." lol!  No really, I wasn't mean, but I did give her my spiel :) 

It's really interesting processing grief.  This is our first "long-term" goodbye and the sadness pops up at the craziest times.  A wise and sweet social worker (you know who you are!) told us not long ago to "feel everything."  If we stuff these feelings (no matter which ones they are) we cannot heal and move on to continue to fulfill our calling.  Yesterday afternoon as I pulled in the driveway after picking up Choo Choo he realized my husband's car was not there.  He immediately burst into tears and said "Mommy I'm sad!!" :(  I got him out of his car seat and we just had a good cry together in the back seat of the minivan!  He was trying to hold all that in, but Daddy not being home when he got there was just the last straw! :(  That won't happen again!

On Sat. I talked to him on the phone and he didn't have much to say other than "I don't know" when I asked him questions.  The only thing he asked me was "do I get to come to your house today?"  He didn't cry at all.    I think it's starting to sink in.  He didn't call  it home :(  Everyone is trying their best to prepare him.  I sent a picture book with him and some of his personal toys to keep  over there.  I think gradually moving his things will help him as well.  I sent a church CD that his favorite Miss Leah gave to him and his uncle said he blasted it in the car and in the house and wanted to listen to it over and over. 

He has been a bit different coming back this time. He's not so aggressive...more loving and just wants to be by us.  There has been some tussles with Michael though.  All Michael does when Choo Choo leaves is ask when he's coming back, but when he's here all they do is fight.  I'm just not sure if it's his way of processing, or if Michael is pushing him away to start to separate the emotions.  I can't get in that 4 yr old's head, so we just keep on giving lots of love and reassurances.  Michael really enjoyed having the baby here this weekend though and gave him lots of hugs and kisses. 

Hubby and I had discussed having a "party" for Choo Choo as our final goodbye rather than a "cold" parking lot transfer.  I approached Uncle about it and he thought it was a great idea.  We are going to meet at a park 1/2 way between our houses and Choo Choo's two families will have a bbq, have some cake and play together.  A celebration of his first family ( we really are his second, but we are the only ones he ever really knew) and his forever family!  Uncle/Aunt say they want us to remain in his life, so we are praying we will have continued contact with him and get to continue to watch this amazing little person grow and develop!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Gotcha Day Choo Choo!!!!

Three years ago we opened up our home to this bundle of absolute sweetness!  He came to us straight from the hospital and we jumped on the rollercoaster ride of our lives!  Thinking back 3 years and remembering all the long nights, shirts covered in puke, respiratory issues, etc that come with a new baby I can't help but let a tear or two fall today. 

I am honored today and keep thanking God for entrusting this precious boy to us for 3 entire years.  We feel so privileged to be a part of Choo Choo's story.  We pray we will make an appearance in another chapter along the way if it is God's will.  There will be a glorious unfolding in his story and I look forward to watching him live out God's calling on his life. 

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
(Stephen Curtis Chapman)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

10 misc. things about me for absolutely no reason-lol!

  • We've had 4 total placements (plus lots of respite situations) in 4 years!

  • I love coffee and probably drink too much of it

  • If I could go anywhere in the world right now I would probably choose Italy.  I really want to go before I die :)

  • I love to eat healthy foods and exercise, but oh...bring me a cheesecake and I just might be over tempted to indulge!

  • I'm originally from Michigan and although I like to visit family in the summer I desire never to spend another winter driving in that snow! (For my parents it has totaled over 80in. this winter already!)  Related to that....I HATE to be cold!

  • Weakness?  I struggle with my kids chewing! lol!  Often times I literally have to leave the room because I cannot stand the crunching of food.  I've been known to also stick my fingers in my ears.  They aren't nasty people, I have something wrong with me...seriously! lol!

  • My hubby is the love of my life!  I think he's super hot and people comment that we still look at each other as if we are dating....this month that will make 16 years! God knew what he was doing when he brought us together.

  • Speaking of hubby....we met in a tire store.  Yes, he worked there and I had a flat tire.  He gave me his personal number and I called him up!  WAY out of character for shy little ole me :)

  • I have 2 big sisters that I look up to immensely...still! 

  • I want a baby girl :)  Through adoption and foster care God has only given us boys.  Coming from a family of all girls there has been a huge learning curve!  He has stretched me and changed me all for the better.  Maybe the next call we get will be for a new gender though?? Don't get me wrong...I'd never exchange my experiences with my boys for ANYTHING! 

Friday, January 17, 2014


When Choo Choo was about 4-5 months old his CM at the time was trying to actively get bio-dad to sign surrenders and tpr on mom would be easy because she abandoned him and was no where to be found.  Back then Choo Choo was pretty high maintenance and we spent many nights laying awake on the couch and cuddling.  As I would pray over him I continually heard the name "Samuel."  I used to whisper to him "are you my little Samuel?" thinking that one day God would grant him to us officially and we would rename him Samuel.

As time went by and things got more complicated that experience/name kind of went out of my mind and I didn't think much about it anymore. 

Late last year as we prepared for the court hearing that we truly believed would move toward making him our official son we needed to think of a name for him.  His current name was not a long term option.  Hubby and I don't really have difficulty with boy names.  We usually have no trouble agreeing, but for him we couldn't.  Samuel doesn't fit my boy.  His name wasn't to be Samuel.  As I prayed I had a strong feeling his name was to be "Malachi." Hubby did not like that name.  I dropped the talk of baby names and decided to wait for a decision from the judge before we had any more discussion.

Of course we all know the outcome of court and choosing a new name for him was not necessary.  And then....

I am on a 21 day fast right now and have been spending a lot of extra time connecting with God and praying and seeking wisdom.  Today he led me to I Samuel 1.  I am very familiar with this story but love it.  Then I got to verse  24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull,[a] an ephah[b] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh.  I stopped in my reading, frozen as He made it all rhema (click) for me! 

Samuel was most likely weaned (or most baby boys were) at about age 3!!  Choo Choo is three!  Choo Choo is MY Samuel!!!!!!!!  No, I am not his biological or even adoptive mother, but God granted me this child until weaning age (3).  If you are not familiar with the story of Samuel I encourage you to check out the whole thing! :)

Then I recalled the name  "Malachi."  It means "Messenger of God!"  I believe that he had to truly be in our home and get his start here so he can go out and be that Messenger of God.  I believe strongly in naming our children purposefully and declaring what we hope for them to be.  I am so grateful to be the honorary momma to this amazing little boy, even if only for 3 years!!!

Today when Choo Choo was speaking to my sister on the phone he said "My mom is not my mom."  It's so hard to not take statements like that personally (he's said that one other time).  I want to get angry at aunt/uncle for telling him things like that.  I want to angry at the judge for making the decision she did.  BUT GOD...gently reminds me that Choo Choo is HIS.  Choo Choo will fulfill the name He has given him, no matter what environment he is in.  I will always be that sweet boy's mommy in my heart, and deep down in his, no matter what lies the enemy may whisper. 

I love the end of I Samuel 8.  Verse 17 says "But he always went back to Ramah. where his home was, and there he judged Israel.  And he built an altar there to the Lord."  (emphasis mine)  I don't think this story is over.  There is more to how Choo Choo will continue to impact our family and play his role within :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

How are the boys?

Several people have asked me how the other three kids are doing.  So far, they are doing alright.  Nothing has changed yet, so they aren't really feeling the difference too much yet.  However, Choo Choo went on his regular weekend visit today and last night that sparked something in our most sensitive one.

I was sitting at the computer typing and I could see him out of the corner of my eye pacing back and forth.  I stopped and asked if everything was alright.  I could tell he was fighting back tears.  I asked "what's wrong buddy?" and the floodgates opened.  Poor boy!  He was just crying and saying how much he's going to miss to Choo Choo.  He then started asking lots of questions....

  • Does his uncle have our phone number? Can he call us?
  • Can we send him birthday presents?
  • Will I ever see him again?
  • How will I be able to remember him?
  • Will he remember me?
  • Can I send him pictures?
  • Can I write him letters?
I gave him all the answers he was looking for and then told him some of the things that I want to do so we have remembrances of him.  I then asked if he had any ideas.  His idea was to get lots of copies of Choo Choo's picture and tape them all over the house and on the inside windows of our car so wherever we went Choo Choo would be with us and he could talk to him.  :)  Since that conversation he has been taking pictures of Choo Choo with his tablet and giving him lots of hugs and kisses.  We cried a few more tears together and Choo Choo joined us.  "Why you sad Mommy?" Ahhh.....he knew why and before I could answer he said "Don't worry Momma!  I go Uncle B's but then you come and get me Sunday.  I come home and be with you.  I be right back Momma!"  This is so hard for him to understand. 

I emailed with the CM the other day and my FDS is trying to set up a therapy appointment for him here with our kids and then also at his uncles and the new daycare.  This therapist will need to approve the transition plan the CM is drawing up.  I told her that 4 months (what the judge suggested) is too long.  I think 6-8 weeks max is more along the lines of appropriate.  He is very familiar with them and drawing this whole thing out for 4 months is going to be pure torture on everyone.  He is already starting to act out and having more and more tantrums that are not his typical tantrums.  He is having trouble sleeping as well. 

As Choo Choo is gone for longer periods of time I know more will come out and it will probably be behavior-wise.  When Choo Choo returns from these long visits it will also be difficult.  I am hoping the therapist is helpful in ways to help all my children work through this transition.


Thursday, January 9, 2014


 22 I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. 23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall."

My sister posted this passage on my FB wall a day or so before court happened.  The day before she posted, Choo Choo saw a key in a windowsill.  A key that has pretty much been there since the day we moved in (extra copy) 2 years ago.  He never noticed it or asked for it until that day.  He carried it around and NO ONE could even touch HIS key.  I was praying it was significant to the results of court.  As we all know, it wasn't that day.  My father's name is also David :) 

He loves this key and walks around with it in his pocket most days.  I plan to get a special key chain for it and send it with him on his final day.  Aunt/Uncle will just think it's a toy key, but we will know better.  It will represent that he is a member of this family (members of families have keys) and our door will always be able to be opened by him!  Papers will say he belongs to another family and so does blood, but in all our hearts he belongs to this house. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Nothing Is Wasted

"In sorrow we have tasted, but joy will replace it."

Church today was beautiful and difficult all at the same time.  This being our last weekend with Choo Choo made this his last Sunday with the people who have helped to lead him toward God and sweet little friends.  I took a few pictures and many, many friends gave me hugs, "I love you's" and sweet words of encouragement.  Thank you church family!  I cried more than I expected to but that's ok...God caught each one and those are just more seeds to eventually bloom :)

I have already gotten the inevitable question of "will you continue to foster?"  YES!  The hurt is REAL, but I tell you with great certainty that this heartbreak has spurred both hubby and myself into wanting to help another child.  "Are you nuts? You want to go through this again?"  Awhile ago we both said "we need a LONG break after this case has ended (one way or another)."  We were obedient to God's call to foster and just because His plans didn't line up with ours, that shouldn't make us any less obedient.  We will take a short break and heal a bit and then we definitely will jump back into the crazy land of foster care because the need in our county is so great. If we say that we don't want to get hurt again, are we fulfilling God's mandate?  No, we are just being selfish.  These children did not ASK to be in foster care and they need a loving and caring home to go to.  When it is in our ability to provide for another child....what excuse possibly could be good enough to not help them???  God's grace will always be sufficient!

Ya know what I want to see???  I want to have a case where we as foster parents get to come along side birthparents who realize they made a mistake and do EVERYTHING possible to get their child back.  I want to see a court system who doesn't fail a child.  I want to help birthparents and honor them. (AWESOME message on this at church this morning by John the book!) 

I don't know what God's plans are for Choo Choo, but I know they are GOOD!  As we were eating lunch today I just looked into my sweet boy's face and said "do you know how much you are loved?"  His response was priceless...."God loves me!!!"  Oh sweet are not making this goodbye process any easier by being the sweetest thing on earth!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A bit more....

Our atty asked me in questioning about the whole Permanent Guardianship thing.  I told her that when asked we were not open to it (after speaking to others and a lawyer) because we wanted to give him the same status as all of our other children.  We want him to share the same last name as all of our other children.  We want a sense of normalcy for him.  PG would make him different from our other kids.  He deserves ADOPTION!

In the judges closing remarks she said that in all her years on the bench she's never heard a foster parent say gracious of us.  UGH!  That makes me angry and I'm wondering how every other foster parent has answered!  EVERY child deserves PERMANENCY!!!!!!!!!  This system is so broken and misguided! 

I'm not going to go off on any rants right now because the emotions are still too raw, but.....things must change!

Several sweet family members/friends have posted on their FB pages about us and we appreciate all the calls/texts and messages!  It breaks my heart though to hear that our story is discouraging other people from pursuing foster care.  Is there sadness today? YES!  Is there sheer heartbreak? YES!!! 

Was it worth it?? YYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have NO regrets about welcoming in, loving and caring for our son.  Yes, to us he will ALWAYS be our son!  God call us to a life of obedience NOT ease and comfort.  If you are comfortable in life then you probably are not being open and obedient to Him.  Choo Choo is my offering back to God.  We sacrificed so much over the past three years, but it wasn't for Choo Choo....we sacrificed for God.  Choo Choo is HIS.  As much as we love him, God loves him more and His ways are not our ways. 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not get "turned off" to foster care because you might have to sacrifice and hurt.  Do it for God and nothing will return void. 

Court...the 2nd day

We were the first case to be called as promised yesterday.  After we were all sworn in our lawyer said that the GAL would be first to testify, then hubby and finally me.  Ahhh...I was all prepared to go first.  Oh well.  The GAL and hubby testified for only about 5 minutes and then I was called in.

The testimony part actually went really well.  I answered all the questions from the heart and the atty seemed very positive that things would go well.  On cross examination the first question the state asked me was "When {Choo Choo} arrived at your home you understood the role of a foster parent and that the main goal is reunification?"  Whew....I almost went off on her.  DUH...of course we understood that....but that was THREE years and lots of drama ago!!!  After that we were all brought back in to hear the closing arguments.  The State's case rested in them being biological family.  Our lawyer made some incredible points and I really thought we had this clinched!

The judge then said that this is the hardest kind of case to rule on.  There are 4 people here who love one child very much and she was going to hurt someone very badly.  She said these kinds of cases will "stick with her" for many years to come.  She then went into the details and it pretty much hinged on the expert testimony that was given yesterday by the psychologist.  Her statement was that 3 things are pertinent here...1) attachment (the MOST important) 2) kinship and 3) permanency.
It was almost like a point system here ...home vs. the away team!  The Dr. stated that permanency could go either way...point for each of us.  Kinship goes to the aunt/uncle obviously...point them.  It came down to attachment.  I was thinking the whole time that we have this because it's the most important!!  The judge then quoted a statement from the Dr.'s report that said that he definitely was more attached to us but due to the bond that is already established with aunt/uncle that a healthy attachment could be formed.

After that she dropped the ball....Choo Choo is going to live with aunt/uncle.
 She then went on to say that she wants this to be a slow transition.  This poor child will start by seeing them every weekend for a month.  The judge said the following is her recommendation but she wants the state to confer with a therapist to determine what will actually happen. Then for the 2nd month he has to go there every weekend and attend daycare 1/2 day every day.  This child has never spent one day in daycare.  Yep...that must be better! Excuse the's alive and well today!  Then the third month is visit every weekend and go to daycare all day 5 days a week.  And then finally a full transition.  I'm not sure who they think will be driving him to daycare everyday, because it's not going to be me! 

While we are grateful it will be gradual for him this is going to be torture for my family and especially my kids.  The judge "suggested" the aunt/uncle that they remain in contact with us for Choo Choo's sake, but I have a feeling that simply won't be happening.

I managed to keep it together while in the courtroom, but zipped out quickly and headed for the bathroom.  I locked myself in a stall and began to bawl.  The lawyer chased me down and as I came out I saw she was bawling herself.  She has been fighting for my little boy for 3 years too.  Her tears were real and so genuine that I was touched.  She said that she knows I am a woman of faith and she is too and that she had spent a lot of time in prayer with Jesus over this case.  We cried, we hugged and finally got ourselves together enough to exit the bathroom.

I was in total shock....I couldn't find words.  It was a quiet ride home.  I'm going to Costco later to buy the super huge thing of tissues.  This is gonna be a long 3-4 months.  My poor hubby is so sweet....he's going to have a wet shoulder a lot! My tears are not of tears are of pure and genuine sadness.  God has a plan for Choo Choo's life and apparently we are only a small picture in that plan, but I rest in knowing that we have given him a good and firm foundation on which to build.  The Lord gave me Job 1:21 about 1.5 months back but I just didn't want to accept it.  My heart hoped He meant something else.  He didn't.....

Please read this link now....

Thursday, January 2, 2014


was continued!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Can you even believe it??????????? 

We got there at 9 followed shortly by everyone else.  We waited and waited.  9:45 rolls around and the lawyer says that the judge isn't even there.  There was one case to be called ahead of us and that got called around 10:15. 

We were next.  We all made our appearances and found out that the judge was at an emergency dentist appointment due to a cracked molar and that is why she was late.  The proceedings started with the state invoking the "rule of sequestry" (sp?) which basically means that no one can listen to anyone else's testimony and once you have testified you cannot talk about it to anyone. 

Aunt was called first and was in the room for about 1/2 hr.  Then there was a long break where no one was called and I think that is when the CM was testifying.  Then Dr. B the psychologist was called in and she wasn't in there as long.  When she came out she said I was next.  Deep breathes.....

5 minutes later all the players came out of the courtroom and said we are continuing till tomorrow morning at 9am.  WHAT???????  The judge had a full docket this afternoon and couldn't continue.  She has 13 cases to hear tomorrow so she will be motivated to move us quickly.  We were told when we got there today not to expect a decision for 2-3 weeks.  BUT...because God is merciful the judge said that she would give her decision tomorrow. WHEW!!!!!!!!

During our nearly 3 hour wait we had nice conversations with aunt/uncle.  As hubby and I walked back to the car all in shock that we have to do this all over tomorrow, we commented that even if he does leave at least he's not being given to people who are going to jeopardize his healthy or safety.  They do really love him.  My oh my has God done a work our my hearts over the past 3 yrs! 

So...another sleepless night and I am scrambling to find a sitter and hubby has to get off work again!