Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catching Up!

I'm so sorry I haven't written in this most important time in our "process", things have been crazy busy!
It is one week till Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for! We are so, so blessed!
We have had 2 more visits with Marvel, yes I shared his name! It's pronounced Mar-velle, not like the comics. Two weeks ago we had an evening visit, we went to Game Time in Centro Ybor and played games and ate dinner. Of course we had a blast and on the way home he asked if he could come to our house for the next visit, which we were planning for Friday, since there was no school/work for Veteran's Day. So that's what we did. That Friday, Kevin went to pick him up, and we gave him a tour of the house, starting with "the room he could stay in if he ever wanted to stay with us". We had lunch, played on the Wii, on the computer, played basketball, I made his favorite dinner, lasagna, and we had a bon fire and made smores. About mid-day he asked if he could stay the night, we said that was fine, even though he didn't bring extra clothes. We were very surprised , but excited! When we were in "his room" making sure he would fit in the bed (lol), he just said out of the blue...." I probably won't move in till after basketball season, in February", I said "Ok, that's fine" very calmly-but I was freaking out inside! He obviously had been thinking about this. He also asked what high school he would go to when we were eating dinner. We finished the evening by watching the latest Harry Potter movie, at his request (which was really good). The next day we all just hung around, like any other Saturday, and we brought him home mid-afternoon. The kids had so much fun with him, he plays with them and is so nurturing, just like a great big brother. Kevin and I really missed him that next day, I was sort of sad that we had to take him "home".
But we asked him what he wanted to do for Thanksgiving, and told him that we normally go to my aunt's house with all of my side of the family, but if that seemed like too much, we could do something small at home and that would be fine. He said that he wanted to go to my aunt's house, that he was fine with that. I will double check with him this weekend, just to be sure, though. Can you even believe this kid? He is Marvel-ous! Now, we do realize that in the beginning the kids that have been in foster care are trying to impress families and make them like them, but he is so open and honest with us, and gets along with the kids so well-we feel so blessed that the Lord has brought us together. He is just so precious, and so much "like" us-in his demeanor and attitudes. We have another visit planned for this weekend, probably another sleepover, and he had mentioned that he wanted to stay over Thanksgiving break as well, but he has basketball practice the first part of the week, so we'll see. I feel so bad for his foster mom, almost like we're taking him away from her-she did want to adopt him at one point, but he chose not to. She is a great lady, and has 3 teenage foster boys with her right now, God bless her! But she did say she thought we were a good fit for him, I just feel sad for her, he's been there almost 2 years! We are having so much fun and really enjoy getting to know him.
Other news....Kevin and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary yesterday! We can hardly believe it's been that long! We are so crazy about each other, and we get closer each year. We are best friends, and I am so blessed to have him leading our family, and it is so rewarding to be his help-meet through good and bad. He is an excellent father and husband, and always puts the kids and me first-I could not have dreamed up a more perfect man to be married to! He is my number one blessing, other than my Savior, Jesus Christ!
We will also officially have a teenager in December and my "baby" will be 5, so bittersweet! This will be a very emotional end of the year for me! But it is still the most wonderful time of the year (can you tell I've been listening to Christmas music)! Love it! Count your blessings!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lots of fun!

I know you are dying to know about the went really well! He was shy at first, but he started talking more and joking around as the day went on. The kids just loved him to pieces! He is very gentle and mild, and so sweet. He and Bailey really got along great, she is smitten by him! We just kept the conversations casual, although Kody kept asking if we were going to keep "M"-and "M" just laughed at it, so I guess he was ok with it. We hope to have another visit this coming weekend-the kids can not stop talking about him! This is a picture Kody took-so you can sort of see just how tall he is next to me(I'm itching my nose or something) and he's leaning over, too!

He is such a sweet, polite guy and we feel so blessed that we get to know him. We just can not believe he hasn't been adopted yet! Bailey said "because God wanted us to have him!", I have to say I think she's right!

We also had our Fall Festival at church, which of course was fun as usual! Candy, games, dunk tank, music, and friends-couldn't ask for more! The boys were Star Wars themed, and the girls were Cleopatra and Taylor Swift.
We can't wait to spend time with our new guy soon-I'll update you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2 days!

Oh my goodness, in 2 days we get to meet M! I cannot even tell you how excited we are! Bailey is not able to sleep because she is so excited thinking about what it will be like (she's just like her mom)! I forgot to tell you that the kids are able to come and besides that, when M's case worker talked to him about the meeting, M told him he didn't even need his caseworker there! So, he is comfortable enough to hang out with just us! Not suprising, as I have been praying that God would give him(and us) peace about each other, but still, it's awesome!
Bailey at her Fall Dance

We will have so much fun this weekend! Besides meeting M on Saturday, we have Kody's Fall Festival at school on cute, and our church Fall Festival/Trunk n' Treat on Sunday! Our kids LOVE Trunk n' Treat, they look forward to it every year! If you have no idea what Trunk n' Treat is, basically church members park at church, set up their trunks and the kids trick or treat to the different trunks. It's great because we get to include families in the neighborhoods surrounding the church and minister to them in a fun way. Our kids love handing out candy and "helping", Bailey is able to volunteer with face painting, games, etc, and she just LOVES it! We haven't gone traditional trick or treating in probably 5 years-we don't like to make a big deal of Halloween, and this is a perfect blend of the "fun" of Halloween in a safer, less worldly way and fellowship and ministry all in one-good stuff!
Other news...our chicken laid her first egg-and two more since then! She has been very vocal lately, we weren't sure if maybe she was missing her sister, who passed away, or just felt like she could voice her opinions now, but apparently she was getting ready to lay! They are cute little pinkish, brownish eggs. Haven't eaten any yet-we aren't big egg eaters, so we might be "gifting" some lovely "organic" eggs soon!
This is just our little diva, Kristyn. She was getting ready for church and she just loves to accessorize.....two headbands, a scarf, and an assortment of necklaces, oh and sparkly shoes! What a cutie! Well I'll let you know how our weekend goes-I must get cleaning and laundry done since it won't get done this weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We finally get to meet him!

Yes, we will get to meet M on Sat. Oct. 29th! A lot of people are saying " Haven't you already met him?". Well yes, I guess we have, but we haven't talked with him, heard his voice, had a conversation, looked into his eyes. That's what I'm excited about! I am very nervous as well, afraid I won't be the type of person he can see as "mom", but even if that's the case, I still want to get to know him and love him. You all probably think I'm nuts, but I already love him-in fact WE already love him. We talk as though he is already part of our family and we assume he always will be. Dangerous maybe-especially knowing that he is leery about adoption, but I am still certain that God has arranged every bit of this process and He has plans for good for all of us. We aren't sure if it will be just Kevin and I meeting him or if the kids are coming too, but I'll let you know. They will be very disappointed if they can't meet him yet, but we don't want to overwhelm him:)
Also on a side note, we are going through some junk right now at home, so I would so love to have your prayers for our family. The enemy loves to attack where we are weak, so I just need to remember to be strong in the Lord. I know He's got my back!
Do you guys love this weather or what? Fall is my favorite season so it's nice that it feels like Fall now! Speaking of Fall.....Bailey has her first dance tonight-the Middle School Fall dance! She will love hanging out with her friends and getting down! She loves the fact that she is getting old enough to do things like this, but she still loves being with us too....she wants me to chaperone the dance! I'll post pics soon-she'll be in cowgirl attire. Yee haw ya'll!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another crazy week.....

and I'm sorry for not blogging sooner about our disclosure meeting! We've had van issues, tee ball, cross country, various meltdowns, colds, and yes, still dealing with our little friends, the ticks!
But anyways, our meeting was Friday, and it went very well! We were afraid we would find out some deep, dark secret that would make us reconsider this adoption, since, so far this kid seems so great. Well, we found out that................ he IS that great! His family has a history of mental illness, and that's why he had such a rough start in life, but he does have biological family that loves him, that's for sure. He does well in school, has no behavioral issues or medical issues, and he's a great basketball player (at 6'4"-go figure!). Our next step, and the most exciting, is meeting him and getting to know him-yay! We are still starting as "mentors" for him, since he is not so sure about being adopted, but we're hoping he will get to know and love us and see that whether or not we move to "adoption" with him, we will still be here for him and care for him. We're all excited and nervous for this next "phase", but I still am 100% sure that God brought him to us, so whatever happens next is His divine will for us! His birthday is this month, he'll be 16, I hope we get to meet him by then! I'll let you know!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Well it's been a a crazy weekend, to say the least. First of all, we have a tick infestation in our house. Last week we started finding ticks everywhere! So I freaked out-totally gross, and sprayed the whole house with a home insect spray that we have. But it wasn't doing the trick, so I had to go to a pest control store and get some major stuff. So we sprayed every inch of the house and the carpet that we have (not much), then vacuumed and swept and put the house house back together. I also had to go and get some flea/tick control for the cat and dog, since we found over 25 ticks on Moose-poor guy. We had been giving him Frontline, but apparently it didn't have tick control in it. So after spraying, cleaning, washing, picking ticks off, I think we have begun to eliminate the problem. We still find one here or there, but I will be spraying frequently. The guy at the pest control place said ticks eggs can lie dormant for up to a year-nice. They haven't really bitten us since we can feel them and pick them off, but poor Moose-I feel so bad!
While I was cleaning up ticks on Sat., Kody had T-ball practice, and when they got home from practice I went to Publix-my parents were coming over to celebrate my birthday and we had no food. While I was there Kristyn called me and said that Henrietta (the chicken) was dead-she wasn't moving. She was sick a few weeks ago, I did research, thought I figured out what it was-got some medication, and she was doing much better. We had thought she was all better. Well Friday we had noticed she wasn't running up when we fed her and she wasn't acting herself. So we started the medicine again. I guess she had a different sickness though, and she didn't make it. It was very sad, she was my favorite chicken-just had a great personality-yes chickens have personalities. She was the "dominant" chicken though, Daisy followed everything she did, so I don't know how Daisy will do without her. There is talk of getting a chick now-so we'll see. We had a funeral and Bryson said a prayer for poor Henrietta, he was really crushed. I tell you what, after the weekend we had I am ready to evacuate all pets from this house!
Well, Sunday we had a tour of the new school from 2-4. The kids were so excited and really misbehaving because they just couldn't handle the excitement. We found everyone's classes and the lockers-that's all Bailey cared about! It's a nice, new, big school and I'm sure the teachers will appreciate having actual good-sized classrooms! The car line is a mess, of course, so we have to go through those pains again, but I know it will get worked out. So glad to have everyone at one place-except for Kody of course.
Also, last week we noticed some water in the garage, near the hot water heater. So this weekend we pulled everything out to figure out where it was coming from.......the wall behind the water heater-also the back wall of Kristyn's room. We had issues with a leaking pipe there before, so we knew just where to look. And as we speak there are plumbers fixing another leaky connection. So, now we add a drywalling adventure to next weekends plans! Luckily, we have had lots of drywall repair experience so we can handle that, but not what we want to this weekend! So hopefully this week will be a little smoother than the weekend was, but it's already looking crazy-so I doubt it.
Bryson has his first cross country meet tomorrow-he has to run 2 miles! This should be interesting, but it was his idea, so maybe running will be "his thing"-I just know it's definetely not mine!
We're looking forward to the disclosure meeting on Friday, so continued prayers for my sanity through all of this, please!

Monday, September 19, 2011


This is just a quick note to let you know our disclosure meeting for M was set for Sept. 30th at 10 A.M. This is the meeting where we will find out "all about M". We'll find out why he came into care, how he does in school, medical records, behaviors, and much more. I probably won't be able to share a lot of those details, because, well it's confidential, but I just ask for continued prayers for the weeks to come and continued prayers for M, that his heart and mind will be open to meeting and getting to know our family and that he will feel comfortable with us. I also want to thank you all for the support and prayers you have given us this far, we SO appreciate it! This is such a strange time in the process and we feel excited, nervous, and a little bit of everything in between! I will let you know how it goes and our next steps (meeting him?!).
On life outside of adoption, we are doing well. The kids' new school is ready and they will be moving to the brand new building on Sept. 26th-so exciting!
I got to go to Universal's Island of Adventure this past weekend with my sister, her treat for my birthday. It was fun and exhausting-nice to do something I enjoyed! This is Hogwarts in Harry Potter land-which is very awesome! I also loved the Hulk roller coaster-woo hoo! My legs are a little sore from all the walking-just a reminder that I am getting older!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just wow!

Well, as of Sept. 1st, we have officially been matched with M! Lindsay called after the meeting to go over a few things and let us know our next step is a disclosure meeting ( learning all about M on paper). That may take a few weeks to schedule cause his case worker needs to get all of his info together. So at this point I am excited and scared. But listen to this.........just another example of how God has been orchestrating this adoption for a long time.........

Every month we try to attend an adoption support group meeting held at a wonderful place called the Sylvia Thomas Center. It provides training and support for families at any stage of adoption, from any place-for free. We have been going since we finished our MAPP classes-so since April or May. They have such wonderful people there and are a huge help for many families in the area. They have lost a lot of funding recently due to budget cuts, and are at risk for having to cut out a lot of programs or may even have to close and that would be a shame- so if you are ever looking for a charity to give to please consider them.
Anyhow.....we went to a meet and greet at the Sylvia Thomas Center last night. We almost didn't go, we were all tired and Bailey had to finish homework, but I had already RSVP'd for childcare and I kept feeling like we needed to go. When we signed in, the director, Sharon, asked who we were matched with and I told her it was M. She said she knew him and also that his nephew's (I'll get to this in a minute) adoptive family were coming and we should meet. Yes, M is an uncle. His nephew is 11, only 4 years younger, so they were raised like brothers.
Well after introductions, we knew who they were and they knew who we were. I had seen them there before, even heard them talk about M before. They were trying to adopt M and his nephew, but M didn't want to be adopted at the time. So after the meeting we talked, found out lots about M, and we found out this couple, the Johnson's, also attend church with us. We currently attend 2 churches(maybe that's another blog entry-not now)-this is the newest one-The Crossing. The Johnson's know M well, and he is at their house a lot, he even spent the weekend last weekend with them. Oh, did I mention the Johnson's live about 5 minutes away from us?! M has also lived at a group home near us and attended a church very close to us that some friends of ours attend. Also, the Johnson's told us that M has mostly been in Christian foster homes.
I cannot even believe how God has orchestrated all of these events to bring us to M! To be honest, it all started after we started attending The Crossing's Sat. night service. I feel we have just really strengthened our relationship with the Lord since being there, and we are better able to hear the Holy Spirit and obey. It's incredible! For those of you reading who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, I'm sure you think I'm nuts-but thats ok! Those of you who know the Lord know what I'm talking about! I have never been able to actually "see" God working in my life as much as right now. And I have to believe it's because we are obedient to Him.
I am actually doing a Bible study right now about hearing God speak (He planned that too)-and it only confirms the fact that we are hearing from God, experiencing His blessings, because we have been obedient to Him. Sometimes it's not easy. You feel like you are nuts, or that people will think you are nuts, or that something bad might happen-we think way too much about responding to God's voice. He's got this-no need to worry. Does He not work all things for good for those who love Him? It may not seem like M and his nephew being separated from their birth family, and having to live in foster care for years is "good"......but it happened so that they could be united-adopted into their forever families, just as God adopted us into His forever family.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.    Ephesians 1:5

I am just in awe over this! It is so beyond my comprehension, I can't even begin to understand, but I'm so excited to do God's will, whatever that may be! I love being able to share all of our journey with you. I am also writing in a journal for M, all of the details of the adoption and how I am feeling, hoping that one day it can be a gift to him and he can read about the journey and how we loved him, really before we even knew him!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some updates....

It's funny how in my last post, I was looking forward to school has been completely insane! The 3 oldest kids go to a charter school that is K-8, and they are building a new building, as they have been in a small church. Well the building isn't ready and they are having to split up the school K-2 at the old location and 3-7 (they won't have 8th till next year) at a new church. So, of course, we have kids in both schools, but they really aren't that close to each other, so the reality of getting 5 kids (we are bringing a neighbor) to 3 different locations(Kody is in preschool) within an hour is absolutely nuts! I had signed up for bus service last year, but hadn't heard anything till 2 days before school started and then found out their morning pick-up would be at 7:02-I don't think so! So I recruited my amazing husband to bring Kristyn and I would bring everyone else (which helped us not have to leave so early). Well, my van was having some strange issues on the first day of school, so Kevin came home early, we took it to a shop, and it is still there-but we still don't even know what is wrong. They think it is a problem with the main computer, but are still trying to diagnose for sure. So yesterday Kevin stayed home from work, but today after all of the crazy drop offs I took him to work. I was in the car 2 and a half hours this morning. Such a waste of time, but not much I can do about it. The new building is supposed to be ready in 1-3 weeks, I am really praying for it's completion!
So, some better news is that there is an "informal" match meeting on Sept. 1st for M and us-yay! A match meeting is the official matching of a child and a family, by all parties involved (except M and us, ha ha). This is more informal because of the mentoring route we are going, but it still needs to be done. If that is a success, we will then have a disclosure meeting, where we will learn a little more info about M (we do get to go to that one).
As crazy as things are here, I find myself thinking of him, wondering how his first few days of school have been, what classes he's taking, what his friends are like-I just can't wait to get to know him! I even had a dream about him the other night. I dreamt I was snuggling with him, just like I do with the other kids(even though he's a lot bigger than them), and I put my hand on him and I was noticing the contrast in our skin colors, and thought to myself how amazing it was that I was his mother despite not having birthed him, and not looking anything alike, but that I loved him just as much as my other children. Then Kody jumped on his back(in the dream) and I woke up after that. It was such a short, sweet dream, and I had such a wonderful feeling when I woke up. I'm probably crazy and I hope I am not disapointed too much, although I do know there is a great possibility, but I have to put myself out there for his sake, so he will know he is loved-even if he isn't able to return that love. I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No news is good news....sort of

Finally some news from adoption land! If you remember we have been waiting to hear from M's case worker to see if he is interested in us as a family at all. M was at camp, and our adoption worker wasn't able to get in contact with his case worker since he's been back. I was begining to lose hope. We have felt this strange connection to M since the day we heard about him, which is why we haven't given up and moved on. God had orchestrated too much at this point to just give up. I prayed last night that God would make something happen, I just needed some sort of news....and what do you know, at 9:30 am I got an email from Lindsay asking if she could call later to discuss what's going on with M! What a mighty God we serve, always faithful to us! So anyway, M's cw talked to him about us, and although he isn't ready to jump into adoption, he is willing to let us be his "mentor family". Basically, it's a way to get to know each other without having the comittment of "adoption". He's scared and I understand, we are too, so this seems like a great way to get to know each other. He, or we, can back out at any point if we feel like this may not be a good match. Either way, I think both he and our family will benefit from getting to know each other. I'm just so glad he's willing to give us a shot! I have been praying that if it is God's will, that He open M's heart to us, and he has -so yay! Now I hope we don't scare him away-we are kind of weird-in a good way though!
I just want to ask for prayers for our new friends the Wrights, the family with 8 kids, as they are trying to close on a new house and running into some stumbling blocks. Please pray for a smooth closing and move and that all would go as planned.
Also, prayers for friends that are new foster parents, have their first placement, and it's a little rough. Just prayers for their family and the little boy-they are all going through some adjustments and could use a little extra grace right now. 
Can you believe school starts in one week? It's bitter sweet-I love being with my kids, but sick of the bickering. I will miss them, but it's time to get back into a routine! I think we're all ready!
I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Casting Away

So yeah, I changed the blog up a little. If you know me, you'll know I love change-so it was time.
No news on the adoption front.....sorry to say, but I'll let you know as I find out.
I'm writing cause I feel like there is something the Lord wanted me to share with you. I've been listening to a sermon series called Cast Away. It's a reminder of how, with God, we can cast away all of our burdens. He gave us His son to carry those burdens for us, so we don't need to hold on to them anymore. But, as the years go by, we sometimes either forget to give things to God, or we feel like we can handle them ourselves and we become burdened once again. In fact, it's a contious cycle.......we end up with things that burden us....guilt, fear, shame, anger, resentment, our past mistakes, our failures, and we sometimes let them pile up and that weighs us down and keeps us separated from God. But then we "have a moment" are able to give them to God and we are free again, for a while-till we get burdened again. It would be great if I could give my burdens to God the moment I notice them-but I don't know, I forget or something. And I guess because I have so many responsibilities here, I feel like I should be able to handle these things on my own. But really the opposite is true, because I have so many responsibilities don't I need someone to look out for me? You betcha-big time! So the Lord revealed a burden to me that I didn't really realize I've carried for 15 years now, and I think He wants me to share, as a way to help me heal I guess. So......
When I was 19, and newly engaged to the love of my life, after a missed period and a pregnancy test, I found out I was pregnant. I was surprised, but not really, I do know how that happens and Kevin and I were intimate before marriage. I wasn't sure what to do, but I remember I wasn't freaking out. Well, I was advised by someone close to me, who loved and cared about me, that an abortion would be the best thing. The reasoning was, that I was so young and had my whole life ahead of me, and a child would "mess that up".
That seemed logical to me and I trusted this person to give me good advice, so I made an appointment. Kevin was wonderful, he just told me to do whatever I thought was best, and he took a day off of work and took me to the clinic. I was unsure that this was the right thing to do, but no one close to me seemed to think it was wrong so I proceeded to the clinic. We signed in, got a stack of stuff to read over about the procedure and recovery, and found a seat in the very crowded waiting area. I looked around just to see what kinds of other people were going through this too, and there were couples, girls with their parents, girls with what looked like their friends. No one seemed sad, unsure, or scared....they just sat having conversations. I saw a couple of girls come out of where I assumed they did the procedure and they looked ok too. So I thought, this must be ok, everyone else is ok. Well I started to read these papers describing the procedure, with details of what they would be doing and I started getting dizzy. I just thought I was getting a little nervous, that was normal. I continued reading and began realizing this was a life inside of me, not something to just remove and discard like trash. I began feeling nauseous and began to wonder, what do they do with these babies that they are killing? The thought of a bunch of tiny, bloody babies in a garbage can was too much. I told Kevin I had to get out of there and literally ran out. I told him I couldn't do that, we would just have to figure out what to do, but I wasn't killing this baby. He called his mother, who really helped me feel better, and feel like I was doing the right thing by leaving. And we left. A few weeks later I miscarried, probably from the stress, and was just terrified. I went to an OB/GYN for the first time and was told I would be fine. And I guess I was. But what the Lord showed me is that all of these years I have felt guilt and shame over wanting to kill that baby. I think I felt that somehow I miscarried because the baby knew and God knew that I didn't want that baby. I think abortion is a horrible tragedy, for babies, moms, and for the God who created them both. If I felt so horribly because I came close to getting an abortion, how do those women and girls feel who actually go through with it? I can't imagine! So this is me letting go of that guilt, shame, and pride that kept this burden so close to me. I am giving the whole situation to the God who creates life and takes it away. I know He was with me the entire time, and that the Holy Spirit is what made me leave that clinic. I realize the entire situation was a consequence of my sin, intimacy before marriage. I knew it was wrong, but to be honest in my family there was this unspoken rule......if you don't talk about it it didn't happen or will go away. Thank the Lord I have learned that is not true! Kevin and I are constantly talking with our kids about all kinds of difficult situations, so that they don't have to figure out what is right if they find themselves in an awful situation. I had no idea what an abortion was until I saw "Dirty Dancing", and although I didn't understand completely, I knew then it was not a good thing. I am so thankful there are wonderful places like LifeCare of Brandon, to help guide young women, and hopefully prevent them from going through what I went through. Thanks for reading and being a part of my healing, I pray that you can give your burdens up too. There is a great song by Dara Maclean called "Suitcases" that has encouraged me, and I'm sure it will encourage you too......


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missing my girl

Well, our oldest, Bailey, left last Friday for Austin, TX for a mission trip. There was a group of 40 something teens and adults from our church going. They won't be back till Sunday-a whole 10 days away from home! This is her first mission trip, hopefully of many to come. We have talked to her everyday, but I'm really starting to miss her! Kristyn keeps asking when she'll be home-I'm sure she's sick of being stuck with the boys! But Bailey did tell us they are working with kids who have Downs Syndrome. Which is really a God thing-that was totally for Bailey!
She was in a class a few months ago with a little girl with Downs. This girl sat right next to her and was constantly distracting Bailey, singing, rummaging through her purse and applying various items to Bailey (without her permission)-one of which was a perfume that really irritated her skin. Bailey wasn't able to hear or focus on the teachers and did not want to go back to this class because of this girl. To be honest, this child should not have been in the class without someone one on one with her, but here she was next to Bailey. Now, you must know, Bailey is very patient and motherly-at school her they call her the class mom. So this had to be pretty aggravating if it bothered her so much. We had to explain that this girl was mentally handicapped, which she knew, but we told her it was kind of like having Kody in the class (he's 4)-she understood that, she knew he would behave the same way in this class. We told her to just be patient and kind until something else could be worked out for this girl. She was kind, but that experience gave her a "stereotype" kind of thinking about kids with Downs and it was a negative thought process. So see, God gave her this mission experience to get a new perspective on kids with Downs, and hopefully a more positive one. She admitted she was a little scared when she heard that they would be working with kids with Downs, because of her past experience, but she did say she had a great first day. I have not yet seen God working in the lives of my kids so clearly as this! It is such a great experience and expression of his faithfulness to us!
So, what else? We gave the baby squirrels to a local vets office that cares for wildlife, I feel they are in better hands there and they were becoming a little too "squirrely" for me. They both had their eyes open, and were eating well and growing, so I'm sure they'll be fine. Tomorrow is Bryson's 9th birthday-I can't believe he's 9! We plan on just going to Chuck E Cheese's, and hanging out at home-can't afford a whole lot. I feel like he always gets ripped off, since his birthday is the end of summer, but I guess it can't be any worse than my Christmas-time babies!
We are going to try to do the Glazer's Children's Museum for $2 Tuesday-I hope it's not crazy. We're going to do the fountains at the park after so hopefully the weather holds up. I went to the museum once for a field trip with Kristyn, but wasn't really impressed. It will be something to do today, though.
Have I mentioned I am ready for school to start? Summer is too long! I love being with them, but they get bored and sick of each other after 2 months, and that gets frustrating for me!  Well, 3 weeks from today!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pics of our newest animals

Bailey and Henrietta

Bryson, David (neighbor) and Daisy

Baby squirrels

M & M

No, I am not blogging about candy now, although I could have used some chocolate yesterday. Just a rough day, kids crazy, house a wreck, found baby squirrels, 3 extra kids, which usually is fine but by the end of the day I was DONE! Kevin says I need to "give it to God"-I try but maybe not completely. So anyways, back to M & M! They are the 2 boys we have been "matched" with. I use the term loosely, because all that means is that on paper it seems like we'd be good together. We are focusing on one M at a time, and we are really feeling drawn to the first one our adoption worker told us about. I'll tell you a little bit......he's 15 and African American, a good kid with no behavioral or health issues. He's been in foster care a while, so he's a little apprehensive about being adopted (understandably). He's at a summer camp now, but his case worker will be talking to him about how he feels about being adopted and he will be telling him a little bit about our family to see if he's interested in meeting us. Now, with teens they have a say in the process, so really at this point it's up to M to move forward at all. It's kind of scary, since he may be uncomfortable with having a family that is a different race than him, but I have been praying that if M is the son that the Lord has picked out for us, that He would open M's heart to us and give it a shot. It's so scary for the kids in foster care, so I really do understand them being hesitant. But both Kevin and I feel a real pull towards him and so we will be sad if M decides we aren't a good match for him. So that brings us to the other M, who is 14 and caucasion-as if race even matters anymore, but just want to let inquiring minds know. We hear he is also a good kid with no behavior issues, but we don't know a whole lot about him. We are kind of waiting to see what happens with the first M, before we find out too much about the second M. I hate the fact that we have to "choose" them-it's not like we are picking out an outfit or a puppy-they are people with thought and feelings just like us, but this is the process, so what can we do?! So that's all on the human adoption front right now-basically just waiting again. But, we have had some non-human adoptions this week.......2 chickens and now 2 squirrels. We had some friends that had chickens, but couldn't keep them due to their HOA, and I have always wanted chickens (I love chickens), but Kevin would never agree to them-except he did this time! So we built them a coop and they're as happy as can be!
The squirrels I am less enthusiastic about, but I couldn't leave the poor babies. The kids found them in the street yesterday-they had fallen out of their nest-on the street below. We left them by the tree for awhile hoping the mama would come get them, but there was the sound of a hawk very nearby and the ants were getting them, so we brought them home. I ,of course did some research, and got some puppy formula for them and tried feeding them. they were not having it yesterday, but today one of them is eating it. The other may be injured or something, he's not really moving much or eating at all, but I keep trying. I'll post pics soon, based on the website I found, they are 4-5 weeks old. Like I need anything else to care for! But I can't let them die-so I'll do my best! I'm hoping the kids will be learning some life lessons from all of this!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We got the privilege of babysitting our new friends' 8 children last night while they went out for their anniversary. Our kids were so excited! It was so much fun! I must admit that feeding 13 children was a challenge (their 8, our 4, plus a neighbor), even with Bailey, Kevin and I "serving" it was nuts! But after that, a few more neighbor kids came over and it was playtime -I'm sure our neighbors thought we had started a daycare, but we were outside riding bikes, skateboards, scooters, running around, and screaming and was wild! Everyone got along so well, and even the baby (she's one) let me hold her for awhile. She is so adorable and my kids couldn't get enough of her-they haven't been around too many babies since Kody's grown up! Bryson kept touching her hair- he loved her "puffy" hair! The girls were dressing up and dancing the boys were being super heroes and playing on the DSes. Before they even left they were all,ours and theirs, asking if they could come over again! The Lord has really blessed us in finding the Wrights for many reasons, we actually know someone with more kids than us, they have adopted, they have adopted 8 kids, they have adopted outside of their race, they love the Lord, and they are so fun! They do have a couple little ones sick today (maybe too much fun last night?) so please pray for them!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bouncin' some things around

So we went this morning to a trampoline place to "meet" some teens who are available for adoption. There was one in particular that our FAS wanted us to look for and "engage", which we did, sort of. But, it's such a strange situation.....these kids are here knowing that families are checking them out, trying to find if they may be interested in having them join their families. The kids are pretty reserved and they don't want to open up to these complete stangers.....would you? And although it was cool "meeting" these kids who I have been reading about and looking at pictures of online, it was also very surreal, realizing that all of them need a family. Bailey and I were moved to tears a few times just observing them and realizing that none of them have people who truly love them. We wished we could take them all home and love them, but we know that is not possible. I think I am more sad now than excited, even though we do have a few match possibilities. I'm sure I'll get past it, but it is still so very sad.
So I don't want to say too much till we have more info, but we were given info about 2 boys, and requested info about 2 more (one is in a sibling group of 3-so we'll see). All are boys, some are african american! I wish I could share more now, but I will soon! Keep those prayers coming please, not just for us, but for all of those kids, and all of the people working in their lives trying to help them ( case workers, foster parents, therapists, etc.). Thanks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match......

Ummmm... More "God is amazing" news, although I can't say a lot yet,I do want to let you know there may be a match in the near future. It's still way too early to tell, but I just want to ask for prayers, especially for Friday. I love to hear the sound of God's symphony, how all of the different instruments and parts come together to make a beautiful song! Wish I could share more, but suspense is good, right?! Until later.....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So you wanna know..........

I'm sorry for leaving so abruptly on the last post. Here's the scoop.....
This morning I got up and started posting on the blog right away, Kevin was at a new men's Bible study/accountability group. He called me when he was on his way home and just said "Wow" when I asked how it was. Then he goes on to tell me the most amazing thing that has happened to us in a while. There were several new guys at the group, but they grouped people into smaller accountability groups, and Kevin ended up with one of the other new guys. Well turns out this guy was God's messenger to my sweet hubby! This guy is the father of 8 adopted African-American kids ( he is white), all within the age range of our kids! Kevin was just so emotional while he is telling me all of these things about this family that God had obviously placed right in front of us as a direct answer to my prayer last night! Isn't that cool! We were just so amazed, both just crying at the unbelievable stuff the Lord does for us! He has orchestrated so many things leading up to that meeting this morning and we are still dizzy from thinking about it. So hopefully we will gain some new friends with some experience and advice in the things we will be facing in the future. But I wanted to share with you how faithful God is, how powerful He is, and how much He loves us! Crazy love! I'll write soon, busy week with VBS at church and the teen event on Friday! Keep us in your prayers!

Wow ya'll!

I know it's not like me to post 2 times in a week, which is something I hope to change, but I just have to share how the Lord has been working in me! I told you in my last note that I had been "stuck" in my faith lately, just a product of my circumstances-not being a very good servant of Christ. I also told you how the homestudy approval was just the news I needed to hear to lift my spirit and get me moving again (spiritually speaking)......well apparently that was just the start! The Holy Spirit and I have been good buddies the past couple of days, it's as if He is right here with me having normal conversations about both the profound and the seemingly mundane alike. It awesome and I don't know where to start, really!
Well, I'll start by telling you that when I start to sense that things aren't on par with the way they should be I get a book and start reading. I'm not talking about romance novels or fictional stories, although they are a good distraction, but "self help" type books, well more like "God help" type books. I always seek Christian authors and books that come highly recommended for whatever situation I am going through. So from parenting help, to adoption, to general Christian guidance I am always reading something! Well I have been feeling God calling us to mission work, as a family, for many years but I haven't been able to figure out exactly how to "do" mission work as a family. Most mission opportunities in my community have a starting age of 13, or require "classes" to serve, or are really expensive-so I've been discouraged and have opted to do nothing. Well  I was able to find a really good book called "The Missional Mom-Living with Purpose at Home and in the World" by Helen Lee......awesome! It confirms all of the things I have "felt" about serving God and really has been an encourager for me to not let fear or the world's rules define how my family serves God. There are scripture verses to confirm it all, so it's not just some crazy lady's ideas. I am only a little more that half way through the book, but I am ready to move to a third-world country to go and make disciples-I am not joking(ask Kevin). But what I  wanted to tell you is something else that God confirmed to me, through this book-besides that He wants us to go make disciples in all of the world.
Ever since we started seriously considering adoption, I felt drawn to children of other races and cultures. I don't know if you remember, but at first I really wanted to do international adoption (for that reason). I have always been fascinated by other cultures, maybe because my family is not very culturally diverse, or because I've always lived in places where I am surrounded by people "just like me"-meaning caucasion, middle class, Christian, etc. I admit It feels "safe" to be with people who are just like you, where everything stays the same, and we are all in the "bubble", as I call it. But is that all there is? Is that living the way God wants us to? After all, the disciples didn't stay in Jerusalem and hang out with all the people they had already ministered to-Jesus said in Matthew 28-"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations". But I am going off on a tangent here-what I mean to tell you is that I feel God wants us to adopt a child of another cultural background, as a way to connect to other cultures and form some common ground and help us to love other people. I have been really contemplating adopting an African-American child the past few weeks, it's just really been all I can think of when I think about our adoption. I have to admit at first I had a hard time imagining us with an African-American child specifically, I guess because of our "differences", but the Lord has placed several opportunities for us to see families that are culturally diverse and "different" and it doesn't seem so different any more. I am not sure how Kevin will feel about this, though, since he has expressed that he wouldn't feel comfortable with kids of another race. But I know that God is a big God and I prayed last night for God to speak into Kevin's heart about it.
Oh my goodness,you guys, as I was writing this I got confirmation that God hears our prayers......I can't tell you now because I am just so overwhemled with emotion right now, but I'll write later an explain! God is awesome! Yay!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Yay! We finally have an approved home study! This news could not have come at a better time, as I was feeling very discouraged, but God know our needs and He is faithful! Just another answered prayer! I haven't felt much like blogging lately or really like even waking up each day, things have been tough with the kids' behavior, and our finances, and no progress on the adoption, and I have honestly just been struggling to just "be". I don't know about you, but I always feel like I disconnect from God when my circumstances cause me to struggle. I try so hard, but still I struggle. I pray, read scripture, try to tell myself God is working even when things go wrong or stand still with no apparent purpose. I know He is with me, but why do I always feel like He's not when I am struggling with life? I guess it's normal, even David felt that way and wrote about it, but I guess what's important is that I still seek Him in my weakness and trials. But, it's amazing how one little blessing, like our approved home study, can lift my spirits and give me encouragement to keep going strong! I love how the Holy Spirit seems to be overflowing and renewing me through it! God is good all the time, sometimes I just need small reminders and I'm glad God loves to give them!
So, next week we will be attending a "teen recruitment event" , which I admit sounds strange, but it's just a way to introduce adoptive families to kids who are waiting for families. This one is for kids 12 and up, it's at a trampoline place, and our kids are going too, so it should be a lot of fun. We also have VBS next week, so we will be completely exhausted by then, but there's no better way to get exhausted than by serving God and ministering to lots of his kids! I just pray the Lord will help me, not just survive the rest of the summer, but to actually enjoy it and hopefully bless my children and me with the time we have together!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Frustration and more.......

I know I haven't blogged in a while, and to be honest I really don't want to be writing this now, but I think it will help to get some of my frustration out!
We still do not have an approved home study, and I'm starting to wonder if we ever will. First, we had to get our cat's vaccines updated, no big deal, but now we are trying to get some things from Kevin's background check worked out. Many of you may not know that before Kevin met me he was quite a trouble maker, not his fault really, since he practically raised himself, but still he does have a couple of minor things on his criminal record. One of these things was just a false accusation from an angry ex-girlfriend, and the charges were dropped, once the true story was discovered, but there apparently is no proof of this on file. The only information we can come up with is "no information on file". My aunt works for the Sherrif's Dept. and did a check, she can't find anything either! How can it come up on his record if there is no information on it!? I just feel so hopeless right now. So I'm starting to worry now, that this may be it-we won't be able to get approved and won't be able to adopt. Please know that I don't blame this on Kevin or resent him in any way, this is just something we have to do together-like we always do. It may as well been on my record, it wouldn't matter, we're both in this together.  The Lord has given me some scripture, faithfully, everyday, to help encourage me and keep me focused on him, but honestly I am not allowing it to sink in and change my focus, at least not completely. I mean, I know that if He can place stars in the sky, He can handle this, but why don't I feel it? It seems so silly-this "accusation" happened 20 years ago! This is just something I have absolutely no control over, so I really need to give it over to God, but I'm just so frustrated! Please just pray for me, and our situation and hopefully I'll have better news soon! Thanks!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I love to see God working!

Just a quick note, so that I can document this moment! Just a brief explanation, So we have friends/neighbors who are also adopting, in the early part of the process as well. In speaking with them tonight, I believe God was speaking to both of us through each other! I believe I helped confirm something about their journey, which I totally know is right for them, and a door may have been opened for our journey. I have been really trying to strengthen my relationship with my heavenly Father, through His word and prayer, because I want to hear Him speak more clearly in my life. I have to say, tonight I heard Him loud and clear AND I got to be used by Him to speak to someone else! Now that is good stuff! Sorry I can't give more details, but hopefully soon! Please just say some prayers for us and all of those who are in the process of adopting. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I don't have anything exciting to say, just felt like writing today. We have part 2 of our home study next week, needless to say I am much less nervous about this one. Besides, I don't have time to be nervous-we have had so much stuff going on with the kids, from field trips, to talent show, to Confirmation-this last month of school is going to fly by!
Well speaking of field trips, I went with Bailey's class of 6th graders on a kayaking field trip today-a lot of work, but great fun-they are a great group of kids! But I was thinking how Bailey is going to be 13 this year, and how I was 13 when I started high school ( one of the youngest in my class), but more, how she is now in the years that I had the hardest time in growing up. I just remember struggling through my days, most of the time miserable and hating my family. I never did drugs or any other "bad" stuff, but inside I was a mess. I was trying to figure out who I was, and that changed on a weekly basis, or depending on who I hung around. I had no self-confidence and I just wanted to disappear most days. I try to figure out why, was it the school I attended, the kids I hung around, a lack of attention from my parents, hormones, who knows really- maybe all of that. But for a long time I have had a soft spot for middle schoolers. I guess because I remember those years and the way I felt. Yeah, middle schoolers are awkward and goofy, mature one minute and throwing a fit the next, responsible one day and irresponsible the rest, but this world wants them to be little adults and throws so much at them, can you blame them really? They are still kids, still trying to figure our who they are and more importantly, who they are going to be. I was reminded of a dream that I had a few years ago that I awoke from and knew it was a message from God. I was arriving at a stadium or conference center of some sort. Later, I was giving a speech to thousands of teens, although I'm not sure what about. But I was very passionate about whatever it was and I remember feeling very emotional as I was speaking. Now, I don't know what it means, but I just knew it was a message from God. Maybe it's a glimpse of the future, or a push in a certain direction for some sort of decision I will need to make, but I'm starting to think it's related to my love of middle schoolers, and maybe even adopting. No, I'm not going to give a home to thousands of teens, but maybe I need to help find a home for them. Maybe adopting gives me a window into their world and I can't help but try to help them. Being a teen is hard enough, but being a teen in foster care seems unbearable. It breaks my heart really. I recently read a book, Three Little Words, written by a girl from our area who grew up in the foster care system, although she was adopted when she was 11. It was a real picture of what kids in foster care are going through, and how they feel, and it's awful. I just want to find a way to help them, comfort them, guide them, like I wish someone would have done for me. So, I am pretty much thinking that the Lord is going to match us with a teen at this point, lol. I'm just praying for the opportunity and courage to be used to do whatever it is God is trying to lead me to. I'm also so thankful that Bailey has not seemed to have been cursed with whatever middle school madness I went through, and that she is such a blessing to us. Thanks for reading-just needed to share!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Home study Part I

I'm a little behind on blogging, we've had a busy week. We spent the first part of this week (Spring Break) at a resort in Orlando, well Davenport actually. The resort is privately owned town homes, and there is a wonderful pool with a lazy river and water slide. The town home we stayed in was nothing special, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, etc, but it really needed some updates-so that made it so-so in our book. But we spent lots of time at the pool, the kids loved it, and we had a nice time-not too long, not too short.
We had the first part of our home study on Thursday, so we came home and cleaned the house on Wednesday. Our Family Adoption Specialist, Lindsay, came at 11 on Thursday. We were nervous( ok, I was), not really knowing what to expect, but it was really easy. She just sat and talked with us, and asked us questions-things like: why we want to adopt, the specifics of the child we are looking for (age, gender, race), and what types of  "issues" we are willing to consider in a child: ADHD, physical handicaps, mental handicaps, fetal alcohol syndrome, even "verbally defiant"-lol-what kid isn't?, just stuff like that. So, we discussed all of those things and decided what would work for us, so she can get an idea of who would be a good fit with us. She also asked for a brief description of each of our children. We were just open and honest, as usual, and felt really comfortable. We also gave her a tour of our home, showed her the kids rooms and discussed where the new kid will go. We will have another appointment in a few weeks, and then we should be done with all of the "application process"! The agency has "match meetings" once a week, a group of people including Lindsay, meet to discuss possible family matches for the kids. If they agree we are a good match, then we will get some info about the child and we can decide if we would like to get more detailed information and meet the child. From there it's just a period of getting to know the child and letting them get to know us, and once we are comfortable, the child moves in. After they move in there is a minimum of a 90 day period, to make sure everything is going well, if the case workers think all is well then we finalize! So, we're moving into a very exciting time in this process and I will try to keep you up to date on all of it.
Besides our vacation and the home study, I went with Bailey on her confirmation retreat this weekend. It was at St. Leo's University, a very pretty place. We had a great time just hanging out together, and with friends, and I think it really helped the kids to understand how important it is to be confirmed into their faith. I just really have a heart for middle schoolers and am glad I got to share this experience with them. It was a great weekend and it reminded me of God's purposes for me and gave me a renewed spirit to "go and make disciples"!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No more MAPP!

Sorry it's been a while since I last blogged. How do people find time to blog every day? Well anyways,
we are officially finished with our MAPP classes, yay! The agency also offers free training for life, I guess, on many other adoption issues, and we just attended one last night. It was pretty much stuff we have already learned though. Our background checks have come back and we have been assigned our Family Adoption Specialist, or "FAS", her name is Lindsay. We have meet her a few times, but we are anxious to get to know her more. We have our first home study meeting next Monday with her. I'm a little nervous, just because I don't know what to expect, but I'm more excited. The point of the home study is to check out our home, of course, but more importantly it's for Lindsay to get to know us in person. She knows us on paper, but now she'll get to talk to us and the kids, in order to find out who we are as a family and individuals so she can find the child that will fit best in our family. We'll have one more home study meeting after this, and then (hopefully) they approve our home study, and they begin the matching process. We still don't have an exact idea of the child we would like to join our family. Our ideas about "our child " have changed a lot since we first began this process. I think the Lord has just opened our hearts and minds and we are trusting he'll "match us" with the right child. We do know that we can't handle any severe medical or emotional needs, but other than that we really are pretty open. At first we were looking for a girl age 4-10, Caucasian or Hispanic, but now I feel we are open to other races, boys, teens, and sibling groups. Crazy right? Well, we'll just see how it goes, we do have a choice. Please continue to pray over our entire family and all of the people involved in this process with us. This is a very exciting, and nerve-wracking time for us! We're so thankful to have friends and family to help us through this, though. Thanks so much for loving us!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why do we want to adopt?

I have come to realize that not everyone lives in the land of Kevin and Jen, well maybe geographically, but not mentally or emotionally, so you may have a hard time understanding why we would want to adopt a child. After all, we have 4 wonderful, healthy kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, that's perfect..... why would we want to mess that up?! Or, why on earth do we want more mouths to feed, messes to clean, more stress and aggravation? But all of those things focus on us, individually and as a family. Because of our faith and who we have become in Christ (we haven't always been this way) we see things differently now. Simply put, it's not about us. Don't get me wrong, there are times that I want to scream "What about me?!", but the Holy Spirit guides me and comforts me and I get over it, besides I have a wonderful husband who senses when anything is bugging me and he steps in to save me however he can. But this self-lessness is not something we really try to do, we are just compelled, willed, given that ability by God, because He is selfless and through Christ enables us to be that way too. Philippians 2:3 &4 says: " Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." That's what we are doing. We are going to be able to care for a precious, broken child who has lived a life more horrible than we can imagine, showing that child love, compassion, and being able to show them what "family" really is. We get the opportunity to change their life and help them become a wonderful person in spite of what they have been through. We get to teach them about the cleansing love of our Savior and that they were beautifully and wonderfully made by God, just for us to love. We don't really expect anything in return, but it would be nice to receive some of that love back. Oh, we know it won't be easy or fun sometimes, but neither are our biological children. For example yesterday, for a number of reasons I was having a bad day, and so were the kids. There was arguing, fighting, yelling, and I was ready to just quit ( I threaten that often), but you know what, today is a new day, we still love each other and I still feel so blessed to have each of them. Yeah, having more kids means more of those days, but it's all worth it if in the end if I have made a difference in their lives. I learn so much from my kids and I can only hope that more kids means I'll be even wiser(or completely nuts). We do have a lot on our plate, but I  know that God will just give us a bigger plate, he always does. We are so thankful to have so many wonderful people around us that have helped us become who we are today, and those who encourage us and still want to admit they know us, even though we may seem like we are totally nuts. We feel like, by putting others first, we benefit, which doesn't make sense, unless you know Jesus and what He's done for you. He is the ultimate example of self-lessness, and He is King-very backwards from the ways of this world-but that's what keeps us going! We hope to have the same compassion for others and value everyone, regardless of what their past was, having hope in the future. We realize we probably won't ever have fancy material items, or a fat bank account, but hopefully when we are gone from this world, we will have made a difference, left a legacy, and people will remember us for the love we shared. I honestly believe it's what we were made to do, to share God's love with everyone! Love ya!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dumb Question Week

I am sitting outside as I write this today, it's so nice out I couldn't resist, but the glare off my laptop is very distracting, so forgive my typos.
We did 3 lessons in one last week, and next week is a panel of speakers (adoptive parents, foster kids who have aged out of care, case workers, etc.)-we're excited about that. Then the final class is sort of "Adoption 101"-cause I guess they figure we are serious at that point. People in the class are starting to get really anxious, we can tell, and there are a lot of questions now, a lot of dumb questions too-so many that Kevin and I started keeping track of dumb questions just for our amusement. Not that we don't have dumb questions sometimes, but you have to realize that most of these people have not been parents before(although some have and they still ask dumb questions)and they are just going to have to start strong parenting from the get go with these kids, instead of a slow, steady build up like with an infant. They just have no idea what that's going to be like, and so they ask lots of questions, which we really do understand. I remember before we started our MAPP classes we would say half jokingly to each other, "We have 4 kids, why do we need parenting classes?!". But I must admit we have learned a lot. We feel more confident about how to handle misbehavior and we have seen a difference in our parenting and our kids' behavior. You aren't a good parent just because you have kids, which is why there are so many kids in foster care. So we have been humbled a bit by the class and are very glad that they take the steps to ensure that these kids find a good, loving, permanent family.
I have a cute story to share.....I was in the car with Kody earlier this week and he asked where our baby was. I said "What baby, we don't have a baby! You're the baby!", then he said "No, when are we getting our baby?"Then I clued in that he was talking about adopting. I said "Oh are you talking about the kid we are adopting? and he said "Yeah". So I said, "Well I don't know if we're getting a baby, do you want a baby?" and he said "Yeah, I like babies!". That was just so sweet to me! I don't know where he got the idea of a baby....we have never said we were adopting a baby, but it seems like he understands that when someone "gets a new kid in the family" it's usually a baby. Then, we were at Walmart yesterday and we walked by the baby section and he pointed at a cute little outfit and said "We can get that for our baby!".I don't have the heart to tell him that we probably aren't getting a baby, but it's just so sweet to me! It's also kind of reassuring that he understands,as much as a 4 year old can, what is going on.
So we ,well mostly I, have been starting to think about things like bunkbeds and a bigger car, but we aren't buying them yet....we still have lots of time. The numbers were kind of disappointing.......the MAPP instructors told us there are about 130 kids available for adoption right now in Hillsborough County, there are about 60 families waiting to be matched(but they did say that most of them are waiting for a 0-3 year old), plus in our class there will be another 20 or so families added to that. Oh and of the 130 kids about 60 or 70 have severe medical or emotional needs. So it may be awhile for us to be matched, we already know we can't handle severe special needs. But I've said before, we know the Lord had our child all picked out, so we'll trust Him to match us! He knows us and our new child the best, we just have to be patient! Untilnext time...........

Thursday, March 3, 2011

4 More classes!

We are getting tired of these MAPP classes! It's not the classes themselves, so much as the hassle to get there, but 10 weeks is a long time! I guess they are really trying weed out those that aren't serious about committing to adopting a hurt child. We have begun to talk more about how to parent these hurt children. Basically it is positive parenting, being proactive versus reactive, which in my opinion, is a great approach with any child. Although I do admit a lot of my parenting is reactive, I do try to be proactive and follow through with consequences, but some days reacting is the best I can do!
We have turned in our family profile, with a letter to the child we may be matched with, to tell them a little bit about our family, and pictures of us and the house. Now we are working on our background check stuff, getting fingerprints, schools records for the kids, health certificates, personal references, even vaccination records for the cat and dog! But even through all of this we are getting excited about the thought of a new family member. The kids talk about it a lot now and we will occasionally talk about how things will be when the new child comes home. I have days that I am excited about it and days that I think "What on earth are we doing!?" I do think that uncertainty is what really makes us rely on God through all of this though. We don't have much control over all of this process, so it is great to just realize that and stop and put it in God's powerful, able hands. Knowing He's got it under control really calms my anxieties and doubts, when I stop to remember that!
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 

Some days I am completely overwhelmed by my to do list, or even just making it through the day, and I cling to the promises of my Great God, knowing that He is with me in my mistakes, doubts, troubles, and that in these things I can bring Him glory because I could not make it through them without Him. I love being able to look back on my trials and see how He has brought me through them gracefully. Without grace we would have no hope, so I think that in parenting, as well as any other relationship, grace should be what we strive to share, it seems to be the answer to almost anything! I think that giving a child grace they may have never before experienced will be powerful enough to help them overcome their unfortunate past.
This has been "Deep Thoughts With Jen" , thank you for joining us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lots of learning

We are just plowing along at our MAPP classes. I will tell you they are a real pain. Kevin leaves from work to get there, then I leave our house at 5 and usually don't get there till after 6 (depending on traffic). It's always so hot in the room, and at first they talked about such negative things, but it is getting better. Last night I had to go alone, our babysitter was at a retreat so Kevin stayed home, and I left the class actually excited about what we had learned. The first few classes it almost seemed like they were trying to scare us, or discourage us, they talked about how most of the kids will have behavior issues and how we (adoptive parents) will just basically have to deal with it. Last night we talked about attachment, and how the failure to attach properly, because of lack of trust, causes the kids to have arrested development, or stop developing emotionally past the point that they are at the time they experience loss. Which is part of the reason they have behavior issues. But it's fixable, you just have to earn their trust, and show them that they can count on you. These kids have never had anyone they can trust, it's just so sad.
So we will need a huge support system, to encourage us, and just let us vent when we're stressed. We have so many great friends and family members that I am confident will support, encourage, guide and pray for us, but sometimes we forget to ask. So I'm asking you, please don't feel like you are being nosy, or intruding, please ask us how we are doing and if we need help, give us advice and just call or drop by. We are not trying to be "super parents" and we realize that it truly does take a village to raise a child, so we welcome any help we can get.
On another note, we have been working on our family profile, which is everything you could ever care to know about our family and the way Kevin and I grew up, also the type of child we see joining our family. We will be having our background check done very soon as well. At the end of our MAPP classes (the end of March) we will have our homestudy done and the matching process begins. They really focus on finding a family for the child, not a child for the family, they know these kids and try to find the best fit for them. We also know that God has hand picked our child for us, before they were born, and He doesn't make mistakes!
Thanks for reading, I'll update soon!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Still no clear path

Well, we attended the Bethany information meeting yesterday. It was very informative and the staff is great and knowledgeable, but it didn't "seal the deal" like I had hoped. See, I am so drawn to international adoption and the meeting just really made me feel even more drawn to those kids. Does that mean that God is calling us to adopt internationally or am I just fascinated with the idea? We still have a huge monetary commitment looming over us if we go that route, plus there is the reality that we will not know much, if any, of the child's history-medical, family, any history. With foster kids, we know the kids histories, but they are horrible histories, they have experienced serious pain and loss, and we will be responsible for bearing the brunt of the outcome of that. How will that affect our kids? Can we handle that? Am I not trusting God enough to bring us the child that is right for us?
Kevin's been having some conversations with God and I really think God is speaking to him, but Kevin just needs to trust what God is telling him. He often doubts that his thoughts could be prompting from God, and then he fails to act. But God is great and God is good, so I'm pretty sure He can handle Kevin's doubts and make something amazing happen in spite of them!
But on another subject, Kevin and I had a nice date on Friday. Bailey spent the night at a friend's house and the other 3 stayed the night at my parents-the first time they have all been gone for the night! We went to dinner at Outback and ran into an old neighbor from FishHawk. Although the conversation with the neighbor was tough, he has recently been divorced and it's so hard to see so many people going through that lately, we had a nice time. The conversation with our old neighbor really helped us to see how blessed we are that we are still so crazy in love, even after 14 years of marriage and 4 kids. We have such a commitment to each other and our family, and we try to love as self-lessly as we can, always putting each other's needs above our wants. It takes communication, and respect to consistently be able to connect and be on the same team, and it's not always easy, but it's worth it! I think that is a huge strength of ours that will definitely help as we journey through this adoption process.
So thanks for caring enough to read all of my rambling on, and we would appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom and discernment throughout this journey. Thanks for making the journey with us, it's good to know we have so many people that love and support us!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New at this

So, I've wanted to start a family blog for awhile, and this seems like the perfect time to start.
I think we are ready to share the news that we are beginning the process of adopting a child. Adoption is something I have felt called to for many years, however, we kept adding biological children every two years or so, and that was keeping us very busy. But adoption has always been on my heart, even though the daily issues of raising four children kept pushing my desire to the side. Now that our "baby" is 4, we feel like it's time to act on what God is calling us to. I'll be honest and tell you that Kevin has been hesitant to go with this, since he doesn't feel he has been called to adoption, but he trusts that God has spoken clearly to me, and is "diving in" with me. He has such a committment to me and our family and we are confident we can make anything work, together. He is such a wonderful husband and father, and it's no wonder to me that God wants to share him with other children who desperately need his love and committment!
Right now I don't have a lot of info to share with you, we are just beginning this. I have read a lot of books, prayed  a lot, researched, looked at many websites and there are so many choices and decisions to make, so we're taking it slow. We aren't even sure if we want to adopt internationally or through foster care. We have realized that we don't feel called to adopt an infant, so we are looking at "waiting children" or "older children"(older than an infant), and "special needs children". Now, the definition of special needs varies a great deal from medical issues, to emotional issues, to just being a child older than 8, or a child of a minority race. We do not feel like we can handle any major health, behavioral, or emotional issues, so don't worry that we'll be taking on more than we can handle. And we know that God has the perfect child for our family already picked out, we just have to trust that He will direct us to him/her.
We are currently attending MAPP classes, which are parenting classes held by the State of Florida, that help to inform prospective parents of some of the issues that the foster kids may be dealing with, and how to handle them. We will be attending an information meeting this Saturday on international adoption, held by Bethany, a Christian adoption agency that I have done lots of research on and feel very confident is a great choice for international adoption. We are looking at waiting child programs in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and The Phillipines through Bethany.
I will tell you that I feel like international is really pulling at me right now, however, with that comes costs of over $20,000, compared to foster adoption which has no cost, but also comes with an adoption subsidy (monthly payments to help with costs of raising the child), plus the children get free college tuition to most state universities, and free medical care-if needed. If you know Kevin, you will understand that seeing those comparisons-there is really no choice for him (if it's free it's for him), and he is really against going into debt for anything, so convincing him that those high fees will be worth it may be tough!
So, we would really appreciate your prayers as we seek to discern the right path for us-although I don't really think there is a wrong path when it comes down to it, but we want to make the best decisions for our family. Also, any advice or experiences you may have about adoption would be helpful as well. I'm sure you understand this is a huge decision, but we are all very excited to see where the Lord brings us, and trust in His wisdom to make this a truly amazing experience.