Friday, September 9, 2016

The beginning of the end..




I don't even know where to start. After my last post things changed weekly. We went back & forth so many times. I'll spare you every little detail but will say as of a week ago people were still contacting CPS saying they would take the baby (where have they been the last 11 months?!), but on Tuesday we went to court for what was scheduled to be trial to terminate her parent's rights. Even that morning we didn't know what to expect, we were totally prepared for her moms attorney to request an extension so that another family member could be looked at as a suitable placement. As we approached the bench for our trial things got tough, fast. Her momma made the decision that morning to sign over her rights voluntarily & her dad didn't appear so his rights were terminated. We are so, so relieved. There is a 90 day period for appeals to be filed, but we don't believe there will be any. This is really the beginning of the end of our foster & adoption journey. This little babe will be our last. So expect one more post when we finalize, and then we will likely sign off. This has been our life for so many years we just can't wait to live our life like a "normal" family.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Where have you been?

You're probably wondering where we've been? Well, we're here. Surviving. We're white knuckling it, but it's a daily fight. An update on our foster babe first, things are still so up in the air & my outlook changes daily. After court things were a little hazy but then things took a great turn! We found out that CPS wanted to go ahead & change the baby's case plan to adoption (US!!) since her dad wasn't working his case plan. The relief & joy in that lasted a whole 4 days. Then we started to live every foster parent's worst nightmare. Almost 9 months into the case an out of state relative stepped forward. At this point we still don't know how viable that placement is. The process for placement there would be long & exhausting. We are scheduled to go to court late this month where they were hoping to schedule the trial to terminate parental rights, making her free for adoption. With that said, we just don't know what is going to happen. We pray every day that she is ours forever & we live every single day as if it is guaranteed. I couldn't survive any other way. I couldn't get out of bed every day without the faith that this system is going to do right by her. That this system knows the undying love we have for her & they would never allow anything less. She is growing stronger every day & is such a joy. We are currently still in speech therapy for feeding issues as well as physical therapy & we plan to start occupational therapy soon as well. As far as the other kiddos go, I can't believe how big they are. Everly will be going to first grade next year & Delilah will be going to school full days in Kinder!! It's such a change to have all of our babies in school ALL day. Is a bit surreal. We are of course still traveling a LOT, like every summer. We did buy a new, bigger camper so traveling is a bit easier. Hopefully I can update in a few weeks with great news that they are still planning to terminate parental rights!



Friday, April 15, 2016

3/4 a year


I can't believe this little sweety is 9 months old today. Never in a million years did we think we would end up with a newborn girl but I'm so grateful we said yes when we got that call to pick her up. I don't know what her future holds but I have known from the first day that God has enormous plans for her. There is something so special about her & her spirit, even strangers see it & come up to us. Wherever she lands, her road will be rocky & she has so many challenges ahead of her. But, I have no fears because I know she will fight & overcome anything. The next 6 months will be the most critical in her case & we just pray everyday she is meant to be ours! Happy 9 months to our little Bug!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Welcome to the battle dome...


Today we ventured into unchartered waters for us. Today we walked into a court room to support our sweet foster baby as her court appointed attorney (also known as her guardian ad litem or GAL) fought to keep her in our home against the wishes of CPS & in the face of a family member who had an approved homestudy. Within days of finding out there was an approved homestudy for a relative we got the news that her GAL had reviewed the home & did NOT approve of the move for numerous issues within the home & the long term ability of that relative to meet her growing medical needs. It was his recommendation to the court that she stay with us, while her dad works on his case plan. A week later we got news that her CASA worker also would not be recommending the relative as a suitable placement. So today, the two sides squared off & the decision was made by a judge for her to stay with us, even a little longer. I can't even begin to say how relieved we are. We also had deep stomach churning concerns for her well being in that home. So for now, we will go back in June for a second permanency hearing. That is probably the most important court date because it's where the tables turn & they need to really decide whether she will be moving to adoption or going home within the next 3 months. That June court date is also where they usually schedule the trial to terminate parental rights or plan reunification. I can't go into too many details but the last month with our sweet baby has proven difficult as her medical issues are taking a turn toward the more serious. She is now in physical therapy & speech therapy. The speech therapist actually specializes in feeding issues since she has had many troubles eating baby food. For now we will continue to work hard fighting for her & working with her therapists to help her grow & progress.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

All too familiar...

It's been just 5 short months since we kissed our foster son goodbye & here we are. All over again. Getting ready to kiss this baby goodbye. A family member has been approved by CPS to take her. I don't know if there are ever words. How do you put into words what it feels like to have part of your soul ripped out. There are no words to describe how it feels to pray for something so hard & have all those prayers answered in one beautiful child. To see a child that is so special, so blessed & with so much potential & fighting spirit, to love them with every bit of your soul & know it's just not enough. Our love can never be enough for us to keep her.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Redemption....

I have tried over the years to not talk too terribly much about our kid's bio families/parents. I don't really feel like it's my place to spill all their dirty secrets, or exactly what all of our kids went through. We have been blessed to stay in contact with Tuck's foster family as well as some of his extended family. We also have stayed in contact with the girls' bio parent's. Mostly this was for them, and the girls later down the road, but it would be a lie if I didn't say it was for selfish reasons also. That reason is to be there in case a bio sibling comes into custody. After the girls' adoption the ultimate wish is that their parents really learn from that loss. From losing their kids. The prayer is that they turn their life around & that one day, years from now, we can tell the kids "losing you made them realize the mistakes they were making & they didn't repeat those mistakes". Unfortunately as a whole, that hasn't been the case, with the exception of one. Our girls' mom. She was the one I worried about so much, she couldn't even bring herself to come to court. She was young, addicted to drugs, in way too deep & sinking fast. But here we are 4 years after the girls were taken & she is walking the long hard road to redemption. There are lots of long roads after you screw up, but none as long & rocky as that you walk after hurting your child (and I don't mean physically). She is clean & sober, with someone she loves & raising their family. She has two little boys & a another baby girl on the way. She is walking that road every single day to raise her new kids the way I know she wishes she could have raised our girls. I know it isn't easy when everyone you know is an addict, or remembers the OLD you, the addict you, the mistakes you made. But there is only one way to rise above that & it's to work hard to never repeat the mistakes you made. I'm so, so incredibly proud of her & all the work she has put in & how far she has come. You can never change the  past, but the best way to make amends is to acknowledge it, learn from it & move on. I know one day the girls will be happy to see losing them changed her for the better. That there was a purpose & a lesson in that loss & that she knew better & she did better....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Parenting Style..

I've done a ton of posts about everything foster/adoption related, but I thought maybe this would be an interesting topic. Obviously everyone has their own parenting style. Chris & I are by far definitely independent parents. By that I mean we raise & encourage independent children. There are a ton of ways & examples so I'll go over a few. First I'm OK with my babies getting bumps & bruises. Yes, I said I let my kids get hurt. To make it worse when they fall down I don't jump up & run to them instilling fear at the slightest twinge of pain. I know, I'm horrible. My reaction to their tumble teaches them THEIR reaction. If I jump up & freak out they think "oh, I should be freaking out about this" even if it doesn't hurt. If they fall & cry, of course I go to them, but not unless they cry or are hurt. Our kids are 9, 5 & 4, guess what? They don't cry or whine over shots, not even getting blood taken. We have never held our children down for shots, instead we talk to them, give them a chance to compose their feelings & make the choice which is much less traumatic & puts them in control. We also don't believe in co-sleeping. Please do not think we are letting our babies cry it out. We are investing the time to teach them to sleep alone & find comfort in themselves. If that means we go into the room to soothe them 20 times a night, that's what we do! We invest that time in our children instead of putting them in bed with us. Our current foster baby is almost 5 months & currently sleeps through the night & has for nearly a month. She sleeps alone in her crib every single night. This same baby has never been allowed to cry for more than a minute. I could show you a million other examples & reasons we are raising independent babies, but I will tell you the reason I think so many parents are NOT. I personally believe (this is where stuff gets controversial) that many parents are raising co-dependent children to stroke their own ego. It makes them feel good when their toddler cries for them & they can run in & save the day. It feels good to the ego when you can just sleep with your baby & your baby "needs" you. It feels good to the PARENT to be needed. But what they do not understand is it doesn't feel good to a child to constantly NEED a parent to be happy, content or confident. To be taught you can't be happy without that person. What happens to these dependent babies when their parents can't be there? When will they ever learn to think for themselves? When will they learn to solve their OWN problems? Don't get me wrong, I am there if they actually get HURT, or to praise them on their accomplishments & to cheer for them when they get it right. I am raising the leaders or tomorrow, not the hand holders of the next generation. With independence comes CONFIDENCE. My children are confident & don't look to me for approval to do things, instead they are the fearless explorers that leap without hesitation! It shows in their interactions & the way they take control when things go astray . They don't wait for me, they don't wait for approval, guidance or hand holding. They figure it out, they use critical thinking & do it themselves. So yes, it feels great as parents when our babies need us. But PLEASE think about how it feels to always NEED someone else to be happy. We are here to guide our children through life not carry them through it.