Tuesday, November 18, 2014

God is love.

Today started as a normal day. I got up and got ready for the day, then went to get the boys. Took Carson potty, got him dressed, changed boys diapers, got them dressed. Headed to the table for breakfast. Mundane breakfast (oatmeal, banana, milk, waffles)... Prepped lunches, packed their little back packs, socks, shoes, and then at 8:47 something amazing happened. As I went to zip their little jackets, I looked into their eyes, and all of a sudden God broke my heart and His love flowed out of me. I am officially, completely in love with our foster kids. I started bawling, it was an overwhelming supernatural type of love. Praise the Lord! I hugged them and asked their forgiveness for not loving them the way I've wanted to. I promised them things will change and I will love them forever.

I have struggled with this so much. I have been willing to love these boys. I've lovingly and faithfully met all their needs. I've loved them so much and not at all. I've prayed for unconditional love. I did my best to trust the Lord. I praised Him, for He is love. I asked for patience. I stayed obedient in my role. I waited for what seemed like a very long time. I felt brokenhearted going to bed each night knowing I still wasn't there. I meditated on His promises. I tried, but I could not force it. I could not make myself trust the Lord completely in this.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is [a]born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested [b]in us, that God has sent His [c]only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has [d]for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear [e]involves punishment, and the one who fears is notperfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also." -1 John 4:7-21 

Although I am not perfect. By the grace and goodness of God, I am able to show these boys perfect love. Amen.

**I cried off and on all day today! Carson kept asking "mommy sad?".. 
No, Carson, mommy is happy. Very happy. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Foster First

brrrrrrr. It's cold. Like, actually cold. We had a pretty wimpy snow last night, but I can't remember it being 1) this cold and 2) snowing before Thanksgiving. Ever. I'm a summer person. I love sun, being tan, sweating... but, I have to say, this year I was over the summer heat. Loading three toddlers in and out of the car in 100 degree weather was rough. I love fall, which lasts about a week here in Texas.. This year we jumped to the 20s and 30s fast. Normally this would irritate me, but I'm loving every minute of footie pj cuddles and needing slippers in my house! Alright, I'll get on with it. I'm cozy by the fire, drinking wassail, watching Gilmore Girls (tradition), and decided I'd work out a few feelings on here.

We have very little information about the case. We were told we would know something in November, well, turns out we will know a lot of nothing in November! Fostering is a long process, but we ignorantly put our hope in what we were being "told." Turns out it's only a quicker process if the bio parent is refusing to work services. Bio mom is working services, so we are in it for the long haul.

Last week the boys had a bonding assessment with their birth mother. Basically, a specialist evaluated their time with her and are weighing out if they have appropriate bonds, or if the visits are too emotionally stressful for the boys (short version). We are waiting for the results. I'll be honest, if visits stopped it would make our day to day much easier. However, our goal is to do what's best for the boys. Right now, the emotional state in which they return home makes us think it's emotional abuse. I've been documenting their behavior leading up to visits and after they come home. They revert to the behavior they entered our home with. They have nightmares, refuse to eat, act out, cry easily, and have more/longer fits. It seems like we finally get back to "normal" when the next visit rolls around. Okay, so yes, I think it would be easier and better for the boys if they didn't have visits. I'm not trying to take anything away from their birth mother. But, if she isn't able to make the changes, and reunification isn't going to happen, it's too hard on the boys to see her every other week. I wish they could move on and heal. On the flip side, if they are able to return to her care, I'm not sure the visits help anyway. In my opinion, the visits are for the mom, not the boys. The process is hard to watch.. I know the state has timelines and services to give her every chance in the world to keep custody of her children. But, the ones who really suffer during this limbo period are the boys. They are too young to fully process, they can't voice their confusion, fear, frustrations, emotions, etc. I feel selfish for wanting visits to stop... but, ultimately I want what's best for the boys. If the specialist says it's okay to continue visits, I'll be a little disappointed, but I know it will help me process everything. I'm concerned it's continued abuse and damaging to their current state. If they say it's not, I'll have to trust it'll all be okay.

Which brings me to another realization. It is impossible to hold back love from these kids, we are not holding back. It's also hard to realize it's a different love than the love I have for Carson. Carson is our son, he is ours forever... These boys need love, we are willing to love them, but they aren't ours. It's something you can't fully prepare yourself for until your faced with it. Carson's love was instant. This love is taking time. I love them well in meeting needs, protecting them, cuddling them, etc. But, my heart is not fully in it, and at the same time, I pour ALL of myself into them daily. I can't give more than I have. I do not have love for them the way I will if they are ours forever. But, I also don't know they will be ours. I pray daily for the Lord to grow my love for them. Sometimes I feel so guilty because I don't love them more than I do right now, and I want to. I really do. ** I am sharing this to be honest about our process. I don't know if this is how all foster parents feel. Everyone is different, every kid different, and please keep ugly comments to yourself.**

We are foster to adopt. Foster first. We get questions all the time, "so are you adopting them?" "when will you adopt them?".. Our hope is to adopt several more children, and our hope is to adopt children from foster care. We have zero control over it. So, we are learning to foster first, the goal is reunification. We have a long road ahead of us. We probably won't know anything about the case until April or May.

There you have it. Yes, we want to adopt. Right now that's not even an option. We are foster parents first.

"As foster parents, we are asked to not only care for the basic needs of a child, but also sit alongside them as they digest the hurt and damage they have undeservingly experienced." 
-Carrie Dahlin 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Adoption Awareness Month

Our life is consumed with a lot of Foster to Adopt business these days. I'll try and post this week with some small updates. We have few updates on the case, and are settling in for the long process. However, not a day goes by I don't thank God for our son's adoption. November happens to be Adoption Awareness Month and we were fortunate enough to meet up with Kim and her family today!

We brought our son home over two years ago! We had minimal contact with his birth mother, Kim. If you read back through some posts, look for Miss K... We didn't disclose her name until our relationship was established. We've always loved her and knew we would always feel grateful for her choice. Her selflessness in carrying our boy, birthing him, and then choosing us to parent him is hard to fully grasp. She is unbelievably strong and I'm so thankful our relationship has grown. We started with letters and gifts through our agency. Meeting at the agency. Photobucket. Email. Meeting at public places. Texting. Yep, it's awesome. I am thoroughly enjoying having her in our life. I realize I have zero control over our future, but I'm thankful we are all putting in the effort to grow our relationship. I hope Carson is proud of his birth mother, and enjoys her involvement in his life. I feel honored to mother Carson and help him sort through his adoption during each stage of his life.

She is so sweet. Today we met at Chuck E. Cheese and had a great time. We've been prepping Carson for this visit. He is starting to love his adoption. He asks to read his adoption book (our profile book) and watch his adoption movies. :) Now, we get to show pictures of Kim and explain her vital role in all of this! It's really neat. He asks to pray for Kim and "his sister Katei" almost every night. We also met her new baby, Hannah. I love cuddling sweet babes. Here are a few photos from our time:

We love our son. We love Kim and her family. We love adoption.