Saturday, December 26, 2015

Piatts for Christmas

517 days in our care and on 12.17.2015 they officially became our sons. Leading up to the court date everything seemed surreal. It was hard to wrap my brain around it all. To be honest, I was worried the timeline would fall through. I found myself holding back the excitement and telling myself "it's not official until we leave the court house!" This is fostering after all. Well, it's official!!! It hasn't been easy and we weren't sure this day would ever come. We have all fought, prayed, hoped, cried, and anxiously awaited this moment. It is my privilege to introduce our gorgeous family. Absolutely worth every tear.



Meet Kade William Piatt.
aka Whistle.
His smile lights up a room, his laugh is contagious, and those big brown eyes get me every time.


And here's Keanu Jacob Piatt, we call him KJ.
aka Smash.
Our gentle giant. He's extremely sensitive to other's needs and emotions, and his beautiful blue eyes, once cold, now filled with joy.



On our way to this amazing photoshoot, courtesy of Teagan, we told the boys we needed new family pictures because the boys were going to be Piatt's. Their responses were precious.

Carson: I'm so excited! I love the boys. I'm so happy my brother's are going to be Piatts.

KJ: I'm so happy. I going be Keanu Jacob. Keanu Jacob Piatt.

Kade: Yea!!! I going be adopted!





(amazing sign courtesy of Ash and Boot)













A very Merry Christmas indeed.


After the madness of opening presents Christmas Morning, we let the boys pick one small toy to keep while we watched a show. I fed baby b and all my boys decided to cuddle in the big chair. Pinch me, is this real? I am one lucky lady to have such handsome men in my life. I am beside myself with joy. 
We are Piatts for Christmas!!


Piatt Party of 5!

****

So, the big question...

how does it feel???

Amazing. Better than we could ever imagine. Things are already changing quickly and harmony is being restored to the Piatt house. The boys seem more settled. We are finally free to implement the type of parenting we feel is best and it's the same across the board. Carson, Kade, and KJ are now completely equal in all regards. It's wonderful and we are loving every minute.

Now, for those of you who follow the blog, or have read back over passed years, you know infertility and fostering were two great struggles I've expressed on here. I've never felt so grieved, frustrated, sad, hopeless, tired, anxious, angry, and jealous since the darkest seasons of infertility. Fortunately, the Lord loved me enough to forbid my heart to stay in that place. I stayed under the fog of infertility for longer than I'd like to admit, but I can see how the Lord was using that time to strengthen me and mold me into who He desired me to be. I can stand here today, well lay here in my bed at 3am, and say I'd go through infertility again to feel the way I do right now. I do not say that lightly. Navigating through infertility was the most heartbreaking season of my married life. I haven't forgotten that pain, and probably never will, but I can see now it was beyond worth it.

I am so blessed to have such a fulfilling role. I mean, it's hard, fostering is hard, raising children isn't easy, and I realize we are in an extra sweet time with adoption right now. But, yea... I'm in. I'm all in. Having the second placement of Baby B sealed the deal. We love adoption, and now we love Foster to Adopt in all aspects. I cannot imagine our family without Kade and KJ, and now baby b (for however long she is with us). I can't imagine our life without fostering (although, the day will come!). I did my best to trust the Lord and His perfect plan for our family, but it was too hard to see through my grief. Even the grief of fostering and the ups and downs. I know it was all in God's timing. He was strengthening me through all of it. It took time, I'm stubborn and selfish and it took time, but He was working it all out! I've always had so much love to give children and I didn't see how infertility would allow that to happen. I always viewed it a hindrance or an obstacle to growing our family. 

Now I know better, now I know we will never be short on children to love.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting." Psalm 136:1



Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Love, 
The Piatt Brothers

Friday, December 25, 2015

Baby B foster placement #2

I can't believe after a year and a half of fostering we are only on placement number two! Crazy. I promise I will post about finalization and all the emotions surrounding our adoption of Kade and KJ, but that one will take some time. So, as promised, here is a little about sweet girl, baby B.

I mentioned her whirlwind emergency placement last post. But, just a little recap, our agency asked us if we wanted placement of a 3 day old baby girl. We said yes, doubting Cps would choose us. Cps picked us and she arrived within the hour!

Two and a half weeks with her has flown by. She was with us for the boy's adoption, and she's the sweetest addition to our family. We are all completely in love with her. To be honest, comparing placement of the boys and a newborn (at least her) is a piece of cake!! Sure, I'm a little short on sleep, but second time around things are going better for us. We are not as concerned about timeline, the fostering side of life doesn't intimidate us quite the way it used to. Life is a little crazy around here, but we are so happy we said yes.

Her 14 day hearing is rescheduled for Jan 5, so we really don't know much. She has weekly visits with bio family and as far as we know they fully intend to work services and be reunited with her. Visits aren't as tough or me this time around, mostly because they aren't as tough on her. She's extremely exhausted by the time she comes home, but she's too young to beg me not to go, or throw up, or have nightmares like the twins did.

She sleeps pretty well (for a newborn), takes her bottle well, and is steadily gaining weight. She's such a joy and the prettiest little thing ever!!




The number one response I get when I tell people we are a foster family is this:
"Oh my gosh, I couldn't do it, I just couldn't say good bye to the kids, I would get too attached." 

** a bit of friendly advice: Don't say this to a foster family. It cheapens the choice we've made to love these kids fully without knowing they will stay. You're kidding yourself if you think we chose fostering because we are immune to being too attached to the kids.**

Yes, this is a hard aspect of fostering, and we've yet to walk through it. We anticipate it happening at some point. But, we are foster first and that's part of it. Make no mistake, we are completely attached and will be heartbroken if baby b leaves our care. However, being afraid of the heartbreak is not reason enough for us to say no. We will open our home and heart to the little ones the Lord gives us.. for however long He sees fit to do so. For now we are enjoying the three boys He blessed us as permanent additions to our family. And thanking Him for the time we have with baby b, and the difference we get to make in her life today. Oh how sweet today is.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Soon to be Piatts

I told y'all in the last update we were in foster care la la land and definitely wouldn't finalize in 2015. Well, surprise.... We are going to court and adopting the boys December 17, 2015. NEXT WEEK!!!

We knew the timeline shortened significantly about a month ago, but didn't want to share publicly until we knew something concrete. We spared y'all the emotional roller coaster that is fostering. On Monday November 2, we got news bio mom's attorney filed a motion to withdraw appeal because there's nothing she found that merits an appeal, she found the appeal frivolous! This was excellent news because we knew if an attorney couldn't find a reason to appeal, it was basically over. The court notified bio mom and she had an option to file her own report, which wouldn't have been granted; however, left our timeline uncertain. She had until November 16 to respond. Our timeline was very uncertain, but it was exciting. 

We spoke with CPS on the 2nd, once the attorney filed the motion to withdraw our amazing case worker (you know who you are!!!) really got to work. Her supervisor agreed to let her start processing the adoption and getting our case ready for court. Of course, timeline was still unknown. November 16th came around and bio mom did not respond. Great news for our timeline. CPS then told us her goal was to get us finalized before Christmas. CHRISTMAS! Still, a lot had to fall into perfect place for this to happen. She has worked around the clock getting everything submitted and making sure the right people had the information they needed to do their part. A lot of different parts moving together to make this happen!

Wednesday, December 2nd, she gave us a tentative court date for the 17th.. WHAT? no way. We kept that under our hat because the odds of finalizing on the first tentative court date seemed slim. Our adoption attorney set the court date, but CPS still had to get the green light from the adoption subsidy folks. That process normally takes two weeks, so we weren't sure we would be able to fit that in before the 17th. Surprise again, the next day, she hand delivered our documents and they were processed the same day! This kind of turnaround is unheard of. Anyone who's experienced foster care timelines knows this is basically a miracle. CPS was able to get our adoption briefing scheduled for Tuesday the 15th, which means WE GO TO COURT THURSDAY 17TH TO ADOPT THE BOYS. Thursday. Next week. NEXT WEEK!!!! 

***brief interruption***

I just received a text from our agency.  "3 day old baby girl (some confidential info) emergency placement, are y'all interested?" ... one short conversation with Jake and we said "Sure why not, we probably won't get picked anyway." Well, less than an hour later.. "They picked y'all, be there in about an hour." This is not a drill people, we have a foster to adopt placement. Not exactly the timing we planned, but this is just what we do. This side of life never gets easy... How do we say no or take a break or "close" our home? .. I'm just like, YES, bring her. Let them be safe and loved, Lord. I know eventually we will not be open for placement.. But today is not that day.. Baby will be here within the hour. 

****
I guess I'll post about baby girl soon because she's totally here and she's a complete doll. But for now, back to the boys!

We are beside ourselves with joy. This has been a very long and challenging process. We've done our best to share our lives and remain transparent with the daily struggles we experienced. Opening our home to these precious boys was one of the best things to happen to our family. What a season of joy, strength, growth, struggles, surrendering, patience, diligence, faith, endurance, and love for us all. The day is here. 517 days as a foster family and we will finally be whole. Praise the Lord.

I cannot wait to formally introduce you to our sons. 

Ironman Arizona

August 2013 I posted an update with my bizarre goals (read it here). Overall goal: to complete an Ironman by the time I'm thirty and check off a lot of new distances along the way.

Whelp, I did it. I am an IRONMAN!!!


I've trained and raced many races for two years to prepare for this one, but official training was about 6 months. I made a plan, did the work, stayed dedicated, balanced my life as much as possible, and then it was race week. I checked my bike to tribike transport Sunday before the race, which is a genius option for removing stress of transporting my bike. Then I did some light runs and pool workouts Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday just to make sure I didn't get stiff. I had some tightness in my lower back and my feet were a little achy, but all in all I was thankful to enter race week healthy! I got a massage Tuesday evening in hopes of releasing tension before I traveled. All the plans were ironed out, Dan and Bridgette (and Eva) stayed at our house to care for the twins (they deserve a medal of some sort!). Carson spent the week at my parents, thanks Teeny and Bebol! I packed Carson and prepped for the twins as much as I could. The plan was to drop twins at school Thursday morning, let Carson help us finish packing, then Teeny would come grab Carson, and we'd head off to the airport. Well, Carson threw up in the car in the school parking lot!! So, we spent the morning cleaning throw up and caring for him...  I felt terrible leaving him while he was sick, but I knew he was in good hands. I was also really nervous I would catch the nasty stomach bug floating around. The morning and packing didn't go quite as planned, but 'tis the life of a mommy athlete! The actual traveling went so smooth. We flew out with Cole and Raechel, got our rental cars, checked into the hotel then grabbed a bite to eat at a local place, Culinary Dropout. It was delicious! I was tired from traveling and slept very well that night. Friday morning Jake and I had a wonderful breakfast at Snooze AM, I even had a mimosa ;), then we headed to race site for packet pickup. Lines weren't too long and the weather was gorgeous. I was anxious to check in, get my wrist band, and see the flow of the event. Ironman did a wonderful job filtering so many people through and their athlete briefing was concise and helpful. I didn't take my helmet and bike gear that morning, but decided I better take my bike for a quick spin to make sure nothing shook out of place during transport. We stopped and grabbed some snacks, water, and gatorade on the way back to the hotel. Grabbed my bike gear, picked up the Haley's, and went back to race site. Took Firebolt (bike) for a quick spin and had to adjust my computers a bit, but all seemed well. Checked bike back in to tribike and we had a nice lunch on the patio. Then we went back to the room and I worked on my gear bags. My aunt and uncle stopped by after they checked in and we had a good chat! Did I mention how awesome it was to have so much support at the race??? It was fabulous. We had a quiet evening reading in the lobby by the fire, well Jake and Cole were gaming, but what's new? Raechel and I had dinner in the hotel that night because I didn't feel like getting out. Saturday morning I went to check my bike and gear bags in. It was really hectic because the practice swim was happening and thousands of athletes were checking in. Again, Ironman did an amazing job getting us in and out of there as quickly as possible. Jake waited in the car instead of parking to help with time. I had a few moments of anxiety wash over me as I was checking everything in. Mostly just, I hope I packed everything I'll need. Tripled checked my gear bags and I walked back to the car to find Jake looking very ill with the stomach bug. He decided to stay in the room and rest. I went and got some medicine for him, and some lysol for our room.. I had activated charcoal with me and Raechel brought bentonite clay. It was inevitable, the stomach bug followed us to Arizona. I tried to stay out of our room so I didn't catch it! Tracy, Elaine, Cole, Raechel, and I had lunch on the patio at NCounter and it was delicious. The weather was gorgeous, sunny 60s and 40s at night. After lunch Teagan and Nels arrived with the kids to kill some time and swim in the pool (it was heated). I relaxed by the pool a bit and then went back to rest and wrap my head around what would happen the next day! That evening we had a little hair coloring party and The Haley's and I went to chili's. Jake still was still miserable and I decided to eat something safe as my "last meal." I took a warm bath and watched some TV, crawled in bed around 9:30 and fell asleep around 11:30. Jake still felt bad, but assured me he would be ready for race day!

Race day:
Alarm went off at 4:15am, I took a warm bath, washed my face and did my best to wake up slowly. I made my peanut butter sandwiches for the day, had a half a cup of coffee, filled my water bottles, and we were out the door by 5:00am. We didn't get to race site until 5:40 because the traffic was crazy and we had to walk a little from parking garage. I went in and aired my tires and put my water bottles on. I realized my torpedo cage was broken from transport. It was the one thing I didn't think to check on Friday. I saw someone with electric taped and asked to borrow it. A guy overheard and saw me messing with the cage, he came over and offered to help. I had plenty of time, so it wasn't a huge deal, but it's never fun to have a "problem" race morning. He used a zip tie and some tape and fixed it within a few minutes. Thanks guy! I went to put my nutrition in my race bags, then I went to sit with my crew. Raechel did my hair, I got my wetsuit on and it was almost time for pros to start. One final hug and good luck from everyone and I was off to wait in line.


Swim:

 I felt like I was going to throw up when I saw the start, but I took a deep breath and just told myself, "One thing at a time, it's going to be a long day, but you're ready, you've got this, QBKS, you're going to be an ironman TODAY." Before I knew it I was entering the water with 2,000 of my closest friends lol. The start is always overwhelming, it was cold, there were people swimming over me, and I was anxious about the day. Took me about 300 meters to get into a rhythm. The weather was nice, cloudy and not too cold. The sun came out for a few minutes, which made siting a little difficult, but it was cloudy again and I was cruising right a long. I made it to the turn around right at an hour and was feeling good. I knew I would finish the swim at that point. I got out of the water a little shy of 2 hours, felt great, and was excited to get to the bike. One event down.

Bike:

I felt great getting on the bike! My plan was to take the first loop easy to recover from the swim and get a feel for the course. The out and back course was primarily all up hill out and I was way off my pace goal. I was a little nervous at the turn around because I wasn't sure how "fast" the way back would be. Well it was fast, I was flying to the turn around and feeling great. Then the wind picked up and it was quite cold.. then the rain came, and it was freezing. The last two laps were absolutely miserable. I kept thinking it would blow over since there wasn't a huge chance for rain when I checked the weather that morning. Well, it didn't. I was soaked, it was cold, and windy... I missed a few gels because my hands were so cold I couldn't reach in my back pocket to get them. I had to wait until the turn around to have someone help me. They reached in and opened my gel and shoved it in my mouth. The race support was amazing. Athletes were riding in trash bags to try and stop the cold rain, but they were out of trash bags by the time I got out there. I sat in the port a potty for a few minutes at mile 90 and dreaded leaving it!! Got back on the bike and started shivering like you would not believe. I couldn't control it. I didn't go near as fast as I could on the way back because I was so tired of being cold and didn't want to make more wind.. But, of course I was so ready to be off the bike I pushed through. I saw several people dropping out of the race on the bike. Despite the cold rain, I still finished in a decent time. When I reached transition area it looked like a medical tent. Everyone was camped out with foil around them, wearing trash bags and gear bags, sipping on hot chicken broth, and hovering around a ground heater, anything to get warm. I got out of my bike clothes into shorts and a tank top (at least it a was dry!). I sat in transition for 17 minutes! I could not stop shivering and I just kept telling myself I would go as soon as I stopped. I finally realized I may never stop shivering and needed all the time I could get for the run. So off I went...

Run: 

I ran straight to my special needs bag, put on my long sleeve shirt, but I didn't stop shivering until mile 3! The first 4 miles felt pretty good and I was glad it wasn't raining anymore. I kept a slow steady pace, walked up the longer hills, and tried to just keep moving. Mentally things got rough on the second loop. I had to run passed the finish line and head out for my second loop. I was tired and nervous about cut offs. I didn't have any doubt I could complete the 140.6 miles, I did doubt I could do it in time. My mind was fried and I really didn't know my pace, I  knew I was running S.L.O.W. Mile 13-15 felt like the longest 2 miles of my life. Emily's cousin, who was a race volunteer, happened to be at that water stopped and assured me I had plenty of time and to keep moving. I hadn't seen the crew in a while and he said he would text them and let them know where I was. Turns out my chip hadn't worked the last few checkins and they weren't sure where I was! Then I saw Jake a little after that and he could tell I wasn't doing well. I was tired, my feet hurt, but mentally I was convinced I didn't have enough time. Mile 18-24 were sort of a blur and definitely the worst part of the race for me. My race crew really stepped it up and saw me at several mile markers. Jake asked some volunteers if they could run alongside me and everyone said it was totally fine. It's not allowed for pros or age group winners, but let's be honest, nobody cares that I had some people helping me get to the finish line. My uncle ran alongside me for the longest stretch and he was very helpful. He told me he wanted to run a little with me because he felt bad for not being able to do Austin with me... I think I can forgive him for missing that one! It was very special and I was honored he took the time (elaine too!) to fly out there and support me. Teag ran for a bit too, and then I made a friend on the course. Her name was Laura, she was precious and a believer. She missed cut off on the swim by 55 seconds the year before and was back to redeem her ironman dreams. We talked, ran, and walked the whole way to the finish. When I saw mile marker 24 with 1.5 hours to go, I knew I would finish in time. And from there I just enjoyed every step. Laura asked if I would sing some worship songs with her, so we sang a few! We ran down the shoot and heard Joanna Piatt, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!

video



I was so relieved to cross that finish line. For me, it was now or never. If I didn't finish that day, it would be years before I could try again. I was emotional hugging all my supporters, but not too bad. It all seemed surreal. I almost lost it when I facetimed my parents.. I think my dad had a little tear.. or maybe he watered, but they didn't come down, we may never know! Jake went to bring the car and I made my way slowly to him. My feet hurt SO bad and I was having trouble walking. I saw several people finish with only a few minutes to spare, and that was really cool. When I got back to the hotel I took a hot shower and soaked in a HOT epsom salt bath. I was still chilled to the bone and crawled in bed with a sweatshirt and sweats on. I don't think I fully unthawed until the following evening when I sat in the hot tub. Jake went and got me McDonald's, but I couldn't even finish the burger. I was hungry but a little sick and unable to eat. I forced myself to drink water. I was tired but unable to sleep. Jake and I recapped the day a little, it was nice to hear about the spectator's day and their thoughts along the way. I slept off and on for 30-45 minutes at a time, my body hurt pretty bad, and I was wired from all the caffeine in my gels and adrenaline. I finally fell into a decent sleep from 8:30am-11:30 am. The next morning I was stiff, but not too bad. I did okay once I was up and moving. I felt like I could go in a straight/flat line pretty easily, but any side stepping or up and down stairs was pretty rough. I definitely wasn't up for agility training! By Tuesday I was moving pretty well and felt much better. By the time we got home, physically I really felt very well and almost fully recovered within a week. I got very sick with sinus junk a few days after and it hit me really hard because my body was terribly worn down. Oh, and we had a 1 month old baby girl come to our house that week and stay for 10 days. So, I'm sure lack of sleep post race wasn't ideal. Dad, Brittany, and I ran the Denton Turkey Trot and it was the hardest 5k of my life. lol. Seriously, it was pitiful, I was sick, couldn't breathe, and my legs were dead. I haven't done any physical activity since Thanksgiving and I'm feeling pretty good about it. 

For more race photos, check out this link (thanks Teagan):

http://www.teaganjacobsonphotography.com/Client/Joanna-ironman/n-qwVwFD

A few weeks after the race, Teagan hosted a party for me and the people who didn't get to experience Arizona with me. There was a slideshow, picture book, ironman cake, and lots of fun conversation. Also, my dad came as me, braid and all, and Teagan wore a wetsuit all night. I'll post some photos from that night, and I'm sure I'll post again in a month or so with all the photos and videos I gather from race day!













and there you have it...
Ironman Arizona 2015. Check.