Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From Us

This is the closest thing I got to a Christmas card this year. It's a little blurry, it's a little busy, and it's a little late. But it's us :)...

So much grace right there.

It hasn't been all feel-good moments and smiles lately, my friends. But it's been great because of how He is working inside these 4 walls. We are learning to love the good stuff AND the hard stuff :).

So from our little family to yours, hope you had an amazing Christmas full of friends, family, and celebrating Jesus!

Hugs and love to you all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Than I Can Handle

Last Wednesday as I was fixing lunch for the kiddos, I got a phone call that has permantly changed us. I sat and stared out the patio window as our worker described a placement that she "for some reason felt like she needed to ask us about". Even though it wasn't really what we were waiting for, and even though it was a lot to take in, she said something was "telling her to call us".

It was Him.

Eric and I chatted and prayed and talked of how we weren't sure that this was something we were prepared for. It would be a lot, 8 kids seemed kind of crazy right off the bat, and when on earth would we shower? We thought about all the hard stuff, and we came up with one conclusion: we had no good reason to say no.

The 1st night was mostly what we thought. They came running in and absolutely loved being in a home with lot's of kids. They laughed, and cried a bit at bedtime, and eventually talked of things that should never be on the lips of a 3 or 5yr old. 

I tried to be a trooper, but then all the sudden I was like: Wait. This isn't going to be even a tad easy, is it? I'm not going to be picking up a baby that I can carry in a wrap and bond with immediately like I had planned in my mind, am I? I have to build trust and relationships with these girls who are hurt and confused, don't I? Ok, good feelings are gone.

The first 48 hours was a blur, and by the end of the 3rd night I found myself in the kitchen at 9pm having a meltdown which included the full on ugly cry. Your motherly instinct to love them immediately kicks in when they wrap their sweet arms around your neck, but the underlying stress of the unknowns weighs SO much, it makes your heart ache. I started asking myself, "How can I do this?" and  "How can I love them fearlessly when I have no guarantee of keeping them?"

But this is the thing.

He gives us more than we can handle, and more than we can understand.

I know that goes against the saying "He gives us only what we can handle", but I've never really believed it. Scripture doesn't tell us that. I have learned that He reveals Himself the most when you are trying to carry something that is too big...too intense...too deep. I really believe He gives us things we can't handle so we constantly realize our need for Him.

This season? This tough situation? This love that I feel for them? The underlying fear I have now about losing them? I can't handle it on my own.

I can't. I will face the court dates and all the meetings. I will advocate for my girls and I will stand up for what I know is right. But I need Him to put us on His shoulders and carry us, or we'll never make it through the valleys.

It's only been a week. And all of the sudden, after a wild intro to the system, there is a love surfacing here that only God can give. There are walls breaking down and there are hugs. There are 2 girls that are surely making their way right into our hearts. There are 8 sweet little loves playing duck-duck-goose that reminds me that this whole situation is bigger than we are. And there are many reminders of what called us here in the first place.

6 months ago I said we were ready for anything. But honestly, we could have never been prepared for the journey that He had waiting for us. They say that the girls are here to stay for a good while, that we have a long road ahead (I pray the staying part is true). From my eyes, I feel that there is a 50/50 chance of things going either way. Of course, He already knows what restoration looks like for this situation.

I just pray that He prepares us for what that is.

He sometimes leads us into something that we never expected, but He stays while we find our way. Its been beautiful a midst the uncertainty. He is here in each moment and every detail. And that is what makes me KNOW that we can do this. With Him, I think we'll be ok.

We just love them. It's been a tough transition and it is definitely a tad crazy still. But the beauty that lays right beneath the surface of it all is what makes it totally worth it. They are the best gift we could've received this Christmas, and we are so excited to spend the holiday celebrating Jesus with all 8 of our little loves :).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We Have Grown

Just wanted to pop in here (for those who didn't see on Facebook), and share that we got a placement last night.

Not going to lie, it is not what we had planned, but it was made clear many different ways that this is what He wants for us. So last night at about 6pm, after a long day of praying and talking, we took in 2 little girls. They are 3 & 5.

We woke up with 6 kids and went to sleep with 8. It was a busy day.

I'm still swimming in a sea of change and the things that transpired yesterday. My mind feels scattered and I can not stop tearing up for some reason. It has been a lot to take in and there is going to be a lot more to process as we transition them into our family, for as long as He'll let us keep them.

But for right now, they are home.

We need your prayers if you feel led to do so. I will be back soon with more details and the best picture I can give you without revealing them completely. We aren't allowed to show their whole face for now, just in case you were wondering :).

They are sweet, they are mourning the past, they are getting lots of love, but like I said above, they are home.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chaos Is My Calling

It really is.

It's been a day. Not awful, but not perfect. I yelled some and laughed some and even thought of crying at one point. You know, the typical emotions of a mother. The holidays are here and the girls have been asking to do some holiday baking. So instead of going to the store alone at night like a rational human being, I decided to take my crew shopping for the items we needed. And when I say shopping, I mean throwing things into the cart at random and just hoping that we have everything when we get home.

I know, planning and organizing shopping trips, I'm GREAT at it.

I rarely take them all to the store anymore by myself, but I suppose I was feeling adventurous today. In this sweet season with lots of little's, my #1 goal in any store is to just survive. I’ve got 2 hanging on the end of the cart, 1 whining, 1 strapped to me in a carrier asleep, and today I actually had 2 that were reenacting a sword fight from a game on the Wii. I can’t make this stuff up. I’m checking my list, and I’m begging them to behave for just a "few more minutes". 
After all, we are in public.

I start to see that my shopping partners have had enough, and I know it’s time to make an exit. I’m asking God for patience, or a magic button to press that will send grandma to the rescue. You’ve been there right??

I announce that we are leaving, and to my surprise, they are equally as upset about leaving as they are about being there in the first place. Strange, aren’t they?
I quickly unloaded our items and prayed to the sweet Lord that we would have the fastest check out lady EVER created. I paid and loaded my bags back in the cart, apologized to the cashier for the chaos that is my life, and started to usher the kids towards the door.
On our way out we passed a mirror, a two way mirror. You know the ones that look like a mirror, but it’s actually a window for the office on the other side? Well the girls had to stop and check it out – they get such a kick out of making funny faces. I tried to explain, “girls, there are people on the other side who can see you acting silly. They are watching you giggle and make those faces.”
But they didn’t care. They’re never afraid of what other people think. A trait that I admire, and need.
As I stood there and watched them laugh, I felt so blessed. The innocence of a child is so refreshing. All of the sudden I felt bad for apologizing for my kids. After all, they were just being kids. Heck, who doesn't want to have a sword fight in the freezer section? At that moment I couldn’t even remember what was frustrating about our shopping trip, or who was fighting over what, or what display was now face down in aisle 9. All I could think was, “I love these little's, and I am so thankful that the Lord picked me to be their mama. I’ll take the chaos over anything, any day.”
You can try to usher an orderly group of kids through the grocery and apologize for them all you want, but I'm beginning to see that there are not a lot of ways to control this much of grace, this many blessings, this amount of gifts. The joy in their sweet spirits is on constant overflow.
I just love that about them. I should have that unshakable joy.

The kids, sometimes I think they're helping Him raise me as I try to raise them.
It’s easy for us mom’s to get stressed out when things get a little crazy. But you know what I keep reminding myself? God made me their mother, I’m doing the best I can, and He will equip me with as much patience & love as I need for all the little loves in my home. That is more than I could ever ask for, actually.
So here’s hoping that we all can find love, patience, and joy in Him today. At a time when utensils are flying across the table, and you have applesauce in your hair – not that that ever happens to me.
Being a mom isn't the least chaotic life, but it is the best life :).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A List...

Because lists are fun.

And efficient.

And great when you can't form full thoughts. Yes?

- So we've been hanging out here and pulling out more Christmas stuff. The more lights in the house, the better in my opinion. Makes me feel warm and cheerful and like warming up some hot cocoa.

- Lincoln has started closing his eyes when I tell him "No". I think maybe he thinks he disappears or that I can't see him? Either way, its cracking me up while I'm trying to discipline. Little stinker :).

- I am currently hooked on the show Nashville. I actually have started downloading the music from it, and the song "For Your Glory" is so great. Worth your download.

- I appreciate that lots of you are doing Elf On The Shelf, but the pics on the social networking sites are a little over the top, yes? Besides, I have trouble remembering to be the tooth fairy, so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't remember to stage a pillow fight or such for a mischievous elf.

Not to mention that I don't like puppet-ish things, so he freaks me out a little.

- We got matched with a Foster Care worker and she came over last night. So we are officially on the "vacancy list" for a child :). Woohoo!

Although I may have mentioned before that I like a plan and to know whats coming? Yea, not so much a characteristic of the ol' foster care system.

So we wait.

Pray for me. And my patience. And pray for those who live with me while I work on my patience.

- I want to order this from RedLetterWords for the older girls room. Isn't it so great??

  Love that.

- Today the girls were playing "I spy" and it went something like this...

"I spy somethiiiiiing grey."
"Mom's hair!"

Nice. I may go to bed at 9pm these days, and my bladder will never be the same after that last c-section, but the grey hair hasn't shown up yet! Cut me some slack!

- Those girls make me laugh. And smile. Love them.

So that's about all for now. I know, super interesting :).

Hope you all are having a great week!

Monday, December 3, 2012



As you know, 6 months ago we decided to follow a lead we have felt for years and enrolled in foster to adopt classes. We faced some opposition, because I don't know if you know this, but we have 6 children already. We had our share of "What?? Are you guys crazy!?"

And clearly, yes, yes we are. Why do you even have to ask?

But when you feel like God has led you to a place, and then basically yelled "GO!", you just take it all in and move on the best you can.

We were nervous. And we didn't have a lot of extra space, or time, or anything. But we said, "Uhhh, ok, we'll do it!"

I am a normal mom. I get up in the morning and shuffle to the kitchen and fix waffles for my kids. I sat in foster classes and felt sad for these kids and had visions of what our future would look like down this road. And while I took in all the facts and such, I'm not totally sure I was emotionally prepared to look into the face of a hurting child.

Stay with me while I start to cry.

"A" busted through our door on Friday like he was coming home. And in many ways, it was home to him. When you have been removed from multiple homes in your 4yr existence, then any decent place with people who actually want to love you feels like home.

For the first 2 hours he was here he called me, "New Mom."

He was sweet and happy and stuck to my side. He was fine as long as I was in his sight, but if I stepped away, he came looking for me. Because when you have a lot of people leave you in your lifetime, you start to have attachment issues. I'm not going to go into all the sad details like how he wore the gloves his brother gave him almost all weekend, or how he slept at the wrong end of the bed because it scared him when he couldn't see out the bedroom door.

Because I want you to know that this sweet little guy eventually sank right into our busy crew. The madness of his life stopped at our front door. Because as foster parents, you are able to say that the pain and the ugliness stops in your entry way. You can deal with their past, pick up the pieces, and move in a positive direction. 

And somehow, by the grace of God, our big and busy family seemed to be a refuge to this child...
I was blindsided by my emotions and my motherly instinct to take care of this boy that was only with us for a few days.

I was amazed at how he adjusted so quickly, and was just another sweet little 4yr old in our house. They just want to feel part of a family, friends. They just want to feel important and loved, that's all.

I want to tell you that I THOUGHT I was ready. I thought I was prepared and I thought I was strong. We've had the encouragement of great friends and amazing training. But you can be as prepared as you want to be, and when it comes down to it and you are in the midst of it, the only thing you have to rely on is a supernatural strength.

Cause the pain and the past seems so unfair. It makes you want to step out on to the back porch and scream, "What the heck is going on here and WHY??"

And then you may cry a little, because you're desire to love and the urgency to intercede in these babies lives just overwhelms your heart. It's a lot to take in.

But the bottom line is that the only one who can bring redemption and sense to the whole situation is Him.

The weekend went really well. It wasn't all warm and fuzzy feelings, but he was real sweet and played and giggled with our crew. There were signs of pain, and my mommy heart just wants to pick him up and promise him that everything is going to be ok. But you see that's the hardest part, right now I can't promise him anything.

But God. He can. And what we can cling to is that the love we showed him will get tucked away in his little heart for a while.

There were some comments recently that said foster care and adoption were on some of your hearts...but you just aren't sure yet. I know how you feel, cause we have been there, for years. I just want to encourage you to take that first step. Call your county, contact an agency, and see what happens. We decided in the beginning that we would take this one step at a time, pray through each move, and assess how we felt as each page turned. He will reveal His plan for your family, and the bottom line is that the pull in your heart to try it won't go away until you give it a go.

This weekend changed us. Caring for him and saying yes to the madness that is the foster care system is something I couldn't do without His promises. It will never be easy, but I know that He is here in all the tiniest of details, and that He can bring beauty, and hope, and mercy into any situation.

It's hard, but it's SO worth it. Full of redemption and reminders of the gospel that saved all of us. And that's why we would do it again, and again, and again.

So we continue to wait for the kiddo that will be a "permanent" placement for us. Praying for patience and guidance as we move on.

Thankful for your encouragement and prayers, they were felt!