Friday, June 19, 2015

My Sweet M

Its been 4 weeks today.

The worst moments are the ones when all is quiet, you're washing dishes, and you stare out the window and think, "he can not really be gone."

So many of you have been part of our journey with M. He came to us almost 2 years ago when I was 6 months pregnant with Brooks. I remember where I was sitting when the call came in, I remember texting my best friend and jokingly saying, "its another boy!". Call this crazy, but I actually took a screen shot of the county calling that day because for some reason I knew inside that this was the call we had been waiting for since we hopped on this roller coaster. I KNEW it, you guys. 

I remember the placement guy not being able to pronounce his name and me asking when I could go see him in the NICU. I remember wearing a big shirt to hide the fact that I was crazy enough to do this as I entered my 3rd trimester. But most of all I remember walking down that dark aisle behind the NICU nurse with all the machines and lit up bassinets and struggling babies and looking into his crib for the first time. 

I cried when the caseworker was finally able to bring him home. HOME. I still don't get it.

We went through a lot. He fell sick. Which turned into hospital stays and near death illnesses and me being away from home. It also turned into me being completely, desperately, and unconditionally in love with this boy.

We got a fast track education in caring for a medically fragile child. He got better, then sick, then better again and so on. He was eventually diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, he had a feeding tube put in, and we started several appointments and therapies weekly. They said he'd never walk unassisted and would always struggle physically and would always be behind. And I didn't care as long as I could be there to face it with him. He grew, and I grew, and Brooks grew inside me...

Over a year passed and he became more and more ours. It was clear and I felt the Lord confirm time and time again that he was our son. The county said he would stay and that his needs were too high to move him. We kept moving and believing and my sweet Malakhi made strides and leaps that we never expected. Brooks was born and they grew together. Once Brooks crawled, M did. When Brooks walked, M watched. And on Christmas Eve he took off across our living room floor with his brother. A little miracle inside our home. Something I will never ever forget...


Things got ugly in the new year. Right after that a distant relative was identified by one of the bio parents and things started to take a turn. We fought it day and night. The county said they would be recommending he stay here, his doctors and specialists were called to testify in court, and we prepared to win this battle for our son. There were attorneys, emails, county workers, and phone calls day and night. But on April 28th, against medical recommendation and children services asking he remain with us, the judge granted the relative custody. 

I can't even tell you.

For the next month of extended visits with this distant family member I begged for this not to happen. Please don't take our son. Please don't allow him to be taken from our family. Please let him and his "twin" be brothers forever.

But on May 22nd I stood in the driveway and sobbed as they literally had to peel his little fingers from the grip he had on our shirts. That moment in time will be something I will always remember. I'll remember the weather, the look on his face, the feeling of desperation. I will remember thinking that this was some kind of hell on earth. A deep, dark, pain in the core of my being that I have never felt before in my life.

We limped through the following weeks. I had a hard time doing the day to day and there were times friends had to literally force me from my bed and out of the house.

But we are still standing. Although now I look back and see that He carried us as He for some reason forced us to face this road. He allowed it but He didn't leave us. 

It's been almost a month. It feels like its been so much longer. I suppose the days drag on and the weeks seem longer when your heart is hurting. We have had some contact with the relative, only them asking us to provide things for them which kills me because I know he is not getting what he had here. I know in my core that this child was taken from his mother, the only mother he has ever known. And as his mother, the only thing I want to do is take the pain he's feeling away from him. But I can't. 

I can't.

That is new for me, friends. I am a fixer and I can't fix this for any of us. Not for me, not for Eric, not for the kids. Brooks would stand at his crib and highchair so we had to take them down. We have had to just put one foot in front of the other, because in a lot of ways, this has felt like a death.

But you know what? I still obvioulsy love that boy with a divine love. I would take all the pain all over again if it meant I could walk up the stairs right now and lean over his crib and put my nose against his little cheeks just one more time. I'd do it again in a second because I have never known a love like I had for Malakhi. That boy is still my boy and I will never say differently. 

He taught me so much. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be a voice. He taught me about fearless love and about excruciating loss. He taught me that you can do WAY more than you think you are capable of.

This journey with M taught me to be fearless in the pursuit of what you're passionate about. Keep going, keep your eyes up, stay focused, and keep on truckin'.

We have a lot to be thankful for. We have been blessed beyond what I could have ever asked for, and for that reason I have to trust His plan. His perfect, unpredictable, baffling, loving, grace filled, and sometimes painful plan.

We are healing. We have our moments. I have times when my mommy heart just loses it. But I hear that will get better with time.

Do I have an answer to why this stuff happens? I wish. Do I understand why this kind of loss is allowed or how we make peace with it? I don't. Will we do it again? We aren't even thinking about that right now. For now I think I will just love those in front of me and forever wait on him to come home. Our bio babes need their mama just as much as M did.

For those of you in the fire - whether it is foster care, or adoption, or a tough bio child, or whatever it may be. Keep going. Don't let one word or conversation go unsaid. Don't let one action go undone. Fight for what you know to be true in your heart so at the end of the day when you lay your head down at night you can say you did everything you could. Fight. Let Him fight for you. Go to battle. Don't give up.

I can't thank you enough for the love, messages, texts, and sweet encouragement through this journey.  I know I haven't updated a ton, our Facebook page has kind of turned into my mini blog :). Just know that you all carried me many times!

He was worth it. Still is worth it. And still has a mama waiting for him.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Put This In Your Crockpot Immediately - Chicken Fajita Soup

You guys. I have found my new favorite crockpot recipe of the year.


And its only Febuary.

Have I ever told you about my love for Chicken Enchilada Soup? Or Chicken Tortilla Soup? Or anything that remotely resembles it? Well, I love it. Take me to a restaurant that serves it and I will love you for life.

I'm always nervous to make my favorite foods because I don't want to mess it up. But I went searching for healthy recipes last week and stumbled upon this gem.

It's a home run. Everyone loves it. Make it and rejoice.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup (Want a more natural substitute for canned soup? Click here!)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Optional Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • diced tomatoes
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • lettuce
  • diced avocado
  • tortilla strips
  • (pic and recipe from here)

Best. Soup. Ever.

Just make it as soon as you can.

I have made a lot of new recipes lately that I'm going to start posting. I'm looking for healthier options for my family and myself, and the crockpot is the best option for our busy family.

I went through a little bit of a standstill on my fitness journey when our foster care situation got crazy...and then we got M's sister...and then I was up all night...and I watched a lot of Netflix.

And then I ate my feelings.


Back on track, back in the gym, back on my AdvoCare regimen, and back to a healthier and more energetic me! It's time. Summer is coming. And it's not that I want to channel my 20yr old body, but I'd like to not hyperventilate when I pass the swimsuit department at Target. Amen? Awesome. 

So anyway, try this recipe! It's a crowd pleaser, I promise!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Worth It

I had planned on posting an update after court on Wednesday, especially after some of your sweet encouragement on Facebook... which by the way, can we all just move to one neighborhood and live life together, drink coffee, laugh the cares away, and live happily ever after?

No? It was worth a try. (But I still think we should.)

But I was so tired and emotionally drained that it was just better for everyone involved for me to take my tired self off the internet and to my bed. I guess it went exactly like I thought and nothing like I had planned. It was an annual review for M and Z, we were told that the recommendation was for them to remain where they were, here. But what we got was the complete opposite and they granted custody of just her to a random relative who has only seen her maybe 5 times.

She was moved on Thursday. They take them as quickly as they drop them off.

Her eyes. She looks just like M.

This distant relative has decided to come forward a year and a half into our case. I'm trying to make peace with it, I know this is foster care, I have loved on the bio parents like crazy, we've seen it all. But it can often feel unfair and like there is no justice for these kids.

This is foster care. This is the system. The county knows and has said this isn't what's best but they do it anyway. This is why we need more of Him right in the middle of it all. Broken, hard, and draining. But all that really matters? The children. They are the victims. They need us. They need you.

Sometimes you just have to remember that defeat can lead to victory. It doesn't feel that way at the time, but He always restores. We only see the very small picture, He sees the big picture with all the details that have to come together to get you exactly where you need to be. We often feel blindsided by things like this, but the Lord never wastes a moment of what He has ordained. He works all things together for the good of those that love Him.

We are obviously sad. The last few days have not been my best. She was very loved here and it feels like they have taken a piece of M - which I think has made it hurt more than I imagined it would. Being his full sibling, this makes my mind worry over possibility of him leaving. He is remaining with us "for now" (and we believe always will) due to his medical needs, and just because we fully believe that He placed him here almost 18 months ago for forever. Plain and simple. No questions. Just trusting.

Foster care continues to teach us about loving regardless of the outcome, and giving away my heart even though we always know that the end could sting. It is a constant reminder to me that Jesus didn't say to love only when it's easy or when you won't get your heart broken, He just told us to love.

Do I hate this part? Yes. Would we and will we do it all over again? In a second.

Painful, but she was worth it. They all are.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for hanging around for my ramblings. I so appreciate the support and encouragement that you've shown us!

Monday, January 12, 2015

He Is One

How on earth is this child a year old?? 

I can't even.

Time flies when you're having fun. It also flies when your life is a tad crazy :).
(And yes, I backdated this post to his actual birthday date. Because I'm insane like that. You knew this.)

We threw a party similar to the one we had for Lincoln when he turned one. The "One Fish, Two Fish" Dr Suess theme still stands as my absolute favorite. It is so colorful, and fun, and the kids always love it!

Brooks is my sweet, huggable, squeezable, giggly little guy. He is always reaching for me or right on my hip. He is our earliest walker and our earliest riser. He has been a breath of fresh air from his very first moment. He was and is without a doubt, my favorite surprise.

His little teeth. And the manly polo. And his squishy cheeks. Child, I will give you anything. Always.

I may have gone a tad overboard with the party as I've been known to do in the past. I can't help it, I LOVE birthdays! One of my best friends made those amazing cupcakes above, and we filled the place with candy and as much Dr. Suess as we could handle.

And we may have given away pets for party favors. Don't even get me started on how much I loved these blue mason jars and the 12 cent goldfish that lived in them. You guys, I couldn't even act apologetic to the parents that had to take them home because they were SO FUN...

Thank you Target for coming through for me with those jars. And the fish bowls. And the gumballs. And the new sweater that had nothing to do with the party but I NEEDED.

It was just a good day all the way around. Friends, family, celebrating. What tops that!?

Happy Birthday, my sweet Brooks Boy. I still can't believe you are 1! You are a gift that I never knew I'd need. Snuggly peace amidst the chaos, grace on the hard days, and a constant joy in our home and in my heart.

Love you, baby!