Monday, June 23, 2014

Overdue update

Haven't blogged about our adoption because, well, we are right in the thick of it and there isn't time!

G (6) moved in May 9
Baby I moved in a week later
J (9) moved in June 7

Things have been a little insane around here.  It is a painful process becoming a family but it will be worth it I know.

Baby is teething and hitting separation anxiety stage along with the insecurity of being moved from foster family.  So there's that. She is currently crawling after me screaming her head off as if I abondoned her, simply because I walked 10 ft to the kitchen to grab her bottle.

Then there are 3 boys sharing a room....YIKES! There is much talk of bodily functions day and night, giggling, wrestling, arguing, pushing limits and seeing what they can get away with.

The biggest obstacle has been getting meals made since baby screams no matter what I do unless I hold her.  It's gotten a little easier with a Lillebaby carrier that someone gave me, but hasn't totally solved that issue.

Please keep praying for us and if you are local and want to bring a meal, we'd appreciate it.  Grocery gift cards are another welcomed commodity since these boys can EAT!  :)

Other adoption friends have said it is about the 6 month mark when you finally feel like you can breathe again.  Then each 6 months after that you seem to turn a corner.  I'm looking forward to those days.  ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moving Right Along

We had another Wednesday visit last week and will discontinue those now that the weekends are being extended.  We had both boys from Friday at lunch time until Sunday at 4 pm.  Baby girl came from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon.

Everything went great and the kids are all really bonding with each other and us.  G turned 6 last week so we had a birthday celebration for him on Sunday when Grandma Laura came over.

Each Monday after visits, I have been completely drained mentally and emotionally.  This Monday however I felt almost "normal."  I also really missed the kids instead of sighing with relief that we survived the weekend again.  I wasn't ready to send them back home and also felt sad that we won't see them for the park visit on Wednesday.

G will be the first one to move in so he is having a longer visit this weekend.  He is coming Thursday through Sunday and then will move in on May 9th! I have been working on getting things lined up for his school transfer and hoping to tour the new school the end of this week or next week.  Just waiting on his IEP to be sent over.

There is no exact date for baby to move....hoping for sooner than later.  J will move June 7th right after school ends because he needs that closure.  Can't wait to have all my babies living here for good! I will finally feel so relieved!

We will celebrate J's 9th birthday this coming Sunday! Thankful we won't miss any more birthdays or special moments in their lives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Overnights!

I got behind in blogging after each visit.  Things have been busy but all is going well!  Far better than we had expected at this point.

Last Wednesday we had our normal afternoon at the park visit and it was a lot of fun.  Grandma came  since Joseph had a busy week at work.  We took oldest boy to his baseball game afterwards like we've been doing and enjoyed that extra time with him.  It makes for a long day but is worth it to see the kids!

On Friday there was a big meeting to discuss several issues that had come up in the transition plan, not issues on our part or on the kids' part.  That lasted over 2.5 hours and left me exhausted for the rest of the day.  It will all be fine in the long run though.

On Saturday they brought middle boy G to us for his first overnight.  We had a great day full of playdough, McDonald's, Walmart and the park.  Joseph got home early enough to play with the boys for a while while I cooked dinner.  It all went smoothly and allowed for Nehemiah and G to have some fun and bonding together.  G fell asleep after a while and actually slept in the next morning! I told him we are "practicing to be a family" and that Joseph and I love him and want to be his mommy and daddy forever when he asked why he was spending the night.  (On Sunday when it was time to take him back, G said, "I not go back to ----, I stay with you ever!") So sweet!

On Sunday, they brought oldest boy J to us and Grandma came over.  We played a while then decided to do water balloons.  That was fun and Grandma got soaked!  We had lunch and went to the park.  Time went way too fast and it was time to take them back already.  J gave me some of the first unprompted hugs that day so it was really sweet.  He mentioned his turn spending the night the following weekend so I know he is ready for that!  We found out yesterday we actually get to keep him for 2 nights this coming weekend so I am very excited!

We didn't get to see baby I at all this weekend so that was sad.  The boys kept asking about her! We will get an extended visit this Wednesday though so that will be fun.  We just have to find things to do all day in the city we are meeting in.

Things are progressing and goodbyes are very hard now.  Can't wait until they can all move in! I miss them all so much in between visits.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My life is on hold...

I've been trying to put words to how I've been feeling or how to explain where I am at in all of this adoption stuff.  I feel like MY kids are missing. Our house feels a little too empty and a little too quiet in between visits.  I feel energized and exhausted.


I guess the best description is that I feel like my life is on hold or paused during this transition process.  We have visits with the kids twice a week this month.  The day before is spent getting ready for the visit and prepping Nehemiah and spending extra quality time with him.  The day of the visits I  don't get much done since I just want to get to the visit.  The day after a visit is spent emotionally recovering from the excitement and huge amount of energy spent and also A LOT of special time with Nehemiah.  So, yeah, that's about 6 days of the week right there.

I'm not complaining but I just felt like I needed to share that for anyone heading into this process or wanting to better understand what's going on with us.

I am somewhat of a planner and like to know what I will be doing in the summer or fall but at this point we don't know what behaviors will surface once they've moved in and what we will be able to be involved in.  I usually buy next year's homeschool curriculum now but I really don't know what the kids actually have a true grasp on educationally.  There are so many unknowns right now.  That is part of the journey and part of what makes this process exciting and very scary all at the same time.

This feels surreal to already feel like they are MY kids but then realize that we only found out about them in February. Everything seems to be happening very fast, yet at a snail's pace.  I know that probably doesn't make much sense unless you've been in this or a similar situation.  I'm ready to just get on with it, but also know I'm not ready to handle all 4 at once by myself.  I'm living in a land of conflicting feelings: ready for them to be living here, but grieving the ease of life with just one child and the peace and quiet.  Don't misunderstand me; I am in no way saying we are doubting this is God's plan and the right direction for our family, just trying to explain some of the other feelings besides all of the excitement I usually share.

Adoption is hard and messy and redmeptive and beautiful.  Feeling honored and blessed to be a part of it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

An Awesome Weekend

Friday afternoon we got to pick up baby girl for the weekend.  I noticed right away her runny nose and excessive drool.  Yep, time for teething already!  She was a little fussier this weekend and clingy but I just used it as more time to cuddle!  Thankfully, she loves being in the Moby wrap as much as I love wearing it!  It really is comfortable and feels so snug.  My back has been sore a little bit each day but not much at all which is great considering I am wearing her for 2+ hours each day usually.

On Saturday I ventured out to Walmart with Nehemiah and baby in the Moby.  She did great and barely made a peep the whole time in the store.  I figured I better start breaking myself in with going places with multiple children.

Both nights she slept great.  I used my essential oil diffuser in her room with peppermint and thieves in it (I was pretty sure it was just teething but just in case, I wanted to kill those germs!). I also used peace and calming on her after bath time.  For myself and Nehemiah throughout the weekend I used Joy and Valor a good bit.  I am seeing so much good from using our oils regularly.  Much more calm, less anxiety and better mood stability.  On Sunday, when I was taking the kids back, baby was crying and wanted to be held, which of course I couldn't do in the car for an hour drive. Her crying was making me anxious and driving the boys crazy.  I pulled out Stress Away oil and rubbed it on my wrists and held it in front of A/C vents.  It was a pretty instantaneous calming for all and baby went to sleep.  So thankful for our essential oils! (Side note: let me know if you want to order some since I am a distributor for Young Living).

Sunday my mom came over to help for the day.  The boys arrived around 11 am. Time went by so fast!  I started out by going over some house rules which I neglected to do last week.  They were calmer anyways since it wasn't the first time over.  They played with toys some and then the Wii and iPad.  Everyone took turns well and shared thanks to my trusty kitchen timer! This also allowed me some one-on-one time with the boys while others had turns.  One of our boys is developmentally delayed and I wanted to feel out what he knows already and where he is at educationally so we played with the dry erase board for a few minutes.  Things I had read in the files that he didn't know when those reports were typed, he now knew! I was so excited!  He is showing such great improvement and so much potential when in the right environment and therapies.  There is no telling how far he can go.

My mom cooked lunch for us, otherwise we would have starved I guess!  Baby wouldn't let me put her down much and the boys were begging for attention left and right.  I know over time this will improve and I will find what works.  For now I think I need to cook when they are sleeping and just heat up food when it is time to eat.  Any other ideas for food preparation with multiple children? So far the boys haven't been great eaters, so I need to find out their favorites.

After lunch, we went to the playground.  Big kids had fun and baby took a nap in the stroller.  When we couldn't stand the heat anymore, my mom treated us to ice cream cones at McDondalds.  She is so brave.  At first I wasn't sure about taking them all to a restaurant yet, albeit fast food, but then I decided I better practice while my mom is here to help!  She said next week we should take them to Walmart and see how that goes.  Probably a good idea, otherwise we WILL starve if I am afraid to grocery shop!  Hahah!

Weekend went even better than last week!  Feels so good to have them here.  So thankful that they will move in one at a time though with a couple weeks between each one so that I can get each one settled and into the routine.  Caseworkers meet again on the 14th to decide on some dates for the next part of the transition plan so I am excited about that!

We've gotten some donations and gift cards in the mail and it makes me cry each time because I am so thankful for how willing you all are to help us.  God always provides and uses friends, family and even strangers to bless us!  Thank you!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

He Sets the Lonely in Families

We don't think the boys have been in church much, if at all.  This brings with it sadness that they don't yet know of God's great love and also an opportunity for us to show them in our everyday life and actions.  Psalm 68 was on my heart this morning and as I was reading I was reminded that God is a "Father to the fatherless," that "He sets the lonely in families," and "Our God is a God who saves."  Our prayer is that they would learn to love and trust us and in turn love and trust Christ with their lives.  Pray with us about this!

Our visit yesterday at the park went well.  Baby girl definitely recognized us this time and was so happy and relaxed with us.  The boys were excited to see us and had a good time.  Each of the boys had a few run-ins with each other but with some space calmed down quickly.  We are starting to see some testing of boundaries, which is completely normal and expected.

There was a little boy at the playground that was hitting all of the kids and calling names and didn't appear to have a grown up watching him.  Our boys did fairly well refraining from hitting back.  We had a great opportunity to talk with them about what to do in those situations and that it is always best to make good choices even when other people around us are not.

When it was time to go, we literally had to coax middle boy out from under the playground equipment because he was refusing to leave and get in transport workers' car.  I ended up carrying him all the way to the car and buckling him in.  It is hard for all of us to say bye at the end of our visits and I think it is even harder for him since he is only 5 and doesn't quite understand what is really going on or what adoption is.  Since oldest boy is kind of on our way home, we took him to his baseball game and stayed to watch.  He really likes that we are able to watch him play.  Side note: little league parents are CRAZY! Yikes!

Yesterday morning, Nehemiah met with the counselor for the first time and it went great.  He actually talked about how he was feeling during all of this and he connected with her.  She had some good suggestions for bonding with baby and helping her to know who we are. She also had ideas for helping the boys get along.  :)

I'm still waiting to hear about how this weekend will look for visits but I should have baby overnight again and boys should be coming again on Sunday.  They are trying to work out transportation still.

Monday, March 31, 2014

First visit at our House

Saturday morning began baby's first overnight with us.  She did fabulous!  She was a little nervous when we first arrived at our house, looking around in each room trying to figure out where she was.  We took it easy the rest of the day and just had lots of snuggles, playtime and I wore her in the Moby wrap a good bit.  She relaxed considerably after a hour or so.  We got lots of real smiles out of her! She slept great during the night, although I didn't because I kept worrying about her waking up.  Haha!  She absolutely loved watching all her brothers play and she squeeled and kicked her legs in excitement a lot.  She is such a happy and good baby so we really had no problems.

On Sunday, my mom came over to help me since the boys were getting dropped off for their first day visit at our house.  We knew it was going to be crazy especially for Nehemiah who isn't used to sharing his stuff.  We put my iPad and Nehemiah's special blanket on my bed and had prepared him to go in there to calm down as needed.  He was sent in there 2 times, I think.  He had also gone though his toys and picked out a few that he just wasn't ready to share yet and we put those up in my closet for the day.  All of the boys were so excited to be together, it was cute but a little insane at times.  :) After some playtime and lunch, we headed to our local park to run off some energy.  Next we headed back to our house, for a little more playtime.  I fed baby and gathered all of her stuff up from the weekend.  Then it was time to drive the kids back.  Thankfully, my mom volunteered to stay with Nehemiah so he didn't have to make the 3 hour roundtrip car ride.

There were some tears and tempers flared but overall it was successful.  We have to start somewhere with them getting used to each other in our home.  It will definitely be helpful to get some tips from the counselor tomorrow.

On the car ride taking the kids back, we had some good conversations.  Oldest boy and I talked a little about how it was going to be a hard adjustment at first for everyone but that we'd work through it together.  We talked about how the grown ups will handle the issues and that he didn't have to try and correct the other kids.  We talked about how it will be to share a bedroom because he has his own room at his foster home. He said he wants the top bunk.  :) I encouraged him to finish the school year strong and to do his best.  I gave him huge hugs when I dropped him off and told him I love him already and couldn't wait to see him again.

Then I took the younger two further down the road and had some sweet conversation with middle boy.  Until now he's been kind of oblivious to what is going on and I know he still doesn't understand fully, but I did tell him that one day all of us were going to live at my house.  He said, "We are?!?" with a huge grin on his face.  He loves Joseph and calls him "Jo-fish." So cute! I talked with him about getting smiley faces from school for good behavior.  He talked about being a Rescue Hero and I used that opportunity to tell him that rescue heroes need to listen carefully and follow directions.  I got super big hugs before I left.  I dropped them off at a Wendy's with the other foster mom and I was crying before I even made it out the door.  This is so hard.