i've been tagged, our third and fourth visits, and i've found some pretty cool random stuff while cleaning out the kids bedrooms

that’s likely the longest blog title ever. it matches my posts that tend to be too long. unless you really care about what’s happening in our lives, then you could probably read more.

so i’ve been tagged. first time. thanks stephanie. i hope i get this right. i am supposed to list six weird things about me. some of you who know me well might be saying, “only six?”. sorry folks. this is just a sampling.

1. i am adopting three children at once. that’s not wierd to me, but i think some people think it makes me totally crazy. it is a bit overwhelming, but hey, why not jump in all the way all right off the bat.

2. i have to eat things in even numbers. this isn’t everything, but little things, like m&m’s, skittles, raisins, cheerios, etc. if someone gives me three m&m’s, i’ll put all three in my mouth, put one on one side of my mouth, one on the other side, and then split the third one to give each side one and a half. i also prefer to have an even number of colors. if you give me a green m&m and a red m&m you’ll think you did it right because you gave me the even number of two. but now my colors are off so i have to split each color in two so each side of my mouth has half green and half red. weird or obsessive, not sure which.

3. i sometimes hold my arm up in the air in the middle of the night and stroke it gently. josh has caught me doing this multiple times and it totally cracks him up. sometimes one of us will catch my arm on it’s way up and then we’ll push it back down before i have the chance to get started. i don’t think i have rubbed my arm in awhile, but since i am sleeping, i am not sure.

4. i am slightly obsessed with sara groves music. i have seen her 5 or 6 times within the past couple of years. if she’s anywhere within a couple hundred mile radius, i’ll likely be there. every single song she has out, has something to do with some part of my life. i swear, it’s true. and a few of her songs have helped guide me through our infertility/adoption journey.

5. i am literally obsessed with 6/23. that’s the day i was born. and for years i would randomly look at the clock and see 6:23. it happened so frequently and i always made a fuss over it and it started to drive people crazy. i think the fact that i used to do that still drives my husband crazy. poor guy. could be worse i guess. i could have some crazy even number/even color food obsession. oh wait, i do!

6. sometimes when my breath is stinky, josh will say, “how about if you have a piece of gum?” sometimes i’ll say, “no.” then josh will say, “how about if i get you some mints?” then i’ll say, “i don’t want any mints, i just won’t talk at you.”

so now i have to tag people? hmmmm…will anyone i tag actually do this? i guess i’ll just have to try.

1. josh-my husband
2. derrak and melanie
3. jeff and amanda
4. becks and lee
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we had our third visit with our children on tuesday night. i feel horrible that i haven’t written about it. sorry! it went very well, even though it made me very tired!

we picked the kids up a little after 5:30pm to take them to dinner/supper. we call it dinner, they call it supper. they were excited to see us and excited to ride in our van. we filed out to the van with the baby crying. he doesn’t like being away from foster mom. at least not at first. once i opened his door and started putting him in his car seat, he was fine. he was even smiling. josh climbed in the back of the van with the other two kids and helped them get buckled in. what a great dad. i didn’t even have to ask him to do that!

off we went into a their little town. there are only 3 or 4 restaurants. all mom and pop family diner type places. we picked one and went in. josh rounded up three boosters and we took our places. the food took a little longer to arrive than we would have liked, but we managed. the kids colored on their placemats with a couple of pens from my purse. the pens didn’t survive, but the kids were happy.

all three kids ate well and behaved well. after dinner we went to a park to play. the two oldest, who are very mobile, we all over the place! they tried 3 different slides. almost 4, but one was too high. they rode the teeter toter, the merry-go-round, went swinging on the swings. we were out for a total of three hours and we were all pretty tired.

back at the foster home we read a couple of adoption stories the foster mom had gotten from the library. she had started reading some of them with the kids so they could start to get an idea about what adoption is. the oldest one is likely the only one who will kind of understand at this point, but it’s good to plant the seed.

josh and i headed home, going straight to bed. we were exhausted! i didn’t think i would have been that tired, after all, this is what i do for a living! but, i have been working at my nanny job for almost three years and in know how everything works with those kids. with my kids though, everything is new.

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we had our fourth visit with our kids on saturday. this was our first all day visit and actually, a whole day of firsts. we picked the kids up at 11am and brought them to our house. bringing them to our house this first time was just to let them see it and spend a little time in it so they can begin to get comfortable here. we came in and looked around and met the dog. the dog didn’t go over too well with the two youngest kids. they cried, alot! so we kept her outside most of the time, but we’ll keep trying with her and them. we would give her up if we absolutely have to, but we don’t really want to. and, we aren’t sure it’s so healthy to have a fear of dogs when you haven’t really been around them ever. so we’ll see what happens. we ate lunch together and played a game before we left. then we were off to my parents house and josh’s parents house.

everything went really with both families. the kids were shy at first, same as they were with us and that is to be expected. they adjusted quickly to their new surroundings and all of the new faces. all of our siblings got to meet the kids, except my sister who lives in NM and is 8 1/2 months pregnant. she’ll be home in august with her husband and baby, and the kids will get to meet her then.

we had pie and ice cream at my parents house to celebrate my dad’s birthday which was thursday. this was the first time in 35 years he didn’t hear ‘happy birthday dear dad’, but instead heard ‘happy birthday dear papa’. it was very sweet and i think very special for all of us. at josh’s parents we ate dinner together, pizza and chips.

we had the kids back to their foster home by 9. we were all very tired! we have put them in their jammies for the ride down so they’d be ready for bed already. they had a snack, brushed their teeth, went potty, etc. and were off to bed.

the day went so well, the kids got along great with everyone. josh and i thouroughly enjoyed ourselves and while we could agree we are crazy for taking this all on, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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we visit with the kids again tonight. another time to eat out and just hang out. the more used to us they get the better. and then friday night they are sleeping over for the first time. three little babies in my house! sleeping! we can’t wait to have them here for an overnight and though we’ll really enjoy playing with them, eating with them, watching cartoons with them, etc, it will be neat to see them sleeping here, in their rooms, in their beds, in our house. i imagine the tears for josh and i will be flowing plentifully when we crawl into our bed!

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and now i leave you with this. i discovered it years ago and still have it on the original piece of paper i wrote it on. then i re-discovered it the other night while cleaning out my random stuff from our daughters room. it makes my heart smile.

“each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
for some there are more pieces,
for others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.
some seem to be born with a nearly completed puzzle,
and so it goes.
soul’s going this way and that trying to assemble the myriad parts.

but know this.
no one has within themselves all the pieces to their puzzle.
everyone carries with them at least one and probably many pieces to someone else’s puzzle.
sometimes they know it.
sometimes they don’t.

and when you present your piece which is worthless to you,
to another, whether you know it or not,
whether they know it or not,
you are a messenger from the Most High.”
–rabbi lawrence kushner

in need of wisdom

please pray for us! we have a long list of things to be praying about. becoming mom and dad, becoming a family, me being home fulltime, getting our house ready, the adjustment of the children to all that will going on, their alleged fear of dogs and the fact that we have one, etc. all that aside, we need wisdom.

over the next couple of visits with the kids, tonight and saturday, we will begin talking about the idea of us becoming a family and the kids coming to live in our home. i think i know what to say, but do i? we are taking them from all they have known for the past year of their lives and that’s pretty much all they remember. most things before that are probably just a big blur.

i am sure some of you are saying “don’t worry about it, they’ll be fine. look at all you’re doing for them. giving them the gift of a forever family, a nice home, a ride in a cool mini-van, a better chance at having a good life, and a really funny daddy.” i understand that thought pattern, and i agree. but also for me, they are the gift.

they are giving me a better chance at a good life. they are giving me a forever family. they will make our nice home even better. now i’ll have little ones to tote here and there in my cool van.

they are giving me the chance to become a mom.

and as their mom i don’t want them to be scared when they visit my house and spend the night the first time. i don’t want them to be confused about why their whole world has been changed. i don’t want them to be sad that they have been taken away from everything they know to be safe and secure.

i have seen many children go through this transition and they have all managed just fine. but that doesn’t take away the little heartache i feel over such little people going through such big changes. we’ll make it through, i know that. i believe it 100%. but, we still need some extra wisdom. please pray that God will give us the right words, the perfect amount of hugs and kisses, and enough love to make it through.

He Is Risen! and…another visit

happy Easter to all!

is it appropriate to write about the Resurrection and our second visit with our kids in the same post? i believe it is. i am celebrating the Resurrection of His life and the new life that it gives me. so, here goes.

in Christ alone

in Christ alone my hope is found

He is my light, my strength, my song

this Cornerstone, this solid ground

firm through the fiercest drought and storm

what heights of love, what depths of peace

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease

my Comforter, my All in All

here in the love of Christ i stand

in Christ alone, who took on flesh

fullness of God in helpless babe

this gift of love and righteousness

scorned by the ones He came to save

‘til on that cross as Jesus died

the wrath of God was satisfied

for every sin on Him was laid

here in the death of Christ i live

there in the ground His body lay

light of the world by darkness slain

then bursting forth in glorious day

up from the grave He rose again

and as He stands in victory

sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

for i am His and He is mine

bought with the precious blood of Christ

no guilt in life, no fear in death

this is the power of Christ in me

from life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

no power of hell, no scheme of man

can ever pluck me from His hand

‘til He returns or calls me home

here in the power of Christ i’ll stand

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we had a great second visit with our children yesterday. the ride down was filled with a different kind of anticipation. this time we wondered if they would remember us, if they would be happy to see us. the ride down also felt different because we rode down in this.

i am officially a mini-van mama. we found it last monday night at don sitts. a 2003 mazda MPV. only 20,000 miles. you can’t beat that! well, maybe you can, but we didn’t have months to figure that out. josh worked on the financing throughout the week. we signed the papers saturday morning. came home, grabbed a snack, and headed out to see the kids.

when we arrived at the foster home, the kids were looking out the window for us. we waved. they waved back. “do you think that means they remember us?” i asked josh. we went to the door. it was open so we went in. there they were. two little smiling faces(child #3 was getting a diaper change). they said hi. they rememberd us! we were thrilled. we gave hugs and talked about what we were going to do for the day. an Easter egg hunt!

we all piled in the foster mom’s minivan and made our way to their church. it’s about 40 minutes from the foster home. yes, that’s a 50 minute drive down for us. then another 40 minutes to church. i rode in the front with foster mom so we could talk about our plan for future visits and so i could ask more questions about the kids. josh rode in the middle next to the baby. he found a story in the car, how many sheep, and read it to the kids. it was so cute. and so neat that he did it on his own. he already knows so many of those dad things to do.

when we arrived at their church, we weren’t surprised to see that it’s much smaller than our church, the chapel. it’s in amish country, right down the street from the amish door restaurant & inn. the church property holds a swing set for the kids and a cemetary for church members who have passed on.

we got to take a little tour of the church. we saw the sanctuary, the kitchen, the fellowship hall, the nursery, and the kids classrooms. the kids were very excited to show us where they have Sunday school. we got to meet their teachers, the pastor, and many other members. most of them are very involved with our kids and are very thankful that a permanent home has been found for them. some of them thanked us for what we are doing. we are thankful they have been in church. and, that they have had so many people in their lives who love them and have been praying for them.

the egg hunt started with the reading of a children’s book about the real meaning of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus. all of the kids gathered around in the grass, holding their Easter baskets, anxiously listening and waiting for the hunt to begin. after the story, josh helped our daughter and i helped our middle son look for hidden eggs. they only found a couple each, but they were so excited anyway. some of the older kids found too many eggs so they shared with ours and the other younger children.

after the hunt, there was time for cookies and punch. our middle son got ahold of a chocolate, chocolate chip cookie and he had it all over his face, hands, and clothes. he really enjoyed it. josh, again just knowing the daddy things to do, grabbed a napkin to wipe him up a little. we enjoyed playing on the swingset in the yard of the church. the two oldest kids were both a little afraid of the slide. josh helped them out and after the first run down, they were fine on their own.

on our way back to the foster home, the kids foster mom put on a scooby doo dvd. yes, they have a dvd player in their mini-van. no, we do not. we are enough entertainment on our own. aren’t we? we have decided no on the built in dvd player because we can just take josh’s laptop with us for vacation, etc. so, the kids are watching scooby doo. josh included. the middle one fell asleep and josh and the baby held hands and played little games. it was so precious.

back at the foster home, we spent sometime playing outside. they have a nice swing set and playhouse. we played kitchen and mcdonald’s drive thru. we rolled a ball and kicked a ball. we did some swinging and dandelion picking. we played with bubbles, blew them and chased them around.

we had been with the kids for a little more than four hours. we made plans to get together again this week. when we were leaving, the kids were saying they wanted us to come back tomorrow , which would be today. we explained we couldn’t, but we’d be back in a few days, and they’d say, “okay, see you tomorrow.” they were being very silly! and we were glad they wanted to see us so soon. we would have loved to have seen them today, but now we have a few days to spend really looking forward to our visit this week. we’ll update you on how that goes.

Good Friday

the wonderful cross

when i survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died
my richest gain i count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride

see from His head, His hands, His feet
sorrow and love flow mingled down
did ever such love and sorrow meet
or thorns compose so rich a crown

oh the wonderful cross, oh the wonderful cross
bids me come and die and find that i may truly live
oh the wonderful cross, oh the wonderful cross
all who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name

were the whole realm of nature mine
that were an offering far too small
love so amazing, so divine
demands my soul, my life, my all

love so amazing, so divine
demands my soul, my life, my all

permanent custody…

was granted today. the kids now belong 100% to the state. they are legally free for adoption. can you believe it? two days after we met them.

getting permanent custody is perhaps the biggest hurdle we have had to jump. the judge could have decided to give their parents more time to try to regain custody, but he didn’t. he knew they needed and very much deserved to have a family who could care for them the right way.
the parents still have the chance to appeal, but they likely won’t. and if they did, the judge likely wouldn’t reverse his decision.

things are going to move quickly from here on out. we’ll visit the kids again this saturday and then add weekday visits too. they’ll have a couple of weekend overnight visits and then move in. it still seems pretty unbelievable.

we put the pictures we took on saturday on a dvd with music. i watched it a few times today and i cried every time. i asked josh if there would be a day when i wouldn’t cry. i hope there isn’t. i hope every time i watch the images of the first time we met them, that i am still moved to tears.

things are also starting to come together in terms of what we’ll need to bring them home. people are offering cribs, high chairs, playpens, booster seats, etc. we found a minivan we like that will hopefully become ours sometime this week.

i am still in awe of God’s goodness in all of this. His hand can be seen and felt so clearly.

i am excited to share with you all that takes place over the next few weeks. i have a feeling it’s going to go so fast. from two of us to five of us, plus one dog. i can’t think of a more perfect way to build our family.