Monday, December 14, 2015


He is ours forever! We are so thankful that this process is over and we can move forward with our family complete. It may take me a while to realize that social workers will NOT be visiting us, and that the paperwork nightmare is gone! But for now we will share our good news and the sweet face of our boy! He is so loved, so wanted, so chosen!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Whose we are

I didn't update after our last court hearing.  But rest assured it all went in our favor.  What we have learned in this process is that there's a lot of waiting.  Our 20 minute court hearing was great but now we have to wait until July for the next phase.  Each step is one more closer to our little guy being officially ours.  It's not that we will feel any differently.  In our hearts, he is ours.  We have withheld nothing when it comes to him and how much love he deserves.  Those closest to us feel the same way.  I love seeing our friends and family love him in such big ways!

When we were going through the adoption classes we were told "no religious ceremonies" for foster kiddos.  I can understand that.  Imagine someone holding a religious ceremony for your children that you don't agree with.  But adoption is a whole different thing.  At least our case is.  So I mentioned to our adoption social worker that I would love to have Carter dedicated and was bummed I had to wait.  She said, "Why do you have to wait?" Apparently a dedication is ok.  Especially when a birth mom is not in the picture and a hearing is set to terminate rights.  We were so excited!

It's not that we don't think our sweet baby would go to heaven without it.  It's not even that we think he wouldn't choose to follow the Lord if we didn't dedicate him.  It's about making a public declaration that we WILL teach this baby about the love of his heavenly father.  We WILL remind him WHOSE HE IS.

I think baby dedications are sweet and often emotional but I almost couldn't pull it together for this one.  There's something so special about knowing that the Lord has trusted us with this little guys life.  It's not something we take lightly.  We also know we need help.  We need our church family to support us in our journey.

The day arrived and the morning brought news of a different kind.  My grandmother (moms mom) had passed away in the early hours.  Such bittersweet emotions.  Her mind had been robbed by alzheimers years ago so there was definitely some relief in knowing she had found freedom again.  But also sadness at knowing she was gone; thankfully not forever.  I'm so thankful that I know whose she is too! Heaven is going to be amazing.

It was a roller coaster of emotions all day, but we got to end our day standing as a family, praying over our baby boy (who slept the entire time), and speaking his life verse over him.

Precious Carter, 
Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy.
Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Plot twist

As a student in foster/adoption classes, you sit and listen intently to the cases and scenarios.  The workers do their best to prepare you for all the possibilities but then they are quick to remind you that each case is different.  There's no way to be prepared for what your case will hold.  The twists and turns in each situation are unique and individual.  So that's where we are today.  We have hit a twist and a turn.

When we got our call almost four months ago we were told "this is the easiest case you are going to get." We heard words like "open and shut," "uncontested", and other buzz words that would convince anyone that the process was truly going to be easy.  It hasn't been. Nor is it going to be.

Last week we had our first hearing.  This was to be the day that all services were terminated for the birth mom of our little guy.  From there we were to proceed directly to terminating parental rights and then on to adoption. It felt like a Monopoly card that sends you directly to "Go" and tells you to collect your money! But our twist and turn came in the form of his birth mom showing up to court.  She contested the hearing.  Then she showed up to the social workers office.  She has a renewed sense of fortitude and wants to try again.

Open and shut.

Those are gone.

Now, we are faced with the reality that a judge can show mercy and extend her time to get her act together.  She could do it.  She could go to rehab.  We could drive our sweet boy twice a week to see a woman he has never known.  And leave him there.  The thought makes me my head spin and my stomach flop.

The social workers are all just as surprised as we are.  But they assure us that very little has changed. Parents do this.  They reach the eleventh hour, realize they are going to lose their child, and make a last ditch effort.  It's not a new game.  That's what they tell us.  They assure us that it will all work out in the end.  But I am still shaken to my core.  They say the judge will still probably rule against her and terminate her services.  It's too little too late. I can't say that I wouldn't be relieved if that's the way it goes.

This is my baby.  He's MY baby.  I'm the one that snuggles him close and soothes him.  I'm the one that sat in the hospital for three days while his little body healed from yet another respiratory virus.  I'm the one that prays over him every day.

That's the part that's hardest.  I prayed for him to be in our lives.  I pray for him every day.  Actually, WE pray for him every day.  My husband and I pray over all of our children every day.  We know whose they are.  We are called to parent, but they do not belong to us.

We also know that we serve a great big God that is never surprised.

We know we are called to love.  Love our little guy.  Even love the mother that gave him to us.  Don't get me wrong.  We can pray and love and still understand that she is not the best place for our son to be.  The love is hard though.  It's mixed with anger for me.  I'm angry that she didn't take care of her body when she was pregnant. I'm angry that he suffers the consequences of her actions. I'm angry that he has to be such a fighter because of his circumstances. I'm angry that she gave up. I'm angry that she lets her life be ruled by substances.  I'm angry that she wouldn't just stay away!

But as a mom, my heart is broken for her.  She got to carry him for 8 months and feel him move inside. She is the one missing out on his precious smiles and firsts.  I know she showed up out of desperation because she is heartbroken too.

The emotional roller coaster of this process is often more than I can bear.  I'm grateful we serve a God that is not surprised and able to sustain us when we are.  Tomorrow we march back into battle and pray for truth and wisdom.

For today, we love.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I wasn't ready

Remember my last post? It was October 29th, 2014. I lamented over the fact that the waiting for our little guy was so hard.  Just two short weeks later we had our baby in our arms.  Remember when I said we were SO ready? I lied.  I wasn't ready.

Sure, we had the crib and clothing and bottles and car seat.  (We won't mention the fact that I forgot to buy a bathtub).  Physically we were mostly ready.  We weren't prepared for a call for a three month old, so there were some last minute preparations that were quickly fixed with a trip to Target.  But the emotional part? I wasn't ready.

I thought the phone call would be cut and dry.  I was standing in Hobby Lobby with my mom and girls when we got our call.  I thought saying yes would be easy. I was wrong.  There are so many factors that go into each case that you couldn't actually prepare for all the nuances. After hearing the facts about our little guy, we almost said no.  But we prayed and said yes.  I'm so thankful that we did! It may have been the end of our waiting, but it was just the beginning of the real process.  And I wasn't ready.

I knew I would love him.  But I didn't know I would love him as fiercely as the girls from the get-go. I wasn't prepared for the feelings that I would give my life for his from the second I saw him. It doesn't hurt that he smiled the biggest grin ever when the blanket was pulled back from his car seat for the first time.
I knew the girls would love him. I wasn't ready for them to cry such tears of joy when they met him.  And then offer to help in so many ways! They thank us all the time for their brother.
I knew Brian would love him. I wasn't ready for me to fall in love with him all over again when I saw him hold his new son and kiss his head. (And show him golf and it begins).

I knew people would have odd questions. I wasn't ready for the terribly inappropriate questions they would ask about his history. Or if we were waiting until he is adopted to get attached.  (what?!)
I knew I would be asked about adoption. I wasn't prepared to be such an ambassador of foster care and adoption.

I wasn't ready.  I thought I was.  The stretching and growing we have had to do spiritually and emotionally have been worth every single second. There are moments when I am still gripped by fear because he's not officially ours yet.  I have those thoughts of "what if" that I try to dismiss or pray away quickly.  The reality is that there are still what if's. But the fact that there are unknowns that scare me just show how intense our love for him is.  In our hearts and minds, he is ours.

Two weeks ago he had a respiratory infection that landed us in the hospital for a few days.  Our social worker thanked me for staying with him.  What? Who wouldn't stay with their child?! She said that most foster parents leave their children in the hospital.  Heartbroken and angry, I told her, "well he's not a foster. He's my son."

I wasn't ready to hear about all the ways our system is broken and failing our kids.

I guess with anything you can prepare as much as possible but until you are in the situation, you have no idea how your heart will respond.  I wasn't prepared to tear up every time I looked at him.  And often still do. I cry every time I get to tell our story of how he came to us.  When he laughs at his sisters, or tries to "kiss" my face by grabbing it and slobbering all over it, I can't hold back the tears. I'm a mess.  But in the best way possible.  I'm a planner.  I thought I had done all the planning. But it's just like God to show me over and over again that I can't prepare for everything and HE will still carry us through and meet every need.

Our little guy is such a gift. We have named him Carter James.  "Every good and perfect gift is from the Lord." James 1:17

Someday we will share with you his precious face.  But until then, enjoy the glimpses of his perfection.


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