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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I want to remember

There are so many moments that I want to blog about but then life happens and writing gets put by the wayside.  But this time, right now, I want to remember.  I want to look back years from now and be able to recall all the feelings.  The season we are in right now is precious.  And hard.  And so good! This post will be long.  But the details are for me.  I don't want to forget how sovereign God was and is in this whole process.

Before we were even married, Brian and I talked about adoption.  We both said that "someday" we would love to add to our family through adoption.  We kind of just knew that when the time was right, the Lord would let us know.  We had three amazing little girls, and after our third was born, my doctor said "I think you should count your blessings and be done." My pregnancy and delivery with her were difficult and scary.  While I knew that being pregnant again did not sound fun, to hear my doctors words made it seem much more final.  And sad.  I was done having babies.  But that's when the Lord reminded me that love is not born in your belly.  It's born in your heart.  Brian and I revisited the idea of adoption around the time that Bailey was two, and we both felt that it just wasn't the right time yet.  After she started kindergarten, we started looking into it again. And praying. We both felt like the time was finally right.  We tried to attend orientation meetings at the county offices for three months but something always came up.

In January of 2014 we started our official journey.  We attended an informational meeting about fostering and adopting through our county and were told that a new program was set to launch in March where the county works closely with faith based families, meeting at churches, to get them through the process.  It was a perfect fit for us.  So we waited.  We went to the kickoff meeting in March and filled out all the paperwork! Then we waited.  The training classes were set to start in May.  For two months we learned all about the "system" and how to deal with children that have been exposed to trauma.  My momma-heart broke every single week for the ones that just needed to be loved.  We did all the homework; we started preparing for state inspections and county home studies; we cleaned every closet, bought a crib, and outlet plugs.  We finished our last class in June.  Then we waited.  The state came to inspect our home in July.  And then we waited.  Our county home study had visits in August and September.  Our home study was submitted on September 18th, 2014.  That brings us to now.  What are we doing now? You guessed it.  We are waiting.

Up to this point, there has always been another step for us to complete.  But now we have done the entire checklist.  There's literally nothing else to do but wait for our phone to ring to let us know our family has been matched to a baby boy.  We have a cupboard full of bottles.  We have a swing, car seat, bouncy seat, pack n play, diapers, formula, drawers full of clothes, blankets, carriers, and the hundreds of other tiny things that babies need.  We are ready.  Most importantly, our hearts are ready. Our little guys is already SO loved! That's what makes this waiting even harder.  It reminds me of a line from "When Harry Met Sally." Toward the end, he tells her, "When you realize that you want to be with someone for the rest of your life, you want the rest of your life to begin as soon as possible." It feels a bit like that.  We want our family of 6 to begin as soon as possible.

Months ago, a wise friend told me to find purpose in the waiting.  At the time I thought, "of course there's purpose.  I have to get ready." But now that we are ready, and we are still waiting, I am realizing what she meant.  Her words were directly from the Lord.  Find purpose in the waiting.  Don't get so caught up in the waiting that you fail to see the people around you that need you now.  Enjoy today.  Enjoy the girls.  Enjoy your sleep.  (Haha!) Enjoy the anticipation.  Pray for him.  Pray for his birth mother because every adoption begins with a loss.  Pray for the girls and the change of dynamics in our home.  Pray for your marriage.  Babies can be stressful.  Pray for a broken system.

One day soon we will get a call and our world will be forever changed.  It's so exciting to think about.  But until then, we wait.  With purpose.

You'll notice some changes to the blog very soon. The first is the name in the url.  Our old one didn't fit as we are adding a baby boy to the mix.  The "Triple Blessing" is the next to go as we will be more than tripley blessed.  The way I plan to survive having four kids is the same way I survive with three. Our new name reflects that:  A little coffee, and a lot of Jesus.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013


For the past six weeks I have been co-leading a team at our church women's Bible study.  We have been working through the study called "Gideon: Our Weakness, God's Strength" by Priscilla Shirer.  After 30+ years of knowing the Lord, there is still so much to learn! My grandfather used to say that you should learn something new until the day you die.  He meant it in the context of the Bible, and to be honest, I wondered how he could still be learning after so many years of serving God.  But I finally understand.

There are three short chapters in Judges on Gideon.  You may have read them.  I had.  But I had read PAST them.  I remember thinking "wow, the old testament is violent" and just kept reading.  But the truths embedded in those three chapters have profoundly impacted me.

As a mother, I think we are quick to spot our weaknesses.  One friend told me, "I fail at least ten times  a day at being a great mom." I totally understand what she means.  How sad that we focus on those ten times and not the ten thousand times we support and encourage and love our children.  But God's word reminds us that it is IN those weaknesses that God is able to shine.

Gideon was a coward that was hiding from the enemy.  He questioned God.  He doubted even when an angel appeared to him! Yet the Lord was patient with him and still led him to defeat the Midianites.  He had a mighty calling! The Lord was able to move through Gideon's weakness.

If you are a mom, in the trenches of bringing up godly children, remember this: YOU have a mighty calling.  Do not be lulled into thinking that your calling is any less significant than Gideons.  Priscilla Shirer says that mothers are anything but ordinary.  YOU are extraordinary! You have been called by God to raise your children to love and follow the Lord.  YOU are the single most important influence in the lives of your children at this short time of their lives.

Also remember that even mighty warriors question and doubt and fail.  God is still faithful.

So when your kids "forget" to pick up their stuff, or make messes and don't clean them up, or leave you without toilet paper for the umpteenth time, it's good to remember that we are still a work in progress too.  We aren't finished until we get called home to glory.

Lord help me to raise children that love you, and show grace (but if you could remind them to put their shoes away, I would be even more grateful). :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Confessions of a Kindergarten mom: Take three

You would think that on the third time around, I would be a pro.  But let's be honest.  When my first went to kindergarten, I had a potty training two year old and teething 5 month old at home.  I didn't cry.  I was grateful that she was finally getting the stimulation her little brain needed.  It was full day kindergarten but we didn't know any different.  She was my big kid.  So I embraced all the newness of her school adventure.

The second time around, I didn't cry either.  I still had a 3 year old at home, and it was only 3 hours.  Honestly I barely had time to get home, start a load of laundry, and make a snack before we were headed back to the school to pick up my middle little.

This time....I am a hot mess.  Hot.  Mess.  I haven't even taken her to the first day and I get a lumpy throat every time I think about it.  Not her though.  She has been counting down for almost a year.  She has been wearing her owl backpack for almost a week straight.  She's so excited to FINALLY be in school with her sisters.  She reads chapter books and can figure out multiplication.  She is ready.  But me? I'm not ready.  Yes, I have filled out the forms, bought new shoes, and planned for lunches.  But truthfully, I want to hang on to her littleness just a while longer.

Maybe it's because she has been with me every second of every day for over five years.  Maybe it's because she has been my only buddy and my helper for two years.  She has gone everywhere I have gone.  She was with me when I argued about permits at city hall.  She has emptied the dryer and folded clothes for me.  She has sat in every shopping cart of every store I have gone to.  We shared treats that we "didn't tell sisters about" for the last two years.  Maybe it's because she has been the golden age for me.  She's potty trained, buckles herself into her car seat, likes to do things for herself but knows when to ask for help, and she still loves to snuggle.  Maybe it's because her kindergarten is all day. All. Day!

Maybe it's because, for the first time in 10 years, I will be alone.  Each year that I have experienced the first day of school, I have left the campus with someone in tow, holding my hand.  But this year when I leave campus, I will be alone.  It's not that I will miss my sweet baby any more than I have missed my other two, but it's different.  It's the end of an era.  There's an episode of "Friends" where Rachel is moving out of Monica's apartment and they start crying because, "It's the end of an era!"  That's how I feel.  It's the end of an era.  An era of having my babies at home. None of my kids attended preschool.  I figured I could prepare them for school.  And honestly I didn't want to share my precious time with them with anyone else.  I'm not the mom that counts down the days until school starts so I can have a break.  I love when my kids are home.  I love being with them.

With each job I had before I had children, I felt like something was missing.  It wasn't my true calling.  But 2 seconds into being a mom, I knew I had found my purpose.  My purpose isn't changing because my kids are going to all be in school, but it's different.  There's a feeling of "now what?" The girls keep asking "what are you going to do all day?" I jokingly tell them I am going to be at school everyday, all day.  Truthfully, I'm not sure what my day will look like.  But the fact that I have 6 hours without anyone asking for a snack, or working on worksheets, or doing crafts, or playing makes me sad. I will still grocery shop.  I will still do laundry.  I may talk to myself.

Many moms have said this is the best time of life because the girls are still young and with all of them in school I can pursue my own interests.  I can also volunteer at school.  My grocery bill will probably go down because I don't have any little ones with me asking for items not on the list. So, yes.  There's that.  But why am I sad? I think it's because even though it's kindergarten, it's the beginning of letting go.  I'm not sending her to college yet but it's out there.  I can't stop time.  So I'm trying to embrace it.  I know there are good things to come.  Children cannot soar if you always hold their hand.

My prayer is that school will be everything she has hoped it would be.  I know learning will take place, but I pray she also feels valued and smart and amazing.  Because she is.  I pray she gets hugs and high fives and gets to laugh.  I pray she remembers all that we have taught her at home about being a good friend, a good listener, a daughter of God.  I pray that the other kids treat her with kindness (cause if they don't, her two sisters will take them out!).  I pray that she loves school.  I also pray that at the end of the day, she comes home and tells me every single detail of her day.

I pray that as we walk into her classroom tomorrow that she will walk in confidently.  I also pray that as she lets go of my hand, that I will smile and.....let her go.


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