We have had the most blessed (busy) Christmas EVER! My future prodigy got (two!) drum sets! Karl and I got a weekend away at Bay Pointe Inn I got gift certificates to get my hair done, to Schuler's, and Old Navy and Meijer. Karl got gift certificates to Meijer for beer only, Guitar Center, and a backpacking tent. We got night stands, storage, and lamps from IKEA that match our bed frame. The kids got loads and loads of toys, including a child-sized guitar, storage/organizers, Evie's first kitchen and babydoll, pushing, and riding toys, trucks, and books galore. Oh, and Karl got a pair of grown up footie pajamas that are sock monkey! As if that weren't enough, my parents got me a diamond circle necklace, and a beautiful ring with diamonds for those few and far between occasions when I dress up. I am not one that gets wrapped up in materialism, but how could you not get excited about that! We have just been so blessed, I feel like kissing everyone. We had a lovely weekend with family, ate til we nearly burst, and are drowning in the after-math of un-boxing all the toys for my ever impatient boy.
Speaking of impatience - we are STILL waiting on our foster license! Can you believe it!? Our licensing worker doesn't know what the hold up is - Lansing is being super slow. She's inquired what the deal is - so hopefully we'll here something soon. We were expecting to have kids here by now, so we're just twiddling our thumbs, waiting on God's perfect timing.
So, I was suppose to have my license by Friday, or Monday - and I called my SW yesterday to check in... No call back. We also fell in love with a "waiting child" online - and called to find out if that's ok - and if it is, how we would go about it... No call back. I looked through our licensing rules, and it says in our contract that we won't pursue any other child with out the permission of DAB. I talked to the SW of the little boy we're interested in, and she seemed eager to see our home study, and we are excited to pursue him, but have to move quickly if we're going to --- Still haven't received any calls today. I hate the whole "hurry up and then wait" aspect of everything. Hopefully we'll hear something soon because I'm going nutty.
So, just as I finished typing this - I talk to my social worker We got the go-ahead to pursue the little boy. I didn't mention that he was in FL because I didn't think it was important. There are laws restricting bias due to location. So, I got all excited, called the Adoption SW and asked about the situation. Then, big let down, our agency does not do out of state adoptions, unless they're private adoptions (big $$) So, I call the social worker in FL and she says to see if I can get a Home Study from the State, and that every state legally has to have an option for a free home study for adoption out of foster care. But, it could take 4-6 months, and by then he would most likely have another family.
But, we were advised by the adoption SW here that we should move forward and get a license for adoption from them just incase. She said they're matching all the time - but that most children under 5 are adopted by their foster families. So, I guess the rout we're already traveling is the most likely way to add to our family. I think we will still do the adoption home study anyway, just in case. But that's that.
So we wait.... She said our license should have been here by now, and will be very surprised if it isn't by the end of the week. We're going to continue to get licensed as SNAP adoptive parents through DAB.
Our SW suggested we look at Mi waiting children if we're going to go through DAB. So we did, and there was a sibling group of 3 that pulled on our heart strings. 3 yr old boy, and 2 year old twins, one boy one girl.
Karl's prayed about it, and wants to move on them. So, I've called and left a message. Of course no call back yet. But, we'll get there at some point. It would be 5 under 3 for us, so I'm not sure they'll allow it - but we'll see.
Ethan has decided that he's going to be not only a drummer, but a guitar player as well... Here is him playing his "guitar"...
He's getting a real set of drums and a real kid-sized guitar for Christmas, I can't wait to see him open them, he's going to freak, I just know it. Evelyn is turning 8 months on the 11th. She is still my little floppy baby. She refuses to crawl, and hates it when I encourage her to do so. So, I'm letting her be my little blob for now. She is starting to roll to get what she wants though -so that's a step. I tried putting her in her play pen the other day while I was cleaning, and she decided all of the sudden she hated it..
She makes the cutest, most dramatic faces when she cries. She's just like her momma, and likes to watch the squirrels outside the window on the feeder... I can't believe how big she's getting...
In non-kid related news... Our rental house had a water filter break, with the water still on, and it got completely flooded, and then frozen. It's completely un-rentable and un-sellable now... Not good.
Things have been busy around the house again.. Photo work has been steady, Karl and I are part of a marriage bible study group now, and I have started to go to a new bible study/book club too. We are waiting patiently for our foster license to come in, as it's been almost 3 weeks now! But, I've been good, and I haven't called yet. We were given a crib and bunk beds from Karl's parents, so we're going to do some rearranging. It was such a blessing. Bailey has an umbilical hernia, so we had to take her to the vet for a check up and some testing. Luckily it turned out that it's not intestines or cancerous/infectious material that's protruding through. They suspect it's just a fatty tumor, and nothing to worry about.... $185 later! But, I'm glad she's healthy. I still have Christmas cards to make and send out, along with Ethan's birthday invitations. But, over all - it's been a pretty nice couple of weeks.
Our social worker told me on the phone today there are a few papers she forgot to have us sign,but that she is recommending us for licensing and we should have our license with in the month. She also told us that things are slow, and the system is reforming right now, and it could be MONTHS before our first placement. She said up until October 1st, DHS was swarming with kids, and no homes to place them in. But, because of a few crazy moms who made national news for horrible crimes against their foster or previous foster children, everything is being reformed. CPS is doing everything possible to keep kids in their homes, even if the situation is risky and questionable because too many allegations have been made on foster parents in the recent past. So, there is a low intake of kids. Since I was prepared for immediate placement, you can imagine that there is a little bit of a let down.
It's a weird situation because of course I do NOT want these children to experience anything that warrants them having to be removed from their families - but I DO want to grow my family through foster and adoption.
So, that brings me to the baby itch. I really want a house full. I know you probably think I'm crazy - but I'm actually the most alive, and dare I say motivated and productive with a house full of kids. I LOVE having 5 toddlers running around and running me ragged.
Not to mention, it really bothers me that there are kids in awful environments that we could open our home to. There are posts all over the place about families that need to be urgently matched for AA and bi-racial placements, and there are families out there like mine who would actually PREFER AA or toddler placements. But the only thing stopping us is the $12,000-30,000 price tag that comes along with the agency.
We would LOVE to add to our family, we really really WANT to add to our family - and I know we'd make for a great family to a little one.... but there is that big fat price tag that just makes us so uncomfortable. Why does it have to be this way!? Why cant a biological mom who wants to place her child out for adoption find the family she's comfortable, get to know them, spend some time with them, and then leave her child with them feeling very comfortable that they'll provide a better life for the child? (I do understand that there are a lot of moms who are unfit and unable to handle such responsibility) But, why does there always have to be a money hungry agency in between? I'm sorry but I can't imagine that there is a legitimate reason to charge a family $30,000 for a child that's already born, and needing a home badly.
We have finished our home study, and are just waiting on our license from Lansing now! The SW said within the month! We are so excited it's ridiculous. We want so badly to offer our family to a child that needs us, and we're *this much* closer. I cant wait until I've got 4 or 5 little ones running around my house and running me ragged.
We have our home study scheduled for this Tuesday at 2PM. I am scared out of my mind! I know we'll be fine - but whew! Having someone comb through your house, your marriage, your parenting techniques, your finances, your past, and your family is very nerve-racking! But, I am so excited - because that means we're one step closer.
Karl and I had to spend our third anniversary apart today. He worked all day, and then had d-groups. We also are pinching pennies, so we couldn't try and mask the lack of time together with big fancy gifts.... But, it still was a lovely day. I let him off the hook, and put the boy to bed last night, and then stayed up until 2AM to clean the house. I wanted him to wake up surprised. And he was. I then woke up to an email (his gift) that was very lovely. At risk of embarrassing him, and showing off how much he loves me, I'll share it: "Happy anniversary! Thank you for cleaning the house last night! You must have stayed up late, and worked hard. It looked so good this morning. Thank you too for the drink in the fridge. Thank you for taking care of the kids the way you do. The way you really pay attention to every little change they go through. And how you show them love no matter what. Thank you for your overwhelming abundance of patience, With me and the kids. If I could go back and pick any woman to be the mother of my kids I would pick you, hands down. Im sorry that this all I did for you for our anniversary I love you very much And I always will No matter what Have a good day ashface Karl" He says "I'm sorry that this is all I did"... but what he doesn't know is that I would take that lovely letter over a fancy schmancy gift any day. I then made him a steak, peppers, and cornbread dinner. And he willingly put our smaller, much more comfy bed up in our bedroom, and our bigger stiff bed in the guest room. (Which we can do, because our little lady is spending most the night in her bassinet) He's off to d-groups now, and it's just me and the kiddos. But, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. Anywho, Here's to a wonderful husband and a very happy marriage!
My little girl is teething her second tooth. She is also increasingly getting better at balancing while sitting. I don't see her crawling for a good month or more though.
Ethan, my darling boy is going to be a talker like his momma! He is understanding way more than I thought he does, and is starting to prove it by saying things I didn't expect to hear at just 21 months. Today he came up to me, gave me a hug, and said "I'm happy". He also has been saying things like "come on, mom. let's go" Other sentences are "I don't want more books" "I want that one" (I want "X" is a popular one) He's also started to call Karl by his first name, and me by "honey". As a kid Karl couldn't say his "R"s, and so he'd say his name "cow-all" Well Ethan has a hard time saying the "R" in Karl as well, and he calls Karl "cowel" It's so stinking cute.
My parents moved in next door, and are sleeping there tonight! Ethan walked from our house to their house today with Daniel, sans parents. I watched through the window with Evelyn in tow. He's growing so fast!
I got to see a newborn baby today. It totally gave me the baby itch! Their little hands, their baby smell, their total floppiness. We better get our foster license soon before I go make them the old fashion way! Where are my babies?!!?
Well, I have two of my favorite babies here with me tonight as Karl is gone at D-groups... Evelyn is sitting! And Ethan is talking in 2-3 word pseudo sentences! The other day he saw a hurt dog on TV and literally started to cry and looked at me with the saddest pout ever, and said "No! No! NO! NO hurt doggies!".... my boy.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from our family shoot. Pictures by Kasey, editing by me.
Today had it's ups and downs. But the ups were so awesome, the down's didn't hold much merit.
UPS: I slept in, and spent all morning with my kids cuddling in bed. I had my first dentist appointment and had NO cavities! Nothing - perfect teeth (this far!) after not going for 22 years. My parents watched the kids last minute for our dentist appointments, we were expecting to bring them - so yay. My parents invited us over for dinner last minute too. Ethan pointed at his bed and asked to go to sleep! I got the kitchen cleaned (while waiting for a clients album to upload) I got to eat chocolate ice cream Evelyn had a great 6 month appointment, and is right on. She's 15lbs and only 50th percentile (dropped again) - but Doc says it's totally fine, and it's just genetics. Karl was able to get next monday off for us to celebrate our 3rd anniversary I found $150 in my purse in cash!!!!! What!? I know! I'm not sure how it got there but, it was awesome. I am not sure if I literally lost it in my purse (it was in a weird pocket) or if someone slipped it to me - but it was so awesome to receive as things are tight right now.
Downs: I felt like I wasted the day today and stayed up until now to "catch up" .... not good. I was incredibly nervous about my first ever dentist appointment, for nothing. Ethan decided to take a nap at 8PM and we gambled hoping he'd stay asleep for the night - and lost. He woke up at 10 and stayed up until 1AM. The dogs ate my favorite chips (Hot Cheetoes and Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips) which I NEVER have in the house, and I didn't even get to open them yet! These dogs are on their last legs. I really really really am anxious to get this foster thing started - I want my babies now! Evelyn has been super super super cranky since her shots, and has cried most of the day away.
I think that God has given me a revelation.. Okay, so maybe not a revelation. But, he has been laying something on my heart lately. The only way to be truly happy is to live for something other than yourself, and to follow Him in to what ever passion He gives you. Sounds totally simple and logical right? Well you don't even know the weight of it until you start living it.
I am so pumped to foster. My heart is already heavy with love that I want to pour all over the kids. I don't even know them yet, but I already care for them. I wish that I could whisper in their ears that "ti's going to be okay, it's going to get better soon..." I wish that I could put them in cute litle PJs and give them a bed time snack, and but them to bed with a cuddle blankie. I wish I could witness to them that there is a different way, and that they can be loved, and they don't have to do a single thing to deserve it. I am so ready. I am so happy with the choice that our family has made to foster.
Well, we just found out that we don't have to do anything with our pool, and we are officially waiting for God to give us precious children, in due time. I know that Karl and I will pass our interviews, our background checks, and such. The only reserve I had was that we have small children, are young, and our house is still some what in it's "foreclosure" state. Well, the small children actually isn't a problem at all - and neither is our age. And now we've just found out our house (aka pool) is totally fine too! I am so stinkin' pumped. I wish I had a "due date", a count down, or even a reasonably accurate time line until we'll get a call. But, unfortunately I don't. I know that we are waiting on our enrollment, then we have our big whopper of an interview, then they send in all the paperwork to be approved. Then we wait. So how long - who knows!? If I had to guess I'd say by Thanksgiving...
Also, by random chance, or God really... The house next door was bought by my mothers land lord. He's offered it to them to live in for now, and to buy it when they can. So, my mom is moving in next door! I am so excited! And my dad is a stay at home dad of sorts, and said he'd be happy to help me by being my MANNY! aka man nanny, for 15-20 hours a week once we get foster kids.
So, our interview went well. It was short and sweet. She kept making comments like "when we get you licensed" and "we'll still get your license, but..." So, I have a feeling that she is going to recommend us for licensing even though we're not totally through the process. She approved the house at surface level, we just have to get Emergency procedures posted, detergents, medicines, and cleaners under lock and key, and smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. One thing that's hanging in the balance is our pool. We may or may not have to do one of the following: Put a 1" chain link fence (4ft high) with child proof gate around the whole pool Put a 1" chain link fence across the yard essentially creating two parts to the yard Put any 4 foot tall unclimbable barrier inbetween the pool and the exits of the house HOPEFULLY we'll be able to just put child proof locks at the top of the doors that go to the back yard for the winter, and then have our renewed license after the winter contingent upon getting the pool in working shape, and getting the barriers set up. Considering there are few weeks (and not much money) until winter, the pool is not in working order, and we don't even use the back yard for more than a potty for the dogs... that would be the best option for us.... We'll see. I went on a wild goose chase calling different people to find out what the "official" rules are, and no one seems to know. So, it's up to the agency. Other than that - we got yet some more paperwork and we have 2 more interviews to go!
We have our first home-interview with our social worker thursday. I am very nervous. I'm having my dad come by tomorrow to help me get the house prepared.... I am praying for supernatural productivity and endless grace for our social worker, in hopes that she'll see our house as the work in progress that it is, and understand that we aren't just leaving it this way.
Ethan is expirmenting with with drinking from a cup. He does pretty well. Mainly he likes blowing bubbles more than drinking.
But, we're tryin'
I made my first dress for Evelyn last night. I made it a *touch* too small, but not bad for guessing! I know.... but she was asleep and I didn't want to wake her to measure her. It fits now, but not for long.
So, a while ago I had Kathy, Linda, their kids, my kids, my brother, and my babysitting kids together at my place to play on Kasey's slip-n-slide. It was a good time. I was totally captivated by Laney and her fearlessness, so I mainly took pictures of her (not on purpose). But, isn't she the cutest!?
Then just the other day we met with Kasey, and a girlfriend of hers at the mall. I didn't bring my flash - so sorry about the horrible picture quality...
Trying to get some lovin' - but Ethan's saving that sweet first kiss for the alter.
And some random pictures: Ethan and Evie were getting in the spirit for halloween
I took some pictures of Evie in our very dark living room last night. She was in a cute mood, so I tried to get it on camera... but she ended up just being very fascinated with the camera.