45 days

Yesterday, on August 8th, 2011 an important court hearing took place.  A is officially recognized as an orphan by the state.  Writing that sentence makes me sad.  This is difficult to put into words, but I don’t believe that God intends for families to be torn apart in such a way.  I do believe, though, that God can use these tough circumstances for His glory.  And we are praising His name for allowing us to play a part in our little A’s life. 

The next step is to make it through the next 45 days (which is the period of time the state gives to allow family to appeal the court’s decision).  Then there’s 45 days where nothing happens.  After those 90 days, A’s case will be transferred to the adoption unit and he will be considered an adoptive placement.  Then the adoption can happen anytime after that.  This is the part where we really aren’t getting our hopes up- not that we doubt the adoption will take place, but the time line in which the adoption will happen could be a really long time.  Every case is different, of course, but we’ve heard of families waiting 2 years after termination of parent’s rights for the adoption to take place.  Honestly, I just want to make it through the next 45 days.  After that is finished, then we’ll know that while he’s not officially ours, no one can take him away from us either.  A leaving our house is really hard to imagine- he is such a part of our family.  He even acts like D!

As my AFS told me today, our case has been such a fairy tale.  This is not normally how things go in the foster care system.  We feel so blessed, so lucky, so fortunate, so incredibly undeserving of how things have gone so far. 

We are so thankful.

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So much to say

I have so many things to write about, but I can’t organize my thoughts in a way that would lend the post to making sense at all.  I could write about our first licensing inspection and all the anxiety that comes with getting one’s home prepared.  I could write about the leak in our ceiling that ended up causing one of our friends to become drenched when he unclogged the clog- thankfully, this happened after the licensing visit- and yes, we owe him big time.  Or I could write about my younger sister’s wedding festivities, the surgery of Nanny- A&H’s foster grandparents and trying to get flowers delivered to her hospital room, the moving of H into her own room so we can all get more sleep at night, the constant changing and rearranging of furniture in our home to make it more kid-friendly.  The start of school that’s just around the corner, the preparation we’re doing so A & H will be ready to start daycare soon, the meeting of neighbors on our street who have boys around A’s age and our first play date.

Instead I will write about a very simple thing that occurred a few weeks ago.

While attending my sister’s bridal shower, my older sister was holding H and enjoying herself until H started crying.  While H may be little in size, her lungs would indicate otherwise- H’s crying quickly became louder and louder.  My sister looked at me and said,”Here you go!  I only hold them while they’re happy.”  I gladly took H into my arms, thinking I might have to walk around, rocking her softly to calm her down and quiet her crying.

But her crying stopped.  Instantly.  As soon as she was in my arms.

And I turned away from the shower guests so they couldn’t see the huge grin on my face. 😉

What I’ve Learned

We’re over halfway through 2011 and I can’t believe how our lives have changed!  Here was my first status update of the year:

Then this one in March when A finally came to our home:
And this one celebrating a growing little H at her two month appointment:

All this to say, never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that halfway through the year, we would have not one, but two little ones in our home- to care for, to love, to play with, to laugh with, to enjoy time together.  I recently looked back on posts in my blogger profile from a time in December when I was at the lowest of lows.  Posts I never published because they were so painful to write and I didn’t want to share- even here, my safe place, my blog.  It was hard to read those words again and relive those emotions and feelings- I was so lonely for a child.  We were both lonely for a child.  
But there’s something about starting a new year that makes a person want a fresh start.  (And I just had a flashback to “The Other Guys” and Will Ferrell’s ‘fresh start’.  “They could call us the Febreze brothers because we’re so fresh.” hahaha)  I knew I didn’t want to stay down in the dumps.  I didn’t like the Les who cried at night when no one could see.  I didn’t like feeling hopeless.  And besides, to feel hopeless is contrary to everything I believe as a Christian.  So I pulled myself out of the pit I was in and committed to living a different life.  That sounded really easy, huh?  It wasn’t.  It took lots of encouragement and prayers from really good friends of mine.  And I would still call them in tears, not sure if I could pick myself back up.  It started with committing to not pick up a novel until I had had my quiet time each night.  To stop worrying and start praying. 
I’m not here to say a change happened in my life overnight.  Or that this journey suddenly became easier.  Or that my life was sunshine and rainbows from hereon.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  I faced attacks at work, in my personal life, and discord in my marriage with D.  I cried tear after tear as I pleaded with God.  I continued to spend time in the Bible.  And pray.  I prayed as I’ve never prayed before.  While I was experiencing some of the most painful times in my life, God was working on my heart.  He was faithful to see me through the tough times of infertility so I trusted in Him to get me through this.  
And there were brighter days in all that was going on.  Like the day I received the email about A and called my friend to meet me on the playground (I just laughed out loud as I wrote that- the joys of teaching!) so I could tell her about him.  She told me later that she knew from the beginning that there was something different about this little boy and just knew in her heart we were meant to be together.  When I was laying at home, holed up with the flu and got word that we were one of the final three families selected for A.  When we found out a week later that we were chosen!  “We got him!” was the text I sent out to friends and family.  Celebrating that night with friends was a bittersweet time as so many things had changed and were continuing to change.  Then getting to meet him on D’s birthday.  A. maz. ing. 
I could go on and on about the wonderful things that have happened in our life since, and there have been many, but that’s not where I’m going.  Because this post is titled “What I’ve Learned.”  And what I’ve learned in the first half of 2011 can all be boiled down to this:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
(Emphasis mine)
No matter where you are in your journey- whether just beginning or seeming to be at your wit’s end, whether you’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or feeling like the tunnel never ends- don’t lose hope.  Without hope, I am an empty shell of a person.  And that’s no way to be when you do get the answers you’ve been waiting for, when your wildest dreams come true.  
Did I ever imagine that I would be thankful for the years of loneliness I experienced as I waited for a family?  Not in a million years.  But I am.  Thankful that this journey changed me.  Changed my heart.  Changed my priorities.  Changed my perspective.  
How has it changed you?