Sunday, January 24, 2016

Complex questions, simple answers? or vice versa!

Every time we have received a new placement into our home, it's common for people to see us and ask how it's going.  It's a simple question, really...most of the time we say 'fine' or 'good' and move on.  People who 'get it', though, they know.  
How's it going?
(Do they want the truth?)  "I mean, yeah, overall it's going well...there have been moments...I mean it's hard...but we're all in transition...but it's been pretty easy, I mean...once you've parented a kid, what's a few more, right?"  I find myself stammering around trying to figure out if the people want the long answer or the short one!  
So in an effort to answer the question (mostly for myself to remember!), I thought I'd write a blog post about it.  Then, I can think it through and answer as honestly as possible...
First things first.  I have found a blog name for the 2 boys - Bert and Ernie!  Bert is the older one; he is much more shy and quiet.  Ernie doesn't know the meaning of the word quiet =)  He has no fear, compared to Bert, who at times can be anxious about things, like the kiddie pool.  Bert watches and learns, is quick to give his food, his toy, his anything! really to help his brother's perceived sense of injustice.  Ernie is bold, vocal and strong!  He doesn't let his age, size or circumstances limit him.  They seem so different, yet at the end of the day, both just want to be held and loved.  
So - it is going well.  It's been 9 days since they have arrived and there has been a high level of activity in those days.  They started school!  Bert is in the 1st grade, while Ernie is doing half days of junior kindergarten 4 days a week.  Every day (every...day...) Ernie cries when we drop the others off at school...but one of the days we went open gymnastics family time and wow, did we have fun!  Both boys are great sleepers - but we've made sure there is lots of physical activity in our days, lots of gross motor stuff so that helps.  It's nice we can all go for big hikes in the woods, go to the Y or just spread out in our house.  We are 'remembering' what it's like to have kids younger than our own though - as parents, we have to kind of go through a re-entry - this is how we make potty pit stops to avoid accidents, this is how we provide snacks between meals so no one gets hangry and aggressive, this is how we look for signs of exhaustion (rubbing eyes, falling asleep on Moses 1 minute into Bible time, etc)...oh the things we re-learn now that there are 'littles' in the house again!  There are plenty of sibling spats, of course, but there are some really amazing things happening too.  I have to brag on my big kids - one day we had a particularly long time in the truck.  Ernie was just 'done' and 'over it', getting a little stir crazy.  At one of the pit stops, Moses moved up a row next to Ernie and was working on comforting him.  We were all relieved and grateful it worked!!  The next night, Bert really did not want to leave the Y - he was quite grumpy and for the first time we saw real tears from him.  (They were quiet tears, but they were there!)  After tucking the littles into bed, Dave texted me to say that on the ride home, Ernie started singing and comforting his big brother Bert.  "Jesus loves me this I know..."  Dave said he had tears rolling down his face!  I made sure to let Moses know that his action of comforting someone was not only noticed, but followed!!  The littles want so badly to be like the bigs, not just in the fun or silly ways, but in the way they treat others too!!  It was a powerful moment to see my 10yo realize this and make the connection.  He has been so helpful to buckle people in or tie their shoes...Sometimes sharing things like toys or your parents can be hard, but Colleen is constantly sharing her stuff.  Her and Ernie are often playing My Little Pony together and she is quick to make sure everyone has a car or something so that no one is left out.  When Ernie got a free lanyard from the Y for his ID card, Colleen started to bemoan the fact that she did not get one when she was 'new'.  "Here, you can have it!"  Ernie put it around her neck and this momma danced for joy!  I reminded everyone that this 'makes my heart big' to see and hear them loving on each other this way!  Colleen shares her things and the others have taken note and do the same!
Please don't think it's all roses and rainbows...there have been episodes of yelling and shoving and such, but honestly?  Those are short lived and each day that passes has seen these behaviors fall away.  We are figuring out what works and what doesn't.  We've made what feels like a million trips to the box store to be sure everyone has what they need (car seats? check!  socks? check!  a million boxes of cereal? check!) and the logistics of who goes where on what day is coming easier.  Some things we still need to figure out - 1) Date nights.  Dave and I did really good w/this a few years back, once a week we went out after bed time.  GOD BLESS OUR BABYSITTER WHO LEFT US TO BE A MARINE!!!  He was awesome.  Then he left and his sister came a few times - she's awesome too!  But then life got busy and we just sort of forgot to keep that going.  Since we moved, we've gone out maybe 3 times, thanks to our pastor's daughter.  She's a girl we hope to see more of!  I'm not sure in this season of transition we are ready to do that again, yet we desperately need to carve out a few minutes w/o kids.  All the trauma mamas and foster/adopt peoples are nodding their heads in agreement right now!  2) Going to just about any event where there is a crowd.  So far we've been to 2 small events, a gymnastics meet and a small party at church.  Both were acceptable to attend given that they had only one entrance/exit and we could see the kids at all times.  I know we have time to figure this out, but despite having 4 hands and 4 kids, large crowds are just not do-able yet.  Even going to grandma and grandpa's house would take a lot of advance planning and prayer at this point!  We're enjoying the 'cocooning' time and just being us together at home, but spring break is coming!  My teacher hubby is itching to get out of here and go someplace fun!  3) Car rides seem to end in a shout fest.  Dinners go well b/c everyone takes turns telling mom about their day.  In the car, there is always someone who wants music, someone who doesn't, someone who is convinced the other is breathing on them, someone who wants everyone to look out the window at that 'thing' they can't describe...AHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHHHH!!!  So far, everyone seems to like the country music station.  I've tried the Disney station, general kid tunes, pop radio, etc...BUT!  Long trips (and by long, I mean more than 20 mins!) are unavoidable at times, given our situation, so we do need to figure this out.  Once, I managed to convince everyone to air drum, air guitar and air sing through 2 Led Zeppelin songs and hey, what do you know?  It worked!  (Ok, maybe it came out sounding like a demand, but when we were all laughing, no one seemed to care!  Just being real here!)  
How's it going?  Is that more than you wanted to know?  A lot of people (mostly casual acquaintances) hear me say it's going well and follow up by saying that we're doing something so good and nice...and then I stop them.  It's me/us who are blessed.  Our hearts are full and we are always growing and learning from our kids.  The grace they give me and each other is something truly special.  This road we have chosen to travel has bumps and very few road signs, but we are enjoying the journey and continue to press on toward the goal.
Oh blah, there was so much more I wanted to write about!  But's it's after 8 and due to football and a new improved staggered bedtime for all, I forgot to eat dinner.  We ate a late lunch and I wasn't hungry...but now I am...
All this to say, if you have been praying for us, keep it up!  We have had a lot of answered prayers (which is a whole different post!) but we can always use more =)  Thank you - it's going well...that's the short answer!  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Party of six

Our newest family 'photo'! The new additions to the family (2 boys, they still need blog names) will be coming HOME TO STAY this Friday!!! The adoption process has started but they are technically foster kids, so until adoption becomes official, we cannot post photos of them. The stick figure family will have to do for now! Sorry to our Facebook friends who have already seen this...but I wanted to be sure it was shared here too!!  I can't share much, as most of you know, but I promise that when I can, I will!!  The boys were here this past weekend for a sleep over and it went so so so well!!  It was practically impossible to say goodbye when we dropped them off...at that point we hadn't said much to them about it except that they may be coming to live w/us.  We hadn't talked to the case worker yet (it was Sunday, after all) and we just didn't want to say anything ahead of time.  I can't wait to hug those boys again and have them here finally!!  Like I have said before, please pray for all of us as we transition.  There's school registration to navigate, doctor/medical/counseling appointments to set up, and groceries to buy!  =)  If you would have told me that I would be doing all this in the New Year, I'm not sure I would have believed you!  But I am beyond grateful to be doing all of it...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How did we get here?

This month I am participating in an adoption talk link up.  A bunch of bloggers write on the same topic and the posts are linked up in one place.  The topic this month is Getting to Know You...we're tasked w/telling about ourselves or our family's story.  I feel like I've already done some of that here (a 10 things list!)...so maybe it's time for something new?  I thought I'd use this space to publicly thank some people who have positively influenced me/us on our journey through foster care and adoption.  I hope it might also serve to fill in a little of our back story and then if you want to read some current stuff, you can find it here...

First and foremost, thank you Heavenly Father for my love of children.  From babysitting, to working at the university's daycare, then to teaching and raising my own children, I have always had a deep love of kids!  I have been blessed w/many opportunities to be around kids who make me laugh, cry and feel young again =)  Also, thanks for the clunk on the head when I was stubborn and didn't want to do foster care.  All I could think about was 'my' kids leaving 'my' house and not being a part of 'my' life after they went back home...thanks for the reminder that none of it is mine, but it's all Yours Lord!  It's been a blessing to call the kids 'mine' for a while, all the while knowing that putting their family back together could mean a victory for the community.  No, it doesn't always end like that, but there are times when it does.  Thank you Lord for helping me see the many gains for all when we simply serve others.

Thank you to Mark (and his wife!) who grew up w/my dad in the same neighborhood...thanks for staying in touch w/my dad.  Your family, made up of birth children and adoptive children of all different colors, abilities and ages, was/is an inspiration to me.  When I was real small, your family came to visit us once.  I decided I wanted to be just like you when I grew up.  Every year you write these notes to my parents at Christmas and I dig through the basket of cards to find yours.  If we were of the same generation, I'd want to be your neighbor and BFF.  Scratch that first part, can we be neighbors and BFFs anyway?

Thank you to that curly haired blue eyed boy who didn't flinch when I said I wanted 13 kids.

Thank you to the pastor's family who has 28 (!!!I think that's right, the # may have changed by now) adopted children, again, of all different ethnic make-ups, abilities and ages.  We have learned much from you and your children...

Thank you to the DV family - we asked you so many foster/adopt questions and filed the stories of your experiences away for future reference.  You constantly reminded us to take care of ourselves and our marriage when we had foster kids!  It's so hard and so so so so important!!  This is something we continue to learn and now remind others about.

And this thank you is embarrassingly late.  Like 6 years late!  To Dawn YH, thank you for bringing a gift over when we received our first foster child.  You celebrated w/me like one should celebrate a new family member!  At the time, I didn't see how huge this was.  Just the other day I woke up crying thinking about you sharing our joy!  You were a living example of Romans 12:15.  A lot of people who don't do foster care or adopt, don't readily understand how much we need gestures like that!  Even though we don't build our family in the 'normal' way, it's still nice to have someone recognize what's happening and treat us 'normally'.

Thank you to Tracy and her family!  On adoption day, we rounded the corner on our block.  We saw a bunch of colorful decorations and thought someone was having a party.  As we got closer, we saw strings of balloons stretched between the trees and OUR house!!!  Thank you so much for getting your feet wet in the snow and taking time in the cold to do that for us!!  We left it up for the rest of the winter and we were 'that house' - every time we looked out the window, we couldn't help but smile!  People would drive by and honk!  This is only a slice of the encouragement and support you have given us over the years.  The tears, the books, the hugs, the food issues/trauma solidarity...and also thank you for speaking truth and life to us about God's plan for our children.  We know it but sometimes we don't KNOW it!  We love you guys so much and are blessed by you in many ways.

Thank you to our respite providers...I hope you know we'd do much of the same for you if ever you need it.

Thank you FB group...I know I can instantly put up ?s of any kind and get rapid responses.  Insurance problem?  Check the group.  Oh wow, the gov system is down for the day!  No wonder it got rejected!  Thanks for the 1800# to clear that up...Have a tax question?  You guys rocked it.  Found the form easily and didn't freak out when we were 'checked'.  And double checked.  Ideas on how to handle certain behaviors?  Book suggestions, webpages and personal anecdotes.  Love it.  Not to mention the way you all 'get it' and are quick to encourage, defend and protect people you will never meet.  You have no idea how much I value the 'village' you are to me.

Thank you thank you a hundred times thank you to our family and extended families!  You pull out extra toys when we come to visit, set extra chairs at the table and buy extra presents for under the tree.  You pray for us.  Some of you yourselves have adopted and we don't talk enough.  I personally am so grateful for the love shown in my family.  Many families say it and of course I'm biased but mine really does show it in a big way.  Countless times my family and extended family have been there for us, from teary phone calls to giving us furniture to feeding my crew.  I don't thank them enough!

Finally, thank you to the kids who have allowed us to parent them, for however long.  I doubt any more than 1 or 2 of them are ever going to read this, but know this: YOU ARE LOVED and MISSED.  You have changed us, molded us and left an imprint on our heart.

As I wrap this up, I realize that I haven't said much about me.  Maybe I shouldn't have joined this link up?  But then I thought about it, and I realized that if you really want to know me, you should really get to know the people 'behind the scenes'...the people who hold us up when we feel like we can't do it anymore, the people who cheer us on, the people who inspired us on this journey!  I wouldn't be ME if it wasn't for these people =)


NoBohnsAboutIt

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

(Once again, we are not sending Christmas cards out in the traditional way - see the end of this post for more on that...We hope you enjoy this online version! If you regularly read my blog or see my Facebook posts, some of these stories will sound familiar...)

I thought I was busy this year, but when I went back to see previous Christmas posts, I don't think I wrote one in 2014!!  Now I feel pretty smug about getting this one done, even if it is later than I would like.  Normally, I would come up with some sort of special theme for our Christmas letter, but this year my brain feels too old and tired to think of something unique!  So this is an ordinary top ten list, which doesn't mean there were the only 10 important things that happened, just 10 that I'd like to highlight here...remember that you can click on any of the photos to see them larger =)
TOP TEN of 2015
(in chronological order)
1) Team Chran wedding - 
In February, I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of a good friend.  It was a beautiful day and the wedding was so much fun!  More importantly, two God loving people were united in marriage and they began a journey together that will never end.

2) Moses' gymnastics season - 
This year Moses was able to participate in the State Gymnastics meet for boys!  It was held in Sheboygan and it was a great way to end the season.  Since then, a new season has begun and Mo was very excited in February when he won his first medal!  Slowly his strength and flexibility are improving and he is beginning to make the connection between all the practices and the results at the meets.  We are looking forward to his first boys only meet in January of 2016!


3) Spring Break in TN w/good friends - 
There is absolutely nothing like going to see some of your best friends and using their location as a vacation destination!  In fact, we've done it for quite a few spring breaks in the past!  This time we parked our camper close to our friends' home and shared conversations, meals and even tears.  We miss them so much!!  (Side note - we need to take more pics when we get together!)

4) Colleen's dance recital - 
This past year Colleen chose to try dance instead of gymnastics.  She was very excited to get a new leo and some ballet shoes =)  Her recital was a new experience for all of us!  How my tiny ballerina shined!  The focus it took to complete the dance steps was a challenge and she rose to it.  Afterwards she was adorned with a medal and the hugest smile appeared on her face.  She smiled for pictures with us and didn't shy away from being the star of the show.  If you know her (or any child who suffers from attachment issues), you know that this is RARE.  I just kept hugging her but I made sure to take thousands of photos too!!  I want that moment to live in my brain, front and center, so I can just bask in it when there are difficult days.


5) We CLOSED on the sale of our previous home - 
In 2014 we packed up our lives and in the first week of Dec we moved into a new home.  In spring of 2015, we were finally ready to put our previous home up for sale.  We started the process with prayer - we were warned that a 4 bedroom house could be either a blessing or a curse - many people desire it but cannot afford it...we felt some pressure to lower the price we wanted but in the end, I think the realtor helped us choose just the right asking price.  Within the first week, there were many showings and much interest!  In a short time, an offer was made and accepted.  And just like that - the SOLD sign was up and we were free of the 2nd mortgage!  We truly believe this is a miracle - God did this, not us.  The 'stats' and 'trends' predicted we would be sitting on the house for a while...but when God shows up, the stats and trends are thrown to the wind!  It was a bittersweet time for us, one we will never forget.

6) Ninja mud run - 
In July, Moses participated in a Dirty Ninja Mud Run!  It was right up his alley - obstacles, mud and showing off his skills!  I was that crazed parent trying to keep up and run alongside the course, getting photos and videos but trying to stay dry and clean =)  It was so much fun to watch and Moses had a blast!  It's on our calendar for next year - if you know of a kid who likes that kind of stuff and wants to join - let us know!

7) Building a chicken coop - 
One of the biggest summer projects we decided to undertake was to build a predator proof chicken coop.  We lost a chicken to a raccoon in our old coop, but that was definitely not predator proof.  Then a friend loaned us some live traps and we caught many (over 10!) over the course of a month or 2.  It was clear that it was time to build a serious structure.  My handy husband made a plan and we looked at the materials we had available in our collection.  Together we worked (but mostly he did) in the backyard and driveway.  There was nail gun use, hammer use, ladder use and even painting!  I am very proud of Dave for designing and building a structure that is predator proof and will withstand time and elements of nature!


8) Losing Pippa -
One of the first chickens Dave ever hatched (back when he was a 4K teacher and hatched eggs in his classroom), was Pippa.  She was so unique!  She had a mohawk, was more than one color and was amazingly friendly.  She was the tiniest chicken we have had to date, but she was always the #1 in the pecking order.  Her tiny self kept all the others in line!  This December, we put a light in the new coop to see if we could get the new chickens back on track, laying eggs again.  Within days, Pippa started to look not well.  She hasn't laid eggs in a while and we don't expect her to since she is of 'advanced age'.  However, the light seemed to trigger something in her body and she began to stand like a penguin.  Her head was back, her tail was pointed down and she often stood in the middle of the fray, looking asleep.  She moved slow and appeared to be in pain.  After reading about her penguin stance, we decided she was probably egg bound (not with a real egg, but a liquid one or maybe elements of a shell had broken inside...).  Either way, we gave her a nice warm bath to make her feel more comfortable and then Dave ended her misery.  We sent her to chicken heaven....I feel like I am writing more about this than any other part of our year!!
But you have to understand two things...1) Pippa grew up alongside Moses and Colleen, almost literally since as a chick she was in a box inside our house.  Then she often was at our sides outside in the yard and became like any other pet - much loved.  That being said...2) In our family, we love our pets but they are still pets.  Not people.  We would rather spend time, money and energy on nursing sick or hurt people than on pets.  We loved Pippa but not enough to take her to a vet.  Our love for our animals has limits and boundaries.  We consider the chickens friends, but they are still farm animals.  The whole situation was a wonderful opportunity for our kids to express their emotion and yet learn about the difference between caring for people and caring for animals.  We have since decided to name the new chicken coop after our sweet Pippa - we're planning to make a sign!

9) Meeting one of Colleen's birth sisters - 
We added a special chapter to our personal 'book of adoption' this year.  We have never kept the fact that she has a birth family from Colleen - we've told her their names, their approximate ages and what they look like (to the best of our knowledge).  Colleen is the 7th born to her birth mother (all girls!).  When we were going through the adoption process, we found out that the 5th born was also adopted.  The interesting part (to us!) was the fact that her birth sister's adopted family was a friend of one of our friends...so we agreed to exchange info, make contact and maybe meet.  It's been 5 years and for various reasons we have only sent messages but never met.  This December, Colleen's birth sister and her (adoptive) mom were in a nearby town and we took the opportunity to get together.  It was new and maybe awkward at first, but I think it went well!  We hope to stay in contact of course and maybe meet again sooner rather than later.  

10) Adoption profiles - 
Can I pack a little more adoption news in this post?  YES I can!  So in case you didn't already know, we are on the adoption wait list.  We receive child(ren) descriptions, decide if we want to send our home study and be considered for a match.  If the child(ren)'s case worker thinks we are a match, she/he would then 'present' the child(ren) to us and at that point, we would officially say yes or no.  Over time we have seen a number of profiles, sent our home study in to a bunch and had 4-5 child presentations.  The latest one was last week.  When we started this chapter of our adoption journey, we said we are interested in both siblings and 'singletons'.  The latest child presentation was for 2 brothers =)  Please pray for us as we go forward in the process and meet the boys!  More importantly, pray for the children, regardless of what the outcome is.  It's no secret that children waiting in the state adoption system have most likely lived through their fair share of grief and pain.  Recently I saw a graphic called the trauma tree - I think it accurately shows how children like Colleen and those who are adopted can be affected by trauma at any age, even in the womb.  We are grateful for the struggles we have experienced because it means we are a unique family, bonded through love and grace even if we don't share DNA.  The joy we have overflows and that is part of the reason we'd love to adopt again!

As this year comes to a close, we've been enjoying looking at photos and talking about our plans for 2016.  In this past year, we have settled into a new community, a new church, and for Colleen a new school...we've had some highs and some lows adjusting.  In almost everything though, we are reminded that we are blessed.  Just today some new friends and neighbors came by with some Christmas cookies!  So many people have stepped up and made us feel welcome and loved.  It's our prayer for you, dear reader, that those feelings are present in your life too!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

We hope you enjoyed this green version of our Christmas card! (If you still wish to receive a paper copy, leave a comment.) There are lots of reasons we decided to do things differently this year (again!)...here's a few:
1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read them...you do recycle them eventually, don't you??
3) Save printing costs. See reason #1!
4) Save stress. Nothing to print, sign, stuff, address...
5) Expand our options! Now you can see a practically limitless amount of photos.
6) Our greeting to you is saved in cyber-space for posterity! Yes, we can be that vain sometimes!
7) It went so well the past years...we heard a lot of positive responses, and even some people who said they'd try it themselves. Welcome to the dark (green) side! (Sorry that was a goofy Star Wars joke...)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Being myself

Now that we live 15-20 minutes out of the center of the city we used to live in, I do a fair share of driving back and forth.  Most times I have kids in the truck w/me, but sometimes I don't.  Over the past couple of years I have learned a lot more about ADD and I have pretty much decided I am a candidate.  I am 'flaky' and distracted easily...my mind wanders quickly.  Now that I'm getting older, if you tell me something and you don't see me write it down, I guarantee you I will forget it.  Left on my own, I swear I would not survive - I don't cook, I'd forget to take my meds, I'd get lost...etc...it's sort of a joke but there's some truth to it too!  I can take care of others just fine, it's myself I manage to confuse at times...anyway - I'm getting off track here, see what I mean?  In the past, there have been some significant and obvious differences between me and my family members and some of the other people around me.  I used to get so mad at myself a lot - WHY WHY WHY am I not like them??  They are awesome and color coordinated and organized and so 'put together'!!  I would try to force myself to be like that and it would last a few hours.  Seriously.  I'd make myself focus and try to really listen when people talked and keep my mind on the task at hand.  And then one day I just realized that God did not make me that way and THAT IS OK.  If you need someone to shout out 47 ideas of a theme for your kids' birthday party - I'm your girl.  If you need a choreographed routine for some random song you love - call me.  If you want to collaborate on a love story between a star quarterback and some nerdy girl who keeps track of random stats and is able to both fall down and up the steps - yep, I can spin that yarn too.  I feel like I have many talents, maybe not the ones that are wanted 'in real life', but having many of them is good right?  I always picture myself as this rock star mom who can run errands, shuttle kids to all their activities, do the housework (ok maybe not that so much) and maintain friendships w/ease.  "Hey everyone, look at me over here spinning multiple plates in the air!"  Reality check - things are missing b/c I haven't had time to run those errands, I've taken way too many trips back and forth not maximizing my time, housework is half done, I miss my friends and now there are broken plates all over the floor!!

Breathe.

It's the Christmas season and in true Mel fashion, shortcuts have been taken.  Many, almost all, presents were ordered online.  Every one of them has already arrived.  I am ready.  Rock star!  Kids like pancakes for dinner.  ME TOO!!!  We saw a fox on the bridge by our house today.  A FOX!!!  I don't care how many trips I take back and forth - if I see a fox, a deer, a turkey or even a farm cat or a dairy cow, I love seeing God's creation along the way.  And another thing - if I ever need a roller skating routine to the song "Nothing But A Good Time" by Poison, I won't need to do a thing b/c I already have one!

You know, I secretly hope that everyone else around me is feeling the same way - trying to be something they are not - just so that I feel normal.  But then, I don't wish this on anyone.  Don't torture yourself trying to be something you are not.  Find out who/what you are.  Then just be that.  If you don't know how to find that out, talk to people around you.  Read Personality Plus.  Learn about the Myers Briggs test.  Find your weaknesses, don't apologize for them but decide what your game plan is to keep them from being exploited.  If you are different, be different.  You can share DNA w/people and not be exact matches of them.  This has been a hard lesson for me, and maybe you already have this secure in your heart, but thank you Lord for reminding me of it again!  I think one of the best things I have done was to make a 'mission map' for myself.  The shortest way to explain that is to say that I sifted down all the roles I play in life, all the things I want to do and the whys behind them and then took a realistic look at how they all fit together.  I wrote stuff down.  =)  I won't say I have arrived on this journey but I think I'm getting there!!!  I encourage everyone to press on and continue their own journey - if I can help in any way - email me!  I'll be over here trying to be myself, looking out the window, day dreaming about seeing a moose in our woods or something...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Write it down!

This is my place to write about significant things that happen in life...sometimes I don't get here often enough!!  A quick update on the myriad of things happening around here...
- The last possible adoption was not meant to be.  The current caregiver for the girls has decided to adopt them, which for the girls, means they will not have to move again.  Which is good =)  But it also stinks!  So our SW sent over a few more child descriptions and we said yes to a few, so we'll see if we get matched w/any of them.  And so it goes...again...
- My sub gig may be ending soon!  If it gets approved, the teacher will be returning this week - at first it will just be half days, if I understand correctly.  I'm ready to be home.  I've got so much to do!!  I have been very overwhelmed and TIRED.  I really want to get back to 'normal' and hopefully my eczema will go away too.
- We chose to put Pippa the chicken down...she became egg bound in her old age and was quite sick.  She wasn't eating...it was the first time we took care of things like that on our own.  Listen to me - 'we'!!  No, I should say Dave made it so that Pippa is no longer in pain.  We all had a few tears but it was a good choice.
- In other adoption news, we had the opportunity to meet w/Colleen's bio sister today.  Colleen and Shane are the only 2 sisters out of 7 who have been adopted.  It was so nice to get together and see the girls' smiles =)  As w/almost everything w/Colleen in the relationship department, we spent time talking about if it would be a good idea or if it would send her into a tailspin.  The visit went well and we hope to do it again some time.  We never intended for Colleen's adoption or the info about her bio family to be like some big secret, we just realized that a lot of the info wouldn't be healthy to share.  As for this sister, we have talked about her in the past and when asked if she wanted to meet her, Colleen said yes.  I have no idea if it will change or affect her/her behaviors in the future...this is all new territory for us here, people!!  But at this time we thought the good outweighed the possibility of any negative implications.  The girls had a few special moments taking selfies together and sharing Starburst =)
- I'm looking forward to making a Christmas post w/photos here!!  It may be late (again!) but I always enjoy that...

Monday, November 23, 2015

What a difference a Dave makes!

Have you heard the song "What a Difference a Day Makes?"  If not, please click to listen here...

The lyrics are as follows:

What a difference a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain
My yesterday was blue, dear
Today I'm a part of you, dear
My lonely nights are through, dear
Since you said you were mine
What a difference a day makes
There's a rainbow before me
Skies above can't be stormy
Since that moment of bliss, that thrilling kiss
It's heaven when you find romance on your menu
What a difference a day made
And the difference is you
What a difference a day makes
There's a rainbow before me
Skies above can't be stormy
Since that moment of bliss, that thrilling kiss
It's heaven when you find romance on your menu
What a difference a day made
And the difference is you

When I heard that song, my brain didn't hear the word DAY but automatically subbed in the word DAVE =)  He probably won't believe me, but that man is on my brain a lot of the time!  I thought about the words to this song and decided that if I wrote about my Dave, it wouldn't even fit into a song.  But...knowing that I have a blog...and I can put up a post as rambling, unorganized and long as I want...

What a Difference a DAVE Makes
Before I met Dave, my theory on men was simple.  If they were interested in me, I was interested in them.  I was quite the band geek, the studious type w/many books for friends.   Nothing wrong w/that, but it didn't make for good dating decisions on my part.  I think I've said it before, but Dave was the first man to ask permission to hold my hand.  He made a huge impact b/c he had more respect for my hand than many others had for the rest of my body!  When I told him I wanted 12 kids, he didn't bat an eye.  What a difference a DAVE makes, indeed!


We got married and it became obvious that he was the calm to my storm.  A lot of family and friends had seen me through some tough times, but this man prayed me through panic attacks and rough nights.  He prayed out loud and he talked to the Lord like He was in the room!  He sang to me, danced w/me and helped me take each day at a time as we started in our attempts to build a family of our own.

He cried w/me when we had no success and researched adoption and foster care w/me.  He rejoiced w/me when we found out we were expecting our own baby but didn't forget the 'babies' that needed a family, even if it was just for a short time.

We stepped into the foster care world together...What difference a DAVE made to some kids who had never known a father figure, or a quality one at that!  I am so moved and blessed by the way he treated the kids as his own and still has not stopped loving and praying for them, even though they are gone from our house.  Together we tackled the adoption process....

What a difference a DAVE makes to this family, as he goes to work every day to earn the financial means for the rest of us to continue in the comfortable life we live w/o anyone else working outside the home.  Over time, I have had the opportunity and turned it down, but recently I started working outside the house again.  Like most changes, it has brought on some stress and on my part - whining!  What a difference a DAVE makes - he has not only continued and carried on in his responsibilities but he has absorbed some of mine!  He's washed dishes when my eczema got to the point where it hurt my hands to do so, he's prepped and cooked many meals when I didn't have the energy, direction or skill to do so, he's gone out of his way to bring me items that were left behind and overall made sacrifices for me and the others around him.  I LOVE YOU DAVE WILKE and I SEE YOU - I see what you are doing for me, for us and even when I don't say it, I see you.  Thank you...thank you for all of those things I said above and MORE!  What a difference a DAVE makes and the difference is YOU!!!