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Friday is tomorrow.

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The end of this week will bring our TPR hearing for these kids.

I suppose it’s about time I talk about permanency again. Which is really a difficult thing to do.

We were so adamantly against adopting them in the beginning. But things changed. And not just because they have no one. But because we see so much hope in them. We see the potential they have to become magnificent and important people. We have faith that they will find healing. We have faith that they will let us love them wholly.

And I remember so well how three months into loving Simeon, we weren’t even considering adoption and he was a little monster so often it seemed impossible to imagine him not growing up to become a violent predator, except he was the freaking most adorable and chubby cheeked thing you’ve ever seen. And now it’s hard to imagine he was ever really like that.

I cannot imagine what two and a half years with these kids could bring.

But we’re willing to find out.

The stone cold heart I had towards taking them forever, well, it’s softer now. I can honestly say I’m falling in love with them. Oh, it’s not like it was with Simeon. And I’m cannot say I’m completely sold, I’m still open to a surprise change, but it would have to be a miracle of one. See, I’m getting there. I’m allowing myself the freedom to get there.

If termination does not happen tomorrow, I will probably be a very sad, very shaken mama.

Since everything has happened so quickly and we have been so private about how we’ve processed it all, I feel it would be beneficial to introduce them better: the good, the bad, the ugly.

Lyberty

  • The good: Lyberty is a breath-taking beauty. Like you can not fathom the softness of her cheek. The perfect almond crest of her eye. The sweetest cupid’s bow lip. She’s funny. She’s tender and nurturing to cupcake. She’s strong-willed and creative. She’s passionate and vocal and bright. She’s fast and strong.
  • The bad: While she loves people, she has so few boundaries people often push her away. Which serves to make her more aggressive in her pursuit. Which pushes people away. She’s stubborn. She’s vocal. She has absolutely no clue how to use the bathroom like a human. She pees on the floor and herself. She forgets to wipe.
  • The ugly: When she’s anxious, she’s unmanageable. She becomes a wild child. She climbs on furniture like a monkey. She laughs a shrill, loud laugh so people can’t talk to her. She pulls away. She refuses to acknowledge the presence of others. She climbs on people. She is perfectly detestable.

Raja

  • The good: Raj has dimples I could spend all day smooching. The kids is adorable. He’s smart as a whip. He’s quiet and observes the world around him. He is generous and tender-hearted. There are times when he’s my most “with it” and he’s most capable of following instruction.
  • The bad: He’s so quiet he often gets overlooked. He gives up a lot of things he would like in order to please others. This hurts his heart. He’s less willing to attach and receive affection, encouragement or love.
  • The ugly: Raj is a sad, sad boy. Sometimes he has days of heavy boots and it’s impossible to pull him up from it. He cries uncontrollably and vanishes from us. He won’t talk to us about his feelings and so we spend a lot of time watching him break all alone and he won’t let us help. He’s isolated. I worry most about him.

Cupcake

  • The good: EVERYTHING! Cupcake is the happiest, chubbiest, most delicious thing you’ve ever met. I had no idea she was teething until she had two teeth. She sings and crows and laughs and claps and waves and giggles and shrieks with joy. She lights up when we walk in the room. She snuggles in our arms like she was formed there (and she kinda was). She’s determined and beautiful. When we carry cupcake into a room the entire energy changes. She is a light and a joy and she doesn’t even know it yet. We are humbled to be able to love her.
  • The bad: She’s happy all the time. Even at 5AM. Often at 5AM. This is not good.
  • The ugly: Nothing. Seriously nothing.

Prayers for tomorrow would be most appreciated, though I’m not sure I even know what to ask you to pray for. The Lord’s will be done is always a good one.

Thanks y’all.

Regression makes me want to punch myself in the face

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The good news is that I’m not the only one.

Our play therapist, who is adorable – and a baby – but adorable, practically ran out with her hair on fire today.

Holy shnikes I forgot we cycle through this!!! It’s amazing how quickly you forget these things. Simeon still has some regressive behaviors, but they’re always getting shorter and better and I know them so well he has to do something really wild to get me to notice anymore.

These kids have been out of their skins since we got back from our trip. Which makes sense. But I’m seriously about to go crazy up in here!

Lyberty was so frantic this morning she was literally running around the living room naming the people in the house over and over again. She couldn’t complete a thought or remember our names. She was aggressive and selfish and often, quite literally, standing on her head.

Raj was a silent kind of angry. Or sad. Or both. He hid under his bed from the play therapist. I couldn’t help her. Then he threw puzzle pieces at her in the quietest most passive way possible. Then he hugged her. Then he was angry she tricked him out of his Bumble Bee mask (which she did not) and silently shook his bed rails. Then he hugged her. Weird.

Here’s the thing though, as much as regression sucks, and sucks it does, I can still tell that these kids have progressed so much in only two months. And that no matter how wacky they are right now, they feel safe here. We threw them off with the traveling and all, but we’re back. And we’re on our way to proving to them that good things don’t always end badly. And some people are honest. And they are safe. And they are wanted. And they are loved.

So while we’re in the valley of two steps back, we’re still celebrating the three steps forward we’ve made in such a short time. Not only that, I’m learning how to take care of myself. I’m blogging again. And tonight I’m getting a pedicure. And I have dark chocolate covered almonds in the cabinet. And the sun is shining warmly today, so I’ve kicked them all out to the back yard for a while so I can have some peace and quiet. If things get really crazy I can always turn the hose on them out there.*

If you’re in the valley today. Take a moment and think about where you were two months ago. Do you see even one sign of progress? A bareliest glimmer of hope? Hold tightly to that today. Hold on to the positive, the optimism, the faith that your child will be well someday. And remember, you are not alone.

*totally kidding. I would never do that. Psht…

Gone, but back again

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This weekend we were able to take a short family trip to an island – one over from where we frequent. We were chosen by our local cps office to attend a state foster care conference. On the whole the conference was a bit of a dud, but we were able to get some training hours in and enjoy time at one of my favorite places on earth.

We splashed in the waves, shivered in the pool, ate good food, laughed – a lot, and had an all around good time.

It was good to spend time so bound together. It was a chance to get to know one another better and a chance to bond more. Which is timely since we have TPR this week.

Before the anxiety of waiting for this week to end begins and we are faced with weighty visits, talks, testimony, possible witness and decisions, I’ll share with you a bit of our morning.

Simeon woke up at dawn and snuggled between Leo and I. Simeon was wiggly and Leo was snoring, so as a storm eased into the day, Simeon and walked out to the beach barefoot and pajamed.

As we sat a safe distance from the rocks and high tide, between the waters edge and dunes, I shared with my son one of the most sacred spaces I know. We were completely alone and undisturbed save for the fiddler crabs and sea spray. I whispered to him that this was the perfect place to be quiet and with God. A place to breathe deeply and know peace, even if the sky is dark and waves churn.  I think I’ll carry this picture with me to court. A little peace in my pocket…

That man of mine *blush*

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Yesterday I went for a “quick” grocery shopping run and came home 2 1/2 hours later with:

  • One pair of silver sandals – that I HAD to have, you know.
  • a pink ruffled bathing suit for Cupcake
  • a blue ruffled bathing suit for Lyberty (Hello! it was ON SALE!!! Look how much I saved!)
  • espresso bean trail mix
  • and a pretty blue dress

Then, while Leo put groceries away, I stood in the kitchen and told him, in vivid detail, what I thought about each of those items and why I bought them.

Then, while he held the baby in one arm and continued putting away groceries with the other, I put on the pretty blue dress and said “I don’t really need this, but I thought it was pretty – still. I don’t know. What do you think…” all a little whiney like.

That man turned around and with the baby all tiny in his arms, looked at me with a straight face and said “No, it’s really pretty on you. You should keep it. You could even wear it to church or something.”

True story.

I still can’t believe I got that man to marry me.

Luckiest. Woman. Ever.

Amen.

It’s been a while

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Mostly because we’ve been busy. 

Between therapy (5hrs/week), soccer, play group, visitations, etc. I have a hard time finding down time to blog. 

Here’s a quick update:

  • Termination hearing still scheduled for this month. 
  • Cupcake has two teeth, refuses to crawl, pulls up on her excersaucer, screams if I put her in it, has thigh rolls that make me want to do nothing but blow raspberries on them all. day. long. Is simply freaking adorable.
  • Raj is hilarious, has a song in his heart, has less sad days than he used to, still gets lost inside of himself frequently, is discovering his voice which means he’s just another voice in the cacophonous chorus of me, me, me that is the preschooler anthem at my house.
  • Lyberty is quieter, her hair is growing out (and I’m counting down the days to termination so I can cut it), she’s getting softer, she still has sad days, but much less anxiety, she hasn’t stress peed in a few weeks (knock on wood), though she did pee on my couch during a nap the other day. Le sigh. 
  • Simeon is still hilarious, he’s gotten to be an incredible lego master (he made a duck and a cow – that eats hay!) He’s still passionate about adoption, loves Raj, makes me laugh, has claimed possession of the letter ‘S’ (not really S) and claims anything with the letter on it anywhere is his. We mostly ignore this.
  • I’m practicing not yelling. It’s not an entire failure. Mostly the kids spend a lot of time in their rooms while I spend a lot of time waiting for the urge to scream and yell and stomp my feet to pass. 
  • Leo is still amazing. He does things like hold cupcake every minute he’s home, makes me laugh, chops onions, cleans the kids’ bathroom, vaccums the stairs and a variety of other jobs I despise doing. Because he’s just the nicest guy. Ever. I DO NOT take him for granted. *swoon*

So, the reason I have time to blog right now is because Leo is taking Lyberty to the doctor to have a bead extracted from her ear. Yesterday I removed gum from her ear. And when I changed the baby’s diaper I found the leaves she ate from the yard on Sunday. 

Just keepin’ it real over here. #livingglamorous*

*wherein I make an ironic statement by using a hashtag. 

There’s an us and a them now.

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Before becoming foster parents Leo and I had the privilege of attending a missionary training institute for several weeks. It was an intensive preparation for living lives of service overseas.

At the time we had no plans to foster and everything we studied was through the lens of moving to another country, serving a strange people, learning a new culture and language. And yet…

Obviously, we are not where we imagined we would be by now, but that missionary training has been the greatest preparation and resource we could have never planned for.

One thing we remember learning is that the biggest stress a missionary will face isn’t language learning, cultural differences, disappointment or any other expected difference. The biggest stress will be other missionaries. Apparently the same goes for foster parents.

We’ve experienced this quite a bit lately and our latest has been because we are providing respite for two little girls. Well, they’re not so little. The seven year old and I could share some clothes and she’s nearly as tall as I am. The five year old comes up to my nose and we wear the same size shoe.

They’ve been a challenge for sure. But. They have offered us and our children a precious, precious gift. They changed the family dynamic. There’s no longer three of us versus three of them. We’re not struggling to accept the new behaviors of Lyberty and Raj. In a matter of 48 hours our family of six is adjusting to two foreign bodies. We’ve rallied and we’ve grown in affection.

The daily little stresses our four normally bring seem so easy and minor compared to these two and their strange and loud and messy ways.

Recently, I looked across the table and recognized my sweet little faces and my “small heart grew three sizes that day” (name that movie!)

It’s that moment we’ve been waiting for, and unsure it would come in time. It doesn’t mean our decision about what happens after termination (which could still not happen, of course) has been made, mostly because we still don’t know what the options are, but it does mean that we’re feeling right minded enough to make it when the time comes.

Our hearts are a little less divided today.

Amen.

So… T minus 25 days…

They can’t take the blame.

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When we first said yes to the three, we did so cautiously.

We were told some really scary things. Nothing totally foreign, but we certainly expected a handful (ha!).

Their first week with us wasn’t even half as bad as I expected. And instead of the honeymoon wearing off, it actually seems to be getting better (knock on wood, spit, turn around, do the shimmy and all).

Which has lead Leo and I to asking ourselves about how chaotic their previous placements must have been.

And how unfairly they must have been judged.

Honestly, their biggest issues are that they are twin four year olds (can you say whack-a-mole?) and that they simply haven’t been taught basic social skills OR have been taught bad habits. They get extremely stressed when faced with the unexpected (duh!). They don’t do well with new people and places (gee, I wonder why).

But really. They’re good kids. Kids who are hungry for consistency, routine, a hug once in a while, an atta boy/girl! You know, the simple things that all kids crave. And with these few things, most of the people who knew them six weeks ago wouldn’t even recognize them. They’re softer and quieter and more self-controlled. They laugh more and cry/rage less. They’re certainly still hurt. They certainly still have big feeling and serious issues that need to be faced and battled, but those things are so very normal given how much these kids have moved, been left, been let down.

And that makes me so, so angry.

because, seriously! How hard is this?! They never should have been “labeled” as they were. They never should have moved so many times. They never should have been failed so epically by so many adults!!! And the more I’m learning, the greater that number becomes. It’s INSANE how many times these kids could have been helped and weren’t. I’m really fighting bitterness against the people who simply accepted the expectation that these kids were out of control and didn’t take the time to find out anything else about them. I’m shocked at the number of people who missed the textbook behaviors. Seriously! People I have respected have failed.

And I know that we all miss the big picture sometimes. And I know we all make mistakes. But it just doesn’t seem fair that so many people failed at once (Or rather repeatedly over the past four years).

And now, Leo and I want to do what ever we can possibly do to make sure they’re never failed ever again.

And I believe God is blessing that. But I still don’t know what the future for them looks like. And termination is coming soon. And that scares the begeezes out of me. But I trust these kids will not be left behind again and that we will know what to do to make sure of that.

Amen.