Friday, December 20, 2013

Story Time- Burning Bridges and Building a Future Simultaneously

From the beginning:

To say I love children is an understatement. Without noticing, noise, laughter, snuggles, and (let's face it) fights and tantrums became like air to me. I guess you could say that as the oldest of 5 kids, with a mom who is as great with kids as she is (not to mention a former day care director), I was bred to be a natural caregiver.

By the end of high school, I was done. Fed, up get me out of here, I'm going crazy- if I never nanny again it will be fine by me. Then I went to college... oh my, the deafening silence just about killed me. My TV, radio, or ipod ran every minute I was in my room. I couldn't study, focus, or sleep without it. When home on summers, it was time to find a job and guess what found me? NANNYING, babysitting, mother's helper, household organizer, home manager, and nursery volunteer- I was doomed (in a good way). Maybe it was just inevitable, but it ended up being the love of my life. Sure, the business world lit my fire for a while, but if I could go back and start over again, I'd probably be elementary education or social work. I guess its a good thing that I know how I feel now, it'll make picking my last elective next spring easy. Haha!

Where the latest adventure begins- Past to the Present:

I married DH, who is the godfather of his best friend from high school's kids. It's a pretty cookie cutter story of teenage pregnancy, getting married too young, an again-off again relationship, finally hitting a point where someone finally realized their relationship is completely toxic and bad for everyone in and around them, and, finally, one big, fat, final break up.

From the beginning, my goals were not light tasks, but were rather basic- keep the babies safe, spoil them rotten, and love the time I got to spend with them. Baby Mama loves her kids, and that was never in question. The question was whether or not she would be able to step up and put their needs above her own desires, in the absence of their father. There were many problems before, but they were old exacerbated by Baby Daddy's leaving. I gave it 6 solid months and some change. DH had put in over 6 years, being everything from moderator/peacekeeper, confidant, prenatal visit enforcer and transportation, babysitter, etc. Enough was enough! DH & I sent Baby Mama & Baby Daddy an ultimatum, a last chance to get their acts together. That plan backfired. In demanding that the children no longer be neglected and their needs be met, Baby Mama accused us of trying to steal her kids because I can't have my own. Ouch! That hurt.

Yes, it's true, we can't have children of our own without the help of a medical professional. However, that does NOT mean that we are unable to have our own kids. It was rough having the only person I had told about it, at that point, throw it back in my face, especially when my intentions where honorable. DH says that because Baby Mama is manipulative she expects me to be the same way. It makes sense, but I try really hard not to assume things about other people, so it is upsetting to not be given the same curtosy, or even be heard, by someone I thought was a friend.

(Note: Other people have tried to take her kids in the past. I know that now, so I understand that she fell back on predisposed assumptions. I just wish she would have thought twice, and known DH & I better than that.)

I feel like burning the bridge, though regretable because in it we lost the ability to keep tabs on the kids, was necessary to get Baby 2 the immediate attention he needed, even if it was only for one day. I do miss the kids terribly and worry about their health and well being often. I'm hoping that one day Baby Mama will let us see the kids again. The three months since I've seen or talked to them have been hard. We are trying to stay positive and respect the space Baby Mama has requested. We requested to stay out of the drama and negativity, but if I could go back I would do everything the same, I would just pray for a different result.

Looking to the Future:

I've known all my life that I wanted to adopt and foster children, my father was adopted and that has blessed my family in so many ways. DH and I decided to really consider it now, instead of waiting years when we already have children of our own. We have a long road ahead of us with training, home inspections, state evaluations, finger printing, etc. We are very nervous about knowing that we are only able to do so much on our side, and that we have to rely on and relinquish control to so many other people to make this happen. We are trying to give 150% on our end, and leave the rest of it up to God, relying on His plans being so much greater than anything we can fathom. We are hoping that all of our friends and family will support our decision to become foster parents, and stand with us in prayer for a smooth certification process and wonderful child placement(s) in the future.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Story Time- Finding Myself in the Middle of Nowhere

How did I end up where I am?

All I can say is it must have been the hand of God because I can't say as though there was a lot of solid thinking behind the decision. It was a phase my life where I needed space to go figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life. The college I wanted to go, Lee University, to was too far away, and Liberty University was too close to home. After searching through a few more college brochures I got in the mail, I found a college that was basically what I was looking for, and half the distance from home as Lee.

GDad (what I call my Grandaddy) drove me down for the campus tour in the pouring rain. We stayed for a whole hour- 1/2 an hour listening to the President babble on about programs and a half hour waiting for rain to subside so we could take a tour. GDad said he was ready to go, so we left. We never took the tour, just saw a parking lot and a teeny tiny concert hall in a town so small we went through the one stop light in town and drove past the college the first time around without even noticing it, and (BAM!) I chose to go there. Haha! A little crazy, I know, but I met Dear Husband somewhere along the way and hopefully I'll finish those pesky last 7 credits in the spring, so I'd say everything worked out beyond my wildest dreams. I'll go ahead and hand the Good Lord the credit on that plan, because He knows I tried to have one, but there's a reason His plans are better than ours.

It didn't take long at all to get involved in clubs, accidentally turn into the handywoman for every dorm I ever lived in (probably because I was the only girl with tools and the knowledge to use them- and I lag major skills compared to all the other tool savy members of my family), deliverer of soup and crackers to sick residents, diversity executive on the campus activities board, and so on and so forth--- but I always ended up back in my real passion- child care, which is where our lastest adventure begins.

(I'm headed off with DH to sort toys for the Marine Corps League Toys for Tots drive. I'll be sure to post again soon.)

Why Earnest?

Guaranteed, I am not a scholarly source for all the world's religions, but I like to fancy myself as knowing a thing or two about Christianity, in particular. I believe that God has an earnest desire to create and know us, and, as such, His love for us is also earnest.

            - meaning: (noun) a thing intended or regarded as a sign or promise of what is to come; (adjective) resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction
            - synonyms: serious, intense, committed, dedicated, diligent, zealous, thoughtful, profound, devout, fervent, ardent, urgent, sincere, impassioned, genuine, firm, resolute, determined, wholehearted, and purposeful!

Not only is God's love ALL of those things for us, but our love IS CALLED to be that for GOD AND EACH OTHER!

Somehow, I always knew that, but it isn't always something I've lived. We all lose our way, and for me, that was pretty much high school (or at least the end of freshman year through fall of senior year). Somewhere along the time I started reading and interviewing sources for my senior thesis, I realized I wasn't actually mad at God and everyone else around me, I was just upset I wasn't in control of what happened in my life during those years, and hurt because I didn't understand God's purpose or plan at the time- a hard thing to admit for an OCD, organized, control freak like myself. There's a lot I still don't understand, but none of that mattered once I came to understand that, despite everything else, God's love is always good. Needless to say, my life has changed a lot in the last 6 years, and I know there is a lot more change coming, so I've felt compelled to document my life for a while now (years, sadly), with no motivation what-so-ever to keep a diary, I'm hoping blogging will help hold me accountable.

Living a life of love has been easy most of my life, but purposeful love is different. It's not just dedicated, it's conscious. This past year has been interesting to say the least (but I'll get into that in another post), and it is what will make next year a struggle. A struggle to keep my eyes on our ultimate goal, and not get lost or overwhlemed in the details.

Like our parents before us, we have chosen to share our blessed life with children. In our case, children who are not our own, but who we will love, respect, and protect as if they were. That's right, DEAR HUSBAND (referred to as DH) & I ARE GOING TO BE FOSTER PARENTS!!! We start officially training in January, or so we've been told, no official date has been released yet (so, keep up with us here to stay in the loop).

* Whether or not you are a fan of religious blogs, these are 10 verses everyone should know by heart*

John 3:16
John 15:13
Matthew 5:43-45
1 Corinthians 12:4-8
Mark 12:30-31
John 13:34-35 ("...By this all people will know that you are my disciples...", - gets me every time)
John 14:15
1 Peter 4:8
Proverbs 17:17
Genesis 29:20