Saturday, November 8, 2014

We're Semi-Official!

      Tuesday was the last day of Red's first semester, so she had the day off school. Most of the morning was filled with her taking over DH's chair and watching Duck Dynasty, while I hand-picked and combed large, red, curly, hairballs out of our carpets throughout the house. I was positive that I put this fun task on the sticky note list of chores I gave her for the day, along with putting away her laundry (that I had already washed and folded). So, I'm not exactly sure how I ended up the one crawling around on my hands and knees, with a small trash bag full of human hair. One thing is for sure, she's getting me broken in for when the kids arrive. Haha! The rest of the day we went shopping and got her some new volleyball kneepads, cardigans, and dressy, leather boots. We had lunch at Sonic so she could get several foot long hotdogs (what can I say, the girl LOVES 'em), a slushy, and play on the playground. It was so nice to spend time out of the house, even though it was chilly. Soon the days will be too cold for outings like that.

It might be cheating if your feet don't leave the ground.

      Yesterday (Thursday), around 3 pm, I found out we are officially a licensed foster family. Words really cannot describe how elated we are. Yeah, I don't really have much to say about that. I just don't have the words for how amazing it was to finally know everything was set and ready. I called DH at work (he didn't answer, so I texted him so he'd get the message ASAP), called my mom (she didn't answer, so after a couple tries, I left her a voicemail), texted my best friends, and called GDaddy (he answered!!! yippee!). Then, I posted to Facebook. We are officially licensed, but I still feel like we aren't completely official until we have some little feet running in the house.

      Today, I got up early and got everyone out the door for school and work. Then it was time for me to get ready for the day. Mom called right as I was brushing my teeth and finishing up my to do list. It may have even been a record making phone call too, under an hour. I cleaned Red's rat nest out of the back of the car. Literally, a nest of her clothes, sports equipment and trash that she falls asleep in every time we drive more than 10 minutes. I got the car seats installed, one in each stage, just in case.

 I should have left the car seats in after the god kids left,
beige is just so boring in comparison to the car seat colors
 (the infant seat has yellow piping on the other side, love it!).

I was surprised how hard it was to leave the area. We always travel to meet GDaddy for dinner when he's in our state visiting family, but I had a rock in my stomach tonight. I was convinced that leaving a 30 mile radius of DSS was a bad idea, and we would get a call when we are an hour and a half away from home. Luckily, I know an awesome foster mommy who was able to share some of her waiting experience with me. She validated my concern, but also told me it was okay to go. I'm glad she was able to lend me some peace. It was so good to go and visit with family. In the car on the way home from the restaurant, GDaddy was asking me all about when and how the call would come. Then my phone rang. The whole car fell silent waiting to hear if it was "the call." The number wasn't saved in my phone, but had the first several digits of the DSS building, so I answered. There was no one on the other end. Thinking it was a bad connection, I hung up and called them back, AND GUESS WHAT..... it was a telemarketer. Good thing they had an out of service number message because I would have lost it (out loud) if there had been a unfortunate person to hear my rant about telemarketers calling cell phones.

      All in all, a wonderful evening, and a great dry run for "the call." Whenever it comes, we're ready for it!

My verse of the week:  Isaiah 43:1-7New International Version (NIV)

Israel’s Only Savior

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What You Should Expect When We're Expecting, and/or Receiving, Foster Children

1 Peter 1:2

** WARNING ** - This is going to be a long post.....

This is all the basic ins and outs of how our family being a foster family will affect the lives of everyone around us. It may or may not be things you already know or would necessarily think about, but they are important things to know as everyone adjusts to our new family dynamic.

1) Our Placement Expectations
      It is our state's policy to license you for the most they possibly can, when you are willing to do so. This is in the case you are needed for a back up, emergency, or respite care placements. Our state caps households at 5 children, meaning we can place up to four, because Red already lives with us. Likewise, our state requires us to be a certain number of years older than our placements, so our age group is capped at 14.
      What we will be licensed for, and the placements we expect to accept, are two very different matters. We imagine that we may have placements of up to three children, newborn to 5 years old. We are happy to accept older children, when they are part of a sibling group placement or as emergency and respite placements, but we are trying to preserve an age gap where we can so that no children joining our family are too close in age or older than Red (since she is an aunt, not a sibling). We have chosen to cap ourselves at three children for one simple reason, currently, that is the number of available seat belts in our cars. One day, we'll break down and get a minivan, but, for now, it's not the first project on our list. Ultimately, we know and trust that the Lord will open doors when we least expect them, and His plans are so much better than our own. The perfect placements are out there for us, and we are learning to trust in His timing.

2) What to Call the Children
     Call them by their names and refer to them as our children. Our goal is to incorporate them into our family, not make a distinction or separation between them and us. For every intent and purpose, they are our children, unless they are away visiting their parents or removed from our home. However, even then, they will always be important members of our family. Sometimes circumstances will demand otherwise, but, whenever possible and legally correct to do so, we will claim them as our own, and we ask that you not refer to them using the foster label when they (and we) are around to hear it.

3) What They Call Us
      They will call us whatever they feel is right, within reason. We will be introducing ourselves by our names when we meet them (well, technically, my name and DH's nickname), and things will evolve from there as they become more adjusted and acquainted with our home and family. Over time, they may call us some version of Mom or Dad, but we will never ask them to do so. If they come to this decision, it will be on their own. Please be aware of what they call us, so you know who they are talking about. This is important because if they do call us Mom or Dad, but they did not do that the last time you saw them, it would not be good for you to try and explain that they have been removed from their birth parents' home, when they are really asking where we are or what we are doing.

4) What They Call You
      They will probably call you some variation of what we call you. If they do come up with a nickname for you, as long as it is appropriate, please do not correct them. Children usually give names based on some connection they make between who you are, how you are connected to us, and your role in their life. If you absolutely hate the name, please have a conversation with us about it. We will try to get to the bottom of why you have been given this name, and we will work with them to call you by something more preferable. In the mean time, we'll wait and see what they come up with. It's a learning experience for everyone.

5) The Parents
      This is a tricky topic. Please never assume you know or understand the circumstances surrounding the children being temporarily removed from their birth families. The social workers, therapists, DH, and I are probably the only people who should ever talk to the kids about their bio-parents. And, yes, special training on how to approach this subject was involved. If the topic comes up when you are speaking to the kids, the best response is a quick change of subject, an "I don't know," or a "You can ask [enter our latest name/title here]."
      Fostering is designed to be temporary. There is a lot we will never know about each child's life before they enter the system and (depending on how well we co-parent with the family) after they are reunited with their families. Our goal is NEVER to make a child feel like there is something wrong with their parents, but rather to reinforce and encourage the positive.

6) Confidentiality
      Basically, we have a confidentiality agreement with the state that clarifies we can not give out information on the children, unless it is on a necessary/need-to-know basis. So we understand that you are curious, but we really can't (and won't) be sharing what we do know. Likewise, we can not post their names and pictures all over social media. I'm sure you've seen blogs with pictures of kids with marked out faces. (I'm really not a fan of that.) Haven't figured out what I'll do yet, but I'll try to share, even if it is just pictures of the backs of their heads. The blog will have a blog nickname for each child, chances are they will not be called that name in real life. However, if you know us, we are sure you will be able to figure out who is who.
     Confidentiality is a funny thing because, as the foster family, we have to try to preserve ours, while having our entire lives on display. Literally! Our application to the state actually said that when I get stressed I take hot baths, after everyone's asleep, to unwind, and, when DH carries tension in his shoulders I massage them to help him relax. (I actually blushed, several times, reading our copy of what was sent to the state. I don't remember ever sharing those things, but there they are in black and white. At least we "[exhibit] many strengths." That makes it worth it.) Basically, our life is an open door to the state, our licensing and placement social workers, each child's social worker, each child's guardian ad litem (GAL worker, also known as CASA workers in some states), transportation workers, county fire marshals, judges, therapists, etc. However, we have control over the amount of information shared with the families.
      Usually, birth families only know our first names, until they have been to planning meetings, court, etc., and a visitation schedule has been set. From there, we can ask to be advised as to whether the family is a safety concern or not. After that, it's up to us. We have to decide how much interaction we have, have much personal information we share, and how much contact we encourage (within the boundaries set by court order). Yes, we have the unique experience of co-parenting with my mom for Red, so we feel pretty comfortable with the idea. My goal is to have something to hand the parents at every visitation, whether it's a craft the kids made, photos, or a progress letter. We want to establish a relationship with the parents because we don't want to ever "lose" the kids. We want to be able to stay in contact long after they have gone home, especially for the children who will be old enough to remember us.

7) Holidays, Special Events, Travel
      We have to give notice when we travel with the kids, and receive travel documentation. If we take them out of state, we must do so with the permission of either the parents or a judge, especially if visitations need to be rescheduled. My point with this is that our flexibility is shrinking. We have to have advanced notice to prepare for EVERYTHING! We may be late to things, not be able to make it at all, end up spending holidays with birth families instead of our own family, or may not make family vacation or reunions. Life as we know it is about to change, and we will do the best we can, but please be understanding when something comes up. Things are not always within our control.

8) Purchases and Gift-giving
      We don't expect you to buy things for the kids. If you are going to be passing things out to other kids at an event and do not plan on having something for our kids, please just let us know so we can have something prepared for them. Please also note that any gifts given to the kids becomes theirs, and will go home with them. They usually understand sharing and borrowing, so just watch the wording. Telling them you have a special toy you know they'll love to play with may be accidentally understood as receiving a gift, especially for the younger children.

9) Placement Duration
      We will most likely not know for sure or ahead of time. Children may come to us with a few days notice or a few minutes notice, and at any time day or night. Likewise, we know they'll be with us as long as they need to, but we will not always know specifically how long that will be. We will know about court dates ahead of time. We will know roughly what is on the agenda for the hearing, but courtrooms are volatile and there are an infinite number of circumstances, rulings, laws, etc. that could vastly change an expected outcome. Basically, we will not know until we know, and the social workers will only keep us as informed as we need to be. We are not the SWs, so chances are we will not know the specifics. Our immediate attention is on the children in our care. We will probably approach it one day or one week at a time, just trying to enjoy the time we have with them.

10) Laying a Foundation for the Future
       We aren't just fostering children, we are fostering families and sharing the love of Christ. Even when a child is removed from our home, they are forever a part of our family. The relationship and bond we form with both the children and their parents, during the time their little loved ones are in the foster care system, will often dictate our ability to stay connected and/or involved in the children's lives in the future. It may be hard to understand sometimes, and, yes, our hearts will break a little every time a child leaves our home, but our ultimate goal is to share our life, love, faith, and help families, whenever possible. Oh, and, yes, I will be one of the crazies with pictures of kids all over my house, constant streams of birthday cards being mailed out, and probably always have a bit of a funky smell as I walk around covered in stains and snot. Haha!

In Summary,
      There is a lot we will (or won't) know and/or tell you in the future, as specific needs and court orders change from placement to placement, but for now this is a general guide of what to expect as we receive foster placements. Thank you for supporting our efforts. We understand that our decision to foster will also affect you and your families. Some people do not understand, or even fear, what we are doing, and have chosen to walk out of our lives (we aren't even officially licensed, yet). We don't love them any less for this decision, but it does give us an even greater appreciation for those who have stayed, supported, or even stepped up in our lives. There are no words to express our gratitude and love for you!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Update: October 17, 2014

      Well, I've been a bit delinquent in posting recently. Things have been a little crazy to say the least. I've been out of town for several weeks now. I am coming to a close on 3 weeks in Switzerland on Saturday, which is also the day we fly back to the states. DH and Red are at home holding down the fort and watching the dogs. Red's volleyball team is 4-2, and I've been out of town for everything but the very first game. It's 1 am here, but only 7 pm EST, so technically I guess it's an October 16th update for everyone back home. I just wanted to let everyone know that my out of state background checks came in two Fridays ago. It took our licensing SW a few days to get everything together and passed on to her supervisor, so our application was officially submitted to the state last Friday. There are only a small group of people at the state level to review the applications, so we have been told it could take anywhere from one weeks to two months for our case to be reviewed and either approved or denied.
      Please keep us in your prayers as we wait, and also hold the other foster parents from our county, especially the families we were licensed with, in your prayers too as they are settling into new routines, planning on moving, trying to adopt their placements, still waiting on placements, etc. We are so blessed to know so many other wonderful Christian families serving our community, and we will certainly miss those that we are loosing to transfers/moving. We pray that the Lord's will be done as the court decides what happens next in all of our journeys.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13, 2014- Updated Post from August 8th

     Our amazing licensing SW found a technicality in our paperwork that gave us more time to get my two out-of-state checks run. She found that we can go 180 days from the first form we signed, instead of 180 days from our first day of class. This bought us a couple more weeks to correct the last bit of paperwork and resubmit it.

     Well, my out-of-state central registry check came in. However, we found out what the problem was with the other form. I had received the correct form from our SW, but our SW and I had filled it in incorrectly. Based on the specific form I had filled out, my social worker could not run the background and crimes against minors registry check on me. The form and payment were returned, and we mailed back the corrected form with the addition charge and the information for me to run the check on myself. It's summer, so the woman in the police office in charge of running this paperwork and sending us the results is on vacation this week, the week this is all finally due to state. We have stretched our grace period as far as possible, and we are praying hard that everything is taken care of by the end of the week so our finished application can be sent off to the state for our official approval and licensing to be foster parents. I'm obsessed with the mail. I love getting mail, and I can't wait for those letters to come. In the mean time, I have been nesting like a crazy person.

     The dreams are the worst of it. Ever had absolutely ridiculous dreams that are so real you wake up in a panic? Well, that's me, for the past month. Since Red has been home with my Mom for summer vacation, my days and nights are backwards again, it's an insomnia/Lyme Disease thing (nothing new). I sleep in the mornings after getting DH off to work and Sargie settled after a morning walk. Then, I wake up, heart pounding a million miles a minute, after dreaming completely nonsensical things. This morning I got in about half an hour before I dreamt that we received our first placement and the system I came up with for organizing the extra kids' toiletries last week didn't work as effectively as the system I had used before it, so I couldn't find the toothpaste, all my teeth rotted and fell out in a matter of seconds. A man in a white coat rang our doorbell and kidnapped me. He was a dentist trying to give me dentures. For the first time EVER, I woke up crying I was so upset. I've rearranged the toiletries at least 20 times in the past 7 months. The organization may change, but the location does NOT. All the children's toothpaste is in the same bin as their extra toothbrushes, and the bin with my toothpaste is underneath my sink. No worries there. BUT.... anyone who knows about my friend and I's encounter with my grandpa's teeth our Christmas in the 4th grade, knows that I am deathly afraid of dentures and the idea of bad teeth. I'm obsessive about my teeth. So.... I'm sitting in the nursery rearranging everything again. After Nick goes to work I'll probably rip apart our bathroom and reorganize that as well, so I can get some peaceful sleep this afternoon. Call me crazy, but at least I'm productive. 

     I'll be calling the police headquarters again today too, in search of any news on our paperwork. I'll do my best to update again soon.

**On a completely different note, 4 years ago this guy was afraid to work in the church nursery with me because he was afraid of babies. He said he was afraid he would break them and didn't know what to do with kids too little to play sports. Haha! Only took him about a month to change his mind, but reminiscing on our 2nd wedding anniversary last night had me in fits of giggles, so much has changed. When we work in the nursery now and I want to hold a baby, that he is holding (because I can't just hold one, I have to hold as many of them as I get a chance to), I am swiftly given "the look," which means I'm happy holding this baby and you are absolutely crazy if you think you're going to take it from me. 

And since he didn't let me post any pictures of him yesterday, on Thankful Tuesday for our anniversary, here is a super adorable picture of him getting a baby, that wouldn't give me the time of day, to both smile and giggle for him. Haha! I love this man! DH, I am so beyond thankful for you and excited for this next adventure to start rolling.

Can you believe this was 2 years ago?! Wow! Time flies.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Speed Bump!

     As we have steadily approached the finish line I was relatively at ease... until I was informed none of our references had been received and 3 of my background and registry checks results had not come in. The last couple weeks have been a flurry of phone calls, e-mails, bank runs, Facebook messages, and frantic calls to the social worker trying to sort everything out.

     References are hard to come by. Not because we aren't recommendable, but because references have to be non-familial. This became quite a task because we can't write the letters, so asking people that we consider family isn't exactly an option when they will introduce themselves and explain how they know us using terms like sister, uncle, cousin, etc. It makes the paperwork a bit more difficult, but it also helped to show us just how completely blessed we are to have such a large family, both blood and chosen through priceless friendships.

     We quickly realized that the three people who had offered to help in any way possible, once asked to provide us a reference, were either too busy and forgot or weren't that interested after all. We absolutely understand, we have been swamped around here too, but we wish they would have told us that they were too busy or didn't want their contact information filed with the social worker and the state, so we could have gotten another reference lined up in a more timely manner (they were given four months notice). When we learned our SW hadn't received anything the other week, we quickly sent urgent messages out to five other people/couples asking, if they had a few minutes to bless us with a reference on such short notice. Several were able to come through with glowing recommendations, literally overnight. They moved some serious mountains for us, and even though they'll all receive thank you notes, words don't really express how amazing it is to have them in our lives.

     Background and registry checks, however, are a nightmare! Nothing has ever sunk my heart so deep into my gut than hearing that these had not cleared by today (and that's sayin' something!). Weeks of e-mails, leaving voicemails, and searching for anyone who could answer a question without giving me the run around or passing me off to another agency or department, got the best of my nerves. It is all I can do to not scream at these people... and I've come very close with a number of state police and their office workers today. Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of praying. One year of preparation and six months of paperwork are ALL going to have to be redone- resigned, dated, and resubmitted, if the out-of-state background check and central registry check results aren't sent to our SW within the next few hours!!!  At this point, I have paid for all the checks twice and there are still no results to show for it. If our cashier's checks were not returned to our local DSS by mail, then I'll have to pay for it all again as well, and our indefinite wait will begin again. I believe we can possibly squeeze some progress in tomorrow morning, if we can find someone or someway to expedite the paperwork... maybe, just maybe.

     I'm growing hesitant to pray for miracles, because I do it so often, but what else can you possibly do at a time like this? It's time to take a knee and see what the good Lord has planned. After all, he is the one who set us on this amazing journey, so I know He has all the details covered. Sometimes, I think He just likes to test the control freak in me. Haha!

     PRAYERS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED as we cross the last hurdle partially within our control. Tomorrow everything is officially out of our hands and up to God.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Last Home Visit before Official Licensing

In our state, visits, or inspections, are required from the Fire Marshall and the county DSS social worker for licensing. We passed with flying colors on the fire inspection. The first visit with the social worker went pretty well, but we still had some work to do- mainly the garage, which was filled to the brim with unopened moving boxes, old furniture, military gear, wedding decorations and accessories leftovers, clothing and other items to be donated. There was a small path from the kitchen door out to the driveway, but by no means could we fit a car, or even a bike, in there. Two yard sales and two trash days later, we still have a large pile, but it is mostly items we could donate. We are filled with nervous excitement as we prepare for the visit from our licensing social worker in just a few short hours.

T - 6 hours, 5 minutes and counting....  7:45 am can not get here soon enough!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

One Visit/Inspection Down, Three to Go

Today, we are in need of some fast and furious prayer. We had our first offical interview, an office visit, with our social worker (SW). Tomorrow morning we have our first of two home visits/inspections with our SW, and Saturday morning our home inspection with the Fire Marshall. Please pray that I/we can put the house back together in that amount of time, since I have ripped it apart, yet again, with this nesting phase I've been going through over the last couple months. Are there any other foster parents that go through this? I think I've washed all our linens, kids' clothes, toys, and carpets twice. I can't seem to stop cleaning and rearranging anything and everything in sight, and out of sight for that matter.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Final Push towards Home Study/Inspection

Last week my Madre (Mom) came to town and helped with several projects while Dear Husband was away on Annual Training with the Marine Corps. We were able to almost finish the quilt for the kids' room, set up the crib and bassinet, get all the sheets washed and on the toddler bed, and began refinishing the kitchen table. We also bought large plastic totes and sorted clothes by size, gender, and season to determine what we have and what we still need. As organized as I am, I was shocked to see how many holes we still have to fill in the next few weeks.

I was surprised to find that we still need:
- Clothes
      Girls' 9mo-18mo all, 24 mo summer, 4T- children's 4/5 all, 6/6x/7 winter
      Boys' 9mo all, 2T-4T summer, 5T-children's 6/7 all
- Books for all ages
- Toys for all ages (we already have toddler golf sets, balls of all shapes/sizes/kinds, small tricycles, and art supplies)

This week we ordered:
- Collapsable highchair for the younger children (that will not be able to support themselves in our wooden restaurant-style highchair) and a booster seat (for children between the wooden highchair and being able to reach the table from a regular chair)
- Changing Pad Covers
- Carseat Booster (We already have 2 infant carriers and 3-stage transitional seat, but we needed an extra in case we have two children that require boosters)
- Second set of crib comforter, sheets, etc.

We have a large array of bedding options to accomodate children of all ages:
- 1 Infant crib/large bassinet (good until they start wiggling, ~ 0-3 or 4 months)
- 1 Crib (the one from GDad's house, used by myself and all my siblings)
- 1 Toddler Bed
- 3 Twin Beds (2 with bunking potential)

      So, even though we have 2 possible rooms and 6 available beds, the law requires that we not have more than 5 children in our home at a time. Since Red is kid #1, that means we can be licensed for up to 4 additional little ones, but our capacity is capped at 3 because that is how many seatbelts I have in the back of my SUV. I learned to drive on a minivan, and as a teenager swore I would never drive one again, but now I find myself longing for one. Haha, what a difference 5 years makes! Likewise, the state requires we be 10 years older than any child in our home, so that means we will be licensed for children ages 0-13 years old, with a preference for children 0-6 for the first couple years. We want to learn the ropes on the little ones before we expand our age range to include preteens and teens, and Red has expressed an interest in having younger children around the house, old enough to play with but not old enough to be in competition with her in school or sports.

     DH is pulling an all nighter out at the county's Relay for Life. I'm here at home preparing a final to do list. Later today, I have 2 youths from church coming over to help us paint and complete some projects. It's all hands on deck as we make our final push towards licensing. Words can't express how excited to are.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

This week we...

     This week, I haven't officially checked anything off the list. I finished sewing some fitted toddler sheets into flat sheets for the toddler bed, leaving the bottom third fitted so the kids can't kick the sheets off the bed in the middle of the night. This cost $12 for each set (2 fitted crib sheets) to purchase, and by turning one sheet in each set to a flat sheet I made bargain toddler sheets. So, now I can have match the room perfectly instead of having character bedding that each kid may not like, and saved over $40 from having to purchase designer solid toddler sheets. Thank you, Target, for coupons and a great weekly ad.

     I've been compiling the paperwork for our family profile, and filing out more background checks for all the counties and states I've lived in the last five years. Foster training classes are over and the real work is just now starting. The kids room still  has a huge pile in the middle to be organized. I still have to find a place to move all the office stuff. I'm hoping to get everything organized and in place in the next few weeks so that I can post a master list of all the paperwork and to do list items needed to make it through foster parent training and approval... but I'll wait until we get our final approval before posting all that for you.

     There is a box with bunk beds sitting out in the garage. I'm considering returning them. DH talked me into getting them, but I'm not sure I'm convinced on the color. I'm thinking I want to continue the white furniture though all the bedrooms. DH did make a good point though- if we have boys join our family, that are anything like DH, they may not like the "clean, girly" white. Haha! This is true, I suppose. I'll wait until DH gets back from his temporary military deployment to decide. It can sit in the project filled garage until then, while I work on the house, classes, foster paperwork and work. I'm so excited to get this underway and make some progress.

               Next to the closet in the kids'                     Some accessories for the
               room, activity table and                              rejuvenated glider.
               stuffed animals.

                                 The fabric Madre got us to make quilts for the kids.
                                 I'm about halfway done with one, and I can't wait
                                 for finals to be over so I can get back to work on this
                                 precious project.

As always, thank you for standing with us in prayer as we continue this journey. We are so very thankful for all the notes and emails of support and encouragement! .... and hand-me-down clothing, we are so very thankful for all the children's items that we have received. It has been such a blessing to us and fellow foster parents in our area. We can't possibly thank you enough.

Friday, March 14, 2014

We're Halfway There, OH, Livin' on a Prayer...

Thanks to Bon Jovi for the inspiration to get through this week.

The to do list was already backing up, but this week we added more to the list than we took off. The Fire Marshall's office came by class to tell us about what we need to have on hand and around the house in case of emergencies.

In the house:
Secondary Heat Source
Disaster Supply Kit (highly recommended)
First Aid Kit
Smoke Detectors
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Working Phone Line
NO Double Key Deadbolts
Emergeny Fire Ladders (2nd story bedrooms)

Mounted in the house in plain view of all family and guests:
Fire Extinguisher (at least a 1A is required, but going up a size to the 5lb is recommended)
Evacuation Plan
Emergency Contact Numbers (911, Poison Control, Emergency Services, etc.)

Necessary Certifications:
First Aid

Luckily, we have most of this covered, but there is still a ways to go. I guess it is about time to type up a master to do list and start checking things off one at a time. Nervous excitement doesn't begin to cover how we are feeling at the moment. Staying positive and speaking the good into existence this week.

Please stand with us in prayer as we complete my job interviews, DH's overtime, makeup school work (DH, Red, and I), foster training workbooks, our family profile, household projects, and the kids' room. And especially pray that we get most of it done before DH is deployed in April, so I have helping hands to get it done sooner, instead of struggling to finish by myself before our deadline.

Have a wonderfully blessed weekend!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

3/8 Through

     I've been a little delinquint on updates as of late. DH and I have been doing hundreds of pages of foster training homework. We're on book 3 of 6, and had the third of eight classes the other night. By Wednesday, we will have turned in all our consent forms for multiple background and list/record checks, and we'll be fingerprinted. We are rather fond of the group of foster parents in training with us, they are a wonderful and animated group of couples. We all have no problems asking our social workers and supervisor both hard and hilarious questions.

     One thing we've been asked to question in the process of becoming foster parents if whether or not we will just apply for foster status or if we will dual apply for fostering and adoption, in case we were to adopt in the future, it would save us some time and paperwork then. I've always known I wanted to foster and adopt, and fostering now would be such an incredible blessing, but I feel that we are already stepping out in faith and I am afriad applying to adopt too would tip the scale and I'll fall on my face. Crazy, irrational fear? Maybe. DH thinks so, but I just can't help the uneasy feeling in my stomach. So, right now we are just applying to foster, but we are staying open minded to all the possibilities God may have for us in the future.

These verses especially touched my heart this week, as I was in the Word -> Isaiah 43:4-7 (ESV)

4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
people in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

What a wonderful God we serve!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DIY Sewing Adventure #1 - Glider Cover

     The last time I was behind a sewing machine was in the 6th grade. WOW! I'm feeling a little old right now. So, I brought the glider from Madre's house, the one that was in my nursery way back when, to our house to use in the kids' room. The original cover was a bit stretched out and had only a couple stains and dried glitter glue on it, not bad considering it had 12 years of hard use through 5 kids before it retired to the basement. It was time to retire the old red cover, but buying a new cover to fit was impossible, so it was time to pull out the sewing machine and get to work. I went to my local fabric shop and picked out a printed number that fit the brightly colored jungle theme I was aiming for.

     It wasn't perfect the first time around, the second, or even the third, but, after a couple hours, Madre and I had it done. Needless to say, I love the results!

                                                    The Original

                                                    The New Cover

Hats off to the Canadian furniture company that made this sturdy beast of a glider! Old, but still kickin'. We definitely love it. And, just in case you were wondering, yes, that is a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese colored accent wall. I just about had a heart attack when I realized what color it was drying, but, now that we have other bright colors in the room, it works... and we love it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bring It On....

Well, I had some wonderful Christmas posts ready about the love of the season, Christmas holiday, and preparing the way for a child- but, alas, I was serverely distracted by my family, enjoying every minute I was able to spend with them, and it is now too late to submit those posts. I'll save them for next year!

As I write this I sit about to begin the Introduction to Social Work course at my university, considering also signing up for the Child Welfare course, even though it would be in addition to the credits I need to graduate this spring. However, I feel it may offer DH and I invaluable insight and understanding towards this journey upon which we are about to embark.

Tomorrow, I am taking my quilt to a local sewing group to get assistance in working on it for use by the kids. I'll be sure to have pictures coming soon. Keep your eyes open!