Monday, December 19, 2011

The View From Here

I took the above picture while lying on the couch, recovering from a horrible stomach bug. In the foreground, a cup of broth (thanks Julie) and a cup of water. Broth really is the breakfast of champions. 

Last Wednesday night, I loaded up our kiddos to go to AWANA while Justin stayed home to put our little baby boo to bed. I had a fabulous mommy date planned for while the kids were at AWANA and I couldn't wait for some grown up convo with one of my dearest friends. Before I'd even arrived at the church building, I knew I was sick. Chills, nausea, the whole bit....I took the kiddos to their classes and got home as quickly as I could, cancelling my Mommy date on the way. :(

As soon as I got home, the fun started. I was ill. Before long, Justin brought the kids home from AWANA and got them in bed. Then he starts feeling bad and begins to get sick. We both get in bed, knowing we are in for a long night with our new pal, the stomach bug. At about 10:30, we hear the twins crying. I knew it was the throw-up cry. Trust me, they have a certain cry. It's awful. Both girls were sick...simultaneously. We bathed them, got them ready to go back to bed on clean sheets and within minutes they were both getting sick again. It was midnight by this time, Justin and I were both still very sick and we didn't know what to do. In a desperate moment, I called Justin's mom. She had to work the next day, but came anyway. We all thought the girls would feel better and go to sleep within a couple hours. From about midnight until four a.m., the twins were sick every thirty minutes. They were lying on our (well protected) couch and Brooklyn told me later that my mother-in-law slept on the floor next to them. Everytime Vivi would get sick, I would hear her crying for me and saying, "Mama. I want Mama. Where's my Mommy?" And, Justin's mom would calm her down, clean her up and try to get her back to sleep. I remember lying in bed thinking I could go sit on the couch with her, but I felt like I was too weak to even walk to the living room. At some point during all this, Gramm woke up and began throwing up too. The little guy is a trooper. He is no stranger to stomach issues, so the stomach bug did not phase him one bit. Bless his heart!

Around 4 in the morning, I finally drifted off to sleep and realized that the worst of it was over for me. My mother-in-law left at 5 to go get ready for work and to stop by Kroger to get us popsicles and coconut water. She had stayed up all night taking care of our very sick kiddos. I was amazed by her sacrifice. Not only did she miss a full night's sleep before going to teach preschool all day the next day, she exposed herself to the horrible, nasty, no good stomach bug while lovingly caring for my babies. I have always been thankful for her and I am even more thankful now. And, I am so very thankful for good health and the ability to care for my children.

We are all on the mend now and our little baby boo has yet to get the bug.  Never before have I seen our entire crew (minus the babe) come down with the same sickness so quickly. I don't know what we would have done without my mother-in-law. She inspires me to lay down my life for my children and to give joyfully. And, please join me in praying that she doesn't get sick. ;) Seriously.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Processing life as a Foster Mom

This scripture has been on my mind today:

"She extends her hands to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20

Many times a day, our sweet foster son walks toward me, arms outstretched, needing to be held. I pick him up, hold him and usually let him decide when he is ready to be put down. There are times when I need to put him down before he is ready, so I'll say, "I'm going to put you down now, but I'll be right here." Sometimes he toddles off and plays and sometimes he'll just sit down and cry. If he cries, I usually pick him up or Gramm will pick him up and bring him to me. This little guy needs lots of love and he needs me to be his Mommy....but not forever.

Nothing could have prepared me for bonding with a child and knowing all the while that he is not mine, he will not ever be mine and that someday, he will leave our home. J and I both thought we were aware of all that we signed up for in becoming foster parents. In theory, it's so noble and yadayadayada, but in reality, it's just a little crazy. Foster care does not make sense, but it's what we feel lead to do and we'll keep doing it. God has given us the grace for each second and I know His grace will not run out with me and my needy self.

Please pray for our family as we venture down this new road. We rely on and rest in the sovereignty of God each step of the way. Love to all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

And (foster) baby makes 6

About two years ago, we began the process to become foster parents and adoptive parents through the state of Arkansas. Our plans were put on hold for several months. You can read about that here. About three months ago, we began updating our paperwork, CPR and First Aid certifications, physicals, etc. We finally got everything together and were officially open in November.

We received a call about a little boy that needed a temporary home. Could we care for him? Did we have space? Yes. Yes. He is here. We love him already. We expected to foster an infant. This little one is not exactly an infant, but he is still younger than our three big kids. So far, life with four kids is busy, loud and wonderful. God has held my nerves together and my patience mostly intact. ;) We have been blessed with a kind and caring caseworker.

We do not know exactly how long we will have this child. We do not know what his life was like before he came to us. We do not even know his middle name. But, we do know that his life is precious. He was created in the image of God and he is remarkable. We know that he needs us. We know that this boy's mark will forever be on our hearts. He reaches for me, his face lights up when he sees Gramm, he lets Vivi and Brook hug and kiss him often, and he lurves my man.

Please pray for us as we all adjust to this change in our lives. Please pray for me to take this process a day at a time and not obsess and worry about the day that he will leave us. We signed up for this. We are the middle family for this little one in transition. God is sustaining us and He will continue to lavish His grace upon us.

Thanks to so many of you who encouraged us to not lose hope and to keep praying for the foster child(ren) we would someday have. We did not lose hope and God has answered our prayers so sweetly. Love to you all.