Our Story

Our Story
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
~ Kristi Larson ~

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it!
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger ~
Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the CALL to Give LOVE, MERCY, and PATIENCE.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hugs and I Love You's

We got to spend last week getting to know our new kiddos!  It took a lot of man hours to prepare the crew here to be set up and taken care of for the week.  Thanks to grandmas and grandpas and family friends - the kids were all settled and scheduled for the week.  I got sub plans done - which is no easy feat - and were ready for a week away to spend time with my hubby and my new kids.  We had some flight delays but not too bad.  We got a good night sleep our first night in town and headed out to the kids' foster home the next morning to meet them.  We were anxious and nervous and weren't sure how it would go - - last time around when we met our new kids the first bonding was spent wading through language and cultural barriers.  There were lots of things to teach them and show them since everything was literally brand new.  This time felt different and we weren't real sure how they would respond to us.  They had only found out about us less than a week before so we weren't sure what they were expecting either.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by their foster mom - her and I have been emailing and calling for the last few weeks and we have already started a bond and friendship.  It was great to meet her and tell her thank you for loving on our kids for us.  As we walked into the house - R came running across the room and leaped into Josh's arms.  T hid behind the coffee table giggling a nervous giggle.  It took some coaxing but she finally came over and gave me a hug.  They showed us their rooms and the pictures we had sent (the kids had all written them notes to welcome them to the family).  There were a LOT of nervous giggles and activity.  After about ten minutes they were ready to head out.  We grabbed their bags and car-seats and we were off to bond and get to know each other - for the next four days.

I quickly realized that it had been a long time since we've had a toddler in the house - - I needed a MOM purse...to carry snacks and wipes and water bottles.  A quick stop at Target and we were all set.  T spent the first day just staring at us - nestling her head into us - and calling out "Mommy" or "Daddy" as she gave a hug.  She craved the chance to call us Mommy and Daddy and would say it over and over again.  R was definitely more reserved.  He had lots of questions and stories to tell and we were "Josh" and "Tausha" when he talked to us.  The first day went well and was full of nervous energy and building trust.  I got lots of hugs and even an "I love you" from each of the kids by mid-day - - that was definitely more than I expected.  They truly are ready to have a family and crave that place in someone's heart.  I spent the day hefting my mom purse on one shoulder and carrying "T" on my other hip (it's been a long time since I've carried a child around all the time...but when a cute little 4 year old that you are trying to bond and attach to says "Hold me mommy!" you hold her and cuddle her and whisper how much you love her in her ear - - no matter how much your arms and back start aching because you are out of shape and not used to it!).  Needless to say - we all went to bed exhausted (probably emotionally and physically).

Over the next couple of days we had meetings and outings.  We spent time learning about likes and dislikes.  We had a few sibling arguments and a couple of meltdowns - - we got yelled at and there were tears.  And honestly I'm thankful - - the meltdowns and the tears are healthy and show us that they trust us enough to be vulnerable and show some emotion.  It shows us that they feel like they can be real and test some boundaries and not just put up a front and pretend that everything is okay.  Because honestly - everything isn't okay.  Their ENTIRE world is changing and transitioning and is full of unknowns.

We had some meltdowns and tears on the home front too!  We phoned home a couple days in to have the kids "meet" on Facetime and check in with how everyone was doing.  By the end of the talk the three youngest were all in tears.  If you know us at all - we leave our kids often!  They are used to spending the weekend at grandmas - they never fall apart or miss us like this.  This trip was different though - it was full of emotion and change and unknowns.  Their ENTIRE world is changing too and they have to figure out where they fit in all of it.

By the end of our week - "T" was asking me over and over - - "I'm your baby girl?? - Yes, sweetie you are my baby girl...forever and ever. - And you're my mommy? - Yes, sweetie I'm your mommy...forever and ever!"

By the end of our week - we were no longer "Josh" and "Tausha" - R was naturally and out of habit calling us "Dad" and "Mom" - he was wearing Dad's hat all the time and even wanting to order the same food as Dad - he wants to be just like him and craves a Daddy hero to look up to.

By the end of the week I was catching a cold and we were over living out of a hotel.  It is exhausting eating out and entertaining kids at outings (movies, bowlings, museums) - we fit in 4 different meetings with social workers and even a meeting with the school.  We were sad to hug our kids goodbye but we were missing our kiddos here and the routine of everyday life in our home.  We helped them get ready for bed and tucked them in - we told them we loved them and that we would call soon and often until we can come get them.  Our time with them was precious and we are thankful for our few days.  We got to know their tender sides and the parts of their hearts that are wading through the grief and trauma that has been their life.  We got a glimpse of the months ahead - the good things and the hard things that we will be working through.

Our paperwork is submitted and our checklists are in the process of getting checked over - our case worker anticipated that we may have approval in approximately 4 weeks.  We are keeping our fingers crossed for mid-February but we'll see how everything goes.  In the mean time - we are going to keep in touch with the kids through phone calls and Facetime.  We are going to reassure them that we love them and that we are still here.  We are going to treasure our kids that our in our home and reassure them that we love them and help them wade through this transition.  I'm going to be busy getting my classroom ready to be gone for a few weeks when the kids come home.

Please pray for us - - please pray for our paperwork...for our kids here...for our kids there...for all the hearts involved that will be saying goodbyes and hellos...please pray for doctors and teachers and workers that are working to get the kids into a forever family...please pray that above all else we will continue to trust God to guide and direct and comfort our family through this process!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What's Next??

We have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement from friends and family as they have joined us in celebrating our good news!  The kids got to share in the excitement as they went back to school this week - getting to tell their friends and teachers about our new additions.  Everyone seemingly has the same response - CONGRATULATIONS - NOW WHAT?!  What's next??  Well - we don't know a lot but I'll try and walk you through what we do know.

We DO know that we will be MEETING the kids in THIRTEEN days!!!!  Josh and I will be flying down and spending a few days loving on our new little ones.  The days will consist of some meetings - with therapists, case workers, school teachers, etc.  But that time is also going to be filled with TIME - time with our kids just soaking them in and beginning to form a bond with them.  We understand that this transition is going to be difficult for them, and we want to earn their trust at their pace and help and support them during this time best we can.

We DO know that our paperwork was submitted to their state office the week of Christmas.  It has to get through their office and then through the Idaho state office.  This paperwork will give us permission to bring the kids out of the state they are in, and allow them to be placed in Idaho.  We anticipated this stage taking a couple of months.  Well - we got an email last week that said it usually only takes about a MONTH!  We were surprised and felt like everything was going quickly!  We will continue to pray that everything goes through smoothly and that God's timing will be perfect!

We DO know that once we have our paperwork completed for our state approval, we cannot bring the kids home until our agency has ALL of the necessary documents they need.  Luckily, the kids' caseworkers have the list - several of the things are already in place, and they are working on gathering the rest of the items.  Our case worker said that there is often a piece or two of paperwork that isn't quite in place when state approval comes through, which ends up delaying bringing the kids home.  Please pray with us that ALL the documents that our agency requires will be gathered in the next couple weeks so that we can bring the kids home as soon as we get state approval.

We DO know that the kids DON'T know about us yet!  We found out we were their family two and a half weeks ago.  Unfortunately with the holidays the last couple of weeks, many of the offices have been closed and people were on vacation.  The kids were also out of town for a while celebrating Christmas with their foster family.  We are hopeful that they will find out in the next couple of days.  We know that they will need some time to find out about us (they will be using our photo book to get to know the kids and our family) and process the change that will be coming.  Please pray with us for their hearts as they find out that their whole world will be changing.  Please pray as the people in their lives will be working on preparing them to meet us in a couple of weeks.

We DO know a TON of information about the kids!  We have been blessed with some email communication with the foster family and they have been WONDERFUL about answering questions about the kids.  From everything to what size clothes are they in - to their favorite colors - to what kind of hair products do they use.  They have been great!  We even had a nice long phone call where little "T" walked in to ask her foster mom something and I got to hear her sweet voice.  I may be biased but she has the cutest little voice EVER!

We DON'T know for sure when we will get to bring the kids home.  We anticipate it being approx 4-6 weeks from now.  We also have dealt a LOT in adoption paperwork over the last several years and we know it often doesn't come early or on time - but usually LATER than anticipated!  We are hopeful to have the kids home around mid-February, but realize that it very well could be end of February or early March or mid-March.  Anyone who knows me as the planner-TypeA person that I am - you know that I don't do well with vague.  Unfortunately, when dealing with paperwork you deal in vague and you expect delays.  We know that it will happen in God's timing and pray for His guidance and peace until then.  We know that the transition will be hard for everyone involved so we are spending our time preparing for the difficult few months ahead.

We DO know that GOD loves us and orchestrated our family for this journey!  During the first adoption when people would ask me "Why Ethiopia?" my response was simple "Because that is where my kids are - if they were in a different country that's where we would go."  Ethiopia did not bring about what we expected - but it brought exactly what God expected and I am SO thankful for that!  This time we felt led to stay in the States and people once again asked why not Ethiopia or some other country.  In my heart it was an easy answer - this is where my kids are!  We have felt God already leading this matching to our kids and are excited to watch Him work it all out.

** Please continue to pray for our family - for our kids here and there who will be coming together soon!  Pray for our adopted children as all of this may bring up emotions of their own adoption.  Pray for our younger kids as they learn to not be the babies of the family anymore, and they have to learn to share the attention that comes with being the youngest.  Pray for us, as parents, that we would be mindful of all of our kids and their needs and have insight in how to spread our love and attention to each one of our kids exactly how they need it.  Pray for our family - that we would continue to trust God's plan and journey for our future.