Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Christmas Ever

The past week has been one of the most stressful in our lives. But it's also been one of the most joyous. It's hard to know where to begin. So I'll start at the beginning.

Tuesday, December 11: I had a normal day with my family of six. I took the four kids to Monterey Aquarium for Homeschool Day. Fielded multiple phone calls from social workers trying to work out an issue with our placements. Oooo-ed and ahhhh-ed over jelly fish. Wiped snot from many noses. Changed innumerable diapers. Ignored tantrums. Cuddled the tiny newborn. It was a rather stressful day, what with juggling children and phone calls (sometimes literally) all day. But it had become my new normal.

The same evening we got an email telling us we'd been matched with a five month old little girl for adoption. Say what?? 

Mark was immediately ecstatic at the possibility of adoption. Me, the planner and master figurer-outer, was less so. My mind immediately began swimming (more like drowning) in planning out the logistics of caring for three babies. Where would they sleep? Will three babies plus two big kids fit in our car? Is it even legal for us two have three foster children? Ultimately we agreed to move forward with the match. It turned out that it wasn't legal for us to have three foster kids under two years old, so we had to get an exception: a waiver saying that it's okay for us to have so many kids as long as there is another DCFS-cleared adult in the home at all times. To that end Mark arranged with his employer to work from home for the next month, and we had Mark's mom "processed" by the county so she also could server as a regular care-giver.

Baby M - We still aren't able to post photos of her face until she's officially ours

Friday, December 14: We go to the post match meeting and find out more about the baby, whom we'll call Baby M for now. During the meeting we sat across from four social workers, each representing different interests. Based on that ninety-minute discussion, we immediately accepted. And just like that we jumped on the fast track to adoption. 

Over the next week we had several visits with Baby M's foster parents, to get to know her and for her to get to know us (as much as we could 'get to know' a five month old). She visited at our house once. Less than a week after saying "yes" to her at the matching meeting, she was sleeping in her crib in her new home. Our home. Talk about a crazy whirlwind.

March 8th 2013 is the big day for us. That is when the courts make certain decisions regarding Baby M. For the 2 1/2 months between now and then, Baby M is technically another foster child in our care, and there is a very small chance (10%?) that something could throw a monkey wrench in our adoption of her.  Assuming all goes well, on March 9th, we are having a party, as it will be 100% certain that she will be ours.

It is fitting, since we lost our third son through miscarriage four years almost to the day before that date, on March 6th, 2009. That event started a long series of events, well-documented in this blog, which will eventually have led to our adoption of Baby M.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." - Job 1:21

All the kiddos - Kid A, Tommy, Baby M, Ben, Baby J

So what is life with 5 kids (3 babies + 2 big kids) like? It starts the night before with me going to bed at 9:00pm. Wake up around 1:30am to feed the newborn. Wake up again around 5:30am to feed the newborn again. Stay up, get ready for the day. I could go back to sleep, but that would be disastrous for my day. I've learned about myself that I need at least thirty minutes to myself in the morning or my day doesn't go well. Make coffee, pray for patience, grace, and every good thing I'll need to get through the day. Make breakfast before the first kid wakes up (generally the 18 month old). 

The rest of the day is a blur of juggling quality time with each child. I've learned to embrace the chaos and mess, and to sieze each opportunity for hugs, snuggles, and good conversation as they arise. There is mandatory quiet time at 1:30 for everyone. Mama needs a cat-nap to get through the rest of the afternoon. Thankfully I don't have to make dinner anymore because of some very generous friends who have been providing meals for us. If I'm lucky, the whole brood will go to bed by 7:30pm.

Our life is very full right now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

These verses have been getting me through each day:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. - James 1:2-5

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. - Galatians 6:9

Saturday, December 8, 2012

At Capacity

On Saturday we accepted placement of a 18 month old little girl, Kid A. She's completely adorable and sweet. Understandably, she was very clingy when she first got here; I could not put her down at all for three days. We've had her for a week now and she's just starting to get comfortable venturing on her own around the house. 

She loves Tommy and Ben, and they love playing with her. We've found out that this is the perfect age for both of them; Tommy normally loves the babies, and Ben really enjoyed the three year old we had. Kid A falls right in the middle, and both boys enjoy interacting with her. The other day they spent thirty minutes blowing bubbles just so she could pop them.

When we had Kid A for five days we were called for a two day old baby girl, Baby J. It was a tough decision. We had just turned own a baby the day before. We remembered that the time when we had Kid C and Baby C two month ago was really rough, even though it was only for a few days.

After several long discussions, we said yes to Baby J. So here we are, two days later with two bio kids and two foster kids: four kids six and under. We were told for both children that their stay would be very temporary, less than a week, which was the primary reason we said "yes" to the newborn. Turns out that both cases are going to be longer term than we thought. Big surprise, huh?

I'm not going to pretend that everything is sunshine and rainbows: this is hard. Caring for the two new foster kids 18 months apart is the easy part. The hard part is managing the system for two separate children: Double doctor appointments, social workers, parents, and four-time-a-week visitations. 

Something might have to change, but for now, what is keeping me sane is trusting that God will work it all out. And knowing that he will give me the strength to do everything. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Tree Tradition

Last weekend we got our Christmas tree. We got it at a local Christmas tree farm. It was rainy all weekend, but thankfully the rain let up for about an hour so we could find our tree.

Tommy & Ben helped cut it down and then shared the burden of lugging it across several fields so we could pay for it, then load it up to bring home. Mark strung the lights on it, but the boys decorated it mostly on their own (I helped spread ornaments out a bit).

Decorating the tree was a sweet time of remembering loved ones and events that lay behind each ornament. With each one we took out, we recalled the stories and people attached to them. This was the first year that the boys seem to 'get' the fun of thinking about each ornament as we placed it on the tree. They often exclaimed with recogntion, "Oh, I remember making that!" or "Grandma gave that to me when I was three!I hope they never forget these traditions that we do over and over each year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beach Friday 2012

This year we continued our tradition of going to 17 Mile Drive in Monterey the day after Thanksgiving. It was our fourth year. The first two years were extremely chilly and windy, but not this time. On this day the weather was absolutely perfect: breezy and warm.

It was an amazing day. The kids were happy and mellow. We parents sat and talked. The boys splashed in the water. They played in the sand. One kid built a city in the sand complete with multiple walls, building, cars, and and a moat. The other built bombs out of sand. If you know the boys, I'm sure you can guess who did what. 

We explored tide pools. We warned the boys not to touch the anemones because they might sting (I have no idea if they actually do, but I figured it was better to be safe). The kids went into panic mode. For the rest of our time at the tide pools, avoiding anemones was a matter of life and death, and they would start shrieking if they got near one. Our kids are normally not fearful about things like this, so it was a little bit funny to see them act this way.

We also saw thousands of hermit crabs, some as tiny as a lentil and some as large as a silver dollar. We encouraged the boys to put one on their hand, but after the Anemone Incident, it was difficult to convince them that they wouldn't hurt them. After much coaxing, Tommy was brave enough to let a tiny hermit crab crawl around on his hand.

The thing I love so much about 17 Mile Drive is the diversity of beaches in such a small area. It has everything from beaches with tall rocks to climb on to sprawling smooth sandy shores to run around on. Below you can see Mark flying a kite with the boys. The wind was so nice that he was able to bury the line into the sand and walk away while the kite stayed in the air for the next thirty minutes. It was fun watching the drivers smile as they saw the kite soaring high above them on the road.

After 17 Mile Drive we headed to nearby Carmel. Our aim was only to find a place to pick up some hot chocolate. But when we parked and walked around a bit, the tiny town was so enchanting in the dusk light that we ended up staying for a few hours, just strolling and poking around. We stopped in shops and admired the unique items that local crafters and artists were selling. There were several times the kids would spot something and breath a reverent "Wow!" We stopped in one art gallery and noted with a little amusement the gallery keeper following our children closely with his eyes. (No, they didn't touch anything). Eventually it got dark and then we were surrounded by trees and arbors covered in white twinkle lights. It truly was a magical little town.

The rest of our holiday weekend was full of a mix of chores and relaxation. We spent a lot of good times together as a family. It was exactly what we all needed.

See more photos of our beach trip here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting Back to Basics

We’re in our second week of taking a rest from foster care. This is the longest we’ve gone without having an extra child in our house since we became foster parents. It’s been a much-needed mental break. And it’s given me a lot of time to remind myself why we’re doing foster care to begin with. 

Last week our family was presented at an adoption matching for a 3 month old baby boy. I normally don't pay much attention to matchings because the odds of us being chosen are generally low. But this time, I really really hoped we would be chosen as a match for this little guy. I told myself that our chances were good this time, for various reasons. Well, we weren't chosen. If we had been chosen, we would have gotten a phone call from our caseworker by the end of the business day. But when 5 o'clock rolled around with no phone call or email, we assumed we weren't chosen. My reaction was less than mature. I was in a gloomy funk the rest of the evening and the next morning. Why? Because I didn't get what I had started to want most: a child who would join our family for good.

As much as I try to forget about it, buried deep down is a part of me that is still sad about not being able to have any more children, despite nearly four years of efforts. It was almost four years ago that we lost our third son through miscarriage, followed by three years of infertility, and it's been almost one year since we started foster care. That's a long time to be struggling with the unfulfilled desire for more children. I credit God and his undeserved grace for helping me let go of most of the discontent I held on to for so long. But there is still a nagging piece that won't let go.

Up until recently, I've found joy in being a foster parent. I’ve been content to welcome little ones, even when we know from the outset that their stay will be temporary. I’ve been able to keep in the forefront of my mind the reasons why we got into foster care to begin with: to serve God by loving and caring for little ones who need a loving family, however temporary it may be. The selfish pull was always there in the background, but I was always able to push it away. But then my mind got lazy. Without really meaning to, I stopped relying on God for my strength to do foster care and I stopped praying about how we can be used to bless others. I allowed myself to start longing for another child, a child we wouldn't have to say goodbye to. 

Which brings us to last week: Thanks to reading a blog post from a friend about her experience with sacrifice, coupled with a frank discussion with my husband regarding my bad attitude of late, I suddenly came to the realization of how selfish I’ve become in the past month where foster care was concerned. It was a much-needed slap upside the head. 

I realized that my motives had changed and were no longer rooted in self-denial and sacrificial love. While these terms sound may lofty and pious, in reality they are amazingly freeing, when compared to the burden of longing and jealousy. Instead, I was feeling discontent at not being able to add to my family. I felt it when we accepted our last placement but at the time I didn’t see if for what it was. I should have realized it when I was a bit too anxious for him to leave, since I knew there was no hope of keeping him (which I am ashamed to admit). I should have realized it when I was short with my children for no reason. When I was annoyed at having to wake up twice a night with a hungry newborn. When I ceased relying on God for my strength and tried to do everything on my own. I was quite humbled to have all of these realizations. It took a few days for it all to sink in. 

I've been asking God to change my heart. To give me a heart that would love these children without any thought of return. Or any thought of keeping one. To make me content with my two children and help me see them for the blessings that they are.

I've been meditating on this verse: 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

It is humbling to realize that all the little feelings and struggles I'm having are transient. They will only last for a short time, when compared to the span of eternity. What is eternal is choosing to do the right thing. Which for me at this time is to care for children on a temporary basis. It's comforting to realize that whatever struggles (which are admittedly very minor compared to what others are going through and what Paul was referring to in this verse) I'm going through are momentary and light. That is a huge change in perspective compared to my short-sighted longing for adding more children to my family.

With all that said, I am now eager to get back into foster care. We promised ourselves we would take time off until after Thanksgiving, and we will stick to that plan. But I'm looking forward to making that call saying "Yes, we're ready for more children."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Foster Care Break

This adorable little guy just left our home last week. We got him when he was three weeks old and we had him for a month. When we first got him, we were told we would only have him for a few days. Ha! Part of the 'fun' of foster care is that you can never count on the timelines you're given. So when someone tells us a child will be staying for a week, or a month, or sixth months, we've learned to just nod our heads and go with the flow.

We were honestly relieved when this little guy left, a first time for us. He was super cute and it was fun having a newborn. But... We realized early into his stay with us that we should have taken a lot more time off after Baby B left us. We thought we were ready to jump back into the chaos of foster care after just a week. In retrospect, I think we just wanted to fill Baby B's void as quickly as possible. 

This time we are taking off a lot more time. We plan to add ourselves back to the foster care list after Thanksgiving. Now that we're back down to a family of four, we are enjoying spending time with our kids and being spontaneous, which is a lot easier with two big kids.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tommy at 6 Years Old

You have grown up so much in this year. Sometimes I look at you and I can still see little Tommy, the way you used to crouch with your chubby toddler legs over a bug on the ground and study it. Other times I look at you and you look so positively grown up, it's a little unsettling. Where did my little guy go?

You've grown into a wonderful young boy in this past year. You have shown yourself to be a caring big brother: whenever Ben is sad or hurt, you do everything you can to show him love and comfort him. The other day Ben got his finger caught in something and ripped some skin off. He was badly hurt and was crying a lot, so while I doctored him up, you fixed him a snack of an apple, some bread, and some yogurt and found him his favorite sticker (of a train). It melted my heart to see you be so thoughtful to him! 

Another example is this: we have a rule that birthday gifts are off-limits to others for the first day that the birthday boy receives them. But you never hold to this rule, you always share with your brother anyway. And Ben does the same for you. (Kind of a pointless rule, right?)

You are loving school. Sometimes you lack the ability to sit and do the work for more than ten minutes at a time. But you are thriving in your learning. Your reading has improved a immensely this past year. This time last year you were just able to read the very simple Bob Books and could barely sound out words. Now you're at a second grade reading level and reading everything you can find. You're zooming through your math lessons too. Math and science seem to be your favorite things to learn about. 

You like doing paper crafts, anything that involves cutting, folding, glueing and taping. If I leave you alone with paper, tape, and scissors, you will create complex paper sculptures of airplanes or robots. For an-almost six year old, you've gotten very good at origami.

You have gotten more outgoing in this past year. You used to be shy about talking to people, particularly strangers. But now you are comfortable talking with people you know, and you're getting more comfortable talking with strangers. You seem to really open up and get animated when you talk about something that you like a lot.

I'm looking forward to watching you mature in this next year. You are such a sweet, sincere, loving boy and I love being your mom.

This past spring you learned how to read Green Eggs and Ham all by yourself. You were so proud.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tommy's 6th Birthday

I wish I was a kid in my family when I was a kid. 

Wait. That doesn't quite make sense. But you know what I mean.

I don't remember having any birthday traditions growing up. So when we started to have children and celebrate birthdays, I really wanted to establish traditions that our kids could look forward to and find comfort in year after year.

I think it's safe to say that we've made up some pretty fun traditions. 
Tommy had a great birthday. 

His birthday fell on a Tuesday this year. On the Sunday evening before his birthday, he had a family dinner with the menu of his choice: pizza, greek salad, and apples. In lieu of cake, he requested strawberry ice cream. He was very clear on the fact that he wanted ice cream for his party, but cake on his actual birthday. Okay buddy. You got it. 

So he got to celebrate his birthday a few days early surrounded by some of his favorite people: his cousins. 

One tradition for the last four years has been for us to make his birthday cake together. I have pictures of almost-2 year old Tommy licking frosting and helping me to mix the batter. By next year he could probably make the whole thing himself.

This year he wrote out the exact specifications of what he wanted in a cake: Lemon cake with vanilla frosting. Strawberries on top. Sprinkles. Round. Two layers. Big.

I tweaked his specs a bit to fit my idea of what our family would need in a birthday cake. (ie: not too big). Since the cake was eaten on his actual birthday, and it was just the four of us, I just made a half cake. And if you only have half a cake, how else would you decorate it but as a lemon slice?

Another tradition: Birthday cereal! Our family doesn't normally eat cereal: not out of any strict code of good nutrition, but because it's messy and it doesn't fill the kids up for more than one hour. So it's a very special event to get to pick out birthday cereal. Tommy strayed from his usual choice of Lucky Charms and chose Trix. I have to admit that I've never actually had Trix before. They tasted like a cross between Kix and Jolly Ranchers.

He also got a lot of thoughtful birthday presents: 

The Iron Giant because it's a tradition to get the boys a classic hardcover book for birthdays and Christmas; and because we read an excerpt of the story once and he loved it so much we had to keep reading the same excerpt every night for a week.

A book about origami, because he loves paper crafting so much. It's the perfect level for a kid to follow the directions by themselves.

The movie Aristocats because it's his favorite. I think he likes it for its swingin' music. We rented it from the library a while ago and kept it for a long time because he liked it so much. Ever since then he's been asking to get it from the library again and again. Since I knew we were getting it for his birthday, I kept making excuses like, "Oops, it looks someone already checked it out! Oh well." Hee hee. 

A microscope, because he's one science-lovin' kid. He's always talking about germs and wanting to know what things look like "teeny-tiny". It's by far his favorite birthday gift. He learned how to use it himself and for the past two days has been sticking everything he can find under the lens. 

In the evening we had a family dinner of Tommy's choice (cheese pinwheels) followed by birthday cake. Then we tucked one seriously tired and happy six year old into bed. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tommy's Birthday Interview, Age 6

I originally conducted this interview with Tommy on video. Then my ornery computer lost it, so I had to do it again and write down the answers. The answers were a lot more interesting the first time around, but this will have to do for now until Mark can figure out where my video went! You can read earlier interviews from Tommy here: Age 5, age 4, and age 3. It's so much fun comparing his answers from previous years!

So how do you think it'll feel to be six?
I’ll still feel five, but later on I’ll get used to being six.

What kinds of things can you do now that you’re almost six that you couldn’t do when you were littler?
Lift a gallon of milk.

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite food?  
Ice cream.

What is your least favorite food?  
Cooked spinach.

What is your favorite book?
How Things are Made

What is your favorite toy?
That star thingie (He meant a star chart that shows constellations)

Do you have any friends? Who are they?
All the kids at community group. And my cousins.

What is your favorite thing to do?
Going on a date with Dad.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?
That I can ride my bike really well.

What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Play with my cousins.

Where is your favorite place to go?
Legoland. And Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

What do you want to do for a job when you grow up?  
That’s easy. Firefighter.

Where do you want to live when you grow up?  
San Jose maybe. (Why?) Because there’s a lot of cool places to go there.

Do you think you’ll get married when you grow up? Who do you think you’ll marry?
Yes. I’ll try to marry Hannah. But if not, [whispers] maybe Meghan.

How old will you be when you get married?

Where do babies come from?

Is there anything you’re afraid of?
Nothing much.

If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? 
Giraffe, because then I could reach leaves on tall trees.

What do you love most about your brother? 
When I ask him to help me, he helps me. Like when we’re making fun things together. 

What do you like learning about?
Snakes. And how snails fit into their shells and how they move.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Rainy Day

This week we celebrated the first rainy day of the season. 
I had been looking forward to this day for a long time.
We stayed in our PJs all morning. 
We spread a big fuzzy blanket out in the living room and built our first fire of the season. 
We had our school time on the fuzzy blanket in front of the fire. 
We made popcorn and hot chocolate and watched The Iron Giant on our fuzzy blanket.
We rang in the rainy season in style.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Ben Needs a Wife

Today I took my second born on a date to the coffee shop. We were overdue for some one-on-one time and coffee is something we both enjoy together. Well, I enjoy coffee and he enjoys pretending to drink coffee while really drinking a kids' cocoa. And he enjoys sips of my mocha.

We had some good conversations. One conversation was so priceless I had to scramble for a pen and write it on the back of the tiny brown bag that our cookie came in. I didn't want to forget it. And, I have a feeling it will be incredibly funny to share with his future wife someday. 

Mom: So, Ben, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Ben: I just want to be a dad.
M: That's a great thing to be! So, who will you marry?
B: I'm not going to be married. I'm just going to be a widow.
M: Well, a widower is someone who had a wife, but she died. Is that what you mean?
B: Oh. No, I mean I'm just not going to be married.
M: Then how will you get children, to be a dad?
B: I'll just go to San Jose! [choking on my coffee]
M: You mean, like how Dad and I go to San Jose to pick up our foster children?
B: Yep. But just the babies...[thinking]...But then I'll need a wife to change the babies' diapers.
M: Why can't you change them?
B: Because I'm afraid poo will get on my hands!
M: .....

And there you have it, folks. Even as wee children, men are afraid of changing diapers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baby Four

On the day before Kid C went back to be with her family, we got a call for Baby C. It was a sad story that we simply couldn't say 'no' to. So despite already having a foster child, we said 'yes!" and just like that became parents to four. Truth be told, we only had four children for less than 24 hours. It actually wasn't as crazy as I'd expected, at least the hands-on task of caring for four kids. It was a crazy time, but the craziness came from having to communicate with two different social workers at the same time, about events occurring on the same day, returning Kid C to her dad, and then turning a two year old girl room into a three week old boy room, which involved playing musical furniture and lots of laundry.

So now we are back to two big kids and a newborn, which seems to be the usual pattern for us. I love newborns because they are portable and they can sleep through anything. Our new little guy is "Baby C". He's a skinny little thing, and despite being almost a month old, is still swimming in his newborn-size clothes. He is such a cute little guy. He will be leaving us within the next day or two to go live with his grandma, so we're soaking up all the newborn cuteness we can until then.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Five Days with Kid C

We got " Kid C" late on a Wednesday evening, just over a week after Baby B left us. She was just shy of three years old. This was our first placement of an older child (well, older than an infant). It was quite a learning experience. We learned that there is a life cycle of a new placement of an older child: 

Day 1: Easy, with few problems. C probably figured she was just visiting us and was on her best behavior. She mostly played with the boys and didn't make much of a fuss about anything. Two exceptions were sleeping and eating issues. I knew enough to expect eating issues, so I stocked up on foods I thought any kid would like, things like apple juice, cheese sticks, crackers, grapes, and cereal bars. Despite all my preparations, she still refused to eat anything except a few bites of banana now and then.

The other exception was naptime and bedtime: getting her to sleep was quite a battle. Thinking I would have her for at least a few weeks, I immediately went into "training mode" and was strict about enforcing sleep times and our 'no getting out of bed' rule. In retrospect, I should have focused on comforting her, instead of the goal of getting her to sleep. 

Day 2-3: She seemed to realize she wasn't just visiting. She let her guard down and started to assert her will. Lots of tantrums ensued. One epic tantrum lasted for forty-five minutes, over a request of ice cream for breakfast which I (kindly) denied. These two days were probably the hardest we've ever had in foster care.

Once I found out that she was only going to be with us for a few days, I loosened up on my sleep rules and rocked her to sleep for bed and naps. It didn't take much effort; she was exhausted and dropped to sleep without much effort once she felt nice and snuggly.

Day 4-5: We finally started to figure each other out. I learned what foods she liked and incorporated those with our own meals, so she started eating better. She learned that tantrums don't work so well, so those started lessening. And she didn't need to be rocked to sleep anymore. She still protested naptimes with "No! I not going to sleep now!" but she crawled into bed anyway, listened to a story, and fell asleep right away. So much for that. 

On day 5 she was returned to her family. It was bittersweet: sweet, because it was clear that she was loved and wanted by her family, but bitter because it seems like she has many challenges facing her. We have one more little person to hold in our prayers.

The night C came home with us. Ben quickly attached to her. He talked her ear off about everything from how traffic lights work to how chickens eat, and showed her the ropes of living the Knapp home. It made us realize that while Tommy prefers the cute cuddliness of babies, Ben prefers the fun interaction that comes with bigger kids. 

One of our sweeter moments together: C helped me make beef stew while Mark and the boys went to church. She is wearing what I am told is a Cinderalla dress, given to us by a friend who knows a thing or two about girls. She wore that dress for three of the five days she was with us; she refused to take it off and I decided it wasn't a battle worth fighting.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On To New Adventures

This precious little one left our home mid-day Tuesday. Of course we knew she was going to be leaving sometime soon, but we thought we'd have at least a few days' notice to physically and emotionally prepare. Through a series of miscommunication and missed messages, we ended up having a half days' notice. 

We met Baby B's new parents Tuesday morning and had a good three hour visit with each other, and then they all left together. They were truly very good people and it is easy to imagine Baby B having a long and well-loved life. 

It was a rare human experience. One day you have a child whom you love and have raised since birth. Twenty four hours later, she is gone, never to return. Normally when this happens to your child, it is a tragedy, usually due to death or kidnapping. But this is foster care, so it is a good thing. So we find ourselves very emotionally confused and drained. We are in the difficult position of both mourning and celebrating her departure. After she left, Mark took the rest of the day off and we spent time together as a family.

We've put ourselves back on the list to get more children and we are looking forward to having another little one. But we want to squeeze in some fun with our family of four before we get The Call. So today we had 'crazy school day'. I took the boys out for bagels for breakfast and they did their school work at the street cafe. Then we went on a field trip at a local fire station. They saw how the fire truck works and how the fire fighters live while they're on duty. They got to climb all over the fire truck and inside the cab, and were able to play with the fire hose (which, if you asked them, was probably the coolest part of the whole trip). 

After the fire station, we hit Target and the library. It's amazing how much you can get done in a day with only two school-aged kids!