Monday, April 23, 2012

the difference of a week

A week ago I was uncontrollably emotional. Now I am confident in the plans that God has seemingly crafted for our family and our little foster girl.

A week ago we met the new foster/adopt parents and we enjoyed a long dinner conversation with them and without kids. We got little girl excited to meet her special new friends and spend two hours with them on Wednesday. Then she had another visit with them on Friday. Both went really well. Then Saturday and Sunday, we had the new foster parents over to our house at different times. Every interaction with them continues to remind us that they will be a great family and home for this little girl.

This week she will be spending 2 overnights at their house. Then she will return to our house for 2 overnights. Then the big move will be happening on Sunday. In just a little over 2 weeks time, we found out about a great foster to adopt home in our suburb (just 10 minutes from us) and she will be moving to their house. This has felt fast and we wanted to extend it but as time goes on, 2 weeks will be just the right amount of time.

We are excited by the new family and their plans to adopt this little girl. They will be great parents to her. They have so many qualities we had hoped and prayed to find. They are Christians, extremely patient, understanding and laugh easily at little girl's silliness. They have experience with speech therapy and developmentally delayed kids. They have great family support and they don't have any other kids. On top of that, they have a fun and loving dog to share.

The new family is also supportive of our minimal involvement and we look forward to keeping up with this little girl. We hope we can provide some respite care to them and meet for some play dates with the kids.

This transition will still be difficult for everyone involved and tears will continue to be shed by many of us. The boys are trying to process everything that is happening and it is not easy for them to understand. You can pray for them to feel extra-loved during this time. We are also praying for continued improvement in little girl and for lots of love, patience and compassion to come flowing out of the new parents.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Your encouraging words help me to focus on the positive and remember God is with us every step of the way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

foster care change of plans

I haven't blogged for about 2 weeks. There are many reasons for that and they are probably all related to doing foster care for a little girl. It was about 2 weeks ago that Bryan and I came to the conclusion that we will not be adopting our little, 4 year old foster girl. This decision was extremely hard to make because of all of the expectations and emotions that are tied to one complicated little girl. We are confident of our decision after having prayed about this for 6 months and talked with everyone close to us about our family. I am still very emotional at times about our decision and that has led me to not feel like I could write a clear blog post about this. Bryan has done a great job explaining our feelings and situation so I am stealing some of his words.

We went into foster care because we wanted to interact with a family that needed help taking care of their child. We also thought that we might be interested in adoption. Those thoughts have changed and been challenged to extremes we didn't know were possible. We are still very happy that we are foster parents. We will be forever changed by this decision to foster another child. Our potential plan to adopt a foster child will not be happening and so we are dealing with this change in our plans...and that is very difficult right now.
We decided 2 weeks ago that we are not equipped to handle three kids and the challenges that would bring in the long term. We told this to our social workers and they said they would look for a new family over the next few months as we hoped to make sure her mom was out of the picture before the transition. The following week we were called with what seems to be the perfect family match for little girl. They had everything we had thought little girl needs and they seem like really great people! We met with the couple on Monday night in preparation for the transition. They will have their first visit with her at their house tonight (Wednesday). We will have a couple visits and an overnight for them to decide about foster care with the plan of adopting her.
This is all going fast for us and we are starting to grieve the upcoming loss of little girl and process the guilt of not being able to make everything work. We have dumped so much of our lives into her over the last 6 months and her improvements intellectually, physically and behaviorally have been huge. She doesn't fall down as much; she knows her shapes, colors, numbers to 10 on a good day and many letters now including her name; and her tantrums are free from intentionally hurting herself and shows signs of starting to self regulate by asking us to tickle her before she breaks down. We are now trying to do everything we can to make the transition for her and her new family to be as smooth and as positive as possible. We are even hoping to have future interactions and play dates with her to make sure she knows we enjoy and love her. Please pray for this transition, for her new family/home and for our family to adjust and understand the good we did for this little girl is worth the uncomfortable feelings it brings to let her go to another family. We truly believe that she will be better off in their home than ours and look forward to seeing her do well as a part of their family.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

spring break

We are on a short trip to Fargo, ND to visit family over the kids' spring break from school. I know Fargo is not a preferred destination for spring break but it is nice to be with family and the kids love playing with their cousins here. I was just looking back at our pictures from Phoenix. That is more like a spring break destination. We were there just 4 short weeks ago. So that was our real spring break, even though it was still during winter. My favorite memory from that trip is hiking Camelback Mountain with Bryan, Jaden, Clay and extra family. This is my favorite picture. Clay was the first of our family to the top and he sure was proud of himself. We couldn't get him to crack a smile for any pictures. The boys did great hiking and I can't wait to go on more hiking adventures with them. Yes, there is a sweet little foster girl missing from this picture. She was hanging out with grandma at the bottom of the mountain and if you ask her, she DID hike this mountain.