Tuesday, June 30, 2009

less than 24 hours to go...

Trevor will be saying goodbye to his dad tonight knowing full well that he will never know him again. Knowing that his disease will progress while we are hundreds of miles away. Knowing that there is nothing his ''big son'' can do for his little dad. It makes my heart ache. He visited his mother's cemetery plot today and I'm sure was glad to be alone with his thoughts there. He went 'grocery shopping' because that is Trevor's favorite souvenier to bring back.....food from the homeland:) He called tons of times to ask the children's sizes over and over to make sure he got it right. He went and prepaid the utilities and took care of his dad's banking and legal issues. He misses us and I know cannot wait to get back to our little craziness but I know this flight out of Jamaica will be the hardest one he's made. I so wish I was there with him to squeeze his hand. My husband is a true gem and I cannot wait to see him.

I made it through the week. It wasn't that bad. Well, until Sunday. I think I hit the wall Sunday morning. It is always a chore to get all of us out the door for church by 8:30 but this Sunday we were down my co-team captain and it was water day for the kids. Which sounds fun but really just ended up being more work for mom. I just had no patience and felt lousy and Trevor called and was having a hard morning with his dad and I was overcome with it all. I felt like sitting on the bed and crying and just skipping church this once. But I knew it would fill me and I knew I needed filled:) So off we all went.I am so glad I did. Our worship team sang the two songs I mentioned this week...Lead me to the Cross, and I Surrender All...so you guessed it, I cried. I know it was not a coincidence. I cried and cried and even had to blow my nose in the middle of worship. My dear friend reached out and took my hand and I just really knew God was with me. Telling me I can do this and He will be right by my side as will my friends and family. That sad things and unfair things and crazy hard days will come but that is just to grow me and He has a plan and I just have to trust it. It was one of those awesome chills down your spine moments, heart filled with peace, God surrounding you with love and encouraging you and holding you up when you feel like you can no longer stand. It was just what I needed to fill me up. And I got to say thank you, Lord, for getting me here. Thank you for Trevor and his dad and the example he was to him. For these children and their loudness and laughter that fills my home. Thank you, Lord, for my amazing friends and their love. It is only through You. To God be the glory!

We have kept busy while Daddy was away. Made the time go quicker. Lots of park playing and picnic making and silly fun. Some crying and frustrations and runny noses and lost voices but we made it. We are all going to the airport tomorrow to get him. I cannot wait to see these five little faces when he comes walking down the hall and I cannot wait to see his expression when they all take off to be the first to hug daddy. I'll have to wait my turn. It won't be easy.

This week we were loved by so many friends and family. So many people praying for us and Trevor and his dad. Bringing food or stopping by to hang out and offer a hand. Inviting us to dinner or to play at the park. This is God's community at it's best. Can you even imagine what Heaven will be like? PARTY. OVER. HERE!!!!

Birthmom wants to see the kids this weekend sometime so I am not sure what that will look like yet. It kept me up most of the night and I think God gave me a plan. I'll have to share it with you all later because it was 3 a.m and I need to make sure this plan was from God and not my cold medicine:) LOL

Traveling mercies to my honey!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My emotional roller coaster

Who needs Kings Island when I have my own massive rollercoaster right here?

It's been an emotional few days for me. Trevor got to Jamaica okay but his father did not recognize him. It breaks my heart for my husband. Trevor's dad suffers from Alzheimers and has been back in Jamaica now for three years. He lived with us from the time Noah was 6 months old til he was 3 and 1/2. He is simply one of the best men I've ever known. He was a missionary in Haiti for years and spent 40 years as a minister in Jamaica before he had to retire early due to his illness. The 3 years he lived with us was the hardest of my life. It was very hard on me, on us. But I also learned so much from this man about life, about myself, and about God. He would read the bible every single day....morning, night and throughout the day. It has been difficult to watch his deterioration. Alzheimer's is one of those diseases that carries with it a hundred little deaths and griefs along the way. I love how my husband is with him. I love how gentle he is with him and unbelievably patient. I love how he cares for him with the dignity of a King and the love of a father now. He is enjoying his time with him, reading to him, praying with him, taking drives and eating lots of Jamaican grub. I wish I could be there just to hug Trevor and let him know what a great job he's doing and to offer support to him. T's mom died 13 years ago and it makes me sad that neither of his parents are able to be here for him anymore.

Birthmom met with our therapist this week and is just really struggling with her choice. I'm glad she is struggling. It would be weird if she didn't. I know she loves them. It is obvious they have been loved. She feels confident in her choice of us. She feels confident of our parenting them. She just wants to make sure this is the right decision for her. The one thing I can't answer for her. She feels like it is but cannot let go. I am struggling too with my role in this. How far do we go in this? How much time/energy/finances to we plug into mom to help her make this choice or to help her keep them. If I was in her position would this be something I was even contemplating or is there more to this story that we don't know and is she really not able to parent them. Being a good mom isn't about having a nice place and affording college. It's about loving your children and helping them make good choices...it's about encouraging and supporting them to become the people God intended them to be. Sure it is about providing for them food, shelter, and all of those things but that can look many different ways. What is my responsibilty to her as a Christian?

Am I supposed to just focus on and advocate for her children? Am I protecting them FROM her or FOR her? Just many unanswered questions and lots of raw emotion floating around. I will admit there are times when I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude and sadness for this mom. And then there have been moments when I've felt irritated with her that they are hurting and she hasn't been able to make the right choices for them. I feel one minute like I should try to 'save' her much like I did with my boyfriend selection in high school. :) Then I feel like she has to do this on her own or she will never be able to be the mom they need. Then there is the how long will that take and what happens to them in the meantime.

I think if we said today that she could see them every two weeks for the rest of their lives she would sign the papers. But I am not willing to do that. It is not best for the children. It is confusing and doesn't let anything heal. I am not willing to barter for them. I think I would never feel like I was the one in control of their lives or that every one of my decisions wasn't being questioned by her. I cannot co parent with anyone but Trevor. This is not a joint custody situation. I think she would eventually just fade out of the picture honestly but that isn't something I'm willing to bank on. That isn't something I'm willing to let happen to these children.Maybe she just needs time and will make the right choice on her own.

I think it gets so hard because I love them so much and they want their mom and I wish with all my heart that I could give them that. I wish I could shake my nose and their young lives would be filled with normalcy....that homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters and a dad that used to unmercifully beat their mom wasn't a part of their story. I wish they weren't sad. I wish that Logan's eyes didn't tell a story of too much for his 3 years.

In my heart, I know their Mom cannot do this. I know these two need our family and that we need them. My mind just runs to a thousand different places and questions throughout the day and it is tiring and hard. I wish I could turn it off:) One minute my faith is loud and strong and the other minute hidden in fear and anticipation. One minute I have the patience of a special needs teacher and the next of the soup nazi on Seinfeld.

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Tomorrow will be one month that our family has changed. I know either way, it is changed forever. I am looking so forward to my husband's return on Wednesday. We are off to the pool today for some fun. Which means I will spend the day counting...1 2 3 4 5...1 2 3 4 5....making sure I"ve got them all:) I feel your prayers friends and your love.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can a peanut buster parfait make it better?

Sorry that it's taken so long everyone to get this note up. Trevor leaves for Jamaica today and we were busy packing and buying up presents for his dad's caregivers and there families and supplies for his dad. Trevor is taking an entire suitcase packed with latex gloves, adult diapers, and soap. Wait til customs sees that:)

So they say that God always answers your prayers. Sometimes it's a 'yes' and others, it's a 'no' and then there is the dreaded 'wait'! Well I had three prayers on my way to our appointment and I think I got all 3 answers. First, I asked God to use Trevor and I to show Mom His love for her, that we would be what she needs today. Secondly, I asked that we get a set timeline for this journey we are on and finally, that we leave there knowing that these two children will be a part of our family forever.

To the first request, I got a yes. I think we accomplished the goal of Mom feeling loved. I think we were successful at letting her know our hearts and putting our fears aside for the moment. It helped that on the way to the appointment, after praying these prayers, I sat thinking about how afraid I was of this day...what it could mean for us, for me.....how sad I felt and anxious and then God reminded me that it's not about me....we heard the song "Lead Me to the Cross" and it says "Lead me to the cross where your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to you......Lead me....lead me to the cross." WOW! Rid me of myself. That was subtle, God. Maybe next time I'll listen to Q 95 or something. LOL Seriously, it was just what I needed to snap me back into my call for the day. The night before, I read back over these notes so I could remember my heart for this mom before I fell in love with her children. It helped me remember to be open and that these children are not the only ones that need the love of God in their lives.

The second request he answered with a big fat wait. To make a very long story short, Mom is just not ready to let go and we aren't sure when that will happen. I am pretty confident she will stick to the adoption plan but she is just not ready to let go. Her expectations for how open this could be are just not realistic. She has agreed to go to our therapist we met with and speak with him about what is best for the children in this situation and what that might look like. I think once she hears it from a professional, she will agree that twice a month is a bit much;) I really know she loves them and just can't imagine not being with them. She will make the right decision though.

So obviously for the third request, God gave me a no. It was a long shot I know.

For the details of the day, we met with Mom at the attorney's office and the kids were a bit apprehensive. I thought P would scream and run to her but that was not the case. I told P to look who was here and doesn't she look pretty and after a few minutes she went to her and hugged her and was very glad to see her. P was very affectionate with her and wanted to be with her and it was good. She was just as loving and affectionate with me as well and called both of us mommy. L was ticked. He wouldn't even look at her and it took quite awhile for Trevor to talk him in to go and give her a hug and say hi. The rest of the time he was nice to her but really didn't have much to do with her. We would have to say, L tell Mommy about this or do you want to sit with Mommy? It was hard to watch and hard to know my role in that situation but we made it.

Afterwards, Mom went with us and the kids to get some lunch and we just hung out together and went to the store so she could show me what she likes to use on their hair and skin. I wanted her to feel in control of something in her life since she feels so out of control right now. If you would have ever told me I'd be sitting at Rally's with the mother of my soon to be children, I would have said no way.

She shared with us a little more about their life and about the kids. I am going to keep it to myself for now. That is her story to tell and I want to respect her privacy and the childrens. Just let me say it's been a tough one. One that few of us can imagine. She will probably not be in the domestic violence shelter much longer because she hasn't found a job yet and that is one of the requirements of the program. She starts a job training program next week but will probably be homeless for awhile. It is a place they've been before. She will stay in a homeless shelter. It is tough for me to know, to see. We dropped her off at the shelter and I watched this broken girl walk away and thought what can I possibly do for her? How can I help? What is my responsibility in this? She thanked us for praying for her and told us we were doing the greatest thing anyone in her life has ever done for her by loving her children. It is one of those situations I've found myself in before where you are saddened by your limits. I cannot make her change or give her a job or the skills to get one. She needs to learn so much and heal so many gaping wounds from her childhood that it is something I truly can only pray for. She told P and L that they have two mommies now and she wants me to care for them and love them and they said that would be okay. I reassured her that it is not our heart to never mention her name or have them forget about her. That we will celebrate the fact that she loved them so well and talk about their little lives before they were a part of our family. She appreciated that. We took some pics so they'd have them.

The kids fell asleep within minutes of leaving her.....no tears. I think they were emotionally drained. I felt like I weighed 500 pounds and had been up for days. It gave me a chance to cry without worrying about what they were thinking. It gave Trevor and I a chance to pray and talk and try to process our feelings about the day. Honestly, I went through the rest of the day in a daze and felt kind of like I was in shock or something......a weird feeling and I'm sure was just my bodies way of protecting what string of sanity I have left! We decided to really focus on what God is calling us to do in each single day and that is to love them all this day. Big. Crazy. Unconditional. Faith-filled love.

So I went to Walmart late to stock up on clothes for some families in need in Jamaica and I found myself on my own in the car and the tears came and wouldn't really stop. That's where the peanut buster parfait comes in. Who's idea was it anyway to build the DQ on my way home from Walmart. The sweet girl at the window asked if I needed a lid and I told her no that it wasn't going to make it very far;) I must have looked a mess to her.

Throughout the day, I felt your prayers and concerns for us. It warmed my heart when I got home to see all the calls and emails checking on us. My dear friend kept our oldest 3 for us and I didn't worry about them once. My parents showed up on my doorstep after work, just to hug us. Takes them 30 minutes to get here and they were here just enough to hug us and let us know they loved us all. My girlfriend called in the middle of my cry/ice cream splurge because she just had to make sure I was okay. I wish Mom's life was full of support like ours. I think of how different it would be for all of them. It truly is our responsibility as Christians/humanity to be in relationships with others. It is about unity with others. We are in this together folks.

So today we are getting ready to have a big going away breakfast with dad. I am so glad Trevor gets to be with his dad but I think this trip will be very hard for him. I don't think his dad will know who he is this time and he can't really hold a conversation anymore. Pray for my husband. Pray that Trevor is able to be blessed with his visit with Daddy and he is able to give his caregivers some much needed and well deserved respite.

Thank you all so much for praying for our journey and going on it with us.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I surrender all

Today was crazy busy. My sister comes every six weeks or so and hooks me up with a haircut and color and some friends come and get theirs done too and it's just a fun hectic day of kids coming in and out and girl talk and keeping the dog out of the hair on the floor ( Dept. of Health would flip) and we all end up saving some money and look fabulous and the house is a bit torn apart and the kids are overstimulated but it works and it's actually pretty fun. All the kids got 'their hair did' and it's a sharp looking crew.

In the middle of it all today I got the call from our social worker that they found mom and she had spent some time with her. That conversation led me to my shower tonight and sliding down the side in the ugly cry singing "I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Thee My Precious Saviour, I surrender all." For the past nine years or so the shower has been one of my only places to go for quiet so it has turned into the place where I do some of my best praying. Some of my best praise and worship has happened in there and yes, the ugliest of ugly cries while asking God to get me through this struggle or that.

So, Mom agreed to come to our appointment on Monday with the attorney. She seemed very sure and ready to sign over rights but when our social worker said she had the papers and they could sign them today, she got very upset. She would go from saying that we were what is best for the kids to saying that if she gets this job that she could qualify for childcare vouchers......I know she is confused and I'm sure she is scared. She said she didn't call because she didn't have any minutes left on her phone. (don't get me started...trying not to judge) Her biggest fear is not ever seeing the kids again. I have said I'm not sure if I could handle visits or if it would be best for the children. I am open to it, I just really need to research and pray about it. Chances are she would fade out of the picture anyway, but I don't want to make that decision on a chance. I just want the children to be confident and secure and I'm not sure how visits with her would figure in to that.

I am scared to death that she will not go through with it. I am scared that they would end up in the system if she takes them back. I am scared of breaking my children's heart if we have to say goodbye to them. I am scared of the pain Trevor and I will feel. I asked the social worker if she had a feeling one way or the other and she said not really.

I got off the phone and told Trevor and just immediately started crying....the kind of crying that leaves your eyes red and your face blotchy. I love these babies. I love our family with them. I love parenting them. I love their little spirits and personalities. I would miss them something fierce. This is all what ifs....big what ifs and I am trying so hard to stay in each present moment with my loving God but it was tough to do today. I am trying so hard to trust in the Lord's plan for us and for them. I am trying to remember that My God is sovereign and all knowing and he knew that I would get this call on this day and be on this journey.......He knew I would be scared and He is so right here with me.

So since I have no control over any of this and have no idea what may come of our appointment on Monday, I am going with what I know. I know that God placed these two precious children in our lives for a reason. That may be to love them for one month or for a lifetime. That may be to embrace their mother as a member of our family too and it may be to plant the seed of God's love that someone else will get the thrill of watering. I only know that this is God and these gorgeous children are going to be loved so big that they will never be the same. I know that our mighty mountain moving God is with us and will continue to be with us. I know that He is glad we said yes and has blessed this choice more than we could have ever dreamed.

Tomorrow is a family reunion we are all going to. It should be a great day. I am going to enjoy it and stand in that place of joy and not be fearful of what happens next. I am going to spend Father's Day with the most amazing father and watch him with these five little faces and thank God for his integrity and character and the love, encouragement and structure he gives to them. I am going to soak in each moment with our family as it is now. I am going to love large and learn from it.

Then on Monday, we will be meeting with our attorney, social worker, and birth mom. Afterwards, she wants to visit with the kids. I have no idea what that will be like for me to see. I have no idea what that will be like for her or for these babies. I dont' know if we will be rejoicing that day that the kids will forever be a part of our famliy or if we won't know much more than we do now or devastated at her change of plans. I don't know if I will be helping these children grieve or grieving myself. I do know that God will be with us and that you all will be praying for us. I do know that I will never be the same and for that I am grateful. The plan is for me to take her back to the shelter then. Pray specifically for that time with her. That I am able to be a light in her life and that she directly feels God's love for her through me. Pray for the Holy Spirit just to give me the words.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An unhealthy obsession with a turtle...

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but my husband has an unhealthy obsession with our turtle. I think it is because of the way we became said turtles owners. I was gone for the weekend last summer and he and the kids came across "Turk" in the park in our neighborhood. They brought it home and he lived in an old ice cream bucket on our sink for awhile. I thought we would set him free in a few days and it was very cute that they were all so proud of their little find. Anyway, Turk is still with us. He graduated from his bucket to an aquarium I picked up at Goodwill. Trevor likes to 'redecorate' for Turk and I will often find his little habitat with a new rock or log found on our walks. Anyway, Turk recently got hooked up with a filter system and today my husband brought home a $15 rock for his tank. $15 is more than I spent on my last outfit and seems a bit excessive for a rock but I guess this rock will not grow algae and it is only the best for Turk the turtle......Too funny! He is loving his new home:) L was all excited to help with the project.

I went to pick up paint for the new rooms and scored at the oops pile at Lowe's. The exact colors I wanted were there and I got $100 worth of paint for $36 bucks!!! God is in the details:)

L had a hard afternoon with his attitude. I think he got tired and tended to throw himself on the floor a bit and kick his legs. I took him aside at the cookout and talked with him and he was really able to turn his night around. I am so proud of him. P loved the pool today. She actually let me let go of her and just loved floating. That is a big step for her. She makes us laugh out loud all the time.

No word from Mom yet and I am really worried about her. They have seen her and she is around but I am just wondering why she hasn't contacted Safe Families and what emotions she must be going through. I feel selfish for wondering what this means to our family but I am trying to leave it at God's feet. Our social worker is going there this week to see if she can find her.

Last night I had an overwhelming sense of peace with our family....a heart full of love for this strong-willed, fun-loving, loud and crazy crew......I felt so much like their mom and found it hard to remember what life was like before they came. Trevor shared with me that he loves them just like the other kids and cannot believe how normal it feels. We all layed in bed after praying and were giggling and being silly and I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude come over me and cried. Our family just felt complete and I am in awe of how God makes things happen.

That feeling was followed by an overwhelming sense of fear a few minutes later when I realized that none of this is a done deal yet and I felt so afraid that this all could be taken from us. I know that fear is not from God and I tried to dismiss it as soon as it entered my mind. Trevor and I watched a movie to keep my mind off of it. How can I doubt this mighty mountain moving God? How can I fail time and time again to trust?

Yet again a friend came by with a meal for us to put in the freezer for whenever we needed it. One of the best things about this entire journey has been seeing God work through so many others. Seeing the blessing others are getting by being a blessing to us.

It is so amazing to think of these two little lives that came from a home with no support or family being welcomed into this huge, loving family and friends and support. How loved they are....how much worth I hope they feel from all that love....how I pray they see it is all in God's name.....Blessed beyond measure. Trying to trust. Giving God the Glory.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My husband is the cutest!

So we did get confirmation that mom is still living at the shelter but she has yet to return anyones call. I cannot imagine what she is going through so I am trying not to question why but it has been quite a struggle for me the past few days. I am hoping she will call and let us know how she is feeling. We have an appointment with our attorney next Monday and are hoping Mom will agree to come to it as well. My fear is that she will not be able to sign and just wants to kind of forget it all.... and this would become an abandonment case then and we could lose the children into the system. I would be sick. I did not expect to feel like this so quickly but they are my family. I feel like their mom. I love them and can't really remember life without their little faces. They are such a great blessing to our family.

I never thought I would say this either but I am so thankful Trevor has been on a temporary layoff for the month. It has given us priceless time together as a family and for him to bond with the kiddos. It has been amazing. I had a meeting tonight for my mission trip to Kenya that is happening in October. He gave the kids dinner, baths, read with them and then acted out the story of David and Goliath for them. How cute is that?! It sounds like it was quite an award winning performance too! Very dramatic. My mother once told me that the most important choice you will make in your life is the father you choose for your children and that advice changed my life. I chose the best and I am so grateful God brought us together to grow this big ole family!

So a bit of fun today was my good friend showed up with a huge tub full of animal crackers and another one of pretzels that she got from Sams Club just because she thought we could use them. The kids acted like they hadn't eaten in weeks and practically tore them from her hands! I really do have the best support system in my friends, family and church home that anyone can possibly ask for. You are all loved and your prayers are felt.

L is doing much better getting to sleep. I cut out his nap and it has helped tremendously. Poor kid just wasn't tired and this new momma was clueless. He has done great and his behavior is really changing! Lots of smiles and this great giggle that shakes his entire little body!

The most exciting part of my day is that Trevor just told me I can sleep in tomorrow morning!!! This man rocks!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

This weekend was packed full of fun. We started out Saturday with the Habitat for Humanity homebuild and it was awesome. It was a real blessing to have the homeowners work on our team. How great to show the kids this is the family who will live in this house!! I think I got to pound two nails and spent the rest of the time chasing children and catching hammers before they hit anyones head or hands:) Trevor led our team so I was on my own at lunch. It proved a bit tricky getting through line with five children and trying to load up plates and hold them all.....until my village showed up. There is a saying that says it takes a village to raise a child and out of nowhere came my village. A friend grabbed P and another friend grabbed two plates and cleared a place at a table, drinks appeared out of nowhere and the spilled koolaid was wiped up before I could even get out of my chair. It makes my heart feel so full to see God loving on us through so many people. If you haven't ever participated in a Habitat for Humanity project, I encourage you to do so. It is awesome to hear hundreds of hammers pounding and to see the people of all ages working together. God is good.

We headed to a birthday party at Spencer's Saturday afternoon. And we all picked strawberries. The kids loved it. We left with five quarts and are planning on making some homemade strawberry ice cream with our harvest:) We ran and laughed and got rained on and ate ice cream and celebrated our little friends birthday.That evening my dear friend showed up with some new clothes for P and a monster size box of popsicles for our crew. It still amazes me that so many people are thinking of us and praying for us and providing for us. After baths for some very dirty, hot stinky children they all fell asleep fast and so did Mom!

Sunday brought another busy day. The two new ones went to the church children's rooms for the first time for both services. They were a little apprehensive to go in but I helped them find something to play with and they did great! Our volunteers are so great at church and they did amazing!! It is huge that they are able to do that and a big relief to me so I don't have to miss service or volunteering with the kid's sunday school. A friend from church showed up with a bag of clothes for P and they are all so cute!!We enjoyed a cookout with lots of friends after church and my crew did really well. The last few times we've done that I've spent alot of time holding them and tripping over them holding onto my legs but not this time. They played and ran and splashed in the pool and really did great. They interacted well with the other kids and adults and I was actually able to enjoy some adult conversation! WAHOO.

That evening ,without naps, Trevor and I had a dinner meeting and so our new crew had their first time with a babysitter. I was thinking it might not go so great. The fact that our kids were going to be here with them and that is was at our house were the things we had going for us but the no nap thing and not really knowing the sitter that well made me a bit apprenhensive. Our sitter is awesome though and the kids did great!! She couldn't believe how well they did and neither could I. It was a late night to bed and they all were exhausted. We all fell into bed without baths....something had to give and a few stinky children never hurt anybody, right?! Safe Families is going to be camped out at the Shelter today hoping to catch mom and get some answers for us. I am trying to just focus on each moment today and not worry about what news we may or may not get. Easier said than done! Let week 3 begin!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Need an attitude adjustment....

not the kids, me! I've just been not at my finest the last two days. I did get a much needed nap today and just kind of took it easy around the house. My patience was thin, everything was irritating and very LOUD. It finally hit me that the kids weren't really acting any different and nothing much had changed from the few days before so it must have been me, and it was. So I am working on MY attitude today. I think I just got tired, didn't feel great and started worrying about the MOM and why she hasn't returned anyone's calls in a week and what that means for us. So this afternoon my Lord quietly whispered to me that I need to remain in HIS present moment and not worry about anything but to Pray about everything and leave my burdens at HIS feet. So there, God, take it all. It is too much for me.

It's funny how I still forget that, when I know life works much better with HIM but I still try things on my own and try to plan my own day and my own life and then I get all grouchy and in a funk and overwhelmed and I realize I've lapsed back into my worldly ways. It's a constant battle. He must get so frustrated with me....again and again and again. Why can't I just get it?! Hmmm, our Heavenly Father's unconditional love with us sounds an awful lot like what like I am trying to accomplish with my own children but HE is much more accomplished than I:)

P has needed lots of love and attention lately. I can't imagine what this must be like for them. I think she is missing her momma. She asked for her today when I was doing her hair and again when she fell and hurt her head. She has a shiner! Poor little thing. She let me comfort her and when she was all done crying she looked up at me and said 'I want my mommy.' I told her I was sorry she couldn't be here for her and that she loves her so much and asked me to take good care of her. I don't think this will ever get easier. I found myself today with my bad attitude a bit miffed at mom that she can't be here for this great little girl that is hurting. I found myself irritated that these precious children have to learn what it means to be in a family. It always makes me sad and today it just made me mad. Wrong attitude I know. Judging, unkind, unsympathetic, harsh...i know.....just being honest. You know me, lay it all out there:) So I am praying for my stinky attitude. I think as I love them more and more, I feel more and more protective of them and my 'don't mess with my kids mommaness' comes out. (yes i made up that word)

It has been a pure joy today to see the kids all playing together so well. Grace was leading all kinds of adventures around the yard. Feeding the birds and finding worms and a dance party in the family room. A wonderful friend brought lunch on the perfect day for it since I wasn't feeling the best. It was so amazing to see P finally walk up to Noah and hug him and kiss him and watch his face light up! He has been trying to get one for awhile and at times she is not the most receptive to his kindness. It meant so much to him. I was watching through the window and he came running in to tell me she did it. It was unprovoked and I think he will always remember it.

As I type this, I am sitting here with all 5 of them on the couch with me watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and hearing the giggles and seeing all these shades of brown limbs all crossed over the other makes my heart completely full. I am going to live in this moment and not worry about what will come of this. I will love as big as I can love TODAY. I will try not to think of losing this. God has shown me how much HE rocks and I need to Believe it and trust!!We are working on getting organized and I think we've made some steps in the right direction. You should have seen the purge pile today:) It was a bit out of control. I cannot wait to serve with my family tomorrow at the Homebuild. Hope to see some of you there:)

I wrote this on the 12th...but didn't post on here til today..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jehovah Jireh....my provider

Starting switching the kids rooms around today and got most of it done. They all were excited about their new space. We need to paint still but will hopefully get to that next week before Trevor heads out to Jamaica.

Got a call from the social worker and she is coming for another visit tomorrow. She hasn't talked to mom yet but hopefully by the time she comes tomorrow she will have. I was a bit anxious when she said she was coming because the last time she was here it seemed to trigger a lot of sadness for the kids. When I told them she was coming to visit all of us again, L held on to my neck and said he did not want to go with her. Broke my heart. Maybe that is why he wasn't too friendly to her last time. I reassured him that she would not be taking them anywhere and they will stay here with me and Daddy and the kids. P says she didn't want to go see 'other mommy.' After lots of reassurring, hopefully tomorrow will be okay for them. The social worker is awesome and I really do like her.

L calls me Mommy now all the time and most of the time calls Trevor, Daddy. He is really warming up and his smile is appearing more often than not! P gets easily tired and is not one of those kids that can skip a nap...I'll have to remember that from now on:) L's bite is still not looking that great so praying for that to heal properly. Some friends gave me great suggestions on the food issues so we are trying them out. So glad to have Trevor around and all of his help. The kids are loving it! All 5 finally have a bike that is their size now and my deck has turned into the Velodrome! It is hilarious. I am just in awe of how God continues to work in this. Grace has amazed me. She's just been a huge help and not complained about it once. She adores these two and is great with them. Noah continues to be so patient and kind with them. He has discovered it doesn't take much to get them going though and is tempted to pick just to get a reaction. He makes L laugh so hard and is very gentle with P. Ava is really doing great the last few days with them. Turning 4 helped with the whole big sister thing. She is still overreacting when something minor happens but we're all working on that around here:) If I had a dollar for everytime I have said, "use your words, please'' in the past week and a half, there would be no world hunger;)

"Use your words, please." ''We don't do that in our family" ''Are you mad or sad?'' "It's mommy/daddy's job to keep you safe and help you make good choices'' the list goes on.......but I feel like progress is being made and although I know we have a long way to go, we have also come a long way in a very short week and a half.

One of the best lessons in this has been for our children to see first hand how God uses people to bless others. We have only cooked twice because friends or familiy have shown up with food. Clothes for the kids have been dropped off. Friends have showed up to help love on the children and bring a snack. We have even been offered help with Wally and the kids fear of him and today in the mail was a card that just said that when you listen to what God is asking, He gives you what you need to get through....with a gift card to Wal-mart. I could write a book on the proof of God providing for me since I was a small child. We have always taught our children the value of service to others and it is such a blessing for them to see it from the other side of our faith family being of service to us. How cool is God? It will be so fun to take the new two to the Homebuild this week and start teaching them about service to others and about being the hands and feet of Jesus. It is the greatest feeling to know you are in the center of God's will for your life. As scary as it can be, as out of the box as it may appear, I promise you it is worth it. He will provide and you will be immeasurably blessed. Step out on faith.

Monday, June 8, 2009

God is in the details...even the ones that seem to be an inconvenience

So this morning started out a little rocky. L would not smile and kept saying his arm hurt. His little wrist was very swollen. It had a tiny dot on it but was swollen all the way around his arm. He was definitely favoring it so I was thinking he may have broken it slipping and sliding yesterday. I was a bit anxious, to say the least, about what Mom would think and was sure this was the end of our big family.

So Trevor dropped L and I off at the ER while he took the rest on to swim lessons. L was so scared in the Emergency room. He cried everytime someone even walked into the room. I finally got him calmed down and to trust that if something was going to hurt, I would tell him and that I would be with him the entire time. He was able to get it together and did so good. He didn't cry during his x-ray and just amazed me. Everyone in the ER was great and it ended up being some kind of bite or sting...he is on an antibiotic and benedryl and we are just supposed to keep an eye on it. Shwwwwuuu, that was close. Safe Families was even relieved to hear that it was just a bite:) Swim lessons are over at 10:45 and it was 10:30 so L and walked to Walgreens picked up his medicine and a very cool new boat for the bathtub for being such a big boy and Trevor picked us up on the way home. Perfect timing.

Here is the coolest part:
Our nurse was asking me how long we've had him and if he had siblings or I had children and when I told her this would make 5 she gave me the 'you are crazy' look. I'm getting used to it:)
Anyway, I just said, this is God's doing and I am just trying to stay open to it. With that she smiled and said she is raising her nephew and she herself is adopted. She shared with me things she wished she knew or didn't like when she was growing up and gave me the names of some books to get and a lady to call. She was great. Then I said, "See, God has been in every detail of this, even you being our nurse today." and she responded with, "I am not even supposed to be working. Today is my day off and I am only covering two hours while someone is at an appointment." God is amazing. In every little detail. From these kids future to the bug bite on an arm..........He is reminding me all the way, I am with you.

P had a hard day today. Lots of crying and not able to say why. I think she is just overtired and still a bit overwhelmed from our day yesterday. Adults meeting my family for the first time have been known to sit and cry afterwards and be a bit overstimulated. LOL I think her tummy is hurting her. There is definitely a food issue going on with both of them. I don't think they realize when they are full or are afraid that it might be a while til the next meal so they just eat and eat and eat. I am trying to figure out the best way to handle that so anyone with experience with that, let me know. I am thinking that there was probably not a real set time for meals and they are just eating it while they can. She was much better after nap though and was able to have a good evening.

We rode bikes, and took a walk, took a nap that I so needed, read books and got baths. Now the bedtime routine begins. Trevor was home today to help with it all or it would have gotten quite interesting, I'm sure. Noah is still trying to learn to ride his bike and is getting frustrated. Ava did awesome being 4 and all:) Grace is my helper and the sweetest girl. I am in awe of how good this is going so far. There have for sure been some meltdowns and a few more tears than normal and Mom and Dad are the most popular we've ever been but I think it is going the best it could be.

Safe Families has a call in to Mom but her cell isn't working so they left a message at the shelter. Sometimes it takes a day or two to get a call back. I am going to tackle this house tomorrow and clean away my anxiety over it!

Thank you God for bug bites.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yesterday was a great day. The kids were really bonding and playing together and the prayers for bedtime are working. L went to bed much faster last night and there were no tears at all!! It was a fun filled family day and we ended it by all seven of us on the couch watching a movie. Today, I am proud! I got all five of the kiddos out of the house and to church for 9a.m service on my own! They were clean, fed and dressed appropriately.....except for L's shoes being on the wrong feet but I caught that before we hit the church doors! I was nervous about leaving them in their children's classes but decided to give it a try. They did great! I let L go in with Ava's class and that helped alot. P did great in the two's class and didn't cry a bit. I only stayed for one service because I didn't want them to get anxious about when/if I was coming back.

We celebrated Ava's 4th birthday today with the kiddie pool, slip n slide, sprinkler and lots of cousins and friends. She had a really great day and felt so special. L and P did great with everyone here and the madness that accompanies my big family. They met three new aunties today and an uncle and Mamaw and Papaw came to visit today too. There were 16 kids here and they did amazing!

I just have to say that my family is the best. I know you may think yours is the best, but you would be wrong;) You would simply not have known that this was the first time my sisters were meeting these two kids or my neices and nephews. They were accepted without question and loved without reserve and instantly had this huge extended family that is rooting for them in this life. I am overcome with the love shown to them. My family is crazy, we always have been. We like to say we put the 'fun' in dysfunctional but there is no family with greater love. I am convinced of it. Being a good family doesn't mean that nothing will happen to you or you will be free from struggle......it means you will get through it....whatever it is....together and loving and laughing and supporting and encouraging. It is a legacy I will pass on to my children and that makes me proud. My parents passed it on to me and I am forever indebted. When my parents showed up today all of the kids ran yelling "Mamaw and Papaw!" and there running with the rest were these two beautiful brown babies that have been here one week now. My parents scooped them up and you would just simply never know that they hadn't been here since the beginning. I pray they feel that love. I pray they feel how sincere it is and feel it to their little pink toes. I pray they know how blessed we all feel to have them with us.

L is putting Wally out on his leash now and helping put him in his kennel. P is warming to him and has pet him on occassion. The sweetest thing today was when I would introduce L to my family, he would say, "we have a dog'' as if they were the new ones, not him. He was saying ''we'' and the fact that he felt that ownership of our home made me feel so blessed. One of my biggest concerns is that I didn't want them to feel like a guest. I wanted them to know that what we have, they have and it is ours and somewhere in that little 3 1/2 year old mind, he got it and I think that makes a big difference. We may find out some news form birth mom tomorrow. I am trusting God and knowing that He knows what is best for these two precious babies and that He loves them even more than I......I am thanking God for His goodness and my family and my children and my husband who is the best. I am so greatful for friends who show up and start cleaning up and bring meals and hug a crying kid like they were their own. This is what it is all about....relationships. I could be the president or ceo of a fortune 500 company and never feel as successful as I do today. It is all in your definition, and I like mine.I'll leave you with a pic of the

Friday, June 5, 2009

I want to go home....

Today we had our first home visit with Safe Families. The social worker was so nice. And just to prove God is in every detail, she and her husband are adopting from Ethiopia and using the exact same agency we are/were!!! She was great and we just talked and visited and want to keep in touch. She could not get over how good the kids were doing. She thought L seemed like a completely different kid. She about fell over when she heard him say ''please.'' She said she felt so happy for these kids and got all teary. P recognized her and asked her where her mommy was. I guess the last time she saw the social worker, she was there to take them from Mommy so she associates them together.

We had a great day of playing and naps. Great friends brought dinner over for us and another group of friends showed up with some watermelon and outfits for the kids. We are so blessed with our relationships in this life. We all walked down to the lake, fed the fish and had a snack. We looked like a parade going down the street. I felt like I should be waving and throwing candy! I love this big rambunctious crew.

When we were getting ready for bed, P said she needed to pray and sat down and just started praying, it was so sweet. They both talked about missing their other Mommy tonight and their other house. They asked to go home. How do you explain to a 2 and 3 year old that this may be their new home and new mommy and daddy?! So heartbreaking. I just hold them and tell them I know they do and I am so so sorry. That Trevor and I will love them and keep them safe and take care of them and we are glad they are here. Before these kiddos were here, I thought that if I ever heard that it would hurt my feelings or make me feel like I wasn't doing something right but it just made me hurt for them. It made me wish I could take the pain of their first few years of their life and replace it with all the love in the world. I wish I could somehow ease their grief and be enough for them. I wish they were mine from the beginning........but I know that this is part of their story, their testimony and someday just maybe someday, they can use it for the glory of God. I know that God chose the Mommy he did for them for some reason and she has done a great job loving them so far. They are wonderful kids, true blessings.

I'm hoping bedtime will get easier for them soon. If you want something specific to pray for, that would be great. I am not sure if that is when the craziness in their old house started or if that is just when you naturally want your mommy but it seems to be the most difficult time of day for them. Lord, bless these children. Take away their fears and replace it with your shield of protection. Wipe their tears with your loving hand and help guide their actions. Let them feel total love and acceptance here and no matter what happens, Lord, let them know You.....If this adoption takes place, open their hearts to their new family and new home. Help us to teach them an appreciation for what was and an acceptance for what is to come...Let them have joy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Are we having fun yet?

You don't have to read these notes. It is my therapy. So in the spirit of authenticity...today was a little rough. Not bad, just a bit rough. I think we were a bit overstimulated and tired and we had a minor meltdown. I'm saying we so the unnamed child can remain anonymous;) First I took 6 kids to swim lessons for the oldest 3...no we have not taken in any one else, I watch one little guy 3 days a week. Other than Ava NOT enjoying the first 15 minutes, they all did great! I however was sweating like a hog and looked like I was the one who had been in the pool. I'm starting to think I may spend the next 18 years or so sweating and running around:)Then we went to our friends to swim so I could see how the younger two do with the water. I don't even know if they have ever been in a pool and thought the screams would nice in the privacy of a friends backyard. Little fish.....not so much, but we had fun.The tricky part came when it was time to leave and ''we'' didn't want too. Here came the first real fit I've seen. Some throwing ourself around, yelling, crying, and not listening.......pretty mild. After sitting and just hugging and rocking ''we'' snapped out of it only to continue when we got to the carseat. Which started the other ''we'' crying too. Mommy then had to say a very firm no yelling. You can cry but no yelling. Worked!!!! Sniffles the whole way home and then lots of hugs and promises to go back.They crashed for nap. I think I pressed my luck and they just need some time at home with not a lot else going on for a bit.

Cons of the day:meltdown and it making feel like a failure.....having to talk to a 2 and 3 year old about missing their 'other mommy' ,husband really not sure what will happen to his jobstill lots of screaming when the dog is nearby

Pros of the daygetting over the failure feeling and pluggin alongglad they felt safe to talk to me about other mommy and that I was allowed to comfort themtrusting in GOD and HIS provisions for our familyLogan actually let Wally lick his hand today!!

This is what I realized today though. In all brutal honesty. I know it is God who brought us to this experience. I know it is God that will get us through this experience. But in all the chaos of the last few days, I have taken very little time for my MOUNTAIN MOVING GOD. When I got a second, I facebooked or read up on adoption. I didn't start my day with HIM and then I wondered why the day was rough. Tomorrow I will not make the same mistake. Lead my steps, Lord. Help me through this day. I know it is you who will show me the way. I most certainly cannot do this on my own. I am insignificant without you.The funniest thing of the day was walking out of swim lessons with two African American children, three biracial ones and one little white kid with blonde hair and blue eyes......now THAT was fun!! I'm sure we had some people wandering...."What's the story there?'' Then I got home and realized what I looked liked and thought OH Maybe that's why people were looking?! LOL So in that spirit of authenticity, I share with you what I looked like when my poor husband came home tonight!! Tomorrow is a new day and I'm gonna talk to Jesus about it right now!

Honeymoon Phase

A couple of thoughts from the first 24 hours: If my parents weren't here for dinner, no one would have eaten and there would still be couscous covering the floor! I have the greatest examples of what love looks lke in Jesus and my parents. They instantly treated them like their grandchildren and acted silly and hugged and kissed and played.....and even said no once:) I am blessed abundantly.

Our children are amazing. I could just see Jesus working through them all. Grace was so great with them and loving. Ava excited and digging her new role as 'big sister' and Noah soaking it all in and so thankful with his shy grin. My husband is the best man I know. It is one thing to love your own children but another to take someone else's in and say I love these children of God and I will be their daddy and I will guide them, discipline them, laugh with them and teach them how to do life. I am so in love with him at this moment. He was wonderful with them and he took my breath away.

P is hilarious. A ball of energy and obstinance. She likes to do it 'by herself' and loves exercising that little independent two year old spirit. She loves to act silly and her smile is unbelievable. She is affectionate and smart and very friendly. She is also deathly afraid of dogs and can climb quickly to the top of your head. She is testing her boundaries as she should be doing at the age of 2 and still has the baby chunk on her sweet little legs:)

L is a thinker. He is a bit shy at first and handsome. His eyes look sad sometimes and I wonder what must be going on in that three year old mind. He shared with me last night in bed that he was sad and I said I felt a little sad too and it was okay to miss Mommy and Miss K (previous safe family mom) and that I was so sorry he was sad but I was so thankful he was here and we all loved him so much. He smiled pretty big at that and was able to rest well. His defense it to shut down and act tough but he is a smart, sweet boy that is really opening up. He hasn't called us anything yet but he whispered to me this morning that he loves me. He is affectionate and loves to follow Trevor around:) He is also afraid of Wally but today he pet him and that is huge!They slept through the night and took naps today. Lots of reminders to use our words and talk nice but that was Grace, Noah and Ava:)

I know this is the honeymoon phase and it will get worse before it gets better but I am enjoying this while I can. It just feels right and when I look at those five sweet faces looking back at me, it isn't overwhelming for some crazy reason. It feels peaceful and like God is standing with his hand on my shoulder. I am so thankful to all who have called or sent messages, prayed for us or offered a meal. I feel so loved by our circle of friends and family and most of all am so excited for these two precious children to walk into an atmosphere with all this support and encouragemnt around them. I will keep you all posted as to where this will lead but it looks like they will be a forever part of our family. We should know more in a week or so. I just keep reminding myself that our call is to love them....whether that is two weeks, two months or forever.

We cannot take the pain they will feel away but we can offer them a place of love and encouragement where they can heal. We can offer support and guidance to reach their God-given potential. We can offer them a loud, rambunctious crazy crew that loves to laugh together and have fun. Best of all, we can offer them Jesus.....a Heavenly Father that will never leave them. I am in awe of them. How much our family needed them. We are the lucky ones, the blessed ones. Tonight is an awards program night and I'll have the youngest 3 by myself so that should be a treat. Packing lots of snacks to make it through:) and a thoughtful friend is bringing dinner which explains my time to write this note:) There is no one like our God!

It's not everyday you meet the mother of your children...

There aren't even words to describe our day. I'm sure there are, but I am not that eloquent or capable and am still trying to process all these feelings.

We met with a therapist first that specializes in adoption/bonding and attachment. We wanted to make sure we understood what this transition would be like to our family and what to expect. We wanted to equip ourselves so we knew how best to integrate our little family and let everyone know we have enough love to go around.....He was amazing. So glad we went. He was very helpful. Very informative. He gave us kind of a worse care scenario and then encouraged us in what he thought we had going for us and gave us some suggestions on what to do/not to do in this situation. Can't say enough about him and his heart for families who adopt. He himself is an adoptive dad. BTW, he thinks you all are one of the things we have going for us:)

We went straight from there with the lady from Safe Families to meet Mom. I was so nervous and just prayed for God to give me the words for this, for her to be comfortable. She was very sweet. I could tell she had tried to look nice for us as I had for her!! She has been through alot. It was very evident she loves the kids. It was very evident she doesn't feel equipped to be a good mom to them. It was overwhelming to me to look at this girl and think that she has no one. No family, no friends, no one. I told her that I was certain God brought them into our life for a reason and if that is to love and support her than she has that and if it is to become a new family for P and L than we are thrilled to do that too.

I think about my sister who was a very young single mom and the dad was very abusive. I think about how hard it was for her....how difficult it is to be a single momma with great support. I think of how this mom was born into a different life experience and how different their stories will end up. It breaks me heart. You cannot tell me that we all have the same opportunities, that this is America and we have all these resources available to us........it simply isn't true. She had no control over the situation she was born into and neither did her children. Her life is one I can't imagine. She was brave and kind hearted and her life has led her to an impossible choice.She looked at me alot. I looked at her alot. I sensed that we both wanted to remember what the other looked like at this moment so we would have it forever. Most of the time I honestly felt like I was trying to talk her out of it.......I wasn't, I just really want to make sure she is making this decision thinking of the consequences, realizing the permanence of this.....I was thinking of these two babies who want their mom...what it will feel like to never have her again.....We cried alot. My feelings surprised me in the way that I felt so much for this girl....so thankful to her for loving the kids and knowing her limits before anything awful takes place. I felt empathy for her and no judgements toward her.....I felt like hugging her and like this was a baby I was looking at in so many ways. She is a 22 year old girl that is broken, very broken. She goes to church and says she is saved. She prays alot. She is a high school grad and trying to find a job and get into school. She is trying to make changes and I believe her. Like she said though, I would maybe be able to give them a life someday but I'm years from that.......just sad.

Learned a few things about what life was like for P and L up to this point. Learned about some bad choices and an unstable past. It was a very heavy day. We laughed some though. I asked her what she wanted for her kids, what a better life looked like to her, what kind of qualities or traits she felt like she or the dad had given the kids.....she liked talking about that and I enjoyed hearing it. She smiled talking about it. I tried to keep the conversation about her and the children. I wanted her to feel loved and to know her children were loved. I had hundreds of questions I want answered but God really put it on my heart that this day wasn't about me.....We spent about two hours together at a park. We all prayed together before we left. It was strange and good and overwhelming. As she closed the door I just cried.....for her and for these kids. We told her we didn't want her final decision yet. That we wanted her to process the day and us and pray. The kids will move in Sunday evening and we will be there Safe Family. When mom decides she is ready, we will proceed with the adoption. I think that will be very soon. I think she has thought this through and I think I will be the mom for these precious children of God. I am trusting in HIS sovereignty. She is having a final visit with them this week.......I can't fathom....

God be with Mom and P and L. God give us what we need to help all of our children be the people you created them to be. Help Mom turn her life around. Thank you for my childhood and my parents. Thank you for this huge group of family and friends. Thank you for their support and encouragment and love. Thank you for your presence in my life, for being the living God.You know when you're pregnant and you feel like everyone around you loves the baby so much before it even gets here.....I am blown away and so excited for these two little lives to walk into so much love!!To God be the glory for the things He has done.

Sorry for the rambling....you can see how jumbled up my mind is and thanks for letting me think 'outloud.' I am encouraged by you. I am blessed by you. I am humbled.

Mother of five??!?!?!

Here is a crazy long amazing story in a short note. We are in the process of adopting. The plan was to adopt a boy under the age of 3 from Ethiopia. We are also a Safe Family. Safe Families is a fairly new program to the area that takes in children on a temporary basis while the family is struggling for whatever reason. The goal is to prevent abuse and neglect/CPS involvment when a family is overwhelmed with life situations. We had been helping another Safe Family with their placement and finally turned in our application on Thursday so we could take in children for a short time until our adoption was complete. This program is amazing and they need families badly so I will put a link at the bottom of this note so you can check it out if you are interested.

So on Friday afternoon I get a call about two little ones that have been in placement for two weeks and the mother has decided to place them for adoption.....would we be interested? Breathe with me everyone! I got off the phone and could'nt breathe. I was excited and scared and freaking out! This doesn't happen. Perfectly healthy children that have never been in the system do not just land in your lap. Families wait years for this. They wanted to put the children with a forever placement so they would have less transitions in their little lives. Trevor and I prayed. We had friends pray. We prayed some more and talked with the kids and prayed some more and just tried to listen. We decided who could have done something THIS BIG?! other than our Mighty Mountain Moving God! We were getting ready to switch agencies and the new application was signed with check sitting on top when I got the phone call. I called Safe Families back and said if these children need a family we would love to be that for them. We want to be open to this mom and how/why she must be feeling this way. The purpose of Safe Families is to help the entire family through a tough time. We are open to helping the birth mom. We do not want to see these children lose their mom if she is just overwhelmed for the moment and needs support. We can be a support for her. If she has her mind made up for whatever reason, these two children will be Harris's!!!!

The plan was to meet them on Sunday and have them spend the day with us for a transition time. Saturday some books I had even forgotten I ordered on Toddler Adoption and a children's book for the adopted child came to our door. God is in every little detail. I read through them all and just tried to absorb evey bit of information I could in the 12 hours I had:)

So at 8 am on Sunday morning L who is a 3 and 1/2 year old little boy and his little sister, P 2 and 1/2 walked into our home. L had his "I am tough and have been through alot" face on and P looked a bit scared. Within ten minutes P was letting me hold her and talking up a storm and L was saying 'no' to everything we said:) About ten minutes later they both were really opening up to us and smiling. The day could not have gone better. Church was a little crazy I'll admit. I didn't want the two little ones to go into the childcare rooms and feel like we were leaving them and our crew didn't want to go when they found out P and L weren't so I didn't want them to feel like we didn't want to be with them now so we took all five into service with us!!! Crazy I know. We had known them for about 45 minutes. My head was in the clouds:) When I heard a sweet lady behind me say, " I am exhausted just watching them." I figured maybe we should step out!!! LOL

We came home to play and the kids just were amazing. P is very loving and friendly and a ball of energy. L is very sweet and funny and his defense mechanism is to be a tough guy but by the end of the day he was crying if something happened and letting us comfort him. They were kissing and hugging all of us. L declared Noah to be his best friend and P and Ava finally realized they could both fit on my lap without the world ending! We took them to a cookout and they came to us if they needed anything and wanted us if they felt scared or got splashed or fell down. I was in shock that these two beautiful children were showing such great bonding attachments to our family in one days time. We got in the car to come home and I was being silly and looking between the little space between the headset and my seat. I said, "I see my P, I see my Ava"....and on down the line and little P points to me and Trevor and says, "I see my Mommy, I see my Daddy." I turned my head and went straight into the ugly cry. This doesn't happen!!!

Our God has amazed me once again. The entire day we referred to ourselves by name and they did not know that we could be family someday.They cried when they left and asked if we could come with them. The plan is to get an adoption attorney right away and they will be placed in our home within the week. The mom will have a time period to change her mind and we just want what is best for these two precious little children. She was raised in the foster care system and passed around alot. She has no family. She aged out of the system and the children's dad was violent. Her life experience has been completely different than mine and if God needs us to be here for her, than I am trying to stay open to that.

I have seen God's hand in this at every turn. Will our life forever be crazy, yes. Five kids is crazy. Will our life forever be changed, yes....change it. Will I forever be thankful to our Heavenly Father, yes. I am just trying to stay open to God's plan. I am trying not to question why this mom feels like this is the choice she has to make. I won't ever really get that so I just have to trust God's sovereignty in it all. I have to trust that if we are supposed to help her heal and give them back that God will give me the strength to do that. I am trusting that God will help our family adjust from a family of five to one of seven in about a weeks time. I am trusting that He will bring our family the resources we all need to help with this transition for us all. I am trusting and thanking and praising.In the past three days I have gone from feeling heartbroken for this mom......to excited for us....to scared for us and reminding God that the deal was one, one child:)......to crying and laughing and just praising praising praising my Awesome Lord.

Trevor is on layoff for the month of June so we will have such amazing time to bond with them. God's timing is crazy....I don't know why He still blows my mind. I know how great He is. I know how much He loves us. I know how big He is. But really?! Are you kidding me?! I am so very thankful that God would choose us to be what these children need right now. I am so very thankful that He would entrust His children to us. I am so amazed by HIS LOVE and GOODNESS. I am so thankful to this mom that has obviously loved these children as best she could. I am so thankful to her for giving them a loving start.Will there be bumps and days that seem impossibly difficult, I'm sure of it. But God is at work here and I am going to follow His lead. We are stepping out on complete trust. You only live once right? I wasn't going to get to heaven and have to tell him I said no. Now, I'll just have to ask, ''what were you thinking?'' LOL

Pray for this crew. Pray for the birth mom. Pray for clarity and most of all, pray for L and P.....how scary and sad and hard to understand this must be at any age but especially at 2 and 3 years old. Thank you all for your concern and wondering what was going on. Sorry I couldn't tell you all personally but the last 3 days are a blur and I was in survival mode:) Okay, so the long story was impossible to make into a short note!! But now you are all filled in.

The past year I have prayed three specific prayers over and over.....1) Open my eyes to the needs of others around me, Lord, and use me.2) Break my heart for what breaks yours and give me the strength to act.3) Whatever you ask, I will do.It has stretched me and grown me and blessed me. Thank you, Lord.