Thursday, June 9, 2016

Racial Issues and Baseball

Last night was my boy's last baseball game. (We have play offs next week yet). I am not a fan of sports. I am a homebody. But I promised the boys, one season of baseball, because they have worked hard to be responsible and respectful.
They are playing on a local league, not competitive. Most of the coaches are strong christian men. Many of the kids are Mennonite, some are not.
They had practices for a number of months then they had games starting end of May.
Towards the end of practices and beginning of games, one kid started bullying my son. He befriended my son then turned around crossed the line with questions about birth parents and racial name calling. My son was heartbroken.
With the help of a woman, I greatly admire, I helped my son to see that he was strong enough to stand against this bully. We role played, we discussed his strength. His brother stepped up and stood by him.
The kid continued, despite my son speaking up. So I contacted the coach and vaguely shared details. I asked him to be aware of what was happening. My boys did not want more attention drawn to themselves. But they also could not (nor would I allow) allow the bullying to continue. The coach had a chat with the team about bullying. (My boys did not know I had contacted him) He handled the situation with wisdom and discretion that empowered my boys.
The bullying stopped, once or twice again this kid would pop out with a comment and my son would respond with "Stop that!" which ended it.
My son came out of the whole situation feeling strong and proud of himself. He had with the help of his brother, coach and mom, handled this bullying situation.
The bully has a very angry father that would often yell at him. If he missed a ball or messed up, his dad would step in and chew him out. The kid was so tense he couldn't hit the ball. His eyes were often full of hurt. He also told my son on more then one occasion "I HATE MY DAD!".
This was such an excellent lesson for my boys. This kid was reacting out of his own hurt. His heart was hurting, so he spilled that out on the first victim he could find. It was not ok, at all. But the incredibly amazing thing where I am si incredibly proud of my boys.. by the end of the season they were often cheering for this boy.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My baby....

 3 years ago, this month I was busy loading a pile of boxes into my van, when my phone rang. Caller ID showed my foster agency. I was shocked because I had closed my home and was working on transferring to a neighboring county..What she asked me, shocked me even more..

It was a beautiful summer day. I had been praying and trying to set up a meeting with a caseworker from County B, so we could work on getting re licensed with the county vs a private agency. We had discussed and prayed over taking another child. I was done adopting but wanted to foster a toddler or two. The kids were on board.

When that call came in from my private agency.. it was the intake director, she asked me if I would be willing to take another child. Kinship, as it was a sibling to my children. She had zero details, except that they were from county A and had just been born. I told her that I was very interested. I went about my day, in a  daze. Newborn babies are not really my thing. I prefer the older kids. But this was a sibling.

I called the county myself because I know sometimes communication sucks. I wanted them to know I was serious about this child and I wanted details. I have been a foster parent long enough that I knew how to get the caseworker I wanted. I specifically asked for the caseworker for bio mom #2, got his voicemail and left a message. The fun part started when he called m back. He was totally confused. Because yes bio mom had 2 kids in care. But they had been in care for over 2 years. They had no need for me to take them.  After picking up my jaw, I explained that apparently then I must want bio mom #3. The woman who had tried to kill my daughter, it never crossed my mind that she would have another kid.
But first I really needed to know more about THESE 2 kids of biomom #2, because they are after all bio siblings of my kids. (Are you confused? We have 3 birthmoms. Biomom #1 was in prison, Biomom #2 is young and apparently has had quite a few kids since I adopted, biomom #3 is very, incredibly mentally ill)
So once we had that all straightened out, I asked the caseworker what he knows about biomom #3 and this new baby. He knew lots.. He was able to connect me to that caseworker. I left a message.

Meanwhile.. my house was on the market to be sold. My landlord was selling it right out from under us, as he had some financial troubles. The photographer was scheduled to come the next day. It was also my oldest son's birthday.

The next morning we cleaned the entire house from top to bottom. I gave  Lee his birthday cake for breakfast, just in case the new baby would come that day. I wanted to make sure I celebrated him too.

I left the house to take the kids for a trail ride at the local stable. The photographer came to take pictures. I decided to stop by the local consignment shop to pick up a couple onesies and a bassinet. I had ZERO baby stuff. I never had a baby before!!

It was now around 10 am. I had not spoken to anyone since 4 pm. I had no more info then the siblings caseworker had given me. I had no idea what to expect.

I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a pack of bottles, a pack of diapers and a can of formula. While I was in the store, I got a call from my private agency. She asked if she could come out ASAP. Her office was 1.5 hours away. She would be here in 1.5 hrs. I asked if I was getting the baby..
She stopped, dead silence, then "no one called you?" Me:Nope! Am I getting the baby?!?! She said yes!!!

I hurried through the store, arms loaded with baby supplies while talking technical stuff with her. I had to get an emergency kinship license. I had to get my house up to code. Atleast it was clean!!

I dropped the kids off at riding lessons. Called all my foster mama friends. Dashed home to make sure the realtor's photographer was done. Miss A pulled into my driveway..

We did the paperwork and discussed what the plan was. So because foster care is always interesting. They told us mom and dad were both black, something I believed for 2 weeks until the very first visit when I met a very "white" dad! They would go straight for termination of rights. No visits. No drama.

They would not allow me to go to the hospital to pick up the baby. There was some talk of dad, his criminal activities and my safety...

Mid afternoon the county caseworker finally arrive with the precious little bundle. I had been sooo nervous about taking a newborn. But the moment I saw that tiny little 6 lb bundle, strapped carelessly into a carseat. No blanket, not warm cute outfit. Only a stiff little hospital gown. My heart attached.. That was MY baby. One I would spend many many sleepless nights praying over.. 


The kids first words "Mom, HE is WHITE!" :) 

Suddenly in less then 24 hours, I was once again licensed as a foster parent and had added a newborn baby to my family. This was only the beginning of a long incredible journey. A time of trusting God. Of being pushed to my very absolute limit and beyond. But the most incredible blessing of the sunshine of our lives. He has brought so much healing to my big kids hearts. He has brought us all closer together. 

We found out that the judge had plans that no one else agreed with. This case was supposed to be short and sweet. The parents were originally not supposed to know I had custody of this child. There were and are concerns for our safety. My neighbor is a police officer in this county. I had a little chat with him, prior to meeting the biodad. Sadly this police officer IMMEDIATELY recognized the name of this couple, apparently they were frequent flyers with that police dept. My neighbor suggested I make a safety plan.  It was a long and rough road. But God protected us and at the moment, that very last moment of panic,(after 16 months of visits) bio dad was returned to prison.. for a very long time. 

This case brought so many emotions for me. This woman. I knew what she had done to my daughter. I knew what she was capable of. I see my daughter suffer every day from the choices her biomom made. I had to take my tiny newborn baby and leave him with her for an hour every week. It was a tough emotional journey for me. Two long hard years of fighting the system and this precious child became mine forever..

Biological siblings

Last month we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of his adoption. We praise God for his protecting hand on us. We praise God for the blessing of this sweet child. We praise God that for this season we are totally done with fostercare! 


Friday, April 8, 2016

Happy 11th Anniversary..

The question remains...
How do you celebrate your 11th wedding anniversary when your husband is no longer living? You can't ignore the day. Nobody really gets why you want to celebrate the day. So it's the anniversary of one of the most amazing days of your life, but there is no right way to celebrate it.

Life has moved on. God has blessed me abundantly. I am living a life I could never have dreamed of. My children are an amazing blessing in my life. They bring me joy and chaos. But it is possible to be lonely and alone in the midst of many people.

I struggle to find the balance. God has blessed me so much, I don't have anything to complain about. But my heart aches. The desire to curl up under a blanket with a good book and block out the world is overwhelming. The desire to dream for hours, remembering what was and no longer is..
But is kinda hard to do that with 6 little people who need attention.. because we all know that a closed bedroom door means a crisis must happen.

God is good all the time. For tonight, I will allow myself to think of what it would be like. To have him here with me. To go to bed and have his arms wrapped around me. To him rejoice with me over the victories in life. To have him hold me when life is hard. To have him pick up the pieces when I lose it. To have his strength beside me on this journey through life...

Tomorrow I will get up and resume normal life. I will soldier on. I will lean on Jesus when I get lonely. I will read his Love Letter that strengthens and encourages me. I will rely on Jesus for my strength. He does not fail me. He will never leave me.

I am also going to enjoy some massive banana splits, made with all the goodies the kids and I picked up today.  These precious kids of mine, understand loss. They understand pain. We cry together and we heal together. Together tomorrow we will celebrate this special day. We will all miss this amazing man and talk about the what ifs.. Then we will tell our hearts to beat again.