Can’t Sit Still

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My heart is broken today.  Honestly, my heart is broken most days.  I keep busy with the positive things in my life…fantastic husband, great friends, always improving health and fitness, music school, recovering from surgery, going ahead and living out some life dreams, etc.  There is always an undertow.  There is always the hard life fact that I have a broken heart.   In this moment, I feel life will never be the same.  Really, it won’t ever be the same, but it may be easier…and then it may not.  I’m faced with the question…what am I going to do about it?

I had a hysterectomy.  I have been unable to have my own children.  We tried for 10 years to adopt, and the doors kept closing.  Then, to make things worse (that’s how it seems these days), we went and fostered/fell in love with three children (from two different moms) who we had to part ways with.  I don’t even know how to describe all the emotions that go with this experience.  One of the moms is doing well, and the other one is not.  I’m terrified all the time for the safety of “our” kids.  My heart is broken for their family as they watch the ebb and flow of “our” kid’s mother from functional to dysfunctional.  My heart is broken for all other kids in foster care who have seen so much and dealt with so much.  They are defenseless children surrounded by “parents”/ “adults” who just don’t get it.  Speaking of adults who just don’t get it, let’s talk legislature…or let’s not, geesh!  They can’t get their act together either.  Shuffle kids here, shuffle kids there, blame foster parents here, blame lack of government funding there.  What a mess!  In the meantime, as it spirals back down to the life I’m living, I see kids who are in danger with an ebbing and flowing mother, and I’m supposed to rest my head each night and hope something more awful doesn’t happen.

I wish there was the same community outrage against parents not doing their job as there is against the topics that are taking political preference right now.  I wish there was as much trending about the need to protect abused and neglected children as there is about Brexit, or the soccer championship thing, or Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of SI, or the Game of Thrones season finale.  That’s what I think it’s going to take to make a difference with these children.  Us! There are a LOT of people doing good for foster children, but they don’t get any press…only the bad stuff gets press.  The good people I’m talking about are the foster parents, caseworkers, local judges, and local agencies…the ones actually in the trenches.  There are bad apples in every bunch, but the majority, locally, do good work.

In my mind, what I can do about my broken heart, is raise awareness of the fundamental needs of these defenseless children.  What I can do is plead for  people to take a stand against child abuse and neglect.  How can I do this?  I’m not entirely sure yet.   I have this blog that gets seen by not even 100 people, and I’m not even that great at blogging.  There are congressmen/women who I’m not convinced pay attention to anything other than who is paying them off.  (entirely different issue).  “Our” kids are counting on us to do something.  It seems like a big bear to tackle, but I can’t be this broken hearted and not do something.  I’m angry the system isn’t working for them.  I’m angry that “our” kids are suffering because of it.  I think the time of depending on the government to fix it should end.  I believe we, as a community, should take care of each other.  Not just a pat on the back and an “I’ll pray for you”, but really get in there with the messy and take care of each other.  Again, not entirely sure how this is going to play out, but I’m tired of feeling this way and not doing something about it.  I can’t sit still anymore!

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My Natural Girlish Figure Returns

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Several of you may remember that I used to have a blog called “My Natural Girlish Figure” and would blog about my gym experiences with my trainers “The Mick” and “Killer.” If you don’t know about that blog, here’s the link if you’re into reading about klutzy out-of-shape shenanigans at the gym… http://mynaturalgirlishfigure.blogspot.com

It’s no secret, if you know me at all, that when our foster kiddos returned home last year, I went into a slump of sorts. Fast forward to this past July, and I realized I had gained 16 POUNDS in the 8 months they had been gone! HOLY MOLY that’s a LOT!! It was one of those moments where I looked at a picture of myself and thought, “WHAT THE $*%!” Do I really look like that?? The scale said yes (insert disgust and disappointment here). This is when I made the decision that it was time to get back to my natural girlish figure. So far, I’ve lost 12 of those 16 pounds using a Beachbody program called 21 Day Fix, and leaning on my friends for support. I love to write about stuff, so I’m restarting my blog. Let the journey begin. I have a “before” pic, but I’m embarrassed about it still. Soon, I’ll brave up and post that pic that was so eye opening. Most of you know what I look like anyway…lol!

Let the journey of the return of my natural girlish figure begin.

Are You Ready For Some Christmas??!!

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My mother LOVED Christmas! We started Christmas at Thanksgiving. We would have our traditional Thanksgiving meal at lunch time. Mom couldn’t get through it fast enough before it was time to load up in the car to go search for that perfect live Christmas tree…in Houston. There was hardly a tree lot open on Thanksgiving day. Let me rephrase, there was hardly a tree lot even set up on Thanksgiving day…it was Houston! However, my dad would search relentlessly for a tree lot. And, then, finding one that was actually open was…well, painful (mainly because we were all on a tryptophan high and wanted that ever elusive nap). It would take hours sometimes, but he always found that one lot. This is before all our jazzy technology and apps that can locate tree lot in China if we wanted. Also, this is before Christmas started at Labor Day. Then, we would search the lot for that perfect tree (there were usually only about 10 trees even unloaded from the trucks), then make the decision for flocked or not. It was usually flocked, and we had to wait about an hour for the workers to flock it, because like I said…it was Thanksgiving day and nothing was ready. I even have memories of waiting for the lot owners to set up the credit card machines while we waited, so we could pay out. The tree would get stuffed in the back of our two-toned tan-chocolate brown Suburban, leaving just enough room for me and my brother in the back, and home we went with our prized beauty (my mom’s beaming Christmas spirit) and the tree. The rest of the day was spent hauling Christmas stuff down from the attic, decorating the tree and house, and eating left overs. Mom was on a Christmas high the entire month. She had gifts bought, wrapped and under the tree within a week. Impressive, because this is before the internet and online anything. I have memories of her changing out bows on gifts many times, because our first cat would eat the bows. Then, our second cat would climb the tree, leaving ornaments in his wake all over the living room. The cat stories aren’t really related to this story, but I think they are funny, so you must read them :-). And, I can’t tell Christmas tree stories without mentioning the one part of the tree that outdates me. The tree topper!! It was a mechanical Santa in his sleigh with all the reindeer. It spun circles around the tree. It was AWERSOME!! It ran every year from 1973 through 2005. It didn’t break, however it hasn’t been used in years. I’ll bet it still works though. Also, we had a game every night in December of guessing who sent the Christmas cards we received. Nobody ever guessed right, and she thought that was so funny. Again, this is back in the day before photo cards were the thing, and people actually wrote in their cards. She was fantastic at setting a cheery Christmas mood in the house, and spreading that cheer to others with her homemade brownies, tins of pistachios, and gitty pizzazz.

And, then there’s me. I did not inherit this gitty pizzazz. I wish I had, because it’s terribly missed. We have an annual family Christmas party now the first weekend in December. It’s my husband’s side of the family that gets together, and this is what putting up the tree and decorations looks like now. First, it’s a fake tree, because too many people who come over are allergic to live ones (boo on stupid allergies). Second, it goes up the day before, or the day of, the party. Finally, it all goes up under duress, as we don’t feel we have “good decorations.” We have a hodgepodge of miscellaneous randomness we collected during our college/single days. We continue to use it because we’d have nothing otherwise. Things like Christmas mooses (is that even the right word for more than one moose?), a ceramic cowboy Santa, and a fake poinsettia. Just last year we decided to throw out the big bucket of 100 randomly colored ornament balls that was bought from the dollar store around our 4th Christmas, and replace it with snowmen ornaments. We kept the red and white ornaments to “compliment” the snowmen. For this year’s party, we only had lights on the tree, no ornaments. I don’t think the tree would even make an appearance if it weren’t for this party. I’m glad for the party, because I like having a tree up, I’m just not good at the pizzazz. We hardly ever do Christmas cards, because most people do those family picture cards, and it seems a little narcissistic to send pictures of just the two of us. If we were newlyweds maybe, but we passed that stage a while back. We aren’t allowed to put pics of the kids in them because of state regulations. Last year we did a “feet” pic with the kids, but nobody wants to just see mine and Kevin’s feet this year. What if I miss that little piece of sock fuzz…

Please, don’t read into this that I am/we are scrooges…just out of our element with home decor and Christmas cards and pizzazz. We love everyone else’s homes and cards and pizzazz. I love the excuse I have to see everyone I know crammed into a one month time frame. I love the Christmas music, old and new. We even went to NYC this year, and took in the uber pizzazz. And, our family party was a success, even without ornaments on the tree. And to further explain how out of my element I was, I forgot to plan for plates, stemware, glasses, or napkins. You know, the stuff used for actually eating the food? With an in-the-moment rustling through the papewares cabinet, I found and used appetizer plates that said Happy Thanksgiving, napkins that were powder blue, and to my excitement, forks and spoons that were red and green. Some of tea glasses were royal blue, some were highlighter lime green, and forget a centerpiece/scape on the table (other than salt, pepper and butter). I had NO regular paper plates, leaving me with my regulars for dinner and dessert, with lots of clean up. OOPS!!

Plain and simple, mom owned this holiday, and I get owned on this holiday. The world will tell you something like Jesus is the reason for the season. I will tell you Jesus is the reason I get out of bed every day. I don’t put any more emphasis on that part of it this time of year than any other time of year. So, what’s left is me trying to capture the coattails of my mom’s pizzazz, and share it with others. We’ve got more people coming for Christmas day, so I better get the ornaments hung, stock up on those powder blue napkins, and clean those lime green tea glasses. Otherwise, it just won’t be a Joanna-style hodgepodge of randomness Christmas.

May everyone have a very Merry Christmas, or happy and joyous any other holiday you celebrate.

Christmas Vacation 2_JWO

Giving Tuesday

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Like everyone, I’ve know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday for years. This is the first year I have heard of Giving Tuesday. Maybe I’ve lived under a rock, maybe not, but I like this. I saw a poster on Facebook the other day making a joke about how we humble ourselves to reflect on our blessings for Thanksgiving, and turn around the very next day, ready to commit some heinous crime in order beat someone to the shelf holding that “perfect” whatever to save that ever elusive 10%. Madness! “Giving Tuesday” seems to close the loop, bringing us back to remembering what blessings we have, and what blessings we can bestow on others.

If you are looking for some places to give back, I have some suggestions. Obviously, adoption and fostering are near and dear to my heart, so these suggestions are part of my growing knowledge of the needs in this area.

Covenant Kids (Our agency)
They are a part of over 100 adoptions each year. For each adoption, they are reimbursed only half of what it costs to finalize this process. This means with each child who finds their forever home, Covenant Kids goes in the hole. You can donate to them on their webpage http://www.covenantkids.org

Salvation Army Fort Worth Shelter
This a shelter for homeless men, women, and families. They also have a food bank, and provide various social services for people with low income. In addition to the food bank, they feed the residents 3 meals a day. They could use your monetary donations to help fund these meals, or food donations to keep the pantry stocked for those in need.

You can send a monetary donation to Salvation Army, PO BOX 2333, Fort Worth, TX 76113.

You can donate canned goods and any non-perishables, by bringing them to the front desk. They are located at 1855 E Lancaster, Fort Worth, TX 76031. 817-344-1800.

Kevin and Angie Conway
Kevin and Angie are lifelong friends of mine, and they are in the process of adopting a child from Burundi Africa. They are selling Christmas ornaments to help fund their process. Visit their website below for more details about supporting them.
http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/conway-burundi-adoption/270970

New Horizons for Children
This agency helps find homes for children who are in orphanages across the globe. In Europe, these orphanages are open during the school year, but closed during Christmas and summer break. These children become homeless unless someone is willing to host them during this time. Each child needs financial support during this time as well. Please visit their website to contribute.
http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/bright-future-fund/269050

If none of these causes interest you, find one that does. Give today, give tomorrow, just give. They all need our help.

I Prayed For A Baby

When we first started fostering, we had a very open age range of 0-7 years old. I honestly don’t remember why we thought having such a wide range was a good idea. I do know that we wanted 0-5 years, and we were told that we should go a couple of years above our “wants” because if the kiddo exceeds our age range, we’d have to do more paperwork. (I now know that’s not really that big of a deal.) While, I was open to kiddos in this age range, in my heart I wanted a baby.

As a Christian, I do a LOT of praying, believing that God answers prayers. There are several verses in the Bible that say that you should ask God for what you want. Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” And, of course, Hannah in I Samuel prayed for a child “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me this petition which I asked of Him.” So, if I want a baby in this random pick of children that could, and will be coming through our doors, I should pray for a baby. So, I did. Every day.

Our first placement was 21 months old. Not a baby, but not very old either. Still in diapers, still not talking much, still playing with the little toys, not a 7 year old, if you get my drift. After 7 months, she went back to her parents. I prayed again, and low and behold, we got a 2 month old and an 18 month old. As usual, I can be slow on the uptake. Since my last post, as we are contemplating life without kids vs. should we keep going, I’ve realized a couple of things. Obviously, one of them is that my prayer was answered. Duh! I’ve had the opportunity and gift of being able to see Bubba hit first year milestones of rolling from side to side, sitting up, getting teeth, clapping, crawling, first word, developing a personality, pulling up, trying to walk, holding a bottle then sippie cup, starting to eat table food, on and on. I got to rock him to sleep, and hear him giggle, baby snuggle, and do his first Christmas with a Santa pic. I may even get to do his 1-year-old birthday party, and he’s so close to walking, we may get to see some first steps. So, even if they go home, I got to experience what it’s like during a child’s first year. WOW, huh? And, if we keep going, we may get another baby that stays around for us to raise, but in respect to my request for a baby, He answered. And, I think I got the cutest little boy on the planet! So, I’m doubly blessed 🙂

We will keep praying for children, as this is what we want. We don’t know how in the world this prayer will be answered, especially since we are so worn out by fostering right now. Maybe God will give us the strength to keep fostering. Maybe God will answer with adoption. Maybe God will bless us with children around us, who we will be able to be examples to and mentor. Who knows. I do know prayer works, because I believe God is real and active in my life. I do know I prayed for a baby, and I got one. I Corinthians 13:13 “And now remain faith, hope and love…” The path continues.

Forever DINKs?

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I don’t really know how to connect all my thoughts here, but this is more of a deep thoughts post about the emotional journey we are on. Fostering is not for the faint of heart, and I know we all know that. As far as I can tell, there are two kinds of people who foster. There are those families who already have kids, and have a heart to help kids from hard places, and there are those who do not have kids who want to adopt to just get a family started, and recognize the good that comes from fostering. Obviously, we don’t have any biological kiddos, because of my fight against cancer. By the grace of God, I am alive and won that battle. The aftermath will always linger. So, after years of “exploring” adoption as a way to expand our family, we chose fostering because of the mission we would also be joining. The mission of helping kids who are in hard situations find a not so hard place to grow up. We’ve had three placements, two of which involve the same kiddos. There is no certainty of adoption with any of these placements. In fact, what is certain, is that we continue to care for other people’s children, provide them with a safe environment, while their parents recover from stuff and learn how to live a better life. This seems like a noble thing to do on the surface, and it is, I guess, but it does not get us closer to our goal of having children. It gets us closer to someone else’s goals of successfully recovering, so we can return the kiddos to their rightful owners.

So, then, I have to think about the what if. What if Sweet Cheeks and Bubba’s mom is successful? Honestly, I think this would be a great thing. I’ve met her. I believe she really wants to get better, and be there for them as a great mom. She has battles to overcome, but then, don’t we all. So, what if they go back to her? We are DINKs again. We go from a house full of giggles, puzzles, Bubble Guppies, and diapers to what? An empty, quiet home. We will be heartbroken not to have our little buddies around, but we already recognize we can’t let that stop us from being us. We have pretty much decided that if they go home, we will probably not be able to foster again because of the emotional roller coaster that slams us from one brick wall into another. We are tired of this long decade of uncertainty, the grip it has had on our lives. Maybe our lives aren’t meant to have forever children in it. So, then we have to think, what does that mean? Some people do, but most people don’t go into a marriage saying they don’t want children. What are forever DINKs supposed to do? Our first thought was to sell everything we own, buy an RV, rig it up so Kevin could work remote from the RV, and travel the US. I think we are over that, but we may rent one for a vacation. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. I quit my job to stay home with these guys, knowing it could be a short term arrangement. I would like to try something new if I go back, so that will take some working out as well. We think we’d like to have this Plan B in place in our minds by the time the littles may return to their mom. That’s not too much time when you’re thinking life-plan, but at least we have it on the table. Either way, our lives are going to change drastically over the next year.

Otherwise, the kiddos are doing great. I really think we have a very easy placement. They are pretty much easy going. Our caseworker from Covenant Kids is great. Our CPS worker is great. It’s just really working like the well-oiled machine it’s supposed to be (I know, I know…I just jinxed it…lol!). I’m glad this is the case though, because the other stuff is hard to swallow. In the meantime, we will enjoy the giggles, experience watching a baby reach his first year milestones, learn some ins and outs of parenting, and love this gift while we have it.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time To Blog

I hate that I haven’t had time to post anything since our latest placement began. It’s been fun having Sweet Cheeks and Bubba back in our home and in our lives. They are doing well. They’ve adjusted well. We don’t know how long we will have them, but we are enjoying the time we do have. Sweet Cheeks has an amazing vocabulary for a 2 year old. She is already stringing together 3-4 word sentences. You can see her little mind working and processing all the time. Bubba is crawling and pulling up. He has about 4 words and uses them all the time. He tries to have little conversations with us, and that is too cute, my friends. I have Elmo and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse songs in my head at all times now.  We go to the library for story time, we spend time with family, we swim, we play on the piano…singing Elmo and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse songs, and then insert all the day-to-day stuff that goes along with all that.  I’ve been lucky to have great CPS workers this time around.  We’ve had 3 so far during this case.  It’s all really going as smoothly as it can for what it is.  (Of course, now that I’ve put that out in the universe, it will probably all go nuts, so don’t tell anyone ok? 😉  )

I quit my job this week to stay at home with them. I’ve been on FMLA foster care leave (who even knew that existed?!?!!) for two months, and love being at home with them (who knew I even had a domestic side…woah!). I would like to write about the working mom vs. the stay at home mom, but that will have to come at a later date.  Anyway, this is all I have time to write for now, and who knows how long. I hope all is well out there in the blogging world. I appreciate all my followers and hope you won’t give up on me. I miss this outlet, but truly don’t have the time anymore…boo on that…but yea!

Raising Hopes With Spokes: The Ride

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It was a great ride, and I feel like I don’t have much time to write about it.  I will give you the short version…maybe.

A few weeks before the ride, I got this idea that I wanted to do a helmet cam for the ride.  I proposed the idea to my husband and dad when we were in Houston visiting dad for his birthday.  Their minds immediately went to work, trying to figure out how to get this done.  We went to Academy, because where else do you go for sports and outdoors ( 😉 )  They had cameras, but not equipped to do what I wanted.  I wanted a live feed like the cool people in the commercials.  We needed wifi, and we needed wifi to work in the middle-of-nowhere-Texas!  Off to the Verizon store we went.  We were thoroughly educated by our new friend, whose name I have already forgotten, and made our purchases.  I got a myfi thingy called a jet pack, a charger in case the camera decided to die, and we were pumped!  We figured out the wifi issue, but one thing was still missing!  The camera!  There is only one camera made that will do live feed via wifi, and it’s made by Looxcie.  Amazon to the rescue, because they were sold out at all distributors in Houston and the DFW area.  Popular little things.  Then, there was a small concern.  Although Amazon was selling the camera, it actually shipped from the factory, which was closed for the first part of the week of the ride for Passover.  They weren’t going to ship it until Wednesday, and so we got it Thursday before the ride Saturday.  Just in time to play with it, make some weird trial videos of the cat, capture my friend seriously referencing baseball as part of the NFL (what?? sadly, yes 😉 ), and then mounting it on the helmet.  The day of the ride, we were able to feed live for a few moments, but because of some reason we haven’t figured out yet, there isn’t anything of us actually riding.  It was fun though.  People saw us prepping our bikes at the beginning, saying our prayer over our safety and the success of the fundraising for adoptions of foster kids, and some girly silliness over the bridge.

The ride went very well.  We had great weather, and it was so peaceful.  The trail itself is an old, vacated railroad track path that the Army Corps of Engineers made into a biking, hiking, horse trail that runs through the state park.  So, it runs through lots and lots of farmland.  We saw cows, horses, longhorns, chickens, and beautiful green pastures as far as the eye could see.  We also saw horse poop, Boy Scouts, and a foster mom from Covenant Kids who came to cheer us on!  We changed two flat tires, had no falls, and conquered a few hills.  Due to a learning curve in reinstalling bike tires after fixing a flat, one of us even rode 10 miles with the bike’s breaks actually clamped to the back tire!!  She’s a woman with legs of steal, if I do say so myself…lol!

This is actually a very physically challenging ride.  It tests us all in one way or another.  It hit me on the way home that it is such a testament to our friendship that we can take something like this, something that can and does bring out some of our weaknesses, rely on God and each other for strength, and come out of it still friends.  We get frustrated, grumpy, experience physical exhaustion and pain, we hunger and thirst, we prevail, we love, we push, we endure, we hope, we eat and drink (lol), we find rest, and we do it again next year.  I love that we do this ride each year, and I love that we have made it more meaningful this year.

Now, I must brag on my fantastic, awesome, charming, cute, sweet, and did I say AWESOME husband!  When we got home, after 8 hours of trails and trials, he had cooked steak, shrimp, bacon wrapped scallops, veggie salad, fruit salad, roasted cauliflower, rolls and had dessert for everyone that accommodated our different food allergies (we are a mess in this area between us having allergies to gluten, lactose, and shellfish).  He ROCKED it out!!  We ate, we showered, and we crashed into bed!

To close, we are also just so humbled by the outpouring of support for our fundraiser.  Right now, we have raised $3855.00.  We are $145 short of having enough to assist with two adoptions this year.  How amazing is that??!!  This was so much more that I had imagined, and we are all so blessed to have been a part of it.  I will plug it again, since we are open until end of day Friday.  Go to our Facebook page through this link and donate.  We only need $145!!

https://www.facebook.com/raisinghopeswithspokes

Here are a few pics from the ride.  Thank you again for all the support and encouragement!  See you on the trails!!

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Sweet Cheeks and Bubba

I still don’t have much information, but I felt the need to write this morning.  In my last post, I mentioned that I had received a phone call last Saturday, but did not go into any detail about it.  The call was from Grandma.  I’d like to start by saying that she is an amazing woman.  She has had to take on so much more than she ever expected.  To recap, she not only has Sweet Cheeks (2 years old next month) and Bubba (7 months old), she has their older 8 year old brother (now called Bro), and her two nieces ages 14 and 15.  So, also keep in mind that SC and Bubba’s mom is her daughter (Mom), and is also the mom to Bro.  Grandma is married to Grandpa.  So, there are 7 people in the home.  

Not to go into any detail, but some history on Grandma is that she has VERY good reasons not to trust CPS.  I’ve mentioned before that I thought SC and Bubba were victims of circumstance vs victims of abuse and neglect.  They had been living in Grandma’s home, with Mom, before CPS got involved in this scenario where we also became involved.  Grandma was not a threat, but because of Mom’s indiscretions, CPS took SC and Bubba.  This is just one reason she is leery of CPSs intentions.  In addition to this, there are other factors that once they pile up, become very overwhelming for her, as they would for anyone.  It’s amazing what she does, with all she has on her plate.  

The reason she called was to say that she’d like for us to help her.  She is fighting to keep her family together.  She’s afraid that if she tells CPS that she can’t handle all this, that they will take SC and Bubba and put them in another foster home.  Mom has some jail time left with some court ordered tasks she has to complete.  This should take one year.  The ideal situation is for Mom to be successful, get her life back together, and get her children back.  Mom needs all the support she can get, and so does Grandma.  Grandma has asked us to help, by taking SC and Bubba back in, and help her take care of them.  There was no question that we said yes.  I have never been in a situation where I had to fight for my family like this.  Sure, we’ve had our hard times in my family.  Losing my brother the way I did was devastating.  Losing my mom so early cut deep.  The personality struggles my dad and I go through have been challenging to say the least, but, this.  What she is doing.  Doesn’t even compare.  I have no frame of reference for what she is going through.  She is a fighter, she is persistent, she has so much love for her family, and she isn’t settling for anything less than her family being together.  

There isn’t a time frame yet, for when they will come back to us.  We have been inactive, but we completed the paperwork to become active again yesterday.  She has a meeting with CPS today.  Another part of this is that she has no extended family, and no support system.  She reads this blog, so I have an request from everyone reading this post.  I know that there are about 100 people who read each one of my posts, because wordpress keeps the stats.  If you would please be an encouragement to her, just as you all are to me.  Please pray for her today, as she has her meeting this afternoon.  Pray for her to have peace, discernment, and understanding of what CPS tells her (they can be very confusing and contradicting sometimes).  Pray for the best situation to present itself to keep her family together.  Also, please write an encouragement note to her here on this blog post.  Please don’t return to Facebook to write the note.  Write it here so she can see it.  I want her to see how many people keep up with us, and want the best for all of us.  

Thank you for being there for all of us!  I am blest to have the best family and friends in the world.  

M.O.D (pronounced “Maude”)

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MOD is an acronym that will stand for Maybe Our Daughter.

WHAT??!!??!!  Yes, we have been through quite a roller coaster ride the past week.  Here’s the story.  I am a part of a couple of Facebook groups that include foster and adoptive moms.  We talk about stuff, bounce ideas off each other, and support each other through this journey.  About 6 weeks ago, a mom posted that she was aware of two girls who would be available for adoption, and anyone interested should contact her.  I sent her an email and found out that they were not sisters, but separate cases.  One was 5 and the other was 7.  One was talkative and had trouble in school, and the other didn’t want siblings.  I talked it over with Kevin, and we decided to pursue this option.

The way the system works is that we had to contact our caseworker, who then contacted the adoption manager, who then contacted the CPS worker of the girls, who then would decide if they wanted our home studies to review.  That step was completed in about a week, and our home studies were submitted for both girls.  We waited, heard nothing, we waited, heard nothing, and actually kind of forgot we had submitted our home studies.  One day we were like…oh yeah…I wonder what ever happened with that.  So, I emailed our caseworker, who came back and said they never heard back from CPS so they must have gone a different direction.  Oh well.  THEN…30 minutes later, I received another email from her saying WE HAD BEEN PICKED for one of the girls!!!  AMAZING!!!  We had never gotten this far in the adoption process, and here we were.  Still with lots of steps ahead of us, but WOW!!

Now, we asked how to stay grounded in this process.  We asked what is realistic, and what traps to people fall into in this process.  After all was said and done, we knew we were in for a long wait.  From the groups I’m in, I read one mom had been told she was picked back in February, and she still hadn’t heard anything.  Our caseworker was very honest with us, also saying this could take a while.  Lots of steps to be had, and many of them didn’t even include us.  So, we took the weekend to get in a good frame of mind, and Monday came. Monday…OOOHHHH Monday!  I received an email from the adoption coordinator saying that CPS wanted to meet with us on Wednesday!  WHAT PART OF THAT WAS A LONG WAIT??!!  Not that we were upset, because God only knows how long we have been waiting for anything to happen.  So, ok. We got information on MOD.  We were picked for the 5 year old, who was actually 6.  We rearranged our schedules, and met with CPS on Wednesday.  It was such a good meeting.  It was so comfortable and casual.  I thought it was going to be more of a roasting session, but it was truly just casual conversation.  Tough, real conversation, but as easy as it could be under the circumstances.  We actually caught a glimpse of MOD, because she was scheduled to have a parent visit at the same time we had our meeting.  She looked like a little Dora the Explorer.  Cute little girl, bob haircut, backpack, etc.  They told us before we left that if we didn’t know by the end of that day, we would know by the next day if we had been chosen.  Again…SUPER FAST!!  When we left, our caseworker thought the meeting went REALLY well, as did the adoption manager who was also present.  We left with confidence that we were going to be very high in the running for her.

Now, it’s Thursday.  Just last Thursday.  We didn’t hear back the day before, so I knew we would know this day.  I was in an all day meeting for work.  Our presenter had flown in from California, and it was mandatory that I be present.  I had already missed the first half-day of that meeting the day before to go to the meeting about MOD.  How in the world was I supposed to sit still?!  I didn’t…HA!  Everyone around me knew what was going on.  Just call me Chatty Cathy!  I could not stop talking or thinking about it.  And, I was feeling really good about it.  There was good momentum coming out of the meeting the day before.  Then, all of a sudden, I’m not sure what happened, but I could literally feel the momentum shift.  I could literally tell something had dropped out of our favor.  My heart sank.  I had tried with all my might not to bug our caseworker every 5 minutes asking if she had heard anything yet, but I decided to go ahead and email to ask.  It was 11:30, so I felt I had waited a good amount of time.  She emailed back saying she hadn’t heard, but she would check.  Not 5 minutes later she called with the news that CPS had chosen another family for MOD.  She said she was shocked, as was the adoption manager.  She also said that CPS had been so impressed with us though, that they were going to “keep us in mind for other children”…what ever that means.  BOO!!!  BOO ON THAT!!!

Now, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, or if you know me, you know I am a Christian.  You know that I have faith in God, and that I believe if one thing doesn’t work out, it’s because God has planned something else that will.  So, I felt this assurance that even though this didn’t work out, something would.  In fact, it felt a LOT like the situation with Little One, our first foster daughter.  We were called on a Friday for a 1 year old little boy, agreed to take him in, and then he was placed in another home.  We were sad all weekend that our first chance fizzled into blah.  That next Monday, 72 hours later, we got the call for Little One.  Somewhere, I could sense that this was similar.  I could tell that we would know something after this holiday weekend.  I didn’t have to wait that long…we got a call Saturday…

This is where I’m mean and leave you hanging until my next post.  I really don’t have enough information to share at this point, but will within the week.  And, trust me, I’ll share it and you’ll know it was worth the wait.  I’m so glad there was another family for MOD.  I’m so glad we weren’t picked.  I’m so glad God knows what’s going on, so He can make room for the right things to fall into place.  Stay tuned…there IS more to come!!

P.S.  And just to say…the Raising Hopes with Spokes fundraiser we are doing this weekend, April 26, is to raise the funds to pay for the adoptions of children like MOD.  Our agency goes in the hole $2000 each adoption, because they take the burden of cost off the adoptive families.  The State does not fully reimburse them.  Please visit our Facebook page below and donate.  Thank you!!

https://www.facebook.com/raisinghopeswithspokes