…and Exhale...

It's a very weird position foster parenting puts you in--for so many reasons. I find myself wanting to blurt out all the crazy ass things we are going through right now but I just can't. Instead I am here documenting our journey in tidbits. Here is the general summary: we are fighting for the boys legally now. I say "now" because we took the boys as their permanency placement. Parents hadn't been on the grid for over 9 months (anything 6 months+ is considered abandonment). So it was a pretty low risk situation as far as having to fear losing them once they came.

Then, enter small town law. Mistakes have happened and the entire case almost got thrown out. Like "come drop your babies off at the police station" over. After 3 anxiety packed weeks and major mama bear advocating (which, for the record, does nothing really) we found out this last week that the case will not be thrown out but there will be aspects that feel like starting all over. These aspects will drag our boy's little damaged hearts through the mud and we will have to pick up the pieces over and over until they are finally ours. When we are done adopting them, if I hear "reasonable efforts" again, I will throat punch someone.

Regardless, this crazy life is indeed our reality. A smidge of turbulence...ahem...okay maybe earth shaking turbulence but we are all in so buckle up. During this time a song has resonated with me so deeply that I can't listen to it without crying. I listen to it/pray through it before our almost weekly court dates. 

Foster parenting is not for the faint of heart. Without God, I don't know if my feet could every wander this far in to the dark, hard, gritty battle we are in. Through it I want my faith to be made stronger. I know it is stronger and have seen our impact on others around us. People see us doing some amazing thing but we just see it as loving on our sons. Fighting for them....for their hearts to know security. For their little heads to be filled with awesome memories....for them to feel unconditional love. God has lead us here and He will lead us through the ups and downs.

Please listen to this song....it's our ANTHEM....

You call me out upon the waters,
The Great unknown where feet may fail.
And there I find you in the mystery;
In oceans deep my faith will stand.

So I will call upon your name
And keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise my soul
Will rest in your embrace,
For I am yours and you are mine.

Your Grace abounds in the deepest waters,
Your Sovereign hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me;
You've never failed
And you won't stop now.

So I will call upon your name
And keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise my soul
Will rest in your embrace,
For I am yours and you are mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my savior.

I will call upon your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in your embrace
I am yours and you are mine.


Declan has been loving Tae Kwon Do! He tested recently for his yellow belt and did awesome! So proud of him...



Declan has been doing Tae Kwon Do and really enjoying it. 
I love this captured moment. 
He was in awe of "the big kids":
 Taking the littles to Tae Kwon Do usually means distracting them after 4 minutes 
(that's their attention span when watching Decs…ha!):
 Another preschool mama sent this to me. Cutie!!!
 I hate early morning but a sunrise always renews my spirt. 
 A little early morning drumming. More coffee, please:
 Declan was SO proud of his "Plants Vs. Zombies" mask. 
I cry-laughed when he declared that he cut his own eye holes:
 Wednesday my bestie and I went to see Jillian Michaels live. SO FUN.
 "Take a pic and send it to Uncle Erik. It's Honest Abe's"
(Mark's brother owns an Abe Lincoln themed burger joint)
 Visiting the animals at the Humane Society:

Big Bro

I can't believe I thought Declan would immediately be on cloud 9 with siblings. 
{Hey, a girl could dream}.
I learned quickly…his adjustment is one of the biggest of all.
I can't be more proud of him. 
It's taken many weeks of growing pains but I can confidently say he is loving his role as a big brother
Thank you, Lord. 
Tonight, after the littles went to bed he had a major meltdown. It was about watching a show. Daddy said no…cue the drama. 
I scooped him up on my lap, dried his tears and we talked about 10 things he was grateful for.
Numbers 6-10 had something to do with his brothers. 
Neat things ahead for my 3 pack. I'm sure of it. 

45 Days

I've never gone 45 days without blogging before and I've never had more to write about. Every time I considered opening up this webpage and typing, my mind went blank or my eyelids got heavy. Our lives are so different now just 11 weeks after two little boys walked through our front door. I'm not going to sugar coat things: it's been rough. The honeymoon stage is over and I'm glad. Let's lay it out on the table and start working through the hard stuff. This isn't a stop through spot for them, this is home.

Lowlights, oh they are a plenty: attitude/behavior/defiance (see above…honeymoon over), ER trip, several urgent care trips (constant sickness basically), desperate call to respite for a weekend, sudden dismissal from daycare, frigid weather = stir craziness. 

Amazing how exhausting just the logistics of 3 can be. Much respect for those with bigger families. I am a chicken with my head cut off 79% of the time. Thankful for such an awesome teammate. Mark does not skip a beat and he has been my saving grace many times. 
Yep. Every day:
Now, with the nitty gritty out of the way, the beautiful can shine. I just left my 20 month old's room. He gave me the longest, tightest, melt-in-to-you hug I've ever gotten from him. This is significant because, even though he has always been affectionate, it was quick affection…especially at bedtime. He likes just to lay down and be left alone. I learned quickly our way of putting Declan to bed at that age (basically rocking him, stroking his face, lots of eye contact) was not going to work. I put "K" sideways to rock him the first night and he climbed me like a tree. So the long, sleepy embrace tonight was precious progress to me. 

Today in the car almost 3 year old "J" kept saying "daddy, mommy- remember_______". He would say things like "remember when we rode bikes…..remember when we threw rocks in the water….remember when we went down the slide." My heart swelled with joy because I know the majority of the memories he brought with him are not good. He saw/heard/experienced things no child ever should. I'm not naive to the fact that we will replace all his memories but what an encouragement that the memories on the forefront of his mind are happy. 

God is at work. Big time. These boys are worth every moment of frustration, inconvenience, doubt, resentment, struggle. Every day there is growth. When people tell us how great we are for "doing this", I always try to respond by saying they are an answer to our prayers too. 

We will keep advocating. We will keep working hard to be the best parents we can be even in the "what now?!"moments. Above all, I promise to pause in awe of God's workmanship knowing there is major redemption going on. 



Life has been busy and challenging and fun lately. Here's a little Instagram.Dump:

Declan got his hair chopped last weekend.
I was at an open house and Mark texted that the boys were finally asleep (they had been fighting it before I left). I pulled up the camera on my phone and had to let Mark know the unfortunate news that they were indeed NOT sleeping. HA!
Decs got a special day with Nana which wrapped up with making meatballs. Yum!
We took a little trip to the library. All three boys loved it.  
No matter how crazy things get around here, the most heart melting moments for me are when all 3 boys play together. 
**I will not be able to show the boy's faces until we finalize the adoption which may be 7-12 months**



One thing that caught me off guard when the boys came home was how difficult it was for Declan. I should have totally expected it. He has been our only kid, our everything, the center of our world for 5.5 years. As a spirited, high maintenance little man we couldn't help but be constantly engaged with him. The rug got pulled from under him hard because now he had to share everything from toys to time to us. Hard stuff.

We have done a lot to be intentional with him. A couple afternoons a week we each do a special outing. He also stays up 1+ hours later than the boys and we get good, quality time. But- when it comes to the boys- he seems more irritated by them than excited by them. In the mornings "J" will yell "Dec-an, Dec-an" when Declan enters the room and Decs will completely ignore him. It is sad to see and I've been praying for a turnaround. Thankfully we are getting glimmers of what brotherhood will look like. Different times throughout the day I'll catch "J" and Decs playing a game together. Then I'll see "K" and Decs wrestling and giggling. 

As week two wraps up our family continues to gel. I know it's going to be a looooong process but this bright spots give us a hope for something amazing.