My brother and cousin in laws recently opened a delicious new restaurant called Sebastian's Table. It features yummy Spanish tapas. Declan I stopped by for some take out.
 Our old lady, Sophie Mae...
 I'm getting lots of baby snuggles these days. Don't hate it!

 Very tired boy after a skate sesh at the Bay
 Cherry Berry date with my favorite

 Ella's birthday party!
 She's 10!!
 "is this my life??" moment... ;)

 Decaln just couldn't wait to do jack o lanterns this year...



Oh, man, I've let this post roll around in my head for awhile. I need to get it "on paper" so I don't forget all the craziness that has unfolded in the past week and a half.

We have been licensed foster parents for about 6 weeks. Our goal with foster care is to foster/adopt. We've received several calls where adoption wasn't in the cards and we've passed. A couple Fridays ago, the placement director called and it went something like this:

D: "I've got a potential placement for you. Unfortunately, babies aren't ready to be out in the public yet."
Ash: "Let me stop you right there. We are super active so I'm pretty positive that wouldn't be a placement we are interested in."
D: "Um, okay...."
Ash: "Thanks for thinking of us! I promise one of these days we'll say yes!"

Then, the next hour, God was grinding on our hearts. Something inside both of us would not let us ignore this opportunity. Unsure what was coming over me, I called the director back. I asked for more details and, boy, were they a doozy:

TWINS. (Preemies). Health issues. Reunification plan (i.e....not looking adoptable in the foreseeble future, in fact, the "huge push" of the case is to get them back with mom). 

Hold the phone. Why weren't the brakes being applied?! Wish I knew. Something just kept us moving forward, asking questions, praying, questioning our sanity.  The director let us know that even though things are moving forward in mom's favor that things could certainly change and adoption could be in our future. "50/50 chance" he said. Would turning our lives upside be worth that chance?! We decided YES. Holy buckets we are cray!

Then, an interesting and unpredicted thing happened. I was primed and ready to pick apart mom. Her kids were removed for some reason and, in all honesty, I wanted her kids. I wanted to love on them, go through the motions with the system and then adopt them. Then- we met her. Spent 3 hours with her and the kids and we left that tiny building and our hearts have never been the same since. She is a good mom. We want to team with her. We want to love the babies, pour ourselves in to them and see them thrive. We are cheering on mom as she gets her life together. We feel the twins are just passing through and are keenly aware how important our family's impact will be. AND.....we are okay with it. Yes, the parents who were "fos/adopt" only are thrilled and blessed to be "fos" and "fos" alone. Hard to explain folks. Super hard.

This Thursday we start another big new chapter in our lives. We left our old agency after 3 years of no action to be accepted in to a new adoption agency in town. Training is this week in Omaha and even though it feels weird to congruently be working towards our next adoption while we foster, it's an opportunity we couldn't pass up. In fact, we were accepted in to two agencies at once and spent several days pining over which direction to go. We chose the agency we felt best with and were so excited to move forward. Two days later: twins. Ha! God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes I feel like these sweet babies are a huge bandaid on my heart while babies are being added to families all around me. No more jealousy here...I'm knee deep in all things baby. :) 

These two little time suckers have been a shock to Declan's system. We have been working through lots of acting out and talking back but it's getting better with consistency and intentionality. Our family and friends have helped make him feel extra special too. Here, Declan is swaddled just like his foster bro.
Baby things are invading our home but to Declan it's just a new place to play his DS.
One day of bottles here folks. I will never complain about cleaning bottles ever again.
I love me some baby cuddles.
Be still my heart...
There is something so beautiful about my son's birth mom holding my foster daughter.



Declan's skateboard party was a success. We kept is small with family. 
Happy kid:

 Declan has been asking for a DS for years. We told him he could get one when he turned 6. So it was fun to surprise him a year early. He loves it (and we love the bribing we can do with it...just keeping it real, folks.)