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. 



It feels really good to have a week with the boys under our belts. Every day we get to know each other a little bit more and each night we collapse from exhaustion. Ha! First of all, I'm completely amazed how the boys have fit in to our lives. We had dinner at each set of parent's houses this past week and it was great.  In my sister-in-law's words: "this is the start of something beautiful." 

I want to keep it real. We have been uber overwhelmed. The boys get up suuuuuper early and it's been hard to increase the activity level 110% and lose sleep. It's also been hard being a referee…"that's miiiiiiiine!!!" (Normal sib stuff I know but it's all new to us). Poor Declan has had a hard time adjusting.  Just these last couple days I've seen him take ownership over his brothers and enjoy their presence more. Tonight while I was getting the littlest ready for bed he comes over, pats his head and said "it's my little K__ boy." My heart smiled because adding "boy" after a name is a show of affection that I believe his Papa started. 

TIME TIME TIME. Time is going to help us mesh, help us help them heal, help us love deeper. Can we love them like we love Declan? Absolutely. Time. What will our challenges be moving forward and are we capable to handle them? Yes. Time. 

Have I mentioned the jump from 1 to 3 is no joke? Seriously. Cray. It will be exciting to sit back and evaluate in 6 months. Our heads will hopefully stop spinning and we will be able to enjoy the chaos more. 


Big Changes

To say our experience as first time foster parents was extremely difficult is an understatement. From the beginning it was hard--parenting two 5 week olds (adjusted age-twins were preemie) is a challenge on it's own but adding in 2-3 appointments weekly, team meetings, court, visits with mom. It was overwhelming. People would often ask us if we would be keeping the twins. It was a legitimate question as we were only planning to foster/adopt for now. We'd explain that we are not- we are "just" fostering.

So why the twins? From the beginning we had no idea. When we received the call about them we had a huge resounding NO but God tugged at our hearts and we called back and said yes. The fact two babies were still available after we drug our feet in and of itself was pretty amazing. So that began our journey as foster parents. Throughout the months we had them we could never articulate exactly why we had said yes. Why change our lives in such an abrupt way knowing they will go home? There, of course, are big reasons like the fact that loving on God's children is a good thing. We were giving a sense of stability and love while mom was rebuilding her life. We like to believe that this time we invested will never be in vain. It did make a difference. 

In the back of my mind I still wondered where this was leading us. Were we missing out on other opportunities? I couldn't help but plan out when they left and what our next steps were. We dealt with a particularly difficult bio mom--more difficult than many our specialist had seen. Because of this we felt frayed and tempted to leave the foster care world.

Then, the day after Thanksgiving my phone rang. It was the case manager and I was bracing for whatever unbelievable critique bio mom and conjured up now. Instead she was inquiring about our desires for building our family. "Are you looking only for a baby?" I informed her that we want to honor birth order (Decs is 5). "Are you open to sib sets?" she asked. I said we are. She proceeded to tell me about two brothers, ages 1 and 2,  that are going to be placed for adoption. She had felt like they were "meant to be" with us. Come to find out, this case worker was a little confused why she had the twin's case as well. It was transferred mid-foster process which is odd and she had wondered the entire time about it. She truly believes she got the case so she could meet us. God works in such mysterious ways!

We learned more about the boys, prayed and talked about it and said YES! We ended up having them that weekend for respite (and having the twins….4 extra kids 2 and under in diapers…yep). Basically we had series of mental breakdowns all weekend because it was so much. We shipped the twinks off to respite desperately halfway through the weekend and tried to just focus on the boys. We were exhausted. Not only did they get up at 5/5:30 (compared to our 8am routine), but we had forgotten the constant attention toddlers need. So as they left that Sunday we didn't talk about whether we would move forward. We were deers in headlights. Monday we also avoided the subject but I knew the call was coming. Tuesday, the case manager called and asked if we wanted to move forward. We literally sat down and made a pros/cons list. I don't want that to sound cold. This is a MAJOR life change for us. Ultimately, we could see ourselves falling in love with these sweet boys. Declan would finally be a big brother and the glimpses of him with the boys that weekend was amazing. While we were mulling over this decision I had to run to an appointment. I got in the car and Chris Tomlin's "Whom Shall I Fear" came on the radio:

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

This entire process…years of waiting…failed matches…difficult fostering…God went before us and prepared the way for these boys to join our family. If I truly believed that (I do!!) why would I be fearful He won't stand behind us? Our fears were legitimate but God's grace and strength and guidance is much bigger than those fears. So, here we are, we become a family of 5 tonight when two little men step through our doors and we begin the process of picking up the pieces and healing their hearts and showing them consistency and love that will never leave. There is so much to their story I choose not to share but will you pray for us? We are humbled and blessed by this opportunity and can't believe this is our story. How many times have I typed out "I can't wait to see what God has in store"? Well, this is a doozy.