Thursday, July 29, 2010

The middle child is growing up

Elijah starts kindergarten in about 3 weeks.  I think I am a bit in denial and a bit excited.  Excited because this is a new adventure for him, one that will be all his.  He is the only Allen that will be riding the school bus this year.  I still remember Shayne's first day on the school bus.  He looked soooo little- I could just barely see his eyes & forehead peeking over the window.   

I know Elijah is ready for this new adventure.  I can tell by the little things like: 

  • Now, when he hears himself say "lasterday" or "lellow" he corrects himself to correctly say yesterday and yellow.

  • He offers to share.  (pick your mouth up off the floor- it's true)

  • He delights in getting up and dressing himself, and unlike his little brother he wants his clothes to match.

  • He has figured out that things require money and now asks me for it when he goes on his field trips.    If I tell him no, he reminds me he has his own "potty" money- he'll be happy to use that.   (Potty $ =  a dime earned for each day at daycare with no potty accidents, going 'poopy' earned him a quarter.  He occassionaly still asks me for quarters, and if he remembers to ask, I still pay up)    

I guess I need to snap out of this semi-denial and get shopping.   My funny, smart and dramatic dude is going to need those million dollar school supplies.  Hey, maybe I can talk him into using his own money.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


FACES isn't just what peeks over my bed to wake me up each morning- although I do love seeing and feeling the eyes of four dudes peering at me each day.    

FACES of Virginia Families is the Foster, Adoption & Kinship association whose mission is to provide a united voice for children, youth, and families involved in foster, adoptive, and kinship care so all children and youth are treated with dignity, respect, and equality.

Check out their website at:

I learned about them a while back as part of our foster parenting but as much as I hate to admit it, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to what they do, just read random emails about them from time to time that our  Department of Social Services offices send out. 

This week, we got one of those emails and it perked my interest.  They were sharing that 4 people would be selected to receive a scholarship to attend NACAC's 36th Annual Conference.  What is that I wondered- so I googled it.   NACAC is the North American Council on Adoptable Children.    I answered the questions and sent the email and didn't really expect to ever hear back.  So much so, we thought the call was a telemarketer and didn't answer the phone.

How excited and perplexed, when we got the call that we were selected to receive a scholarship.- Excitement.   Conference, airfare and lodging- for ONE of us.  Perplexed.  ONE, really?  I was so hoping that this would be an experience me and Rex could do as a  couple.  Rex and I talked about it- what about the boys, Shayne is on vacation next week, Rex works Saturday, 4 nights of figuring out dinner, 3 EARLY morning schedules.  Three kids and two dogs is alot for both of us, it's really tough for one.  But he lovingly (yes, lovingly) encouraged me to go.  I checked out the workshop options on the website and made the appropriate phone calls.  Registration-check.  Airfare booked-check.  Hotel-check.  Looks like I'm all set- Hartford CT here I come.  Next week, I'll spend 3-4 days getting some really good tips, tools and education on how to be a better parent to my special guys.  What an exciting opportunity. 

I'm especially looking forward to the workshop titled... "What my White Parents Didn't Know.. and Why I Turned Out OK Anyway. 

So today, I am  thankful for FACES who not just believes that foster, adoptive, and kinship families are the best opportunity to secure strong futures for children and youth not living with their birth parents; but they are putting action to their beliefs and are making it possible for me to learn some good stuff. 

And thanks honey for taking on another week of doing it alone with the boys.  I promise to listen good, take notes and come home refreshed and ready to keep on loving and raising our precious three sons. 

And yes, I will miss these faces while I'm gone!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hearts Desires & Baby Bob

Ok, so if you are reading this, I am assuming you know and (love?) our family.  I don't think strangers care much about my blog.  I try to be honest but careful with what I put out here.  But, since this is where I kind of pour out my heart sometimes, I am going out on a limb and writing about Baby Bob.

(note- baby Bob is an assumed identity- sex and name of baby remains unknown to us at this time)

As with all of our kids, they came with some element of shock and awe.  After 8 years of infertility, finding out I was really pregnant was unbelievable to us, and took until I pushed him out of me to really believe I got to be Mom to a healthy baby boy.  Wanted more babies, but didn't ever think we'd have the opportunity- and then one afternoon about 3:30 pm we got a phone call that forever changed our lives.  This is where I got to become Mom to Elijah & Isaiah. 

I had a hysterectomy almost 2 years ago, and grieved because I knew it was closing the door on the possibility of a miracle.  My heart still secretly longs to have another baby.  I don't tell too many people that, because I get the look- the "have you lost your mind, do you know how old you are" look.  It's like my kids with candy- "just one more" is how I feel. 

When I have my secret talks with God (and my husband- he knows too) I pour out my desire to have just one more.  One more chance to love, to nurture, to hold, to smell the sweet, sweet life that only God gives.  And sometimes, HE gives it in situations that do NOT make sense to us.  I dream and pray, but didn't really expect it.

And then it happened.  Yesterday, about 3:00 pm we got another phone call.  Yep, you are smart.  There is a baby, not named yet born 7/22/10 and the caller asks if we are  ARE YOU CRAZY!  YES- we are interested.  I've prayed for this.  Rex and I have waited for this.  YES, YES, YES! 

We are ecstatic- I couldn't help screaming into the phone to everybody I talked to.  Flash back to October 2006.  When can we pick him up, where do we pick him up, do we get to name him?  OM, did we get rid of all the carseats.  Starting from scratch again- and because I have such faith in my prayers, I kept nothing!  I can't share all the details, let's just say I am already connected to this baby.  And as crazy as it sounds, I immediately felt like he's ours. 

But, nothing is simple when you are dealing with CPS/DSS, and people's rights, and judges, and child protective services.  SIGH.  Two hours later and another phone call, Baby Bob is not going to be ours, at  least not today.  Baby Bob is "on hold"  Don't get me started here.. I could go on for hours about the system- they do the best they can but oh, the possibility for improvements.  

Is God teasing me?   I feel like my baby is all alone and needs me, but I can't get to him.  I am sure that all my friends who have adopted internationally can identify with me here. 

He is on my mind, 24/7 now.  What does he look like?  Is his hair soft like Isaiah's or tight like Elijah's. 

I am praying for him- praying he gets lots of love and nurture.  Praying he is going to be fed and diapered- that he leaves the hospital in a car seat and has a home to go to and not a shelter.  Praying for clear direction for the professionals who have very difficult decisions to make.  Praying that while baby Bob is on hold, he is protected and safe; knowing that every single day that lacks security and nurture makes a huge difference in how he handles his future. 

Parenting is tough for everybody.  But foster parenting- adoption is definitely not for wimps.  You must have a tender, compassionate heart, and a heart of steele.  You must be willing to change you entire life with a phone call, and then revert back as if the phone call never took place. 

I've already gotten the look, and comments in jest that we are insane.  You might be right- as I tried to get my pre-schooler dressed in the "family locker room" this afternoon- I was wondering if the people outside could hear Isaiah screaming because his shirt had a pocket, the hand dryer was too loud and the floor was wet.  Elijah trying to be the daddy- and me just trying to get my "big girl panties" on so I could get out of there.  I wondered how I would handle that with a newborn in tow.  This insane momma would handle it like so many before me- with a smile and a grateful heart that God had entrusted me with another one of his precious children to love on for however long his plan allows. 

I have no idea what the next day, week, month, year will look like for our family and baby Bob.  I do know that baby Bob belongs to God, so that gives this anxious heart peace. 

Just don't be surprised if we show up with a newborn, and try to understand me, if I am sad because we don't. 

Praying baby Bob is home soon!

Roller Coasters and other thrills.....

Are you a coaster rider? 

I am, with reservation.  I have always been intrigued by coasters and can't pass them by (most of them at least, I do have limits)  I remember the first time I ever rode one.  It was the Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion. 

I rode it my sisters' boyfriend about 27 years ago.  As I recall, he was the only one brave enough to ride with me.  I am sure he regreted it, since I was scared and screamed the entire time.  Poor guy.  But, I remember getting off, and wanting to get right back on again.  Crazy, huh! 

As the years have gone by, I continue to love coasters.  I have gotten a little braver, I have rode upside-down, backwards and standing up.  I've even rode some that combine a couple of those features and gone backwards and upside down.  They are my favorite. 

The last roller coaster ride I was on, was the Rocking Roller Coaster at Disney.

I waited with Shayne well over an hour to ride it the first time.  Had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised with the speed and sharp twists.  I got right back on with his daddy.  Yes, I screamed, I just can't help it.  I think it is officially my favorite. I can handle the speed, twists and turns as long as the coaster has some sort of boundary I can see. 

My least favorite coaster ever was also at Kings Dominion.  It was a simple round and round, down and up, round and round.  Didn't look like much, but once on the ride each time it would round the curve- sharp curves, there was no visible boundary and I felt like I was going to fly off the tracks.  Screamed on that one too.  I remember Shayne saying "Mom, what are you screaming for, this is nothing?" 
For me, it was much scarier that the others- simply because I couldn't see the boundaries.  Boundaries make me feel safe.  Walls make me feel safe.  

I haven't blogged for several weeks.  Seems I've been on a real-life coaster ride. Typical Monday, started like most of the others; but about mid-way through we learned some information that took us flying down a track and at a speed we haven't experienced before.  I don't care much for this track, I can't see the boundaries.  I don't feel safe.  I am unsure of the next twist and turn.  Forward, backward, upside down... yep, this ride seems to have them all. 

So, I've been a little side tracked and couldn't really catch my breath.  Everytime I thought the ride was ending and I could write about it, the silly car would take off for another hill.  Sidewinders, straight up and then loop-de-loop. 

And, I have to admit that I have been screaming the entire ride.  Screaming fears that I never expected to face.  Screaming because I have no control of when it started, the direction of each new turn and have no idea when it will end.  This ride has caught me off guard.  Like the hidden drop in the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom.  I have to be honest and tell you, I am ready for this particular ride to end. I am starting to wonder if the warnings about not getting on if your heart is weak is meant for me. I am feeling a little broken hearted on this one.  So, I find myself screaming out to God.  Oh, I guess I didn't mention that I'm riding this one with Him.  He doesn't mind me screaming and hasn't asked me what I was screaming about. He hasn't told me no big deal, or rolled his eyes and said never again with you.  He is familiar with this ride. He just stays right by my side, assuring me that it is safe because I am with Him.  And, even though I can't see the boundaries, I can see Him. 

So, do you need a thrill?  Do you like roller coasters? If so, just let me know, I know who you can ask to ride along with you, and He promises to keep you safe.  

gotta run, I see a sharp curve up ahead.  
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