Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GratiTuesday- Adoption Story Part 5

The story begins Here- and continues Tuesdays and Thursdays....

Each night we cried as we put Shea to bed.  Our hearts were breaking for us, our hearts were breaking for her.  When Shea came to us she came from a very loving foster family.  But she had many wounds from her time with her biological mother.  She had a hard time letting us completely into her heart.  Just a few weeks before court she had finally decided to let us completely in.  Even at only 10 months we could tell when she really let down her walls and let us in.  Now we feared that she would never do that again with anyone if she was removed from our home.  We knew that we would be ok as a family with her gone.  We didn't get in to foster care because we wanted to have more children, or because our family didn't feel complete.  We knew we would be fine as just the 4 of us again.  But, we were absolutely terrified for Shea.  We knew that the family who was to take her loved her and it wasn't a concern to us of whether she would be well cared for or not.  Our concern was that she had finally felt safe enough with us and now she was going to experience yet another loss.  Even though her biological family didn't take care of her, being removed from her biological mother still caused a great deal of loss for her at just 3 months old.  And, from birth to 3 months she learned that she couldn't count on anyone to care for her needs, whether it be affection, food, grooming, shelter, or even consistency.  She was removed from her and brought into a family who loved her very very much.  But just 2 short months later she experienced that loss again and came to our house.  This time she didn't let us in so quickly.  Already at 5 months she had learned to keep her guard up, so she didn't get her heart broken.  Finally, she relaxed and started to really love us.  Started to really hug us.  Started to let herself even need us.  Now we had real fears that she wouldn't do this again.

Four days after court our CPS worker called me.  She asked me if I had a minute to talk.  I went outside so I could hear.  I can remember what the sky looked like.  I can remember the grass.  I remember the blooms on my Crepe Myrtle Tree.  I remember how the world melted away as she spoke.  She told me she was about to transfer Shea's case and she was praying about it and she decided that Shea needed to stay with us.  Remember just 4 days before she was absolutely sure of her decision to send Shea with her siblings.  I didn't even know what to say.  I didn't know whether to believe her or not.  I was afraid to trust.  But I knew that if she stayed with us that GOD Himself had intervened, because this was not an option at all 4 days before.  I thanked her for being true to what was best for Shea, and for prayerfully caring for the future of our daughter.

Then she told me that the biological mom had had the baby............  (Remember Shea is only 10 months old LOL)......

To be continued :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Monday- 6/27


Ok, so this past week I knew I was backsliding, and I was concerned about my weigh in last week.  Well, here’s the part where I tell you it was BAD.  I weighed in last week with a gain of 3.4 pounds.  I debated on whether or not to tell you.  But, I really want this to be a help to others too….  Maybe you’ve had some issues lately like this and you’ve not wanted to face the music with a number on the scale you thought you wouldn’t be seeing again.  Maybe you’re getting a point where you feel like giving up.  I want to encourage you that there is no obstacle that can stop you if you don’t let it.  I think for me, I needed to see that number to decide that I need to pull my head out of my pants and get with the program again.  No more excuses.  So, last week I set some goals, and I’d like to revisit them now:

  • Stay within my points range Done- with 9 points remaining at the end of the week!
  • Walk at least 5 miles and do one other form of exercise also I walked a total of 18.25 miles last week and 2 days I did 50 “wall push ups”, which I intend to bring to the floor eventually Smile
  • Eat veggies every day Done Smile
  • Lose at least 1 pound I believe this is done too, weigh in in the morning Smile

So, last week was a good week Smile  Now, here are my goals for this week:

  • Walk at least 20 miles over the course of the week.
  • Stay within my points range, and reserve at least 10 of my weekly points.
  • Eat all 5 servings of fruit and veggies every day

The next week I’ll be at summer camp with my older boys, so I won’t be able to weigh in, so my goals at camp are:

  • Eat fruits and veggies every day
  • Walk up cardiac hill at least 3 times
  • Hike the Bonahan Trail (11 Miles) – maybe- I have to drive the next day, so I’m going to play it by ear on this one
  • Over the next 2 weeks lose at least 3 pounds

My menu for this week:

Monday:  Grilled Chicken, Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese, veggies

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday:  Mexican Beans and Rice

Thursday:  Tater Tot Casserole

Friday:  Burgers

Saturday:  Taco Soup

Sunday:  Mikey’s on duty- poor guy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday- Adoption Story Part 4

The story begins Here- and continues Tuesdays and Thursdays.... Acouple of more months went by, and we just kept on keeping on with our little chick.  We were really enjoying her and she was growing so fast.  Two of the other families were dropped off the list, but one family remained.  It looked like this was where Shea was going to go.  The CPS worker was leaning towards this placement, which would mean she would be gone some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We were terrified of losing our baby girl.  It was truly gut wrenching.  I'm absolutely not going to tell you that foster care is all roses.  It's awful at times.  Putting her to bed at night was the hardest.  My husband and I would both cry just about every night.  Our boys were growing more and more attached too.  We really began to wonder what we were thinking starting this foster journey because it really looked like it was simply going to end in pain.  We were heartbroken.  We were worried about our boys recovering from this, we were worried about how Shea would do being yanked away from us.  She had a visit with the family remaning and the other kids in that family and the visit went well.  Everything was falling into place for this family to have her.  We continued to pray God's will for her life and committed to that, no matter what.  We knew that we had only prayed God's will , and that whatever happened, even if she left us, would be just that.  There was some comfort in this for sure.  It was possibly the only thing getting us through.  That, and the fact that the remaining family had biological siblings of Shea's, so we knew they would all have each other.  We desperately wanted her to stay with us, but also knew that having a biological sibling to share with would help her as she got older and had questions about how she got to where she was.

God's Will....  God's Will....  We'll make it and so will she because we have the Will of God, which is always better than what we can think up....

I was studying Kings in Bible Study and we had a verse:  1Kings 22:34 "And a certain man sent an arrow from his bow without thought of its direction, and gave the king of Israel a wound where his breastplate was joined to his clothing; so he said to the driver of his war-carriage, Go to one side and take me away out of the army, for I am badly wounded."  Doesn't sound like it applies, but basically, the point is that man can make all the plans he wants, and God will direct a random arrow to it's destination to fulfill His will and His plans.

We had court, and parental rights were terminated.  In court it was revealed that the biological mom was pregnant........  Random Arrow?   The CPS worker told us that we could expect Shea to leave in about 2 weeks.  We told her we were praying for her, and we knew this was a very difficult decision for her to make.

We were heartbroken, but determined to enjoy our last days with our daughter.  We told her that she would always be our first daughter, and we would always love her as we put her to bed that night.  Then we cried.

To be continued....

Wordless Wednesday-Cheese!

GratiTuesday-Adoption Story part 3

I began sharing our adoption story here.  Go back and catch up if you haven't read it yet :) 

So far I've told you the story of how Shea came to our home.  She was supposed to be with us for the weekend.  My friend prophesied otherwise. 

Shea came to our house and it was bizarre.  I will tell you, I'm still in awe of how well she fit from the very beginning.  It was never like we were watching someone else's kid.  She always felt like she belonged.  This was something I didn't expect.  My husband and I talk about that a lot.  So, we had her for the weekend and when the weekend was over her foster mom called- she had hurt her back.  She wanted to know if I'd be willing to take Shea for another 2 weeks while she did physical therapy.  Of course I would!  So, Shea had to go home for a couple of nights so we could restart the clock- you can only do respite for 2 weeks at a time, and we didn't want the last few days to count.  I got her back a couple of days later and was very excited to get to spend her 1st 4th of July with her.  She had a visit with a potential adoptive family while she was with me, so I had to take her to that.  It was weird for me to take her to a visit.  I was so protective of her already.  I stayed in the building, not wanting to leave in case she needed me for some reason.  I had a bad feeling in my gut about this visit.  When I left the visit her foster mom called and I told her how the visit went and how I felt.  I told her I didn't know if I was just being over protective, this was our first foster child after all.  She told me no, that I should always follow my gut, and I should talk to our agency and at least let them know my feelings.  So, I did, and I wasn't alone in my feelings.  I put it in God's hand and continued to pray for God's will in Shea's life and had my close friends and family praying for God's will as well.  This would become our foundation, we just didn't know it yet.

About a week into the respite care the foster mom called again.  Her back was worse that she thought, and she was going to need surgery.  She wasn't going to be able to take Shea back.  She asked if I'd be willing to take over Shea's foster placement.  I didn't even have to ask my husband, I already knew the answer.  Yes.  So, she was officially placed with us when the respite care ended.

Another couple of weeks went by and it appeared that the placement with the potential adoptive family was going to fall through- she would be with us a bit longer......  There were still 3 other families in the running for her at this time.  My husband and I had a real serious talk one night, and decided to take a risk and put our name in the hat as a potential adoptive family.  We fell in love with Shea the first moment we met her, and that bond was only growing stronger by the day.  We knew of 2 of the other families that were interested in Shea, and made it very clear to the CPS worker that they were good families as well, and we would understand if we didn't get her, just wanted her to know if she decided we were best for Shea we were willing to take her.

There is a bit of a heart change that takes place when you see yourself in the future with a child.

To be continued....  :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Monday-6/20

I’m very frustrated with myself on the WW front.  I did loose 2.4 pounds last week, but might have gained them back this week Sad smile I’ve been backsliding for a while, and it seems like I just keep writing about it every week and not changing everything.  I don’t know what my deal is.  I started using the app on the phone for my journal, and I think I just need to go back to paper.  It’s too easy to say I’ll do it in a minute on my phone.  I’m going to walk this week.  Period.  It’s hot, but too bad.  Smile  I’m going to boy scout camp in a couple of weeks and I was really hoping to be in better shape.  So- here are my goals for the week WW wise:

  • Stay within my points range
  • Walk at least 5 miles and do one other form of exercise also
  • Eat veggies every day
  • Lose at least 1 pound

I was setting goals like these every week in the beginning, and I stopped for some reason.  I also want to walk as much as possible this week and next because I am considering doing the 11 mile hike at summer camp…..  I have to drive the day after the hike, so I’m going to have to play it by ear, but I’m thinking about it Smile

Ok, here’s my menu this week:

Breakfasts:  I’m going to go back to smoothies for breakfast, and some extra fruit if I’m still hungry

Lunch:  Light lunches, small portioned left overs, salads, yogurt and fruit


Monday:  Chicken, Potatoes, Pea Salad

Tuesday:  Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Fruit Salad

Wednesday:  Beef Enchiladas, Mexican Eggrolls (Terri’s bringing them)

Thursday:  Chicken Nuggets, Pork and Beans, Salad

Friday:  Volunteer Party for HOA

Saturday:  Eating at the Drive In- Maybe we’ll take Subway?

Sunday:  Chicken Dinner in the Happy Pot 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Singing Saturday-You Love Me Anyway

Some days I feel really like a failure.  I feel like a hypocrite, and an embarrassment.  But God.  God knows my heart, He knows that I try, He knows how much I hate to let people down, and worse, let Him down.  Human love is conditional.  God's love is unconditional.  :)  He knows your hear too.  Let Him love you anyway.

You Love Me Anyway-Sidewalk Prophets

The question was raised

As my conscience fell

A silly, little lie

It didn’t mean much

But it lingers still

In the corners of my mind

Still you call me to walk

On the edge of this world

To spread my dreams and fly

But the future’s so far

My heart is so frail

I think I’d rather stay inside

But You love me anyway

It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known

Yes, You love me anyway

Oh Lord, how You love me

How You love me

It took more than my strength

To simply be still

To seek but never find

All the reasons we change

The reasons I doubt

And why do loved ones have to die?

But You love me anyway

It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known

Yes, You love me anyway

Oh Lord, how You love me

I am the thorn in Your crown

But You love me anyway

I am the sweat from Your brow

But You love me anyway

I am the nail in Your wrist

But You love me anyway

I am Judas’ kiss

But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd

For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground

Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face

With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace

And then alone in the night, I still called out for You

So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway

Oh, God… how you love me

Yes, You love me anyway

It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known

Yes, You love me anyway

Oh Lord, how You love me

Yes, You love me, Yes, You love me

Yes, You love me, Yes, You love me

How You love me

How You love me

How You love me

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Time Friday- Cozi

I’d like to share a free online tool I’ve started using with you.  It’s called Cozi and you can keep your to do lists, calendar, journal, shopping lists, etc in there.  There’s even an app for your phone so you can access it on the go as well.

You can assign to do lists to other family members, or create multiple lists for yourself.  In my Cozi I have To-Do lists for everyone in the family, and then for myself I have several that I work off of:  Weekly To Do List, Daily Routine, My actual To-Do List, My list of things I want to do for the kids, for the husband.  You can also import other online calendars, so if you follow FlyLady, for example, you can import her calendar, or you can import a calendar that tells you when new movies are released etc.

If you haven’t tried Cozi yet, I highly recommend it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday-Continuing the Adoption Story

People often tell us how great they think we are for adopting our kids….  And that statement is usually followed by something like “I couldn’t do that”….  I would disagree….  You see, our adoption story isn’t ours…  It’s God’s….  I began telling the story on Tuesday, go back and read that if you haven’t yet….

So, we completed our training and after a long process were licensed for Foster Care….  Now came the waiting.  By this time I was pretty anxious to get a baby…  It’s hard to look at a bunch of baby stuff with no baby.  I was excited for the plans God had for us and eager to get going Winking smile

I have a friend who is often prophetic.  I tease her (in fun) because she tends toward the more “Spritual” type churches- where they pray in tongues and other things like that that that doesn’t happen often in my home church.  Her friendship has been such a blessing to me over the last 12 years.  She called me one day and asked if I’d heard anything from the foster agency.  I told her no, not yet, and she was surprised by my response.  She told me to stay by the phone because she was pretty sure I was getting a baby soon….. I said ok, and waited.  Winking smile

The next day the foster agency called.  They asked if I would be willing to do some respite care.  Respite care, if you’re unfamiliar, is when a foster family cares for a child that is placed with another family.  This can be for 2 days- 2 weeks.  This family had a 5 month baby girl and had a busy weekend planned, and needed somewhere for her to go for the weekend.  I said yes immediately and then called Michael to let him know LOL.  Next I called my friend…

She asked me how long we were going to have her, – for the weekend I said…..  She said really?  I don’t think so- I think you’re going to have her longer than that…..  Ok, I said……

She asked me what she looked like…- I told her I didn’t know…  She asked me what race she was…..  I told her all I knew as she was 5 months old and a girl LOL…..  She told me she thought she was going to be African American with Chubby Cheeks……

She asked me what her name was…… I don’t know that either…..LOL…  I sure didn’t ask the agency any questions! I was just too excited!  LOL  She said she thought her name would begin with the “SH” sound……..

When I met the foster mom and picked up the baby……  Her name was Shea……


To be Continued Smile

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


As I sit ready to write this post, I’m having a hard time getting started.  Not because I don’t have anything to be grateful for, but because I have SO much to be grateful for.  So, as I shift through what to write about today, I think I’ll begin with God’s plans for our lives.

Throughout the entire foster-adopt process I used the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 as my mantra.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.  You see, we were only supposed to have my daughter for the weekend.  We were to provide respite care for another foster family.

Let me start at the beginning:

My husband and I began to fill called to do foster care about 3 years ago.  My husband and I are rarely on the same page, so when we both felt called we knew this was God’s work.  Winking smile  We started the process, by meeting with our foster agency, and had no expectations at all for the outcome.  While getting licensed our agency recommended that we get licensed for foster-adopt in case we got a child who needed a forever home.  They asked if we were open to adoption.  My husband was the first to say what I was thinking, “We don’t want to limit God, this is His plan, so yes, we’ll get licensed for both”.

We went through Pride classes, and already knew things were different.  The other families that we were going through Pride with were all set on adoption, many having some infertility issues.  We figured we would be the one family out of our classes to strictly foster, since there were so many wonderful couples who couldn’t have more children for one reason or another who wanted to adopt.  We don’t have an infertility issues, just felt called to help kids in the system.

Throughout the process of getting licensed there were many ups and downs, each I could write a post about (maybe I will!)…  One particular Wednesday I had prayer at the church.  I was scheduled to be at the church for silent prayer for an hour.  I had so many things going on I didn’t even want to go, but I had committed to being there, so I went.

As it turned out the other person who was supposed to be there didn’t make it, so it was just me and God in the sanctuary.  I sat in silence for a while, then I started praying and basically telling God about all of the problems that were arising through the licensing process and asking Him if this was His will or mine… 

I told Him I didn’t want to be on the Semalee Train, only the Jesus Train Smile

I sat in silence for a while longer and then opened the Book of Common Prayer.

I opened it right up the page for the “Prayer of Thanksgiving for an Adopted Child”.

Um….. Ok….  There was my confirmation that this adventure was in fact, God’s Will, and not ours……

To be continued….. Smile

This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker for GratiTuesday Smile

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Monday-6/13

Ok, so my WW week has definitely been better.  Still not totally there- with the adoption this week and the fact that I am soooooo an emotional eater, I’ve gone over my points for the week, but not anywhere NEAR as bad as last week Winking smile  I also did get in some exercise this week and I’ve eaten a lot of fruits and veggies, so all in all it’s been a good week.  Last week’s post vacation weigh in showed a 2 pound gain, but honestly, I was glad that was all- I thought it was going to be more!  LOL

So, my goals for this week are to stay in points, exercise at least 3 times, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  My major challenge will be when my husband and I get to steal some alone time later in the week…… We’ll be eating out…..

Monday:  Baked French Toast, sausage, watermelon

Tuesday:  Beef Enchiladas

Wednesday:  Eating Out

Thursday:  Eating Out

Friday:  Chicken Dinner in the Happy Pot

Saturday:  BBQ Chicken and Potatoes

Sunday: (Father’s Day)  Burgers and Dogs on the Grill, Stuffed Jalapenos, Brown Butter and Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Supper Sunday-The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever

You would think after 2 weeks of being gone I’d have some fabulous recipe for you, but actually, I’m just going to share some blog love.  Smile 

I’ve been a reader of Amanda’s blogs for a while now…..  She really has a way of motivating me Smile….  So, as my niece was here this weekend from her dorm at Rice, I decided to make all the roomies some cookies…  I went straight to Amanda’s Cookin.  There is so much good stuff on this blog!

I decided on The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever, and let me tell you, the name definitely speaks for the cookie!  Wanna know what the secret ingredient is?  You’ll be surprised!  Head over there and find out, and make a batch today!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Singing Saturday- When Love Takes You In

Had to do it…  A song about adoption from the perspective of an orphan. Smile

When Love Takes You In-Stephen Curtis Chapman

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in