Round 2!

As many of you know by now we got two more kid’s!!! =)

This one happened a little more quickly than the last placement. Last time around we had about a week to prepare, this time we about 24 hours.

Here is what I can tell you. We have a 4-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl. They are siblings.
He is quite active, and has a small speech delay. So we often have to guess at what he is trying to say to us, which is fun until he gets frustrated.
She is a little more quiet, and also has a small speech delay. She is a little bit easier to understand most of the time.
Personally, I think the speech thing just makes them that much more adorable, but it’s something we are working on anyway =). The coolest part about this is that I got a job in November working for Early Childhood Interventions, so I’m learning all about the best ways to help kids with developmental delays! God always knows what He is doing.

Here is the kicker: neither of them are potty trained.
This is new territory. I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m just crossing my fingers that the school district will enroll them anyway! Luckily we have an extra long weekend to start working on that. So if you have any tips or tricks for kids who don’t mind sitting in wet underwear (as I discovered today) pleaseeeee share!!!!!

They are pretty happy kids, we don’t have a lot of meltdowns or tantrums (so far), which is really nice! It means we have a lot more time to do fun things. I will leave you with a photo (without faces because that’s not allowed =/).

Kids

I took this after I told them they could each choose one stuffed animal to take in the car… Clever Boy.
Also I wish I could show you the whole picture, because the cheesy grins that are happening here are WAY too much to handle, also the princess came out in a red knit hat and some pink princess sunglasses that Mimi bought for our foster room awhile back. She wears them everywhere, even inside.

As always, thanks for reading!

Kels

What You Want to Know (and then some)

I opened my journal today to write a prayer. It’s funny because I have had this journal for about a year and you would expect it to be filled with prayers after that amount of time, but I realized that after having the girls the last year my journal got a lot more use as a picture book than a prayer journal =). I opened to write today and flipped to this page:

image

Precious.

Let me debunk another Foster Care myth really quickly. Now that the girls are home we constantly have people asking us how we are doing. I am going to be very honest with you. We are fine. =). We miss the girls and we miss having kids in our home but we have not cried or worried.

I think something people don’t think about when it comes to Foster Care is that when God opens your heart and you choose to open your doors to these kids He will reward that, and for us He did that by taking care of all those emotions.

Just like when you have a biological child, or your maybe child grows up in your home and God calls them away to a dangerous place, or a million other scenario’s where parents have learned to trust Christ, we had to come to a point where we remembered that God loves them more than we do. I mean, after all, He formed them in their mother’s womb. He knew them before they knew life in this world, and that is where we have placed all of our concerns, and worries for them.

I know that we would not be so calm without Christ and we are so so so so so so so so so so (I could type a million more of those) thankful for your prayers through this time for our family and for theirs! We are also so thankful for the encouragement that we have received from you all during this time.

I am excited to share with you some of the other things that Christ is doing in our lives right now and as He begins to reveal our future to us I am excited to share with you what that is going to look like, so keep reading! =).

IMG_4169

I will leave you with this random photo of a Zebra in my car…
He was quite friendly.

Until next time,

Kelsey

An End and a New Beginning

I am typing this now because in a week I may not be able to get it all out.

We have a court date next week. Our last court date. If everything goes as expected in court next week the girls will go back home with their mom that night. This is a good thing. We are thrilled to have been a part of a case that has turned out so well.

I am including numbers for Texas and Oklahoma because that is where I believe most of my readers are from.

According to Adopt Us Kids there are 8,362 (over 1,000 of this number are kids who are legally eligible for adoption) kids in foster care in the state of Oklahoma and 28,883 kids in foster care in the state of Texas. Of the 28,883 kids in Texas there are over 10,000 kids who are legally eligible for adoption and waiting for their forever families.

You hear stories all the time about the foster system. You hear about abusive foster families, delinquent foster kids, crazy biological families, and a broken imperfect system.
I want to tell you about our very first experience with the Texas Foster system

(while simultaneously bombarding you with pictures of my amazing kids.)
IMG_3769
(At Disney World)

In February we got a call about two little girls who needed a temporary home. We were told that we would be their first official foster home (it’s complicated).We were also told that their mom was doing really well and was on track to get them back when her case ended in a little under a year. The plan was for the girls to live with us until December.

When the girls came they were little balls of energy. They giggled nonstop and they never once cried. They came with a carload full of clothes and toys and a Chihuahua, and they took to us almost immediately. It was the complete opposite of what I expected to encounter. Eventually the tears did come, and months down the road they admitted to me how scared they really were. They said they were afraid that we would be mean.

I don’t think we were what they expected either. 

We expected it to take some time for them to settle in and get used to a new structure and new rules. It did. We endured crying, screaming, and guilt-tripping. In the moment if felt impossible,

but what we eventually realized was that these kids just needed someone who was going to be there for them no matter what, and, much thanks to the overflowing love that Christ gives us when we least deserve it, that was something we could do.

Even more than the bad times though, we had so so much fun with giggling, traveling, first experiences, and silly phrases;

(for example I was cleaning out a drawer in their room yesterday and I found a notecard that my oldest had written on, it said “When I die I hope I go to Google.”)
What does that even mean?

IMG_3668

(In the airport on the way to Disney World, sorry it’s blurry)

Along with kids comes the joy of many many appointments and meetings. The first two months we had to schedule doctors appointments, get shots, go to the dentist (3 times), enroll in school, find a daycare, schedule counseling, and meet with our CPS caseworker, CASA worker, and Buckner worker once a month. We also started doing visits with their mom every other week. All of this was, of course, on top of our normal schedule. I know what you’re thinking right now,
“I just wouldn’t have time for that”
I thought that too, but we had an incredible team. Our CPS worker was always willing to provide transportation for the girls when needed, our CASA worker worked around our schedule and ALWAYS made our visits so much fun. Really, the girls LOVED meeting with her. Our Buckner workers not only worked with us, but they were always for us. They provided advice, trainings tailored to our situation, and they connected us to all the dr.’s we needed to see.

IMG_3638

(I promise I did not tell them to do this and they did not know I was taking a picture.)

I realize that this is probably not what you would expect, but the girls biological family soon became part of our team as well. One of the things I was completely lost about was how to do my youngest one’s hair. It was wild. Her mom sat down with me and explained how she usually did it and even brought me the gel she normally used, and that’s just one example of our teamwork through this process.

IMG_3525

(this was at one of our dates with our CASA worker. The girls rode horses, fed catfish, and picked berries. My oldest informed me that she was in fact a country girl. Don’t let her fool you though, she’s a total diva)

We also have an amazing church family who has since began a ministry at church providing clothes to foster families and is about to train some new substitute caregivers for when we need a break (praise Jesus for community, I would be so lost without it, but more on that another day.)

IMG_4098

(Meet the teacher. The child loves her boots.)

We have had tough days, but we now go through life on a fairly smooth schedule. We rarely deal with the screaming and fighting anymore. It’s amazing what can happen in just a matter of months when you are consistent.

IMG_3950

(In Galveston, ready to play in the sand)

My heart breaks when I think about the amount of time we have left with them in our home, but it swells when I think about the possibilities for their future with their mom. My continued prayer for every family we come across on our Foster Care journey is restoration of family and reconciliation with Christ

I hope this gave you a new perspective.

IMG_3546

(Really though, so precious)

Whatever state (or country) you are visiting from please take the time to consider those who need something as simple as a loving home. If you click on your state below the link will take you to your Heart Galleries with photos of kids in need of exactly that. If you are not in Texas or Oklahoma, all you have to do is google “your state heart gallery”. These are kids in your state who are ready and waiting to find their forever families.

Texas

Oklahoma

As always, thanks for reading. You are all amazing.

Kels

Grace that can pardon and cleanse within

Image

“No, we are not putting swimsuits on today,
it is rainy and cold outside.”

Those were the magic words. Most days it takes time and it builds, but not that morning. That morning it took one sentence.

“UGH! You never let me do ANYTHING I want! You’re the meanest ever! Pack my stuff!
I want to go to a new home! I’m not kidding! Call Mrs. J. I don’t want to live here
anymore!”

I realize in retrospect that this is a silly situation but the fact of the matter is we have conversations like this a lot. With tears streaming down her face she will throw every word she knows to get me to believe that she hates me, that I am not her mom and never will be, that her life was so much better before me.

And it sucks.

Before Clint and I got in to fostering we had people telling us constantly about how hard it was going to be. Most the time it felt like they were trying to change our minds about what God had laid on our hearts. We always knew this was going to be difficult, and I even expect the words that she tends to throw my way.

And to be 100% honest with you I have thought a million times over about how much easier it would be to have biological children that we knew would be our to raise. Children that we weren’t improvising discipline strategies for, that we didn’t have to install doorbells on each door of our house for simply because we got a hot tub, children that after a long day and finally feeling like we were getting somewhere we didn’t have to have a gnawing thought in the back of our mind saying “this is pointless, it won’t be maintained after they leave your house, why are you even trying.”

But as soon as that sentence of doubt makes its way to the front of my mind there is always the gentle reasssurance that seeps into my heart reminding me that if it were easy it would not be worth it because when God gave grace through Christ there was nothing easy about it. My heart beats out my mind by reminding me that God is made perfect when we are at our very weakest.

And 15 minutes later after Christ has affirmed this decision in my life my blond haired blue-eyed treasure walks in with a smile on her face ready to begin her day happy again for reasons unexplained to me and I remember that God always knows what He is doing.

A Few of Our Favorite Things

I thought that having kids would give me abundantly more to say on here, and it has. The problem is there is so much to say and so many emotions that I can’t seem to sort through them well enough to articulate them.

So in the mean time I will tell you some of our new favorite activities (and by our I obviously mean the girls);

Rain Drops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens…
Not really, that song is only one of my favorites. If I tried to get my family to sit still for the movie, Clint would fast forward through all the songs and the girls would cheer him on (true story: that’s exactly what he did when I tried to make him watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He just doesn’t get it.).

10171925_10201606277865661_1275577961_nWe love $3 Target Tu-Tu’s, but that goes without explanation.

Sorry (the board game). Can I just tell you, they changed this game. They added tokens called Fire and Ice “power ups”. The ice one we have figured out and we play with it regularly, but even after reading the instruction 3 times I could not for the life of me understand what to do with Fire! Anyway, I have to keep both eyes on the game because I have 2 cheaters and one who is still trying to understand the concept of a board game.

                                                        Image

Mickey Mouse Memory, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and all other things Mickey Mouse. For the record, 4-year-olds do not have the attention span to play a matching game with 64 pieces (that may be an exaggeration). Also, I do not love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I miss classic Mickey Mouse. The characters lack.. well.. character! And at any point in time during the day you can walk through my house and hear “Oh toodles!!” being yelled by the TV, kids, or Clint…

                                                             Image
Toodles is the odd floating head next to Mickey. He has a face most the time and he is their gadget that helps fix things, aren’t you so thankful for the useful information I fill your head with?

Kids Songs. Squirrely (the younger of the two) is very inquisitive and if we are in the car she will ask a million questions about ridiculous things that I cannot answer. My patience for this grew thin after a month so I had an idea one day in the car; Kids Songs! Oh my it was a hit, and not just for Squirrely but Lilttle Momma (the older of the two) LOVES them as well. We sing the baby bumblebee song, tiny turtle, days of the week, The B-I-B-L-E, and Zacchaeus pretty much every day. That’s fine. I will sing about smashing a bumblebee any day if it means I do not have to listen to One Direction. (Every song sounds the SAMEEE)


On that note, I need some more kids song, so feel free to leave suggestions!

Leggings. Ok, if you know me you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is when people wear leggings as pants. THEY ARE NOT PANTS. If you want to wear them with a long shirt that covers all your parts, fine, but wearing them as a substitute for jeans is not ok past like 2 year old.
This is a concept that was never taught to my girls. They have more leggings than all other clothing items combined. We have had to take a shopping trip to find shirts that are long enough to be my version of acceptable with leggings. And I am about to cave on Jeggings. It’s just a battle I can’t fight anymore.

Image
I don’t really love these greeting card things, but this one seemed appropriate.

Their favorite part about living with us (as they informed the caseworker) is church =). We love that. It has made such an impact in their lives that BioMom has started attending a local church so that they can keep it in their lives when they go home (as long as everything keeps going the way it is currently going). We are thrilled about that, we know that Jesus is the only one who can fix a broken family and make something beautiful out of it.

That is the hope that I cling to every day for my girls.

Anyway, thanks for reading!
All you friendlies that I don’t get to see on a regular basis: I miss you!

*Kels

 

Exhaustion=My Life

Well, 

For those of you who have not heard yet, we got kids on Wednesday! We have an 8 year old and a 4 year old. They are sisters. I’m pretty sure I can’t say much more than that on the world wide web, but we are having a blast.
Life has changed tremendously, for example I’m tired ALL THE TIME. Ok, so, that’s not really all that different, but I am really tired. On top of being tired I got sick like a day before the girls came to live with us, and it has just gotten worse. And now Clint has it =). I’m good at sharing. 

Enough about us, I’m sure you’d rather hear more about the girls.

I can’t post pictures, and I can’t tell you their story, but I can tell you about them and a little bit of what our life has looked like so far.

The older one is quite the mother hen. I think she is very used to being the boss, so that has been a bit of a battle. She is so sweet, and a great helper though. She especially loves to help me cook. She also loves music, she conned Clint in to starting a “rock band” with her and she makes him practice every day. She also loves softball which Clint is thrilled about, because he is dying to have someone to play sports with.

The younger one is so sweet, and very compliant. We rarely have a hard time getting her to do what she is supposed to do. She is very affectionate, loves to be held, and is quite the chatter box. She told us tonight to “please turn down the music so you can hear me singing” =). She constantly tells us she loves us and never wants to be in a room alone. 

Those are our girls in a nutshell. They have already wiggled their way right into our hearts, and took no time at all making our house their home. Tomorrow they get to see their mom and they are so excited =). I am excited for them. 
I haven’t met her yet, but it seems like she loves them, and is really trying to make a better life for them. 
So now you are all caught up =).

I will keep you posted!

Thanks for reading.

Kels

Today’s Life

So here is the scoop:

We got our license for foster care about 2 weeks before we left for a 3 week trip home for Christmas.And then there was silence.
Until about 2 days after we got to Oklahoma (Who is surprised?), and it was perfect. A 3 and a 5 year old. So we prayed about it, called our case worker and said that we would be home in 7 hours.
But they had already found a placement.

We haven’t had another call.

I know that God’s timing is perfect (and, for that matter, God’s timing is the only timing). So we will wait. Anxiously. And we will pray every day for the kids that God is planning to place in our home eventually.

Thank you all for caring enough to want updates on our lives. We love you all.

Kels