Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Dust has settled a bit from our difficult week, but things are still tense.

L. is at a counseling session right now with his dad. I was planning on going but was not able to due to childcare issues/preschoolers getting on and off buses. I wonder if he might be able to open up more with me not there anyway. He did NOT want to go. It's a pastor from our church who is a school counselor and youth leader, so I am sure L. is embarrassed and worried about what might happen.

We had a fun day yesterday with friends at the bay. We packed hot dogs, salads and smore stuff and built a fire near the water. The kids had a great time playing and the weather was mild and perfect in my opinion.

We haven't had any more foster care placements, which I think is perfect for now. We had a lot going on and I can't imagine going through that while caring for another child. I am still learning the ins and outs of how things work. I haven't received an invoice for payment yet, and I think today is the last day to turn it in. I hope I can get things figured out soon.

We are needing to plan our summer. There are a lot of possibilities for activities for the kids. But I need to come to some decisions about what to do!

Public school is in the works for ALL my kids in the fall. I am a little sad, but I think it is the best thing at this point. L. will be a high schooler, C. a jr. higher, K. a 2nd or 3rd grader (not sure yet on placement), E. a kindergartener, S. a preschooler. Wow. If there is an event in our school district, you can bet we will be there!

Friday, May 27, 2011

How quickly

How quickly time has passed...
from the moment I first held my first born son in my arms in the recovery room after an emergency c-section delivery, to hugging a 14 year old son now taller than me!

We've quickly gone from a Batman fanatic to a moody, teenage young man.

And after a quiet dinner of mac n cheese eating outside with his siblings on a sunny day, he had gone without any indication, no one really even noticed he left until late in the evening, we all thought he was hanging out in his room.

How quickly my mind jumped to the worst possible thoughts of things that could have happened to my baby boy.

How quickly our community banded together to help. Pictures were posted on facebook, police officers and sheriff deputies were searching, friends came to sit with me and take little kids for a bit. Many offered to pray and give emotional support.

How quickly, yet how SLOWLY 17 hours passed while he was missing. A note was found that he had run away, and my worst fears where being shared with my level headed husband. How quickly I broke down when he unplugged our computer to take into the police station to have it analyzed.

How quickly I was RELIEVED yet so ANGRY when my son was found by a friend and brought home. Praise God he was unharmed, and came back safe to us. Things might never be completely the same again for our family. We are working on some things, but I must say, his reasons for leaving seemed so small in our adult minds, sister issues and things like that. He had spent the entire night outside, alone.

Please pray for us and him.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Foster kids

We got our license approved for foster care on Wednesday. During the phone call to let us know we were approved, we were also asked if we wanted to take our first placement, or two. They had two girls who needed a place temporarily. While we were only approved for one child due to WA state law of no more than six children in the home, the licensor was able to approve a waiver for us to take these two girls in. They were ages six and less than one. Super cute and pretty sweet. K. had a great time sharing her room and things with her new friend. The next day the social worker called to tell us they would be leaving. K. cried and cried. But, to our surprise, four hours later they called again and said the home they thought the girls would go to didn't work out and wondered if they could come back. We said, "of course!" and K. was overjoyed. They stayed for three nights and four days. By the end of the forth day I could tell the K. was getting a little tired of her guest. It was great timing for them to go back to their family. We are glad it worked out for a reunion. The older girl was really missing her mama. Two new kids was very wearing on me, so I am not sure if it will be something I would do on a regular basis.

Monday, May 16, 2011

let go

Six months ago we were faced with some very difficult problems after struggling to bring Mercy home from Uganda.
  1. We tried for months to get a court date.
  2. We got a court date and were refused to be seen by the judge, and any other judge in the capital, where they have a family court division.
  3. We could not get a court date in the smaller town where Mercy was from, after trying for weeks.
  4. I needed to be home with my family after a total of nine weeks being gone. My mother in law who was staying with the kids needed to return home across the state to her husband and her job. She was not able to come stay with them again later.
  5. Mercy's caregiver who needed to be present in court and the visa appointment was going out of the country for a month and the holidays meant courts were closed.
  6. Families who had filed for full adoption where having a difficult time, and the legal guardianship process was now moving smoothly. We filed for full adoption based on her medical needs.
  7. We had no more money for traveling back and forth.
  8. We were noticing some BIG behavior/attachment issues. More than we first realized. Stuff that we were unsure we could handle.
So while I sat alone in my room in Uganda counting down the days for my return flight home, I felt like a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I realized, maybe God is saying NO.

I came home from Uganda, alone without the little girl we had hoped for. Our family was able to rest and pray and make a very hard decision. I had many debates going through my head, the biggest one was how do we know what was God's will or our will? Was it really God's will for us to adopt Mercy, or was it our own? I had reached out to other adoptive friends to ask for prayer and advice. A few had arguments that it could never be God's will for Mercy to remain in Uganda and not get the help she needed. They said we should fight harder, that we would always regret the decision should we chose to give up. We would be letting satan win.

Surprisingly though, many people were supportive of us if we decided to let go. Some were friends who were professionals in the adoption field, and others were parents who have struggled with children suffering from RAD and other problems. We asked our pastors, church friends and others to pray for wisdom for us. We spent nearly a month in prayer and finally had to let people know what we felt God was telling us to do.

The toughest part of breaking the news was telling Mercy's caregiver. I typed the email and sent it, knowing it would break many hearts. So much time and effort was put into getting paperwork ready. Sharing the news with friends was difficult too. So many people had walked along side us on the journey, praying, helping financially and at home while I was away. I felt like I was a quitter, giving in.

A good friend sent me a note saying "Guilt is not from God." It made me feel so much better. And the many months of healing began. The guilty feelings melted away and things began to feel right again. I felt as if a weight had been lifted that had been there for over 12 months. I can remember the day I first felt that weight: the day they said "yes, you can adopt Mercy". It was exciting and scary. I wasn't sure how we would afford the expenses and travel, or how we would be able to leave the kids for at least a month. After reading the email with the news, I went to take my morning shower and cried out to the Lord, in fear, apprehension and anxiousness. I asked Him if he was really sure this is what we were supposed to do. I don't recall ever getting a confirmation from Him. And I think this is where we failed.

We moved on, pushed forward and went ahead. Mercy needed help and we were here wanting to provide it. We were excited to add to our family and we blindly went through the process. I felt like J's quick agreement to move forward with another adoption was a sure sign this was meant to be, since he was usually slower to agree to big things like this. But through the long wait process and the lengthy time in Uganda, I don't recall ever feeling like God had promised Mercy to us. I was uneasy the entire time. I wasn't sure if it was the right time to add to our family. I was not sure about the needs Mercy would have. But I felt like since things lined up just right for us to travel, funds were raised and donated, and we were so emotionally invested, we were surely doing the right thing.

So, after the decision was made, the email was sent to Uganda to Mercy's caregiver at the orphanage and to our attorney, after we cried and talked and prayed, after we broke news to friends, family and church, after explaining many times to our children why Mercy would not be coming home, and after so much time has gone by I still dream of Mercy and Uganda. I had a wonderful time getting to know some wonderful kids. I experienced a beautiful country and met some awesome friends. My husband and I had several weeks to spend together. I had a lot of time to study the bible and pray. God had a purpose for me going there, He refined me.

Thankfully, I no longer feel guilty. I no longer feel heartbroken. I feel peace. I feel God's plan was different than ours, that His plan is better than ours. I am excited to see what He has for us.

But I still. miss. Mercy. I don't think I ever felt like she was ours. She is God's, and I feel like she is right where He wants her to be.

If you want to read about the process and trips, click on Africa in the labels section of the sidebar.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The BIG day

My idea of what this special day would be like was different that how it really turned out. I was hoping for sun and lots of friends, a big party to celebrate S. Our family friends did not come out, and the forecast was cold with 80% chance of rain. But I tried my hardest not to let that damper my joy. I felt like it was a wonderful day to honor a brave little guy.

My brother in law took time off work and drove three hours to come help, along with my mom. We had C. stay home from school. God is so good, because at the last minute, more P.D. family decided to come help! A few other officers came out on their day off with their families. We had many hands to help put together the play set. It took longer than we expected, about four hours.

Uncle Nick shows C. how to work the power tools.

K. at the entrance to her fort.

E. loved hanging out by the snack/drink table!

I spy...

S. and E. liked working with the tools a friend brought to share.

It started to pour rain, so my mom and I took the little kids inside and hung out while they played. We had pizza and pop, donated by a local pizza place. There was a cake too, but by the time everyone was finished, they were cold, wet and ready to get going so we had to eat it all! Make A Wish had a few surprises too. A new bike and helmet for S. (with a name plate), balloons, and tickets for our family to the nearby zoo.

We were all so tired and ready to get to bed early. The next day we had nicer weather and the kids were able to spend a long time trying out all the fun features and played HARD.

THANK YOU so much to all who were involved
in making S's wish come true.
He will enjoy this for many years. We feel so blessed!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day one work party

We had a big day last Tuesday getting things ready for the playground set up. Rock and wood chips needed to be loaded up and spread, and the wood frame to contain them needed to be put together. All these materials were donated and delivered by local companies and individuals.

J asked co-workers to come out on their day off to help. We were surprised by how many people came out! What a blessing to be part of a wonderful "family" and support system. The sun even came out for a while. Someone brought out a gadget (transit) to level the wood frame as it was built and make sure it was all straight. We were loaned a big sound system for music. Most people brought extra tools and wheelbarrows. Muffins, juice, water and granola bars were brought in by Make A Wish. Some people came out and stayed just a while, and some stayed until the project was finished. We are so happy by the way it turned out and thankful for the hard work everyone gave for S!

crushed limestone...hard work!

S. and Dad

S. would not take off his bike helmet
but we figured it was good protection with all the hazards around!

S. got lots of rides!

S. and his Make A Wish grantor (and Jackson the dog)

most of the work crew

For some reason the pictures we took were blurry on one side. Maybe the lens was dirty from little fingers. I hope others got some quality pics!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Site prep


We woke up early to the sound of machinery in our yard!
Coast Construction came out to help finish the job for S's wish.
First they brought in several dump trucks of a sand/soil mix.
Then they used a backhoe to level out some of the dirt.

Next they laid out this road fabric to help keep down moisture and displace weight over the peat bog muck.

And with several trips moved the dirt closer to the site and eventually onto the fabric.

They spread and leveled it, making it look nearly perfect!

We met Skip who finished the job (there were two guys who traded shifts). He was great, going over the ruts left by the trucks and even sweeping the driveway. Coast Construction donated all of this for S. I was overwhelmed by the scope of the whole project, and they saw it through to the end. All their work ended up being worth about $2000. Two machines, fuel, 3-4 loads of dirt, road fabric, electrical repairs and 12 hours of labor. We couldn't thank them enough!

On Tuesday a group of J's coworkers and friends are coming to help set up a wooden barrier and bring the wheelbarrows full of wood chips in. Then on Wednesday more friends are coming to help set up the playground and create a limestone bike path around it. We would like it to be more of a celebration of S. than a chore. If you would like to come out, let me know!
PLEASE pray for no rain.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rippin' Dirt

25 yards of wood chips to go under and around the play structure was delivered today, all donated. The man who delivered has a grandson who received a trip from Make a Wish about eight years ago, from the same wish grantor as ours! What a small world.

Poor S. was scared of the HUGE truck.

Quite a big pile!

Yesterday we had the big CAT come out to the house.

S. was really uneasy and sometimes frightened by the big machine.

three big stumps were pulled up!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Long days

I have been busy lately! I am always a bit busy but the last few weeks seem like a whirlwind.

We had a wonderful Easter. J led worship at church and we enjoyed a wonderful message. Then we went to our friends' house to have a yummy lunch and fun, chaos filled Easter egg hunt. We left there and drove to my parents house to visit and have dessert.

I have been cleaning and organizing the house to get ready for our home visit for our foster care license. It took me a LONG time. Partly because I procrastinated.

We did have the visit on Monday. It went well we think. The licensor will write up the report by the 11th. There is a 90 day deadline by state law to have paperwork completed starting the day we applied. I can't believe it's already been that long! After the office looks over the report we could have our license a week or two later. Wow.

I also got a job on Monday. A friend of a friend needed childcare for her son for two to three days a week. I am on day two of caring for him and so far so good! He is a cute little guy and fits in well with everyone.

Make a Wish volunteers came out this morning to do some site prep. Coast Construction volunteered to come out and pull stumps and level the ground. We ran into some issues...muddy, poor soil and cut electrical lines (yes we did try to locate them first but were misinformed). Thankfully the owner of Coast was a gracious and helpful man and had some good ideas. He brought in some heavy duty road fabric to lay over the muck. Then called in a load of sand to put over the fabric in the low areas. This will be delivered Friday or Saturday. We will have a bunch of wood chips delivered to put over that and then the playground. It is quite a process. J had to come home from work to help with the power line situation and stopped by the hardware store to get supplies to splice the wires. The Coast guy spliced and repaired the cut lines like a pro. He gave up so much time, resources and energy for us and S. Really made me feel good that he did such a great job.