February 26, 2010

A beautiful mess.

As I was vacuuming yesterday, I noticed something about my house that just didn't seem quite right. I went through the living room and the vacuum didn't pick up any cheerios or raisins. I didn't have to pick all the books up off the floor and put them back on the bookcase in order to vacuum the entryway. I could actually get the vacuum INTO the playroom! That's right folks...
And I'm just not quite as thrilled as you would think. I've decided that anytime I can go a whole week without the house being completely destroyed - our home is missing something. Soon Sylvia will be making messes all over - that are not of the diaper variety - but this week our house was void of those messes, and I actually missed them. I'm even tempted to call my worker and let her know about this situation that needs to be remedied asap:
Fill our house with whining! Fill it with laughter! Fill it with running! Fill it with naps, snacks, and more poopy diapers! Fill it with messes!

I was explaining all of this to Brian last night over dinner, and he came up with this hypothetical graph (I know you can't believe Brian would do this. In between graphs he mentioned something about his last name being Popp.). I probably rolled my eyes and called him a dork. Anyway, he said that the messes must have direct correlation with the joy in our home. That is until they reach some critical mass where they intersect with my sanity, then the joy begins to decrease even as the messes increase.
Wow. I can't believe I just included that in a blog post. Any of you Popps reading should be proud. Ha!
Overall though, I think he's right. It reminds me of something my mother-in-law told me - The kids remember how much you loved them, not what the living room looked like.

All that to say, I'm looking forward to our next call from the agency saying their sending a little more mess our way.

February 25, 2010

God's Heart

Love this video. I am so excited for the day that we are able to adopt one (or more!) of our foster children. But until then we'll foster! Foster parenting definitely doesn't get the air time that adoption does, but it is so important. Children in foster care need homes and love!
I believe God's heart is grieved by these children with no one to love them.

Let's love them. Who's with me?

February 23, 2010

In Confidence...

I've gotten a few e-mails as of late about confidentiality and limits on the blog. This is a great question.
Until fairly recently, the only people who read our blog were family and very close friends - people who knew our kids anyway. So I wasn't super concerned regarding confidentiality, their names, their pics...etc. With X-man I used a nickname for his safety and for ours - it was just one of those cases.
Because there are a lot of people reading now who would not otherwise know our kids, beginning with our next placement I will be much more careful about keeping their identities more anonymous. I'll continue to use nicknames, and I will also do some sort of pixelization (word? probably not.) of their photos. That way I can still post them, but they are not so recognizable.
Confidentiality is really important, for the respect of the children and families, and sometimes for the safety of the children or foster families (like in X-man's case).

Thanks so much for the questions - via e-mail or comments - and keep 'em coming. I'm so happy to answer any questions that I can, or to offer other resources that I know of.

Also, I wanted to say thank you so much for all of your kind words, comments, and prayers. They really do mean so much. I love reading your comments, and I've been so blessed by your care and concern for our family. I pray that God is glorified.

Thank you.

February 22, 2010

A Letter for my Boy.

My Sweet Boy,
You left last night, and it is just so quiet here. Sylvie and I don't fill up our home all by ourselves quite like you did. I already miss you, and everything reminds me of you. It seems there is a hole in my heart where you resided - and while I know from experience that it will get easier for you to be gone - you'll always have a piece of me.
I love you more than you know, little boy. And I will pray for you every day that you are gone. I will pray that you are safe and that someone is loving you incredibly. I will pray that you learn to know God's love, and that you find your comfort in Him as your King. I will pray that you grow up to be a man after Him.
I pray that a family scoops you up that will love you endlessly. I pray that they will learn quickly that you are obsessed with Cheerios, that when you put your hand out it is because you want kisses, that mummo means that you are hungry, and that you love to be tickled on the inside of your little knees.
To me you will always be my son, and know that you will always have a place in our home. I will miss you always, but this season has passed for a reason - and I just cannot wait to see what your life has in store. You are an incredible little boy - you are so strong and loving. I will miss your kisses and your laugh, but you are going to bring such joy to the world with those smiles.
I feel so blessed to have gotten to love you for this season. God used you to help me grow these past 51/2 months - and you are only one year old - think of how he's bound to use you as you grow!
My heart hurts. But only because God fit us together so perfectly. It's always hard to say goodbye - but we will see each other again. Although you won't call me mama anymore, we will always be family.

I love you always.

Love you, love you, love you,

February 21, 2010

Project 365 - Week 3

From our pudding fun. At least I had fun fingerpainting.

X-man giving Sissy hugs. Very sweet.
Sylvie loves her Nana. Nana loves her Sylvie.
Yes. I am eating quite possibly the world's largest scotcharoo.
I looked into the living room to find Daddy dancing with Sylvia. Wrapped around her finger? Yes.
Love you X-man.

February 19, 2010

Good Lovin'

I got a phone call yesterday afternoon letting me know that the court has ordered for X-man to move. I was expecting this - what I wasn't expecting was the IMMEDIATELY that followed up that order. When I asked what immediately meant, my worker, in the nicest possible way let me know that they wanted him moved yesterday evening. My mind really started working, "That's not fair! Brian won't even be able to say goodbye! He's supposed to go out of town with us this weekend! I can't even get his stuff packed up by then! This is not ok!"
After a lot of tears and some superman-strength pulling of strings by our worker, she still said we only had until today (friday) in the afternoon. But then she called a little later and said we could keep him until Sunday evening, so he could go out of town with us. Praise God!
I've been mentally preparing myself for his move - but I was not prepared to say goodbye in under 24 hours.

I will miss him so, so much. This is the worst part of being a foster parent. Saying goodbye. I think no matter how many kids we say goodbye to, it will always hurt. But that is good. It means we loved each other well. Good lovin' makes it hard to say goodbye. I really just have to keep in mind the blessing that it has been for him to be a part of our family for this time. Even with the hurt, I would not trade it for anything. God placed him in our arms for a reason, and he is moving on for a reason. I just pray he remembers our love.

Because we love that sweet boy so much.

More of an update soon. Please pray for his little heart during this transition.

February 18, 2010

Paint? No, EAT!

I thought X and I would have some fun finger painting. I was actually going to make these homemade finger paints...but then I opened our fridge and there was pudding in it! Lazy? No. The pudding would have gone bad otherwise.
Anyway, I was very excited about this fun activity. Much more excited than, say, X-man when I sat him on the table in the middle of a bunch of pudding. He was not a huge fan.

That is, until he found out it was EDIBLE. Oh, now this changes things. When he found out that he could eat the pudding, this was all of a sudden a very, very fun activity. I would try to smear his hands in it to encourage his finger painting skills - but the only thing he was interested in smearing was his hand across his mouth!
This may look like finger painting. But really, it is a very concerted effort to scrape ALL of the pudding off of the paper.

Boy oh boy, this kid's done a real 180 since way back when, yeah? I'll post an update when I hear anything about the court hearing.


X-man's court hearing is today. If you could send a prayer up, I'd really appreciate it. And so would he, he just doesn't know it yet.
Mom canceled her visit this week - which was quite possibly the last time she would have ever seen X. I understand that there is snow on the ground. I understand the weather is not optimal. But it could be that she just canceled her last visit ever. You could have broken both my legs and I would have been there. But I digress.

Goals of court today: (as I see it)

-get charges pressed on mom and dad
-discuss X moving in with his brothers
-finish the trial

Chances of these happening....approaching nil, but like I said - if you could send a prayer up.

February 15, 2010

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

I finally got Sylvia on video rolling over. She seems to be a bit camera shy. Anyway - here it is! Mostly for the grandma/grandpa, aunt/uncle types - as I'm aware this isn't quite as exciting for others as for her adoring parents. ha!

February 14, 2010

Project 365 - Week 2

Our pictures for the week....

Happy Valentines Day from my Valentine - the Sylvie girl.
This would be why we don't have a t.v. This t.v. was still up from when we hosted a superbowl party - and anytime it was on, Sylvia was glued to it! (Not to mention her daddy!)
Ahhh. Chick-fil-a deserves at least one picture a month. Seriously. This place is a wonderful haven for a half-mad mom at lunch time. It's wonderful.

The heart says "marry me". For those who don't know....Brian used conversation hearts that said "marry me" to propose. A special place in my heart. (No pun intended)
This is what Sylvia does when I sing to her. It's precious. She gets all excited and smiley and can hardly contain herself. LOVE it.
She loves her mommy.
Our weekly Sunday morning breakfast....Jiffy muffins. I look forward to this.

I just realized that 2 of the seven pictures this week are about food. And really, I almost posted a picture of where Brian and I went to dinner for valentines day too. But - food generally brings joy. Jesus used food as fellowship. These are excuses - but I LOVE food.
X-man has been spending weekends at his brothers' foster home. He is supposed to be transitioning to living there so that he can be with said brothers - however we've been told that he's supposed to be moving for 4 months now. We really think it will be soon now. Which makes my heart sad - but it will be best for him. This weekend is a long weekend for the kids, so he's staying until tomorrow. And I miss him. I wish he were here tonight to watch the Olympics with us curled up in our pj's. I miss his laugh. Can't wait to hear it tomorrow.

February 10, 2010

Love and Forgiving.

I realize I just posted.
I just dropped X-man off at his visit. For the first time since he's been with us (almost 6 months) I met his mother. They have been avoiding any contact between us and his parents for our safety. They wanted to keep us completely anonymous. The combination of mom being completely compliant, X's dad being MIA, and mom not having contact with dad for the last 6 months led them to allow us to meet.
I didn't know I was going to meet her today. I didn't even know who she was when she walked out with his caseworker until we were introduced. But it has changed my heart.
Any animosity that I felt just disappeared upon seeing her. I'm not sure why, I guess this is God's way of working on my heart in this situation. She looks so young. And she is - much younger than me even.
The reality is, is that she is just a person. And being able to see someone as a person, instead of just this ambiguous character that allowed something very horrible to happen to someone you love makes all the difference. She's just a person, fallen like the rest of us. I have no reason or right to judge her, even in a circumstance like this. She just needs Love.
My heart was overcome when I met her. Not because I pity her. And this is not to say that she is not responsible for some very terrible things. But I was overcome with the need to pray for her - to lift her up to the only One who can bring healing to her heart, my sweet boy's heart, and my heart.

My sweet boy, her sweet boy, looks so much like her. Regardless of circumstance, he is her little baby - no legal change, no foster care, no anger, no adoption can change that. He is her little baby. Her little baby, and my sweet boy.
It's interesting how connected you can feel to someone so different, and so strange to yourself.

Please pray for her. For her heart, and for her healing, and for her to understand what Love IS.
Pray for me to love her.

A Flexible Update

To be sure - as a foster parent, you learn to be flexible. Like yesterday, when our worker called to let me know that she had sent me the phone number so that I could call in to participate in X-man's case plan meeting - in half an hour, and that his visit is canceled, but would be taking place today from 3:00-5:00. Like I said-flexibility.
His case plan meeting was fairly typical, slightly informative, slightly frustrating. Nothing huge is changing in his case as of now. Mom seems to be doing everything that they have asked her to do - but it is not evident if this participation is in hopes of getting the boys, or in hopes of staying out of prison. This case was just so severe. In most cases I am able to empathize with the parents to some capacity, and support them in their efforts towards reunification. In this case - I'm really struggling, and mostly I just think they need to be in jail. Partly to prevent them from ever, ever doing anything so terrible again - partly because of feelings of retribution that I'm still working through, prayers will be needed.
Today is X's visit with his brothers and his mom. If charges go through on February 18th like they are supposed to, after this visit he will most likely only see his mother one more time - ever. Really, I think this is best for the boys. And still, (even with said feelings of retribution) that just seems so huge....and sad....for the boys and for their mother.

We had our foster parent support group meeting last night. The topic was health department standards and regulations on foster homes. Not one of my favorite parts of fostering. (or....I hate this part of fostering.) It kind of seems like the list of rules just gets longer and longer, but our agency is really awesome - so it's not so bad. We just got done re-licensing for the year, and it was about .0001% as difficult as initially getting licensed. Questions about licensing? Send 'em my way.

Since this was kind of a downer post....I'll end with a few pictures of the cutest kids ever. Biased I am not. ...Off to X-man's Visit!

Sylvia sporting her Mizzou gear. If it were up to Brian we'd sing her the fight song every night before bed. ha!

February 8, 2010

Fostering Questions

A woman who is currently taking foster care classes e-mailed me this question. With her permission I am posting it, just in case it may be helpful to someone else. I'm happy to answer any questions about fostering! Using my background in social work, and our experience as foster parents, I'll provide one perspective, and would also be happy to point you to other resources!

Thanks so much for getting back to me and I do have a question - this Friday (12) we are having our first home visit - we would like to adopt - do you think we should say we want to foster to adopt or just adoption alone - I of course would love a baby and
I know I don't want to go above the age of 2 - what should I say????
Thanks for all of your input.


This is a tough decision! Without knowing you, or more about your family, I can only tell you what I do know. As a caseworker, I had several foster parents on my caseload who fostered to adopt. Many of them did a wonderful job, and I loved placing kids there. There were some, who although they did a fabulous job with the kids and loved them very much, struggled with the role of fostering. They struggled, because really truly their hearts were in adoption. Because of this, when they had a child placed with them and they got very attached, it was difficult for them to always support what was best for the child if, say, it turned out that it was best that they go back with their mom and dad. It was difficult because they loved the children so much and wanted to adopt so badly, that they could not see that there could be something better for the child than for them to adopt them. Does that make sense?

This is not to say that you would not be able to foster just fine! Many people are able to separate their desire to adopt from what is best for the children.

What I would recommend is talking with your husband about what your heart's passion is.
Would fostering be a means to an end (adopting) or do you have a heart for fostering and adopting. If you had a baby placed with you and the caseworker decided it would be best to work toward the baby going home, would you be able to work towards that with the team on the case? (Not to say it wouldn't be difficult! It's difficult for any foster parent!) It's very important that the foster parents can work as part of the team towards a common goal.

To sum up this (very long, sorry!) e-mail, I would recommend that if fostering would simply be a means to get to adopt, I probably wouldn't do it, and I would go with strictly adoption. However, if you feel like fostering could also be something that you are interested in apart from adoption, then give a try! There's nothing saying that you can't decide later on that fostering isn't your thing - so you could try it out and see where it takes you!

I hope that this was a little bit helpful! Just make sure to talk it over with your worker very honestly, and she should be able to help you too! Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with! Let me know what you decide!


Project 365 - Week 1

Week one of Project 365. I never claimed to be some prolific photographer...but I think this will be fun.Fairly typical X pic. He does this daily - sneaks into the pantry while I'm nursing Sylvie and eats whatever he can find - he's a stinker like that.
He loves baby Sylvie - and I think she'll miss having a big brother when he leaves too.
This photo compliments of X. If he can get his hands on the camera, he likes taking pictures because it makes the flash pop up and go off.
Clean girl. No better smell than a clean baby!
SNOW. The story of our lives this week.
Does this picture need a caption? I don't think so.
My sweet girl turned FOUR months this week!!!

February 6, 2010

X-man on the Move

Here's the promised video of the X-man in motion. He's walking more on his own now (we don't have to hold a carrot out in front of him anymore), but he still crawls a lot because speed is more his thing. He is so proud of himself.
He also now likes to put things in the baby's mouth. This is a fabulous new trick. Just today I'm pretty sure she's tasted the puzzle piece, a mega block, his finger, and he might have even shared one of his boogers with her. ...At least he's sharing...sharing is a good thing, yeah?
X-man has also discovered his operatic voice. He sings while doing everything - pulling all the books off the book shelf, emptying the trashcan, eating lunch. This is how I know he's awake in the morning now. I hear him singing himself a beautiful song - and it really is one of the best sounds in the world.
His court date was reset for February 18th, and we're fairly certain he will probably move shortly thereafter. Of course we've been told he'll be moving soon for 4 months now, so we're not placing any bets.

Anyway, without further ado - X-man, mobile style.

February 4, 2010

You Know How I Like a Good Deal...

Some may call Brian and I cheap. I prefer thrifty. Bargain hunter. Fiscally efficient. I love knowing I spent less on something than I had to because I waited for that perfect deal. This penny-pinching has led to Brian and I making a lot of our own furniture and decorations - which I love.
Anyway, the only thing I like more than a good deal is FREE! I read about this on another blog I follow and I thought I'd pass it along... If you go here they'll give you one free 8x10 canvas print of a picture of your choosing. You just pay S&H. It's also 50% off if you order additional pictures. I'm excited...definitely ordering one.

Just thought I'd share for anyone else who is cheap...I mean thrifty.

P.S. after installing my nifty hit counter (bottom right), I figured out that there are several people (and by several, I mean like...20!) who keep up with my blog who don't ever comment! I am all for blog stalking...so don't be shy. I'd love to hear your comments!

February 2, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends...

Ok, so here's the deal.
Last week we had two couples who we are good friends with start foster parent classes. YEAH!!! We are very excited for them, and for all of the kids that will get to call them mom and dad in the coming years. After talking with both of my friends as they were coming to the decision to foster, they both commented on similar things. While having friends that are foster parents was not the initial seed that planted interest in fostering - it made it less scary to know someone who is already doing it, their stories, their challenges, and the blessing that it is to foster.
In correlation with all of this...Brian and I have also had a running brainstorm on how we can further allow God to use fostering in our lives to glorify himself. Enter: blog. I would LOVE to be able to use this blog as a tool for advocating foster parenting - along with our regular family updates. I would LOVE to use the stories of our crazy lives to make people less afraid of what fostering is, and to liken people to the idea of fostering. Or if nothing else, just make people aware of all of this craziness.

So....if I haven't lost you all already... I want to know if you have any ideas that could make this more effective. Ideas on how to increase readership with people who may be interested. Ideas on what bloggy-type stories might spark interest in fostering.

This may seem like a strange post...but I want your input! ...We'll see where God takes it from there...

February 1, 2010

Project 365

I'm going to try to join in on this project for the next year. The idea is to take one picture per day for the entire year - posting each week on Sundays. If nothing else, it will be a fun quest to look back on. ...We'll see how it goes!


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