March 31, 2011

A Toddler and A Belly. How did that happen?

  Probably on a daily basis I look at Sylvia and ask Brian – how do we have a toddler?  When did that happen?

  Also on a daily basis, I look at my large, tumorous looking stomach and ask – how in the world did this happen?  (Before I get any snarky comments – I’m aware of how it happened.  What I mean is how did the pregnancy  go by so fast.)


  Yesterday my sister requested belly pictures so that she would, “Have something to make her laugh.”  Thanks Steph.  I don’t think that’s really fair since you never had to go more than 37 weeks into any of your pregnancies, but I will humor you.


But first, some pictures of the toddler.  (How did that happen?)


IMG_0875 This is a completely terrible picture of me. (displaying the fact that my largest t-shirts don’t even fit me anymore.)  But, I posted it because look how stinkin’ old Sylvia looks!!!  STOP GROWING!




We played and played and played, and then she walked 1/2 a mile around the trail.  Have I mentioned she’s active?






kisses for daddy.



If you can’t tell here, my maternity shirts don’t even fit anymore.

I’m that pregnant lady who walks around with the very bottom of her stomach showing.


On Sunday I said to Brian, “I feel like I’m getting to the point in my pregnancy where I just look humongous.”

His reply?  “Honey, you’ve looked humongous for a few weeks now.”

That’s love.



  Here’s to the countdown!  Only three more weeks!  My midwife says things are looking perfect.  As of 36 weeks she was posterior, but since she has started to turn.  We’re ready whenever she is!!  Can’t wait to meet our baby girl.

March 22, 2011

Fun Weekend!

  This past weekend we had a four year old little girl for respite Friday through Sunday.  When we get short term respite placements, we do our best to spoil the heck out of them!  Not in a ‘their long term foster home is going to hate us’ kind of way.  We just want them to be absolutely sure of how much they are loved here – even for just a couple of days!



We had lots of fun doing art projects at a fun craft place nearby, followed by dinner at Chick-Fil-A (of course!) which got a resounding – “What?  They have a PLAYPLACE??!! This is the best place ever!”


The only thing better than crafts?  Crafts under a blacklight!




Sylvia was moderately jealous of sharing my snuggles.



Super Sylvie!



It never fails that any little girl placed with us (with the exception of a couple coming from sexual abuse backgrounds) absolutely soaks up the attention of a positive male role model.  I’m always amazed at the difference that Brian’s focused attention makes with them.


We fell in love with this little girl. So sweet.  I pray that she is loved unconditionally and thoroughly in her foster home!  Sometimes it’s so hard not to wish every respite placement could just move in!

March 21, 2011

Foster Mama Panel

  Fellow foster parent, Jennifer, over at The Lark’s Nest has decided to do a year long panel of other foster Mamas.  She asked if I’d be interested in being a part of it, and I’m super excited to see where this goes!

  Today she has bios up of all the Mamas that have been asked to participate – 11 in all, from all across the U.S. and Canada!  The wide range of locations and experiences will lend itself to lots of info and experience as the panel gets started.



How’s it work?

  Every two weeks Jennifer will post a new question for the foster mamas on the panel to answer.  She will post the answers she receives, which will hopefully end up being helpful for those interested in fostering, or as encouragement and support for other foster parents reading.  We’ll do this for a whole year, and see where we end up!




I’m super excited about this.  I get e-mails pretty frequently from people searching for more information on foster care and adoption, whether it be for support and community, or for a realistic view of what it’s like to be a foster parent.  Hopefully this panel will be helpful in answering some questions!


Head on over and check it out!

March 18, 2011

Back in the Saddle.

  Ahhh, twists and turns, the story of our lives.

I think that some of our twists are a result of a Father who loves us enough to want to teach us to be dependent on Him.  He knows that given the opportunity, I will plan our next two years out down to the letter, even if I don’t realize I’m doing it – and he loves me enough not to let me do it.  He knows there is more beauty in full dependence on Him than there is in a carefully planned out life.

I’m also fairly certain that some of our twists are the result of our fight against dependence, our attempt to plan.  I’ve found that without a very concerted effort to listen, to wait, to follow, I end up trying to take steps that he hasn’t yet led me to, only to find myself doing a little backtracking and learning to wait patiently on God to do the leading.


Either way, twists and turns can be a good thing.  As long as we allow them to draw us closer to Christ instead of just into disappointment when plans shift from the blueprints our hard heads have concocted.


We continue to work with Samaritan Village – although as we do, it is clear that there is a great need for someone to be here working with the organization on structure and sustainability.  There is just work that needs to be done to ensure that the organization can continue to grow and serve in the long term.  Really, in order for us to be able to serve in that way, we need to be here – going to board meetings and being available for phone communication.  Things we cannot do from Africa, essentially.

So, we will continue to work with Samaritan Village from here until God shows us otherwise.  (I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from our children’s grandparents. :) )



Other news?  This means we will be able to continue to foster right now!  I am joyful over this.  Although, God leading, I’d be happy to go to Tanzania, my heart was mourning having to leave fostering.  It is something I am so passionate about, and God has given me such a burden for.  So, praise God, we’re back in the saddle!! 


We actually have a respite placement coming this evening – and since accepting the respite placement have had no fewer than 4 phone calls for other children in need of placement.  (Have I mentioned we need more foster parents?)  So, here we go.

And I’m going to try to be better about blogging again.  I plan to make an effort to blog more about Samaritan Village, the fam, pictures, fostering, and this journey of refinement God’s got us on.


I so pray that God can be glorified in all of this.  In the twists and turns, in the refining of my heart, in whatever ways he chooses to use us.  That is my prayer.

March 8, 2011

17 Months.

  Sylvie, you just turned 17 months.

  When you are 18 months old, you will become a big sister.  You will get quite a shock, I think.  You will turn all your love of baby dolls into helping me with your little sister.  You will be jealous when I have another little girl in my arms.  You will fall in love with a little person who will likely be your best friend forever.

  But for this month, this short month, you are my one and only little baby girl.


  Of course you aren’t so much a baby anymore.  You are absolutely toddler.  Every once in a while you do something that reminds me of your baby side, and it pulls a little at my heart to know that you’re only growing up, and not ever back down.  But every stage is more fun, and I don’t think I’d even go backward if I had the chance.

  You are such a joy.  Now that you’re not teething (temporarily) and you’re not suffering from pink eye (the never ending disease that plagued our house for MONTHS.)  you are happy all the time.  You walk around singing into your plastic microphone, spinning in circles, and giggling almost non-stop.  I feel like I can’t soak it up enough.  You bless my heart every day.


  You are still obsessed with your baby dolls.  You bring them to me to wrap in blankets and then you walk around the house bouncing and shushing them.  It melts our hearts because you sing to them and rock them exactly like your Daddy does to you at night – you’re a great little mommy. 



  You are obsessed with basketball.  Much to your Daddy’s delight.

  You’ve become attached to one of your blankets – the yellow one that Grandma Bonnie made for you.  You want it at nap time and bed time and randomly in between.

  Your vocabulary grows by the day.  No point in trying to make a list of all you say, because you know too many words now! (Some of my favorites: wowie for water and bayball for basketball)  You say ‘pease’ for please and ‘ank-ooo’ for thank you – and you actually use them pretty consistently!  You identify all of your animals by their sounds, and you know all of the parts of your body.  We’ve also been practicing your baby sister’s name – but you’re not allowed to tell anyone else. ;)  You’re getting much better at letting me know what you want  - and you always know just what you want!


  You’ve started pushing limits for sure.  ‘What’s that you say Mommy?  Don’t put the crayon in my mouth?  Well, what if I just hold it right next to my mouth?  What if I just put it on my lips?  Are you watching?’ 

  You are loud, and passionate, and stubborn, and strong willed, and beautiful.


You went down the slide by yourself for the first time!

  We watched your Aunt Amy get married last weekend (‘mamy’ to you).  It reminded me that you won’t always be mine – and made me incredibly grateful that it is many, many years away.  It also reminded me of the huge responsibility we have in raising you and teaching you.  I pray about it every day.  I pray we can protect you until you are old enough to start making decisions, help you make decisions until you are old enough to be independent, and then let you be independent with grace and love.  I pray that by the grace of God, I can show you what it is to be a woman following hard after God – and that His love and correction would cover where I fail.


   Oh, I love you so much.  Let’s soak up this month.


You just woke up singing a song about your Daddy.  I suppose I should go get you.


Love you, love you, love you,


March 3, 2011

Why Foster?


Reason #389:

Change takes Action.

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while.  I feel like we’ve been so lost in transition that it is hard to focus.  But, I’m in the middle of co-teaching my second foster parent training class, and there’s nothing like explaining foster care for three hours a week to remind me why these kids need advocates so badly.


  I recently read

                        This Article

                                         with a myriad of emotional response.  I had to let it sit a while before I posted anything on it to let my soul find some grace for my response.  The article is about a  woman who was recently charged with attempted second degree murder for leaving her son in their attic and almost starving him to death.  24 hours from death, the doctors say.

   I don’t process this article with out some pretty deep seeded bias.  Our sweet boy, X-man, came from a situation not too awfully far from this one.  After nursing a child back to health from the brink of starvation, it’s difficult to look on this story without the eyes of a mother severely scorned.  But after some thought:


  I say praise God that this woman was charged to the fullest extent of the law.  If this story makes you sick, it would make you twice as ill to find out how many people in cases like this are let off the hook, in every sense of the expression.  Rarely are parents in child abuse cases actually tried as criminals.  And that is criminal.  So lets hear it for DeSoto, Kansas – at least someone is willing to do the hard thing for these kids.


  It also struck me that anger is probably a pretty typical reaction in reading a story like this.  Most people probably read this article and feel angry toward that mom, angry for the child, and a sadness for his plight. 

  And it should.  It should make us mad that things like this happen to children (every day.).  We should read it and say, “How can this happen?!!?”

  But I want to ask a hard question.


What difference does it make?


  What difference does it make that we feel angry?  What difference does it make that we cry for this little boy?  Because the reality is, is that after his mom goes to jail, this little boy needs somewhere to go.  Somewhere to heal.  Somewhere to thrive.  And our anger does nothing for him.


Unless we let it move us to action.  Unless we let it motivate us.  Unless we let it call us to the plate.


  There are lots of ways to advocate for these kids.  Our country is in sore need of good foster parents.  There are also programs like CASA that make a huge difference in the lives of these kids.  County foster programs are a great place to go to find out what you can do.  And in the end, some of these kids will need adoptive homes.


That’s Why Foster.


(I realize foster parenting is not for everyone.  That is why I try to include other ways of serving and getting involved.  But – maybe it is for you – I bet you’d be a great foster parent!)


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