We’ve been spending the majority of our time outside the last couple of weeks. We’ve been at the park more than we’ve been at home during the day. That’s how spring should be.
Well, we went and met the kids on Sunday.
(I don’t even know how to refer to these beautiful children. Certainly not yet my kids, not their kids….hmmm.)
We took a few candid photos, but unfortunately nothing that is faceless enough that I feel comfortable posting. Just take my word for it. They are beautiful.
Their ages are slightly (?) different than we were originally told, which will not surprise any of you who are seasoned in ‘the system.’ As of next month, they will actually be 7, 6, 5, and 3. Which would mean that as of October we would have kids ages 7, 6, 5, 3, 3, and 1. I can’t believe I even just typed that. Someone should seriously either give me a strong slap or a strong drink. Seriously.
I know what you want to know. You want to know, did I look at them and say, “Yup, these are my kids.”
I’m hesitant to say that. Only because I’m trying not to let my heart get ahead of the reality of where we are – there is a lot to consider.
Did I fall in love with them? Yes. Would I have them move in tomorrow if the opportunity were there? Probably. But that doesn’t seem altogether wise.
They were all so sweet. I know, I know, all you foster parents are saying, “Well, of course they were Maggie.” But they’ve been in the same foster home for a year now, and have not exhibited any behaviors. NONE. How that’s possible coming from their circumstances, I’m not sure. I’m not naïve enough to think we would never see any repercussions of their past, I would expect to, but seriously, a year and no behaviors?
Our worker, who has been doing this for 20 years, said that these are the sweetest kids she’s ever had on her caseload.
We went over and played for about an hour. Sylvia was so enamored by all the new toys that I’m not sure she even interacted much. We all sat down on the driveway and had popsicles and showed each other our funny colored tongues. Sylvia squeezed her little tush in-between two of the kids to be sure she was a part of the circle too. Naomi was passed between about four different laps. It was fun.
I was also so surreal. How do you go about meeting what may be your next four forever children? I was like someone had just hit fast-forward, or is it rewind? With a little pause in there too? Surreal.
So, we have decided to move forward from here.
Next we will do an overnight visit sometime in the next couple of weeks. Moving forward from there would be a couple of weekend visits, likely in May. Moving forward from there would be the kids moving in with us near the end of May or beginning of June.
There hasn’t been a termination hearing yet. It is scheduled for July. Mom and Dad are absolutely not options at this point, so the only way it wouldn’t go to adoption is if another relative came up who was appropriate. So far they’ve been through three relatives that were hands down no’s, with no appeals. Even so, we have to be, and are, ready and willing to be foster parents for these kids. If something comes up for them that isn’t us adopting them, we will give our support.
So, we’re looking at 8 passenger mini-vans, and shoot, 12 passenger vans too.
I’m so humbled to be here.
This is going to come out disorganized and a little like word vomit. That’s how my thoughts are right now, but I wanted to get this all down for memory’s sake.
To start at the beginning…
Brian and I have always had a heart for fostering and adoption, but we’ve always just pursued fostering to foster, with the idea that if the opportunity to adopt came up with one of our kids that we’d cross that bridge when we came to it. In four years of fostering, that opportunity has never presented itself (which I think is pretty rare, really.) and God has grown in us the desire to adopt. More specifically to adopt a child or children who would otherwise be difficult to find a home for (sibling groups, “older children”, etc.).
There are a number of things regarding our plans, life stage, etc, that lead us to a place where we feel like now(ish) would be a good time for us to adopt. So, back in August of last year, we casually talked to our worker about our interest in actually pursuing adoption (while still fostering) (obviously.).
Here we are, seven months later, not having heard anything, I was beginning to think that maybe fostering is just what God has for us, and that would be ok.
On February 28th our family worker texted me…
“Would four be too many?”
Quickly followed up by…
“If three are school aged and there are no significant behaviors?”
Our immediate response was something similar to, “Are you nuts?” Followed by prayer and conversation. We decided to look into it. Our hearts long to be obedient to Jesus. We’ve been praying to adopt. This is where we find ourselves.
I should throw in there that we trust our worker very much. She is even more protective of our family than we are, and I know she wouldn’t have asked us if she didn’t think it was a good match.
We really hadn’t heard anything about the kids since the initial question from our worker. They were still looking into one last relative possibility, and nothing was for sure.
Fast forward to Monday, when I got a call from our family worker.
The last relative is being denied an ICPC. The caseworker is petitioning to get a court hearing sooner than later for a permanency hearing (upon which they could officially start working on an adoption.).
She wanted to know if we want to meet the kids on Sunday.
It will be very casual. Their foster parents will just introduce us as some of their friends, we’ll hang out for a while and play, and then we’ll leave.
Having maybe just met our children.
They are ages 3, 4, 8, and 11. Girl, girl, girl, boy.
We would really covet your prayers. For discernment, for trust, for courage. But most importantly for hearts like Jesus’ and for Him to plant love in our hearts for our children before we have even met them.
My last thoughts are only,
Wow. What a beautiful life that God has allowed us. What a privilege to follow Him. What an adventure he has us on. Thank you Jesus.
For a little while you had me fooled.
I thought you were going to be my quiet one, maybe slightly calmer than your sister. Less ornery?
Does that face look less ornery to you?
You had me fooled, but not any more. You are a bouncy, bubbly, excited, and energetic little Popp with enough chutzpah for two or three little eleven month olds.
And you bring me so much joy, joy, joy.
I think that, right now, what most defines your personality is your sense of humor. You think almost anything is hilarious. You have a variety of giggles, chuckles, belly laughs – and you use them all very liberally. All I have to do is look at you and say your name and you giggle. You also get so excited at the slightest prompting. I wish I had a good picture of your excited face, because it is priceless.
Of course, you’re happy most of the time, but you’ve also got the drama queen gig down pat. If one of your sisters takes something away from you, or you can’t get your hands on what you want, you crumple into the most pitiful cry I’ve ever seen. The size of your cry matches the size of your petite little frame and it breaks my heart, even when I know it is completely contrived. If you get really sad you lay down on the floor with your face down. It’s pitiful.
You love to be held, I think in part because as long as I’m holding you, you know you’re safe from your sisters. You also love to snuggle, which melts this mama’s heart.
You wave hello and goodbye now and clap for yourself all the time. Super cute.
Getting an early Easter sugar high from your Aunt Shelly. Yes. That is a chocolate moustache.
Your sisters love you. You’re starting to play with them more and more. Sometimes you and Sylvia will just go back and forth making each other laugh. You already have a sister bond, and I love it.
I love watching your little personality develop. And you have got quite a bit of personality in that little body of yours. Speaking of which, we weighed you just after you turned 10 months and you were a whopping 15 pounds. You’re still in 6-12 month clothes, and most people don’t believe me when I tell them you’re almost one. Your just gonna be itty bitty like your mama.
You babble all the time now, and you’re pretty loud most of the time. You’ve just started using Mama on purpose when you’re upset and want me, or if you really want to nurse.
You are crawling all over and you are into everything. You’ve recently started standing on your own, and I don’t think that walking is far off. (You’re going to look like a little six month old walking around.) You seem to be a climber, and also a little Houdini. Keeping you strapped into any kind of high chair is essentially impossible. I’ve just given in and keep an eagle eye on you while you eat your dinner standing.
We put you in your crib at the beginning of the night, and most nights you get in about three hours in your crib before you come into bed with us (six tops). Soon we’ll start putting you back to sleep and putting you back in your crib, but I’m in no hurry to give up getting to snuggle you.
You are quite the little eater all of a sudden, and you’ll eat anything on my plate. You’re nursing and eating more, although I don’t think you’ll be weaning yourself anytime soon. Thank goodness.
I love you and your beautiful spirit.
Love you, love you, love you,
Bella left for her visit yesterday……again.
I haven’t gotten to post, but she was supposed to go home (like, HOME. permanently.) on March 1 – obviously that didn’t happen.
We had heard rumors that they were thinking about pushing the date back a little, but no one had talked to us about it. No big deal. She only lives with us. Why would we want to know when she’s moving anyway?
As I’m constantly reminded - We are just the foster parents.
So, a week before she was supposed to go home Brian called the caseworker to get an idea of what was going on. “Oh, I thought we had this conversation.” was how it started.
They’ve pushed the move back to the beginning of May-ish.
This is frustrating to me for a couple reasons.
I appreciate that they’re being careful. Goodness knows we’ve seen the repercussions of sending kids home too early. But this seems extreme. When Bella goes home it will be on a thirty-day trial home placement, and after that they will have in home services for three months. That’s four months of making sure things are going well, which makes me feel like another two months of back and forth is a little much.
I guess mostly I just see how much this is all effecting her. When all is said and done (assuming they don’t extend it again.) she will have had SIX months of visits Wednesday through Sunday. I want it to be over for her. Of the last six days she’s been with us, she’s thrown up four of them over anxiety and stress. This is not healthy for her.
The good news though, is that Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, Bella didn’t throw up! I’ve tried different relaxation techniques to help her overcome the anxiety and keep her lunch. This week we did deep breathing, in through our noses, and then when we let it out we made animal noises. I know it sounds silly, but she thinks it’s hilarious and it distracts her from her anxiety. Although it probably raises the anxiety level of people who are driving next to me and see the crazy lady in the next car taking deep breaths and neighing. Whatevs.
In through your nose, now neigh, neigh, neigh.
Just photos that I want to make sure I post – for that someday when I actually have my blog printed.
Brian made a zip-line for Sylvia’s babies. She thought it was the best thing ever. I thought it looked like we were hanging her babies.
I started making summer clothes for the girls this month and it’s been so fun! Sylvia loves to model things when I get them finished.
The pretty valentines that we made.
Naomi is just getting big enough that she and Sylvie have started playing together on occasion. It’s the cutest thing ever.
Sylvie nursing her baby.
Sylvie and her best friend Elliana licking the beaters off from making valentines day cupcakes. They are super cute. They declared themselves best friends and talk about each other all the time!
Helping Daddy fix the potty.
These are the flowers that Brian brought home for his daughters. About once a month he’ll come home with flowers for them and they light up. He’s so good at loving them.
Yup. That’s us weighing Naomi in a vegetable scale at the grocery store. At over 10 months old she weighed a whopping 15 pounds. Our petite little beauty.
I have recently discovered an age old genius parenting move. (Thanks Pinterest!) It requires only 15 minutes of prep a week, and the kids (and me too. not gonna lie.) are entertained for hours.
Home made playdough.
We make jewelry, we make cookies, we make big globs of five colors all squished together. (Which I don’t mind because, hey, it only takes 15 minutes to make all new colors! They love it.
Also, the smell of homemade playdough takes me right back to age four.
She is such a goof. Not a clue where she got it from.
Very serious work.
I am having so much fun now that Sylvie is old enough, and we have Bella, to do crafts with! We come up with something crafty to do most every day, and I’m pretty sure I have just as much fun as them. Love being a mama. Love it.
P.S. Here is the recipe I use. I got it from Skip To My Lou.