Sunday, June 5, 2016

how has foster care affected our boys?

We have been talking to our boys about adoption for years now.  They have come to understand what that means and what that might look like.  For so long they have waited and waited for a new baby and have been SO, SO, SO excited for a new baby brother or sister.  And then mom and dad go and change things up on them and get licensed in foster care.  Each step of the way we've been honest and told the boys about the changes and how foster care looks different than adoption.  When we got the call for baby G, they all had such sweet reactions.  Lincoln smiled ear to ear and started jumping up and down saying "yay! finally!," Caedmon was more subdued and was a calm "excited" and Dietrich just said "yay, baby!! yay baby!"  That night after baby G came, they all fought over who got to hold him again and again.  Lincoln was overly helpful constantly asking me "can I feed him? can I hold him?  can I hold his bottle for you?"  And anytime I would lay baby G down it was an instant swarm of big brother RIGHT there in his face talking to him, making silly faces at him, gently stroking his head and talking about his cute little toes.  It's safe to say they all attached as quickly to him as they would have if I'd had a baby biologically.  Instant brotherly love.

When we switched to foster care I was at a loss as to how to explain it all to the boys in a way that didn't tell it ALL.  So our social worker gave me some good advice.  She said to explain it as the parents of these sweet babies that come into our home, are sick.  They are so sick that they can't take care of their kids and so while they are getting better, we get to take care of their child.  But then to go further and explain that even if mom and dad don't get better, that the child might go live with an aunt, uncle, grandma or grandpa etc.  And then asking the boys, if we were sick, you would want to go live with one of your aunts and uncles or grandmas and grandpas, right?  Of course they said yes so it made it a little easier for them to understand why a child will leave after living with us for awhile.

Fast forward to now.  We are in the middle of saying good-bye to baby G.  Last week I was informed that we would be doing a visit with his relative and that kind of solidified it for me.  This was moving forward.  So that night we told the boys what was happening, about the visit coming up and that baby G was eventually going to go live with this relative.  Dietrich and Caedmon didn't really respond much but Lincoln was instant tears.  And lots of tears.  So we cuddled and cried with him and talked him through it, answering his questions as he had them and reminding him of what our job was as a foster family to love him as long as he's with us.  After that sad night each of the boys has made comments daily about baby G leaving.  On the way to the splash pad last week Caedmon randomly asked me how many more days we had left with baby G and I told him we didn't know yet.  I look back and see him thinking hard about it all and then he spotted a water tower out the window and moved on (seeing water towers and shouting out that you see one is a fun game we do right now in the car lol).

We took baby G to his visit this past Thursday and how that looks it us taking him to the children services office and then meeting his case worker and the relative in the waiting room, we hand him over and the relative has a supervised 2 hour visit.  Of course I had all three boys with me as well and as we are giving him to his relative the boys said "wait! I need to give him a hug!" so all three proceeded to hug and kiss him in his carseat carrier.  We all laughed and I told the relative that baby G is VERY loved!  We leave the building and as I'm buckling Dietrich in his carseat he keeps sadly saying, "I miss baby, I miss baby."  Tear my heart right out and stomp on it.  Sheesh.  But it was short lived and he moved on.

I say all this just to show you all how it's affecting my boys.  I know some people don't want to get involved in foster care because they think it'll be bad or hard on their biological or current children.  Guys I'm here to say, kids are so resilient and my boys are learning so much about loving and caring for the fatherless through this.  They are seeing what it means to see a need, take a step out in faith and meet that need.  They are seeing how to put other's needs first.  Just last night as Lincoln was helping me fold laundry out of the blue he said to me, "mom I hope baby G's mom and dad appreciate our help when they aren't sick anymore."  And it wasn't said in a harsh tone like we deserve for them to be appreciative, no it was more of just a straight forward thought that he had.  He knows that we are helping them and helping baby G and it just showed me how much he is being affected in a good way by this experience.

We will find out more about when baby G will leave, this Tuesday at our meeting with his case worker but I know it's coming soon and I'm bracing myself.  Every time I pick him up my heart hurts because I love him so much.  But it's a love that I feel to my core every. single. day. when I look into those big dark eyes.  So straight to my core that it could bring me to tears at almost any moment.   We ask that if you think of it, would you pray for us as we say good-bye to our first foster-love.  :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

worth the risk

It was only a short 6 weeks ago that we got our first call for a placement of a 3 week old baby boy.  And ever since, we have fallen head over heals in love with him.  A baby who came to us needing love and that's what he's gotten.  Lots of it.  We have all since gotten attached to him and him to us.  It's been so fun to watch attachment happen with a child who is not biologically yours.  Little things like him turning his head towards my voice after just a week, how his crying changes and calms once he hears my voice, now the eye contact and smiles.  When he came to us, it was a little bit of a unique situation and we kind of got our hopes up that since they weren't working a case plan with mom or dad that he would be headed toward adoption.  Of course they had to look into all relatives but because of his situation, relatives, for the most part, had already been asked about taking him and said they couldn't.  So I let my heart "go there" about possible adoption.  I thought about what it would look like and how he would fit so perfectly into our family for the long run.  Then a week after he came, his case workers came to visit and said that he had a relative that was very interested in taking him.  {insert my heart dropping into my stomach} It was then that I realized that we needed to put our "foster care" hats back on.  That is what we are doing and we needed to mentally be there too.

Fast forward 5 weeks and this relative has now passed their background checks, the home study (which is not as in depth as ours was) starts this week and on Thursday I will take him for his first ever visit with this family member.  So the ball is rolling and unless something drastic happens with the home study or they change their mind, this is where baby G will go.  I'm not sure when or how fast this will happen but it's coming.

I know nothing about this family member other than what the case workers have told me but I'm trying to be supportive.  As far as I know, this is a good situation.  He is wanted by them and that makes a huge difference.  It doesn't matter if I think he'd be better off with us or not, family reunification is always the first priority and we need to support that.  We are foster parents and our job is to love these kiddos for as long as they are with us and that's what we are doing with baby G.  He is so, so loved here and we've given him the best start to life we possibly could and now we will watch him reunify with family and pray for him the rest of his life, even as our hearts are shredded to pieces.  Because this hurts to much, I know that we did our job well.  We didn't hold back and protect our hearts, we dove in head first and put his need for love above our own protection

It seems like every time we are out in public with baby G and someone finds out he's in foster care/we are foster parents, the first thing they say is, "oh I could never do that, I'd get too attached!  I would have 100 kids because I could never give them back!"  And they are so right, yes they probably would get attached, because that's what we do!  That statement makes me feel a little like they think I must have a cold heart or that I'm somehow stronger than your average mom and can keep myself from getting attached and that's why I can do foster care and they can't.  And that's just not the case.  It implies that only certain people can do foster care when really more people  can, they just don't realize it yet :)  The only thing that you need to be able to do in order to do foster care is to put these kiddos ahead of yourself.  I'm just a regular mom who said, "yes."   Another foster mom said it really well, "Did you know that we are never promised tomorrow, even with our birth children?  But knowing that you stood the risk of somehow losing your child did not stop you from having that child, did it?  It would be tragic and earth shattering if something happened to my birth son.  It would be tragic and earth shattering if something happened to my adopted sons.  And guess what, it is tragic and earth shattering when we lose our foster sons and daughters too.  But, the possibility of loss doesn't stop us from letting them in.  They are worth the risk of loss, just like my biological and adopted sons have been.  We are only promised THIS moment in time with anyone in our lives.  So why let the fear of losing a foster child stop you from investing in them?  You don't let it stop you from investing in anyone else in your world.  Choose to use the moments you have to the fullest and impact the world around you  for the good.  Because - ya know, you just might gain more than you ever lose!"  @libbyarnoldwan

This transition of letting go of baby G is going to be crushing.  It's going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done, but he is so worth it.  Worth every tear we will cry.  I've been stretched so much starting this journey and it's a beautiful thing.  Just like my stretch marks from my biological children are still on my body like beautiful reminders of what I did for them, I am stretching in other ways as a foster parent.  It's going to stretch me to say good-bye to this baby that I love like my own.   All this stretching requires a strength I've only been able to have because of fully leaning on Jesus through it. This is going to be hard but I can do these hard things for these kiddos.  Because they deserve at least one person in their life who is willing to do that.

So here we are getting ready to say the hardest good-bye of our lives and guess what we'll do?  We'll grieve and cry but then sign right up to do it all over again.  Are we crazy?  No, just willing to sacrifice a little for a child who needs love. :)


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Call.

Today is the 4th full day that we have had Baby G with us and it has been such a whirlwind!  And what a wonderful whirlwind it has been!  There is so much I want to blog about, so much that I've learned already about myself, the foster system and just fostering in general.  But for today all my sleep deprived mind can handle is that first day.  I want to remember the details so I have to get it down before I start to forget some of it.  

We knew it could be any day that we would get a call.  We were able to meet our support worker and her supervisor last Friday.  They came out to our house to see it and to just get to know us a little better.  And before they left they said, "who knows, you could get the call this weekend or a month from now."  Little did we all know it would be 4 days later. :)

 I had been on high alert constantly and Tuesday was no different.  Monday Tyler had worked a long day.  18 hours to be exact and so he decided to take the morning off and just go in for a little while in the afternoon.  I had planned on going to Y to workout so we all just ended up going together.  We got home, ate lunch, and sent Lincoln off on the bus.  Tyler left for work and I put Caedmon and Dietrich down for naps.  I made myself something for lunch and after doing a load of laundry and picking up around the house I sat down to do my quiet time.  My "first 5" app devotion was on having faith and what faith exactly is.  "Faith is being sure and certain.  It's having complete assurance and trust in something or someone.   It's believing in action first -- even before we experience a hopeful outcome or receive fulfillment of a promise made."  It was exactly what I needed to read as I was trying not to get discouraged while we were waiting.  To have faith in God's perfect timing.  

I had a little extra time after I was done so I opened up my iBooks app and was reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. So I was sitting on my couch just staring at my phone, deep into a book when my screen changed and it started ringing.  It was from our agency.  I jumped right up as I answered and told myself to stay calm, they are probably just calling to talk about something else.  And then I heard the words, "Hi Marie, I'm _________ and I'm calling about a possible placement."

She proceeded to tell me details and I frantically searched for a pen and paper to write down as much as I could.  I was also darting around trying to find my sheet that they gave us with questions to ask about a possible placement.  I finally found it and by this time I'm shaking uncontrollably.  All my writing is hardly legible because I was literally shaking so hard.  At the end of the call I told her it was most likely a yes but I of course had to call Tyler to ask for sure.  

I called him right away and after telling him everything he just said, "so this is really happening?!  ok, tell her yes!  I'll be home ASAP"

He's so even keeled and I'm over here having to change my shirt because I'm sweating so bad from the adrenaline rush LOL.  

I called the agency back and gave our official "yes" and this all happened around 2:45 and she tells me that the social worker will be bringing Baby G to our house sometime between 5-6pm that same evening.  Excited. Nervous.  Scared.  Panicked. Overjoyed.  What do I do first?  I stood in the middle of my kitchen just frozen, trying to organize my scrambled thoughts and making a mental list of what I needed to do to get ready for a newborn to come live with us in 2 HOURS!  The first thing I knew I had to do was get up in our attic and get the newborn tub of clothes down and get them in the washing machine.  So I'm tearing apart our attic looking for it, bringing tubs inside, trying to find all our baby items that we might need.  I broke a light socket in my rushing and almost fell down the stairs but eventually I got everything out that I needed and by that time Lincoln was getting off the bus.  I told the boys what was going on and they were all so excited!  Caedmon's first words out of his mouth are, "do we get to keep him forever?"  Bless his heart, we have been and still are, trying to explain it all the the boys but it's a hard thing to wrap their little minds around, a baby coming to live with us for a short time or possibly could turn into forever.  

Tyler got home around 4:30, I pulled a frozen lasagna out of the freezer and stuck it in the oven so we would have something to eat once the case workers were done with paperwork, and then we just waited.  We all just sat in the front room staring out the window like crazy people.  ha!  And right at 5pm on the dot, our case worker pulls into our driveway.  We aren't sure what to do, do we wait inside for her to bring him in? Do we run out there?  :)  We met her on the front porch and she took us over to her vehicle, opened the door, got this sweet baby out of his carseat, turned to me and said, "are you ready?" and just handed him to me.  Just like that!  Oh my heart.  In that instant our world collided with his and our lives are all changed forever.  He was so tiny and I was told he was super fussy.  I held him from that point on while we did an hour or so of paperwork and he didn't make a peep.  He was perfect.  

It was all a bit overwhelming and it's still kinda crazy but we are so in love with this little boy.  We are adjusting to having four BOYS and I love that I get to do this journey with Tyler.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow with Baby G, but in reality we aren't guaranteed tomorrow with any of our boys.  So for as long as he is with us we will love him fiercely, like he deserves.  


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A letter to our future foster child

The whole process of adoption and then getting licensed in foster care has been a continual marathon of "hurry up" and "wait."  Hurry, hurry, hurry get all that paperwork filled out, notarized, signed, and turned back in, hurry and get all your inspections scheduled and done, hurry and get your classes done.  And now wait for your paperwork to get processed, your inspections to be approved and for your license to come in the mail.  So now we are back in the waiting game.  We have been licensed for 3 weeks now and I'm in such a weird phase of mixed emotions.  We have been told all along that there is a huge need for us and the age range we specified so I was prepared to get a call within the first week.  That obviously hasn't happened and it's weird.  I'm so anxious to get a call that I want it to happen soon BUT the truth remains that if we get a call that means something bad has happened.  Something REALLY bad has happened to this sweet, little child who didn't ask for this.  He/She will be coming to us because the world is broken, THEIR world is broken.  So I'm stuck in this strange place of emotions.  I'm not sure how to feel.  We want to add to our family because we know it's not complete yet but adding to our family through foster care comes only because something has been broken.  There is hurt and pain involved with adoption of any kind.  So we are hear and waiting.  To be ready if/when we are needed to care for a child who has been hurt.  Unfortunately it's going to happen, a child will be traumatized or neglected and we have been on our knees praying for that child.  That whatever is happening to them at this very second, that God would protect them like only He can.  So we wait.  We pray.  And I never let my phone out of my sight or put it on silent! :)

So while I wait to meet you here is a letter I've written to you...

Dear little one(s),

I can't stop thinking about you.  Who you are, what you look like, how old you are, what you are doing at this moment.  Are you 2, 6 months, a newborn or still in your moms womb?  Are you hearing or seeing things that make you scared?  Is a chaotic, scary world all you know so far in your life?  I want so badly for you to know that you are already loved by us.

I'm constantly thinking about how our lives will change once we meet you.  When will the call come?  What will I be doing?  You might be scared of this new place and these strange new people.  We are not scary people and you will soon learn that.  You'll have three protective big brothers who are SO excited to meet you.  They will all fight over who gets to hold you first (even if you are 2, they are going to want to try and hold you) :)  Our routines will change to add you in and I think often about how I will probably be up a lot at night with you and how more coffee will become part of my life.  I've prepared a beautiful room just for you.  This might be the first time you have your own room and I've tried very hard to make it special just for you.

Ours lives will soon be intertwined.  We will learn all sorts of things about each other.  I will learn your favorite toys, your favorite foods etc and you will learn things about me like how I use a soft, soothing voice when you are crying, how I will hold you tight and rock you and hopefully you will learn to trust me as a safe person who really loves you and will care for you like you need.

Maybe we will be together for a lifetime or maybe for just a season but I'm so excited to meet you.











Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Foster Care: getting the room ready

It's been quite awhile since I've blogged over here and I kinda miss it.  I didn't miss it for a long time. Life is so busy that this was one thing that I had to let go of in this season of life.  It's fun for me but it was also just one more thing to do.  But now that we are going to be doing foster care, my goal is to blog along the way not only to document things but also to inform all of you of what foster care really looks like.  The good, bad and the ugly.  Foster care gets such a bad rep and all you ever hear about are all the out of control kids and bad behaving teenagers etc.  I hope to shed some light on the other side of foster care and show you all what it's really like.  I'm not going to sugar coat it though either.  We know it won't be all rainbows and stars.  It's going to be hard.  But it's gonna be worth it.  God has called us to this and even though we know we aren't anything special, we know He will equip us what what we need as we go.  

So I heard from the supervisor that is reviewing our home study and she said she has 3 other home studies to approve before ours so it's looking like we will be approved and then licensed beginning of next week!!!!!  

So since we could potentially get a call the day we get licensed, we've been getting ready for awhile now and the nursery is officially done and ready for our first placement!  So I thought I'd show you all what it looks like.  When trying to figure out how I wanted to decorate it to not only be gender neutral but also for a foster placement and of course cheap or free, so I did a lot of searching for foster rooms on Pinterest to get ideas.   I found quite a few free printables, I used frames that I had on hand and painted them white, changed up the curtains a little, painted a dresser white and used it as the changing table and got creative with storage solutions.  Here is how it turned out...

I love how this collage turned out!  And even better, it was free!  I had all these frames already and the prints I searched high and low on pinterest for and they were all free printables.  But I didn't just find free printables and that was it, I carefully chose each one specifically for this room.  











And here is the finished dresser/changing table, I absolutely love how it turned out.
(the pictures of Dietrich will be replaced with pictures of the child)

Because we live in a split level home, we have a grand total of ZERO storage. So this closet has many functions.  Right now it has all of Dietrichs hanging clothes, a dresser for storage of baby items that we may need on a short notice once we get a placement, several sizes of diapers, extra blankets, and this is even where we have to store our luggage when it's not being used and up on the top shelf is my wedding dress all boxed up! We make it work :)


So there is the room!  All we need is a 0-2 year old to come stay in it!  We truly cannot wait to start this journey and I hope you all follow along as we wade these unknown waters and bring you along for the journey!  

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Because there are kids who need homes. Tonight. In our city."





I wanted to write and update everyone on our latest adoption changes!  We have been officially waiting with our domestic adoption agency for almost a year.  In that year we have had two exciting calls telling us that we were picked by a birth mother.  But so were 2-3 more couples.  We all met with the birth mom, she asked us questions, we asked her questions and we went home and waited to hear if we were matched.  Both times we got the disappointing call that the birth mom did not choose us.  It's a very emotional rollercoaster but our perspective in all of this is that adoption is not about us.  It's about what is best for the child.  So as much as we want to add to our family and wanted those babies, we were happy that these birth mom's were brave enough to choose life for them and the best family that they thought for their unborn babies, even if that family wasn't ours.

But through this whole past year, foster care has been brought to our attention more and more.  I've met tons of families who are foster parents, read so many blog posts about families who have fostered/adopted and their experiences, done tons of research and through it all, God hasn't left me alone about it.  

So we have decided to change directions with our adoption.  We are going to do foster to adopt.  We have started the 9 days (12 classes, 36 hours) of classes and training.  We have completed the first class and we will get the 8 that are left, done in the next 3 weeks.  We also have to have another home study done (our current one doesn't transfer even though it hasn't expired yet) and will hopefully be licensed soon!  

We are very, VERY excited about this change and can't wait to start.

On our mark.....get set.....GO!



But wait Marie, I have so many questions!

Ask away!  Feel free to ask me in person or just keep reading because I've answered some FAQ's down below.....because I'm a mind reader ;) and I know what most of you might be thinking since I had some of these same questions.



Why in the world would you do foster care?

We, as Christians, are told to "look after orphans and widows in their distress" James 1:27.  That looks different for every family.  Some sponsor orphans, some adopt, some financially support those adopting, some do foster care and still some support foster families.
For our family that looked like adopting an orphan.  To give a child a home who needs it.  To help a hurting child.  We initially pursued international adoption but the doors were closed with every country we looked at.  Either we were too young, already had too many children, or because of Tyler's job, we couldn't travel to certain countries.  So then foster care came to mind briefly but I was scared.  We had had a bad experience with not being able to adopt Baby J almost 4 years ago and I made up excuses about why we couldn't do foster care.  So we decided on Domestic Infant adoption.  And as I wrote up above, we've gotten really good at being "rejected." Haha.  We got "rejected" again and again and to us it started to feel like God was closing this door.  We began praying about if we were supposed to change directions and do foster care.  And once we started praying about it, God just kept opening door after door.  I would randomly talk to a friend who was also considering foster care, or stumble upon a blog on foster care, or hear an interview on the radio with social workers in our own COUNTY.  And with the more I talked to people and the more I read the less scary it seemed and the more doable it became.  And the more excited about it I became.

While I was reading all those blog posts I came across one that really stuck with me.  We were passionate about domestic adoption because it was a way to give pregnant women another option instead of abortion.  And it absolutely is but there are also lots of women who chose life for their babies and decide to try and parent that child.  And sometimes that decision doesn't turn out the way she had hoped and her precious babies need to spend some time in a safe foster home while she tries to get her life back to how she had planned.  This particular statement stuck with me, "BE THE SAFETY NET these kids need when their mother's decision to choose life doesn't go the way she hoped it would.  We can't just ring our hands about how our society is going to hell in a handbasket based on the latest revelation from Planned Parenthood.  People, GO GET THE HANDBASKET, THERE'S A CHILD IN IT."  -A Musing Maralee   And the need for foster parents has become greater.  In the past 5 years the number of kids in foster care, in our county alone, has more than doubled.

Are you going to be able to handle it?  Getting emotionally attached and then have to give the child back to their birth parents?

That's a very valid question because yes it will be hard to get attached to a sweet child and then have to let them go back to their parents or relatives.  I know people will tell me that they could never do it because they would get too attached, but that's the point.  These kiddos need someone to attach to them.  In order for them to learn to attach to someone, they have to learn what healthy attachment is.  The reality is, the hard life that these children have had so far is much worse than any grief I will have to work through when they leave.  So I'm not afraid to grieve.  I'm afraid of what would happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them.  So we are willing to take that risk.  :)

But the system is so broken, there's no way I could deal with it.

Yes sometimes the system seems so broken and these kids are held hostage by it moving slowly.  We can use that as an excuse to not get involved or we can be a safe place these kids call home while they wait.

What about your boys? Won't they be exposed to these "damaged kids?"

Our boys are our top priority.  We have talked to them about Foster care and how it looks different then what a domestic adoption was going to be like.  And they are excited too.  As long as it's in the best interest of our boys, we will continue with foster care.  And for our family we have decided that we won't break the birth order.  So we will accept children younger than Dietrich.  I know that breaking the birth order works for some families but we have decided to not do it.

Why are children placed in foster care?

Children who are placed in foster care have either been abused or neglected in some way and foster care is a safe place for them to stay until their parents can make changes and get their life back on track.  If that doesn't happen then other options are explored.

How long will the foster child be in your home?  At what point are you able to adopt them?

I'm still learning it all but a general answer is that for 6 months, the child's case worker is working with mom or dad to get them back on the right track and at 6 months there is a meeting to decide whether or not they will still keep working on reunification with parents or if they are now going to be looking for permanency (meaning adoption)  And I think at that point even if permanency is the route they will be taking, it can take quite a few more months before adoption can be possible.  I think the average time it takes is 12-15 months.


Foster care is a switch in how we view adoption.  We've changed how we think about it.  Because right now as we become foster parents, our goal is to give a loving and safe home to a child for as long as they need it.  Whether that is a couple months or for forever.  We are willing :)

And one last quote to leave you with that hit me hard, "It's scary, right?  Scary to think about letting a child into your life that might leave you, or getting involved with some shady biological families, or letting "the state" into your home.  There are lots of reasons to be intimidated about foster care, but just one BIG reason to do it.

Because there are kids who need homes.  Tonight.  In your city."
-A Musing Maralee.


Here are some great blog posts to read:

http://www.amusingmaralee.com/2015/08/the-system-is-too-broken-is-not-a-good-excuse/

http://www.amusingmaralee.com/2015/07/outraged-at-planned-parenthood-support-foster-kids/

http://www.amusingmaralee.com/2015/02/so-you-want-to-adopt-from-foster-care/

http://www.amusingmaralee.com/2014/04/minimize-the-negative-impact-of-foster-care-on-your-kids/





Sunday, February 8, 2015

Long Overdue Adoption Update!



We are still here!

We are DONE with lots of paperwork!

And we lived to tell about it! :)

It's true.  We are done with our home study.  Actually we've been done since the end of November.  We became "officially waiting" then but how our specific process works with domestic adoption is that once the home study is done, then you create a profile book.  This profile book is all that birth mothers will have to go off of when choosing a family to place their child with.  So no pressure at all to get this book PERFECT!  I may or may not have *freaked* out a little about this whole profile book thing.  It was just a lot of pressure to put the right things in there.  Ya know?  There were certain guidelines that our agency gave us.  Including things like, making it mostly about Tyler and I to begin with - how we met, our love story, when we got married, things we like to do, then just one page per child telling a little about each of the boys (you don't want a whole book about your kids), making sure that Tyler's voice is heard in the book.  A lot of the birth moms are looking for a family where the dad is very involved since that is something they most likely lacked growing up and want for their baby.  Other things to include are what a typical day looks like for our family, some of our traditions, our families (grandparents, aunt's/uncles, cousins) and then also writing a page to the birth mom.

So to get all this into a book that looks appealing and and shows our family without coming off as overwhelming.  Easy Peasy, right?  I had to stop trying to guess what the birth mom is going to be looking for and just write about us.  Our family.  What we are all about.  Needless to say it took me a LONG time to finish this book.

I got it done about 3 weeks ago, it took a little while to get it "approved" and then I got 3 books ordered from shutterfly and shipped to our agency.  EEK!

So in other words we are officially, official!  It's strange not knowing any kind of timeline.  This could literally happen tomorrow or 2 years from now.  We are assuming it'll be more of a longer wait since we have 3 kids and families with multiple kids usually don't get picked right away.  So just preparing our hearts for a longer wait.

BUT since we have a current home study done, we can take that in almost any other direction if something comes up.  Say a friend of a friend is unexpectedly pregnant and is wanting to place the child for adoption, we could pursue adopting that baby.  Or any waiting children here in the US or international (if we meet that countries "rules")  So our plan is to adoption through our agency BUT we are open to pursuing another route with our home study if something comes up that we feel is right for our family. :)

And where do we stand financially?  The total for our adoption is $23,000 and we only have $9,500 left to go until we meet that goal!  $9,500 is a LOT of money but compared to $23,000 it seems much more doable :)

If you are reading this and would like to partner with us to give a child a loving home, there are a couple ways you can help.  :)

I've had a couple people ask if they could donate directly to our adoption fund and yes that is possible!  We've set up an account at youcaring.com where people can donate through paypal.  Here is the link:

http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/help-tyler-and-marie-give-a-child-a-loving-home/304118

*ANOTHER OPTION*

Are you a fan of both Coffee AND adoption?  Well you can get your coffee and help us out with our adoption at the same time!  How?  Well there's this really cool site that sells coffee and then a part of the proceeds come straight back to us for our adoption!  How awesome is that?!

Here is that link:
https://justlovecoffee.com/rfamilyadoption

AND as always if you want to give a gift that gives twice you can shop my Origami Owl website!

http://mariesdesigns.origamiowl.com/

It's so cool to have a front row seat to watch God working through this adoption so far.  Adoption has been on our hearts for so long and we put our "yes" on the table without knowing how in the world we were going to come up with such a huge amount of money.  And each step of the way He has provided and I know that He will continue to provide.

And right now I've traded in all the home study paperwork for Grant paperwork :)