Wednesday, June 16, 2010

8 months of fostering R & P

{don't forget about our adoption fundraising giveaway and the t-shirts! we're almost halfway to our drawing date of july 4th so get your entries in today :) thanks!!}

well, today officially marks 8 months since R & P joined our home and family. wow! i can't believe it's been quite that long!

i remember when we first got the phone call for them, thinking that this would just be very temporary...possibly even a few weeks at best, but then panicking a little inside when we went to our first case plan meeting and heard that they would be sticking around longer than we thought. to be totally honest, i cried quite a bit those first few weeks when the boys were asleep and no one was looking. i cried because i was scared - scared to be raising my first infant but more scared to be raising a teenager who was just 12 years younger than me. i told God many nights back then {and truthfully, still some now} that i had not signed up to foster a teenager, and especially a teenage boy. i was also scared of the heart ache that was to come. i found that just after having the boys in our home for 6 days, i was already feeling protective of them. i didn't want them to go to their seemingly suspect relatives despite not being sure that we could handle raising them either.

ryan and i talked a lot in the beginning about all the "what ifs". the biggest one being, "what if they become available for adoption?" i laugh now because i remember the first few months talking about this quite a bit, and usually one of us {it changed depending on the day} would say that we probably couldn't ever adopt them. we would explain it away..."there's just too much baggage", "we're too young to raise a teenager", "it would put us in danger", "it would be awkward when we added more children to our family", etc. oh how God has changed our hearts!!! now whenever we're trying to guess the ending to this crazy mess, we both adamantly agree that no matter how hard it would be, we would definitely adopt them if they became available.

*now, just to clarify, the chances of them becoming adoptable seems very slim at this point. we had a home visit last week with the boys' social worker and the plan for "family reunification" is still on. however, we still don't have a concrete time frame for when that will take place. the SW said that she plans on continuing the 4 hours of unsupervised weekly visits through the end of june. then possibly in july, she will be upping the unsupervised visits to 8 hours/week for a couple of months and eventually begin overnights for a few months some time in the fall.

so, since i'm already on the kick of pouring my heart out about fostering R & P, i will admit that the thought of dragging the reunification process out another 4-6+ months makes me a little crazy. all along, i've just had a feeling that the boys would be back with their mom before the school year started but it doesn't sound like this is the case. i guess it just goes back to me wanting to be in control of the situation, but when i think about this, fear starts welling up inside me again. i think about the hardship of losing the boys now and i cannot imagine what it will be like after another 6+ months of loving, caring and attaching. i also selfishly think about how hard it will be to try to possibly raise 3 kids if we still have the boys when we return from ethiopia with our newest family member...

however, while i know that most of these feeling are probably normal, i have to remind myself daily that the life that i am living is not my own and that these thoughts are not helpful or edifying to our family or to God. it is my own sinful heart that is trying to convince me that my plans for my life are better thought out than the plans God has ordained for me. i never dreamed about being a foster parent, especially not at this stage in my life, but despite all the whining and complaining i do about it from time to time, i could not think of a way i would rather be serving the Lord right now. God is at work in our family situation sanctifying these two sweet boys, my husband and my selfish heart. whenever i grow fearful of the unknowns of this situation, i try to cling to 1 john 4:18:

"there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."

so enough about all that emotional stuff :) i want to give you an update on the boys!! they have both come quite a long way since october...

R has been busy this summer so far with basketball camp, hanging out with my mom {his nana} and my nieces, and traveling with ryan. we have seen some pretty marked progress in him over the last few months. he seems to be much more relaxed in our home, with our family and with his situation in general. he definitely is excited about the prospect of being returned to his mom, but always talks about the things will do together in the future, as if he's planning on staying in touch {which makes us really happy!}. i'm scared to even type this for fear that i'll jinx us, but his lying habit has seemed to improve quite a bit too. {that, or we just haven't caught him lately :)} he even opened up and had a good cry 2 weeks ago with ryan after a rough day at basketball camp, and he has not cried once since the day i picked him up at the CPS office. he is much more outgoing and social then he's been in the past. although he would never admit it, he loves mikayla and mikenna. despite their wide age gap {the girls are 7 and 6}, he likes teasing them and playing the "big brother role". he openly talks with us about our adoption from ethiopia and has promised that no matter where he's living at the time, he'll be waiting at the airport to greet his new family member. he finished out the year with all passing grades and will advance on to 7th grade, which is something we're all very proud of! although he's still not very affectionate towards me, he occasionally drops the tough guy act and gives ryan a big hug. overall, he's doing well and we love him a lot!!

baby P is not much of a baby anymore :( he's moving on quickly to the toddler stage! he is walking at least half of the time now. he can definitely do it without any problems but i guess he just doesn't love change and still prefers his former method of crawling. he loves him some food! {this hasn't really changed at all though because he's been a great eater since day one}. he weaned right off his bottle the week of his first birthday and hasn't looked back since. he prefers finger foods but will not usually eat them directly from your hand. he has to put them down on his tray or on the table first, and then will pick the food back up to eat it. he loves animals but still thinks that they should all be called "dog dogs". he knows the word "no", probably too well, but he doesn't really like it. when someone unfamiliar to him says it to him, sometimes he'll break down and throw a little temper tantrum. he loves his "yea yea" as he refers to me, and prefers hanging out with me over everyone else...except for my mom! he loves balls and will say the word "ba ball" repeatedly for hours!! despite his love for the bath, he hates the swimming pool. the first time he didn't have a mental breakdown around the pool was this weekend but i think it was only because i was the one in the pool with him. he was clinching on to my arms so tightly and any time i tried to bounce him, he freaked out! we're working on it though. he's a sweet, smiley boy and is a joy to have in our home!

well, that's probably more than you wanted to know about our fostering situation but i felt the urge to share :) have a great day!


Anna K. said...

How wonderful - You have done such great things for those children and changed their lives for the better. You and your husband are such wonderful and loving people.

Katie said...

This was encouraging and awesome to read. I'm sure it's incredibly difficult to have your life planned one way and it go another (coming straight from a planner of life myself). You and Ryan doing foster care makes my heart warm. I hope to find my foster family in the future--they had 4 sons of their own and were foster parents to several kids. So people like myself are grateful for people like you.