Six Months?!!!!

Seriously?!

I haven’t posted anything in six months, although anyone who still reads this blog already knows.

Honestly, I’ve started posts, have had trouble deciding the direction I want to take the posts and ended up deleting them.   Now that we’re practicing social distancing in our house, I really do have a little more time to write down my thoughts and share what’s happening in our lives.

When I last left you in September, we had a lot of changes so I’ll begin there.

We added a puppy to our home.  A little Morkie named Bridget.  She belong to Naomi who had been asking for her own dog for several years.  Of course our concern was that she would grow tired of caring for a puppy, but Bridget is her baby and they are attached at the hip.  I’m a little surprised at how well she’s done taking care of her overall.

About the same time we added Bridget, we added Arryn’s baby brother.  We weren’t sure how Arryn would respond to sharing the attention with a baby, but she loves him dearly.  She kept calling him baby, which she pronounced bubby and he is now known as “Bubby.”  For a matter-of-fact, I’m quite sure he thinks his name is Bubby.  He is now 8-months-old and has been with us about 6 1/2 months.   He is now crawling, pulling himself up to things and recently figured out how to get back down once he pulls himself up.  As is typical in foster care, we really don’t know how much longer we’ll have him and continue to wait for new information month after month.

In October, we received a call from a case worker who was very familiar to us.  When I saw her name pop up on my phone, I knew exactly why she was calling.  Our two kiddos who left us in May to go live with their aunt, were coming back.  I won’t go into all the detail for many reasons, the least of which is how long this post would take to write, but the girls have been back with us for almost five months now.  This is their third time in our home and we are now waiting for the judge to make a decision on the case.

If I still have any readers, I hope you are all safe and healthy during this pandemic.

I will also do my best to post again soon, including pictures.

 

Three Months Later

I’m writing a post.

I can’t believe that this much time has passed, but yet it has.

Our summer has been full of activity.

* Homeschooling

* Vacation to Florida

* A month-long trip to Illinois

* Visiting family

* Visiting friends

* Welcoming our new grandson into the world

* Getting to know our grandson’s mommy a little better

* Spending time with our son (our grandson’s daddy)

* Spending time with our bonus grandsons

* Spending some time with our oldest son (our grandson’s uncle)

* Finding out we’re adding Arryn’s baby brother to our family (at least for awhile)

* Adding a new puppy to the family

Like I said, our summer has been full of activity.

Maybe I should spend some time writing posts about each of these topics.  After all, there is a lot to share and I’ve been slacking.

Stay tuned.  It may just happen.

 

 

One More Time

It was January 31st, 2018.  I was sitting in the parking lot of the girls acting and art school when my phone rang.

“Hi, we have a baby boy who is 5 days old and being released from the hospital.  Would you be interested in taking him?”

After getting all the information, I said yes.

In the State of Texas, just because you say yes to a placement, doesn’t mean you are getting that child.  All agencies who respond to the broadcast regarding a specific child(ren) wait on the case worker to choose the family.  So on our way home from the girl’s classes, I got the call saying we were chosen.

I rushed home as quickly as I could and a short time later our agency manager arrived with her portion of the placement paperwork.   Not long after, the case worker arrived carrying a car seat with a precious baby, snuggly wrapped up and strapped in tight.

We oo’d and ah’d over the little guy and began signing paperwork.  A few minutes later the case worker says something about “she,” to which I responded, “Wait!  He is a she?”  We discovered that the CPS supervisor accidently checked the wrong gender box and the baby boy we thought was arriving to our home was actually a baby girl.  LOL!!!

We completed the paperwork and the case worker left, followed shortly thereafter by our agency manager.

Just 4 days earlier, we had tearfully said good-bye to another baby girl that had arrived to us straight from the hospital.  We were all so upset by her leaving, that we had a family meeting to discuss whether or not we wanted to continue fostering.  Even with broken hearts, we all knew we had to continue on and suddenly my nights were once again filled with night-time feedings, diapers and baby cuddles.

20180201_123948[1]

A couple of days after she arrived, I took her for her first visit with her mom.

It was cold and I had her all bundled up as I carried her into the CPS office.

I walked to the front desk asking for the case worker when a woman jumps out of her chair and says, “That’s my baby!”  She then asks, “Can I give you a hug?”  We hugged and she says, “I was so scared that had given her to someone crazy!”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it takes some level of crazy to become a foster parent, but that first meeting with mom made me feel that she did in fact love this baby girl and may actually do what she needed to do to get her back.

 

The girls very quickly fell in love with Little Miss A.

20180207_203457

 

She was a precious baby, so it was easy to love her.

20180214_120947_001

 

I even enjoyed the middle of the night feedings.  A time when it was just the two of us, in the quiet of the night.

20180301_205155

 

As most newborns do, she slept often and one of her favorite places to sleep was laying on hubby’s chest.

20180311_113643

 

It’s amazing to watch babies.  They change so quickly.

20180321_162124

Her straight black hair began to curl ahd her light skin began to darken.  We began to see her personality shine thru.

20180328_105609

 

 

She was tiny little thing.

20180403_075657[6818]

When she arrived, she weighed about 6 lbs and while she gained weight steadily, she gained slowly.

But she did get bigger.

20180410_084037 (1)

 

And grew.

And grew.

Each week, a transporter would pick her up and take her to visit her parents.  Then two hours later, I would leave and go pick her up.  This gave me a chance to talk to her mom for a few minutes after each visit.

At first, her dad wasn’t attending visits, but eventually he began coming as well so I was able to chat with him, although he was much more the strong silent type.

With mom and dad attending visits regularly, I thought she would eventually go back to live with one of them.  In the State of Texas, reunification is the goal, but another goal is to find a family member who will take the child(ren) while mom and dad work on their given plan.

Each month, the case worker would come for her monthly visit and give me an update.  Those updates included information about another family member that was contacted or was being contacted about taking her.  We braced ourselves for one day saying good-bye.  After all, we had said good-bye to 7 other children who went to live with family so we didn’t expect this case would be any different.  Yet each month, placement with a family member fell thru for one reason or another.

And she continued to grow.

Especially her thighs.  LOL!

And we saw so many different sides to her personality.

20180714_180540(0)

We had plans to take a vacation to Illinois and Florida, which required getting permission.  Little Miss A’s mom didn’t hesitate to give us permission to take her, which was  a huge relief since I couldn’t imagine putting her in respite care while we were gone.  By this time, she was so firmly attached to us (especially me), that I wasn’t sure she would do well being away from us.

20180715_185239

She was a great little traveler and she was happiest when she was with us.

20180715_194231

And we were pretty darn happy with her as well.  We knew she might leave us, although it had become impossible to imagine our lives without her.

20180718_114957 (2)

 

Shortly after getting back from vacation, I got a call from her case worker.  She said Little Miss A’s mom wanted to know if we would be willing to complete an open adoption.  I told her we would, but asked what her dad thought about it.  After all, she had two parents and both would have to be willing to give up on reunification and reliquish their rights.  She didn’t have an answer, so we would just have to wait and see what happened.

While I couldn’t imagine not having Little Miss A in our lives, I also couldn’t imagine being in mom and dad’s shoes.

20180822_190223(0)

Time went on and nothing was said about adopting Little Miss A until I asked the case worker for status on the case.  She still didn’t have any answer, but then things began to change.

20180829_205419

First dad quit showing up for visits.

20180913_182236

Then mom began to cancel visits.

20181018_181847

Before long mom quit showing up altogether and we were asked by the case worker once again if we would be willing to adopt Little Miss A.

20181107_151534

All the potential extended family placements had fallen thru and in December, the case went to mediation.

20181213_170053

At mediation, the goal was changed from reunification to non-relative adoption and a few days later, the judge terminated dad and mom’s rights.  We now needed to go thru the 90 day waiting process which gives parents 30 days to appeal the termination and a full 90 days for other family members to come forward requesting the child be placed with them.  Considering all that had happened over the duration of the case, we didn’t have a lot of concern, so we just moved on and waited out the 90 days.

On January 26th, we celebrated Little Miss A’s birthday.

20190126_193537

And we did things as a family like ususal.

20190127_141035

Eventually, the case was turned over to the adoption unit and we were told to hire an attorney to handle the adoption for us.

20190213_124325

Visits with the CASA and the adoption case worker began and before we knew it, we were given an adoption date.

20190312_172222

Today, was adoption day!!!

Which is why I was able to share so many photos of our beautiful baby girl with all of you.

So please allow me to officially introduce to you . . . . .

Arryn Nicole Weeks

20190516_154645 (003)

 

 

 

 

 

Togetherness and Good-Byes

Tomorrow we should find out more about our upcoming adoption.

Although I’m doubting it will happen this month, since the month is half over, I’m hopeful we will finalize by the end of June.  Once the adoption is final though, I’ll be posting lots and lots of pictures.  After all, this little munchkin if 15 months old now and I have 15 months worth of pictures to share.

Assuming the adoption is finalized by July 1st, hubby will be taking some much needed time off.  One of the benefits his company offers is 12-weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child.  He will take 8 weeks this summer and the rest in December.  Having most of the summer as a family of five will be so very nice.

We found out that our other two foster kiddos will be leaving to go live with a family member.  Between having them back in 2017 and them returning to us last year, we’ve had them for 18 months.  This is going to be a big adjustment to say the least and is truly the hard part of foster care.

See the source image

With our adoption on the horizon, the other two leaving, a vacation coming up and a new grandbaby on the way, we’ve decided to take a break from foster care for the summer.

See the source image

We will keep our license in tact so we can help out other foster families by providing respite for them in between our summer travels.  We will re-group in August and decide if we want to continue fostering, stay open strictly as respite providers or close our home altogether.  We’ve had 13 children come thru our doors and while that is only a small drop in a very large bucket, we have to do what is in the best interest of our family.  Having the summer to sit back and relax a little is very much needed, so that’s what we’ll do.

We also have some home renovations we’re hoping to work on, so having fewer kids, while getting some of these things done, will be helpful.

See the source image

 

Mother’s Day was very nice this year.

See the source image

Hubby made arrangements for me to have one-one-one time with each of the three oldest.  I had a nice breakfast date with one, went to Painting with a Twist with another and got a manicure and pedicure with the third.  There was a lot of running here and there, but it truly was nice having one at a time and getting a break from the two littles.

Part of gearing up for the summer is also preparing for more homeschooling.  Since we take breaks throughout the year, we keep working during the summer.  We still do a lot of fun summer activities, but our school doesn’t end like it does for public school students.

Life keeps on keeping on here.

I hope you all have some wonderful summer plans to look forward to.

 

Moving Quickly

It seems like everything is moving quickly these day.

Lili turns 12 in a few days, even though it doesn’t feel like she should be getting this old.

Our adoption case worker came over and had us fill out paperwork for ANW’s adoption.  She told us she is just waiting on the birth certificate, but thinks we should be able to finalize next month (May).

In 69 days we’ll be heading on our vacation to Florida.  I mapped out our route and finalized it today by making our hotel reservations during the drive to and from Florida.  I am so ready for some beach time!!!

Before our trip to Florida though, Naomi will turn 10.  Double-digits!!!

Seriously, how did my girls get this old so quickly?!

Life sometimes seems to change in a blink of an eye.

Do What Makes You Happy

It’s an easy concept right?

See the source image

So why isn’t it that simple?

As I think about the things that make me happiest in the world, these things come to mind . . . . .


My husband

My kids

Extended family members

Good friends

Cruises

Being at the beach


I’m really am fortunate to have a wonderful husband and a good marriage.

I have some pretty awesome kids (most of the time).

We have extended family members who are there for us when needed.

We’ve made some awesome friends over the years.

We have been able to take some fun cruises and have more booked.

We were at the beach for vacation last summer and are going back this summer.

There is also beach time during our cruise shore excursions.

However, time at the beach is something I long to have more of in my life.  It’s something my family longs to have more of in our lives.

Living in Texas means we aren’t THAT far from the beach, but it’s still a several hour drive to get there and my favorite beaches are in Florida and the Caribbean.

Life is short and getting shorter every day.  So if being at the beach makes me and my family so happy, why don’t we live closer?  For a matter-of-fact, why do we hesitate to make the changes necessary to do things that we know make us happy?

I have many people in my life that would rather live somewhere else, but they stay where they are.   Why?


They live close to where they work and money certainly makes living life easier.

They have family in the area and don’t want to leave them.

They don’t want to go thru the hassle of selling their house.

They are fearful of change.


The list of reasons are long and many have very good reasons for wanting to stay where they are, even if they aren’t completely happy.  Many of those reasons are the reasons we hesitate as well.

However, I don’t want to spend my life living somewhere that doesn’t make me truly happy and we’re fortunate to have choices.

We have experienced things in life that we know bring us happiness and enjoyment in life, so why not strive to make the changes that will allow us to regularly enjoy the life we want to live?  Isn’t that living our authentic life?

See the source image

Recently, hubby was interviewed for a new position in his company.  The interview went very well and he was told he was going to be offered the position.  Upper management decided to make some changes regarding the job classification and unless he was willing to take a step backwards, they could no longer offer him the job.  It’s hard to get excited about a new opportunity only to discover it’s not going to be an option.  However, the experiences caused us to step back and look at the bigger picture.

In this particular instance, the job change would have required us to make another move back to the Pacific Northwest.  We weren’t opposed to making the move because we knew from living there previously, that we liked living there.  However, we realized it wasn’t somewhere we wanted to live for the rest of our lives, so it would have been a temporary move for us or we would have been forced to stay there longer than we may have wanted.  So thru the disappointment of hubby not being able to move his career forward like we thought, we realized that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Instead of putting our focus on making a temporary move, we can focus on doing something that will make us happy.

For the short-term, we will focus on ANW’s adoption and we will make some changes to our home.  Hopefully within the next 1-2 years, we will relocate to an area that we so very much enjoy – the Tampa Bay area in Florida near Clearwater Beach, which is listed as the #1 Beach in the U.S.

See the source image

Although we vacation at Indian Rocks Beach, a few miles south of Clearwater Beach, we are in our happy place there and it will be a great location for us to one day retire, so why not make the move before retirement and begin enjoying the beach life.

See the source image

So we’ll set our sites on making that move in the future with no detours, because we should do what makes us happy.

Life With ANW

This baby is something.  She’s 14 months old and said her first 3 word sentence yesterday – Thank you Lili.  Although it came out as tan oo e e, but it was very intentional and we knew exactly what she was saying.

She has decided she’s unhappy at meal time sitting in her high chair.  It’s pushed up to the table, but she wants to be sitting AT the dining room table in a booster seat.  This one doesn’t need a Patrick Swayze telling us “No one puts Baby in the corner.”  She is very capable of speaking for herself.

And speaking of meals, there is no feeding her.  She “must” do it herself.

Stairs!  Her favorite thing in the world right now is climbing stairs or anything else she can climb on.

Bath time ranks pretty high in her book as well.

Her smile melts our hearts.

Her laugh is contagious.

Her cuddles and hugs are to die for.

Her kisses are pure sweetness.

Life with this one is going to be an extreme ride.  🙂

The adoption attorney has been hired and I’ve spoken to the adoption case worker.  Things are moving along and sometime in the next few months, I will be able to share her name and face with the world.