Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Dear friends, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you as we get deeper and deeper into this adoption process. The best way that I can explain how I'm feeling right now is overcome. I am overcome in good ways, bad ways... and ways that I don't even yet know how to process! I'll try to explain a bit, but please bear with me because I just have no idea how to really put into words what I am experiencing.

First, I'm overcome with an amazing feeling of gratitude for the MANY friends and family who care so much about our family and who have continually supported us on this journey. It is so incredible to have people reaching out, asking how things are going, making us feel so loved! We are truly blessed to have the most incredible support group and I pray that you will all stick around as things threaten to get even crazier!!!

I am overcome with so many mixed emotions about this potential adoption of this sweet, 9 year old boy. First, it breaks my heart to have experienced life with him this weekend and come to the realization that he has maybe never really felt loved. We were probably the first people to ever read him stories before bedtime... and he is so deserving of love and respect! I honestly can't even wrap my head around what it must be like to not truly feel loved and feel like you belong somewhere. Oh, what a broken world we live in!!! I'm also so excited about the prospect of him joining our family. It feels like we have been waiting so long that it really has just become this proverbial carrot dangling there, but I was honestly beginning to wonder if we would ever catch it! And now it is so close! Of course, I'm cautiously guarding myself as well since there is another family involved, and no matter how it plays out, one of us will be disappointed in the end.

I am overcome with a certain type of sadness or grief as well; grief over the loss of our family of three, but yet it is also overshadowed with joy over becoming a family of four! It's such a strange emotion and I don't know if people experience it when they are expecting their second child? Maybe it's completely normal, I have no idea! I absolutely adore our little family, and while I know that we have been called to be adoptive parents, it's also a little sad to know that things will change.

And while I hate to admit it, I'm also overcome by fear. I am scared of parenting alone, especially parenting a child that I hardly know! While it isn't my first time to be a single parent, it's so different to know that I could be responsible for a child who I don't even know what foods he does and doesn't like. It scares me to think that I will not have Ben around if I need a break, especially during the summer months when there is no school. I'm scared for Hunter who is already upset about his daddy leaving. He cries everytime Ben leaves the house, whether he is in uniform or not. And every tear breaks my heart in two! How am I supposed to deal with that while also caring for a child who has been abandoned by everyone he has ever loved. I'm afraid that many of our friends will not want to spend time with us when we have a child who has come from a difficult past and needs a little extra care and attention. Not only that, but as silly as it sounds, I am overcome with fear of how to get class work done while caring for two children on my own!

Finally, I am overcome with the realization that all of this is so much bigger than us. This is completely out of our hands and it would be the greatest blessing of our lives to have the privledge of raising a child that we didn't give birth to. Even in just the short time that we had with this boy we were able to see glimpes of how amazing our God is, and just how much he must love us since we are his adopted children. I am overcome with gratitude for a Father who loves us and cares about each and every one of us enough to help us through these tough things. How could we possibly deny this child a place in our family??? Every difficult moment will just serve as a reminder that our God loves us no matter how difficult we are and he gives us GRACE no matter what.

I'm overcome by so many thoughts, feelings, emotions... Some moments I feel like I have it together and I can conquer the world! Other moments I just want to run away and hide from life. I wanted this blog to be an accurate portrayal of what our family is experiencing through this adoption process. I hope that this gives you a little more of a glimpse into what we are feeling right now.

Please keep praying, asking, encouraging... we need it! We would really love nothing more than for this child to become ours, but we know that it can only happen by God's grace. And that grace will sustain us through any and all difficult times that are to come.

Love you all!

B, E & H

Monday, June 25, 2012

What a weekend!

Oh, friends! What a weekend it has been. There is so much that I want to share with you, but let me start by thanking you for all of your prayers and concern. It has really touched me to see how many of you care about our sweet family. We are sooooooooo blessed to have the most amazing friends and family!!!

I don't even know where to begin so I guess I will just dive in and give you a run-down of our weekend. For now I'm mostly just going to give you the details, if I find it in me later this week I may post on some of our feelings, etc. Right now we are still digesting and processing a lot of it and I don't want to say too much or too little! Anyway, we picked up our special guest at about 4:30 on Friday (he had a full day of school Friday and so we couldn't get him any sooner). He was a bit shy at first and buried himself in his PSP game on the way back to the house.  He warmed up a bit by the time we got home and he and Hunter played while I made a pizza for dinner. We had dinner together and he jumped up immediately after finishing eating... I suspect that he isn't used to everyone sitting down to eat together. We watched a movie after dinner and then Hunter got ready for bed. While we read Hunter his bedtime stories he bounced in and out of the room and then he and Ben played wii for a while before he had to go to bed.

Both boys were up by about 6:45 on Saturday morning and we were a little unsure of what to do all day. I had planned to just go bowling and then mostly let the boys play at home, but it quickly became apparent that our guest was going to need a bit more stimulation than that or we were going to be in for a long day. We did go bowling (the first time he had ever bowled!) and then went to play laser tag afterward. That helped use up some of the day and kept the boys busy and happy. As the day went on he really started to open up more and more and relied less on his video games to get him through the day. He and Hunter played legos and nerf guns together while we were at home in the morning and evening, and he was very patient with Hunter and the cats. After dinner we snuck in a walk on the trails between rain showers which was a huge hit. He counted over 20 slugs on the trail that we were walking on. We played a game of monoply jr that morning and evening which he seemed to enjoy. That evening he sat in the room with us while we read Hunter books and when we were done Ben asked if he would like us to read him books before he went to bed. He said "no," but when it came time for him to go to sleep he asked if we would read to him. Three books later he gave us each hugs before going to sleep. Progress!

Sunday morning we went to church together. He was a bit leery of going to the children's program alone, but we also didn't want to invite him to stay with us because if he were to come to live with us we would expect that he attend the children's class. Plus I'm not sure that he would have been able to sit quietly through the adult service... Luckily the weather was nice (finally!) when we got home from church so we quickly warmed up leftovers for lunch. Ben went to hand him some mac 'n cheese and asked him if he wanted to start eating or wait until everything was ready. He replied that he wanted to wait and "eat together as a family." More progress!!! After lunch we let him ride my bike (which was a bit too big) to the park. He thought that was fantastic and really seemed to enjoy being outside. We took along a football and quickly gained a lot more kids as we became the "cool parents" at the park who were playing with everyone. As we left the park to get his stuff and take him back to his foster mom he told me "I'm really going to miss you guys." Even more progress!!!

Overall it was a really great visit although Ben and I were both EXHAUSTED by Sunday evening. He is an incredibly sweet kid, and despite a really difficult past he really doesn't have any major issues that we have seen or read about. He has a much shorter attention span than Hunter and needs a lot of extra attention, but that is something that we can work on if he joins our family. He is very dependent on "screen time" and is constantly wanting to play video games, watch TV or play computer games. However, when we offered something else to do such as playing outside, going on a walk, playing a game together, etc. he also seemed to respond very well to that. I suspect that he is used to having to entertain himself and so "screen time" is the best way for him to do that. On the downside, it also has taught him that he constantly needs to be doing or watching something in order to be happy, which will be a hard habit for him to break.

We really enjoyed our time together and Hunter was thrilled to have a playmate here for the weekend. We would love nothing more than for him to join our family, but now we just have to wait and see what happens. I heard from one of his case workers today and she told me that he will be visiting with the other prospective family this coming weekend. After that they intend to talk to him about his visits and (hopefully!) make a decision sometime mid-week next week. I have no idea how things progress from that point, but it's all in God's hands now!

It looks like Ben will be leaving in just a couple weeks so we are also preparing for that change. I know that it will be a difficult time for Hunter and I'm not really looking forward to that. It will certainly be compounded if we also take on another child after Ben is gone, but God's timing is perfect and He will take care of our family!

Please keep praying for this child as his case workers try to make a very difficult decision about which family will be the best fit for him. We would love for it to be us, but we also realize that this isn't about what we want, it is really about what is best for this child.

Thank you for being a part of this with us! It means so much to know that you care!!!


B, E & H

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not sure what to expect...

Today I finalized plans for our weekend guest! We will meet him and his foster mom at a halfway point tomorrow evening (he has a full day of school tomorrow still! Craziness!) and then he will spend two nights with our family and we will meet up with his foster mom on Sunday afternoon to drop him off. I am so excited. And nervous. And... well, I don't even know what to think at this point!

It's hard to know what to do while he's here. I mean, I don't know much about him yet or what he enjoys doing. We are planning to do our usual pizza and a movie night on Friday night. That way he can get a chance to get settled in without it being overwhelming. The weather looks pretty crummy for the weekend so right now we are thinking about going bowling on Saturday and then giving the boys a chance to just hang out at home and play. From what I understand he likes to play games so we will probably do some board games and that kind of stuff as well. I'm super excited that he will get to come to church with us on Sunday!

I'm really hoping that we don't bore the poor child to death, but we also didn't want to overwhelm him by planning a ton of stuff OR set a precedent that we are always doing tons of fun things and running all over the place. After all, if he gets to join our family he'll eventually see that we are just pretty normal, boring people :) Hunter is quite excited to have a visitor coming for the weekend and we moved his Legos out into the playroom so that the boys could more easily play with them.

Thank you for all the encouragement. We really appreciate all of the kind words from so many of you! We feel so blessed to have so many supporters to encourage us through all of the ups and downs, I know that we will need it now more than ever!

We have heard a rumor that Ben's orders are in and that he will probably be flying in a week or two. However, we haven't gotten any official phone calls telling us much of anything, so we will see what happens when he goes back to work on Monday! No matter what we know that this is all in God's hands and He has it all under control!!! THANK YOU for the prayers; please keep 'em coming!!!

Love you all!

B, E & H

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Special Guest!

Yesterday Ben and I were able to have a conference call with a couple social workers, an education advocate and a therapist for the little boy that I wrote about in the last post. During the call we were able to ask a few questions that we had come up with (nothing really important, just clarifying some things that we had read in the files that we were given) and get to hear a little from his "team" of workers. There were no surprises during the call, everything still seems very good and overall we are quite impressed with this boy's ability to adapt so readily to all of the turmoil that he has been through. That's not to say that things sound perfect, but honestly, they sound a lot better than we had hoped for!

Today (while out on the lake fishing!) I got a call from his social worker saying that they would love if he could come stay with us on Friday and Saturday night! YAY! We are so excited to meet this child and see how he interacts with Hunter and with Ben and I. The way that it works is that he will be told he is coming to stay with us for respite care, not that we are a potential family. This makes perfect sense because it eliminates any pressure for any of us. He won't feel any pressure to "perform" in any way, and we won't feel as much pressure to make him fit into our family if it just isn't a good fit. We are also telling Hunter that there will be a friend visiting for the weekend, but we are being very careful to keep him from overhearing too much so it's been difficult to really even talk to family or anyone about any of this! I don't want Hunter to be heartbroken if things don't work out or if the social workers decide that another family will be a better fit so it's just easier to keep him in the dark for right now.

Please be praying for us this weekend! We don't yet have details about pick up or drop off times, places, etc. so we have no idea what to expect. The weather is also looking pretty crummy so we are hoping that we can find a few fun things to do together despite the rain! I have to admit that I'm a little nervous... I don't know much about 9 year old boys!!! I can't wait to meet him and see what he's like!

Thanks for sticking with us so far! Can't wait to see where we are headed!


B, E & H

P.S. We still haven't gotten Ben's orders so we are just waiting patiently to see what will come of that... so frustrating knowing that he is supposed to be leaving sometime soon, but not knowing when!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Take the good with the bad!

We are back from our wonderful family vacation and I have been dying to share so much with all of you! First, let me tell you that we had a fantastic time and we crammed so much into one week! Legoland, SeaWorld, the beautiful beaches, seal watching, strawberry picking, swimming in our private pool... I'm sure there is tons more but right now I'm exhausted just thinking about all of that! I must confess that I haven't even finished unpacking yet, but I just HAD to sit down and share some news with you before I could do anything else!

First, I'll share the bad news so that you can better understand some of the chaos that is currently overtaking our lives. The bad news is that it looks like Ben will be leaving for Afghanistan within a couple of weeks. We have known that this was a possibility for a little while now, but we were waiting for his orders to come through before we shared it with everyone and made it "official." He actually hasn't gotten his orders yet so who knows when that will happen, but what we are being told right now is that he will probably be leaving sometime within the next couple of weeks or so. Ben will be catching up with a group that is already in Afghanistan so it should only be about a 3-4 month deployment this time. Which is AWESOME news since the last time he was gone for 15 months. It certainly makes 3-4 months sound a whole lot better (obviously I'd prefer that he didn't have to go at all, but we don't have much of a choice in that!)

Now for the good news!!!

While we were relaxing on a lovely beach my phone rang and it was our AGENCY!!!! They were calling to give me a heads up that I should be receiving a call from a social worker about a little boy who is in need of an adoptive home. While I can't share too many details at this point, I can tell you a few things about him. He is 9, almost 10, years old and has been in and out of the foster system for about four years. We have had a chance to read some of the social worker's notes and files on him and he sounds like a really wonderful child who desperately wants to have a permanent family. We will have a chance to speak with all of his case workers tomorrow (either in person or via phone, we aren't sure which yet) so it will give us a better idea of his personality and history. There is one other family that is currently being considered as a possible home for this boy, so we aren't sure what will happen but we are certainly excited to finally be getting somewhere! And the best part??? He will be coming for an overnight visit possibly as soon as THIS WEEKEND!!! Are you beginning to understand some of the chaos around here?!?!

So, needless to say we are in a bit of a tizzy, trying to clean up from our vacation, pack for Ben's deployment AND get ready to welcome this child into our home whether for a weekend or a lifetime! God sure has a crazy sense of timing, but then again, we always knew that it would be like this.

Please be praying for our this boy, specifically that he is able to find a wonderful home that he can feel safe in. Of course, we would LOVE for our family to be his home, but we would be happy to see him safe in another home if it is a better fit for him as well. Please also be praying for our family as we prepare for Ben's third trip to Afghanistan. I really have a peace about him going, but Hunter is already very sad about his daddy leaving and I know that it will be a rough time for him as well as for Ben. Thank you in advance for the prayers!!! We would not be where we are today without all of your support!!!

Okay, I have got to get unpacking and working on the millions of things that need taken care of around here. Thank you for being a part of our big news!!! I'm sure you will be hearing more from us soon!


B, E & H

P.S. Did I mention that I also signed up for another class toward my master's degree that starts next week? EEK!!! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We're still here!

Well, I am sure that if you haven't completely given up on this blog you are probably wondering where in the world we went! We are still here! It has been a little crazy around here lately, getting ready for Ben to change out of command and getting ready for our MUCH NEEDED vacation!

No exciting news on the adoption front, we are still praying and waiting for God's timing on that. It seems like it has been forever since we started this process, and honestly, I'm surprised that I'm not pulling my hair out by now. God has graced us with more patience than either of us could have ever imagined. I know that everything can and will happen in HIS timing so for now we are just content to ride this out and see where it takes us!

Life has sure been keeping us busy lately so at least it isn't like we have been bored! Ben has been working hard to get everything ready to relinquish command of his Company. Tuesday morning we attended the ceremony (where I heard nothing but praise for my AMAZING hubby!) and he is officially on vacation for a little while now! We are currently packing our bags and getting ready to head down the coast to Legoland and the incredible beach house that is waiting there for us. I am soooooooo excited that we will get to spend lots of wonderful family time together. Hunter couldn't be happier! I am starting classes again right after we get home from our trip and Hunter will be starting t-ball as well. Life is good!

Since there really isn't much else to say, I'll leave you with a little cuteness for while we are gone. Thank you for not giving up on us yet! Keep praying, we have faith that God is still wanting to use us, we just have to keep waiting and not give up hope!

Love you all!

B, E & H