Friday, July 27, 2012

Clinging to my sanity...

Oh, friends! I feel like there is SOOOOOOOOOOOO much to share and I just don't even know where to begin!!! Since I last blogged we had our first overnight visit with "V" (I don't know what the blogging guidelines are and I certainly don't want to compromise anything so for now I will just use V to denote this sweet boy) I wanted to blog that first night, but I have to be honest with you, I just didn't have it in me. We had a good evening together but going to bed was, well, interesting! However, we survived it and I am certainly learning a lot!!!

So, we had V overnight and got to spend the entire day with him the next day. While bedtime was a bit of a disaster (one that reduced me to tears, though right now it just doesn't take much for that to happen) we had a pretty good day the next day. The boys play together so wonderfully, honestly, way better than I would ever have imagined! I know that won't last forever and as they spend more time together they will probably grow tired of one another, but for right now it's so incredible to hear two little boys playing and having fun! We did have a few meltdowns and I am quickly coming to the realization that it is going to take a LOT of patience on my part and a LOT of planning. I think that the biggest thing will be sticking to what I say no matter what. Even if it takes sitting in a friend's bathroom for 20 minutes waiting for V to try going potty before we go home (thank you, Jenny for letting us do that!!!)

He is a fantastic kiddo and we have been soooooooooooo blessed that he has been in the most amazing foster family. Seriously, these people are just incredible and have worked so hard and made so much progress it is awesome. We just couldn't be happier that he has spent the last year and a half with them and that they have loved him as one of their own! We also have an awesome CASA who came this morning and spent a few hours here (did I mention that she is AWESOME???) reading books with Hunter, playing legos, chatting with me... incredible! As for some other key players (who will remain anonymous) we will just say that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. 'Nough said.

V is with us today and will be here until Monday morning. So far, so good! We have played trains, had snacks and started some banana bread (the boys took turns adding ingredients and stirring, melts my heart!!!) V was pretty sad when he arrived here after his visit with his bio mom, but he perked up after a bit and seems to be totally fine now.

As for what will happen next, we honestly don't know. One week from today I was invited to a meeting with all the social workers, attorneys, bio parents, etc. I'm dreading meeting his mother, just because it is so strange! But who knows if she will even show up. I really don't know what to expect from this meeting but it will be good to see how it goes. From there on out we are either waiting for mom to relinquish her rights or for the court to terminate parental rights. I'm praying for mom to relinquish because it would mean that we could have some contact with her and I really feel like that could be good for V, especailly in the future. However, it's so hard to know what is best and we will just have to wait and see. There is always the chance that a judge could also decide to give mom more time or even increase her visitation, etc. Which of course is really scary, but there really isn't anything we can do about it other than pour into this child and hope that everything will work out for the best for him. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is not about us. Which is sometimes so hard to remember!

As for me, I'm doing the best I can right now. I will admit that I have had a few moments where I have questioned if I can do this. It certainly isn't how I imagined it. Not that I didn't expect it to be difficult. But when I pictured meeting our future child I imagined that my sweet hubby would be there too. It kills me that he isn't home for all of this. I mean, I could really use the extra help, but more than that it breaks my heart to know that he won't know his own son! I have to keep trusting that God had all of this planned out long before we even knew that we would be doing this and He has it all in His hands. Thankfully I have the MOST AMAZING friends and family who have been so incredibly supportive and helpful so far. I'm hoping that they won't bail on me! I really couldn't do this without all of you checking in on me, offering to take the boys, taking Hunter and I out to dinner, offering to make us dinner, offering to fly out and help, letting me have a total meltdown... the list goes on and on!!! I thank God each and every day for all of you. You really help me feel like I'm not so alone in all of this craziness!!! I still miss my hubby like crazy, and nothing would make me happier than to have him home, but for now I have to be content knowing that all of this will just help me to grow and become a stronger person.

I'm sure there is so much more that I should be sharing with all of you, but the boys are playing nicely and I need to go check on that banana bread and keep working on my 15 page research paper. I can't wait to be done with class so I can focus on these boys!

Love you all, please keep praying!!!

B, E & H (& V!!!)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A not so beautiful mess

Adoption is weird. I mean, I absolutely love the idea of it, but it's so weird. When you're pregnant, at least after a certain point, it becomes obvious to everyone that you are preparing to welcome a new child into your life and home. Not so much with adoption. I feel like I'm a walking disaster and there is no obvious explanation for my state of chaos! From the time we found out about this boy to the time that he will move in with us it will only be ONE MONTH. Not nine! I feel like I have pregnancy brain in hyperdrive! And it's causing me to be a mess. I'm clinging to the idea of turning this mess into a beautiful mess, but boy, it sure is hard!

For one, I fluctuate between being so excited and daydreaming of the day that we can walk into the courthouse and sign the adoption paperwork and make this sweet boy ours! And the next moment I am in a sheer panic about the fact that I need to fix a million things, I have no idea how to do any of the paperwork (I'm assuming there is paperwork I need to do...), worrying about whether this child will ever really become ours, trying to build bunk beds, move armoires, move bookshelves, rearrange Hunter's closet... you get the picture. I think the worst part is doing all of it alone. I miss my husband. I need his strength, emotionally and physically! I need to fix a couple things on the bunk beds. Wouldn't be a huge issue if Ben were here, but by myself it's a monumental task. I had to move a huge armoire (complete with a super heavy TV which I dropped on my foot!) which would have been a breeze if Ben were around. All this while processing the craziness of being a single parent to two four year old boys!

Please don't get me wrong. I am soooooooooooo excited that we have FINALLY made it to this point! I absolutely adore this child and I can't believe that he is going to be moving in with us soon. I feel so blessed and happy as well as scared. This is exactly what we have been praying for and I wouldn't change it for the world. I know that in the end this will only help to strengthen me and I am so grateful for that lesson.

I have been barreling through my class work so that I can be prepared for anything that life might throw at me once we begin this transition. So far I have been doing okay, but to be honest, my goal right now is simply to pass the class and be done! Which is sad since I love doing it, but it is definitely not my top priority right now.

Tomorrow Hunter and I are going to get lots of stuff ready and start preparing for our first overnight visit. Tuesday is our first overnight, and from then on we will have him for increasing amounts of time until he "officially" moves in on August 13! I think that I'm still in shock. How incredibly crazy is all of this???  Ben has only been gone for two weeks and I am bringing a new child into our family. I know that this is going to take strength that is so far beyond my meager human capabilities and I am so grateful for a God who loves me enough to bear my burden. I really don't know any other way that we can make it through this crazy life!

I know that I had so many more thoughts bouncing around my mind, but right now I have no idea what they were. Please keep praying for us as we make this transition. Hunter is still having a hard time and is missing his Daddy terribly. The deployment is starting to hit me too, and I don't have time to really process all of those emotions right now. I'm resting in God's all encompassing grace and peace and I know that will be my sustenance right now.

Love to you all!

B, E & H

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I don't know how else to describe it, but my heart is overflowing. Today Hunter and I had the chance to spend the entire day with this sweet boy (he was able to come to visit at our house ALL DAY!) and I just couldn't be happier. He is sweet, and adorable, and he and Hunter played together perfectly! I am not naive enough to think that will always be the case, but it sure is nice to see them playing and giggling together.

Yesterday I went and got bunk beds for the boys since I knew that we will have the chance to start doing overnight visits soon and I wanted to be ready. I had been looking around a bit and Ben actually found a set on Craigslist that he sent me the link to. I emailed and the seller called me within a few hours. He was able to meet me right away! Which is quite a miracle in itself. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised anymore when this happens, but when I met him to see the bed he had his two sons with him, one biological son and one adopted son! Oh, how AWESOME is that!!! Just another affirmation that we really are traveling the right path. Turns out he and his wife adopted their son from Ethiopia a few years ago. What a crazy, amazing twist in our story. Needless to say, we got the bunk beds and they are perfect! They even match the other furniture in Hunter's room. And I got them built today with the help of two sweet, four-year-old boys!

So, what can I tell you about today... the boys played and played for the first hour or two. Then we had lunch (which they insisted on eating outside, in the empty swimming pool) and went to the park for a while. Then they played some more, helped me with the beds, colored and went outside while I made dinner. We had leftover pizza and I made some broccoli as well. Wouldn't you know it, two little boys with plates of pizza and broccoli and they BOTH ate the broccoli and asked for seconds before either of them touched the pizza!!! What a pair!

Of course I took pictures, but I assume that I can't post any for you to see. So sorry! I will tell you that as far as appearance goes he is quite the opposite of Hunter. They are both pale, but while Hunter is stocky and tall, he is slight and short. Hunter is blond and blue-eyed, he is brown-haired and brown-eyed (BIG brown eyes... I have ALWAYS wanted a brown-eyed child!!!)  Personality wise they are pretty similar though, which is super nice and helped them to play together well. I really couldn't have asked for a better child!

So now we just have to begin the transition from his foster home to our home. I think that he will do pretty well with the transition, but he is quite attached to his foster parents because he has been with them for a while now and so when we move all his stuff here I do anticipate him having a rough time for a while. We will do our best though to try to make it as easy as possible on him and I am so glad that we have such a wonderful foster family to work with. They will certainly make this whole process a LOT easier for me!

I would love to write more and more, but I have to go and take an exam. Trying to finish this class in record time so that I can focus on our sweet - growing! - family.

Love you all! And as always, thank you for all the prayers and support!!!

B, E & H

P.S. I guess I should mention that Ben is doing well, has a room and internet and a job!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Wow... where to start?!?

Tonight we got to meet the most adorable, sweet little boy (not that I am biased in any way...) and I am sooooooooo excited to start the process of making him OURS! I honestly feel so strange saying that since I feel like we have been on this journey for so long now with no progress. It's been 18 months since we contacted the first agency.

Want to know something strange? My whole life the number 18 has been my favorite number. I have no good reason for it, I just love the number 18! Anyway, somehow the number 18 always pops up in the strangest places for me. Like the fact that Ben and I got married on the 18th, even though it wasn't our original wedding date and it certainly wasn't our first choice. I mean, who gets married one week before Christmas?!?! And Hunter was born on the 18th. Didn't plan that one! So, 18 months after starting the process to adopt I get to meet our (hopeful!) future son on... THE 18TH!!! Coincidence??? I don't believe in coincidence. Although I really didn't plan for it that way, it just happened that Wednesday evening was the best time to meet. But how fun is that?!?

Anyway, it looks like everything is set to move forward, now I just have to wait on the social worker to come and do a home visit so that we can have the opportunity to start having this sweet child come and spend some time at our house and begin the transition. Obviously, it would be great to have the transition made before school starts. I am hoping that everyone else involved will also agree. I can hardly believe that this family will become a family of four! I honestly don't know how long it will take before we will be able to adopt him (all of that is assuming that his parents rights are eventually terminated) but I have faith that it will happen. It seems that the state does as well since they want to transfer him to our family as a foster-adopt family. Yay!

Okay, there is so much for me to take in and think about, and I want to get to talk to Ben about everything too so I am off to send him an email and start the search for bunk beds! Oh, and I guess I should do homework too. That's just not nearly as fun.

Love you all!

B, E & H

Friday, July 13, 2012


Last night I emailed the foster parents of this sweet little boy that we are VERY interested in meeting. To my surprise I got an email back from the foster mom right away! She sent me some more pictures and lots more information about his behavior and personality. I'm really trying not to get to excited to quickly, but he sounds like he really could be an amazing fit for our family (and he is cute as a button as well!) I really wish I could share pictures with you, but I can't :( So you'll just have to believe me that he's a doll and we can't wait to meet him.

The best part is that the foster parents invited Hunter and I over this Wednesday for a BBQ and the chance to meet him for a little while! Isn't that awesome?!?! No worries, I checked with our social worker and she said that while it was usual for this to happen it was perfectly acceptable and that we could attend. I am blown away by their willingness to open their home to us just to help us meet him in a setting that he is comfortable in. I feel so blessed! We would have been able to meet him even sooner but the family is away for the weekend and there were other things going on until Wednesday. But it's not too far away!

You will never believe it, but I got phone call from ANOTHER social worker this afternoon. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello?
Social Worker: Hello, I'm so-and-so with such-and-such and your agency told me that you would be interested in a 9 year old girl?
Me: Well, we are seriously concidering a 4 year old boy right now, I'm so sorry.
SW: You are licensed for two children though.
Me: Um, yes... but my husband just left for Afghanistan less than a week ago and my son is having a hard time with that so I'm not sure that it would be great timing for me to take in two children with different backgrounds.
SW: (silence) I see. I have a 3 year old boy who needs respite care for two weeks.
Me: Okay... when is that?
SW: Starting tomorrow.
Me: Yeah, I don't think that is going to work. Sorry.

Oh. My. Goodness. I felt so bad telling him that I couldn't take either of these kids, but I honestly feel like it would have been far too much for Hunter (and myself for that matter!) to deal with right now. We are doing good, but it has been an adjustment and I just don't think it would be fair to any of us to try to handle much more than we are already doing. I'm scrambling to finish up my 8 week course in record time in case we start transitioning this boy into our family. I don't want to have to be worrying about coursework as well. And taking in more children at the same time? I sure wish I could but I just don't know where my super hero cape is!

It's so crazy to me that everything would start happening right as Ben leaves, but I guess that's just how it goes! Speaking of Ben, he is still trying to figure out what his job will be over there and get a room to stay in other than the temporary lodging. We have been able to talk on the phone the last two days but we are limited to 10 minute conversations so it's really difficult to talk through some of this craziness that is going on! However, he is very excited to see what happens and at least he has been able to read the emails from social workers and from the foster mother.

Please pray for the children that I had to turn down today. There are so many kids that need families and it is heartbreaking to have to say no to any child.

I will keep you all updated as we find out more, but now it is time to go and do some homework!

Love you all!

B, E & H

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quick Update

So, this morning at 9:30 am (just a half an hour before I expected the social worker to arrive) he called to say that he had to cancel because the other worker that needs to come with him couldn't make it. So now I have a clean house and no one to show it to! :)

On a positive note Ben called this morning after reading my frantic email and agreed that it sounds like this little boy could be a good fit for our family. Yay! I assumed he would say that, but it's a strange thing to tell someone that you would be happy to (potentially) bring a child into your family without talking with your husband first. Just one of those things...

Now I'm just waiting to see when they will reschedule with me. I'm really hoping for sooner rather than later because I'm anxious to meet this boy and see what he is like! The fun part is that I now have an email address for his foster mother so I will be contacting her to find out some more about what he likes/dislikes, personality, etc. I am so anxious to get to know him!

That's the update for now. Ben is probably in Afghanistan by now and I'm hoping that he can get his internet hooked up soon. We really don't know what to expect since he doesn't really know exactly what his job will be, so please keep praying for him as he transitions. Also, please be praying for Hunter. He is really missing his daddy. Today we were at the splash park and he was so sad because his daddy is gone, he cried the whole way home. He's being so brave and doing a great job, but it is really affecting him. Before his t-ball game tonight he said, "I'm going to throw the ball all the way to Afghanistan so Daddy can catch it!" :) He melts my heart!

Love you all!

E & H (and Ben!)

I forgot to mention that today my dashboard light came on indicating that my tire pressure was low. I'm very proud to say that I fixed it all my myself! Woohoo!!! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beautiful Mess

I love things that don't normally fit together, for example studying science and religion. So needless to say I love the concept of a beautiful mess. And more and more I am striving to embody this idea. Right now I know that I have the mess part down pretty well, I'm really hoping that the beautiful part will naturally follow!

Those of you who know me pretty well can probably attest to the fact that I am a typical "type A" personality (perfectionist, over-achiever, always in a rush... you get the point!) More and more I feel God REALLY challenging me to just let go and watch what he can do when I stop meddling and trying to make everything perfect on my own. Today is a pretty amazing example of that!

If you have kept up with us over the past week you know that Ben is on his way to Afghanistan. I honestly don't know exactly where he is right now (for security reasons he can't tell me, and if I knew I certainly couldn't tell you either) but I did receive a phone call from him at about 5:30 am today. He told me that he isn't yet in Afghanistan, but instead he is stuck somewhere in between and will likely be there for a few days. Poor guy! Because of this I have no idea if I will hear from him or if he will be able to gain internet access, etc. I'm sure that he is in desperate need of a shower! I digress...

This afternoon (while trying to entertain Hunter and simultaneously work on some class work) the house phone rings. I have to admit, I was a little grumpy with the guy on the other end because I had just sat down to do some reading and I certainly didn't need another interruption. I really should know better though, and of course it was a social worker from DSHS (department of social and human services) calling to see if we would be interested in possibly taking in a little boy who is 4 years old. Oh my!

In the course of our conversation he asked about Ben and I had to admit that I actually have no idea where my husband is or how to get in touch with him. I'm sure that is just what a social worker wants to hear from a prospective adoptive parent!!! However, he was gracious and we hung up with the promise that he would call one of the boy's other workers to find out about a potential home visit. He also sent me a very brief bit of information about this sweet boy, although I'm dying to find out more!

After what seemed like an eternity (and leaving him a voicemail to remind him that I was oh so patiently waiting) I got a call back. He wanted to know if he can come visit tomorrow morning and see the house so maybe this child can come visit with us this weekend or next. Here is where the mess part comes in. Since Ben has left I haven't really been focusing on my household duties. I have been working hard to keep Hunter happy and take care of my class work so the house hasn't really been my top priority. Needless to say it is not exactly in the condition that I would like it to be in for a visit with a social worker!!! So naturally I panicked :) Isn't that what any logical person would do??? I have to say, it is amazing what can be accomplished in a short amount of time when one is determined! Phew! House is clean and the social worker will be by sometime between 10 and 11 tomorrow.

I can't really give any details about this boy, which is also partially because I don't have many details. One big catch is that he is not yet legally free, meaning that he is still technically a dependant of the state and so there are a few complications with that. There is also a little more risk involved because there is always a chance that a judge could decide not to terminate the rights of the parents. However, it sounds like things are heading in a direction where it is anticipated that he will soon be legally free, which is why they are looking for a foster-adopt home for him. It also sounds like he is delayed in some areas (which is completely normal for children who are in the system) so that will be an additional challenge, but one which we were fully anticipating. As of right now we are the only family that they are considering for this boy (they had narrowed it down from 8 to just us!) so that adds a little pressure, but I am planning to take this one step at a time and just see what God has in store for us. I am praying that we can turn this situation into a beautiful mess!

So, that's our crazy life in a nutshell. There really never is a dull moment around here and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am being stretched in ways that I would have never dreamed were possible and I cannot wait to see the outcome of all of this. Please pray for Ben, for encouragement and for safety. And that he gets my frantic email about this boy, ha! It makes me smile to even think that he could come home to a family of four :) How amazingly blessed are we?!?!

I would love to keep writing, but I'm sure you are sick of reading and I need to keep plugging away at this class in case I have another sweet child to tend to soon. See what I mean about that mess? Only God can take a situation like this and turn it into something beautiful.

Love to you all!

E & H (and Ben too, wherever he is!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Just the two of us

And it begins... Ben is on his way to Afghanistan and so it's just Hunter and I for the next few months. It is so weird this time around because it's for a MUCH shorter time than we have ever had to prepare for, so it's almost hard to really think of it as a deployment. Not that three or four months isn't important, but it really is much better than a year or more! We did everything that we could to help prepare Hunter for this time, but I'm not sure that there really is any good way to prepare a child for their parent being gone for so long. His favorite thing that we did was go to Build-A-Bear so that he could make an animal to sleep with while daddy is away. He was allowed to pick any animal and any clothing he wanted, so naturally he choose a bunny rabbit that is dressed in a combat uniform (complete with a Kevlar helmet, dog tags and black boots!) The BEST part is that we were able to put a little sound box in the paw that has a recording of Ben telling Hunter that he loves him. I'm pretty sure that the button will be worn out by next week!

Hunter has been taking it pretty hard so far, but we were able to talk to Ben both yesterday and today and that seemed to help. The first night we were alone Hunter got up FIVE times crying that he missed his daddy :( I did everything I could think of! We prayed, we wrote letters to daddy (twice!), we hung a picture of daddy in his room... Tonight he seems to be doing much better which is a huge relief since I need the time at night to work on my class.

I feel like I'm doing pretty well so far, but maybe I'm a little more sensitive than usual because while reading responses to my class discussion board one of the responses almost made me cry! Oh, the joys of deployment!!! To top it off, I went downstairs to make sure that the house was locked up for the night and discovered that our pet goldfish, Nemo, appears to be dead. Just what I needed... an already sad little boy with a dead fish. I suspect that we will be taking a trip to the pet store tomorrow morning!

If you think of it, please pray for safe travels for Ben. So far he hasn't had a great experience (I can give more details once he is safe and sound in Afghanistan) I'm hoping for his sake that he can get there quickly and get settled into a routine.

No news on the adoption front. I'm trying not to get frustrated with the system, but it really is difficult sometimes!

Thanks so much for all the AMAZING responses to all of the craziness we have put everyone through so far. We appreciate every little encouragement more than you will ever know! It blesses us so much to know that we have so much support in this process.

Love you all!!!

E & H (and Ben too)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Breaking News...

First, please excuse any typos or grammar as I am typing this from the banks of the Nisqually river while watching my favorite salmon fisherman and his little helper :)

After what seemed like the longest wait EVER we finally got a call from the social worker. She was so sweet, but she informed us that they made a very tough decision and chose the other family to be the adoptive family for this wonderful little boy. She certainly let us down easy and told me that he had an awesome time with both families and that it was a very tough decision for everyone involved. Apparently they even concidered having him spend a week with each family to aid in the decision process but decided that would be too difficult for everyone (I have to say that I am glad for their decision in that regard, we never would have wanted to lose him after a whole week together!)

In the end it is out of our hands and I'm grateful to have even been considered as a potential family for this boy. We will keep praying for him and for his new family (apparently they are military as well! How fun!) We know that God has a plan for our family and we will just have to continue to be patient as we keep waiting for that plan to be revealed!

Love to you all,

B, E & H

Murphy's Law

Dear friends, sometimes it seems like we just can't catch a break, doesn't it? It's been like that around here lately. Nothing horrible, just little things that just seem to keep going wrong (and I know from experience that it will probably only get worse after Ben leaves, somehow Murphy always gets us when there's no one around to help!) Ha!

Anyway, I just wanted to give you all a super quick update and hopefully I can update you again sometime later today as well. Ben will be heading out very soon, and the poor guy is battling an awful virus. We are still trying to enjoy the time before he goes though and he's doing a great job of suffering silently so that we can have some fun as a family. We had a wonderful cookout on the 4th with our incredible neighbors (who knew that ladderball could be so fun!?!?!) and Hunter thought that the fireworks were just magical. It melted my heart to see the excitement on his face! However, yesterday he showed me his "yucky boo boo" on his leg. Looks like he has some kind of infection (probably a staph infection like he had a year or two ago) from a mosquito bite. So we are off to the doctor in a couple hours!

To top it all off, yesterday I missed a phone call from the social worker. ALL DAY I checked my phone about every 15 minutes while we were out enjoying the sunshine at an amazing wildlife park. Naturally, I left my phone in my purse while we were at t-ball practice last night and missed the call that came in around 6:00 pm. She left a message (yay!) but didn't give us any information (boo!) so  I have been analyzing and trying to read into every nuance and inflection of her message. I mean, that's what everyone would do, right? Despite my best efforts to discern some sort of hidden message within the voicemail we are waiting for a call back to let us know if we will become the parents of a bouncing, nearly 10 year old boy!!! Life is crazy, isn't it?

So, that's the quick update for now. Please keep us in your prayers as we wait for this call, hope for Hunter's infection to be something simple, get Ben healed before he gets on a plane to Afghanistan and try to make the most of the couple days we have left of this summer as a family of three!!!

Love you all,

B, E & H