Fun Fact Friday – May 26, 2017

Here are a few Fun Facts about me for this last Friday in May.

  1. I thoroughly enjoy having coffee dates with my friends. I need to do it more often.
  2. I am now 39 years old (I had a birthday recently).
  3. Every day, I look around our house and in our garage to figure out what else I can sell, donate or trash. This is a never-ending process, it seems!
  4. We had a meeting this week at the local public school for Munchkin (4). We went over the full evaluation for her to possibly attend the preschool special education program in the Fall. This meeting was to go over her potential IEP (Individualized Education Program). If we decide to go this route, it will be the first time one of our own children (once she’s officially adopted in November) will attend a public school. This is all new territory! Lord, please show us which way to go that is best for her and her needs.
  5. For my birthday, my parents gave me a beautiful necklace that has “trust the author” on it. So apropos with where we are in our journey. I love that HE is writing our crazy story (and that I get to share it with you as we go)!
  6. Chicken nuggets give me the hiccups.
  7. I try to do at least one load of laundry every day. With 9 people in the house, we have a lot that piles up rather quickly, especially once you add in towels and bedding to the mix. I do love and appreciate that my oldest 4 (ages 12, 13, 14, and 16) all do their own laundry. Wahooo!
  8. Sometimes, when I am not sure what “fun fact” to share with you, I will look around the room to try and find inspiration. Just now, I noticed one of my hats on the kitchen table. Fun fact = I like to wear hats.

Have a wonderful Memorial weekend, friends!

And, as always, to God be the Glory, great things He continues to do …

It’s kind of like having a newborn

With each of my 4 pregnancies, there was much anticipation, bundles of nerves, and oodles of excitement surrounding the arrival of our babies. We knew and expected our lives would change with each new blessing. Some changes would be easy, some would be hard, but, it was always a season of transition.

Things would not remain the same.

After giving birth, there was a period of time when my hormones, body and emotions were constantly in flux with all of the changes. I’d be completely happy and content one minute, and then be at the end of my rope the next. There were many sleepless nights accompanied by much crying, both by baby and by mommy. I was exhausted while simultaneously feeling exhilarated by our precious newborn. The adrenaline that came from holding our babies was undeniable. It’s what kept me moving when I didn’t think I had it in me to do so.

New life does this. It catapults us forward even when we feel like we have nothing left to give. Being a mom is the hardest yet easiest job in the world. It’s fueled and sustained by sacrifice and love.

With each new baby, I’d stare into their chubby little faces and fall completely and utterly in love with them. I’d be enamored by their cuteness one minute, only to feel frustrated and depleted the next that they wouldn’t eat, sleep or stop crying. I could never stay on top of all of the dishes, housework, laundry and often go days without a shower. Yes, there is so much involved with parenting each new baby that comes into the family.

In fact, I’d often feel confident in my parenting abilities one moment, “I’ve so got this,” only to question myself the next, “What in the world am I doing?”

These first few months after their births were often the most challenging. It was a time of adjustment because nothing was the same. It would be a time of healing (mostly physical) and a time of growth. There was a new little life to care for, love and protect. There was a new little personality to learn and manage. There was a new little person to feed, bathe, and clothe. There was a new “norm” to create as the family dynamics changed, once again.

This brings me to today.

I was reminded this past weekend that foster care and adoption are just like having a newborn. Well, alllllmost “just like” having a newborn. There is a precious little person who enters into our home that needs caring for, needs loving, and needs protection. He/She is a new little personality to learn and manage while feeding, cleaning, and clothing him/her. In this transition, I feel the waves of confidence in what we’re doing followed closely behind questioning everything we do. Emotions can run high in this stage of foster care.

This precious little person changes the dynamics of our home in the most beautiful and the most challenging ways.

Yet, it doesn’t stop there.

Ultimately, each new foster placement needs so much more than a newborn. Why? One word: trauma. Children with a trauma background (which often includes neglect or abuse) come with a lot of extra weight. Their experiences are too heavy to bear. They are often weary from the burden of their hurts, but do not know how to let go or to trust. They are scared and unsure of what to expect. They try to control everything around them because their lives are completely out of their control. They did not choose to be in foster care. They do not have a say in what home they live in, what bed they sleep in, what school they attend, what and when changes take place, and overall, what they experience on a day-to-day basis. Everything (pretty much) is out of their control, yet they try to control it all as much as possible. This need for control manifests in their attitudes, words, and behaviors.

They are guarded.

They are scared.

They experience their need to constantly “fight, flight or freeze.”

What these children often need is time. This entire process takes time. The walls around their hearts have (often) taken years to build up, and it will (often) take years to tear down. Being vulnerable is not easy.

Yet, as I look into their eyes, I can’t help but fall in love with each one of them, in a unique way, just as I did with my children I birthed. We don’t know if we will get to love these kiddos for a week, a month, a year or forever, but we try to fully dive into their world to help bring healing and restoration. It’s not always pretty and it’s definitely not easy, but it is truly amazing.

This past month has been a great reminder of this process.

With our new little 6 yr old foster placement joining our family last month, it’s been another season of adjustment. There is a new normal we are discovering. There is a new dynamic that comes with her. She brings to our home both joy and sorrow, healing and hurt, smiles and tears. She’s learning us as we are learning her. Even though it’s only been a month, we see improvements in her guarded little heart.

God does amazing things in and through our brokenness.

During this time with a new addition to our family, it is very common for us to hunker down and regroup. We want to make sure we see and meet the needs of each of our 7 children during the transitions. Sometimes we uncover these needs easily, sometimes we don’t. But, we’re constantly looking at their behaviors, listening to their words, and searching for ways to invest in, teach, train, raise, and love each one of them. We want to meet their needs, head-on.

As we focus on our children (those experiencing first or second-hand trauma), it’s easy to lose sight of all that’s happening around us. We are often wrapped up in our own little world, navigating the rough terrain of trauma parenting, and we simply miss seeing what others are experiencing in their own lives. Quite frankly, when we hide away a bit during this time, it’s not only easy for us to lose sight of others, it’s also easy for others to lose sight of us, too. This is not intentional on either part, just something that naturally happens in the process.

The reality is, sometimes we journey this road with a little less fan fare than if we were giving birth. It’s easy to forget how much changes when someone moves into one’s home and family. With a newborn, there are baby showers, gifts, meals provided, there is endless support, celebrating and everyone rejoices in the new little life.

With fostering, there simply isn’t this same response. It’s not that people are not willing to help and support (because they are!), it’s that they often don’t know how to help or that there is even a need in the first place. To be honest, I’m not the best at asking for help, either. I don’t always know what I need, so I don’t express it.

Hmmmm … perhaps I should create a new blog post listing various ways people can help support a family who has just welcomed someone into their home? I wonder if that would be helpful to anyone (including myself)?

Truly know, I am not frustrated by the natural way things change, not in the least. I think it’s simply eye-opening. I just get a better understanding of why my laundry is daily neglected, why I haven’t emailed people in 3 weeks, why I haven’t been blogging, or why I’m ready for bed at 7pm. Working through trauma, hurts, destructive behaviors, controlling personalities, fight-flight-freeze responses, changes, and big emotional tendencies can be quite consuming. Not in a good or bad way, necessarily, but just in a real it-is-what-it-is kind of a way.

We absolutely love what we do and cannot imagine living our lives any differently. We are in our element when we are walking where God leads us and He has definitely directed our steps on this crazy journey! When we feel off-track, we simply take a step back, look at the big picture, and reassess where we’ve been and where we’re going. Sometimes we just need to recognize and acknowledge our new normal. In doing so, we also see that not everyone will recognize and understand this new normal with us, and that’s perfectly OK! We will continue to trust that He is with us in all of these changes.

Friends, if you are one of the ones I have not connected with in a while, I hope and pray you will extend grace during this transitional season for me and my family. Maybe you can imagine I just gave birth to a baby and am adjusting to having a newborn. That may help give a little perspective into our lives. I realize giving birth is not exactly the same scenario a foster care, but it is quite similar at the core. I’m just hopeful it will help you better understand the changes we (and other foster families) may be experiencing in these first days, weeks and months after a new placement. To put it bluntly, things are a bit crazy at the moment! haha!

I do want to express my gratitude to those of you who have reached out to ask how we’re doing and how you can help. We are doing very well, despite our very, very full life. So, thank you. Thank you for your support and encouragement. It continues to propel us toward the goal HE has set before us as we invest our lives into all of our children.

To God be the Glory!

Fun Fact Friday – May 19, 2017

I was right. This week was a bit too full to fit in a good blog post. Things will eventually settle down a bit (especially once we get into June), but for now, life is full of a lot of good things that keep us hoppin’ and movin’.

That said, there’s always time for Fun Fact Friday, right?! Right.

Without further ado, here are a few “fun facts” about my life for you on this fine Friday:

  1. I have written many blog posts this past week … in my head. haha!
  2. Only 1 more week of school for our public school (foster) kiddo!! She is definitely counting down, and so am I. 🙂
  3. We found out our kids’ beloved pediatrician unexpectedly passed away this past weekend. Perhaps this isn’t so much of a “fun” fact, but a sobering one. We are once again reminded to keep our accounts short, forgive quickly, love deeply, and laugh often. Time is fleeting.
  4. I am very self-conscious when I dance. I am a pretty coordinated person, but I’m definitely not when I am dancing.
  5. I love having an open adoption with Taz’s family and Munchkin’s family (when her adoption officially goes through later this year).
  6. I treasure when I have a full day at home. Though we “homeschool,” we are rarely home all day long.
  7. Our kiddos are going to continue their math and history throughout the summer. The kids are (less than) thrilled. ha!
  8. I have never read Moby Dick, The Catcher in the Rye, War and Peace, The Odyssey, The Grapes of Wrath, 1984, or Great Expectations. Yes, I fully know these are “classics” and I should’ve read them a long time ago, but I did not. Quite honestly, I do not have any desire to do so now. Maybe I will later when my season of life isn’t quite as demanding, but until then, I’ll just assume they are great pieces of literature.
  9. When I go to a restaurant, I tend to order the same (type of) thing. I’m not one to venture into new territory and try new flavors. I like to stick with the tried and true meals so I know that I’ll like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll try bites of other peoples’ adventurous foods, but I’ll order what I know I love so that I’m not disappointed. If you’re curious, I often stick with a classic cheeseburger with fries, chicken fettuccini alfredo, sweet ‘n’ sour chicken/pork with rice, or something Mexican (like loaded nachos, fajitas, or a supreme burrito).
  10. Perfectly steamed broccoli (for 6 min) is probably very favorite cooked vegetable. So good!!!
  11. I am so ready to have a licensed driver in the house. Hopefully, this will happen by the end of the summer!!

I hope and pray you all have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

To God be the Glory!

Fun Fact Friday – May 12, 2017

Whew! It has been quite the week!

As you may or may not have noticed, it’s been a week since my last post (which was my previous week’s “Fun Fact Friday”). A couple of days ago, I was trying to figure out why I haven’t been able to blog this week. After all, I do have things to say, to share, to post, but I just haven’t done so. Why is that?

After doing Munchkin’s catheter at around 2am on Wednesday morning, I decided to do an “audit” (of sorts) of my week. I wanted to get a more complete picture to better understand why I haven’t had any extra time to write. So, I started to list out all of my/our scheduled commitments for just this (busier) week. I only audited the weekdays, Monday-Friday, I did not look at our weekend commitments. The results were quite revealing.

Below are the “fun facts” of our commitments and daily happenings this past week:

  1. 2 hockey nights – 1 for practices, 1 for games.
  2. 4 nights of swim club practices.
  3. 1 swim club meeting.
  4. 2 dentist appointments – both on the same day, but one was in the morning, one was in the afternoon.
  5. 3 orthodontic appointments – this may count as 1, though, as they were all back-t0-back on the same day.
  6. 5 days of dropping off and picking up at school.
  7. 1 hour of homework every night for our newest little (6 yr old) placement.
  8. 5 annual SATs to administer to our 5 oldest children – we spread the tests out over all 5 weekdays.
  9. 2 different “visits” with birth families of our littlest girls.
  10. 4 different youth groups – different times, days and locations.
  11. 1 therapy appointment.
  12. 1 in-home visit with our newest placements CASA (essentially, her personal advocate in court).
  13. 1 dad and son (Papa and Bro) movie night out with other dads and sons.
  14. 15 times for medications to be administered to Munchkin (3x each day).
  15. 1 bed/room to prepare for our guest arriving on Friday night (we’re so excited for his arrival!)

Uh. Yeah. As I said before, quite revealing. No wonder I was OUT once my head hit the pillow at night. I’m tired, haha! I’m not stressed, just had a busier week which simply takes time, energy and attention. I think I subconsciously concluded it was far more important for me to sleep this week than to blog. I typically write most of my posts late at night or early in the morning, but since I was sleeping at those times, the blog was neglected for a bit. Frankly, I’m OK with that. Sometimes, I just need to prioritize for my personal health and well-being in order to better take care of and manage the daily hustle and bustle surrounding our family.

I am so grateful for God’s covering over us in this season. He has lavishly given us grace and strength to press on, persevere, and manage all that comes with our lives: our marriage, our 7 children, our work, our finances, our home, and of course, our crazy schedule. It’s not easy, no, but it is what absolutely love to do!!

I wonder what next week will hold?! OK, I just looked … I already spy on the calendar 29 various appointments, commitments, and/or daily routines between Monday and Friday. Dude. If you don’t hear from me before next Fun Fact Friday, you’ll know why, hahahaha!

Regardless of what we face, highs and lows, ups and downs, joys and sorrows, triumphs and challenges, visits, appointments, therapies, exhaustion, and anything else that comes our way … as always …

To God be the Glory!!

Fun Fact Friday – May 5, 2017

Just like most Fridays, I have a few “fun facts” to share with you about my life. I never know what will come out as I am typing, but it’s a fun little glimpse to give you into my crazy world. Enjoy!

  1. I do not like piles of clutter in my house, yet they seem to accumulate daily. I am constantly clearing them out of the way as often as time allows. To clarify, most of them are MY various piles (paperwork being the biggest one!), not Papa’s or the kids’ piles, but mine. /blush/
  2. I need to find a snazzy paper filing system for the amazing amount of paperwork that comes home daily from the local public school. Yikes. It’s SO much to manage and we’ve only been doing it for 3 weeks! I can’t imagine doing this with all 7 kids all year long in public school. I think I’d go nutso.
  3. When I was growing up, I always fancied riding my bike and swimming in a lake, pool, or the ocean. Thought I don’t really do either activity very often these days, I still enjoy them very much.
  4. I am intentionally working on keeping my facial expressions light and welcoming instead of intense and off-putting. It’s easy for me to default to a furrowed scowl, especially when engaging with the kids, and even more so when I am correcting them. I want my kids to always remember my smiling face, not my glaring eye.
  5. I have had multiple bent prongs around my diamond (engagement) ring for years. I really need to get them fixed before they bend so much that I lose my diamond!
  6. One of my dear friends has in-laws who are moving away within the week. In their desire to clear out much of their belongings, they gave our family a wonderful set of soft olive green couches! Such a blessing!
  7. I always thought I would be an amazing and patient passenger/teacher while my teen(s) learned to drive. Alas, I am not. I talk far too much and stress the student driver out in many ways. /sigh/ I was a horrible “backseat driver” when I was a kid and that seems to have carried right on in to adulthood.
  8. If I eat food on the couch or anywhere without a table, I always try to find a pillow I can put on my lap as a substitute table.
  9. The only yard work I truly enjoy is mowing the lawn. Everything else – pruning, planting, weeding, watering – I can do without.
  10. We have amazing friends and family who support our fostering and adoption journey. Not everyone in our life catches the vision of it, but we are so incredibly blessed and backed by many. It would be hard to do this journey alone.

To God be the Glory!

The Judge’s decision

(Please note: Though these posts regarding Munchkin’s “permanency” were written as the events unfolded, I did not post them as they took place. I wanted to be sensitive in sharing any specific information about the case as well as work through my thoughts a bit before sharing them live with y’all. Even though they were delayed in going public, they are still shared very much from my heart.)


Once again, I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned as thought after thought passed through my mind. The hearing was only hours away. As sleep eluded me, I finally pulled out my phone at around 3:30am and texted a dear friend who lives very far away. With the time zone differences, I figured she was already awake (or would awaken shortly).

This is what I sent her:

Good morning!

Sooooo … after doing [munchkin’s] catheter 1.5 hours ago … I can’t seem to go back to sleep. I’m not scared or fearful for today, but I do have a million thoughts in my head.

Playing out scenarios, wondering how we will greet extended family (I’d hug, but are they huggers?), answering questions in my head of what is going to be asked when I testify, wondering how the visit with [extended family] will go after the hearing, preparing my heart for whatever the judge decides, etc.

I truly trust God in all of this, yet sleep is illusive at the moment.

Please pray I’m not a walking zombie today! Lol!!

She replied with several encouraging things, but what I clung to most was this simple line in her text, “try not overthink, trust the Holy Spirit.” What a beautiful reminder.

I promptly went to sleep after I sent my text. Whew! Maybe I just needed to express or share a bit in order to have my brain rest once again.

Fortunately, I awoke this morning ready for the day. Unfortunately, within a short 30 minutes or so later of waking, my nerves began to settle in, it was lovely. I lost my appetite, felt nauseous, and found I needed to use the restroom about 3-4x as much as usual. As we prepared to go, Papa talked with the kids and asked them to gather together and pray for us at 8:30 when the hearing was to begin. They agreed to do so. Oh how I love our children!!

After scrambling around a bit more to finish getting ready and giving final instructions to the kids on what schoolwork and chores to accomplish while we were gone … finally, it was time to leave. We were ready.

After dropping off our sweet 6yr old placement at her new school, Papa and I headed to the courthouse.

With a pile of quarters in my purse to pay for parking, we arrived in the lower parking garage. We were early.

During this time, Papa and I sat in the car and shared some more of what we were thinking and expecting for this morning. Before heading up into the building, we prayed together. It was such a sweet time as we brought our hearts before the Lord, giving Him our day, and praising Him, no matter what was to come.

We headed up the elevator to the 3rd floor where the courtrooms are located in the building. We stepped out of the elevator to find the extended family/couple already there. They were quite tired after their early flight to get to our location on time (they do not live where we live). As we approached them, I could sense they were quite reserved. Timid, perhaps? And, definitely tired. We hugged them to break the ice. I’m not sure if they really liked that we hugged them in light of the day ahead, but we wanted to communicate, once again, our willingness to maintain our relationship and to keep everything open (as much as possible).

My nerves were once again on the rise. I excused myself to go to the restroom. My bladder was especially active this morning.

When I returned, Papa asked the couple if they prayed. In short, they did not. He asked if it would be OK if we prayed. They must’ve said it was (I didn’t hear their answer) because Papa began praying for the morning. Only seconds later, the prayer was cut short as a court worker came over and spoke with us. We never finished praying together (out loud).

The Attorney General arrived and spoke with the couple about the morning. Papa and I walked a short ways over to a solid wooden bench to sit down. We wanted to give the couple some space as well as some privacy.

As we sat there, we made small conversations about various things regarding the upcoming hearing. At one point, I told Papa, “This is beyond the here and now. This decision could impact her eternity.” The weight of this thought brought a new wave of heaviness to the morning.

The Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) arrived and briefly prepped us for the morning. Anyone testifying will do so without the other “witnesses” present. When I testify, the couple will not be there. When she testifies, we will not be there.

As the couple, Papa and I waited in the hallway, the main representatives (GAL, Caseworker and Attorney General) all presented their cases to the Judge first.

Throughout the waiting, things felt tense. We stayed in our own little area while the couple stayed in theirs. We couldn’t see each other. Often, the only sounds that could be heard were distant voices, footsteps echoing on the tiled floors throughout the vast hallways, and the occasional ‘ding’ of the elevator as people came and went for their own various court appointments (likely related to traffic tickets or arrests).

Essentially, Papa and I were all alone as we waited.

They called the first “witness.” Munckin’s “Auntie” went into the courtroom. I am not sure how long she was in there, maybe 15 minutes? This is just a guess. Tracking time was not a priority at this point. Eventually, she came out with a deep sigh and joined her husband on a neighboring wooden bench that was tucked away from our line of sight.

Not long after that, they called Papa and I into the courtroom.

I immediately took the witness stand while Papa sat in the front row of the wooden pews/benches. I loved that he sat as close as he possibly could to me without crossing the line into the lawyers’ areas.

I stood there next to the witness stand, raised my right hand (no Bible in sight for my left hand to rest on, so maybe they don’t do that anymore?), and solemnly swore to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I then sat down in the simple swiveling office chair with the beautiful wooden desk/table before me. The only object on the witness stand was a hot mic ready to record and amplify my words for everyone present to hear.

The questions began.

Below is a summary of what was asked, but it is not even close to being an exhaustive list. (The GAL later told me she tried to go as quick as possible while trying to get everything on record):

  1. What was our family history? Involvement in foster care?
  2. What is Munchkin’s history? When did she begin living with us?
  3. What are her medical needs? How are we and how will we continue to meet them?
  4. What are her schooling options both now and down the road?
  5. What emotional needs does she have?
  6. What are the family interactions and connections like at home?
  7. How does she relate to and with our other children?
  8. Are our children involved with their own various activities in the community? Would Munchkin also have that same opportunity if we were chosen to be her adoptive family?
  9. What is our adoption like with Taz’s birth family? Is it open?
  10. Are we supportive of keeping and maintaining family connections? If so, how will we facilitate those?
  11. What type of socialization does she have with others outside of the home?
  12. Lastly, WHY do we want to adopt Munchkin?

I answered each question openly and honestly and to the very best of my ability. I felt confident as I shared our experiences with and our heart for Munchkin. As I answered each question, I looked primarily at the GAL as she was the one asking the questions, but I tried to also look around the room at the Judge and other court workers who were present. There was a lot to think about when up on that witness stand!

I remember answering that last big question with tears in my eyes. “Why do you want to adopt [Munchkin]?” It all boiled down to … we absolutely love her. Everything we do with, for and about her is because of our love for her. I shared our hopes and dreams for her: to be strong, to be confident, to be who God destined her to be, to be brave, to develop and continue to shine.

As I looked out into the courtroom, I saw the GAL and the Caseworker also had tears in their eyes as they listened to me share. When deep love is expressed for a precious little child (especially one in great need), it’s hard not to be moved. Our compassion is stirred. Children often bring out the most raw and unfiltered emotions, even in a court of law.

Once the GAL was finished, the Judge asked if the Attorney General wanted to ask me any questions; he did not.

I was excused from the witness stand.

As I was walking to sit with Papa, the Judge asked someone to go get the extended family and bring them into the courtroom.

He had already made a decision.

As Papa and I sat side-by-side, his arm around me for love and support, we intensely gripped each other’s hands in anticipation.

From the very first lines out of the Judge’s mouth, we knew his decision.

I wanted to call you [extended family] back into the courtroom so you could hear why I am ruling the way I am today …

He went on to share how Munchkin is thriving in our care, how her perspective is that we are her family, the kids are her brothers and sisters, how we are her parents, how her needs are only increasing as she gets older, how it would be detrimental to move her at this stage in her life, and so much more. He affirmed who they were and their love for her and acknowledged this is not what they wanted. He expressed his decision was based on what is in the best interest of Munchkin.  His decision was not based on what was best for them or for us, but, what was best for her.

He finally stated his decision clearly for all to here …

Ultimately, I believe it is in her best interest to stay exactly where she is and for her to be permanently placed with [Papa and Momma].

Our hearts leapt with joy and pounded in our chests as the news hit us. Papa and I gripped our hands together tighter and tighter with each passing word the Judge spoke.

We had held Munchkin’s life with open hands, and here we were, gripping them together, as tight as we could, never ever wanting to let her go again.

For whatever reason(s), God chose us. We are humbled.

We openly held her up and gave her back to the Lord, and He promptly placed her right back into our arms to love from this day forward.

We are her forever family.

I am so grateful, beyond all words.

As I had said previously, no matter what happened today or what decision was made, we would praise Him. It is with such joy that we get to praise Him with this outcome!

Unfortunately, with this same outcome, there is another side to the story that is full of heartache. The extended family was truly heartbroken as they heard the Judge speak his decision. Papa and I wanted to go love on and support them. But, it was not the right time to do so. They needed time and space to grieve and process their emotions. We gave them that time.

Eventually, we briefly connected to discuss having them see and play with Munchkin today. We went our separate ways for about an hour and a half and then met up at a local park. It was so easy to see how good it was for their hearts to have time with Munchkin. They were smiling and engaging with her (and with us!). It was such a sweet time for them to connect with her in person (not just via FaceTime) for a couple of hours before they caught their flight back home.

We hope and pray we can maintain connection with them, even in the midst of their grief. We are more than ready to grieve with them and love them through this. Time will tell where they are at in this, but, we know we are open and willing.

I will say, this has been a roller coaster kind-of-a-day. We truly rejoice with the amazing news for Munchkin and for our family, yet part of our hearts also ache for the extended family: it is bittersweet.

Yet, even in these moments of rejoicing coupled with moments of sorrow, we are so grateful  the Lord chose us. It is truly humbling to have the honor and privilege to raise Munchkin. She will officially be our daughter!

Ooooooh, I am welling up with tears in my eyes as I type this. I will soon get to hear her call me “Momma” … and I don’t have to correct her! I get to say, “YES, Sweet pea, I AM your Momma!”

Our hearts grew 6 sizes today.

Thank you all for praying with us and for us in this journey. We are not done traveling this road toward Munchkin’s adoption. There will be many bumps along the way and tricky relationships with the extended family to navigate, but we are in this for the long haul.

By the end of this year, hopefully, we will officially welcome little Munchkin into our family, forever and ever. Amen. So be it.

Friends, just to let you know, today is just like every other day …

God gets ALL of the Glory!! Please join us as we praise Him!!

Munchkin’s Big Day

As I write this, it is the night before Munchkin’s hearing. It’s going to be a big day. The trajectory of her life will be set in “permanent” motion. We will find out who will be adopting sweet Munchkin.

Please know, on the day this post is published, the hearing will have already taken place. We will already know its outcome and will be telling you the Judge’s decision tomorrow (so don’t forget to come back to see what was decided!).

Even though I am running various thoughts and ideas through my mind about the hearing, I truly am feeling calm and ready. We had a Skype meeting with Munchkin’s lawyer (G.A.L.) and went over what to expect at the hearing. At this point, it sounds like the plan is for only me (and not Papa) to take the witness stand and testify. No pressure, sheesh! hahaha!

In all honesty, I don’t feel a ton of pressure. I know I will simply share what is already in my heart and mind. I don’t have to come up with or manufacture anything, so that makes things much simpler. What I want to communicate is part of who I am, so expressing those things to the Judge and the court is going to be natural, easy even. Sure, I’m nervous, it’s a new experience and it’s a big hearing, but I am not scared. Tomorrow, my heart may be in my throat and I might feel like I need to vomit due to nerves, but … then again, maybe not. It’s hard to guess how my body will react to the process. What I do know is that my heart remains steadfast. God’s peace that passes all understanding is covering my heart and mind as we trust Him in this process.

I didn’t realize this was possible, but the GAL shared (during the Skype visit) that the Judge most likely already has an idea of what he will decide. Thinking about it though, it makes sense. He has the reports and the history, so he isn’t entering this case blind. The testimonies during the hearing will either confirm or challenge what decision he is already leaning toward making. From start to finish, the hearing shouldn’t take any longer than 1.5 hours. That’s going to be a fast, emotional and likely an intense 1.5 hours. Oh how I hope and pray it’s not awkward with the extended family. Oh Lord, go before us and let us be full of grace and love throughout the entire hearing, and thereafter.

I’ll share with you, the GAL is hopeful the Judge will choose us. She was quite impressed he seemed to remember our family from Taz’s adoption 4 years ago. If that’s the case, she thinks that could be in our favor. As for Papa and me, we are keeping our hearts open for whatever happens. We will have hope and be realistic at the same time. I’m not sure how that happens, but it’s exactly how we are right now: open. We truly can see the Judge choosing either option in this case. Both families and homes are great options for Munchkin.

So, it is with a humble heart that I ask you to pray with us. Pray with us for Munchkin’s life. Pray with us as we ask God to place her exactly where she is to be for her “forever home.” His plan and His ways are the very best of all.

With an open heart and full trust in God, I thank you for joining us on this journey.

See you tomorrow …

And, as always always always …

To God be the Glory!