Popsicles

Last weekend, when Austin was sick and not eating or drinking, I asked Chris to bring home popsicles, hoping we could cleverly disguise some hydration. But he wouldn’t touch them. Until Sunday evening. That night, we had all of this probiotic, kefir popsicle goodness.

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Here he was testing it out. 

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and the verdict is in! He likes it!

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I mean, come on. The cuteness. Just. Too. Much. Cuteness. 

He kept saying “cold” which sounds more like, “Coh?”. But then he’d take another big bite. And every so often, he’d have a full body shiver. It was hilarious. And the next night started off with another one, but after that, he ate like a champ again. Popsicles for the win!

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Whose Tears are These?

Sometime in the wee hours between Thursday and Friday, Austin came down with a fever. Because, you know, that’s what weekends are for, being sick. So he stayed home with me on Friday and I attempted to work, care for him, run an errand, and cook. All in all it was an OK day. Austin was super whiny and clingy, but he was pretty quiet and easy to keep entertained. Not a whole lot got done, but my child was cared for, and really, all that matters. 

Chris is going to be at an out of town bachelor party until sometime tomorrow. Normally, an night without dad wouldn’t worry me too much. My parents are close by, and even as ornery as my toddler can be, I am his mother and can handle him. But add to that that he is still sick and super cranky, and I start to fret just a little. 

This morning, I brought Austin downstairs to get breakfast ready while his dad packed. First I started with the coffee. Putting him down instead of carrying him on my hip made him lose his cool, so I put him on the counter so he can watch, which quells the oncoming storm.  He played with the things I had lined up on the counter and then suddenly- he throws up and is sitting in a pool of clear stuff that came up from his belly. Fabulous. Back upstairs we go.

After he is cleaned up and dry, we head back downstairs. I grab a banana and peel it. Instead of just handing it to Austin like I do most mornings, I broke it in half so that I could use some of it in the oatmeal I was preparing. Apparently that was the WRONG thing to do. Austin had a meltdown. I mean, he ran away from me, crying and screaming, and stood in a spot yelling and glaring at me. So, I put the banana down and grab another one for him to eat. I peel it, and… no good. He’s still pissed at me and won’t stop crying. But he also wants me to hold him, now. So I can comfort him while he screams in my ear. Joy.

I distract him by sitting him down on the counter (again) while I prepare the oatmeal. That calms him down a little. But then he wants to help. So oatmeal is scattered all over the counter, Austin is crying because his plastic fork doesn’t cut the banana, and I end up putting too much water in the bowl. I don’t mind my oatmeal a little runny, but by the time I added my cream to it, I wondered if this was going to be a disaster, since I knew my child who is still mastering the art of using a spoon, would be feeding himself. Well, I found out soon enough, because Austin’s stirring suddenly changed to feeding, and he dripped hot oatmeal on his leg and screamed. It wasn’t scalding, but it was definitely hot. Poor baby.

By this time, Chris has made his way downstairs and he is trying to help me calm the child and finish with breakfast. Austin won’t stop crying and screaming, and it occurs to me that I will probably be dealing with this a lot this weekend- by myself. Tears flowed. I hate to admit that I was already crying at 8:45 in the morning, while my husband was still home to help, but I guess after a full day of just me and the cranky kid, a crazy morning, the thought of the rest of the weekend being like that just overwhelmed me. I calmed down and sat down to eat with Austin, and he was not pleased with any of the choices of silverware i had in front of him, and the screaming and crying continued. With coughing and gagging, and me reaching to catch throw up that thankfully never came. Chris came to give me a hug, and that just made the tears flow again. I wasn’t sobbing or anything. I was just sitting there, being held, with tears streaming down my face. Austin just stared at me, and then I suppose he thought Chris must have been hurting me, since i had tears, and he started crying, too. Gah. He’s sweet, but really? So I had to console him, show him that I was ok, wipe my tears, and hug and kiss daddy to show Austin that daddy wasn’t hurting me. We were a mess this morning, let me tell you.

So, it is now just after 11, and Austin has been dressed, we went for a walk, and he is finally napping. I’m hitting the shower after this is posted- determined to make the most of this weekend. But, I’d appreciate your prayers just the same. Thanks!

Second Cousins

My cousin, Chrissy is in town with her beautiful family. It’s rare that we get together, so I was happy to hear they would be ending their road trip in our hometown. Last night we got together at my parents’ house for dinner. Her two daughters were feeding and playing with Austin, and he loved chasing after them and playing with them. 

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Naila & Briyana are sweet, smart girls, with lots of energy. I totally wish we lived closer together so we could all get together more. I loved watching Austin with them. He was so into what they were doing, and wanted to be part of the fun.

Mark (who belongs to Chrissy and the girls) brought his trumpet with him, and played a piece for us. Actually, he was playing for Austin, but we all got to enjoy it. Afterwards, he let Austin touch the trumpet, and get to know the instrument. I have some awesome video of Mark playing, and Austin standing there in awe. Then he suddenly starts tapping his feet and dancing and clapping. The girls dance with him, and everyone is laughing and enjoying the moment. It was really cool.I just know Austin is going to be a musician, and he keeps getting introduced to talented people and different types of instruments. I wonder which he will choose to take up… 

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I’m looking forward to getting together with everyone together this evening. My brother should be there, too, this time. Can’t wait! 🙂

A Fork in the Road: an adoption update

Anyone who knows us, or has kept up with this blog, knows that we have this thing we’re after- adoption. I knew I was going to adopt before I knew if I even wanted to birth kids of my own, and Chris knew that he wanted to adopt since he can remember learning about what adoption is. So yeah, it’s been with us for a while. And over the last couple of years, we have been moving towards bringing an orphan into our home. After considering several options, we decided to try to adopt through our home state of South Carolina, through Social Services and the foster care system.

So as not to get too wordy, I made this to sum up our adoption timeline from start to… about two weeks ago.

our road to adoption

 

In order to keep our home study current, there are periodic home visits and inspections to be done while we wait to be matched with a child (or children). We had one such visit a couple of weeks ago with our case worker.  The visit went well, and was a pleasant one. It usually is. But towards the end of it, our caseworker “got real” with us. Basically, she told us because of the age range we are looking for, because we are not looking for a child with severe special needs, and also because we are not foster parents, it could be a very, very, very long time before we would ever be matched with a child, if at all. She said that in all of her years doing what she does, she’s only seen two kids in our age range be placed in a forever home through this route. Then she dropped the names of some people and agencies that do private and international adoptions, saying she’d be happy to release our homestudy to them to help move things along and reduce some costs.

While I can’t say that we were shocked to hear what she had to say, it was still really disheartening. If I’m to be honest, I was crushed. Why couldn’t she have told us this before? It felt like we’ve wasted years of effort, and of hope. In the two years since we first started this process, my heart for kids in the foster care system has grown and grown and grown. And so did my hopes, and silly little plans and dreams.  **even though this was just a bump in the road and we have prayed and have a new direction, writing this is making me feel all kinds of emotions again, and I’m sitting here crying.

So, we’ve reached this crossing point. The way we were heading down may lead to us bringing home a child from the foster care system, but I think that is way, way, way down the road. Which I am ok with. I think, deep down, part of me wants to adopt an older kid through DSS, and we just aren’t ready for that right now. So we keep our home study current, and as time passes, maybe we change our criteria and get matched that way. Only God knows, and I am ok with that. But now we have two choices- Domestic, private adoption, where you are matched with a birth mother and adopt a baby, or international adoption. After doing lots of research, talking, and praying, I finally connected with someone who was able to clearly show me what direction we were supposed to turn. This woman basically asked me what our goal in adopting was. Were we trying to grow our family, or give a family to an orphan? And the lightbulbs went on! We have a heart for orphans! I know that the babies born here, in the US, will be placed in families. They will probably never know life without one. And I thank God for that. But at the same time, there are so many orphans all over the world. Orphans. Children who are waiting. And we can help end the wait for someone now.

So we’ve decided to pursue international adoption. SInce we are already a very mixed family, choosing where to adopt from was really a matter of where we met the right guidelines, how long the processes were, and what health/ages of children were available to us. We are fine with any gender or race. We compared the costs of certain countries, but then decided that we shouldn’t make that a deciding factor. If the Lord wants us to bring a child home from somewhere, anywhere, he will provide a way. I trust in His plans. So, after marking up lots of papers with red pens and yellow highlighters, talking, and praying, we have decided to adopt from China.

Even though it kind of feels like we’re starting from square one again, I can smile. I can look forward with a new hope and know that I am walking a road that leads to a missing part of our family. And we are so excited. If you care to walk this road with us, we can use all of the support we can get. Words of encouragement and prayer go a long way. We know this is just a first step, and the road is most likely going to be another long one, but we’re looking forward to it with a sense of adventure, and hope that you will too. Check in for periodic adoption updates right here on our blog. We have also created a fundraising page to help with some of the costs of this endeavor. If you make a donation of any amount there, you will receive periodic updates over there, too.

I bet you hated reading the word “fundraising” as much as I hated typing it. It’s just one of those dreaded things. I know we will come up with the funds we need somehow, and it’s also a good thing that we pay a little bit here, a little bit there, as things move along. It’s a relief to know we don’t have to write a$30-40k check all at once. But still, asking people for money is always uncomfortable – whether it’s a hand out, or for a good cause. Knowing that, I thought I’d make this a little more fun for everyone. Instead of feeling like it’s just a donations page, I want you to feel like a part of our story. So we have decided to create a special, 1,000 piece puzzle. Anyone who donates $15 to our fund will have their name written on the back of a piece of the puzzle. When the puzzle is complete, we will frame it and keep it in our new addition’s bedroom, as a constant reminder of the love poured into our family to help us bring this child home. You’ll be able to say you helped to “build” our family – piece by piece. 

Yay! I’m stoked. I just love the puzzle idea, and I love adoption, and I love you! Thanks for reading this terribly long post, and for your support.

A Loss

A couple of weeks ago, when Chris was taking Austin to daycare, he was greeted by a lady on staff there with, “Did you hear about Miss Marsha?” Marsha is one of Austin’s teachers, a wonderful woman. Her husband had suddenly passed away, she said. “It was on the news.” The message was kind of cryptic, and obviously trying to be respectful of Marsha’s privacy, while at the same time delivering information to parents. A letter was sent home, and with a little digging here and there, we were able to determine what happened.

Last week, we were able to confirm what we had learned. Marsha’s husband had been shot in front of their home, and killed. It appears to have been a crime spree, and the suspects are in custody. In the scheme of things, we don’t need to know details. What we know is that this woman and her two sons are suddenly on their own. We know how terrible the grief must be, and how confusing it can be to look at your life and your future when something like this happens. How do you go on when tragedy strikes?

When things like this happen, there’s always a feeling of helplessness. I l have seen a few tragic things happen recently, and always feel slightly awkward about how to offer support. I always wish there was more I could do to ease the pain for the people suffering. Besides prayer, sympathy cards, and well wishes, what can be done? One of the mothers of another little boy in Austin’s class decided that more could be done, and she created a website. Last week, we were given the web address to where we could make a donation to Marsha’s family to help with the costs that come with losing a loved one, taking time off of work, and caring for children and relatives.

We know that our small donation doesn’t amount to much in the scheme of things, but we know that it all adds up. We mostly just want Marsha to know that we are thinking of her and offering support. We hope she takes all the time she needs, but Austin’s class is not the same without his teacher, and we miss seeing her. We continue to pray for healing and comfort for her family as well.

If you’d like to make a donation to Marsha’s GoFundMe account, you can do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/7zesvs

Please Don’t Ask Me to Adopt a Pet

I keep seeing pet adoption pleas and posts everywhere: on Facebook, in newspapers, on news programs, on the radio, and at tables in front of stores. Think of a place that you are bound to look at or pass, and you’ve probably seen a pet adoption sign of some sort there. They are almost unavoidable, and they usually make me really sad, but not in the way you’d think. Continue reading

a possibility

I have been struggling with whether or not to post about this. Right now, in the early, early stages of this process, and with so little information, and so much that is out of our control, I wonder if bringing it up is the right thing to do. But, I guess it can’t hurt, and we’ll take all the support we can get.

So here’s the news:

We’ve inquired about a little girl in SC that we’d like to adopt. Her caseworkers are reviewing our home study now, (along with who knows how many others,) and we won’t hear anything for several weeks. In a world where you can track the progress of your pizza delivery, waiting in silence is not an easy thing! Waiting is hard enough, but not knowing how many other families are being considered, how the case worker(s) narrow their choices, and knowing that it’s completely out of my hands at this point, makes the waiting that much harder. I definitely like to have my hands in any process or big decision in my life, but this is one that is completely beyond my control. But I know who has all the control, so, I’ll let it go, and pray, and wait. It’s in the hands of my Lord, and His will be done.

We have very little information about this precious girl, but do have her first name and a picture of her, so when we pray about this situation, we can pray for her by name and see her little face in our minds. I’m actually looking at her picture right now, and hoping. I am praying for patience, and wisdom. I am praying that our family’s hearts are being made ready for a change. I’m praying that this little girl’s heart is also being prepared. Even if it’s not our home she finally comes home to, she will be going home to somebody, and her heart needs to be made ready for them. But of course, I am hoping that our home state gives us a change.

So, while we wait, we will ready our home. Spring is finally starting to feel like Spring. We are looking forward to playdates in the park, and just playing outside with Austin, in general. He loves being outdoors. We also have lots of outdoor projects lined up for this year: landscaping the side yard, planting our veggie garden, and hopefully getting our deck and shed built. We have a bit (ok, a lot) of organizing to do inside the home too. So with lots to get done, hopefully the time will pass quickly until we hear something. Won’t you please pray with us during this time?  It would mean so much to us. And it could mean a lifetime of love for this child.