Category Archives: thanksgiving

Mommy of four?! Part 4

Standard

She sat down across from me as we prepared to have our meeting.  The auditorium was still a little noisy with several groups of people fellowshiping and preparing to leave, but it was as if the world stood still and it was just the two of us.

I took a deep breath and Jay Jay said “what is going on? You are scaring me”

“I need to tell you something.” I recounted the information I had received about Jalica and I told her how we had been praying since before she left that God would bring her a very specific kind of family.  Jay Jay and her husband fit that description to a tee.  I told her it wouldn’t be easy, that she would have a uphill battle ahead but that God had put them on my heart when I knew Jalicia was ready and waiting for her forever home.  By the end of the meeting we were both in tears and prayed together.  She said they would talk and pray and get back with us.

Two weeks before Christmas Jalicia was placed with Jay Jay and her husband Jason.  We planned to take them dinner their second night together.  I had never been to their house before and I asked for their address to obtain directions.  That’s when I found out that they live around the corner!!! Jalicia and Owen get to grow up together and we now have a new branch of our family. We get to be in Jalicia’s life and she in ours! She calls us aunt and uncle now!! God is so good!!!!

Tomorrow they will stand before the judge and take their own oathe and become an official forever family!! I cannot wait to celebrate with them!! 

Advertisements

Mommy of four?! Part 3

Standard

I wrote before about our science co op. It was a long time ago but it is important to note that it was through that co op that my kids began attending the church that our co op met in on Wednesday nights.  

Kaitlyn’s class was called STARS and she had been asking for prayer for our situation and she missed Jalicia and prayed for her all the time.  

A few weeks after Jalicia left I found myself hanging around after the services there, talking with Kaitlyn’s teacher Jay Jay.  It was pretty cool because she had been wanting to talk to me about fostering for a while. She and her husband had been liscnesed to adopt for a long time and were praying for God to give them a family.  I felt like God had given me a friend but I was also very thankful that Kaitlyn had a teacher who cared enough to pray and could understand some of what we were going through. All part of God’s plan to bring healing.

In October we found out that the case would be closing because all of the children were going to be adopted.  They were all in the homes that were going to adopt them. Every thing was set…or so we thought.

I received a frantic call telling me that Jalicia would need to be moved ASAP from the home she was in.  We starting praying that God would intervene.  I spoke with the case worker and told her I had an idea and asked if it was a legitimate option she said yes.

So I made a phone call and set a meeting. Two nights later I was preparing to have yet another life changing conversation. I had to get ready for the possibility of an epic turn of events. I walked into the room my stomach in knots. God please give me what I need and please help me breathe!

Mommy of four?! Part 2

Standard

Over the next few weeks things changed-a lot.  We were attempting to get our bearings and learning the ropes of being a family of six.  

We had good days and bad days.  It soon became clear that little Jalicia needed way more than we could give and we were in way over our heads.  Thankfully though, God wasn’t. 

We began to arrange for services to be put in place to get her and us the help we all desperately needed.  Then we got the news that changed everything.  She was going to be moved from us to another home.  

We were both partially relieved and also devestated.  I knew I wasn’t meant to be her mom but I so wanted to be.  I knew that my little family had been through a war zone and that my children needed some recovery time.  I also worried about Jalicia as she had to start over fresh-again.  I knew we would continue to see her at sibling visits and that I would know how she was doing.  I didn’t know if I could handle knowing that either. What if things didn’t go well? Would I be watching her struggle? Could I handle the outcome? We began praying that God would give her a wonderful new home that it would be a smooth transition and that she would be happy.  

Two weeks later we found out that she had been moved again and again.  It broke my heart so much.  We just prayed and prayed that God would bring her a couple who either had grown children or never had children who would love her and care for her and give her all the attention she needed and deserved and could meet her needs and be her forever family. 

Mommy of four?!

Standard

What a lot of people don’t know is that Owen’s biological sister was placed that night with our friend Amanda specifically for the purpose of giving us a chance to meet her in hopes that we would be able to open our home to her as well.  We wanted to keep as many of the siblings together as we could. 

We decided that we would meet up the next day at target and get to know her a little and we would have until Sunday to make our decision.  

She was five years old and so cute!  Obviously tramatized and mentioned details of the case quite often.  We basically fell in love with her. But we were scared.  Friday was awesome and we took Saturday to think and pray through the details.   But Sunday morning we had decided that it wasn’t something we felt we could do.  It broke my heart getting ready for church knowing I had to tell Amanda no and our desire to keep them together was crushed. 
I walked into the sanctuary and I heard a little voice shout across to me “Mrs Rachel!!!” I looked up to see Jalicia run into my arms and give me the biggest hug.  My heart melted and the resolve to say no went with it. 

That afternoon we took her home with us although we were still hesitant to commit.  I wanted to make sure I could say yes to the possibility of forever and that I was equipped to be her mom.  I didn’t want to get into a situation where we needed out.  It was a big decision. 

That afternoon we were having so much fun in the car talking and laughing.  My heart was getting entangled in this beautiful little girl and I was fighting God on this hard.  

This is the conversation that clenched it.

Me: Jalicia we have been praying for you and your brother for a long time. 

Jalicia: because you wanted us?

As soon as we were stopped I texted John and then Amanda.  The answer was yes!  Suddenly I was a mom of four!! 

That was one year ago today!

Finally Home

Standard

One year ago, around ten o’clock pm, DCF placed a sleeping baby boy into Kaitlyn’s arms and in that moment he entered our hearts! 

For the next ten months we engaged in a legal, personal, and emotional battle. We fought to protect him. We strived to teach him. We interceded for him in prayer.  Through the fear of loosing him, through the joy of loving him and having him with us, we trusted God.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,When as yet there were none of them.

All the days fashioned for me were written before there was one. We were not there for his birth, or his first 11 months of life, but God was! He was writing his story and guiding his journey to us! We celebrated his first birthday with him. We saw his first steps! Johnny and Kait became big brother and big sister. He was our first placement, and we were his. His firsts mirrored ours as we bonded together as a family of five for the first time! 

Genesis 50:20…”As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be saved, as they are today.”

Owen was born into a circumstance that Satan meant for harm. God’s plans are never thwarted. We believe that he meant him to be with us and now is the fulfillment of his plan!  It brings to mind what I wrote about his first night with us:”Even after all he had been through, he didn’t cry, he just looked up at us and smiled like he had always known us.” Maybe in his little baby heart God had reassured him that after all he had been through his first 20 months of life(9 in the womb, 11 out), he was finally Home.

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

On February 17, 2016 Baby “O” officially became Samuel Owen Andersen. Standing in front of the judge we took a collective oath as a family that we accept him into our family with all the rights and privileges and equal treatment as our son. It was one of the top five moments of my life! His name means “we prayed for this warrior.” We call him Owen. This journey is a roller coaster ride and it is exciting and scary and pushes the limits of reality and sanity. It is incredible! 

Shape-sorting

Standard

Adoption is much more than I ever thought it could be.  Especially adoption from foster care.  Through the whole process, all I could think about was getting through the next hoop nessecary to make this baby safely ours forever.  We loved him, we wanted to make sure we could keep him safe.

We stood before the judge and with our hands raised we promised to love, protect, and take care of him for the rest of his life and ours as if he was naturally born to us.  That is huge to me!  

Now that it is all over, the ramifications of the choices we made along the way are sinking in. Also the anger that I pushed back throughout the entire process is rearing it’s ugly head.  Now it is bigger.  Not only am I angry that all the things these kids went through happened to them, but now it’s anger that this was done to MY kid.  I am angry that he wasn’t protected and that he will have to live with the reprocussions of this pain for life.  

I began to panic about what all this will mean to him someday.  Will he understand why things were done? Will he be angry with us? Will he be angry at her?  Will he believe the facts of the case? If he does, will he feel hurt at what transpired to bring him to us?  How can we ever truly fill the void in his little heart?  
No, we won’t.  We can’t.  That is not a mommy and daddy shaped hole.  If we try to fill that void for him we only reinforce what Satan will already be working on, which is attempting to make him believe he needs something from his past to return or be accounted for, to make him whole.  This isn’t  a bio family shaped hole, or an answer shaped hole–it is a God shaped hole.  

While needing answers is valid, some answers can be skewed. Years and time can make deep wounds heal faster when the perceived medicine is given. What if in 20 years he believes lies that undermine all we told him his whole life? 

God has reiterated to me that our job in his life is not to help him get what he needs to fill the void or to keep his options open. Our job is to point him always to the only one who can safely fill that void for him. God may choose to use others, us included, to help him, but we have to teach him how to see people as instruments in his life. Either used by God or not.  All experiences in our lives good and bad right and wrong , our sin or others’ sin, as a giant neon sign pointing us back to Christ. 

“…she laughs at the things to come.”It’s not with sarcasm or blind carelessness a woman of God does this. It is with the knowledge that the one we depend on is worthy of our trust and our future is secure no matter what.  We must walk in truth.  We must rely on the Holy Spirit (the only one who knows he mind of God) who intercedes for us to impart wisdom in our circumstances based on the facts that we have.  

We are not the Shape sorter or the shape identifiers. We are all framework, filled with different shaped holes, waiting for God to put the pieces together.  

The night the aligator ate my baby

Standard

I looked across the enclosure that housed the massive alligator we had marveled at just a few moments before.  Movement caught my eye.  I yelled as loud as I could across to my oldest son, who for whatever reason was walking AWAY from my two year old.  Owen was playing on the rocks beside the swampy area of the enclosure.  Johnny didn’t hear me yell to him.  In those moments I had no other recourse but to jump the fence and run as fast as I could over to get him.  On the way, I grazed the tail of the alligator and it startled and ran. When I reached the other side, I realized in horror that when I spooked the alligator its tail had come up and knocked Owen behind me. I turned just in time to see the gator attack him.  I screamed a blood curdling scream as I watched my precious baby boy caught in the jaws of a creature that I could not stop.  He looked at me and reached for me with terror in his eyes and all I could think was “He can see me, he is reaching for me. In the most horrible moment of his life he is looking to me for help and I cannot do anything to save him. But he thinks I can!”  I knew that I was helpless and that I was betraying him, because he knew me as the one to turn to for help.  The loss hit me like a train. Pain, agony, intense sorrow.  I wanted my baby back. I wanted to tell him I was sorry.  I wanted to start the day over.  I was powerless and utterly worthless.  

Then I woke up.  Thank you God!!! I woke up! It was just a nightmare! 

When I opened my eyes I was relieved. Part of me wanted to go back to sleep, though.  I wanted to see Owen miraculously be saved some how.  He was right there in the next room. I could hear him laughing and playing. It was almost as if going back to sleep and finishing the dream would prove it was one.  

I knew exactly why I had the dream.  The entire night had been filled with stress dreams.  I realized that I was more worried than I had thought about recent events in our life.  

There are times, maybe more times than not, when we have to sit back and watch our children walk through deep waters and we cannot do anything to rescue them.  Sometimes we can come along side them and help comfort or offer advice.  Ultimately, though, it is happening to them and we are sidelined. We need someone to fight these battles who is bigger than us and greater than the monsters we are facing.  
Unfortunately our fear causes us to forget that we are missing an end of the story. Just like I felt the need to go back to sleep in hopes I would see a superhero save my baby, we need to remember that no matter what we are facing, the story isn’t over. We have a God who is working to save us and our children.  He is bigger, faster, stronger, better, more powerful, omnipotent, loving, and willing.  We need to teach our children not to only look to us for help but Christ in us and Christ without us too.  We cannot be their savior, healer, or friend.  We can only be instruments of God to them.  We are not the superheroes. We don’t have to take on their world or fight their battles. We should be living in a way that when challenges come they look to us for directions to the God they have seen use us to comfort, guide, and love them.  Just like Ruth following Naomi.  They will want to be where we are and our God to be their God.  

This is true for us, our relationships with our spouse, our kids, our friends, and our foster children who fight battles we cannot even relate to or even identify at times.  We are to point them to the God who sees them. Who died for them, who experienced trama, abandoned by his father, punished and abused without deserving it, just like them. But He did it FOR them.  We know the end of the story let’s live like it!!