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Need for a name change

moving-in-our-red-truck
I am excited to be closing out this blog because it is time for a name change, and to do so without starting a new blog was going to cause me to lose any links I had on this one. So, if you would like to continue to follow along on our family happenings, you can find us over here: https://raisingmanymiracles.wordpress.com/
Read our first post and you can see why t post and you can see why I am excited to be starting a new blog.

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End of an Era

We have decided after much thought and prayer to close our foster license. We have adopted our last two foster children that we knew were meant to be ours, and fost/adopt was one of the main reasons we had detoured from the road of biological children to  international adoption and then to foster care. I knew we had two more girls who were meant to join our family and after searching for many years at a plethora of waiting children–none of which were ours–God told me to take a chill pill. I was frantically hunting because after all I was not getting any younger with each passing year. One night as I knelt in prayer and pled one more time to be able to find my daughters, he clearly told me in my mind, “I will bring them to you.”

All of our other adopted children I had found by searching Waiting Children lists. I just naively assumed that hunting would always be part of the process and although I didn’t really enjoy it, I accepted it as a necessary evil. Instead, however, the Lord gave me the knowledge that my daughters would be here in the United States.

When we considered doing foster care back in 2006, it didn’t feel right. Being the slow learner-or stubborn fool-that I am, I still went to hand in the paperwork to an agency here in town, and felt like I was going to vomit. I sat in their parking lot and then decided I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t meant to be. After we backed out of fostering, was when we found Caleb on a waiting children’s list. Clearly, at the time, we were supposed to adopt one more time from China rather than from foster care.

Fast forward to 2009 and I felt myself being drawn to foster care. So we started the training and application process and it felt 100% right.  I knew it was right as the Spirit confirmed to me that we would find our daughters this way. Funny thing is, Peanut was one of our first placements, and my husband was the one who said “I think we will end up adopting this one.” I thought he was crazy. I was the one who usually knew first which child would be ours when we adopted, and it usually required convincing Jeff over a few months’ time that said chosen child really was meant to be ours.

Blessing came to our house two years later as a fost-adopt placement and after staying with us just over a year, her parents rights were severed and we applied to adopt her. We decided to only do respite for other foster parents at this point, but it led to lots of children in and out of our home on weekends, and then one final 6 month placement of two foster sons who had FASD.  They were sweet boys and I loved them, but their behaviors, severe allergies and extreme cognitive delays nearly led me to drink myself. They were the only placement we ever asked to be rehomed, and typical CPS removed them in a traumatic way from our home with only 45 minutes notice.

With that, I decided I was done, and now four months later, as our license has come up for renewal, we have decided instead to close it. We need a break from CPS, from court reports, from attorneys and social workers in our home, and from having to fill out an incident report to cover our rears every time a child might accidentally fall and get a bruise. We just want to be a family with no other children coming and going. Part of me is sad as I know there is a dearth of good foster homes…and I know we were a good one. We loved the children who came, we made them a part of our family while they were here, and we grieved when they left. It’s time to move on, however. Time to go on a family vacation without having to get permission to take a foster child out of the state. Time to dote more on grandchildren. Time to just be a family. Just us. What will the future hold? Only God knows, but I am excited to see the plans He has in store for us.

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Living with Mania and Answers to Prayer

I should be working on Christmas gifts  or making Christmas treats. But instead, I am blogging because I am in no mood to work on Christmas things when I have a child who is losing it in his bedroom right now. I’m just thankful he finally decided to stay there for awhile.

I should have seen the warning signs coming. Last night Ben was up seven times. That means seven times that the alarm for his bedroom went off as he came out the door and wandered the house. Seven times that Jeff or I had to get up and make sure he went back to bed without getting in trouble. Seven times that I pleaded in prayer for him to just settle down for the night and stay in bed.

Living with mania is no picnic. Holes in bedroom walls tend to bring down the aesthetic value of your home just a bit. Depression is no Sunday School picnic either, but with mania he tends to rage more, while with depression, he cries more silent tears. I have prayed many times over the years for Ben to be healed.  I used to beg Jeff to give him a priesthood blessing to heal him. When Jeff told me he didn’t feel that it was part of his priesthood calling to do so, I falsely accused him of not having enough faith. (Yeah, I know I can be a bear to live with sometimes.) At the time, however, I felt like I had the faith and just knew he could be healed if someone was willing to pronounce those words.

I wasn’t asking for his deafness to be removed; just a simple mental illness of bipolar disorder. Surely that wouldn’t be too much to ask. If the Lord healed all of those who approached him during his mortal ministry, couldn’t he do the same for my son? When he appeared to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon (3rd Nephi chapter 17) and asked that all of their children be brought to him and he blessed them one by one as well as any in their midst who were sick, maim, deaf, blind, or afflicted in any manner,  then surely he would be willing to do that for Ben.  Why not? I had the faith. But then, one night in humble prayer, I asked. “Heavenly Father is it your will that Ben be healed?” The answer I really didn’t want to hear, came: “not yet.” There will be a time someday when Ben will rise in glory and be perfected and all of his frailties and weaknesses will be removed, but for now we must endure a bit longer.

And in the midst of the trial of mental illness that I do not understand, I have learned a simple lesson. It takes great faith to be healed, but it sometimes takes an equal amount or even greater faith to continue to trust in and follow a loving God who says, “not yet.” Faith in God means having faith in His timing.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV)

When I struggle, these words bring much comfort. And I can be still and know that He is God.

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Why we homeschool

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Living homeschool

I pulled Micheline out of public school over Christmas break to homeschool her. I didn’t feel that her classroom was meeting her needs on more than one front and am a strong supporter of homeschooling, so decided to bite the bullet and pull her out.

May I say that we are loving homeschooling? I homeschooled Ben before and it was incredibly tough so I was a bit uneasy this go round but I put much prayer into the decision and know that this what we are supposed to be doing.

In History, we just finished studying the Mayas, Incas and Aztecs. We checked out a few books from the library that showed many artifacts left over from their societies. Micheline was fascinated by the small statues, masks and hieroglyphics and asked me why many of the women didn’t wear shirts. I didn’t have an answer for her other than that was what their society deemed acceptable attire.

The next day the girls were happily playing outside in the back yard when I looked outside and they were not wearing their regular play clothes. Two of the girls had towels wrapped around them like loincloths and one at least had a towel wrapped all the way around her middle section so she was completely covered.

I ran outside and asked them what on earth they thought they were doing. They looked at me quite puzzled and said, “We are just pretending to be Aztecs.” I guess I should be happy they weren’t offering any human sacrifices as well.

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My baby girl is coming home!

The Sunday before Easter my phone rang at 6 a.m. I was not amused since weekends are my only time to sleep past 5:45, and my alarm was not due to go off for another hour. I groggily answered it only to hear, “Are you awake? I know it’s early still out there but I need to talk to you.”

It was Peanut’s cousin and she told me she had been up all night with Peanut who had a tummy ache and who had cried all night. She had also thrown a two hour tantrum the evening before and her cousin said, “I have been trying to tell myself that I can do this, but I can’t. I just can’t. Besides that, she loves you, you love her, and she needs to come back to you.”

With those words, I was suddenly wide awake. Did I actually hear what I thought I heard? Yep, she said she was sending her back. I wanted to shout “Hallelujah! Thank you God!”, and a variety of other praises of gratitude, but instead I just tried to calmly listen and empathize with how she was feeling. After all, she was hurting inside and it took alot for her to call me and tell me honestly what she was feeling. She said she had not told anyone else yet, but that just by telling me the weight of the world felt like it had been lifted off of her shoulders.

I have hesitated to post anything for fear things would not work out. After all, the agency handling the out of state adoption could still place her with someone else if they insist on keeping Peanut with her brother. I cannot take him. I have pondered and prayed about it and he is just not meant to come to our home.

This week, however, a plethora of prayers have been answered as we found it is pretty much set that she will be rejoining our family in early July. Her brother’s previous foster mother has consented to take him back as well so both children will return home to familiar places and routines.

Six months ago I wrote this as my heart was breaking:
Tonight at dinner she said, “Mama,I will miss you when I am gone. After I have stayed there for a very long time will you come get me?” Oh my dear one, if you only knew how very much I wish I could.

If the caseworker doesn’t end up flying to get the kids, there is a chance that I might be flying them home. So yes, my dear Peanut, after you have stayed there for a very long time, I would be willing to do almost anything to get on a plane and come get you. Thank you, God, for allowing my baby girl to come back home!

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Off to school in New York

Peanut started school this morning in New York. She is attending a private Catholic school where she wears a uniform. Her cousin, D., promised me photos and said her friend sent them from her phone but I didn’t receive anything.

D. called me this morning and told me how it went. I appreciate the phone calls as it eases my fears of how Peanut is doing. Peanut has been calling herself, sometimes twice a day, but she can’t carry on much of a conversation so it often ends up with me asking yes/no questions. Today, D. said that Peanut was a bit afraid when she got to school and started to cry but that she and her husband and older daughter all went in with her. Apparently Peanut’s teacher is the same one that D.’s daughter had for kindergarten almost 20 years ago. D.’s daughter told the class that, and they all thought that was pretty neat.

Peanut took a Lunchable for her lunch and some oranges and goldfish crackers for her snack. D. laughed and said, “The school hasn’t called me yet so I guess she is doing OK.” D. promised to keep me in the loop when Peanut moved and so far she has kept her promise. She said I am more than welcome to fly out sometime and visit her and is willing to send Peanut to us during summer break.

So, even though we are still heartbroken at having lost our sweetie from our family, we hope to be able to always be part of her extended family.

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