Thursday, January 26, 2012

Portugal Recap

I am really trying to get a Portugal post written (a few months late!) but for now enjoy some pictures and I’ll explain everything later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Training for Foster/Adoption

We started our training last week.  It’s a lot of training.  So much that I only like to look at it one week at a time as not to get overwhelmed. 

Basically, there are about 15 different training sessions you have to go to- most are 3 hours long, one is 8 and I think one is 4 or 5.  This month they are offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8. 
The trainings are in south Arlington so for us that means leaving at 5:00- dropping C off with a friend, picking up dinner or taking it along- and driving an hour in rush hour to the training.  The drive home is faster but it still puts us back much past Cason’s bed time.  To be honest it’s exhausting- not counting the part where we sit in class for 3 hours.  The last two weeks have been class tues/thurs, church wed, something at church friday and saturday, church sunday and start again on monday.  Cason finally lost it on Saturday night on our way to dinner.  We are taking a break this week on the trainings to regroup because on Saturday we have an 8 hour class.

So far we have been to: Child Development, Communication, Separation Loss and Grief, and Sexual Abuse.  We are usually in class with a few other couples and it’s a casual talk and very open for asking questions or exploring topics.  It’s interesting but at the same time very dry- sitting anywhere for 3 hours is hard for me to do.  The grief class and abuse class were heavy. We knew that when a child has been placed in foster care it is likely they have some baggage; but when you really sit down and learn about what some of these children go through, it will break your heart.  But it reminded me why we are doing this in the first place. 

We also learned that when you have foster children that licensing can stop by any time and inspect your house.  So imagine your worst day as a parent- it’s 3:00 and everyone is still in their pj’s… including you, laundry is everywhere, dishes are in the sink, everyone is in a bad mood, you park the kids in front of the tv so you can get a break, the house is cluttered with toys and there might be some silverware from the kitchen and tools from the garage mixed in there somewhere too- and there’s a knock at the door and it’s someone wanting to come into the house to see if you are meeting all the standards for a foster home.  Now they understand that life happens- so dishes and toys and pj’s shouldn’t really make a difference.  But that’s the kind of day you don’t even want your friends to come over, having a stranger judging you as a parent… that’s hard. 

And that’s where praying comes in.  We knew this would be a giant leap of faith when we started.  That we had to fully rely on God to provide our strength and wisdom and patience and peace.  He would remove our worry and make ready our path.  Finishing the training isn’t going to be the hardest part of our journey, in fact, it’s probably the easy part.  Most people have 9 months to prepare for a child coming into their home, I always wondered what it would be like to have a child dropped off one day without that 9 months of mental and physical preparation.  God is providing that preparation for us now.  These 50 or so hours of training are allowing us to mentally and physically get ready.  Most importantly they are allowing us to spiritually get ready.  The Lord is teaching us to give it all to him NOW- the training, the scheduling, the fears, the uncertainties, the frustrations- none of it matters because we are doing what God has asked us to do.  He will take care of it all.

I have come to love this verse- it is on the wall of our training room:
Children are a gift of the Lord, like arrows in the hand of a warrior - Psalm 127

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Too Much On My Plate

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? 


You should probably stop reading now.

I have too much to do to even blog, yet, I'm sitting here blogging and not accomplishing things. 

I have so much to show you and tell you but sometimes when I have so many little things to do I just can't do anything. 

Here's a little update:

- Tuesday and Thursday nights we have been going to training to be foster/adopt parents.  The training is from 6-9, childcare not included, and it's in south arlington which takes an hour to drive to in rush hour traffic from our house.  We have about 50 hours of training to do and it's informative but very dry.

- In order to make room for a new little girl we remodeled a tiny area in our house so I could move my office into it and turn the current office/guest room into a girls room.  Sounds simple enough right?  Well, I had to move everything from the areas we removed into the guest room.   Now we need to remove plumbing, paint, carpet, install desk and shelving, clean before I can get everything out of the room and actually make it into a nursery.  Whew, I'm already tired.

- I have 2 designing jobs going on right now that are taking up a ton of time.  I actually really like working on them but I constantly feel guilty because It's taking me a long time to get them done.  But I think I might wrap up one this weekend and I can't wait to show you all the details.

- I'm teaching 2 classes this quarter I have never taught before and they take a huge amount of prep time.  Like lots of research and writing and power points. 

- I need to make some art for one of the projects I'm working on.  I don't even have all the stuff because taking Cason to hobby lobby is a real pain.  The stuff I do have is sitting in a pile.

- Speaking of piles, I have a pile for goodwill (okay maybe 2) a pile of clothes that don't fit cason anymore, a pile of misc bills, several paint samples, Christmas toys that have still not found a permanent home, clothes that need putting away, a stack of books for my class prep, and maybe a few dishes sitting around.

That's all I can think of right now.  I've made a list of things to do, I constantly think of all the things that need to be accomplished, and I just shut down.  I'd rather do nothing than start a list of items that I will never be able to accomplish.

I'm not usually like this, just sometimes.  Just when my list gets long. 

I know none of that stuff matters in the long run- my eyes should be focused on the Lord and they are.
But it's hard not to still get overwhelmed. 

So, please send a plumber, a maid and a personal assistant my way.  Meanwhile- I'll be accomplishing things... hopefully!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pictures of lil C

Cason really likes to have his picture taken. He will do something silly and tell me to take his picture.

Here are a few.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How I Quit Starbucks

I got one of these

And I started drinking this:

Whew. Now I can check "quit Starbucks" off the list. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas- Part 2

We had such a wonderful Christmas.  Cason got some great toys that he has had so much fun playing with.  Mike got a workbench for the garage that inspired him to straighten and re-arrange our garage which now looks great!  I got a few of my favorite things- tea, clothes, makeup, accessories… all the good stuff!

Christmas- Part 1

One of the first presents we gave Cason was a motorcycle.  It was given to us by a family at our church and Mike cleaned it up and got new stickers and spray painted it.  Just like new.


We had it outside and opened the garage with Cason on the inside for his first view.  The neighbors happened to be out there at that time so he was more focused on all the people more than the motorcycle at first.


It didn’t take long before he was off!



Down the sidewalk…


There are some buttons on the top that make engine noises.  He had to find out where the sound was coming from.


The motorcycle goes about .5 MPH so there’s not much danger of running into anything. 

Riding in the street is so much fun because he gets to drive with the real cars. 

Present #1 is a hit!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Becoming Licensed for Foster Care


If you missed yesterdays post read it first HERE or this one won’t make much sense.

There is so much we don’t know and so much we still need to learn but I’m going to attempt to tell you about the first few steps in our journey. 

Step 1: Find and agency to work with and go to orientation.

It’s possible that you can work directly with CPS but in our journey we chose to work with an agency. 

It was important that we found a group to work with that was not only founded on faith but lived out their faith in their everyday practices. 

We decided to work with Arrow Child and Family Ministries. 

We attended orientation in early November.  We immediately felt this was the place for us.  The founder was a foster child himself and is a believer and their commitment to the Lord was evident in all parts of the orientation.

During the orientation you find out more about foster care and adoption and fill out a basic information form that allows them to run a background check on you.  You can’t move forward without a background check.

Part of the information they want to get from you is what kind of children you would be open to.  For our family- we asked for a girl in the 0-3 age range.  You are also asked what kinds of disabilities (physical and emotional) you feel you are equipped to handle. 

A few weeks later we found out we passed the background check (whew) and they would like to move forward with us!

Step 2: Home Check

Well, step 2 is probably to start the training but with the holidays of November and December we might be a little out of order.

A week before Christmas someone from Arrow came out to our house to show us the checklist that would be used during the home study and see what we would need to do to our house to be prepared. 

Everything looked great at the house and the changes are pretty minimal.

The things we need to do in our house are:

  • Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (do you think they come in cobalt blue?)
  • Put smoke detectors in all sleeping rooms, the hallway, the living room and the kitchen.  So in our house that’s every room.  It’s going to be really annoying when the batteries start going out.
  • Put a screen on the window in the kitchen that we ripped off the time we got locked out of the house.  Long story.
  • Put any dangerous tools in the garage out of reach as well as fertilizers and other chemicals.
  • Change this room


from whatever it is currently to a little girls nursery…. or toddler room.

And for the record, it only looks like that because we are converting another space into an office so we can make this room a bedroom.  Oh, who am I kidding.  It looks like this a lot of the time.

The last one is the hardest.  I mean, it’s easy because I love to decorate and I can’t wait to design a little girls room.  But hard because it is a serious step of faith.  We don’t know what age we are getting- zero means a crib, three means a toddler bed.  They have different toys and needs and it’s hard to know how to design a room with so many unknowns.  We don’t know WHEN- it could be three months it could be a year.  God could change our hearts.  We don’t think he will change our hearts for foster/adoption but he could tell us we need to take a boy… or an older child… or siblings… or any number of different things.  Starting to convert the room means we will be totally acting on faith.  A step we are excited to make, excited to see where the Lord leads us… but a tiny bit nervous too. :-)

Step 3:  Lots of training

Keep you posted!


Thanks to some advice from friends I created a little motivation for Cason to go to the potty.  We are almost 3 and have made NO progress with potty training.  As in zero.

So, I got some toys that I knew Cason would love and placed them behind the potty. 


When he walked in and saw the toys he started jumping up and down and told me he loved his presents!  I explained how he will get them- by using the potty.  He said okay and I asked if he wanted to try and go to the potty and he said no.

No problem, no pressure. 


Except he keeps taking me into the bathroom and showing me the toys and he is so excited and now I feel like the worst mom ever because he obviously doesn’t want to use the potty and now I’m taunting him with toys.

And I promised myself that I wouldn’t force the potty training thing- I just want him to go ONCE so he knows what it feels like and what he is supposed to do but we have not even gone once. 

And it’s crazy because he can understand all sorts of things and tell me all sorts of details about his day and the past and he can’t go potty.  Ugh.

Poor Cason- those toys will tease him forever.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Expanding Family

I think it took about 1 day after I had Cason for someone to ask me if I was ready for another one. 

Seriously?  I think I wanted to hit them.

Cason is almost three and I get asked that question much more often. 

When someone asks when we are having another child I typically say “no way”. 

But there is a little more to the story- so let me tell you now.


Mike and I have always wanted to adopt.  In fact, I think we talked about it before we even got married.  The thing we didn’t know was HOW or WHEN. 

We had Cason and I felt like my life was spinning out of control for a few years and more children was the last thing I wanted to think about.

This summer Mike and I were visiting friends in Houston and sitting in their church service and I felt convicted about saying we wanted to adopt but making absolutely no progress towards that.  We felt it was time to start researching our options.


One thing that really pulled at our heart was foster children.  Mike’s sister works for an agency so it has always been on our radar- but as we started thinking about how we would add another child to our family, foster care kept coming back into our hearts.

We are in the early stages and there are still so many things we do not know.  Here’s what we do know.

The Lord has called us to adopt and given us this direction.  Unless the Lord gives us a different direction, we will continue to move forward. 

Based on the fact that people feel compelled to tell me foster care horror stories every time I mention that this is what we are planning on doing, foster care has a scary reputation.  Here’s the deal though, the LORD is guiding this process.  There will be ups and downs.  We are not naive to think that it’s going to be easy, we know our hearts might get broken, but we are trusting the LORD to carry us through.


Can I have more children (a common question)?  It doesn’t matter right now.  We want to adopt whether I could get pregnant again or not. 


One night mike and I were praying about our decision to adopt.  I showed him a verse God led me to in Ephesians: He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—Ephesians 1:5.

A few days after that we found out that we couldn’t work with the first foster agency that we wanted to and would have to keep looking.  It was discouraging and was easy for me to start thinking that it would be easier to just wait a few more years.  That Sunday in church pastor started a new series and the verse he opened with was Ephesians 1:5.  I started laughing (almost crying) because I knew that was the Lord telling us to keep going.  Since then we have found an amazing agency to work with and we can’t wait to get started.


I’ll be keeping you posted with updates and timelines as we continue in the process.  I can’t wait to tell you all the details as we go along.

If you feel led to pray for us, please do.  Here are a few things:

  • We had lots of training to do over the next few months- we need to find time to fit in the training and find childcare for Cason
  • Pray for our future child(ren)
  • There are a few things we have to do to the house to get ready.  Although adopting through foster care is not very costly, some of the stuff we need to do at the house will cost money.  Pray that the Lord will provide for that.
  • The Lord gave us a very laid back son in Cason, perfect temperament to have a new sister arrive on the scene one day- but we know that with any change it will be an adjustment period.  Pray for his heart to be ready when the day comes.

Thank you- and stay tuned!

Keeping the Kids Busy



Pinterest inspired me… again.

I got to hang out with Cason’s good friend Jack some the week before Christmas while his momma worked.  I was in the market for some activities to keep them busy.

This was a super easy setup.  I put some paper down and used crayons to draw their names and some circles.  I wrote color names that corresponded to M&M colors (I omitted the brown because I didn’t have a brown crayon). 

Then, I divided a bag of M&M’s in half and put them each in one circle and showed the boys how to divide up the colors.  The goal was to divide the colors BEFORE eating them.  Jack did much better with that concept (as seen below).  Cason separated a few then ate a few, then ate a few more.  

This activity occuppied the boys for approximately 5 minutes.  That’s 4 minutes longer than coloring occupies Cason so I was happy with that!



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