Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wait Time....

If you haven't read Matt's post yet...get your tissues out.  I don't know if it will have the effect on you that it had on me.  I've written quite alot about our process and our wait time. 

It's frustrating....feeling...taken some unknown child...who isn't even here yet....who isn't even a picture....or an idea....but just having heart....and knowing....that the best thing we can do for to get our stuff in better order.....but...being in love....and waiting....and loving the ones we have for now....and growing ourselves as a family.  It's good....

I could use some encouragement.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Plans within plans: Aka: waiting and more waiting

Hey folks, it's Matt

Just as an update to Mariah's recent post, there's a lot to plan, but one of the hardest things is knowing you want to pursue something but not knowing what steps to take next.

For example, we know (91% sure, Mariah said) that we want to foster with the option of adopting.  That's not a hugely complex process.  But there are two factors: time and money, that keep making difficulties for us.  We're pretty sure we're not going to be ready financially--or space-wise really--to start fostering for about another year.  That puts us right at the time when we'll be done with our current lease and moving. you do it earlier, or later?  Probably later, after everyone's in a new house and you're not putting a new child through more transition problems than just moving from one place to ours.

So, more than a year out.  What do you do in that time?  How do you prepare, when the best thing is probably not to get started with paperwork or classes?  It's really hard to feel like you're not moving towards something.

Lately we've been discussing making our parenting better.  Not 'becoming better parents'--everyone thinks they're terrible--but improving how we do things.  Probably the most important thing here is creating consistent systems a foster child can quickly begin to TRUST.  For a lot of kids in the system, you aren't going to gain their trust by giving them something they like (they've been bribed before) or by acting like their friend.  Consistency is something they can count on.  Right now, we think that looks like:
  1. Being more consistent with schedules: bedtime and baths for the girls at a consistent time every day
  2. Being more consistent with discipline.  This means having better understanding of how you deal with different circumstances.  We use time out a lot.  What about when you don't have time for time out? How do you deal with different kinds of misbehavior?  How do you communicate effectively and simply what is and isn't okay?
There are others, too, but these come to mind.  We've already started work on this, and it's neat to see that it's something that helps our current children as well.  Some of the things we've started to change have had a great effect on the kids, and they seem happier in ways we're used to them being upset.

I'm excited about the ways that preparing for you, Number 4, is helping our family now, and building it so that it will be an even better family when you get here.  I can't wait to meet you, and I hope you, and any other children who come through our door feels loved, and like they can trust.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fired up....

The Only Mommy War Worth Fighting
by Kristen Howerton

Just read it....You'll understand why I want you too AFTER you do.

comments welcome.....Let's talk about it. 

The Plans and the Steps....

It's been 7 months since I started this blog...and more than a year since we decided that we are all in on this journey toward number 4...and even longer since we've been feeling called to adopt. 

We've been back and forth an upside down about what kind of adoption we think will be best for our family.  There are so many ways to go about it and so many kids who need a family and so many stories that break my heart etc.etc. etc.  We've had endless conversations.  We've talked it out with friends and family.  We've prayed and researched and listened to other families stories.  We've given it time and we've talked to our kids and we've waited and listened for God. We've considered everything from international special needs adoption to domestic adoption of a healthy newborn.  We've weighed options, finances, the emotional toll on our girls, travel requirements, etc. etc. etc.

The bible verse that keeps on popping up for me through the whole thing is....

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Provers 16:9

So we fully realize that our plan is ours.  We believe God has and will continue to bless it but the steps are His.  We surrender this whole thing to Him while we ask Him to continue to give us guidance and grace.  We are moving forward. 

We're getting closer to finally being "official" future adoptive parents...finally getting on paper.

At this point we are gathering information on the foster care process...specifically dual licensure that would allow us to foster with an intention of adoption.  We've received several packets of information about the process from different agencies/counties.  We are 91% sure that this is what we have decided to pursue.  (I just made up that percentage from the top of my head...but you get the idea.  Right?)

Our plan looks something like...getting approved for foster care/adoption and completing the required training.  Then getting a placement who is likely to become adoptable.  Then finally adopting...if the situation is right and everything works out.  The big news is that after we add number 4 to our family forever we are likely to continue to foster other children through this program in the future. 

That being said, there are still so many unknowns, so much information to gather and so many questions to ask.  We're working on it though AND we'll keep you posted. 

A few pictures to keep you smiling while you wait for more news.

Your 3 big sisters are waiting for you number 4.  They just can't wait to include you in their antics. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It's interesting to me how much our answers to this question change over time.  Several songs lately have forced me to reconsider my own answers. Thanks to a combination of Gungor, specifically Beautiful Things, and Switchfoot, This is Your Life, I'm contemplating and praying and just worshipping. 

This "crazy" move to Columbus and the months of settling in that have been going on have really put a pause on my prayer life.  It makes me sad.  I don't want my life to be so full of other things that prayer gets pushed out of the way.  So today while I was "working" I spent a lot of time praying...and just sitting...still...and quiet. 

It's amazing to me how just when I get to this place where I feel like I'm alone or in a desert all of the sudden things (songs, moments, cuddles, friends blog posts, relationships, stories, quiet) just pop up and pull me back right to where I need to be. 

So...what do I want to be when I grow up?  It's been a big topic around here lately.  Charis is half way through Kindergarten.  She said she doesn't want to be anything.  She wants to stay home and be in our family and never move away from us.  And when we ask Rowan-my wild wanderer what she wants to be she answers "An astronaut AND a Mommy.  But I will tell my husband he can't go to work because I have to fly and he has to watch our baby.  AND I don't want a baby born from my belly.  I want to adopt one who's Mommy and Daddy can't want it anymore." (She's been listening to all of our adoption talk, I do believe.)

My answers for today...I just want to be.  I want to be right where I am. Happy. Joyful.  Living my life and devoted to my calling as a Mommy.  I want to never really grow up and to keep fun and crazy and creative around all of the time.  I want to soak in the moments with these girls as they grow up and not dwell on minutes I might be missing with number 4.  So for today...I just want to be.

Tomorrow is questionable. 

Number 4- I think about you everyday.  I see you in every waiting child list, every adoption book, every person who has a story.  I am your Mommy and I'm coming for you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Time Flies when you are...err...having fun?

It's been over a month so I figured I owe my 4 faithful followers and update.  We've moved.  That covers it right?

Last time I wrote about my need to plan and how we had NO IDEA where we were moving or when or how. Since then things have continued to be the same time they've continued to fall into place.  The right home for us showed up and we really do love it here already.  We've signed an 18 month lease and plan to move into a house somwhere in this area at that time.  Matt is loving his job and I'm getting back into the groove with mine.  The 2 big girls are enrolled at school and have been loving it.  Our new nanny started a few weeks ago and my girls have fallen in love with her and her little girl.  Money keeps on showing up from unexpected and unknown places...which is great when you have 1 mortgage and 1 rather large rent payment every month. In other awesome news---we already have a renter.  We're super excited about having, Rebe, live in our home.  She and her family have fixed it up and painted and will be settling in there very soon.  Did I mention the blessings that keep on showing up? 

We are still on the path to number 4.  This move feels like a huge leap closer to our next child.  The money situation is improving and we are working on housing.  We know that we won't make any major leaps for 18 months but at that point we will be more than ready to officially start this journey. Until then...we all wait for each other.  I pray for you every day number 4. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Moving and Number 4

It's about time to make the official blog announcement about our move...and coincidentally the next step in the unofficial part of our adoption story.

Matt got a new job for the company that I currently work for.  (I teach for an online school and work from home everyday.)  Matt was hired as a Software Developer in the IT department and it is an onsite job for him.  The offices are located in Columbus, Ohio.  So the Kroger family is making our first big move ever and we're doing it pretty quickly.  In fact Matt has already started the new job (Did I mention the HUGE pay increase?).  So for now he is staying with friends in Columbus during the week until we get our home there figured out and then the girls and I will move up to join him.  In the meantime we are starting the process of trying to figure out how to rent or sell our current home.  There is just so much to do but we are feeling extremely blessed.  Through this whole process things just seem to be falling into place for us. 

I'm a huge planner.  I typically over plan things....way in advance.  As of this moment we plan to move in 16 days and have not yet secured a place to live.  We haven't been able to set up utilities or register girls for school or find new doctors.  Christmas is 12 days from now and we haven't purchased any gifts.  I've been going back and forth between several conflicting emotions...happiness, frustration, worry, fear, joy....feeling overwhelmed and exceedingly blessed.  It's kind of a roller coaster.  I'm working on it and I realize that the fear, worry, frustration etc...are not part of God's plan for me and that he has this whole thing under control.  I'm working on just opening up my hands and letting go of the reins...the safety net...the plan B.  (There is no plan B.)

All of that being said this move feels like a huge step forward in our adoption process.  This is a step toward a bigger home, better pay, the life style we choose and I really do believe it is going to be the best things for Numbers 1, 2 and 3 as well as for our future Number 4. 

Hear that, Number 4, we're getting closer to you every day.