Monday, September 23, 2013

Daddy's Dream - Is it THE dream?

My husband and I do not sleep in the same bed at the same time regularly, only 1-2 times a week.  It is a rare treat when we do get to actually sleep next to each other and wake up next to each other.  It is certainly one of those things you take for granted if you get that experience all the time.  For us, it has been rare for most of our marriage.

Nevertheless I still know that we are different when it comes to dreams.  I remember every detail of my dreams.  In part it has to do with the way my memory works and in part because of narcolepsy.  My husband on the other hand rarely remembers his dreams.  We've been married nearly 11 years and I think I can count on one hand how many dreams he's told me about (and I've asked!).  Usually they're nightmares...we all have them.

When we woke up this morning he immediately said "I had the worst dream last night".  This is what he described, from his perspective:

For some reason we were staying with my dad (his childhood home).  You and the kids were all gone to a party or something and me and Baby Baby were home by ourselves.  I saw a crack in the wall and went to go check it out in the backyard.  When I looked out there I saw it was really, really stormy.  There was a lot of rain and wind.

At this point I thought he was going to tell me that I was in a car accident with the kids and we died.  But he didn't.

It was really bad, the flood waters were rising and it was getting worse.  I went to check on Baby Baby who was sleeping in (my youngest brother's old room).  I could tell the front half of the house was ripping off.  By the time I got there the bedroom was almost completely gone and half of the crib was gone.  I reached in and grabbed him just in time.

I don't know if you believe in supernatural things like prophetic dreams.  I certainly do but not to the point I think every.single.dream is a message from God himself. 

However.  In this case I wonder.

This dream precisely describes our case right now (except maybe my husband's dad's place...).  There is a fierce storm going on.  This is definitely the hardest case I've had and will be one that is fought to the end (I think).  Our kids are safe in our home for what feels like once in their life.  Our children are healing in a way that I can't describe unless you're there.  Baby Baby knows no other parents.  He doesn't.  The kids do not want to go live with their birth family.  They pray about it every night (on their own, not because I tell them to).  On Sunday, one of my children woke up and randomly asked mie "Is this the day I get to go talk to the judge?".  When I said no (where would he get that idea?) he said "awww...I REALLY WANT TO!".  They have had a couple visits canceled recently and they get excited about it.  Everyone "on the kids' side" seems to be in favor of them staying with us (and NOT going home) and the official case plan is termination with unrelated adoption.  Yet, every momentum in this case so far has pushed toward reunification.  Everything I hear from everyone involved along with the way visits have been handled and it appears the judge has leaned (though I haven't been there myself to hear it every week) is that the kids WILL be sent home.  The storm has been brewing for a while and rages on outside the quiet (!!!) safe life we've tried to setup in our home.

Last Friday I got word that something happened in the case that dramatically pushed the likelihood they'll be going home MUCH closer.   I really wish I could share more.  It left me fairly confident (though still not hopeless!) that the kids would be leaving within the next couple weeks, possibly even this weekend.  My heart has been torn in two all weekend.  Caring for these children - watching them make plans for the fall - knowing at some point when I get final confirmation I'll have to break the news that they'll be leaving and heading to a place where they don't feel safe and I don't have confidence they'll actually be safe. 

The storm continues to strengthen but now the flood waters rise and our children are in imminent danger.

Then there's the dream.  Not sure why it was just Baby Baby and not all of them.  The end was very clear husband got there just in time to save him from the storm. 

I don't know what the future of this case holds.  There is no firm, agreed to plan.  People involved are tight-lipped.  I know what I want and I feel like I know what these kids need and yet the fight is on to save them.  We're doing everything in our power but now it is not up to us.  Our hearts and more importantly these children are completely vulnerable.  It has been very, very difficult.

But in the dream....daddy saves Baby Baby.  It was the last minute.  But daddy saves him.

I learned today from folks in the case that return does not appear to be as imminent as it did on Friday.  In fact, several changes in visits and court hearings leads me to believe we've taken a few steps back from return altogether.  This information was shocking.

This journey has been described several times as a roller coaster.  This one will not be over until it is really over.  Up and down, twist this way and that, upside down, up and down. 

Father, I do hope this dream was a promise to us that you will save our babies, even if it is at the last minute, though we'd ask that you save them now before the danger gets way too close

Friday, September 20, 2013

Foster Parent Friday - Controlling Your Tongue (Part II)

Several weeks ago I became passionate about making sure I was controlling my tongue when it comes to foster care and thought I'd share my passion with you. You can find the first installment in this series here.  I'm not great at it, at all, but I'm trying and I know we can all try together.

Series Introduction
Wise foster parents often consider the impact of their actions knowing someone could be watching because in reality, someone always is and the consequences as a foster parent can be far more damaging than as a traditional parent.  This isn't about paranoia, it's about realizing that there is a legal system and a social work system and fierce emotions all wrapped up into one big package called foster care and in no way is any one of those parties interested in staying calm to investigate a situation.  And, who really wants an investigation anyway - just one more hassle that should be avoided at all costs most of the time.  Clearly this means we need to avoid prohibited things like the plague (no spanking, lock up your meds and chemicals, don't use drugs - you know, all the stuff bio-families don't have to do...) but it also means we have to watch what we say, even when it is innocent in nature and may be culturally accepted in your family or even in society.  It doesn't mean you have to become mute, but should pose a challenge if you're doing it correctly.  I have a few types of conversations/phrases in mind that you should pay attention to and will present over a series of posts.  Today we're going to talk about Negative Talk about Foster Care/The System.

The Situation: Foster care is hard.  Parenting children from hard places is difficult on its own. Then imagine wanting to plan holiday travel.  Will you go out of state for Thanksgiving or Christmas?  If you do who will come with you?  How much time can you take off because you'd have to drive all the way there because you can't buy airplane tickets not knowing which children will be with you.  Will the judge say it's ok?  Two hotel rooms or one?  You don't know these answers until up to 14 days before the trip (or less) - then you're stuck trying to FIND hotel rooms a few days before Christmas and facing $1000 (each) airplane tickets because you couldn't plan in advance.  That's just one example.  But oh wait, is the permanency hearing going to be that week?  Can you attend by phone?  What about their therapy?  Can you miss 1-2 weeks?  And which week are you going to schedule your monthly Caseworker and CASA visits?  The week before you leave when your house is torn up because you're trying to pack or the week after you get back when the kids are crazy and the house is torn up because you're trying to unpack?  Then you add in the complexity of having children bounce in and out of foster care because of laws and loopholes and all that jazz.

You get it.  Foster care is difficult.  It's fairly thankless too.  And OH how easy it is to hate the system with a passion.  When you're passionate, you want to share.  You want to tell everyone how messed up a particular county is, how judges hate CPS, how inconvenient it is to deal with all of the visits, and how hard it is to raise foster children.

Why It's a Problem: Now put on your other hat.  You're not a foster parent.  You think foster parenting is great and all but certainly not for you.  Afterall it's hard and there's those visits and the kids have weird behaviors and you can't plan family vacations.  That's what you've heard anyway.  The only real-life foster parent that you know told you so.  You will never, ever put yourself through the fire those crazy foster parents sign-up for.

Or put your foster parent hat back on.  You don't need me to tell you how difficult it is to be a foster parent.  You know it because you're living it.  So we go to coffee and spend our time chatting about how the system sucks and you can't even get away from it all to rest because doing so requires abundant coordination from the system that you hate so much.  At the end we part ways feeling a little bit closer, a little less alone in it all, but did we solve anything?  Did we encourage each other?  Did we make anything better so that when we go back home to the crazy lives we lead we're better equipped to handle it all?

Constant complaining and griping about foster care can discourage those who are meant to consider the journey and further buries us in the negative world that can surround is. 

The Solution: From James - Consider trials nothing but joy (1:2-4); Bless and don't curse (3:10-11); Pray, Praise the Lord, and Pray some more (5:13-16).

Here's the thing.  We all complain.  Sometimes we need to vent.  Sometimes we need to know there is someone else out there who has or is experiencing what we're going through.  We need to be understood.  The heart of the matter gets to our selfishness (wanting things to be our way, not dictated by the courts or the laws or other incomptent parents for darn sure!) and arrogance (we can certainly do better than THEY could do if we ruled the world). 

When I find myself complaining a lot its a symptom to mie that I'm weary and my perspective has shifted from where it is supposed to be, both of which are solved by returning to God to fill my spirit.  It's there I focus on who He created mie to be, my role vs. His, and all that is wrapped up in those two pieces.  When I'm busy focusing on God and all He has done I have less time to worry or complain about the things going wrong.  Nevertheless, even when I do have a grieving or weary or confused or frustrated heart, turning to God to purge my thoughts and feelings will be far more beneficial than turning to my relative or friend down the street.  They likely can't do anything to fix the problem but be there for us but God!  He can be there and renew our strength and actually move mountains to fix the crazy situations we find ourselves in.  It seems far more worthwhile to pray about my frustration than gripe about it with friends.

At the same time my advice from the last post still stands - we do need to speak the truth in love.  It is far different to tell a friend "It was a hard day today!  I can't understand why judge's make certain decisions" instead of "That judge is SO stupid."  Approaching the truth in love with foster parents and non-foster parents alike helps garner true support where we can get our feelings out (concerns, anger, frustration) without focusing on how everyone around us is far less superior than we are.  It still provides for foster friends to know they aren't alone while providing a safe place for non-foster friends to know the system is hard but we are real, normal people struggling through it with the help from the King of Kings.  We don't need to lie and pretend everything is sunshine and roses but our conversations with brothers and sisters should be uplifting and encouraging, leading each other closer to Christ as opposed to dragging each other down.

Finally, we do need to continue to advocate for our children either within a case or regarding The System as a whole.  This again means sometimes we need to speak the truth in love.  If something is broken we need to pray about it and then vocalize the concern in a way that is productive to the people who can do something about it.  We've all been there - think about being in line at a fast food restaurant or the bank. There's the person who stands in line griping to everyone else, rolling his eyes, and loudly vocalizing how long the line is and how slow the associates are and how this is the worst place ever.  Then there's the person who, in the same circumstances, who gets the attention of the manager, calmly expressing appreciation for what they and their team do, but pointing out that the wait has been incredibly long, offering your assistance if there is anything you can do to help the team have a brighter day (and move things along more quickly).  One brightens the room.  One brings everyone around them down.  Which one are you going to be?

I'm not great at this and if you've read my blog over time you may be thinking "Hypocrite!".  I am.  But more than that I'm someone who's trying to be better, trying to place my focus where it needs to be, trying to build up rather than tear down, and trying to be someone who makes a difference in this world in part through foster care.  And when I'm honest, focusing there rathre than on all my woes and ways I'm inconvenienced, I know without a shadow of a doubt that the blessings have FAR outweighed the cost we've paid in our journey through foster care.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Potty-Training Progress

We are not perfect parents.  At all.  We try desperately but our faults and impatience interact with the craziness that is related to losing first parents and foster care and just plain old life and it isn't always pretty. 

We have been trying to potty train Summer for 22 months.  TWENTY-TWO MONTHS.  Y'all that's almost two years and is a LONG time with what often feels like no progress.  She has accidents on a regular basis (like daily, sometimes several times a day) and doesn't seem to care.  She's about to turn 4 and is far-behind our foster child who just turned 3.  FAR behind.  She doesn't (usually) tell us she has to go and won't go on her own (usually) so we're at the stage (still) of reminding her to go every 15-20 minutes.  She still has accidents on that schedule.  Seriously.

We've tried it all.  We've tried every technique (in 2 years there has been time to give each a sufficient amount of time - that's 100 weeks!).  We've given up and let her decide when she is ready.  We have done everything except wait longer.  She does her own laundry and cleans up her own mess.  She simply doesn't care.  Potty-training resistance does not begin to describe it.  I'm at the point of thinking she either has something wrong with her medically (she was diagnosed with a urinary tract condition when she was an infant but never showed signs of it after she got proper care when she came to live with us) or maybe something like SPD.  SPD would make a lot of sense in many ways.  I'm going to bring it up at her annual physical and see what the doc suggests. 

(Thankfully, she did learn to poop in the potty and rarely has a BM accident so at least we're just dealing with that.)

I would probably be ok with waiting it out. Like with Logan and his sleep I'm absolutely sure that she will get it sooner or later or if not she can wear adult incontinence undergarments and I'd love her the same.  The problem I have is that everyone I leave her with (school, church, babysitters) are at past the point of being patient with it.  She's almost 4 and tall at that so no one believes she should be having accidents.  I get the "So what can I do to help her stay dry" everytime I drop her off somewhere.  It may sound helpful but really it sounds more like "You're a horrible parent why can't you get this potty training thing down" or "really, what is WRONG with YOUR daughter". 

I didn't mean to turn this into a rant.

I meant to write this post last Thursday.  You see, last week she had 3-4 days in a row with no accidents.  She even stayed dry during a movie at the theater when she was with my mom and even better in the middle of it she yelled "I HAVE TO POOP!" quite loudly.  I'll take what I can get if she'll just tell us she has to go, even in a movie theater at the top of her lungs. (Thankfully for my mom they were the only ones in the theater at the time).  She EVEN got a special, hand-made stamped picture note from her teacher that made a point about how well Summer had done in class that day.  She was both dry AND was nice to her friends.  Double bonus points.

Unfortunately I never got around to writing about it and how thankful I was to get that respite and the sweet sound of someone saying, for once, that she was GOOD.  When I arrived at her daycare she literally came with THREE BAGS full of soiled clothes from all of the accidents she had that day.  She also immediately threw the worst fit I'd ever seen her throw over not getting her cookie until she was in her car seat.  I think it had something to do with my mom leaving that day but still, it was aweful.  I quickly lost the motivation to be thankful for her wins earlier that week.

So today, friends, I'm pausing to celebrate the wins.  It is Thursday and my daughter has had 2 dry days this week (Monday & Friday).  She still came home from school in new outfits but she assured me (and it was obvious) that it was because she got a little carried away in centers and got wet (Monday) and spilled the sauce from snack on her dress (Wednesday).  I get frustrated when I see her in new clothes and my first reaction ends up being frustrated rather than happy to see her.  I know I own that, not her, but I know it's discouraging to both of us.  Yesterday I was initially frustrated but when taking her to the restroom I saw she was in the same underwear I'd sent her to school in and it encouraged me a little.  When she passionately told me about the accident with the sauce in her cute sentence structure and voice I was overcome with (positive) emotion.

So, all that to be said, today I'm thankful for the good days whether they're few and far between or frequent.  They help mie cope with the crap that is a fallen world  and the related effects on my family.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Working Mama Wednesday - Pondering Advice

About a week ago I sat at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas doing my annual physical.  If you ever have a chance to do a comprehensive physical, especially at the Cooper Clinic - take it.  I receive 1 per year as a benefit at work and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.  I get to see the dermatologist, get a full lab work-up, a treadmill stress test for my heart, a visit with the nutritionist, a full vision & hearing test, and finally a comprehensive examination by a great doctor.  When I say comprehensive I mean really - this guy spends about 2 hours with me during my visit.  I'd also get a few other benefits if I were older...bone density scans and mammograms and such.  It's such a treat.  It's such a different experience than the typical quick-in, quick-out doctor visit you have in the normal course of your visit.  You feel as if your doctor really is interested in what you have to say and what is going on in your life.

This is the 2nd year I was able to take advantage of this benefit and I was impressed at how well the doctor was able to make it seem as if he remembered me and my history.  He knew my kids and husband by name (of course, from notes in my file I'm sure) and was quick to point out that things had changed since last year. 

He did so by saying "Where did all these kids come from?"

Apparently last year we didn't talk about our status as a foster family.  I was in between placements when I saw him last year and I guess it never came up ( it didn't is beyond me).  We made small talk about fostering for a little bit and then he got down to it...the lecture.

I heard about someone in his life that had a really large family (more than a dozen kids), more than half of whom were adopted (vs. biological), a set of biological children that were bitter and rebeling against the whole foster-to-adopt experience because of lack of resources and parental time and feeling left out and etc., etc., etc.  There was institutionalization due to some of the horrific things that happen in foster care/adoption (and "regular" families too, by the way).  There was drug abuse/addiction.  I even heard about the tatoos.  I heard about how there wasn't enough money to send their children to college and about what a saint the dad was and about how the parents now wish (maybe) they hadn't adopted but instead fostered without adopting.

His point was that I really needed to pay attention to my "own" (what I'd rather call "core" family), especially as someone with a busy career and a husband who needs me, making sure I don't bite off more than I can chew.  When I came back after the fact he made sure to tell me if I'm going to live this life I need to make sure I take better care of myself (eating/excersizing habits) so I can endure.

I sat there listening to him not sure how to react.  Everything in mie wanted to rebut everything he was saying:
  • I don't have (more than a dozen) kids.  I have 6.
  • The state I live in (vs. the person he was talking about) only allows us to have 6 kids in my home without additional licensing processes that we have no desire to go through at this time.  6 is our max.
  • God will provide. Part of that provision is college to those adopted from foster care.  With that said 5 of my 6 kids will have college paid for - we'd have to come up with funding for 1 child.  ONE - and that's assuming college is mandatory or something.  Now, I fully support education and don't want my Ph.D. revoked but that is not THE most important thing in the world - nor is being able to setup a trust fund so my kids can go to school without working some.  Those might be goals but it isn't what drive me (and yes, I have told my kids they are going to college). 
  • God will provide, and has.  Resources are not unlimited but we have plenty of space and funds.  Time and energy are not always in abundance but God provides.  Always.
  • We've BTDT with "dangerous" kids.  I will do everything in my power to keep all of my kids safe but I refuse to live my life in a complete bubble so we're always happy and healthy and risk-free.  We put boundaries in place, try to remain vigilant, and pray.
  • ...and last but not least:
So what do we do then?  Nothing?  We sit by with our more than enough and huddle as a core family and never let anyone in and never risk being hurt and just take care of ourselves and forget everyone else?  Save our money and go on nice vacations and wear nice clothes and eat out at nice meals where people don't look like we're as crazy as the kids are acting at our table? We do all this while there are children around us that do not have a family to keep them safe?  So what, at the end of our life we can sit on the porch in some lakehouse or beachhouse somewhere by ourselves counting our money recounting all of those times we were safe together in our easy little life?  So that we can die with a lot and meet God and tell him what?  That we buried our treasure to keep it safe?

I think we know what His answer is to that...

And yet I said none of that.  Instead I sat there pondering the wisdom I could gleam from his lecture.  He is a believer and I know does have some knowledge and wisdom to share.  If God partnered us up, surely there was something God wanted me to hear from what the good ol' doc had to say.  Here's what I came up with, much of which I already knew but it was a decent reminder:
  • Keep your first things first.  He said my marriage is my primary relationship - not knowing my faith I know why he would say this and would agree if you're not counting my relationship with God, but of course I count that relationship and intellectually put it first.
  • Make sure my relationships know where they stand.  Intellectually I know to put God first but do I?  My husband is my second priority but does he always know that?  Does he take priority over my children? Do I actively appreciate him enough?  How can I bless him more?
  • Make sure my forever children know how special they are.  I don't mean this in that they are more important than fosters or that my bio is more important than my adopted.  One thing I like about foster care is it helps my children see they are not the center of the universe.  BUT, I do believe my kids need to know that they are enough, that they were fearfully and wonderfully made, and that they are worth fighting for too.  Because of the situations we find ourselves in as foster parents we often end up "fighting" for our foster children by advocating for them in the system with CASA and CPS workers and lawyers and the court.  Our family sees this "fight".  I can see how that can end up sucking our time and energy dry and leading to us taking our "easy" children for granted.  I want my forever kids to know that they matter to us and to God as much as the other children.  I want them to know they are loved for who they are and who they were created to be.  I never want any of them to feel unloved or forgotten.
  • Prayerfully consider every step.  Make sure no matter what we do we are trying to stay aligned with the will of God for each of our lives, not just having a sappy heart. 
  • Take care of myself.  This one is complicated in that I don't believe in the whole "putting myself first" thing.  I'm not first.  I'm not meant to be first.  I am here to serve.  With that in mind I do need to take care of the temple I've been given, not becoming obsessed about my health or my looks but more importantly making sure my body has the energy from the right kinds of food and the appropriate rest it needs to continue to "do the good works laid out before me".  I do need to make healthier food choices and book regular time for exercising into my schedule.  I also need to go to the doc to follow-up on my narcolepsy (found out I was allergic to my meds in 2011 and haven't gone back) and to get my eyes fixed (per my vision screening I have a rare-ish eye condition).  
We all deal with advice from others.  Have you had a situation like mine?  How did you handle it? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Random Facts about Mie

I feel like I only blog on Tuesdays and that makes for a Tearful blog.  So, today I'm skipping Tuesday's Tears and telling you 10 random facts about Mie.  Enjoy!
  1. Most nights I sleep without a pillow.  I have a pillow - a nice memory foam one that came as a "free-gift" with my memory foam mattress.  For whatever reason at least half the nights I push it up so it stands against the wall (I don't have a headboard) and lay flat on the mattress.  When I do, I think "I should write about that on my blog as part of a "random facts about Mie" post.  Seriously - I'm not making that up.  So here it is.
  2. I took 3 years off between graduating with my B.A. and pursuing my M.S. degree.  It really would have been 2 but the month I was scheduled to start school I picked up and moved from LA to Dallas and so I had to wait another year to find a school, get into a program, etc, etc.  The REAL reason I waited 2 3 years was that I was afraid and didn't know how to go to graduate school.  God's honest truth.  I didn't know how to do it.  I didn't know how to apply, to pay for it, to pay to live while going to school and paying for school especially when I would need to move away from home (the schools I wanted to go to were FAR away from LA).  I had a full-ride offer from Stanford.  I didn't go.  I didn't know how to make it happen.
  3. I'm 31.  My hair is 50% gray.  I am starting to consider dying it gray/white and just rocking it.  BUT, my hair is long and curly.  I don't know how I could really rock long and curly and gray.  It seems it would need to be short instead and funky if I was going to "rock" anything but again my hair is curly and that would be interesting. 
  4. I'm not gutsy enough right now to do #3 so recently I had my hair dyed to buy me a little more time.  I noticed I needed to do something after our recent family pictures.  YIKES!
  5. I'm treating our current placement as if it were our last so that we'll end up with 2 or 6 children.  It kind of feels like it would as if it were my last pregnancy/child.  Mixed feelings.  I also am fully aware that just because I'm treating it that way doesn't mean it will end up like that.
  6. I added food coloring to packaged frosting to make myself believe I did something crafty for my littlest daughter's birthday cupcakes.  The fact that it wasn't homemade frosting was a real bummer to mie, both for my ego as a mom and for the taste/texture (blech).
  7. I started using the myfitnesspal app to keep myself accountable for what I eat.  I'm not significantly overweight and don't count as overweight from a BMI perspective but I'm not at a good "goal" weight either and more importantly I'm not eating healthy at all so I needed to put that on my to-do list.  My dr. & dietician both made that pretty clear.
  8. I'm currently in a battle with my son over which Bible to buy him.  We know it's time to buy him his own real Bible (instead of a preschool version).  I want him to get one that has supplemental materials in it, things like "Did you know..." and little devotionals.  He thinks that's baby-ish so he wants one that JUST has the Bible.  I'm ashamed that I've pushed back so much on that so that I haven't bought him a Bible yet.  Seriously?  I have a son who WANTS to have a Bible, a real one - get the boy a Bible already!
  9. If you're sending mie a bill, plan on sending mie more than one.  I'm not proud of it, it's just reality.  When a bill (or any mail really) comes in the mail it gets stuck on the counter and ends up in a large pile-o-papers to get to at some other convenient time.  That time never comes.  The 2nd or 3rd time I see the bill come in I take it as a reminder to pay the first one.  *hangs head in shame*
  10. I love Dt. A&W.  I only drink it when I'm at home with my parents because they keep it in the fridge.  I never buy it because I almost never go down that aisle at the store. 
So, there you have it.  10 random facts about mie. 

Please remember to support us in bringing home Miss E by donating to the cause with the donate button at the top right of my page.  Thank you everyone!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Update on Miss E & Other Random Stuff

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated generously to the "Bring Miss E Home" fund.  We're at $225 vs. the $10,000 needed for legal fees.  Please, if you can, take time to donate to bring her home.  I have personally written a check for most of the legal fees on behalf of this family.  It is not money my family can necesarily afford and basically most of it is on credit, something I don't necesarily believe in, but I tell you this to tell you how much we believe in this cause.

It is very difficult to write in vague terms and ask people for money.  I think, at this point, I can safely tell you that "my friend" is actually my sister and this child has been my niece for more than a year.  I was trying to be vague for those who know me in real life until my sister herself told more people what was going on.  In one fail swoop our lives have been very much changed.

We have received some promising news in this case in the past few days.  It seems maybe mediation will be a possibility and all parties may have agreed to mediation sooner rather than later rather than waiting for a judge's ruling.  We're hopeful this means that all parties will consider my sister's petition to adopt as a viable solution and Miss E will be back soon.  This would also be the least expensive option.

Pray for us as we go through this journey.  I've had to explain to my son what divorce is.  I have not connected the dots for him about the divorce and Miss E but the conversation about divorce broke his heart yesterday.  He sobbed.  I sobbed.  It's hard to explain something so terrible to a 6/7 year old.  I wish none of this happened. I wish I had a better explanation for him.  I wish it could all go back to normal except the issues that led to the divorce were resolved and God redeemed the situation and everyone was singing His praises about the redemptive love God provides.  Instead I see brokenness and hurt and I have to be honest with my son about how broken this world really is sometimes.  I'd rather we never had to have that conversation last night.  He's scared that his cousins will go away (imagine what that must be like for a child who has had 24 siblings with only one staying forever?).  He's scared that his mommy and daddy will divorce. 

This is all on top of the looming changes we expect in the case in our home.  Though no decision has been made in certainty, the vibe of this case is that our sibling group, including Baby Baby, will go home in the somewhat near future.  This is despite CPS recommendations, recommendations by CASA, recommendations by ad litem.  Rumor has it enough paperwork wasn't done early on or in the previous removal/case.  I don't know.  All I know is we stare down the barrel of the gun facing our lives to be turned upside down, again, in a case that doesn't look promising for the welfare of the children, knowing their expressed desire is to finally stay put and not be forced to go, again, with Baby Baby knowing no other parents or family or home than the one he's been safe at since birth. 

So there you have it.  That's where we are.  That and facing an unsurmountable legal bill that seems to have no real reason behind it.  It didn't have to happen like this.  At all.  None of it. 

It's all really confusing right now.  I have to remind myself of the truth I have learned over and over again:

Why Mie? (or Why anyone of us involved in this situation?)

Because God is God and I am Mie.  God is in charge.  He knows best.  He knows the other side of these things and can plan better than I can.  He also created mie.  He did not create mie to be God.  He created me to be Mie, strengths, weakenesses, opportunities and all.  He loves mie the way he created Mie.  He has and will continue to equip mie for the journey He has before mie.  I am faulty.  He still loves mie.  I am inferiour and yet perfect in my weakness through Him.  He has always had this under control.  He still does.  I do not but that's ok - I know He does and that's all that is needed.  In the meantime I walk one step in front of the other trusting God will provide for each step and knowing His grace will abound. 

I'm still praying for redemption, in all facets of this situation, according to His will.  Please join mie.