The Longer You Wait For Something, The More You Appreciate It When You Get It... Because Anything Worth Having Is Definitely Worth Waiting For. -Unknown
Right now Jeff and I have precious, uninterrupted time together. It's a gift. It's a blessing. It keeps increasing, but it's all about perspective. Soon we will find out if we will be parents of two siblings that need a forever home. If yes, our lives are going to get crazy! If no, we will go back to working with the private adoption agency and finish the plan with them. We will be parents soon. We just don't know how soon. So we wait, and pray, and plan, and dream, and enjoy every day we have together.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
People tell me that they don't think they could foster because they would get too attached to the kids. When they say this does it mean they don't think I'm attached? That I can tuck my heart away and not be affected by the two small kiddos we've been raising in our home for the last six months?
This is so far from the truth that it's not funny.
I'm a total softie. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have shed more tears over the kids we've cared for in the last year doing foster care than I probably have in my life. I love these kids. I will be heartbroken when it's time for them to leave. You have to love these kids wholeheartedly. They need to be able to love, and be loved to grow and develop, and form future attachments. When it's over we will cry, and grieve, and miss those kids so much. It's not easy to love when you know it isn't permanent, but there are no guarantees in relationships of any sort. To love is to risk, and it's worth it. These kids will always have a place in our hearts, and our love. That is permanent. We're attached, and it's a great thing for all of us.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Part of the plan is to talk about what makes a hero. It's not just strength, wisdom, cunning, or a snazzy pair of tights. It's the heart. It's the desire to help others regardless of your own safety and well being. It's the heart to care and help. I've met some heroes in this journey to adopt. Foster parents, caseworkers, organizations that are trying to help and advocate for families.
Being a foster parent is tough, but I wouldn't want to be a caseworker. It's not just dealing with kids, but families, the legal/judicial side, the other agencies, and many other people. They are required to follow processes in times that I'm sure they'd love to take these kids home. There are a few people that I work with at the office that are so kind, caring, compassionate, and go out of their way to try to make this hard process somewhat easier.
I think of my husband, who is wonderful with the kids, and a steadying presence for me. He is a Super Hero to me. He listens, supports, and is a great role model to these little kids. He is constantly amazing me with his heart and love.
We did respite for a couple that has been doing Foster Care for 18 years now! They are total Super Heroes! They have opened their home and hearts to kids who need them. It's takes perseverance to foster. It's not always cupcakes and sunshine, it can be tough. I am in awe of those whose heart can take a beating over and over again when they have to say goodbye to kids that they love and care for in their homes.
I am also in awe of those parents that have already adopted through Foster Care. They knew it was going to be a tough journey, but they forged ahead with love and determination to bring a kid into their lives and hearts. They have paved the way for others to see that it can and should be done.
Adopting doesn't make someone a super hero, it's the heart to adopt that does. I strive to be able to be able to offer not just love, but support, advocacy, commitment and determination to our children. The other part of being a Super Hero is having a story. A story to share your heart, your journey, and to let others know how it's done. I'm so excited to see how our story will be told, and appreciate that others want to hear about this journey.
Friday, May 29, 2015
As we help build the little kids in our home I wonder who is building up our kids (the ones who we will adopt and give a forever home)? Whose care are they in right now? Is someone teaching them to trust and love and know that they are special? Is someone listening and caring for them as we do for the kids in our care? I wonder what kind of shape these kids will be in, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, socially, etc.? I pray that whomever is responsible for them right now is hoping and praying for a good home for them For someone to love them as much as they do.
My foster child just got his foot caught under the couch and came to me for a kiss on the foot to make it better. Just a tiny kiss on the foot and he's off and running again. I hope somewhere a loving foster parent is taking care of our kids with love and kindness tonight.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Foster Care has taught us to not have specific expectations. While it is a system, it still is full of individuals and you can't always predict what will happen. We thought we'd only have the kiddos in our home for a few weeks, and we're now coming up to the six month mark. We didn't know what to expect from the kids, from the system, or even from ourselves. We're learning to take things day to day. This helps me with my own expectations of myself, and the unrealistic ones I had in regards to bringing two little kids into our home. Letting go of the expectation that I can have a clean house when I'm up all night with a teething baby. I'm figuring it out slowly, but surely.
I have been realizing that the joy of the journey in life is letting go of expectations and idealistic notions, so when the unexpected comes along you can be open to a better situation. When I was younger I had all these notions of what my life would look like. It is not the way I imagined, it is better. Way better. I wouldn't trade what I have now for those unrealistic ideals from before. Ideally, there is no ideal. Life can take on whatever shape it wants, and I will enjoy the unexpected delights that it offers.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
We did our intake today and are now officially in the Homestudy process! Hooray! We should be able to get this next part done by mid/late June (if not earlier). We then will be able to move on to the next step. The wheels are in motion, and we have piles of paperwork to get started on.
Meanwhile, we are still fostering the two kiddos, and while we cannot talk about case specifics, things are also in motion. There is no set end date, but we know it's out there. Sometimes things go very slowly, and sometimes things start to change without much notice. The fostering process has really tested our patience, and my ability to plan ahead.
You literally have to take things day to day. You have to constantly keep your focus on the kids. You have to love with permanency and all the devotion of forever while reminding your heart that it's going to be ripped apart in the future. You have to love with an open heart and open hands.
It's hard, I'm not going to pretend it's not hard. I love these kids. I worry for them. They need us to care for their daily needs, to help shape their behaviors, attitudes, and hearts.
Tonight a friend (thanks so much Connie!!!) lent the two year old a bike and helmet to use. The joy on his face as Jeff helped wheel him around (peddling will be worked on) made a very rough day of dealing with the ups and downs of the foster care system worthwhile. These kids make it worth it. They don't actually make it easier, lol. When do two little kids make life easy? But they make it richer. They make it sweeter. They make the moments of peace and rest that much better.
They make us better every day we have them in our lives, and in our hearts.
I've also been considering how to become an advocate for kids in Foster Care. This adventure has opened my eyes to the need for advocacy for these kids. I am not sure what that will look like, but I'm going to pursue this, and see what I can find out. Advocating and being a voice for kids in foster care is needed in our home, in our city, state, and nationally. I'm excited to see where this will lead, and what I can do to help. I will work on the one way I know how right now- which is loving these energetic, sweet, crazy little kids who are in our lives, and home right now.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
We are about to start on the Home Study part of our adoption and we were sent a survey that makes you think about what behaviors or descriptive characteristics you are able to accept (or not accept). The list is long, and full of things that no adult should have to ever deal with, and these are the things these kids have to deal with every day. We have to look at what we are able to take on, and what we're able to help provide services, resources, knowledge about for this child. These kids do not come with a clean slate, but you have to give them every opportunity to make a fresh start. It's a process that we will learn and figure out along the way. There will be things that come up and we will figure it out. I know that we may not have all the answers. We will make mistakes. It won't be easy, but we are committed. We're committed to this kid (or kids) always. We have committed love and care to give them and that can cover a multitude of owies, or at least give hope to a kid who hasn't had any.
Monday, May 4, 2015
This Sunday is Mother's Day. We're so excited because we will get to spend Mother's Day with both of our moms. I know a few women who will celebrate their first Mother's Day this year as a mom. I have an acquaintance who recently adopted a baby, my sister just had a baby, and I am a mom to my foster kids. Three different stories, and three different new moms who get to celebrate this Sunday. I'm so excited to be a Mother, but it was kind of a process to refer to myself as Mom.
I have been referring to myself as Becky to the boys since they came into our home. The oldest boy calls Jeff Dada. It's heart melting, totally and completely. The baby starting to babble "Dada" but just as baby talk (though I'm sure he'll figure out who the Dada is very soon). I realized I was withholding being called Mom because it won't last. I also didn't want to confuse the boys because they have a Mom, but I realized this last week I am their Mom as well. I love them, take care of them, worry about them, pray for them, get up in the middle of the night when they cry, fight for them, and cry for them. I'm their Mom.
I remembered that the foster mom we did respite for this summer referred to herself as Mama Jo. So, I decided to start referring to myself as Mama to the boys. It's not to confuse them, it's not to take the place of their mom, but it's to show them they have a Mama who loves them always. It's also very humbling to take on that role. Being a mom is a super tough job, but I absolutely love it! Hopefully we will get to adopt soon and I will get to be called Mom always!
I also realized that I have two Moms in my life-my Mother, and Jeff's Mom (both now called Mom). It's a privilege and a blessing to have those two wonderful Moms in my life. They are amazing women and I would love to be as awesome a mom as they are one day! Calling Jeff's Mom by the name Mom doesn't take anything away from my Mom. It just reminds me that I have two Moms who love me. This is what I want for the boys. This is what I will strive for as long as I have them in our home.
I just want to wish a Happiest Mother's Day to all the Moms, Mamas, and those who have a Mother's heart for others! Each one of you is a Mom! Each one of you is sharing your love and heart with those who need it and it makes a difference.
Monday, April 27, 2015
On the way there we were notified that we had a donation in our GoFundMe account. We were initially hesitant to start a GoFundMe account. I thought it was a good idea, and then Jeff told me he saw a news story about a GoFundMe situation. There was a guy who had accidentally been invited to a bachelor party of a stranger. He ended up befriending the groom-to-be though e-mail, and decided to go. He started a GoFundMe to fly to the party on the east coast (from Seattle). He got thousands of dollars in support. Jeff said that if some random guy could get funded to go to a bachelor's party, then we should set one up because what we are doing matters. We are adopting a child (or two) that need a home. We want to have children, and be parents. We're not saving this child. We will be blessed to have them as our child, and we hope to be able to bless them. We are becoming their parents, and family. It's the same for us if that child is biological or adopted. They will be our kid...always. We will love them, support them, and give them a safe, secure home full of love, patience, and whatever else they need.
Our weekend training was informative, interactive, and made us talk and think through the topics presented. We had a great group that we were part of and it was encouraging to see others who want to adopt through Foster Care. We also heard a few stories from those who had adopted through the program. We had a long day Saturday, but completed the training feeling good, and were encouraged by the adoption agency to keep going! We had another great moment Friday night. After the first evening of training we went to our hotel and checked in. The lady who checked us in asked why we were in Boise. I hesitated for a half second and then told her we were at an adoption training. She got a HUGE grin on her face, and told us she was adopted. She had a great adoption story, and told us how great it was that we were going to adopt. What a blessing! I left the checkout desk feeling so excited!
Our next step is our home study. We will get mailed a pile of papers after we send in our next payment, and do a phone call with the adoption agency to talk through the weekend and the next step. It's another step, and we will face it being encouraged by this weekend. An adventure can seem overwhelming at first, but really it's a series of steps. If you take one at a time you will find yourself far along the path.
Friday, April 17, 2015
I'm sitting in my hotel room at the SCBWI WWA (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators- Western Washington Association) Conference thinking about home. Missing my husband, and the kiddos who are both endearing, and exhausting all at the same time. I love this conference, this is my sixth one, and it's worth the long drive. People are surprised when I tell them I live in Idaho. Then they ask where Grangeville, Idaho is located. It's hard to explain to people if they haven't been there. It's North Central Idaho, only fifty air miles from Oregon. Four hours North of Boise, three hours south of Couer D'Alene. Here's what's on our city page.
Grangeville is located along U.S. Highway 95 where the edge of the Camas Prairie and Nez Perce National Forest converge before rising 2800 vertical feet from the floor of the prairie to provide an unequaled backdrop for the City of Grangeville.
In the 1860’s and early seventies, prospectors and gold seekers crossed a large meadow on the Camas Prairie on their way to the Gold Fields near Florence and Elk City. That meadow later became the incorporated City of Grangeville in 1889, and in a few short years gained the designation of the County Seat of Idaho County in the election of 1902. According to an article in the Lewiston Tribune, the Nez Perce name for Grangeville was Sike-sike, meaning “the foot of the mountain”.How did I end up in Grangeville? When I met Jeff I was living in West Seattle. I was a nanny, and on the Advisory Committee for this SCBWI chapter (I was the blog editor and loved it). I was all about writing, and being here in this vibrant writing community- though I did hate the traffic. Then I met this pretty amazing guy who lived in Grangeville, Idaho. He had actually just moved from Elk City, Idaho in 2010 (look up Elk City to see how much more it is than Grangeville). Jeff works for the Forest Service, which is why he ended up in Idaho (he did also go to school at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho).
As our relationship progressed it was time to make the drive to Grangeville. Recently my mom sent me an e-mail I'd written her a while ago telling her how great Jeff was, but that he lived in Idaho. I told her there was no way I would ever move to Idaho. But I decided to give it a try. The drive was gorgeous, and as you near Grangeville it's all prairie with the forest as a background. Grangeville has a little over 3,100 residents. Kids ride their bikes around town, people go up to the high school to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July, and there's a drive in movie theater. It has a nice community feeling to it, and I realized I could live there. As I have lived in Grangeville over the last few years I've come to know what it's like to be part of a community as a library director, wife, and now as foster mom. Jeff, in addition to his Forest Service job is also an EMT, so he gets to have different views as a member of the community as well.
But it's not the drive in movie theaters or cute coffee shops (we have a wonderful one that's right next door to the library) that make a community. It's the people. The people you work with, the people you see at the grocery store, the friends you make. I love our community. I love how our community has supported us as we've been fostering the last few months. Friends and strangers that help fill practical needs, friends that watch the kids, or ask us how it's going. I love being in a place where people know who you are, and what you're doing. I recently got to share our story with my friend Lorie at the paper. There is such a need for fostering in our community (as there is in many communities). We're excited to adopt through foster care, and to share about that journey with others in our lives- both in our community and beyond.
I never thought I'd be living in rural Idaho, but it's part of our adventure, and will be the place we get to bring a child to live when we adopt. I'm excited to show them the beauty of the area where we live, and to be part of the community that we love.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Our First Picture Together (at a Mariner's Game)
I'm going to confess something. Jeff and I totally kissed on our first date. Now that we've been married almost three years I'm fine sharing that detail. We'd "met" five months earlier through E-Harmony (thanks to some prodding from friends). Jeff was in Elk City, Idaho and I was nannying in West Seattle. The funny thing is that he didn't want to connect with anyone as far away as Seattle, and I definitely didn't put Idaho in my preferences (ew, Idaho)...but divine intervention is a wonderful thing!
We matched up in November 2009, starting e-mailing outside of E-harmony in January, and then started talking on the phone in February (Jeff asked for my phone number for a birthday present--pretty slick on his part). We talked and talked and talked. We found out we knew mutual families (my former boss's mom had worked with Jeff's mom for years! His cousin went to school with some of my Cannon Beach friends! Crazy!?!). We also had mutual interests, goals, and dreams for the future.
For our first date met in Yakima, and spent the evening talking and talking more. He was exactly how he seemed, and it was like a continued conversation from the last few months. After a few hours of talking I was thinking, I'd hold his hand if he offered it, and then there it was reaching for mine.
Now about the kissing...Jeff mentioned in one of our many conversations it was sometimes hard to know when it was alright to kiss someone on a first or early date. Girls give mixed signals, so he said. I told him I'd make him flash cards. Red light meant no way, and Green light was go! We had such a nice evening, and I felt at peace about everything that Jeff got the green light!
We dated for almost two years (long distance, I might add!) until February 29th (Leap Day) in 2010 when we got engaged, and married six months later in August 2012. Now, this isn't a plug for E-Harmony. This is our story, and I love that everyone has their own story of how they met their true love!
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Becky & Jeff in Cannon, Beach, OR
In this blog we'll not only share about our Adoption Adventure, but who we are, where we live, and our road to come parents. You don't have to be married to foster or adopt. We've been married since August 2012, and as foster parents of two kiddos, we're thankful to be able to have each other to help, love, and support the kids, and one another.
Jeff is from Gleed, Washington. He is the youngest of four kids, and his parents have been married for 58 years! Jeff grew up playing, and loving sports- Baseball, football, basketball! Being a Washingtonian he's a loyal Seahawks, Mariners, (and if they were in Seattle) Sonics fan! Jeff loves fishing which is great since Jeff works for the Forest Service as a Fisheries Tech. His job with the Forest Service brought him to Idaho (he's also lived in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon). Jeff loves the outdoors, and travel, which is wonderful because so does Becky. We look forward to being able to travel together with our kids in the future!
Becky is originally from Portland, Oregon. She's the oldest of four girls, and all her family now lives on the Oregon Coast. Becky has lived in Oregon, Washington, Maryland, and now Idaho. Becky loves reading, travel, writing (she writes children's books), animals, and community theater! So many of these tie into her job as the Library Director at the Grangeville Centennial Library. Becky's worked professionally with children, teens, and families for over 25 years.
In the next blog post we'll share about how we met and became a family!
Thursday, April 9, 2015
We're so excited to start down the road to adoption! We've always wanted to be parents, and have been trying to have kids since we got married in 2012. We've had two miscarriages, and have learned we have unexplained fertility. We decided to keep trying, but also to adopt! We know there are so many kids waiting for a forever home in foster care, so we wanted to adopt through foster care. To adopt in Idaho you have to become licensed foster parents, and we started the licensing process to become foster parents in Idaho in January 2014. We became licensed in May, and have done respite for a few months, and became full-time foster parents in December 2014.
We have learned through fostering in Idaho that it's very hard to adopt through Idaho (through Foster Care). Idaho is all about keeping kids with their families. We love this, but also want to adopt so we have decided to go through an adoption agency- A New Beginning Adoption Agency in Boise, Idaho. They have a Waiting Child Program that will allow us to adopt from foster care in any state. They also offer tons of training, support, advocacy, and resources before, during, and after adoption.
Our blog will be all about this adventure! We want to share more about who we are, what we learn through this journey, and encourage others who are interested in fostering, adopting, etc. We love that we have amazing family, friends, and a wonderful community that is supporting us as we keep going through the process to become parents!