Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wishes

I saw this quote on Pinterest and I couldn't resist making my own little printable. I already had the perfect picture that I took last year in our backyard. Which, coincidentally, is filled with thousands of "wishes".

It's all about perspective.


It's been quiet around our house this week. 
At first the silence was deafening, then it was sad, and now it's nice. It's been nice to get full nights of sleep, to be able to come and go as we please, and to have date nights whenever we want. We miss Hope, but we get to see her. This week I'll get to see her twice! I'm feeling very blessed. Plus, she's with a great family so I can't complain. 

I'm feeling less like I've lost a foster child and more like I've gained new friends. Her new foster mom is great and offered to let us come hang out whenever we want, plus she has been an awesome resource for all of my foster care questions. 

I'm starting to feel ready for some more placement calls. 

Usually they come on Thursday and Friday nights like clockwork, so I'm sure we will be getting calls again soon.  



Friday, February 22, 2013

She's Gone

Well, things have been happening in a whirlwind here the last two days.

We showed up at the visit, but Hope's mom was a no-show. Then, we had a meeting with Hope's 2 year old sister the other night. We had pretty much made up our minds already that this was something we couldn't possibly do, but we wanted to meet her just in case. It worked out because the sister's foster mom stayed and chatted with us and gave us lots more info about the birth parents.

When we officially told the caseworker that we couldn't take both kids, they started looking for another home for both girls. At that point, the foster family that has Hope's sister volunteered to take Hope instead of DCS finding another home somewhere else.

So, yesterday at about 4:45 I got a call from DCS saying that they wanted to move Hope over to the foster family that already has her sister. They wanted her moved last night. So, we got all of her stuff packed up and handed her over to the other foster mom about 2 hours later.

To say it was a shock that she was leaving that fast was an understatement. I knew they were planning to move her, but we figured it would be next week at the earliest. Hopefully this move was truly in the best interest of both girls and not just the best interest of DCS. We will see.


For now, our hearts are a little heavier, and our house is a lot quieter, but at least we got some sleep last night.

I'm trying to look at the bright side.


If you asked me yesterday what my weekend plans were, it would be to catch up on sleep. Today, my weekend plans include staying busy and packing up a crap ton of baby stuff. Fun times.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Randomness

Today is Hope's first visit with her mom. We were working so hard to get rid of the scratches on her face from her little fingernails, and her diaper rash was finally gone. Then, as I was getting her dressed this morning, my wedding ring scratched her face.

So after all of that work, she left with the biggest angry looking scratch ever across her cheek. It didn't hurt her and she didn't cry, so I'm hoping it will go away enough that mom won't notice. Yeah right.


In other news, if you have a newborn, get a Fisher-Price Rock-n-Play sleeper. I mentioned to a friend (who just happens to be a pediatric nurse) that she has lots of trouble sleeping, and she told us to get one. Apparently her doctor tells every new parent to just pick one up on their way home from the hospital. I'm not even kidding, it made a world of difference. It lets them sleep at an angle instead of flat on their backs, and if they start moving around it kind of rocks them back to sleep. Amazing. I think I got 7 hours of sleep last night. Which is amazing compared to the 3 hours I got the night before!

I'm not in any way affiliated with Fisher Price, and I wasn't given any perks to say any of that stuff. Fisher Price doesn't know I exist. Although it would have been nice because those suckers are expensive! Just letting y'all know how cool it was because it actually did work miracles in our house last night.


Lastly, we get to meet Hope's sister tonight! She's coming to hang out with us for a couple of hours while her parents are at church. Originally the plan was to meet her and let her get to know us so that the transition to our house will be smooth and easy, but since then we have determined that there is no way we can handle both kids at once. So, unless there is some kind of miracle epiphany tonight where God makes it very clear that we are supposed to take this child too, this is just going to be a fun night where she can hang out with us and her sister. Even though they have no clue they are sisters. .

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baby #2

We've been dealing with this issue for almost a week now, but I haven't written about it here yet- mainly because I have no idea what's going to happen.

DCS wants to us to take Hope's older sister. ASAP. She is 2 years old and has already been in state custody for 6 months with another family. Her current foster family is awesome. She came into care with some very serious issues and after all of their love and attention she is doing so much better.

It makes no sense to me why they would want to move her. Siblings have to be together, I understand that. But these two girls have never met each other, they have different dads, they don't know they are siblings, and the other foster family loves Hope's sister and they don't want to give her up. I don't blame them. She is part of their family. She calls them mom and dad. At this point in her life I honestly think moving her will do more damage than good.

We are not even adjusted to life with a newborn. Adding a 2 year old at this point seems impossible. Especially after the night we had last night. I won't go into details but it involved lots of crying (from me and the baby) and both of us being covered head to toe in throw up. I may or may not have had a brief moment when I wanted to call DCS to come get Hope. Then I got over it and all is fine now. It was just over-tiredness and stress.

But, that's my point. We are stretched so thin right now between full-time work, full-time grad school, full-time newborn care, and lack of sleep, that I don't see how in the world we will be able to give this precious 2 year old the time and attention that she is used to (and needs so desperately in order to heal).

Does anyone know of a situation in which DCS will allow sisters to remain in separate foster homes? What if the birth-mom said it was ok for them to be in separate homes? Would that count for anything? We only live 2 miles from the other foster family and we could work out a schedule so the girls get plenty of sibling time together each week. I meet with our social worker tonight and we are going to have a heart-to-heart about it. I just hope it doesn't end up with them moving both girls to a totally separate home. :(

Monday, February 18, 2013

Introducing Hope (Part II)

This is part two of the story of how we got our current placement, Hope. Find part one here.

I left you guys off in part one with us just finding out that DCS had already found us a babysitter, and that it a good friend of my mother-in-law's who is a foster parent as well.

So, after I found out that they had already found us a babysitter, the Hubs and I talked about it really quickly, and I excitedly called back and told the social worker that we would take Hope. The Hubs at this point was still pretty freaked out, but he agreed that this was definitely the Lord's timing and direction. I give him full props for being willing to say yes to something so far outside his comfort zone (he's an only child and had basically no experience with younger kids).

After I got off the phone with the social worker, I went out to the car and started calling people as fast as I could. My first call was to my friend Kristy, who has three kids that are basically like our niece and nephews. She volunteered all of the big items that we needed right away. A crib, a pack and play, a car seat, a stroller, etc. I called my friend Kacie who has a two month old, and she volunteered to bring us their extra formula he couldn't use, plus diapers he had grown out of. She also came over to the house with her son and gave me a crash course on all things newborn/baby related. (Keep in mind we had NO experience with newborns) She showed me how to take care of an umbilical cord, how to give a sponge bath, how to burp a baby and how often, how much formula mixes with a certain amount of water, how to fix the car seat, etc. etc.

These girls are AMAZING!

I called our Sunday School teacher, who notified everyone in our class, and from the minute we got home from work until about midnight, we had a very steady stream of people bringing blankets, diapers, formula, clothes, and a whole lot of other things we didn't even know we needed.

I'm telling you guys- God showed up and He showed off for us last weekend!

What an incredible blessing it was for His people to come and do what Christians are called to do all the time- they took care of every need we had, even before we knew what our needs were. Without these friends and their willingness to give freely and obediently, we would never have been able to take Hope.

There is so much more to the story; a friend of my mom's who was praying for us to get the call for the specific child we were supposed to take, (she was literally praying right as the social worker was calling me!!) a friend whose son has reflux and couldn't use all of the free formula they had been getting, (she was saving the formula even though her husband said to throw it away, because she felt like someone soon would have a need for it) and people who just "happened" to be thinking about us or who just "happened" to buy some baby stuff they didn't need.

Let me clue you in on something, friends. There are NO coincidences with God. Don't think for one tiny second that all of those things happened because we were in the right place at the right time.

He had all of that planned, down to the tiniest detail. And some of those details were put into motion months in advance, so that they would be ready at just the exact moment that we needed the provision. God is so faithful.





Thursday, February 14, 2013

Introducing Hope (Part I)

Now that I've kept you guys on pins and needles for the past week, it's time to introduce you to our newest family member! Unfortunately all I can give you here are teaser pictures because I certainly can't show you her face, but imagine the cutest baby in the world and you've got her.


I promised the story of how she came to be ours (temporarily), so hang on to your pants because this is an incredibly wild, incredibly wonderful God story. 

So, last Friday, we were going about our normal everyday lives, and I was starting to get a little excited because every single call we have gotten about a foster placement has come on either a Thursday or a Friday. I was hoping the trend would continue, and when I saw an unknown number on my phone my heart started doing flip flops. Sure enough, it was a matcher for CPS calling us about a sibling group of two. The first baby is going to turn 2 years old next month, and the second baby was only 4 days old and still in the hospital! I had to take a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor, make sure I had heard correctly, and then whip the car around and drive across town to the Hubster's office.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. Y'all know we were only supposed to be taking 5-12 year olds right? Well, there was a reason for that. My sweet husband was very vocally adamant that he did NOT want to do babies. He did not feel comfortable changing diapers, giving bottles, and he wasn't wild about the idea of not being able to talk to the child to figure out what was wrong if they were crying. So... I just knew that if this was something that was God-orchestrated that my husband was going to have to have a really quick and really dramatic change of heart. I immediately called my mom and texted a friend asking for prayer as I drove.

I got to the Hubs' office, and when I relayed the details about the call, he was shaking his head NO before I could even finish. He gave me a long list of very good reasons we could not accept a newborn placement.


  • We both work full time and you can't just put a newborn in daycare
  • We had literally NOTHING that we would need in order to take care of a baby. No clothes, no crib, no car seat, no bottles, no diapers, etc. etc. 
  • We were definitely not prepared to take two kids under the age of 2!
These were all valid reasons, and I knew that I would be the one who would let my emotions take over and not be very rational about it at all, so on the way over I had also been praying that if this wasn't meant to be that God would shut the doors very clearly and that I would be willing and able to accept that.

However, when Hubs said no, I still felt like we needed to call the social worker back and just see what they would be willing to do to help us before we said no. He agreed that it was a good idea to call back, but he said if she wasn't willing or able to help us then the answer would be a firm no.

So I called back. I was honest with her. I started out by telling her we really weren't prepared for a newborn (which she already knew) and that we definitely couldn't take both sisters right now at the same time. She told me that the older girl is already in foster care with another family, so that transition wouldn't have to be made right away- it could be something we could ease into. She also told me that because of the trouble the sister had with attaching to her current foster family, they may not want to move her at all, and if they did it would take a while. Then, I told her that we both work full time and there was no way that one of us could have several weeks off until the baby was old enough for daycare.

She said, "I thought you might say that, so I already lined you up a babysitter."

Picture me picking my jaw up off the floor.

Here's the kicker: the babysitter is my mother-in-law's friend. She's been a foster parent for several years now, so she's already been fingerprinted and background checked. She knows the in's and out's of the system and has been a great resource and encouragement for us as we don't know what we are doing. And, meeting her foster kids last summer was the catalyst that launched us into the world of foster care! Too cool right?

So, I told her I would check with my husband and call back. Neither of us could deny that God had just opened a door that we asked Him to either open or shut.


The story doesn't end there! Click here to read part 2!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love

I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming...

I can't give you her real name so on here I'll call her Hope.

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's a girl!!

Our first foster care placement should be on her way to us today!! We are so excited. It's a little girl and she is 4 days old.

You might be thinking to yourself.... I thought they were doing 5-12 year olds.

We were. But God had different plans. Ill give you the incredible story of how He opened all these doors and provided everything for us soon.

Until then, ill leave you with a glimpse of the wonderful madness taking over our house.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Designing a Foster Kid's Bedroom







 This post could alternately be titled, "How to Create a Bedroom That Works Equally Well for a Boy or a Girl, a Teenager, or a Five Year Old," because that's the look we were going for.

Whew. That's exhausting.

We are approved to foster any child from ages 5-12, boy or girl, any race. That made creating a bedroom for this unknown child a daunting task. In order to keep it simple, we followed a few guidelines that I found here.


Here are the first few pictures: This is the view as you are standing in the hallway looking into the room. (Disclaimer: These pictures are grainy and some of them have a yellowish tint to them. That's what I get for trying to take pictures in the dead of night in a room with poor lighting. )

 Here is the view looking toward the closet:

 And looking back out toward the hallway:
 Basically, we didn't pick a specific theme, other than maybe "use what we've got". Instead of picking a theme, we picked a plain wall color, just a sage green that we had previously used in another bedroom.
I love choosing wall colors, but I wanted this room to be something that could be changed depending on the type of placement that we get; so if we were to get a nine year old girl and she wants a pink bedroom, we can change it with little cost to us. So, don't mind the wall color, that can be changed down the road.

The first thing I did was to make the curtains. They were actually full-sized flat sheets that went on sale at Big Lots around Christmas time. I purchased two sheet sets for $10 each and then just cut them in half and used some no sew tape to hem up the edges. Super easy and way cheaper than buying 4 curtain panels at $15 a panel.

Then we moved in the furniture that we already had in our house. The bed and dresser are antiques that I used when I was a kid. They are awesome pieces of furniture but several decades of use had left them a little chipped and sad looking. So, I got some spray paint and brightened them up a little bit.

I found a cheap mirror from Walmart ($10) that I hung above the dresser, and I gathered up a ton of small picture frames that I had and moved them in. They have small printables and magazine cutouts in them for now, but when we get foster placements they can put in their own pictures of their family and their friends.

Then, we found a small bookcase at Target for $20 and filled it with children's books I've been collecting for the past year, and we put in some fabric bins to hold toys.


The art on the wall above the bookcase is a mix of things I've painted/crafted, and found. This awesome picture of a covered bridge is something that was left in our house by the previous owners, and it was one of the few things that we actually kept because I love it.


 Then there is an abstract type painting that I did in college with a quote that I love on it. It says, "Life is a journey that's homeward bound...".

Above the abstract art, there is a painting that I crafted after seeing something similar on Pinterest. I covered a canvas with Mod Podge (actually it was just plain Elmer's glue which, true to our theme, was something I already had). Then I put pieces of sheet music down and covered it with glue again. After that dried, I cut out a stencil of a bird on a tree and taped it over a portion of the sheet music. Then, I painted the rest of the canvas black. When I pulled off the stencil the bird portion was left unpainted so you can see the music through it.
Then, I just got some puffy paint and I free-handed a quote that I had seen on a welcome mat somewhere but I was too cheap to buy. It says, "Hope is like a bird that senses the morning and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark".


And, since we are on the topic of quotes, and I do love some good quotes, I put some more up to fill the blank space to the right of the bed.


I found them all here because Sarah was gracious enough to share them as free printables. There are so many more to choose from, and I love reading her blog because she always writes so deeply. Here are some close-ups of the quotes.






Last, but not least, was the addition of this little guy, who I snagged for $15 at Goodwill's 50% off sale. Score.





So, that's how we made this bedroom. We didn't want anything to feel too permanent, in case we want to switch up the wall color or something down the road, but we did want it to feel like a space that is cozy and bedroom-like. We are pretty happy with the end result. Not too shabby for a room that cost less than $70 including spray paint and the books and toys.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

 Today I'm linking up with Young House Love for the Completely Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. It's based off of Macklemore's song, Thrift Shop

The challenge was to go to a thrift shop with only $20 in your pocket and see what you can come out with. Then, there was a scavenger hunt piece to the challenge; to find one thing from the song and get a picture with that item.

So, I grabbed my friends and the Hubs and we went to Goodwill. We were the only ones who went to actually purchase anything, but we all participated in the scavenger hunt portion!



You gotta train them to find deals early, right? 
First, we set out in search of all the items from the song so that we could take a group picture. Here's our list:
Then, when we had gathered an entire buggy full of random items, we put as many of them on as possible, draped the rest over the buggy, and posed for a group picture. Not everyone was amused.


Here are the listed items that we found:


 I swear that outfit was bright pink, even though it looks completely red in this picture. Also, we had to set the camera on a shelf and put the timer on to get this group picture, so you can't really see the feet on the footed pajamas or the gator shoes. Sad times because the gator shoes were awesome. I can't even find a picture that looks close. They were white gator skin shoes with gold tips, gold tassels, and gold heels.

Ok, on to the purchases that were made. I only ended up spending $5.99 because I'm going back tomorrow when everything is on sale to spend the rest of the $20. But, I went in search of children's books for the foster bedroom, and I found some great ones! All of these books for $5.99.



Then, the last part of my purchase that will be made tomorrow. I'm going back for a rug that looks exactly like this one. I have no idea where it's originally from though, sorry guys.

Sadly, it didn't fit into my $20 thrift shop challenge budget. The price tag said $28, but the first Saturday of every month, Goodwill puts the entire store 50% off. So, needless to say, I'm going back TOMORROW for their first of the month sale and (assuming he's still there) grabbing this bad boy up so fast the cashier's head will spin.
Even though I haven't technically purchased the rug yet, I'm including it in my awesome finds for under $20.

Total Purchases:
Books - $5.99
Rug - $14.00 (after getting 50% off)

Grand Total: $19.99

I think that challenge was a success!