Change is Good.

Things have changed quite a bit ’round here since my last post in February.

For starters, John Robert changed universities and started attending Transylvania University in Lexington, KY after a successful freshman year at Kentucky Christian University. We’ve been fundraising, moving, and adjusting to his new life in KY over the past year and he’s already moved twice… He was able to visit Haiti this summer which was an amazing gift after a hard year learning to survive in the USA. We love JR and are so honored to be a part of his journey.

IMG_1312(Photo taken this Spring after a KCU soccer game!)

Secondly, on May 27,2015, Jason and I finalized our adoption and finally were able to give our daughter, Beverly, our last name! It was a joyous occasion filled with a “gotcha day” party and the fulfillment of a promise we made to Bev when she moved in… she got her ears pierced!

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(Photo taken on Cinco de Mayo!)

And finally, we welcomed a sweet baby boy into our lives on June 22, 2015 after hours and hours of labor… Ellias weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and 21 inches long. It was love at first sight for all of us!

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(Photo taken around 3 weeks old)

This year has been filled with tremendous growth and an explosion of love. My husband and I are grateful for all of the support we’ve had over the past several months. There is NO way we could have endured the craziness without our family and friends. It’s been a wild ride!

 

{Dangerous Prayer} 2014 in Review.

Almost a year ago, I prayed the most dangerous prayer of my life. The fruits of this prayer have been manifesting ever since. You see, my prayer took place while I was cleaning my house. I don’t remember what I said exactly, but I recall asking the Lord to fill my rooms and fill them for his glory.

It started in January of 2014. I had recently graduated with my Master’s Degree in Business Administration and my husband and I decided to celebrate the accomplishment by taking a trip to Haiti. I’ve been to Haiti several times and am in love with the culture and the people.

When we went, we told our Pastor that we had plans to start a family when we returned. He and his wife prayed over us before we left. I felt confident we could conceive quickly because I had done everything the right way. I had it all under control. We’d been saving for medical expenses for a year, had the OK from the OBGYN, had stable jobs, and degrees. This was the farthest thing from the truth; the Lord immediately took control orchestrated a plan far superior then anything I could have crafted on my own.

After our trip, my heart longed to help our friend, long-time interpreter, John Robert get to America to attend college. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’d wake up at night, I’d Google scholarships, I started networking with people and making connections, I felt certain I was the friend that was supposed to help him. J encouraged me to get a game plan together for fundraising and then educate myself on the potential risks of bringing an international to school in America. I went full-steam ahead and completed the necessary paperwork to get John Robert to America.

In April, over Easter, I was blessed with a trip to Haiti. It was on the other side of the island and not where my friends were, but I knew I had to get John Robert to me. I had the paperwork he needed to get to the States, and I wanted to surprise him. I bused him to the mission along with two friends, and gave him the paper he needed to get a Visa appointment. If all went well, he would be coming to the USA for college in the fall. At this point, John Robert, my friends, family, and I launched a fundraising campaign to pay for his education.

During this time, Jason and I were still trying for a family and every period came and went with disappointment. I was consumed with fundraising for John Robert and trying to chart my ovulation, and didn’t realize at the time, but this was the first response to my dangerous prayer. The Lord was filling my rooms.

In May, Jason and I received a call from our family and social worker in Pennsylvania. They asked if we would be interested in fostering to adopt one of our distant relatives. As a ten year old, they explained it would be hard, but that we were the only hope for making sure she didn’t age out of the system (older kids are not usually adopted). We didn’t hesitate with our response. We love our family and didn’t want to lose our cousin to strangers, so we asked what we could do. We were encouraged to get certified in KY to be foster parents. Again, I was awake at night, I googled, made phone calls, and we went full steam ahead. We started foster parenting classes in the state of Kentucky and committed to eleven weeks of grueling work.

We were able to have two transitional visits with our cousin (little mama) over the summer. This helped her see where she would live and helped us make sure we felt confident in our decision. Each visit went well and we decided to continue pushing forward with the process. We completed our parenting classes in August.

By this time, Jason and I had still been unsuccessful at conception, but had our friend John Robert in America, enrolled in school, and on campus. We also had little mama’s room ready and our family, friends, and co-workers had thrown us showers, so her closet and toy chest was chalked full in anticipation of her arrival. This was the second response to my dangerous prayer. The Lord was filling my rooms.

We decided to plan a vacation in the fall and take a trip with our friends to Destin, FL. At this point, we had stopped “trying”. I threw the ovulation kits away; I stopped charting, and just focused my efforts on helping John Robert adjust to life in America and stayed in prayer for little mama. We were told she would likely arrive around Thanksgiving because the state didn’t like transitioning kids during the school year. I kept praying for her and felt confident that she would be here before the Holidays. I wanted her to adjust to normal life in KY as soon as possible. So, a week before we left for Destin, we got the call. Little mama and her social worker would meet us at the Lexington airport on September 30. This cut our vacation short, but we didn’t care. We were excited to start our lives as parents and to help her know love.

When little mama moved in, she immediately started asking about siblings. She has a big sister, but wanted to be a big sister. This stung a bit, since we had been trying for months, but we assured her that when the time was right, we would give her a sibling. We brushed this off and focused our efforts on her and John Robert.

In October, I was late. I had previously thrown away all my tests, and kits, so I didn’t think much about the possibility of being pregnant right away. But when my period still didn’t come, I asked our research nurse at work for a test. I holed myself up in the bathroom at work and took the test in the middle of the day. The line was faint, but it was positive. One of my docs caught me coming out of the bathroom and asked why I was so white. I shoved the test towards him and he laughed and said, “you need to go upstairs and get blood drawn”.

In my head, this was a joke. I had too much going on. Sure, we had tried to conceive for months, but it was a fruitless endeavor. The Lord had already blessed me with little mama and John Robert. I had to focus my efforts on them and not be distracted by the “what ifs” of a baby. The blood came back after two hours (we ran it STAT. I was a mess) and it was positive. I was pregnant.

When I came home from work that night, I waited until little mama got in the shower and handed J the urine test and the lab work. I immediately walked away. He was confused until I said the words, “I’m pregnant”. In typical J fashion, he said, “you are always on pinterest and reading blogs… is this is the best you could do?” He wanted some fancy announcement, but all the energy I could muster was used to hand him the results. This was officially the third response to my dangerous prayer. The Lord had filled my rooms.

We waited to tell John Robert until he visited in November. His immediate response was, “this was my prayer”. And then we waited a bit longer to tell little mama by giving her a shirt that said “big sister”. Her immediate response was, “this was my prayer”. It took days for these responses to sink in and for me to understand the magnitude of what God had done in ten short months. He positioned me to surrender my plans and to believe that his words were true. When my husband and I poured our lives out and gave it away, the Lord filled it back up. He filled my rooms. He answered the cries of my heart. He made a family out of his fabric and wrote a story that only he was capable. I learned to surrender my ideas and focus on the plan God has for our family. By being open to His timeline, His goals, and His will, my family flourished, my prayers were answered, and all the rooms in my home are filled (the last room due to be filled in June 2015!). God is good.

 

 

 

 

{Foster Parenting} The Choice

Early this summer, Jason and I made the decision to become foster parents. We believe that all kiddos deserve love and need someone fighting for them. So, we took a leap.

We signed up to complete an eleven week certification at our local Cabinet for Health and Family Services. This course entailed surrendering our Saturday mornings, home visits, physicals, home studies, background checks, fingerprinting, and a lot of faith.

After eleven weeks of hard work, we were approved to become foster parents. We put in the work so we could extend hope to a child (or children someday) in need. Maybe you have the same desire, but are scared. Let me tell you, if we can do it, you can too!

Here are some facts that helped us make the choice:

  • There are over 7,800 kids from ages of birth to 21 who are living in out of home care in Kentucky.
  • Many have brothers and sisters who are also in need of care.
  • They represent all races and many ethnic groups.
  • Most have suffered some type of abuse/or neglect by their birth family.
  • Their needs may include medical problems, physical disabilities, developmental delays or behavioral and emotional disabilities.
  • Many infants who come into care have experienced prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol.
  • Most (75 percent) are able to return home when their birth families or relatives can provide appropriate care for them.
  • Many utilize programs that assist them in obtaining education and job skill training after high school graduation.
Tell me: Have you ever thought about foster parenting? If so, let me know. I’d love to help guide you through the process.