Thursday, September 20, 2012

Trusting for His Grace

'Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace,
Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face'

I spoke with Faneisha, Mini-Man's SW this morning. Her meeting with his aunt on Monday afternoon went really well. Aunt doesn't have a close relationship with Mom or Grandmom, is older and settled, has a good job teaching school, and is willing to take care of Mini-Man. SO, DHR is moving to place Mini-Man with her. Faneisha's supervisor wants her to file a petition with the judge to have him placed in Aunt's custody. We're not sure of the timing. Faneisha told me that it typically takes 2 weeks to process petitions, and that the judge likes to hear such petitions before the court date. (Mini-Man's court date is December 5th) 

What does that all mean for us? Basically, we know for sure now that our time with Mini-Man is temporary and likely to end really soon. I'm still trying to process all my emotions. It is so very true what they tell us in our training classes...foster parents are asked to do an incredibly difficult task. We're asked to love and care for the children as our own, all the while preparing to return them to their family. So far, Jared and I have  just been doing the caring and loving part....this will be our first time to return one. I'm not looking forward to this part of the journey. And yes, that is a huge understatement. A better description would be that part of me is already kicking and screaming. 

How can you pray for us? Pray that we (all of us, even the kids) would trust God for his grace to walk through this difficult path. He has been faithful to carry us thus far, and we *know* He is not going to leave us alone here. Pray that the judge will place Mini-Man with the best home for him. Faneisha said that Grandmom has also filed a petition for custody. This would not be a good plan. Pray for Mini-Man's Aunt, that God would even now be working in her heart. Pray that above all, we would remember that 
you are good and do good ~ Psalm 119:68'

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Updates on the kiddos...

*Princess Petunia*

PP is doing really well. She's about to begin her 5th wk of school at CH Elementary, and still without her Adderall! She was having a little trouble at first focusing during rug time. PP said it because she was bored and knew everything already. :-) Her teacher and I came up with a sticker reward system which has really helped. She's working hard to earn that all-important kids' cup at Doodles! The special education teacher at CHE said that they would do a re-evaluation of her "disabilities" in a few weeks. At least from what we can see so far, this evaluation will look MUCH different than the original one. 

She and Noah are getting along much better. I think it really helps them to have that time at school apart. She's taking gymnastics each week and absolutely loving it! Her teacher said that she's really impressed and asked if PP had ever taken lessons before. PP has memorized 3 chapters (Psalm 1, 23, & 100) during family worship time, and is working on part of John 3. 

Her SW is working to complete home studies for 8 or 9 relative resources by the middle of next month. We're assuming that out of that many relatives/friends, at least one will check out. Rach will have the hardest time when(if) PP leaves us. 


At his last doctor's appt on Wednesday, he was up to 6 lbs 14 oz! He's eating every 3 hours during the day and waking up just once between 930 pm and 6 am to eat! He's having a little tummy trouble. At first, we were thinking that it might be reflux, but the pediatrician seems to think its constipation. She gave us some medicine to help his little system clear itself out, nice right? The girls got a huge kick out of watching Jared & I give it to him. Fun times at the Wingard house this afternoon. ;) 

I met with his worker on Friday. Mom continues to be uncooperative with DHR; she didn't show for her first visit with MM this past Tuesday. :(  Mini-Man does have an Aunt who has expressed some interest in taking care of him. She's single, has no children and does not want any children. Aunt did say that "she wasn't sure how long she'd be able to care for him." This raised some red flags for MM's SW. She's meeting with the Aunt on Monday at 430. I told the SW that Jared and I are very open to keeping MM long-term, so we'll just have to see how things play out. We're trusting that should Mini-Man (or Princess Petunia) end up leaving us, God will give us the grace to work through it. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

You know what I'm thankful for?

'count your many blessings, see what GOD has done'

'For this reason, I kneel before the Father'

1. JeffCo Social Workers ~ As much as Jared and I may gripe about 'the system', the more I see of the process and these birth parents, the more I admire the people who choose to make this their life's work. So many people say to us, "I don't see how you do what you do." (The answer is truly, we don't, by the way. God does it all.) I found myself saying the same thing to Mini-Man's worker yesterday. As foster parents, our main focus is taking care of the children. Tough? Perhaps. But the SWs handle the messier end of the deal. They are the ones who have to deal with birth parent drama and scheduling home visits and birth parent drama and writing reports and birth parent drama and on and on. And thus far, in our experience, they do their job exceedingly well. Much love to Tara, Demetia, Sabrina, Faneisha, Tandra, Matthew, and all the incredible workers that we will have the pleasure to work with in the future.

2. Desiring God Ministries' iPhone app ~ I can not express just how much listening to the Word preached during those middle of the night feedings has strengthened my heart and encouraged me to press on. Losing sleep loses some of its sting when I'm having truth spoken to my heart. Too, its never too early to implant God's Word in little hearts. Sometimes I think Mini-Man may be focusing on John Piper's voice....then again, it could just be the sleep-deprivation haze. :)

3. My beautiful, precious, sweet friends and family ~ These sweet gifts from the Father have encouraged me more than I could possibly say. From meals, to prayers, to diapers, to clothes, to providentially-timed emails, to smiles & laughs....Jared & I are so very blessed to have all of them. 

*Cute conversation*
Jared donned his Cam  Newton jersey for the first AU game of the season, and our sweet children said....
"Newton...Hey, just like Sir Isaac Newton!" ~ Rach
"Yeah! Maybe they are in the same family!" ~ Noah
"I don't think so buddy..." ~ Jared
"Cam is dark-skinned and Sir Isaac was not." ~ Me
"So? God can put dark-skinned and light-skinned people in the same family." ~ Rach
"yeah, He put Mini-Man in ours!" ~ Noah

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Sense of 'Normalcy'...finally

'for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace'

'I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven'

Wow. I had forgotten how difficult sleep-deprivation can be. Coffee is one of my absolute closest friends these days. Mini-man has finally learned the difference between day and night, waking just once to eat between 10 pm and 7 am. He went to the doctor today for his one month check up and weighed in at a whopping 6 lbs and 14 oz! He's gained over a pound and a half since he's been with us! We're seeing his sweet little eyes more and more each day, and he's becoming more and more aware of his surroundings. A friend said today that he has a very intense, studious expression, which I remember many people saying about Rach when she was an infant. SO precious! 

I was looking over my planner tonight and started to become overwhelmed by all the meetings with SWs and Dr appointments and sports practices and birthday parties, etc scheduled for the next week and a half. I thought, man, I'm going to look back on this period in our lives and wonder how in the world we did all of this. It is crazy how much can be packed into just a short amount of time. 

Only. By. His. Grace. In and of ourselves, we could not and would not be doing this. Going through this life on my own strength leaves me in the fetal position on the bathroom floor crying and screaming into a pillow. I had one of those moments just a couple of nights ago, and even in the midst of my railing at God and His plan, which right then was for Mini-Man to be crying for an entire hour in the middle of the night, even then God's grace was holding me fast. He keeps us from breaking. He keeps us from giving in to our frustration and anger when all that is in us wants to just quit. 

Earlier today, even while I was describing Mini-Man's situation to some of Jared's co-workers, God showed me that we are called to extend that same grace to Mini-man's mom. I'm still struggling mightily with that. I mean, seriously? Her foolish choices led him to this place, and she still is not cooperating with DHR, did not even show up for her visit this week. Mini-man is such a beautiful, precious little one, and she is wasting her opportunity to love on him, to cuddle with him during the night, to look into his big brown eyes while he takes his bottle.  How can I possibly show grace in the face of such utter and complete selfishness?

And the answer comes....because God has shown me grace in the face of my most heinous sin. This is not about me. This is about HIM. HIM! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

One Week Later

'For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find'

We've made it a whole week as a family of 8! Mini-Man joined us a week ago yesterday afternoon. Jared and I are a little sleep-deprived, so things are still kind of blur at the moment, but we're making it! God is so gracious and so good! 

There was a moment when we thought that things just were not going to work. It was Friday morning. Mini-man had been with us for 4 days, and the nights were truly just hard. He was noisy...not really crying the whole time, mainly just grunting and not settling down or sleeping soundly at all. Jared was coming off his second night of baby duty, and his quote was, "I'm done. We can not function like this." He and I sat down at the kitchen counter and had a long, honest chat. We came up with a set of goals, things that needed to happen before he went back to work. I actually wrote them down. Most of the goals had to do with Mini-Man's sleeping and eating, things that were truly out of our hands. I mean, we can't make the baby sleep or take a bottle in less than an hour. That was a tough conversation for me to have. I knew Jared was right; we were really struggling. At the same time, though, I just truly believed that God wanted Mini-Man in our family for longer than just 4 days. He had been so faithful up to this point. Jared and I looked over the list and agreed that we'd call DHR on Tuesday (today) if things weren't getting better. 

Would you believe that that very night Mini-Man slept soundly from 10-ish to 4:30, waking only to eat around 1:30? He did the same thing the next night and the next. He continues to do so, and in fact is now stretching his nights til 5:00. He's also taking his bottles in 30 mins or less. I remember lying there in bed Friday night, well Saturday morning, singing praises in my heart so overcome with the fact that God hears us and sees us. It was yet another confirmation that yes, Mini-Man is here with us by God's sovereign design.

And oh, God was gracious enough to let me and a sweet friend see Mini-Man's first smile this morning in our co-op's parking lot. I know some folks say that all smiles at this stage are just gas. I choose to disagree. :-)