Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1st Foster Care Experience

Heath and I just completed our first experience with the foster care system. Let me back up a smidge.

Last Friday, March 18, I received a call from the director of our agency that Heath and I are officially licensed foster parents. As you read in my last post about our journey, we were wavering in our decision on if this was the path we were/are supposed to go down. We came to the conclusion that we will keep moving forward until the Lord shuts the door.

So with some reluctance, I turned in our final paper and literally got a phone call 20 MINUTES later telling us we are licensed. Yes, it happened that fast!

As it would be, 72 hours later we received our first phone call from our caseworker asking us if we would be interested in doing Respite Care for a 2 month old for 4 days.

In my head I was laughing, thinking that's nice of them to ask but we will probably need to pass. I'm not sure why I was thinking that was so ridiculous of a thought to bring an itty bitty baby into our home for a few days. After all, isn't that what we signed up to do by spending the past 9 months of turning in paperwork? Isn't that why we have spent hours in trainings?

I told the caseworker I would call my husband and we would give her a call back in a few hrs with an answer. I didn't even call Heath because I knew he was going to say no. I just texted him this "Just got a call for respite care of a 2 mth old for 4 days. Ha!" His text back to me was "If you think we can".

Wait what?

So after a few hours of pondering this, I called the case worker back and told her yes and then got very, very excited!

Sweet baby D was with us from Saturday thru last night (Tuesday). Here are some things I learned from these past 4 days:

1. Baby D is the most precious, sweetest baby ever.
2. It is possible to fall in love with a little one in just a few days.
3. The foster system is not near as scary as I thought it would be.
4. Foster babies are normal babies.
5. I actually remembered how to take care of a newborn!
6. It was VERY difficult to say goodbye to her.

I think the Lord knew I needed these 4 days to clear up a lot of fears and misconceptions I had about the foster system and foster children. I'm still not 100% at peace or confident about us going down this path. There are still a lot of fears and questions I have, but this experience could not have been any better.

"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before." Joshua 3:4 God knows this path is scary for us because it is uncharted territory for us. We've never walked this way before, but He will show us which way to go!

Please pray for Baby D! She is actually transitioning back to some blood relatives in a couple of weeks. Her AMAZING foster parents, who ministered to me so much these last few days, were hoping to adopt her. I am desperately praying that Baby D will be abundantly protected and comforted and have a peaceful transition.

Love her so!

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ella's 5th Bday Party!

This year Ella requested for her birthday party theme she wanted a Team Umizoomi party. For those of you that are not all knowing when it comes to nick jr. cartoons :-) this is a cartoon where the characters solve problems using mighty math powers and pattern powers.

As you can imagine, finding Team Umizoomi decorations was not nearly impossible, it was impossible. So I ended up having to make all the decorations. But it was okay. I do have a smidge of arts and craftiness in me, not much, but a little. So it was kind of fun to make everything. Plus I had lots of help from my mom!

My sweet girl dressed up like Milli from Team Umizoomi. And we got Ella's hair cut the day before her party! It makes her look so different, but I love it!

This cake my mother-in-law made. She's amazing and has made all of Ella's cakes since her 1st bday. I keep telling her she needs to start her own business. I'd call it "Kay's Cakes" or "Cakes by Kay"!

Ella made most of this paper chain herself. She loved helping make her decorations.

I prayed so hard that this day's weather would be perfect. I knew we were looking at almost 50 people and that if we had to have them in our house it would have been the most chaotic situation. I can not tell you how thankful I am that it was the most perfect weather day!! We were able to keep our back door open and the kids ran in and out playing so hard. It could not have been better. Which was funny because that exact day 5 years prior was the day we brought Ella home from the hospital and it was literally freezing and icing to the point where the hospital staff almost didn't let us leave. Gotta love Texas weather.

My man grilling Umidogs and Umiburgers for lunch.

This swing set was literally finished being built about 15 hours before her party. My Granddad, Dad and husband spent ALL day Friday building it. If they weren't madly in love with Ella it could have been a miserable situation. But to see her face when it was done was worth the HOURS they spent on it. That will be my next post.

Ella and her little guy friends.

Ella and sweet Kayla.

Brothers, Josh & Gabe

Kristin helping a table full of kids with their lunch.

Ella's swing set has this adorable little picnic table under it. It's absolutely tiny. But they managed at times to fit 4 of them around it to eat.

The Lewis clan! Love them.

Precious, adorable Klaire Bear!

Daddy giving a little thank you speech before Ella blew out her birthday candles.

Me and my 5 year old.

I wasn't going to have Ella open her gifts with all the kids there because I know sometimes it can be a bit of a beating for the kids and parents. But Ella's friends were all so sweetly excited to have her open the gift they brought it just kind of happened. It was precious to watch her friends show such delight in giving.

This is Ella's best friend from her school. Everyday when Ella is dropped off, usually Bradford is being dropped off at the same time. They seriously run and give each other huge hugs every time, like they haven't seen each other in months. It's one of my favorite moments of her school days.

This was my favorite birthday party of Ella's so far. I felt so blessed by all the family and friends that were there. And there was something neat about getting to host them all at our house and just let the kids run free and have fun. It was a great day!

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