Friday, September 30, 2011

Baby Man

We'll love you forever, little man.

And, yes, we will foster again. Probably many more children.

I got to talk to Mama Foster on the phone the other day before court. She said of her 2 year old foster daughter, "She has a hard life. I live her hard life for her, so she doesn't have to."

When people say to us, "I could never do that,"

Our response: "Who will, then?"

Thank you for giving us 9 months of your life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aphoeba

Let's see. I realized yesterday that I miss being pregnant exactly 0%. I see pregnant women and I do not get that wistfulness I got, even when Asher was tiny. I knew someone was missing from our family but I just didn't know who. Now I do.
Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for this sweet baby girl!
We had a delicious day lounging around today and then having a wonderful dinner at our favorite restaurant and 20 minutes (the babies were getting cold) at the park.

I have a video for you that I will upload tomorrow. In it, Phoebe does the cutest sigh after her sneeze (I finally captured it on video!), and you may see a tiny, itty bitty peek of someone else.

Scott calls our baby "Aphoeba", as in "Amoeba", a one-celled organism, because he doesn't think she does too much yet (much like an amoeba). He doesn't give her a whole lot of credit. Growing is hard work!

Thank you for keeping us close to your hearts this week. This is my favorite photo of Phoebe, just because it captures her joyful spirit and sweet little lopsided grin so beautifully. I have been itching to get a little something for her that has her name embroidered on it. Not sure why. Maybe it's because I can't believe she's actually here, all sweet and stuff. I love to see her name printed officially, in random places.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

pretending this is the Dave Ramsey show

WE'RE DEBT FREE!

That's a heck of a lot of:
  • "I really want this adorable pink coverlet at Target for Lucy's new bed that was originally $64.99 and now on clearance for $16.94, but I'm putting it back, even though it's *adorable* and a super-good deal." (sad that I actually know the clearance prices, and "hello", run-on sentence.)
  • "Nope, no $1 soft drink at McDonald's today."
  • "No flat screen, Rachel."
  • "I love to drive my clunker car to work!" says Scott.
  • "Bagged lunch today."
  • "No, we're not eating out - we're having leftovers."
  •  "No vacation this year."
 $21,000 paid off in 27 months.

Somehow, shopping will be different, knowing that we don't owe anyone anything, except for our house debt, which we're planning on knocking out, kung-fu style. 3.75 % interest rate.

But, there is no better high than clicking on the "Pay Full Amount" on the student loan website.

SO happy. Now we can even more fully support those organizations that are so close to our hearts. CEF, InHisServiceKC, Legacy Christian Church.

You can do it too, you know. The little things really do add up to be *big* things.

More thoughts to come about Wednesday at 2 pm, which is our foster son's termination of Parental Rights Hearing. (He's been with us since he was 2 days old, cute as a button, and fresh from the hospital.) I want to love him like Jesus would, no matter what the days to come hold.

Can you tell I am distracting myself?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sisters

can't tell you just how much I love saying, "my girls"...



Friday, September 16, 2011

unfit


My two eldest brothers love to play devil's advocate.

I have three older brothers, and the youngest of them is totally non-confrontational. He's so non-confrontational he won't call the maintenance guys at his apartment to fix things that break. He just does it himself.

My oldest brother was visiting from Tokyo (where he sells American clothing bought by my youngest older brother at stores all around the country - he drives a kidnapper van to carry the clothing and is often questioned by the cops - a post for another day) and was sitting in the den with me, asking me about Baby Man's case.



"What right does the government have to take an individual's child away from him?" he asked.

I got all defensive and gave him some pat answer.

Really, though, it got me thinking.

I don't know.


I hate the government's infringing on civil liberties as much as the next dreamer of Reagan eras gone by. I think that "Termination of Parental Rights" is a very serious, harrowing, horrible thing to occur. I am not looking forward to court in just days. I am hoping I get some nasty sort of stomach flu so I can't go.

No, really. I'm hoping that.

How do we know when to take a child from its parents? When the parents test positive for one drug and not others? Who defines neglect? Is it considered neglect if a parent leaves his child at home for 4 hours alone, but not 5 minutes? How is a home considered unfit? How many times, or months, or years, does a parent get a second, or third, or fourth chance before the "powers that be" say that baby is better somewhere else?

Who decides?

Obviously we have courts and judges and social workers that decide such matters. It is, however, unsettling to me that a state can decide to take a child away from its parents care without the parents' consent. Many are probably reading this and thinking, "Well, if they are bad parents, of course they should be taken away...duh!"

But, really. What makes a bad parent?

Can you write me a paragraph and tell me?

We've only been in the foster/SRS system for 8 months. Already, I can see that there are many safe guards in place for a reason. Terminating a parents' rights takes time for a reason. So many people would look at Baby Man in his carrier when he was teeny tiny and say, "Why will it take so long?"

It will take so long because we are severing a very important bond.

There are all kinds of different people int he world, we all know that. Tall ones, short ones, smart ones, dumb ones. A lot of the not-so-intelligent may care for their children very much but not have clue one how to care FOR their children, on a day to day basis. Are they unfit? Some parents don't even have a clue that their rights are about to be terminated. Some parents produce and produce children and they continue to be taken and taken and taken away by the state, into (hopefully) loving homes.

How do we rehabilitate parents? Is it possible? Is it necessary? Do we just give up?

There are so many thoughts running through my head and these are only the first. Lucky you!

I was telling a new friend that this is my outlet, my therapy. And since I just discovered via the insurance website that our chiropractor actually costs me $97.50 every time I go, I'll be coming here alot more often for a little relief of the old joints, the mind, the soul.

I was always wondering why he was so happy to see me and my 17 children - in hindsight, I could see gold coins in his eyes as he invited us into his homeopathic lair.

Anyway, what makes a parent unfit? I don't know. Scott and I have discussed on many late night occasions that it makes our blood crawl icily along our veins to think of a judge telling us we are no longer fit to call Lucy or Asher or Phoebe our children.

I'm just glad as can be that I am not a judge.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

that kind of friend

Last Saturday I sent out an S~O~S email to some friends. It basically said that I needed prayer because I was tired and frustrated and overwhelmed. I mentioned in this email that my house was dirty.

30 minutes later she showed up at my door with her cleaning supplies.

I shouldn't have been surprised; a couple of weeks ago I heard someone rifling around in my refrigerator and thought it was one of the kids. No, it was her, depositing a completely homemade chicken pot pie, replete with two dinosaurs making eyes at each other with a heart over their swoony heads:

the reason you don't see the whole thing is because I actually attacked a raw chicken pot pie ...no one else was home but some babies and I have a really bad thing for raw dough of any kind.


N-E-Ways, she showed up at my door with her cleaning supplies and I led her to my pube-laden bathroom. She scrubbed and scrubbed and even posed for a picture with my baby.

She helped me fold towels while we talked about things, and then I sent her on her way.

She's that kind of friend.

I sent her off, and she promised not to divulge that there was an actual piece of turd in the bath tub or some pubes in the shower. She probably knew I'd divulge it myself, on my shameless blog.

She inspires me to be that kind of friend to others:

thank you, friend. Now stop giving my baby the choke-hold.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

and then there were 9...

Last night we got a call asking if we would be willing to take a sibling group of three.

We were sitting watching Netflix and listened as the admissions lady talked to the answering machine.

We laughed and laughed and laughed.

We are turning down children. It feels weird.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

7

7 years ago today I was sobbing in an ultrasound room.

I was wiping my husband's tears with my hand.

Watching a grown man cry is its own particular kind of sorrow.

We had learned that one of our twins was gone, and little did we know that in just three weeks, our world would shatter again. The remaining baby would be diagnosed "incompatible with life".

I remember so clearly walking out of that doctor's office, numb.

I remember hearing the receptionist tell my husband, "Oh! Twins! Next time, it's the big ultrasound! We book an hour for twins."

My sobs escaped me, harder, and he ran over to the elevator to push the "down" button. As the doors closed I heard him tell her, "One of them just died. It'll be a shorter time slot we'll need."

Two more sets of twins were conceived within the next five years, none of those babies survived.

*******

I open up the twin stroller in the garage as I watch dust mites float through the afternoon shafts of sun light, down into my son's dusty blond hair. He's beautiful at this age; all skin and bones and lightness and Lego t-shirts. I still sometimes can't believe he came out of me, perfect, breathing,

alive.

He's not wearing shoes, only Lego socks, so I go inside the house to grab his shoes. That's when it hits me that this was the day seven years ago, when my world fell apart.

7 weeks ago she was born, perfect, breathing.

7 weeks ago I nearly died, and my uterus was thrown into the trash - God's official message to me that my uterus is no longer needed...He'll do fine without it. (And thank you, God, for that tender mercy.)

7 months ago a baby boy was born in our city. Not so perfect, squalling, tiny, needing a home.

7 months ago we welcomed him here.

As I place each baby in his or her side of the stroller, it hits me...

twins.

again.

and the levity

is not lost on me.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

'scuse me, Ma'am, your underwear is showing

Yesterday I was minding my own business with my girls (you don't know how I love saying that, every chance I get) when this 30-something year old man comes up to me and says, "Excuse me, ma'am, I don't mean to be rude, but I can see your undies through your dress."

?!

First of all, even as a woman, if I could see another woman's underwear through her dress, I wouldn't point it out to her. I'd let her go home and have a come-to-Jesus with the bedroom mirror and figure it out for herself. The fact that this guy WALKED AWAY FROM WHERE HIS FAMILY WAS STANDING to tell me he could see my underwear really freaked me the heck out.

I think I was so shocked that I just looked at him and told him thank you, went into the bathroom, and wrapped a baby blanket around my waist. You COULD see a hint of my underwear line, so I guess he was right. But something tells me I wasn't the first woman he told about their undergarments.

I would imagine it goes something like this in his mind: "Pantyline at 2 o'clock!" "Erm...just a minute, wife, 2 year old and newborn child, I've got a civic duty to complete."

Ew.

My mother in law thinks he got a little giddy being able to tell me, if you know what I mean. Yes, I consulted with her on this.

Of course, after the fact, I can think of 9 million comebacks. I write better than I talk:

1. "Wow, what a creepy thing to say."
2. "Did you tell your wife you noticed?"
3. "Why do you care so much?"
4. "Again: wow, what a creepy thing to say."

Anyway, I had to blog just to tell you about the creepy guy at Target.

Friday, September 2, 2011