disclosure meeting, check! next up: adoption shower and hanging out with my kids!

I had to make myself listen to the song that inspired the name of my blog.  I had to remember to trust in the Lord for His timing and His perfect plan.  I had to practice patience.

We met (most of) our kids 5 weeks ago.  The paperwork was supposed to take about 2 weeks to gather up and then we’d have a meeting and move forward. I’d say we waiting pretty patiently for those first 2-3 weeks, but honestly weeks 4-5 were getting to be a bit rough.

We spent the time cleaning, painting, purging and preparing our master bedroom for the 5 little ones who will soon be masters of our home, schedules and hearts.  We finished out a school year with the boys and managed to throw a snazzy graduation reception for Calvin.  We had quality time with my siblings and their families.  And at the moment our house was getting to be such a disorgnized wreck it was driving me crazy, I left town for the day to get a haircut and visit my family one more time.

Naturally, that’s when our caseworker called to schedule our meeting!  Due to some quick texting and phone call making, I caught a ride back into town with my sister’s brother-in-law (or my brother-in-law’s brother) with plenty of time to de-clutter the house for our visit.

We received the disclosure paperwork for all 5 children…totalling about 2000 pages.  No joke.  This is the paperwork we are supposed to review before making our official decision on whether or not we want to accept the offer of this sibling group.  Good thing we had already made up our minds!  I’m sure there is some kind of helpful information in all that mess, but for the most part it is about 1800 pages of uselessness.  When I get some time/motivation next week I will condense it down and make sure I know the important stuff.

Speaking of important stuff…Rob did make the call last night to officially tell our caseworker that we want these kids! 🙂  We are unsure of the exact timeline of visitation and move-in, but have been told it will likely happen quickly.

Tomorrow my LLH family is hosting a shower for us.  I’m so excited!  The kids’ room is painted and emptied (except for the closet).  We have already received a few gifts and will likely buy beds next week.  My kids are so blessed to be loved by so many…and they don’t even know it yet!

In other exciting news, as soon as the shower is finished tomorrow, Rob and I are hitting the road.  We get to see the kids!  We know that 4 will be there and are praying that circumstances allow our 5th child to come, too.

And that, my friends is the non-picture update of my life.  Perhaps tomorrow I can add some shower pics and kid room pics. Perhaps.

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Quick update

Rob spoke with the kids’ caseworker today. She is nearly finished with the paper chase and our caseworker will have it by Friday at the latest. Rob said she was real nice and encouraging. We’re glad to receive this positive news!

In the meantime, Oklahoma is experiencing terrible weather this evening. Our future family is spread across the state in Canadian and Payne Counties. We also have family in Oklahoma, Garfield, Tulsa and Rogers Counties. (edited to add Grady County) Please pray for safety!

I’m putting Rob on stormwatching duty while I work in the kids’ bedroom and listen to Praise & Worship music. This future mama can’t hardly stand to watch storms pass through the towns my babies live in!

Jesus calmed the storm for the disciples, and He’ll take care of us, too!

the one about adoption

Every night it is a little tricky for me to fall asleep.  Every morning I wake up before my alarm goes off.  My mind is filled with wonderful thoughts of children, to-do lists, ideas, etc.  Sometimes I’m thinking over a potential problem challenge and how we will best face it as a family of 10, with 5 under 5.

As a preschool teacher, I count my kids several times each day.  It’s not likely that I have lost one, but I like to count them so I know where each child is and what he or she is doing at that moment.  If someone is not engaged in an activity or needs to be redirected to something a bit  more educational, I can find out easily when I scan the room and count them.  This past week, I’ve implemented a new way of counting.  When I’m working with a group of children, I count them and realize that soon I will have 5 of my own.  I happened to be reading a story to a group of 5 in my classroom the other day, and I just couldn’t help but think that I’ll have that many children.  Is it too possessive to say that I am excited that they will be mine? I think that sentiment comes from the fact that I spend a lot the majority of my life with children that are not my own.  And soon, I’ll get to have some of my own, a fact that makes me very happy.

I’ve been thinking about things I could put on a registry, if I decide to do one.  People at work are already planning a shower for us, our friends at church want to throw a shower and my sisters have been talking about it, too.  We are so blessed to have so much support.  My kids are loved by hundreds of people and they don’t even know it yet.  I don’t know specifics about some of the things we will need–carseats, clothes, diapers, etc–but I do know some things.  I know that every plate in my house is breakable.  I also know that we’ll likely need 5 booster seats for our kitchen table.  I’ve looked at some bedding options and know that Target has a cuter selection than WalMart (although they have plenty of character choices, if that’s what floats your boat).  I wonder what kinds of cups the kids drink out of–sippy, straw, open.  I wonder if they have favorite colors or characters they love.

I scanned the picture of the kids that was in our adoption book.  Partly because I wanted to email it to my immediate family (did I even remember to do that?) but mostly because I wanted a copy for my desk at work, one to keep inside my bible and one that is propped up next to my bed.  I also have their picture as my wallpaper on my computer at work and my iPod.

I’m thinking about a deep freezer and possibly a pantry for my kitchen.  I’m thinking about packing 5 lunches each night and cooking breakfast for 5-7 children and 2 adults each morning.  I’m thinking about paper plates and wondering if all the little kids can wear the same size of socks.  Are white sheets a good idea because I can bleach the stains out of them?  Or do I go with dark sheets so the stains will blend?  Little ones should take a bath at night, but what if they wet the bed in the night and we have to do baths again in the morning?  What time will we get up?  Should I cut my hair or grow it long?  Which is easier to fix?  Should I take time each day to fix my hair or settle for a ponytail for the next 3-5 years.

Rob and I are discussing the best vehicle for our family and whether or not it makes sense for he and I to carpool to work when we have kids.  Who should keep the car and who should do the drop-off?  Can one adult get 2 kids to one daycare and 3 kids to the other?  Will I end up unloading 5 in order to drop off 2?  Load up the other 3 to unload again at the final destination?  Can Duncan’s part-time job be helping me get kids in and out of carseats all day?

What progress is being made with their paperwork? How close are we to our disclosure meeting?  When my out-of-state brothers and their families are visiting in June, will they be able to meet the kids?  Will my kids be a part of the fishing trip and campout that is being planned?  When will I take time off of work?  What day will be my last day to teach class?  *Will I ever teach again?

Are my babies happy?  Do they know how much they are loved?  Does Jesus whisper in their ear to let them know they will soon be together forever with a family?  Are their foster parents anxious about the transition?  Is it bittersweet news to know they will be placed in an adoptive home soon?

I think about my three stepsons and what great big brothers they will be.  I’m thankful that Calvin will be staying nearby after graduating from high school so that his youngest brothers and sisters will have a chance to bond with him.  I’m thankful that Riley loves to play outside and will have three more brothers to throw a football.  I’m thankful that Duncan has spent a year with some of the best preschool teachers in the world and that has given him invaluable experience in relating to little ones.  I’m also thankful they will have some time at their mom’s house, so that they have some space without little ones around.  I’m glad that Rob and I are already thinking of ways that he can spend time with the boys, doing things without the little ones on a regular basis so that the big boys still have plenty of attention from their dad.

And…I miss the kids a little.  We met them (4 of 5) last weekend, so it’s been a week of thinking of them and not seeing them.  It’s a very busy time at work and I have plenty of other things to occupy my mind.  It just doesn’t take too much for them to pop back into my head. I have such a peaceful feeling about everything.  I am so thankful for a God who not only blesses me in abundant ways that I never expect, but a God that also secures every little detail according to His will.  In high school, I memorized the verse “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7  This week, I’ve been reminded of that verse.  But not only to cast anxiety or worries or burdens on Him…but that even before situations become stressful or worrisome, He has taken care of them.

How great is our God, indeed!

*I don’t think I’ve ever really written about my job change. I’ll dedicate an entire post to that subject in the near future, because God really did some good things in that situation as well. The short version: I am changing positions at The Little Light House, from a classroom teacher to an office job.  The move was decided in November, but will take place in June.  It’s the best thing in order for me to serve my family as well as LLH in the best way possible.

a tiny little update and a call for continued prayer

Well, it’s certainly been too long since I’ve written. (And I sort of hate blog posts that begin with that line, and I try to avoid using it, but tonight it’s all I’ve got as an opener.)

And certainly too long since I’ve given an update on our adoption journey.

And while I have many, many details in my brain that need to be put into text on a blog that will hold them forever (or at least longer than my brain might).  Tonight is the short version.

No word on any of the sibling groups we listed on our order form interest sheet from the February adoption party.  No word on either of the sibling groups we inquired about from the March statewide staffing.  That’s seven groups we were interested in at some level or another.  That’s seven groups that we did not get a response from.

No response means…keep waiting.

And while I’m not in a position to share details publicly (ie, this here blog or my facebook account)…we did receive a positive phone call this week.

I’m not trying to be secretive, I’m not trying to drum up the readership, I’m not trying to play games or be manipulative.

Bloggers do that, ya know?  I’m not one of them.  At least not yet. ; )

However, I did want to at least come and tell my faithful reader(s) to please continue to pray for our journey.  Pray specifically that God’s perfect will be done, in His perfect timing.

There have been tears and frustration and doubt and crankiness.  There has been joy and hope and peace and certainty.

And in the midst of it all we…

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.  His love endures forever.  Ps 118:29

numbers and prayer requests

We currently have 7 formal inquiries in process (5 from the adoption party and two from the latest statewide staffing) for a total of 20 children.  That’s 7 different sibling groups that we are interested in further information for potential adoption. 

one group of 5
one group of 4
one group of 3
four groups of 2

Our caseworker told us it could be 4-6 weeks before the final authorizations are made from the adoption party.  It’s been about 4 and a half weeks.  The statewide staffing was held March 15 and our worker “put us in” for a sibling group.  It happened to be one that we wanted to inquire about after having read the files at our county office.  We emailed him Sunday evening about that group as well as one other group we had read about. 

Please pray for these children.  While Rob and I are anxious to adopt children as soon as possible, the ultimate goal is for every child to have a permanent home.  If there are seven other couples willing and able to adopt these children, we think that is wonderful!  We want to provide a home to the children who need it most, children that may be harder to place than others, children who need three big brothers, children meant to be a part of our family.  Pray that the children have peace and joy.  Pray that they know the love of Jesus and that they cling to Him in times of confusion and heartache.

Please pray for the adoption workers that will review the files of potential families.  Pray that they keep an open mind, that they are discerning the needs of the children as well as the abilities of the families.  Pray that God would guide them in the selection.  Please pray that their work is swift, accurate and efficient.  Pray that they have the peace of Christ during stressful moments.

Thanks, team.

Don’t Forget

Dear Future Kate,
One year from today, you should make green eggs and ham for your kids for breakfast. Don’t forget to do the stuff you have been waiting for because you’re too busy with unimportant junk.

Sincerely,
The Waiting Kate

just the facts

I had a productive afternoon at the county office on Friday.  Resource families (that’s the official term for families wanting to adopt or foster children) who are approved for adoption are allowed to look through files of children who are waiting to be adopted.  Every month the state workers get together for a statewide staffing of the children.  They try to match families with kids.  In addition, the files get delivered to county DHS offices for families to review. 

I was able to review the new files from December and January.  I took nearly a page of notes on several sibling groups.  It was encouraging to see sibling groups that meet our homestudy criteria.  While I don’t feel like we’re being especially picky about the kids we want to adopt, we do have a few things we’re looking for in a sibling group.  Or rather, a few things that we know won’t work.  For example, we really only have one bedroom available for our adopted kids.  The sibling group needs to be able to share a room so the very awesome group of 5 brothers and sisters simply won’t work in our home.  (I kinda wish I had realized that before I read profiles on the first three little girls…oops!)  We also have an upper age limit because we have three teenage boys living in our home and we feel like there needs to be some space in between the two groups.  (That’s why I make myself skip over the teenager files.  Reading and knowing we can’t adopt them is simply too hard.)  We’re also committed to adopting a sibling group, so I also skip over the individual files.

I brought my list of kids home so Rob and I could discuss things.  Actually, I called him right as I left the office and gave him a brief description of a few of the groups.  I knew I was writing down more information than I would have if he was there with me, and when I got home I also realized I’d written down two groups that really don’t match our criteria.  If we had been looking at the files together, we’d probably have talked through it and eliminated them before even leaving the office.  I guess I was just making sure not to overlook anything since he wasn’t with me.  Plus, I really want all of these kids to have homes.

We had several conversations on Saturday and Sunday.  I carried my folded piece of paper in my pocket throughout the weekend, pulling it out during times of prayer during mass on Saturday evening; referencing it when chatting with my sister on Sunday afternoon.  Rob and I made a tentative “order of preference” list.  The next step is to let our caseworker know if we are interested in any children.  Then, he checks with their caseworker to see if they have been matched with anyone else in the time in between the staffing meeting and now.  If not, they’ll review our file to see if our family would be a good match with the kids.  If so, we are then “authorized”.  Then full disclosure of information takes place and we can choose to proceed afterwards.

I emailed our caseworker on Monday to have him check on a sibling group for us.  I’ve not heard back yet, but am hoping he’s able to find out something this week.  There is an adoption party in OKC later this month that we are planning on attending.

And that, my friends, is a very factual update on our adoption process.  Nothing too major.  Nothing too deep and emotional.  Maybe I’ll blog that one tomorrow. 🙂