Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Decisions, Death, and Dress

We had our last class last night and our 3rd home visit this evening. And in the space of time from one to the other we went from being adoption-only to seeking a dual license. This is what we were originally seeking up until two weeks but then we changed our minds and now it's changed again. I won't go into everything that transpired but we came to understand over the past day or so that by seeking only our adoption license we are kind of shooting ourselves in the foot as far as adoption goes. Most children who become available for adoption are adopted by their foster parents. That leaves very few available for adoption-only homes. That's not to say there aren't any out there, but it can mean a long wait - like 2 years or more.

My mind was just in a tizzy this morning, trying to figure out what to do. Paul and I are both very firmly committed to the idea of adopting and neither of us wants a revolving door on our house. Neither one of us is wild about the idea of foster care, although it is something we're willing to do if necessary. I suddenly thought of the lady that spoke at our homeschool conference this summer. She was the one who had adopted something like 18 children out of foster care and she pointed us in the direction to go. So, I facebooked her and we ended up talking on the phone this afternoon. I was so grateful to her for taking time out of her busy day (she homeschools all those kids, too!) to talk with me. She strongly encouraged us to go for our dual license. She said that when we get a call for a foster care placement we can ask where the child is in the system. If she has just been removed from her home, then we'll refuse the placement. But if she's been in for 9 or 10 months and they just need a new foster home that also means that a permanency hearing will be coming up soon. That usually happens right about 12 months into the process, although a judge can defer a decision for a few months longer than that if the birth parents are showing evidence of trying to get their lives back on track.

There is also the possibility of us adopting out of state. Generally speaking, though, that's kind of a last resort, though, because it can be really difficult. But some states won't even consider inter-state adoptions unless the parents have a dual license. Also, if we got into a situation where we had one child whose parents had lost custody but say, she had a baby sibling, the parents might not have lost their rights yet to the younger child. So in order to take both children, we would need to have both types of licenses.

Our worker agreed to recommend us for a dual license, although she will be emphasizing to the licensing board that our preference is for adoption. So now we wait to see what happens next. Our home has passed inspection, we are done with our education, and now it's up to the state. If approved, we will have to take 6 more hours of training in the next 9 months to be certified in CPR, first aid, and medication management.

So, in all reality, we could have another child living with us in 30 days. Or maybe not. If it does come through foster care, though, I will not be able to say anything on my blog about it. I'll mention that we have a placement, but that's all I can say. There's a whole lot of privacy rules we have to follow until an adoption takes place.

Here is my latest Jewels of Encouragement post: http://www.jewelsofencouragement.com/2011/11/something-perfect.html I wrote about our broken nativity set. It was funny - when I unpacked that thing again last weekend I discovered that Joseph is now headless, too. I really should give in and get a new set!

I read an amazing book last week. I got it out of our church library. It's by Terry C. Thomas and called "At Least We were Married." It's quite old, being first published in 1970. In fact, the marriage he wrote about it probably happened before my own parents' and they've been married 43 years! The story was about the courtship between the author and his wife. It was a really sweet telling of that time. They were married in a huge southern wedding in Georgia the day after Thanksgiving. The next evening they were leaving on their honeymoon in the rain when a car crossed the center line and crushed their red VW bug. The bride was killed instantly and the groom was critically injured. In a space of 24 hours they went from utter elation to complete devastation. Can you imagine? It just really made me want to appreciate Paul more because we've had more than 18 years of marriage but it was a good reminder that it could end instantly, at any time. I wanted to know the "rest of the story" so I did an internet search but I didn't find a whole lot. The groom ended up becoming a "Dr" Terry Thomas. I assume that's an educational or Biblical doctor, not a medical doctor. He worked with Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ at the time of the accident. I didn't see anything to indicate that he had ever remarried, but I didn't see anything that said he had not. He did re-release the book at least once. Anyway, it had quite an impact on me.

Joy died Sunday night. I feel crummy because I had finally psyched myself up to go visit her. I was going to make it happen this week. And now it's too late. The funeral is expected to be huge, I guess, so they are having it up at Faith. Sometimes it sure is hard to trace the hand of God. This is the 3rd woman, my age, in my circle of friends of acquaintances to die within the last 2 1/2 years. I'm busy right now getting ready for Christmas and I find myself thinking that a year ago Joy was doing the same thing, having absolutely no clue that it would be her last Christmas. We just never know.

This past weekend was hunting. I didn't count on how exhausting it would be for me! This was the first time we stayed here for the event. A guy from church came over to hunt, as did Will's buddy, Nathanael. I felt obligated to feed the weary hunters so I was up before 6 all three mornings, making them a huge breakfast, and then cleaning that up and making a large lunch. I also had to make supper! I knew they would work up an appetite tromping all those miles in the cold. And, I like to feed people, so I felt the need to cook a lot. I never ever want anyone to leave my house feeling like they didn't get enough to eat (or that it was so bad they had to choke it down out of politeness!). I think I did a good job...maybe.

Today when our case worker was here she was interviewing the boys and asked them, "How does your mom show love to you?" Will replied, "She cooks for us!" To a teenage boy, I guess that is the ultimate expression of love!

This quarter for Sunday School, most of the classes, high school on up, are meeting in the auditorium for a video series. It's called, "Quieting the Noisy Heart" or something like that. I'm looking forward to it, because I feel like I have an entire marching band in my heart at times! That is freeing up quite a bit of space in the downstairs of the church so they decided to reinstitute a former practice of having the younger SS kids meet for a time of singing before breaking into their classes. So I took Sam to the new room on Sunday and it wasn't but a few minutes and he was just sobbing into my coat. I was so baffled! He has always been such an easy-going kid and has transitioned well in all situations. I didn't know what to do. My plan had actually been to skip SS myself and run to Walmart because I needed a few things for lunch for the guys. So I ended up just taking Sam to Walmart with me. And then we hustled back to church in order to be in our pew by the time Ben wandered upstairs from his class. That would have been bad if we hadn't been there for that. Will, Paul, and David were out hunting that morning so there would not have been anyone for Ben to find. Later, Sam told me that he was just "so scared" by going to the new room. I don't understand it, but I guess I'll have to do plenty of preparation this week before next Sunday morning!

It's almost 8:30 - can I go to bed yet? I am feeling so tired. Last night was our last class. It feels so victorious to be finished. We stuck it out, didn't miss a single class, and we accomplished something, learning a few things along the way, too. At the end of class, we had to each talk for a few moments, saying what we had learned, etc. And then, the instructors mentioned something they liked or noticed about us. I was hoping to hear something like, "Oh, you're such a wonderful mother, Sarah, and we know that you'll be fantastic at taking in another child, too" but instead, they mentioned how much they enjoyed my "fashion sense" and my "blingy" clothes and how it gave them something pleasant to look at each week! On one hand, it's nice to have affirmation that my efforts in personal care are noticed and appreciated, but on the other hand, that's not why I was there! So I don't know what to think! I guess I should just be thankful that this 40 year old, middle-aged, increasingly plump gal can be labeled as "fashionable"! Wonder if that will still be true when I'm 80? Probably not so much...and neither will I care when I am 80 years old!

I got the last of my Christmas decorations up today...and, I got all my fall decorations packed away in their tub, which is actually more of an accomplishment. I even decorated the deck. I have avoided that for the past few years since it's been a bit of a mess with all the work on the house. But it's actually cleaned off and attractive looking now. The Christmas spirit has been slow in arriving, but it's finally here, I think. Thursday morning I plan to run up to Des Moines and hopefully finish all my shopping. I don't have a tremendous amount left to do. Amazon has been my best friend this year!!

Paul goes on back-up call this Friday and on first call a week later. It is finally getting awfully cold, which means that I will be essentially a widow for the next two weeks since he'll be busy handling most of the no-heat calls.He goes off call the morning of the 23rd and then he'll be on call again on Christmas Day. My parents are coming down that day, so it should be a nice time.

Better go pluck a certain 4 year old out of the bathtub!

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