No Trust

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Although we are in a very exciting staging through our adoption journey, it is not always easy. In fact some days, even weeks are extremely hard physically and emotionally. This week has been one of those weeks.

We started off the week on such a high. S has been making profound strides in his improvements behaviorally, socially and academically. Monday was probably our best day to date. As Tuesday came I braced myself as I knew what was planned and the impact that it would create on all the progress that had been made since Friday.

Tuesday came as expected. It started out great but as I had prepared and braced myself, S had the reaction I thought he might have that day. An agency employee had to come in our home to work with S which caused anxiety and stress within S. This anxiety and stress caused the five day streak of amazing behavior to abruptly come to an end.

Since I know this is a pattern of S, I was very proactive in my approach for the day, prepped him for what was going to come and created scenarios that would distract him from the inner turmoil he was experiencing. Although the day went better than weeks prior, there was a storm still brewing within that would soon come to light and is still lingering.

The next day as we got ready, the morning seemed to be going much better that the day previous…. until S asked what was in store for the day. S knew what was going to happen that day but as I reminded him of the schedule, I could visually see anxiety fill his face. Since I know he does not react well to people from the agency or the building itself due to previous experience I always try to be proactive in my planning and avoid as much contact S has as possible. On this particular day I had a 3 hour training session at the agency that morning. Since S did not handle going to the agency well two weeks prior during my training I thought I was doing the right thing and planned for him to go to the park with his ABA technician while I had the training and would pick him up when I was done.

S seemed to be excited at first but as the minutes passed he was making more and more poor choices….. squirting lotion all over his room and floor, chucking his dirty pull-up down the stairs, stepping on the dog, flinging tooth paste off his toothbrush onto the floor…. and this list goes on. As I stood in the bathroom getting ready, he came in doing another thing he knew he shouldn’t to get my attention…. yet again. Something in me stopped myself from redirecting him back to getting ready or  finally getting upset and I asked “Dude, whats going on? Are you ok? Why are you making poor choices?” I honestly wasn’t expecting an answer that was substantial but as the words left my mouth he stopped, you could see his face relax and his shoulders loosen. His lip stuck out, his eyes softened and his head bowed down and he responded with “I just want Baxter (our dog) to come to the park with me too.”

As the words left his mouth it clicked, I now knew exactly why he was acting out. He didn’t want Baxter to come to the park with him because he wanted to play with him or because he would miss him, he wanted Baxter to come with him because if Baxter was there he would know I was coming back.  My gut turned and I was sick to my stomach but I wanted him to tell me.

We have been working very hard on being able to express with our words, I didn’t know if he would but I wanted to give him that opportunity. “Honey, Baxter can’t go with Steve, you can see him after I pick you up.” There it was, before I could finish my sentence, out came the answer I knew he had but never expected or was prepared to hear. “but I don’t trust you. I don’t trust what you say. What if you don’t come back?”  I found myself there in the bathroom dropping everything to kneel down. As I dropped down to hug him he threw himself in my arms and we sat there rocking back and forth as I told him that I promised I would pick him up. He clung on and wouldn’t let go. As I stopped rocking he moved to rock me, non verbally letting me know he wasn’t ready for me to stop.

As things seemed to get better, they got worse again two more times within the hour before it was time to leave. Each time it ended in “I can’t trust you” and followed up with him wanting to rock in my arms for comfort. As hard as it is for me to hear these words, I praised him for using his words to express himself. It may seem disrespectful for of the norm for some but it is HUGE for him to be able to tell us exactly why he is feelings something and use his words. For any parent these words are earth shattering although I stayed strong for him, the second I got in the car I broke down and wept the whole way to training and part way through the beginning of the training.

My tears are not because he does’t trust me. Although I have given him no reason not to trust me, his life has given him EVERY reason not to trust me. I wept that he has had a life where he has learned not to trust. Every single care giver that he has had left or the agency has had to remove him from, why would he think anything other wise?

Days later this is still heavy on his mind and in his heart. Waking up he crawled into my bed this morning and the first words that came out of his mouth were “Do you remember when I went to the park? I was scared. I didn’t think you were going to come back. I don’t know if I trust you” I know that this thought has nothing to do with me or my actions and it has everything to do with the agency and how he perceives the agency. Today, while in timeout we discussed his actions, why he did them and what he could do instead. What would seem completely unrelated came up yet again as he said “what if the agency takes you? You could say you’re coming back but what if they take you from daddy, Baxter and S? Then I wont have a mommy.” And again tonight he brought it up again with Brandon after he had to pull over the car to talk to him about his choices “Why does mommy need to go to the agency so much?” and they proceeded to talk about it for most of the 20 minute ride home.

No trust…….although we remind him daily that we are his forever home……. there is no trust that it will actually happen. To be honest, I don’t blame him. If I were in his position with his history. I wouldn’t trust it either. However, as we pray and guide him we are reminded of our faith and gods love. We can not see it but we have to have faith and put our trust in him, just as we are asking for S to have faith and trust in us. Please keep S in your thoughts and prayers that his anxiety and worry will subside and be replaced with trust. Trust in our word, trust in our love, trust in the agency and most of all trust in gods path for him.

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Forever Family

Very early on in our journey with S we knew that it was in gods plan for him to be in our lives forever and us to be in his, we wanted to move forward with the process for adoption. However, S had just been through a very traumatic experience and due to this experience our agency wanted us to wait before we moved forward. Although his wounds from the situation he went through may never heal we agreed that it would be best to wait to move forward, allowing more time to heal and the agency to be completely positive this was a good fit for everyone.

After about 2 months of S living in our home with weekly visits (this is not normal for foster care) we got the green light to schedule a full disclosure meeting. A full disclosure meeting is a meeting where potential adoptive parents meet with everyone on the foster child’s team to go over everything in his history packet and ask any questions. Typically this meeting is done before the potential adoptive parents meet the child but our case is much different. We met with about 12 people ranging from caseworkers, support staff, supervisors and one of the foster families that had S previously. For anyone going through the process in a traditional way this meeting would be a huge benefit and full of great information and assess if they would like to move forward. However, since he had already been in our home for so long, we had already received answers to questions we had and there was nothing they could say that would make us change our minds. To be honest, it was kind of a waste of our time and it was more so a meeting that we were filling them in on things that have changed with S. We were asked to wait a few days to let all the information sink in. (Which although we respect the process, there wasn’t much to let sink in). A few days later we were able to sign the letter of intent to adopt!

So it’s official……

Although we were so exited we couldn’t fully celebrate yet. The agency wanted to wait longer to tell S that we where the chosen ones, we were going to be his forever family. We scheduled a time for them to come out weeks later. On June 11th, 2018 both his foster care social worker and his adoption social worker came out to tell him the news. As we sat around the table his adoption worker started the conversation. As S listened he acted completely disengaged  in the conversation as he played with a toy and would not make eye contact with her and when she asked questions he would respond with something completely off topic. This is very typical for children in foster care when they are having this type of conversation. His foster care worker then tried to talk to him about it through play with the toy alligator he was playing with and he continued to not make eye contact or respond as we all had kind of been expecting due to all the conversations we have had previously as explained in, Are you my Mother? Yet we were not surprised either due to his experience he had just months prior. After watching them struggle, S quirming in anxiety and Brandon looking at me with concern, I knew I had to try something. I spoke up and said, “S, do you remember all the times that you have asked if we are going to be your mom and dad forever and if you were going to live with us forever?” He made eye contact with me. “Do you remember that we said mommy and daddy want you to live with us forever but we have to wait to see what your workers decide?”, I continued. He partially nodded his head. I said, “Well they are here to talk to you about what they decided. Can you tell me what their choice is?” A big smile came across his face and he stated loudly “I get to stay here forever!” It was a great celebration after. We all had cake and ice cream.

For my bridal shower I received a bottle of sparkling juice to drink to celebrate for our “first baby” I read the card aloud and he said “I’m not a baby but I’m your first kid!” and we all drake it together to celebrate being a family. As the week went on S has gotten so much more comfortable knowing we are his forever family. Last night I asked if he wanted to pray before bed. Typically we read out of his kids bible but we couldn’t on this night. As I explained that first we should tell God all the things we are thankful for and then ask for help with things. To be honest, I was nervous about what was going to come out of his mouth but beyond a few silly things his prayer was beyond what I was expecting for a little boy his age. I looked at Brandon in shock and tears swelled my eyes as he started out his prayer by stating. “Thank you god for sending me to this house and giving me my mommy and my daddy”

Mommy and Daddy… that is what we are and soon it will be official. Through love and faith we are a forever family.

Are You My Mother?

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Most of us know of the well loved and classic children’s book Are you my Mother?, written by P.D. Eastman, because we have memories of it being read to us as a child. I too have memories of the book being read to me. However, it was not one of my favorites. In fact I remember not really liking the book.

I have vivid memories of thinking the book was ridiculous as the bird desperately went from one animal to the next and asking if it where his mother. I thought, “of course they are not your mother! They look nothing like you!”. Now, 30 years later, I think of the book in a much different light. Not only do I recognize that all families look different and unlike the outcome of the book, a child does not have to look like their mother to actually be their mother, but I sympathize with that the little bird.

Since the day S came to us he asked us if we were his parents forever. Although heartbreaking, at first it was really easy to distract him, change the subject or answer him in a way that we were not truly saying yes or no. In the beginning we would respond with, “this is a safe place for you to stay for now”. As the days continued the questions continued and he was no longer accepting a “safe place” as an answer.

My stomach turns and my eyes swell up just thinking about it. Most days we were at a loss for words. Due to S’s situation we were instructed not to say yes or no to him. We had very limited phrases we were instructed to respond with. As days went on and the questions kept coming, like the bird, his frustration and desperation continued.

I can not express the heart wrenching feeling to look into this little four year old’s eyes as he ask if you are his mom forever and as you respond with “we are a safe place to stay” as instructed, the frustration and anxiety in his little eyes deepen more ever time. No longer accepting that as an answer he states “THAT is NOT what I asked! But are you my mom? yes right? My mom forever?”

His desperate attempts to find a home, a family and someone he can finally call mom and dad forever started to happen almost daily. Unlike the book he wasn’t asking a new person every time, rather he was asking the same people almost daily waiting for an answer that he could be content with. Most of the time the conversations happened in the car. The car is actually one of the safest places for children to start up or engage in a difficult conversations because there is distance and no eye contact. To be honest, I was grateful most of the time he brought it up with me in the car. In the car, I could hide my tears from him with my back to him as I tried to answer in a way that respected the agency’s wishes but still eased his anxiety over finding a mother.

After a few weeks I turned the question on him. As we drove home he randomly asked “Am I going to stay here forever?” Assuming he was talking about our house but trying to distract him I replied with. “In your car seat? No! you don’t have to stay there forever! Silly, we are going to go home and have dinner and ride your bike. It would be so boring to stay in that car seat forever!” Quickly he responded with “No, I’m not talking about that! I’m talking about with you at OUR house” Knowing that the “safe place for now” response was wearing on him, I freaked out internally as to how I was going to respond. “What would you like?” came out. He responded with, “yes! for a weally weally WEALLY long time!” “A really long time?!” I said. “yes!!! WEALLY long! like how about TENNNNN Days? 10 is a LOT!”

As the days went by the conversations got harder. Each time he brought it up I would talk to the agency about the questions he was asking, how we were responding and how he was reacting to the answers. And there we were, at his breaking point the time I knew the agency had to give us more leeway on what we could tell him…..

It was early in the morning on the way to daycare as the sun was rising over the glowing dew filled field. We were only 2 minutes into our drive and S was looking out the window to the right at the sunrise. Instead of the excitement in his voice to see the sun rising like previous days, there was concern. “Are you going to be my mommy forever?” I tried to turn it on him as I had the past few weeks. “What would you like?” He was no longer accepting that response. Anger and frustration filled his voice. “I already told you what I want! I said YES! So are you? Yes or no?! You tell me! Is it a yes? Or is it a no?” Not really knowing how to respond I paused and tears started flooding down my cheeks as I bit my tongue to try to stop them. My throat swelled up and I opened my mouth but nothing came out. He continued, “I want yes but I don’t think they will let me.” I butt in, “Who wont let you honey?” “Them, Them people (referring to the agency). I think they will come get me and take me to a new home. I don’t want to go to a new home. This is my home”

Like the little bird, he had gone through all his options, he was emotionally exhausted and wanting his mother…. his forever mother, his dad and HIS home.

To this day we still have not been able to tell him he will or will not be living with us forever but since that day we have been able to tell him that it is our hope and prayer that he stays with us forever but other people have to make the choices and they will let us know when they are ready. Questions still come but that answer has been able to relieve the anxiety in him for the past month or so.

Thank you all for the continued prayers! Please keep S in your thoughts to help easy his worry and frustration in this transition. We are hopeful and pray that, like the bird, he can find his mom (and dad) to call forever.

Parent of the Month

Since we have gotten S 2.5 months ago Brandon and I have just dove in head first. It’s not how we expected this process to go. Typically when you are adopting out of foster care where TPR (termination of parents rights) have already happened it is a long drawn out process.

Usually a couple will put an inquiry on a child and a case worker will match them. Just that step alone could take months to years. Once there is a match the couple will go into full discloser to meet with the child’s team and go over everything about the child and all the records that are allowed to be given. Once that step is done the couple (or person) will sign a letter of intent to adopt. After that takes place they can finally meet the child. They will have visits with the child and transition into living in the home.

Due to the emergency of S’s situation our journey looks much different. From the moment he stepped in our home we took every challenge and just went with it, for S.

In court the agency has praised us. Almost on a weekly basis the agency praises us in our meetings. To be honest it kinda felt weird. In our eyes we were just doing what any parent should or would be doing.

Today we were not only praised but we were recognized. Today it was announced that we are parent of the month. (It’s ok you can laugh, along with my happy tears I did too).

I didn’t even know this was a thing. Apparently our agency picks a parent monthly to recognize in the monthly newsletter and they are given a certificate. We got a phone call today that we were unanimously chosen for this past month. Everyone at the agency can not get over the growth they have seen in S since he has been in our home. They are impressed by how we have been committed to him and dove right in since the unexpected call.

It’s funny because it feels odd, we just got recognized for something every parent should be doing but it feels good that others point it out. Its like when you are a kid and get student of the month. All you did was do what you were supposed to do but it felt good to be recognized.

Parenting is a selfless job that doesn’t get much recognition or praise. So cheers to all you good parents out there! You are doing awesome!

God Gave Me to You

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As I have mentioned, there is a lot that has happened in our journey with S since we have been licensed that I will be filling you in on. There is SO much that happened in just how he was placed with us and the first weekend that, again, there will be multiple post. The timing of the placement and god planning literally puts me in awe, however this post is not about how he was placed with us but rather the first 18 hours he was with us.

As S walked in curled up in his caseworkers arms he was very timid at first. Right away we recognized him. Once she came in with him he slid down her side and hid behind her leg. She handed over an envelop filled with paper work. As she rattled off everything that was inside, Brandon and I stood there half listening to her as we looked at this precious little guy and tried to interact with him to make him more comfortable in our home. Although we were just taking him in as an emergency situation we knew the whole situation and wondered if he would be ours. Our chosen one, the one god hand picked for us.

It didn’t take long for him to warm up. (I may have opened the key to his heart with those kid friendly snacks I rushed to grab at the store an hour before he came.) I felt so unprepared to welcome him into our home. We had just gotten the call 2 hours prior and I barely had time to grab some juice for him on the way home from work but as he grabbed the snack from my hand I tried to hide the anxiousness and feeling of being unprepared from my face.

After a few minutes Brandon was able to guide him into the living room as his case worker and I tried to go over some paperwork and gain a quick lowdown on likes, dislikes, excreta. It hadn’t been ten minutes and there they were, sitting on the couch with S cuddled up next to Brandon watching sports. While his case worker and I continued to go over things we both had one ear listening to them interact with eachother. Then we both looked at each other wide eyed and she mouthed “Did he just say what I think he said?” and I mouthed back “I think so! What do we do? Do we correct him?” She said “no, I think its ok to let him move at his pace but I am shocked. In the two years that I have had him on my case he has never called anyone Daddy and now he just said it within 20 minutes!”

I couldn’t believe it, was he really saying daddy already? A million thoughts rushed through my head. Is that ok so soon? How precious is that! Is she sure we shouldn’t correct him? What if we do not keep him past this weekend? How will you explain that to him? It feels so right coming from him! Is Brandon ok with being called dad after 20 minutes of meeting him? Does he really want to call him dad or did he just forget his name and doesn’t know what else to call him?

As they continued to watch some hockey game S picked out, his case worker and I finished up our conversation and she left. The next few hours went extremely well. S was so polite, listened, said please and thank you and seemed to really be enjoying his time. Brandon and I couldn’t imagine it going any smoother, nor could we imagine that it didn’t work out anywhere else for him. Just then as we were getting comfortable things took a turn south.

Around bed time things got extremely difficult. It wasn’t your typical 4 year old “I dont want to go to bed” behavior. It was trauma, heartache, confusion, turmoil, anger and sadness all coming to light in a way that this little body did not know how to handle. The next 2-3 hours were probably some of the hardest and longest hours of our life. Things were thrown and broken, we were hit, kicked, bitten and bruised, his belongings were thrown all over our house, we were told really really harsh things, the couch was covered in can of sparkling water, pee was on the floor, if you could think of it….it was probably being attempted by him in that time. There were times in those two hours that I questioned if I would ever be good enough to be a parent period and even times that I questioned my teaching experience. Yet we knew that all of these actions and behaviors were not who he was, rather it was a reaction the the trauma he has endured in the past two weeks. It was the worry and confusion of what was going on. There we were all in his room with most things taken out by then and the door shut to keep him (and our house) safe. He was throwing all of his things. We let him sit there on the floor screaming and crying as he threw every piece of clothing he had and saying that he hated us and didn’t want to stay at our house. At that time he was not hurting us or himself so we let it go on as Brandon and I remained calm we tried to talk him through his emotions. After  he stated that he did not like us and didn’t wish to spend the night we responded “I’m sorry you feel that way, but we like and care about you and this is a safe place to stay”. It was like a beaker had been flipped. That’s all it took. for someone to say they truly cared, even in his most challenging moments. He looked at us, his tight muscles eased and began to relax and he took a deep breath. He softly said “you do? you care about me? but why? Am I going to stay here forever?” Right away he started cleaning up all of his things and he quietly proclaimed “I’m ready for bed now”. (thankfully that reaction to his fear and trauma dissipated the longer he stayed at our house)

Once he fell asleep Brandon and I were exhausted and questioned if we were even cut out for adoption out of foster care or being parents but we agreed to give the next 72 hours everything we had. The next morning he woke up refreshed. We all sat in the living room watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Sitting there squirming around he asked a question I wasn’t quite sure how to answer. “Mommy, do you and daddy have other kids?” I responded, “No, no not yet” He asked “but why?” Trying to think fast and put everything in a way he might understand I responded. “Well, Mommy and Daddy just got married a little while ago and God hasn’t blessed us with kids yet.”

S looked at me with a “matter of fact” look on his face and he correct me. “yes, he did. God gave me to you! Right Mommy? …..He gave you S!…… It’s Mommy, Daddy and S……. God said. Right mommy?”

My eye filled up and my throat tightened to hold back the tears. Even after the roughest night, I knew he had it all right. That little boy, with the biggest most beautiful smile restated, just 18 hours of have been in our home, “God gave me to you!”. And so it was, validation from what I had felt months prior, validation from the joy we seen in him days prior and even in the darkest moments, validation that deep down, behind the doubt we knew, he was our chosen one hand picked from god. God gave him to us.

Judge’s Order

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May 2nd, 2018 is a day that I will never forget. So much built up anticipation for this day was laying heavy on my heart and on my mind. S had a court date, I was worried about a friends delivery via c-section and I had my initial appointment with the ovarian cancer specialist. As the days approached I couldn’t believe how everything had lined up so perfectly and now as time has passed I am in awe of how everything has worked out.

A few weeks prior we had gotten notification that there was a post termination court date for S. Within the letter that was sent to us it stated that as S’s foster parents we were not technically required to go but it was highly suggested. Although we were not quite sure what a post termination court date meant, after reading the letter both Brandon and I knew that we had to make it to court on this date. As the date drew closer I was not sure that I would be able to make it because it was the day after my original surgery date. S’s caseworker insisted that us not attending would have have a negative impact on the future we could potentially have with him but I also knew that if we were not there they legally do not have to tell us about anything that was mentioned within court. The cancer scare was a blessing in a weird way  because my doctor referred me to a specialist to preform my surgery, canceling the original date and we did not have to worry about not attending court.

Not really knowing what a post termination hearing was I contacted our agency to find out what we should expect. Since S’s parents have already given up parental rights S is a ward of the state. As I understood it, after parental rights are terminated (in this case handed over) and a child becomes a ward of the state there are post termination hearings every few months so that the state is updated on the progress of finding a forever home for the child. About a week before the court date I received a call from S’s lawyer to set up an appointment for him to come visit S.

Every child within the foster care system is appointed their own lawyer to be an advocate for the child. S’s lawyer has been with him for 2 years now and has seen him grow and develop. The day before court S’s Lawyer came to our home. Anytime we have an appointment with someone concerning S I never know how he will respond but I try to prepare him as much as possible by talking to him about who we are meeting with and what to expect. No matter how much I try to prepare him he still seems to have a lot of anxiety, acts out and completely dismisses most of the conversation they try to engage in with him. This appointment was not any different. Knowing he would report his view on S’s progress I became more anxious as the meeting went on, wondering what he was thinking and what he would report to the judge.

The morning of the court date came. I was oddly calm, yet my gut clenched tight with anticipation of what the outcome of the day would be.  Walking into the court room was a surreal moment. There are times that my heart breaks for S, that this is the path that has been laid before him. As his social worker was called to stand and took her oath the heartbreak could not be contained any longer. There I was wiping the warm tears that ran down my face before anything was even said.

My heart was crumbling for him, my blood was boiling that this is where his life is and multiple people before us willingly and consciously left his side. Yet at the same time my spirit is overjoyed that we have the opportunity for our lives to be touched by him. As his lawyer questions his case worker. Brandon and I were very uncertain where this whole conversation was going. There have been some really traumatic things in S’s life within the past few months. As the lawyer went over the facts and questioned the case worker it seemed as if he was setting them up to be ridiculed and reprimand.

The week before S came to us something happened due to the agency’s decisions and S took a dramatic decline in progress behaviorally, academically and socially. Due to the sensitivity and the state of the journey I want to be very careful and not address that experience at this time. However as the case worker continued to go into detail of the timelines of events, reasons behind decisions that were made and supports that were put in place the tears continued to come down with the reality that this will be his beginning. As humans the beginning is the most crucial part of development and here he is left with anything but an ideal beginning. Although we can try to make an imprint on his life for the days, months and hopefully years to come, we can not change any of the beginning and that tears me apart.

Just as we were convinced that this court hearing was going to go south, things turned around. The lawyer brought us into the equation. As he mentioned S being placed with us the air in the court room lifted, the judge sat a little taller and I started to see smiles on peoples faces. S’s case worker referred to us as not only a blessing to S but a blessing to the agency. She went on about the progress that was made and how quickly we were able to get S out of a dark and scary state. I say all of that very humbly and give S the credit of bravery to put trust into yet another adult that claims they care. I credit S in passion to put faith in the love Jesus has for him. I credit S for positive choices that HE chose to make.

The lawyer then turned to the judge and spoke upon his meeting with S at our home. Mind you S was not kind to him nor was he well behaved or mannered during this time so I was terrified what was about to be said. Although we had just heard a lot of positive statements from his caseworker, I was concerned he saw something very different in the 20 minutes we met with him. As he addressed the judge he talked about his journey with S. He did mention S’s behavior during our meeting but praised the behavior as a sign that he is comfortable in our home and wished not to have the threat of others entering our home while he was there. Instead of focusing on the behavior he focused on S’s bond with me that was demonstrated and the interactions we had together.

Following the lawyers statements the judge finally spoke. She had sat there this whole time not saying a word, just taking every word stated in and glancing over at us from time to time. As she spoke she explained that S has always held a special place in her heart. She has been there as the appointed judge for his case since the beginning and she often thinks of him between hearings. She continued to praise us and claimed that S’s resilience and bounce back has a lot to do with the placement he is in at our home. I didn’t think my emotions would have been that high going into this hearing but tears of joy now filled my eyes and she ordered for S to remain in our home and scheduled another review in three months.

We often thank god in our journey. Placing our faith in his hands but as I think about this day, I feel so blessed not only in the path that he is leading us down but by the judges orders.

I Told You So

Although I have not totally caught everyone up on how we received our match with S, there are so many things that have happened that I would love to share not only so people can have a better understanding of the adoption process but also so you can see the remarkable work of Gods plan in all our lives. (Many people have asked why we call him S and not just say his name. By law we are not able to post pictures or say names on a public platform if a child is a ward of the state so I will be calling him S on online platforms).

Every month S’s case worker has to come out for a home visit. During these home visits they have to talk to the child alone and they have to see the child’s room. We also talk about challenges or improvements that were made. In addition to the monthly home visits there is is one unannounced home visit per quarter.  This week we had our first unannounced home visit. I must say the visit wasn’t completely a surprise. A few days prior I had seen S’s support staff at his school. After the meeting his social worker said this month was supposed to be an unannounced visit and she wanted to know my schedule while I was recovering from surgery. The morning she came I told Brandon I had a feeling she was coming that day so in the middle of trying to get some rest I would try to make sure certain things they check were ok. (the chemicals, medications, bedding etc.)

She came that afternoon just as S and I went out in the back yard so he could play. For me, it felt like perfect timing so I could have an extra set of eyes and hands since I wasn’t getting around very well still! lol The visit went great. We talked for a long time about all the great progress we have seen in S over the last few weeks and even days. As S played I tried to get him to open up to her and talk to her more. Since he has been with us he has been very standoffish toward her, even telling her “oh you can leave my house now”. He has had high anxiety when she is around because he fears she will take him from us.

I encouraged him to tell her all the amazingly fun changes and things he has been so excited about lately. As he still disregarded much of the interaction I was trying to get him to have with her, there was one thing he shared loud and proud! I said “Can you tell her that you are going to vacation bible school this summer?” As he jumped with excitement he quickly responded with a huge smile on his face, “Yeah! I’m going to vacation bible school this summer! At MY church, Crossroads!” She responded “Yes, I am so glad you go to crossroads now and that is your church.” He stated very matter of fact, “YES it is! I told you so! I told you crossroads was MY church!”As she laughed at him I looked at them with a very puzzled look.

She filled me in on their little inside joke. For the past two years that S has been on her case load he has always claimed Crossroads was his church. Almost two years ago he pointed to that old warehouse building and asked what it was. His social worker told him is was a church. Since then every single time they drove pass Crossroads he would tell his social worker “that is my church! It’s so cool!” Knowing he had never gone to that church she would often correct him and remind him of the church he did go to. Yet consistently time after she corrected him time he insisted that was his church.

As she told me I got chills. Some may say it’s a coincidence but I believe a bigger power had something to do with this. Crossroads doesn’t look like a traditional church, it’s old warehouse that has been remodeled on the inside. We live no where near this church. We actually drive 25 minutes and pass about 50 churches to get there, two within walking distance from our home.

It amazes me that at 4 years old this little boy felt such a strong connection to this church that he had never stepped foot in. After she told me the history behind his “I told you so” comment, I thought back to his first weekend with us and things made a little more sense.

Having just been with us for a day and half we got in the car to head to church. Church, the Bible and his love for Jesus has been the one constant in his life for the past few years. As we pulled up S got excited and stated, “We are here! This is MY church!” At the time I figured he was trying to make sense of everything that has been going on in his life in the recent weeks and trying to find stability in the one constant he has had and that was his love for Jesus.

The more time goes on and situations, stories and feelings come to surface, the more I realize gods amazing work that was done in this journey. As we had and continue to have faith that he works out our plan just as he envisioned, the faith others have in him is also working in their lives….including the faith our little 4 year old S has had for 2 years that he would find a place in HIS church, Crossroads.