Now that Calvin’s adoption is finalized, I’ve been enjoying some of the little changes that come with going from fostered to adopted. :)

I was filling out dental information for him and when it said, “Relationship to Patient” I put something I’d never put for him before…mother…not foster mother, simply one word….mother.

Now when I call my kids, I can say, “Hey PRYOR kids, it’s time to go!” Because we all share that name. :)

We had new prayer cards for our ministry made with a picture that includes all 4 of us.

If we want to take him out of state, we can do that without getting a single person’s permission! Well…and out of country once we get his passport…Africa here we come!!

We can even stay with people without having to ask information for a background check.

If we want to visit with his bio family we can do it when, where and for how long we’d like. We don’t have to go through the caseworker or anyone, it’s all up to us. As far as staying in contact with bio family, that’s another post for another time, but the short answer is yes…we do feel that in our case it is important to stay in touch.

I can tell you that his name is Calvin…like his for real name…not some cheesy “Little Dude” nickname I came up with on the fly for using on the blog and facebook.

Not to mention I can do this:

 

And this:

And even this:


Frugal Friday

I just had to come back to the blogging world to tell you something…..

Remember Little Dude?

Remember pictures like this:

Well….as of today, I can tell you that this is Calvin!

And this is what he actually looks like:

And that he is my son…my forever son, as if born to me, declared by the judge just this morning!

Little did we know that 21 months ago when we got a call, “There’s a 4 year old boy who needs a place to stay tonight, will you take him? He probably won’t be with you long.” And we prayed, and not even sure we were making the right move at the time, called back with a “yes.” We’d only had our fostering license a couple of days. Little did I know when they opened the door at family services, when I saw a little blonde curly haired boy with sunglasses and a t-shirt that had a smiley face and the words “no stress” on it, that he would become my forever child!

Calvin (also called Junior), is almost 6 years old. He’s having his adoption and birthday all in one month.He’s good with his hands and loves building with Legos and making forts in the house. Calvin’s athletic and loves to play outside. His favorite color is orange and he loves all superheros. He likes to eat, especially burgers, fries, strawberries and pizza…and did I mention he’s my son? :)

Frugal Friday

 

Reading to the kids

We provided respite for Big Sis and Little Dude this weekend. It’s the 4th time they’ve stayed with us. The first was when they first came into care and the other times were for respite. As I look back to the time they came to us 11 months ago, I see so many changes. I’m so thankful for the couple that they’ve been living with. We agreed to take the kids until a more permanent home could be found, they lived with that family for a while but then were moved again, to their current home. I can tell by spending time with the kids, that they’re taken care of. Big Sis has grown, Little Dude is talking so much better. They just look so healthy. Their foster parents weren’t even planning on taking any kids until after a trip they had planned, but eventually said yes to Big Sis and Little Bro. Then we provided respite when their trip came up.

These kids needed a safe home, a loving home, a consistent home and I can’t express how grateful I am that God provided that for them. Yes, just one couple (or one person for that matter) can make a huge change, they have in these kids’ lives. And as these kids are on a reunification plan, I believe that the influence of these temporary parents will forever affect them.

It’s easy to know there’s a need for foster parents, but when you personally know kids in need of a home, you don’t just know about the need, you feel it. We enjoyed having their foster parents over last night to get to know them, and it just made me all the more happy that those kids are with them.

And on another note….Cameron’s back and he had a GREAT trip! You can read all about it here, and see buckets of pictures here.

The completed water project!

 

Mother’s Day…I have to admit, as I sit here thinking about it, I have very mixed feelings.

On the one hand:

  • I think about our baby we miscarried 3 years ago this month.
  • I think about how I thought we’d have more kids in our home by now.
  • I think about this past year temporarily mothering 3 kids.
  • I think about those 3 kids today…and their moms.
  • I think about the many women who long to be mothers.
  • I think about the mothers who have lost a child.
  • I think about the daughters and sons who have lost a mother.
  • I think about the daughters and sons who have a mother…but their relationship is severely strained.

But on the other hand:

  • I think about the daughter I do have. Who is alive and healthy and beautiful.
  • I think about the time I got to take care of those 3 kids and how it taught me a different meaning to family.
  • I think about how I grew up always knowing my mom loved me.
  • I think about how I’m going to see her again in just a couple of weeks.
  • I think of God, who loves the orphan and widow, who is Father to the fatherless (Ps.68:5).

 

 

 

These last two weeks have been crazy. Thursday started with a meeting where it was decided Little Dude would move back the next week….that was emotionally draining. Then Friday we woke up and headed out the door at 4:20 in the morning to drive all the way to Texas for a missions conference. Saturday and Sunday were spent hanging out and catching up with so many friends and family, speaking at church and being wowed by how God provides!

We were so thankful to be able to take Little Dude on the trip with us before he moved back.

 

Taking a break from being cooped up in the car.

We drove back Monday, then Tuesday I spent most the day doing laundry and getting Little Dude’s things packed. Wednesday we took him to be back with his family. I feel like I’ve felt every emotion possible with taking him back:

  • Happy for him.
  • Happy for his family.
  • Sad about the richness he added to our family that we’ll miss.
  • Sad that Gracia’s loosing her brother, friend and playmate.
  • Relieved to not have to worry about meetings, visits, gas sheets, etc…
  • And glad this is happening before we leave in just over a month. As I think about that day in early June when we got the phone call asking us to take a little boy in, I know that only God knew how well the timing would work out.

In some ways it was harder to say good-bye this time. He had only been with us 3 months last time, but now it’s going on 10 months since he first came to stay. I feel like it’s a bigger change, we’ve had that much more time to get to know him and get used to life with 2 kids. It’s easier though in that I remember the first time driving away not knowing if we’d ever see him again, but this time we haven’t just gotten to know him better, but his family too, and we’re already trying to plan when we can get together again, so knowing we’ll see him soon helps immensely.

In conclusion, fostering has been one of the hardest, yet best things our little family has done, and I’m so glad God plopped it into our lap, it’s true, His plans aren’t our plans, cuz I never would’ve planned this!

 

I remember when Gracia was still tiny my Mom telling me to enjoy every stage. She said each stage has its challenges and it’s highlights. It’s so true. Getting up at night (challenge) lots of cuddles (highlight). Getting into things (challenge), hearing little hands and knees following me around the house (highlight). Learning to talk and saying things that embarrass me (challenge) saying hilarious things (highlight).

And then there’s those people that seem to think there’s a certain age that is horrible. They may say “the terrible twos” or, “Wait till they start walking and getting into things,” or probably the most common, “Wait till their teenagers!!!” It gets old hearing all the negativity.

But honest to goodness I love this age! Little Dude is now 5, so we have 2 5 year olds in the house. It’s not always easy and I’m guilty of not always being patient, but I really do like this stage of life.

Little Dude, Gracia, Big Sis and Little Bro

What I love:

  • Seeing their faces as they learn. I never realized how rewarding teaching would be. To see them able to do something they couldn’t before is amazing! To see their little lips tightening and the occasional tongue peeking out as they concentrate with all their might on a coloring paper.

  • I love how we can talk to each other, and they have some very funny things to say. Little Dude has accidentally coined the words “fansome” (combination of fancy and handsome) and lunchaurant (restaurant). When we were talking about tornadoes the other day, he kept calling them tomatoes. :)
  • They’re so creative when they play. I love to hear them talk about being super heroes, or Laura and Pa from Little House on the Prairie. I love to see the creativity in their lego houses, even using shoes as something very vital to the house. To give them a box of basically trash and they transform it into a precious treasure box.

One of Little Dude's many creations!

  • I love their excitement. Whether it’s getting to paint, or a new pair of shoes, they get so excited about little things and it can be contagious.
  • I love to see their love. While they do argue with each other at times, other times their kindness melts my heart, sharing candy, helping each other “team fold” a blanket, building separate lego houses then connecting them together.
  • And you know what else? This is a wonderful age for them to learn about their heavenly Father. They love hearing the Bible stories filled with adventure and excitement. Seeing them understanding that God is all-powerful and beyond human strength is so incredibly amazing. And to hear them say that God will always love them no matter what they do. On the days I lose my patience, the days I complain and whine, I need to remember it’s all about them learning about Him.

Other bonuses of age 5 – Potty trained, sleep through the night, don’t need to be bottle or spoon fed, can pick up toys and buckle-up themselves (except when they decide they can’t).

I’ve been reading lots of great articles lately about fostering and adopting and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. So grab some kleenex and read away…

Adoption Story Written by God

 

Another Perspective on Birth Families and Foster Care

 

It’s Not About You

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Little Dude's many creations!

 

 

First of all I want to say thank you to those of you who asked some questions on my facebook about fostering to give me some ideas of what to talk about!

So here we go, a couple of the questions were similar:

“How does it change your environment having foster kids?”

“I’d love to hear more about how you emotionally prepare your daughter for a new temporary ‘sibling’ and then how you manage her expectations (i.e. this new child will leave the family at some point) and deal with her saying goodbye.”

“Is it a hard adjustment for Gracia when the FK’s come and then go?”

The first time we took Little Dude back to his home, Gracia cried the whole way home. Saying good-bye might not be as emotional for all kids as it is for her, but she’s just an emotional little girl to begin with. And she was very excited when he came back! :) They’re like most siblings, they have their arguments and times of not sharing, but over all they enjoy playing together.

From the beginning Gracia said she’d rather adopt than foster because adopting is forever. Which is actually what Cameron and I had wanted at first as well, but that just hasn’t happened. She didn’t have as much trouble saying good-bye to Big Sis and Little Bro, but they never stayed nearly as long as Little Dude and from the beginning we knew that they would be with us just a short time.

As far as preparing her, each time (other than taking Big Sis and Little Bro for respite twice) it was a sudden phone call and they needed a place that night, so we didn’t have much time to do any preparing.  We always told her we were getting a kid(s) and asked her opinion.

“I was wondering how hard it is for the Foster child to visit with his family member, then come back to your home. Or is visiting allowed by the family member while the child is in your custody?”

Often when we tell people Little Dude is going for a visit they look at us and ask, “Is that a good thing?” or “Does he like the visits?”

He LOVES his visits. If he has a visit in the evening and I tell him that morning he asks me all day long when his visit is. During our fostering classes someone asked what they should do if a child didn’t want to visit their family, and the teachers said in all their experience they couldn’t think of a time that happened. Kids love their families and want to be with them.

All situations are different though. With some cases visits are only supervised at the office or in public places. When cases are moving along they might get unsupervised visits in public (ie library, park, restaurants). Then there’s also semi-supervised visits and eventually home visits and overnight visits happen until the final stage of a trial visit. Of course though all cases are handled individual, so it doesn’t always look the same.

There’s also cases where the parents just don’t show up for visits, or where the parents’  rights are terminated and the plan moves to adoption.

If you have any questions for me, I’d love to hear them and answer as good as I can. You can ask about fostering, frugality, missions or anything else that comes to mind! :)

You may also like:

 

Amy

A couple of months ago we went to a picnic, there was food, a bounce house, face painting, build-a-bears and plenty of games! Kids and teens were everywhere. While on the outside it seemed like a great picnic, going deeper it was the most heart-wrenching picnic I’ve ever been to…the purpose was for people interested in adoption to meet kids waiting for forever families.

While the kids (Gracia, Little Dude, Big Sis and Little Bro were all with us at the time) had a great time with the games and all the fun, I couldn’t help but think of the future of the kids going around in matching t-shirts indicating they were the ones available for adoption. There were some that looked like they were in their late teens. Some had been in foster care for years, and all had some kind of loss in their life.

Just today I was looking at kids all over the United States at Adopt US Kids, and then I started looking at the ones in Missouri, and to my surprise (although I don’t know why it surprised me), I recognized  a few of them from the picnic. Whether or not we realize it, there are kids in our very own towns that desperately need someone to show them consistent and faithful love and ultimately point them to the only One who can truly love them perfectly.

“…plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9b

Linked at A Blossoming Life.

These past 10 days we’ve been back to a family of 6, and the funny thing is it’s the same kiddos we had over the summer! Big Sis and Little Bro are with another (and amazing at that!) foster family, but they had a trip already planned before taking the kids in, so we agreed to provide respite while they took their trip for 10 days. Little Dude came back just a couple of days before the other two, and I have to say I really missed having him here!

So, 4 kids, 2 of which were sick, plus our own classes, plus some big papers for homework, plus everything else that happens in life…it was a crazy 10 days to say the least, but by God’s amazing grace, He gave us the strength to press on and I’m so thankful that He’s faithful even when I’m at the end of my rope.

All that to say, I’d like to write  a post someday sharing creative ways to help foster parents, but I think just sharing this list of thank yous will give you a great idea for now:

  • Thank you to my husband, he has been awesome during all this craziness! Like the night he took care of the kids so I could go to a ladies Bible study. I came back to 4 kids in bed, dishes washed, the floor swept and the house picked up! Not counting all the other things he did to help.
  • Several of our AMAZING friends put us on a meal schedule and we got a nice home-cooked meal every week night. Not only was the food scrumptious, but it  was a HUGE help not having to think about supper every night. You guys don’t realize how big of a help that was!
  • All the many people that prayed for us and encouraged us. As I write this, so many faces are coming to mind of people that asked how we were doing, gave me a hug, befriended the kids, and offered to help in any way needed. Even if I didn’t take you up on the offer, believe me it still meant a ton just knowing you were willing!
  • I would like to thank Big Sis, Little Bro, Little Dude and Gracia for their patience with me when I was lacking patience. The 3 older kids were always quick to help the youngest and it was greatly appreciated! And I was never lacking in hugs with 4 kids around! :)
  • And thanks to all of you, sorry I haven’t been able to blog during this time, but I can’t wait to get back to it!
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