Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blessings Everywhere

This is a long post with few pictures. If you get through all of it then it will be worth your time though. I've tried my best to be coherent, but there are a few spots it gets a little jumbled, but like I said, if you know us in any way then it will be worth your time.  

In all honesty, getting out of the Coast Guard has not been easy for us. It was stressful being in it on both of us but especially on Husband. Crazy schedules sometimes with 100 hour work weeks, in crazy conditions in more ways than one, working with people that are constantly sweating and crude. The Coast Guard does great things, but it wasn't a great environment to work in for Husband. But getting out and becoming civilians again has been a whole new stress for us that we've had to adjust to. Mostly on our bank account. But thankfully, we have each other to get through the hard stuff with. That's one of the reasons I love being married to Husband. Life is always hard, but since we're grownups and married and all that, we get to get through the worst and the best of it together.

Not only do we have each other, but we've also been blessed with truly amazing friends. Christmas was an extremely tight time for us so we decided to not celebrate it with presents and decorating. We were just going to take part in the singing, Christmas lights viewing and the remembering of the birth of Christ, and of course do our traditional movie viewings of While You Were Sleeping and Better Off Dead. But a few weeks before Christmas, 12 days before it really, we had a ding-dong-ditch of our 1st day of Christmas gifts from some secret friends. I was SO excited to have such awesome friends pick us for something so fun! Obviously I took a picture and posted it on Facebook. 

And then day 2 showed up the next day.

TWO full sets of ingredients for Chicken dinners; 2 boxes of stuffing, onions, potatoes, carrots, broth, marinade, and 2 frozen chickens. I was completely overwhelmed. I cried my eyes out. I couldn't believe someone would go to so much trouble for us. And then I was torn; it was so special, and such a blessing to us that we desperately needed, I didn't want to take any of that specialness away from it by broadcasting it to everyone. Also I couldn't decide if I should be posting pictures of our amazing gifts on Facebook because our secret friends were so amazing and I didn't want to take the opportunity away for them to be amazing for someone else next Christmas. Husband said I should though because they would want us to enjoy it, so I did. Afterwards I thought about it some more though, and when day 3 came around I decided I wasn't going to share it anymore, that it would be just for us. But, that evening I got a text from a mystery number our mystery friends were using to make sure we had received our 3rd days gifts. They said they hadn't seen us post pictures on Facebook. So Husband was right. The rest of the 12 days of Christmas gifts were so wonderful and thoughtful. Our secret friends made our Christmas amazing, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives, not because we were so poor, but because we were so beyond blessed.

At the beginning of this month we had a fast to receive rain/moisture with members across the state from our church, as well as different religions. Within the week I was watching it rain outside the window. It's been an extremely dry winter for us to the point that we were already on water restrictions in January. It rained continuously for several day, and we should be receiving more within this next week. A week of rain is obviously not going to solve all of our drought problems, but it most definitely helps and is answer to our prayer and fasting. Seeing what happens with faith, and prayer, and fasting is just another example of proof that the Lord truly loves us. He answers prayers. He gives us what we need. I have never felt the need to ask for proof of anything from the Lord, but I pay attention when I see it. We need to put our faith in Him always, and sometimes I think we need to be reminded that we need to ask for our needs more instead of just expecting them to come to us, so we can remember were and from whom we are truly given it from. My personal prayers are consistently full of thanks and gratitude, but every now and then I think I am guilty of being stagnant and maybe repetitive. This last month I've learned a lot spiritually though, especially with it having been a particularly difficult and humbling month for us. As much as I hate the experience of being humbled, I always know I'm going to learn from it, and that there are blessings waiting around the corner.

And there are.
There are blessing waiting for us around the corner. We can see them. Our problems are not solved yet, we're still having some of the worst financial problem we've ever had, but Husband has learned some great skills from his job that he took after the CG, and now it finally looks like he's going to be able to get a new and better job to replace it. We've been looking for a better job for him for several months, but we reached our breaking point, and it's been beyond crazy job hunting going on at our house. Thankfully this past Monday within a 24 hour period he was contacted about 3 different better positions with three different companies. He's passed the different company's screening tests and has had a great phone interview with one of the companies that has led to him being scheduled for an in-person interview with them next week, and he's keeping his options open so he can find the best job for himself to enjoy that will better meet our needs. We are looking forward to see what happens, and we're grateful for the possibilities that will come from the craziness.

But wait, there's more!

We've going to be foster parents!!!

I've done my best to make this long story short, but you need to know the whole back story.
On Halloween day, exactly 3 weeks after we had gotten our home-study completed and our names were put on the list as a family available, we were contacted by the state about 2 little boys ages 2 & 5. Both us and our social worker were amazed at how fast we had been contacted. We went to the disclosure meeting where the state told us all of the history they had on them and we were shown their pictures, and then we were told to go home and think on it. Which we did. We thought and prayed. There were tears, and we were torn. We both wanted them. Husband was thrilled to be getting boys. But for some reason I didn't feel right about it. Our personal prayers were giving us different answers than the other one. Husband is amazing though, and he told me he would be ok with any decision I made because he wanted me to be comfortable. I couldn't believe he wouldn't resent me if I said no to them. I know I would if it were me being denied what I wanted so much. But this is just more proof of how perfect he is for me. And then I was saying my prayers and I realized, there was no right answer. There was no wrong answer. It really was going to be ok no matter which decision we chose. That was the right answer. So we told the state our decision, that we were going to pass on the boys. And I cried some more. We were sad, but we accepted it because we knew it really would work out.

We were invited to go to a "Family Fair" that was being held that week at our foster agency though, and we decided to go. Basically it was a big room with 10 or 12 different tables around the perimeter with agencies sitting at them from our area and the state that had children in their care needing homes, and all of us perspective foster parents looking to be placed with children came in and went to the different tables. The agencies could put real faces to their lists of perspective families and see if they could find good matches there for the children with the families that showed interest. 

Husband and I stopped at all the different tables to introduce ourselves and let them know what we were approved for and looking for for our family. There were at least 40 other perspective parents there, and there was supposed to be 2 more groups coming in after our group that day. But to our amazement we caught the attention of one of the nearby county social workers. All we did was introducing ourselves to her, and while we were doing that she just got a "look" in her eye and asked how we felt about TWINS. 
I wanted to throw myself at her feet and beg. 
It was like she was the embodiment of my personal dreams that had walked straight out of my brain to make those dreams come true. I have literally been dreaming about twins my entire life, but most especially last summer. I dreamed about twins several times and I told Husband about it every time. Particularly the one where I dreamed we would adopt twins and then find out we were having triplets. I kept teasing him that we were going to get twins from foster care though. And there it was, silver platter and all, and we were the only ones she was telling about them because they weren't ready to be placed in a permanent home and she wasn't supposed to be talking about them yet at the fair. 
I tried to play it cool while I was dancing in my head/trying not to scream from excitement, and she told us what she could disclose about them.
Two girls.
About 10 months old.
We handed her our home-study and then stepped away so we wouldn't smothering her with our excitement while we could get away still playing it cool, and separated ourselves from the main body of the group so we could freak out together. We did end up getting to the rest of the tables, we even stopped to talk with the social worker we had just told no to about the 2 boys (who was amazingly sweet and cried with me for a moment because she knew how sincere we were and told us she was keeping our home-study for when another sibling group became available), but the twins were the only ones that had any glimmer of promise for us as we left.
And then we waited. And we heard nothing. We waited about 2 months. Lots of waiting. And finally just before Christmas our social worker emailed us to let us know that the twins social worker still had us in mind for the twins. 
So we waited some more.
After January started we received an email from the girls social worker with a bunch of questions. Some of the questions made sense -- what kind of training we've had, and what kind of schedule Husband keeps with school. But there were several hard ones -- our plans for birth control, questions that would pertain to the girls, and some other personal things. Uncomfortable questions that some people would probably be offended to be asked if it were a different situation. I why she was asking though, and did my best to answer everything honestly though while making sure we sounded competent. And then I sent it back. Thankfully our social worker thought our answers were very thoughtful, but I was nervous. What if  the girls social worker didn't like the way we answered? Husband does have a crazy work and school schedule. No, we are not nor do we plan on taking birth control any time soon, our family is our family no matter when and how it happens, but it hasn't happened for us before now so we're leaving it to the Lord for His timing....
But then n-o-t-h-i-n-g happened. We didn't here back at all. January went by and I had resolved to let it go and move on and accept that we weren't the ones for them. I let all my hopes go....
Until we got the call to set up a disclosure meeting!! We hadn't heard back because there were some court issues being resolved.

Our disclosure meeting was this past Monday. We got up super early to make the long drive and we sat down with the social workers all morning and went over the court and medical backgrounds. Their social worker told us everything she had information on. After that she stepped out to give us some time to discuss and make a decision weather or not we wanted to proceed after getting all the information. But by this time, after months of praying that the twins would be placed where they needed to be placed, but if it was the right thing for everyone that they could be with us then we would be beyond excited and grateful, we already knew our answer. So she said the girls were on standby for us to go meet them after we had some lunch :)

We got to meet them! 

We spent the rest of the afternoon with the girls and their foster mom {who was absolutely wonderful}, as well as both sets of social workers. They're beautiful girls as far as we're concerned. They're super shy, but so smart and fun perfectly adorable once they open up. After 20 minutes they finally started warming up to me playing on the floor and bribing them with food. Husband came in to join all of us then. He had to take his phone interview and we were trying to not overwhelm them, so it worked out. It took 5 minutes and they were climbing in his lap making themselves at home.
It was beautiful.
Totally not fair, but also not unexpected either. Kids love Husband. They love me too, but they don't even have second thoughts about loving him the moment they meet him, it's just automatic. Like it is for me and animals at least. Their foster mother told us that her husband has red hair too though, so that made me feel slightly better.
And then it was time to go, our time was up.
We've set up several visits with them next week so they can get used to us and we can get to know their routines, as well as spend some time with them and their foster family and find out more about them. As of right now we don't know the exact date they will be coming home with us to live, but it looks like it will be either the end of this month or the beginning of March.

I know I haven't shared a lot of details about the girls, but like I said when we announce that we were pursuing this foster/adopt route, the childrens pasts need to be kept their own and private. All that matters is that they're going to have a home and family with us, and hopefully its perfect for them. And until they have been adopted, sadly we won't be sharing their pictures or descriptions either. Not on here or on facebook, and maybe not even in our Christmas card depending on if they've been adopted by then or not. It's for their protection and privacy.
And as far as names go, they have cute ones, but we don't know if we plan to change them or not because we do have that option and we are considering it. But it's also another one of those things we're not making public for their protection. Once we get to know them better we'll give them nicknames though.
We do have more going on in our lives, but these are the highlights. Some of our favorite ones anyway. It's been hard and it's been amazing. We've had major trials as of late, but we see the blessings that have gotten us here and the ones that are just up ahead for us, and we are so excited and full of gratitude to get there. Thank you all for your love and support!


Mike said...

Oh you guys!!!! This is wonderful!!! Praying they will adjust right in and live a life with such two wonderful parents!

Christy said...

I am soooo soooo sooo happy for you both. Your Christmas story made me tear up, but your foster story tore me up. I am so thrilled for you both. Yay! Oh I just cannot express... Heavenly Father is so wonderful. What perfect blessings for your family are coming your way, and with the new job... You are going to be wonderful parents. I just know it. Love you!