Pipsqueak – month by month

August 24th marked 11 months since we brought Pipsqueak home from the hospital. When we were doing our foster parent training classes I was struggling to get the necessary items ready at home. The only thing I knew was that we were open to accepting one child, a girl, 0-4 years old. That’s a huge age range when it comes to what they may need or wear or even sleep in.

As I went to garage sales, accepted donations from friends, etc. I kept being drawn to the newborn items. Not because they were cute (which they are). It was because I just had a feeling we would get a call for a newborn. Unfortunately, our area of the country is ravaged by drug addiction and mothers who are having drug-exposed or NAS babies. One of my best friends would often remind me that I didn’t need to stress about having all the newborn baby items because there was a good possibility we would get a call for a 2 or 3 year old.

She was right, of course, and we did get a few calls that we weren’t able to take. One call was the right age (4 years old) and gender and just a single child but Chris was in Guam and I couldn’t make contact with him in time to take that placement. Another call was about a 2-year-old little girl,  a middle-of-the-night call while we were in another state on vacation.

As we’ve spent the last 11 months caring for and loving Pipsqueak, I’ve seen all the ways that God’s will is sovereign and perfect. She is due to be placed with her adoptive family any day now. The question that I get the most often is whether I’ll have a hard time letting her go. I hesitate to be brutally honest about it, unless it’s one of my best friends (including my hubby). They already know me and my heart. But other people outside of that circle really have a hard time understanding when I say “no, I think I will be just fine when she moves” and I really mean that. I will be more than fine. I will be so happy that she is finally getting the permanency she deserves. God prepared my heart months ago. Now it’s just the waiting that is hard.

I’m not a good waiting person. I know this. My husband knows this all too well. I feel like all the time that has been wasted on legalities and bureaucracy could have been time for her to bond with her forever family. It also could have been time where another child who needs a home could have been placed with us. However, I know God knows more than I do. He has a plan. He has a purpose. In foster care, it seems I have to strive to simultaneously trust Him (WAIT! BE STILL!) and advocate (LET’S GO PEOPLE!) for Pipsqueak’s case to keep moving forward.

Pipsqueak has taught myself, my husband and my children a lot about what it means to sacrifice for another person. And I hope that we have been all that she has needed and more in her first year of life.

I’m 41, he’s 37

I guess we didn’t get any birthday cake with number candles for ourselves this year. We need to do a better job with that in 2018.

We do our best to make each other feel loved and special. With this busy life, we tend to put ourselves and our marriage on the back burner. But we listen to one another. He gets me special chocolate that I love or sends me an Amazon wish list item just because. I try to surprise him with concert tickets and make sure he gets his *gross* sushi.

Most of all, we count ourselves blessed every birthday that we have together. Couples aren’t guaranteed any time together. Our anniversary is March, my birthday April and his is in May. Then we spend the rest of the year focused on everyone else.

I love you sweetheart! You’re my handsome baby-daddy that I love so, so much.

15 years and counting

Since it was our FIFTEENTH wedding anniversary. We decided to skip town for a weekend. It was one of my favorite trips we’ve taken together. It was simple and slow, with a little historical sight-seeing and antique store shopping. A few good meals out. A nice hotel. An amazing concert in a cave. And best of all? Zero children.

Foster turns 13

So. My oldest child is now a teenager (as of this past Valentine’s Day). I thought it was sad when I weaned him, when he went on his first overnight away from me, when he started going hunting with daddy and leaving for days. Or when he turned 5, oh my goodness.  Well, apparently 13 is like that. When you sort through and scan in old baby pictures and you cry for a week. I’m not sad that he’s 13, I actually love teenagers and all the drama that can bring. The rollercoaster of mature young man to petulant child to coasting into relaxed adolescent is a fierce one that speeds along every day.

The tears come from being so proud. And so in love. I cannot fathom how I can love him more now than I did as a precious newborn. How can I love him more now than I did when he looked up at me with those sweet, hazel eyes and beautiful eye lashes and sucked his thumb and told me “I wuv you mommy”? How does that happen? I’m so thankful for Foster Owen Grubb. If I tried to list all the reasons why, this blog post would never end. Love is like that. And love for a child? Even more so.

My prayers and goals now that we have a teenager in the house?  That as parents we will know how to be a friend to our son and be his authority at the same time. That we will not only command his respect, but earn it. That our transparency will encourage his. That we will be so authentic that he will know that we mean what we say and say what we mean in all areas of our lives. Because if there is one thing teenagers are good at, it’s spotting BS from a mile away.

Theodore turns 10

I’m certainly glad that we gave this boy such a big name. Everything Theodore does is done BIG, LOUD, FAST, ENTHUSIASTICALLY. Well, anything he wants to do that is. Not so much for chores and school work. He loved that his double digit birthday fell on the day of the solar eclipse and it was amazing to experience totality and then have family over to celebrate his special day. I think it’s something he will always remember. He also had a few buddies over to spend the night last night and Chris took them all to BrickUniverse (A Lego fan convention) in Knoxville this morning.  He has loved the special attention and treatment. I do believe he wishes every day could be his birthday.

Parker turns 8

This boy! He is so, so smart. He still loves to cuddle, crack a good joke and stay where the temperature and activity level are regulated. He has fallen in love with reading, which makes this momma’s heart happy. He is passionate about what he believes, which can lead to some temper outbursts that he’s working on controlling. Parker is very sensitive to what others say to him and think of him and he’s just as sensitive to another’s pain and trying to comfort them. He loves to eat. He usually eats as much as an adult. He likes to have all of the information and will become frustrated if plans change without warning. He is a good student and actually enjoys school work but struggles to own that fact because he has 3 brothers who vocalize their distaste for anything school work related. We are thankful that he is a healthy, active, kind boy.

When a parent quits

Having Pipsqueak in our home, our firstborn turning 13 recently and an ongoing family drama has made this a difficult and reflective season for me. I look at her tiny little face, her big blue eyes and sweet smile and repeatedly think, how? How does a parent just quit? I laugh with my son, his sense of humor becoming more mature – his take on life more adult-like than child-like and I am baffled again. How can any parent quit? At any age?

But parents do quit. They quit all the time.

Sometimes they really don’t have a choice. Their addiction overtakes them and they put that before the well being of any other person around them including their own children and families. Sometimes they become ill and lose their fight and leave their children through death.

But most of the time, they do choose. A woman who chooses abortion over adoption is a parent who quit. Who said, “You are not worth my effort.”

A father who walks out on his family and doesn’t fight for time with his children is quitting. He put his needs, wants and desires above that of his children and family.

Many kids who are in foster care have parents that are working hard to get them back, but there are some who’s parents do quit. They quit trying to go to the meetings, the visits, the court dates. They do not show up when things are hard and ugly.

So how do parents live with themselves? How can they just quit on their kids? And what affect does this have? Do kids really care? Do they know? We naively think that a baby won’t “know” if she’s been without her birth mother. That she won’t remember or realize.

We think older kids and teens will be fine if dad walks out. They’re almost grown, right?

Wrong. When Pipsqueak gets a little older, when she’s 10 or 12, she’s going to know. She’s going to feel that loss, she’s going to know there are unanswered questions and missing pieces of her puzzle. When that teenager is consumed with doubt and trust issues, he or she will realize, this is because dad walked out.

Even as an adult, the pain that hits you when your parent quits is a different kind of pain. It’s a rejection of who you are as a person, of your worth, your place in the world as “child”.

Last fall, my own dad decided that politics were more important than a relationship with me or my children. He decided that his right to be right was more important than love, commitment and family. It has been a hard pill to swallow.

In some of my darkest moments, God has spoken to me and He reminded me that one of the greatest times of pain and suffering for His own son came when Jesus was crying out in pain on the cross. That moment in time when he was separated from God and felt the rejection of his Father.

I do believe there is a deep cavern in all of us that can only be touched and filled by God’s spirit and love. It’s the first need.  We are made to be in harmony with our creator. Our spirits don’t rest until we find that with Him.

The second need is to be connected. We literally grow into humans inside of another human. That basic need of attachment does not leave us.

 

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
                                                                                                                  -Matthew 27:46