Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Bike Tunnel

bike tunnel

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adoption Journey Update

I realize that I haven't given a true adoption update on here in a long while... so here it is.  (Beware its rather long and forgive me in advance if something is unclear or confusing.  This is the first time I've attempted to explain much of this!)

We've finished all the requirements to renew our current adoption homestudy by early May, but we made a decision this spring (or maybe this winter) that has added some extra work to our plate.

After much prayer and research, we've decided to also pursue Foster-To-Adopt at the same time as Domestic Infant Adoption (the current program we've been waiting in).  So guessing you might have some questions... here a few:

What does that mean?  Well, in the most basic terms we've been working on all the requirements (20+ hrs of training, mountains of paperwork, extra interviews, etc) to be approved with the state to adopt from the foster care system.  We will still be working with our adoption agency and rely on their expertise in the process (there are a number of larger private adoption agencies in the state that the foster care system works with to connect families and children).

fill out the next form #adoption

Are you giving up on an open adoption/baby? No.  Our family profile will still be shown to expectant parents making an adoption plan for their baby (domestic infant adoption), including a few potential profile showings coming up.  In all honesty though there haven't been as many profile showings at the agency lately.  We will also continue to do the additional networking (website, Facebook, twitter) we've been doing.  God is in charge of building families and we are just trying to go where He leads.  Maybe foster-adopt is how He's planning to add to our family.  Maybe He just wants us to be willing to open that door.

Will you be a foster family?  We will not be what I consider a "regular" foster family.  Families in the foster-to-adopt program are technically licensed for foster care but only for cases where parental rights have been terminated and the children are ready to be adopted.  So for the time a child is placed in our home until the adoption is finalized, we'd technically be their foster family but not what you'd likely think of as a foster family.

Why now?  That question is a bit more complicated.  Part of the answer has been a heart journey and listening to God's prompting.  Another part is due to the fact that now our son is older.  Since its important to us for our son to remain the oldest, now we can consider a bit older age range (0-4) than when we started this adoption journey (which began when he was 2.5).  Also with him going to kindergarten all day in the fall, as a family we have a little more time to spend with a new child that is coming from a tough start.

What's next? All of our additional paperwork has been mailed, training requirements met, and additional interviews/home inspections completed.  Now we are just waiting for everything to get approved and written up in another official homestudy (combined with our original one).  And then of course there is more waiting...  UPDATE as of 6/5 everything is approved and our wait continues

Is there anything someone else can do to help?  Keep praying for us!  After we are approved, there could be emails/phone calls about little ones that they are trying to match to families.  Some will clearly not be a good fit for any number of reasons (age, part of a sibling group bigger than we can take, issues more severe than we can manage) and others we may end up asking for more detailed information then submitting our homestudy for consideration.  We will need a lot of God-given-discernment to know when to keep asking for information and when the situation doesn't seem like a good "fit" for our family.  Because all these precious kids need to find the family that is going to be theirs but we are not the family for every kid.

Since May happens to be Foster Care and Foster-To-Adopt month, created the great graphic below that I thought worth the share.  I especially love the prayer near the bottom.

Another note...  If our family ends up being matched with a child via the foster care system (after meetings with social workers and a lot of info shared), there will be a defined transition period.  During that time and even during the time they are in our home but the adoption has not finalized, there are lots of rules of what info (if at all) can be shared outside of our immediate family.  For example, we wouldn't be able to share pictures online at all.  So if at some point it sounds like we are being vague about things, there might be good reason :)  Also just like if we adopt infant, there likely will be parts of their story we won't share, especially not on the blog, and maybe with no one outside of our immediate family.

There is so much we are still learning about this process, and so continues the journey!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Close

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This week's prompt: CLOSE


I close the door.  Sometimes its easier to just keep it closed.

It is bright and cheery room but the empty nursery is just another reminder of our long wait.

It is an obvious physical reminder that we are praying, hoping and thinking about the next special member of our family.

Other days I open the door, pull back the curtains, and use the space -- to sort clothes or price garage sale items, work on a project or even sit for just a moment of quiet with my thoughts.

For a few days earlier this spring, a special little friend even slept in the room while she stayed with us while her parents were on vacation.  It seemed so strange and yet so right to have a sleeping little person there.

The room is reminder of a dream, a prayer, something God has placed on our hearts. That is something we don't intend to close the door on, no matter how long the journey seems.

So while the physical door may be closed most of the time, in our hearts that door is always open, ready and waiting.


Today, I am linking once again with the passionate and loving Five Minute Friday community, hosted each week by Lisa-Jo Baker.  Come join the fun.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Last Day of Preschool

While it seems spring just [finally] made its arrival, its already the last day of preschool for our kiddo.  So hard to believe.  Last week was the family open house to celebrate the end of the year and yesterday I helped with the class party at the park.  After school today, we are celebrating by going out for ice cream (a pretty yummy tradition if you ask me).

It is hard to wrap my mind around how much he's grown up since he started attending preschool, originally just one morning a week 2 yrs ago.  He's been blessed with wonderful teachers, great friends and so many fun memories.  While this momma's heart isn't ready to send him off to kindergarten yet (oh summer days, please go slowly), I know he's ready and excited.

Here's a pic from this morning, holding this year's first day of school picture:
celebrating the last day of school

And for fun, looking back to his very first day of preschool:
celebrating last day of school

So let the summer fun commence here on the Gravelly Road.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Books While We Wait - May 2014 edition

As you know, we are buying a new children's book each month while we wait. Since the original post has gotten rather long to keep reposting, I'm trying something different.  I will still update the original list and have added a link near the header, but each month I will only post about the new book.  If you want to see the entire list, please feel free to click on the link at the bottom and review the other ones :)

Wild About You! by Judy Sierra

This book was on my wishlist for a while so when I saw it at our local library, we checked it out right away.  Our son loved it and was so excited to get a copy for our family!

This book is about zoo animal families of many kinds, including some that wish they had babies but don't -- pair of pandas and a tree kangaroo.  Eventually their "wildest wishes" come true in unexpected ways, creating families that celebrate differences.  I also appreciate the fact that the animal families work together and help each other in the book, because "raising a baby takes a whole zoo!"

Yes this book has adoption themes, but its a book any child would enjoy so it would be great for families that want to talk about the idea of adoption to their child as questions come up about a friend, neighbor or relative.  I'm pretty sure we've already read it more than ten times so I know its a hit at our home on the gravelly road.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Very Full (Mother's Day) Weekend

I was pondering whether to make this purely newsy, photo full post about our weekend or more reflective about mother's day.  Well, I went back to last year's Mother's Day post... it states so well how I feel this Mother's day as well so I will not try to replicate it :)  I do need to add this years Mother's day photo to compliment all the ones I posted last year:
mother's day

The rest of the weekend...

Friday was full of the "normal" activities though it was the last Open Gym (aka "stop by and play") for the year at the preschool.  It has been our Friday morning staple since we moved here -- a place we've met friends, gotten some exercise running around during long winter months, and had so many laughs.  Since he will be in kindergarten next year, its our last open gym for now.

Saturday morning our kiddo played at a friend's house while we went to a 3 hr long adoption training.  (I hope to do a post soon with a more detailed adoption update).  This particular training while informative was very long...

As soon as we were done, we loaded up the vehicle and camper to spend the rest of the weekend away.  We headed to a cousin's graduation party and then camped at a state park nearby.  We ended up pretty lucky on the weather, not too cold and only a little rain.  Grandparents and a few cousins stopped by for supper which was lots of fun (trip to the playground, bike rides, lawn darts and visiting).  And of course there were s'mores and a campfire.

Sunday morning we did some hiking before packing up.  We enjoyed the fun bridges on the trails...

While it was a great weekend away, it was nice to get home on Sunday and spend some time just us, to catch up and get ready for the new week.

So Happy Be-lated Mother's Day from our family on the Gravelly Road.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

After missing several weeks, I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  I'm posting this week's post a little early :)

The prompt: Grateful


Nope its not Thanksgiving.

But counting our blessings, giving thanks, being grateful, doesn't end after the holiday season.

Its a perspective, an outlook on life, a lens to see everything else by.

I just finished reading the book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voscamp, and I was reminded again and again... counting gifts builds trust, lives faith, and creates heart connection to the Giver.

So today I am grateful.

For the request of snap peas for breakfast, preschool smiles during our dog's pet week visit, a surprise in the mailbox, rain that makes the grass green, the laughter from watching the chickens, bubble chasing, tickles and giggles, a little voice asking for just one more Bible story, a fireplace to take away the evening chill, and a quiet house at the end of the night.

And tomorrow I will be grateful.

Because I live daily in His Grace.


Five Minute Friday

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the Fourth Be With You...

Star Wars has been a new interest for our kiddo lately... library books, watching a Star Wars cartoon with Daddy, and getting to watch parts of one of the movies.  Of course the light sabers we made last summer have been getting lots of use now that spring is here.

light sabers from pool noodles

So it isn't much of surprise that our three new chickens ended up with Star Wars inspired names... Yoda (the smaller brown chick which seems the bravest), D2 (the other brown chick), Skywalker-Nightvader (the black chick).  Yes I know it should be R2-D2 and DarthVader (not Nightvader) but the names have stuck as is :)  In other chicken news, I believe they are in the chicken version of "awkward teenage years".  They are not big enough yet to try integrating them with our other chickens so they are still staying in an enclosure in the shed.  At least its been warm enough lately for them to be outside more.

young chickens

Hope you are enjoying the sunshine like we are today on the Gravelly Road.  May the Fourth Be With You.

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