Monday, December 5, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has come and gone but we don't stop giving thanks. This Thanksgiving season has been wonderful. We have so much to be thankful for and we are truly blessed. D and A continue do so so amazingly well. It feels like they have been with us forever, not just 7 months. It is so rewarding to watch them grow and thrive and know that we had a part in that. D's mom and A's dad are continuing to do their services and are working hard to get the children back. This is bittersweet to me. We have fallen so completely in love with these 2 kids. We knew when we chose to be foster parents that the majority of the time the goal would be to reunite the family and that we were supposed to love and care for the children for the time that they are with us. This doesn't mean that we don't occasionally wish we could keep the children. It doesn't meant that we don't wish they were ours forever. With us wishing that they could be ours forever doesn't mean that we aren't pleased that the parents are doing what they need to do to make their family healthy and whole again. I wish I could adequately explain the emotions and thoughts that we have. We know that we love these children as if they were ours and that we could give them so many opportunities in life. We also know that their parents love them, I have never doubted this. I do occasionally have doubts that by going back will they enter into the same poverty stricken lifestyle that their parents live? A life of un-education, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, drugs? I know that the answer is to trust God. I know that He knows what His plan is and that I don't. Just because I know these things doesn't make me wish I knew that the children would be ok when they go back home.

Like I said, we are truly blessed. We have been blessed to have these children in our home for the past 7 months, and probably for at least the next 2 months. We have been blessed to have all of our foster kids this past year. To be a part of such an amazing agency. For me to have a full time job where I really only work part time. For Jonathan to be able to go back to college and be loving it, even if it is challenging. I loved the week of Thanksgiving when everyone was at home, my parents were in town, my nieces visiting. The house was crazy busy but it was so fun to be with everyone. We got to see Jonathan's family on Thursday and have my family's Thanksgiving at our house on Saturday. This was the first time  most of my family had been to our new home and I loved hosting this family get together.

We are now in full swing for Christmas. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the lights, trees, smells, music, movies, and most of all the whole reason we celebrate, Jesus Christ my savior. Our house is finally decorated and I am loving it. We have presents wrapped and under the tree. We have stockings hung on the fire place and our nativity scene in full view.

God has truly blessed us this year and I am so thankful!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Infertility Journey

Dealing with infertility is truly a journey. It's a journey that we pray will end with a baby, but I also think it is a journey to bring us closer to God and closer to each other. Unfortunately so many couples end up further apart because of infertility. I have found that this journey of ours is bringing us closer to God, causing us to be on our knees in prayer more, and strengthening our marriage. Our marriage hasn't been without it's trials in the past 5 years, but that's part of marriage. We've managed to grow stronger through medical school, illness, residency, severe family illness, and now infertility. I don't know why God chose us to have this problem. I don't know why he chooses anything to happen. I do know we live in a  fallen and sinful world and God promises to never leave or forsake us. I cling tight to his promises on the hard days. Not all days on the infertility journey are hard ones though. We have had so many good days too. I often times find myself thanking God for this. If we hadn't of had infertility we wouldn't have been foster parents now and wouldn't have known the children that we have or the families that we now call friends. However, I can't say that I always feel thankful for this. I try to remind myself that God's plan is bigger than mine, but sometimes that is hard to do.

Every families journey with infertility is different. Here is what our journey has looked like so far. We decided in the fall of 2008 that we were ready to stop preventing having a baby. We didn't expect to get pregnant right away but month's went by and soon we were approaching the 1 year mark to when we stopped birth control. I knew that something wasn't right before this 1 year mark, but I never really wanted to admit it. I was hoping it was just the stress of intern year and when my schedule slowed down things would get better, but that wasn't the case. We got our referral to a RE: reproductive endocrinologist (i.e.: infertility specialist) in the fall of 2009 and saw him for the first time in Jan of 2010. Let the fun begin :) We found out that I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) at that appointment. Our RE said that with some medication I should be able to ovulate and conceive so we started the medication called Clomid. We started out at the standard starting dose of 50mg per day for 5 days each month. This didn't work so we increased it 2 weeks later to 100, then 2 weeks later to 150, and so on until we got to 250mg, the max dose. This medication made me feel horrible. Hot flashes, dizziness, headaches, moodiness, but I stuck it out because we wanted a baby. The 250mg seemed to be the magic number and I finally ovulated. We waited the 2 weeks and were heart broken when we weren't pregnant. However, we pressed on. Tried the 250 again, and again, it worked, however again, 2 weeks later we were heart broken. After the third time we took the 250mg it stopped working. My RE added metformin, a medication for diabetics that helps with PCOS because it helps with hormone sensitivity. This added to our 250mg helped me to ovulate again and again but without becoming pregnant. By this time it's fall of 2010 and I'm tired. I'm tired of the doctors visits, ultrasounds every few weeks, tired of felling terrible and being moody. Jonathan and I thought it best to take a break for a little while. We discussed our decision with our RE, who also thought that a break may be good for us. This is also soon after we decided to do foster care. We had started the foster care journey in August of 2010 and stopped taking fertility medications in October of 2010. This allowed us to put our full focus on becoming licensed, albeit some of mine was still on residency :) We decided to wait to restart our medications until summer of 2011, so about a 9 month break. During this 9 months I actually ovulated on my own a few times but we still couldn't conceive. I went back to my RE in June of 2011 and we restarted my clomid. This time I only had to get up to 200mg for it to be effective, but the side effects were the same and still no baby. My RE decided that I needed to have a histerosalpingogram (where they look at your uterus and fallopian tubes with dye) to see if there were any anatomic reasons we weren't conceiving. I had this test in August and we found out that my right side seems to be occluded. That doesn't fully explain why we haven't been able to get pregnant since most of the time my left side is where I ovulated. We tried another month of the 200mg and ovulated but didn't get pregnant so we tried it again this past month. However, this time, once again, it didn't work and I didn't ovulate. My RE decided it was time to check my thyroid again because thyroid problems can make infertility worse, and we found out that I have hypothyroidism. This has led me to start taking medication for my thyroid, which hopefully is helping, and my RE also started another medication on top of the clomid to get me to ovulate. I go back in about a week for another ultrasound to see if these new medications have done there job. We continue to pray for God's direction in this journey and we would appreciate prayers from you as well.

Life in Full Swing

Life is busy here at our house. Busy and full of the people that we love the most. What more could I ask for? I am so thankful that we have had the blessing of D and A for 6 whole months now. We recently had a permanency planning meeting for them again. Basically to update everyone on how things were going for their parents and how the kids were doing in our home. When I was in college I really thought that everyone could change, regardless of their past. I still think that it's possible, since all things are possible with God, but I don't always think it's probable. I'm so proud of D and A's mom for doing her service plan and working hard to change her life so that she can be reunited with her family. However, their dads, are a different story. I want to get in their face and yell "what is your problem"? "Do you not see how wonderful your children are?" "Do you not see that your actions are hurting them?" But I don't do that, I sit back and watch and listen and feel sadness for these children that I love so much. However our CPS caseworker and mediator at the meeting basically said those things to them. I'm so glad to have people advocating for our children. Jonathan and I do our best to be our children's number 1 advocates, but it's nice to have other people in your corner, fighting for what's best for these precious little ones. As of right now they will be with us until spring, allowing their family to have time to right their wrongs and get the help they need to be whole again.

D is doing so amazingly well in school! Her school teaches a new character trait each 6 weeks and at the end of the 6 weeks they award a few students from each class for displaying that trait. She was picked this month and her assembly was yesterday. We were so proud to stand there with the other parents and clap for her success. She is blossoming into a beautiful, thoughtful, kind, responsible, loving girl and we couldn't be more proud of her. Soccer season is almost over for her, she's really sad about that. She has loved playing this fall and will play again in the spring. Soon she will be starting ballet lessons. We have told her that she can try anything she likes, however she can only do one activity at a time and she has to always have her school work done first. She's excited to try something new and she loves to dance.

A is also doing wonderfully. When he came to live with us he only spoke about 3 words. He understood both English and Spanish when he came here but didn't speak in either language. We have been working with him to improve his ability to communicate and he is now speaking in short sentences! His family still speaks to him in Spanish when he is at his grandmother's house and during his visits and we speak to him mostly in English. ECI has been a wonderful resource for helping us teach him. He has finally started to love going to daycare, or school as we call it. Everyone always comments on how sweet and smiley he always is and it's true. He almost always has a huge smile on his face, runs to give hugs, and laughs at everything. He is truly a joy to be around.

This was our first Halloween with children and it was so much fun! D went as Jasmine and A went as a monkey. I wish I could post a picture in their costumes, they were adorable. We went to a few fall festivals, one in Dallas over the weekend, and one here in town on Monday. The kids had a blast, got lots of candy, and loved every minute of it. We also carved pumpkins for the first time with kids and they loved pulling out the pumpkin "guts". We roasted pumpkin seeds for a yummy snack which they thought was really cool.

We've taught them about the great game of baseball this fall while watching the play-offs and World Series. A loves to watch sports and would yell "strike" during the games. He also would yell "baseball" and pretend to pitch every time he saw it come on TV. Hopefully we can take them to a game in the spring, I think they would have a blast.

Holiday planning is in full swing here. We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time this year and I'm excited to have all of my family in my home. We have lots of big plans for fun things to do the week before Christmas while the kids are out of school and lots of family time planned. I can't wait to  see their faces on Christmas morning. I also can't wait to show them our family traditions and start a few new ones now that we have children around. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I am so excited to get to share it with little ones.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 months

On Thursday, September 28, D and A will have been with us for 5 months. 5 months feels like years to me. I feel like they have lived with us and we have been a family forever. As the days go by we seem to continue to draw closer as a family. I absolutely love spending time with Jonathan, D and A. They make my heart happy and I'm going to brag on them for a bit :)

D is a wonderful, free loving, hugging, talkative, happy, giggly, girly, soccer playing, beautiful little girl. She is amazing. I love her spirit. She loves everyone with such intensity. She is doing really well in school and making good friends. She is playing soccer and is really good, especially for someone who has never played before. She loves to go to church and learn about Jesus. She loves all things pink, purple and sparkly.

A is a happy-go-lucky, laughing, run at you full force, embracing, belly laughing, ball throwing, wrestling, handsome little boy. He is awesome. I love how he runs to us smiling when we pick him up from school. How he grasps my hand so tightly, almost like he's saying "please don't let go".  He's actually really liking school now after a few hard transition weeks. He runs in each morning and gives his teacher a hug and doesn't look back. I love that he is secure enough to do that now. His speech and language is improving every day. He loves to play with friends and play in the dirt. He loves gorillas.

D and A are the best of friends and I love that they love each other so much. I pray that they will continue to grow up with their love for Jesus, sweet spirits, good attitudes, smiles, and loving hearts. They truly have been a blessing beyond measure to us and I thank God daily for letting us be involved in their lives, even if it is only for a while. I pray that their parents are able to make good decisions and do what is right so that they can enjoy the miracle of these two children.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I Wish "They" Knew

Being a foster parent is one of the greatest things I have ever done. I love loving these kids and watching them grow. I love being able to support them while their parents do what needs to be done so that their family can be restored. We have received the greatest blessings from the kids that have lived with us and I wouldn't trade that for anything. However, it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves we inevitably fall head over heels in love with the kids placed in our home. We want what is best for the kids and sometimes the system doesn't always allow that to happen. It hurts us to see the kids hurt when the parents don't do what they are supposed to and it affects the kids badly. It's also hard to have the parents look at you with disdain and distrust.

Here is what I wish they knew....
I am not the one who chose to take the children from your home. I'm not trying to replace you as the parents and I'm not trying to turn your children against you. I am the person who has chosen to love your children as if they were my own until you can get things straightened out and be reunited with your children even though I know that it means heartache for us. I am praying for you daily to do what needs to be done so that your family can be whole again. I can't imagine having my child taken from my home and living with a complete stranger and so I won't pretend to even know how it feels. I would think that it would be completely devastating though. I will continue to pray for you after you've been reunited, that you continue to be the best parent you can be and that the children that I now love also are being kept safe, loved, and cherished. I know that you love your children and I'm not trying to take that from you. I'm not trying to teach them to not love you or to love me more. I will however vow to love them wholeheartedly, cherish them for the children of God that they are, teach, encourage, and support them.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Making a house a home...

We moved into our current house at the end of June. We upsized our house and yard compared to where we lived in residency. Our old house was so cramped with Jonathan and I, D, A and Cubby that we really needed more space. Our new house has another bedroom and sits on half an acre, it's so nice to not be on top of each other all the time. Since we moved in we've been working to make it feel like home and get things the way we want them. We've bought rugs, and office furniture and a few decorative things but hadn't hung pictures on the wall yet. My parents came to stay with us in the middle of the week so my dad could go hunting near here. I took the opportunity of 4 days with my mom to hang out and also have her help me make the house the way I wanted it. My mom is a wonderful decorator and has great ideas. We spent Saturday hanging pictures on the walls and today modifying some curtains we already had and hanging curtains in the kids rooms and the office. The house looks great now and I'm so happy.

I so enjoyed having my parents here for a few days and getting to spend girl time with my mom. It was also nice to enjoy some of my moms cooking.

The kids are spending time with their grandma this weekend and I can't wait to see them tomorrow. D is doing well in school and making friends. Soccer starts this week for her and we all are so excited. A is doing better at school and he didn't even cry on Friday when I dropped him off. He is talking so much more and I love seeing him grow!

Our new house is just the way it should be. Full of things that make it feel like home but more importantly full of the people I love the most and the sound of little ones. We are so incredibly blessed!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Busy Weekend

The first week of school is behind us. D loves her teacher and already has a few friends. A hates going and cries almost as soon as we open the door to get him out of the car but then does great the rest of the day. Jonathan has finished his first week back to college. I don't think he realized how much homework he was going to have and how much independent learning he would have to do. He is enjoying it though and I'm so proud of him.

This weekend we headed to Dallas for my twin nieces 5th birthday party. We stayed with my sister and brother in law and had fun visiting and hanging out. Ate lunch with some good friends we hadn't seen in a while and enjoyed a birthday party with the family. D and A had a blast. We had promised D a surprise for today and we took her bowling and to play arcade games. She loved it and was super excited to go "bowling ball" for the first time. We are headed on our way home now. Jonathan has homework to do and I need to study for my board exam.

I'm glad to know that my friends on the east coast are surviving the hurricane.
Keep praying for those being affected by this storm.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School

Tomorrow is August 22nd. The first day of school for D! Jonathan also starts back to college tomorrow and I am so proud of him. A started daycare last week so he could start getting used to it before the chaos of tomorrow hits. I also am taking our friends little girl Andrea to daycare tomorrow for her first day. Jonathan has been keeping her for the past 18 months during the day and now that he is going to college it is time for her to go to daycare. I never knew what it would feel like to have my kids go to school on the first day, now I do and I LOVE IT! It is so exciting helping them pick out school supplies, lunch boxes, school clothes. Helping pack backpacks for the first day, making a school lunch for D, picking out clothes for school and planning a first day of school breakfast! I think I'm more excited about this than she is. The other great thing about starting school is having our set routine back.

D and A have been visiting with their grandma every weekend for the past 4-5 weeks. They went there this weekend too but we decided that it would be best to pick them up Saturday instead of Sunday so that we could make sure they were in bed on time today and were well rested for tomorrow. Usually when we pick them up they are exhausted and hyped up on caffeine and sugar. Yesterday was no different and they were asleep in the car on the way home at 8:30. Jonathan had to wake up A this morning at 8:45 and D didn't get up till 8:30 so we know they were exhausted.

I can't wait for D's soccer season to start soon. Her first game is in a few weeks and hopefully we will find out what team she is on and when practice is sometime this week. Jonathan may be coaching her team, we are waiting to find out if they need extra coaches. D is super excited about playing soccer and I hope she loves it.

On a different note... we are still working on infertility stuff. I'm not gonna go into details but we are slowly getting back into seeing our specialist and trying to have a baby. This time around I feel more at peace about everything than I have in the past. Jonathan pointed out something to me the other day that I hadn't really thought about and that is that if we would have had a baby a year ago we wouldn't have been foster parents now and wouldn't have known S, K, C, C, C, B, D or A. We wouldn't have been blessed with these children and wouldn't know the joy that they have brought us. God knows what He is doing and in His time we will have a baby.


Friday, August 5, 2011

An Unexpected Surprise...

We had an unexpected surprise this week and my heart is happy. D and A were supposed to be going to live with their grandma by August 15th. They have been staying with her on weekends for the last few weeks to prepare everyone for the transition. We had some concerns about them living there and had expressed these but basically the plan was to still have them live with Grandma in 2 weeks. However, this past week grandma came forward and told our case worker that she couldn't care for them full time. She will still have occasional weekend visits, but they will be living with us for now. We are so excited to know that they are staying with us for the time being. We didn't feel good about them leaving because of some things we knew about where they would be living and this is a huge relief. I'm glad that they get to continue their relationship with their grandmother, it had been estranged for about a year, and that I know that they will be taken care of the rest of the time. I know our role as foster parents is to foster them and allow the families to fix problems so the children can go home and I actually feel like the system is working the way it should right now.

We are really excited to get the chance to be "real" parents to these kids. They have been here just over 3 months, longer than any of our other placements. They will most likely be here for a few more months at the least. We have enrolled A in daycare, D in after school care and will be enrolling D in her new school and soccer on Monday. She is so excited to be going to the school that is in our neighborhood and to be playing soccer this fall. She seems really excited to be staying here and getting to visit grandma on some weekends. I'm excited to go back to school shopping, school supply shopping, soccer practices and soccer games, sleepovers for D, birthday parties for their friends and more, all the things they deserve to have. I feel like we have been given the biggest gift by the grandmother recognizing that she is not capable of caring for them. I really just want to give her a hug and tell her thank you! Thank you for not being selfish. Thank you for knowing what is best for these two precious children. I know she has made an incredibly hard decision and I am so grateful that she was able to do so.

Thank you God for continuing to provide for D, A, Jonathan and I. Please continue to help their family make good decisions, work hard to get their children back, and give them a peace of mind that D and A are being cared for and loved.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"I Couldn't Do It..."

As foster parents we often hear people tell us we have big hearts, we are special, or they say "I wouldn't be able to let them leave". People are always saying that it would break their hearts to have the kids leave after they have gotten attached. It does break our hearts. We miss all of our kids and talk about all the ones we have had in the last 7 months often. Each child brought something different to our home. I don't know that we have any bigger hearts than other people or that we are any more special than someone else. We are doing what God has called us to do by taking care of orphans. As Jonathan and I were talking the other day about this very topic the answer to people's statements of "I couldn't let them leave, it would break my heart" came to me. Next time I think I will say "It does break our heart each and every time the children leave our home because we love them. However, all of the sadness of them leaving is made up for by all of the joy they bring us while they are here and watching them change in front of our eyes." We have had 4 different placements so far. All 4 have been for different reasons. Parents in prison to drugs to domestic abuse to neglect. Neglect is actually a huge part of all of those. Children raised in homes of abuse often times suffer the type of abuse and also neglect. It is so rewarding to watch a child go from being scared of being left or being scared of sleeping because of things that have happened in their sleep to climbing into their own beds at night singing Jesus Loves Me. Watching a child who only said 2 words when they got to our home to saying more than 50 in less than 3 months because we talk to them, encourage them and love on them. All of these things make up for the sadness and are the reason that when A and D leave we will welcome more kids into our home. I think that the foster parents that don't get sad when their kids leave shouldn't be foster parents anymore. These children need people to love them unconditionally and wholeheartedly regardless of the pain that we as foster parents know it's going to bring us. That's what we vow to give our foster kids, wholehearted, unconditional love. Foster care isn't about giving children a temporary place to live. It's about giving them a home where they feel safe, loved, cherished, secure, and a sense of belonging to a family. I love being a foster mom, even in the hard times, and for now we will continue to open our doors and our hearts to little kids who need us.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This post may not be all up beat and happy. This blog is for us to share our journey through infertility, foster care and eventually adoption, and all of those things have times of heartache. Unfortunately, sometimes the heartache all happens together.

D and A came to our home on April 28th. They have been with us longer than any of our other foster children. We have been waiting for CPS to tell us if one of their grandmothers would be approved to have them live with her. It's taken over 6 weeks for her home study to be approved, which personally I think is ridiculous. Everyone involved with these children are waiting for answers, including the children. D keeps asking if grandma has passed her test, well, yesterday we finally told her that grandma did pass her test and that before school starts they will be leaving. Before they can go live with their grandmother they have to have weekend visits first so that A can get to know her because he hasn't seen her since he was an infant, even though she only lives 30 minutes from his house. The situation is really odd but hopefully it's what is best for the kids. I know that D is happy to be going so that helps. Waiting a few more weeks for them to leave when we know they are leaving soon is going to be emotionally hard. We've had 3 other sets of foster kids so far and all of them we have been called and told they were leaving the same day of the phone call. It's hard to get all there stuff together that quickly and say good bye but it's not drawn out over a few weeks. Either way it's hard to say goodbye to them. It's amazing how fast you fall in love with these kids and we will miss D and A dearly.

Infertility brings a totally different type of heartbreak and until you have experienced it I don't think you can truly understand. Most women want to have their own biological child. If you are one of those women who wants to have your own child and you can't, your heart breaks. It doesn't just break once, it breaks almost monthly when that test is negative. It's so hard not to get your hopes up that maybe this month it worked. Maybe this month will be different. I have been ovulating without medications since last fall, which is wonderful, yet we still haven't gotten pregnant. Later this month I will have to have a specialized test to see if my uterus and fallopian tubes are all normal and seem to be working. I think that we may be quickly approaching the end of our infertility journey because we aren't willing to do IVF. That means we have IUI left, which I've heard is really stressful on the husband and wife. Not that all of this hasn't been stressful on both of us already. We will wait and see what happens this month.

Adoption. Our eventual goal no matter if we have our own children or not. We will still adopt a child, or 2 or 3. Adoption is something that we have been called by God to do. Just like Foster care is. He calls us to care for the orphans, and that is what we are doing. Right now I think that he wants us to pursue infertility and adoption/foster care at the same time. If at one point he tells us to stop the infertility work then we will. Here's the problem with adoption.... It's REALLY expensive. I'm talking, could buy a very nice new car expensive. Adoption through foster care can be free, if the children meet certain criteria. Here's the other problem with takes a REALLY long time. This is regardless of if it's through foster care, private, international. Sometimes it takes YEARS to get your child. I  guess after trying to have our own baby for 3 years it should be no big deal, but my maternal clock is ticking and getting louder. Jonathan and I are discussing infant adoption through an agency on top of continuing foster to adopt. I really want a newborn. I know that that may seem crazy. I want to be woken up every 2 hours to that sweet infant. I want to watch them grow and develop from the time they are born until they are adults, I don't want to miss out on part of their life. I don't mind adopting a little older kids too, I just want to experience at least once, having an infant.

D and A have been a joy to have in our house the last 10 weeks and we wouldn't trade our time with them for anything. I've loved watching them thrive in a family environment. Watching A learn to talk and come out of his shell. He is such a happy little boy. He is always smiling and ready to play. He is all boy and wants to wrestle and shoot things and throw balls. D is such a sweet young girl. She is girly and wants to curl her hair, paint her nails and wear dresses. I don't understand girly very much, cause that's not me at all, but it's fun watching her and playing with her. She loves her brother so much and it's fun to watch their relationship develop to that of a sister and brother instead of her trying to be the mom all the time. We love them dearly and will miss them so much when they leave.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Graduation...Vacation...Moving...New Job...

Our life is crazy hectic right now and I love it. Residency graduation was last Friday. My parents, grandmother, and mother-in-law came to my graduation banquet along with Jonathan, D and A of course. We were all dressed up and I loved having my family there to celebrate the completion of the last 3 years.

 My little "family" Jonathan, Me, D, A, and Andrea (the little girl Jonathan watches)
 Me and my MeMaw
 My Parents and I.
 My Mother-in-law, Me, Jonathan
One of my best friends: Allie and Me

My last day of residency is this Friday. We leave for vacation on Sunday. My parents are going to watch D and A while we are gone. I can't wait to go on vacation with the love of my life and enjoy time together. We are headed to Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria. We have baseball tickets to watch the Mariner's play, one more stadium to add to my collection for my goal to go to all major league stadiums to watch a game.

We will be gone on vacation for 8 days. The day after we get back from vacation (which we will arrive home at like 10pm) we have to finish packing and paint at the new house. The next day we move. The next few days will include unpacking and getting things settled. We also have to have home and fire inspections at the new house before we move in for our foster care stuff.

I start my new job as a pediatric hospitalist on July 5th. This means I really need to be done moving in and unpacking before my job starts.

D and A are doing well. D is half-way done with summer school and hopefully by the end she will test on the next level and be able to go to the next grade in the fall. A is learning to talk and it's so fun to watch him learn and grow.

Like I said, our lives are crazy busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Years!

I can't believe that 5 years ago today we were getting married. The last 5 years have totally flown by. I'm so glad that God chose Jonathan to be my husband. He has been the most amazing husband a girl could ask for. I don't think that I can even begin to describe all of the wonderful things he does for me and our family. Over the last 5 years we have been married and even the 2 years before that he has supported me through some of the most difficult things I have ever done. First medical school where I studied a lot and was always stressed out, him working long hours to support us. Then the last 3 years of residency where I have worked on average 80 hours per week every week. The last 2 years he has been a stay at home husband/dad/nanny and he as been a huge blessing to me. I always knew he would make an amazing daddy, and I was right. When we got our first foster kids and every set since, he is so good with them and shows them what a Godly husband and father should be. I can't imagine my life without him and can't wait to spend the rest of it with him.

On to our foster kids. D and A had court on Wednesday. They will be going to live with their grandmother as soon as she has an approved home study. If it isn't before June 22, then that is our next court date. However, we don't have to wait for the court date for them to be able to go to grandma. I'm glad they aren't being split up and that they have the opportunity to go to grandma's. I kind of want them to stay to the end of the month so that D can finish summer school and be ready for next year but I know that it's good for them to be with family and that she will go back to first grade in the fall instead of second grade if she isn't living with us. They are doing wonderfully and are a joy to be around. I've loved having them here with us and we will miss them when they are gone.

Residency graduation ceremony is next weekend. I can't believe that it is already here. Then Jonathan and I are going to Seattle on vacation! I can't wait to take a vacation with him and get to celebrate the end of the past 7 years of hard work.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Sometimes with foster care comes frustrations. Our kiddos have been with us for about 3 weeks now. Their first court date was supposed to be last Wednesday, it got moved to today because one of the dad's and the mom requested a lawyer and court can't be held without the lawyer present. Today at court one of the dad's said he wasn't happy with his lawyer and therefore requests a new one, which caused court to be moved to 2 weeks from now. This is getting ridiculous. These kids need answers. They deserve timeliness. We did find out that a grandma is trying to get a homestudy done as well as some family members of D's dad's. If they put her with those family members her and A would be split up which I personally think is a very bad idea. She doesn't know life without her baby brother and he doesn't know life without his big sister. They would be heartbroken and it wouldn't be a healthy situation. Our job as foster parents is to take care of them and love them until they can be returned to family. But our job is to also advocate for them and I just think it would be wrong to split them up. Their lives have already been turned upside down once, why make it worse? I know that the judge doesn't want a kid in foster care if they don't have to be, and I agree, but if it means splitting siblings up I think it's better for them to stay together. They need stability.

Ok, off my soapbox now. Court is now June 1, hopefully it will actually happen this time.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

The End of a Month, A New Set of Kids

Well, my crazy month on the hospital service is over. Tomorrow I begin an elective rotation with much better hours. I also now only have 60 days left of residency! The thought of being a Pediatric Hospitalist is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

We got two new kids Thirsday night. We went basically a month between placements this time. D turned 7 two days before coming to our house. A turns 2 next week. D told us she was supposed to have a party on Saturday so we made a cake together, let her open a few presents and took her to the lake to play. All in all I think it was a good birthday and she had fun.

Today we went to church and to the pool for a little while. A cold front started coming trough and the temperature dropped really fast, making getting out of the pool quite chilly.

We are enjoying getting to know these two little ones that God had brought into our lives.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sobering Perspective

Sobering perspective is what my job has given me lately. I'm a pediatric resident and I'm used to taking care of really sick little kids. This week I learned that maybe we are a little too used to it. Usually kids come in with a variety of illnesses, we do what we have been trained to do, and they get better and go home, happy and healthy once again. However, we have had multiple small children pass away in the past few weeks from freak illnesses that ran rampant through their little bodies and nothing we could do would stop it. It's sobering to know that a previously perfectly healthy kid could show up to the hospital and have passed away not even 12 hours later. It just goes to show that God is in charge and we just happen to be his workers. This also makes you have a different perspective on life. Life can change in the blink of an eye, so what am I doing to make my life count? What am I doing to show that there is a God and that His plan is so much better than my own? Makes you think, huh?

My friends at work think I'm crazy. Maybe I am a little crazy. I work on average 80 hours per week. Jonathan and I are foster parents. I have a dream to start an organization to help teen moms. I'm about to embark on my first "real" job in a few short months. We are still going through infertility treatments. I've been thinking of adopting a child with special needs from another country. Maybe all of this makes me crazy. I'm ok with being a little crazy. I believe I'm just doing what God wants me to do. Once again, it kind of turns back to perspective. I believe that the reason I am on this earth is to help people. I have been given talents and gifts that not a lot of other people have in the grand scheme of things. I have been put in a position of authority and prestige simply because of my occupation and I believe that I should use it to help impact the world. One of my friends says that I fly by the seat of my pants. It's sort of true. I've learned to just go with things, do what I think needs to be done, and figure some things out as I go. I'm glad that my friend appreciates me for who I am. These last few weeks have really made me appreciate my friends, husband, and family. You never know when something can change. 

We still don't have any foster children. It's been almost 3 weeks and I miss having little ones around. I know God has the perfect kids out there waiting for us and for the right time for them to come into our lives. Until then I will enjoy the time I get to spend alone with Jonathan. 


Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Children = Calm and Quiet

Baby B went to her family on Tuesday like we expected. I'm glad that she is with her family and getting to see her big sister more but I'm sad she is gone. I miss her cute smile and laugh. She used to get so excited to see me when I got home from work. Now that Baby B is gone we can say yes to our agency again about new kids. We will be able to take kids Tuesday of next week.

On a different topic, I have only 90 days of residency remaining. I won't even be working for all of those 90 days. I am planning on taking a 2 week vacation just before I graduate so I can relax before I start my job on July 5th. It's so weird to think that my official training is coming to an end. I have been in post-high school training for 11 years now (wow, that's insane) and it's odd to know that in a few months I will be "on my own" as a doctor. I can't wait to start my job as a Pediatric Hospitalist here at Scott & White, but I'm also nervous about my change in roles and how I'm going to handle being a "boss" to my friends. I will also be responsible for teaching the residents and medical students which will be interesting since I feel like I still have so much to learn.

This month I am on what we as doctors refer to as "the wards". This means I'm working only in the hospital taking care of general pediatric patients that are there. It's actually what I will be doing for the rest of my life as a hospitalist. I love this rotation and it feels like "home" to me. The odd part is that I will not have a 2nd year resident to assist me this month like we normally do and I will only have 2 interns instead of 3. This is going to make for a very hectic and stressful month for all residents involved. I'm going into it with the mentality that it is testing me for my career that starts in 3 short months.

Time for bed. I have to be at work super early tomorrow.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saying No ... actually means not right now

We have been saying "No" a lot lately. Our foster care agency has called us almost every other day in the last 2 weeks trying to place other children with us. We still have Baby B and likely will until at least Tuesday when she has court. Every time they have called about other children we have had to say no. It breaks our hearts to turn down children in need of a home. We have plenty of love to give but one thing we've  learned in this journey is that we can't do it all. We are licensed for up to 4 children and we have beds to fit 4 children. However, we don't have vehicles that can hold that many car seats. Jonathan is also a "nanny" for a 2 year old who is at our house all the time. This means if they placed 4 kids with us we would really have 5. The majority of the children they called about this week were under the age of 3 and were sibling groups of 2. We have room in our home and in our hearts for them but going anywhere, including doctors and family visits, would be impossible if Jonathan had to do it alone. Since my job isn't very flexible with time off and taking off to go to appointments this means we had to say no. We have told our agency that we will be willing to take 1 more child that sits in a car seat and can take 2 if one of them is old enough to ride in the front seat, at least until B goes back to her family.

Baby B's situation is the one time in all of the children we have had where I feel like the system is actually working the way it is supposed to. She has a grandmother who is trying to be approved to have Baby B come live with her. Baby B's big sister already lives there so I know she will be taken care of and loved. With S&K things seemed to work until they were sent with a family member who didn't have a home study and showed up the day of court saying she would take them. From what was said in court on her job and where she lived I'm not sure how they could approve her in less than 2 hours for 3 extra children to go live at her house. Then came the 3C's. Their situation is the one that still infuriates me. We had actually been told by CPS and our Ad-litem that they were going to push to terminate parents rights. Then the initial court date arrived and after 4 hours of talking about it the judge decided to send them back with their parents so that they could move to another state for dad's job. I don't understand why the judge would send them back to their parents when their parents hadn't been taking care of them and the children had been removed multiple times previously. They say that CPS will be following them in their new state but we all know that things fall through the cracks and that the CPS workers are way over worked. This family actually has CPS cases open in multiple states and instead of the judge saying that they should find a foster placement where they were going and move foster care to foster care they were returned to their parents. It doesn't make sense to us. We pray every day that they are being fed, know they are loved, and are being kept safe. I know that God is bigger than all of this and that he has a plan for us and for those beautiful children. However, I still often times find myself thinking of them and missing their sweet faces.

The foster care journey so far has been fun, sad, tiring, exciting, and rewarding, sometimes all at the same time. I'm so glad that God has put us on this path and that He knows exactly where the path leads. We will continue walking and following Him wherever that may be. I will miss Baby B and her laugh when she leaves but I know that God has other children that he wants to touch our lives with and have us love on, be it for a short time or forever, I'm excited either way. I'm ready to be able to tell our agency "yes" again.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

B is Still Here:)

B's court date was yesterday. Apparently court was so busy they had to reschedule her date to 2 weeks from now. This means we will have her for at least 2 more weeks. Our case worker is coming by this afternoon to check on B. That's all I really know at this point and we are learning to just go with it.

On another note. In about 4 hours I will be off of my shift and will be done with Night Float forever. I still have to work a few more nights in the hospital but not all together and not very many! The end of residency is just around the corner and I'm super excited!

Spring is here and it makes me happy. I'm tired from working 14 hour shifts all the time the past 2 weeks but when I saw bluebonnets on the side of the road today I couldn't help but smile! God is so good.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Long days and longer nights

I have been on night float recently. In residency we do a couple of months where we do 2 week stretches of nights. These are 14-15 hour shifts In the hospital and they get old really fast. This is also the first time I've been on night float and a mom which makes it even worse. Its hard to sleep well during the day and it's harder when the baby is crying. You also want to spend time with your husband and baby and you cant because you need to sleep. I only have 3 more nights after tonight and then I am done with night float forever!

Our new foster baby B is doing well. She is super cute and fun to be around. She had visitation with her parents on Wednesday and her first court date is next Tuesday. Jonathan and I are pretty sure that she will be going to a family member on Tuesday. Her grandmother came with her mom for visitation so I'm sure she will probably go to grandma.

The hardest part of foster care is trying not to get attached and then letting them go. B is our third placement and out of the other 2 the first one was the easiest to let go even though they were with us the longest. I think it's because we knew that they were going to be safe and well taken care of with the person they were going to. The 3 Cs on the other hand went back to their parents less than 2 weeks after being removed and were moving to another state. I still worry that they have been lost in the system because of the transfer and no one is watching to make sure they are ok. I pray daily that they are being kept safe and being taken care of. If B is going to a family member I think that she will be well cared for and loved. When you decide to be a foster parent you know the children are going to be taken away from your home on most occasions and that the goal is always supposed to be reunification. However, as a pediatrician and someone who takes care of abused children regularly, it's hard to think that the goal of reunification is a good one. It's also hard to think that as a foster parent when you hear about the horrible situation these kids were removed from and they are returned so quickly to the same situation.

Well, it's back to work I must go. The childrens hospital has had no open beds for days now. Tonight we have a few open beds but I keep admitting kiddos so that won't be the case by morning.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Family #3......

Wow, It hasn't been very long since I updated but a ton of things have changed. The 3C's went back with their family last Wednesday after court. We don't really understand why or how they could be sent back so quickly when we know the situation they came from, but our job is to love them and care for them while they are here and to pray for them daily when they leave. Please continue to pray that the 3 C's will be kept safe and will be taken care of. Thursday afternoon our agency called about a 7 month old little girl B. She came to our house Thursday evening and it has been so much fun. It's so fun to see the difference in each child that comes into our home. She is adorable and so sweet. We went to my parents this weekend. It was nice to get to spend time with my mom. Jonathan and my dad went to the gun range while my mom and I took B shopping. Goodwill has some really good deals on baby stuff :) Some of my friends from work who have little girls (which is almost all of them) have given us some stuff and let us borrow other stuff.

Well, I'm working nights so off to work I go.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Old and New....

Wow, it has been a really long time since I wrote and things have changed a great deal around here. The last time I wrote we had had S&K for 2 weeks. They had their next court date on Feb 16 and went to live with an aunt that same day. I pray that they are happy and doing well. I'm happy that they are able to be with their brother and with family but not happy about how things "went down". I pray that they are well taken care of and happy. The day they went home we talked with our agency about when we wanted to be placed back on the available list. We had decided that the following Monday sounded good to us. This would allow us time to clean house, wash all of the bedding and prepare for the next new children to arrive.

This all changed on Friday night. The agency called late Friday night asking if we would take 3 siblings. We originally told them we would rather only take 2 children because of car space when only one of us is home. However, they called us back about 30 minutes later and were unable to find a family that could keep all 3 and we decided to take all 3. They came to our house about 12:30 that night and it has been an adventure. This case with what I will call the 3C's is so different from the last one. These children are much younger (6y, 4y, and 11mos) and they have been in foster care in the past. They came to us without many belongings so we have been slowly getting clothing and other things for them. We have had them just over a week and everyone seems to be adjusting well. We will be having these children for a while according to the case worker but we all know that that could change. Our first court date is in 2 days and hopefully we will find out a little more then. This case we also have the document that says why they were removed from their family. It's not something I can disclose on here but it does help us understand where they came from a little better.

It's really weird but we have fallen in love with these children faster than the ones from before. I don't know if it's because they are younger and therefore more dependent on us or if it's just different personalities but we have come to accept that it's ok to love different children differently and that with some children it will take longer.

I'm excited because while we have them the youngest will be having his 1st birthday and we get to have a party with our families to celebrate. It will be fun to plan and share his joy with our families. We are traveling this weekend to see my parents which will also be fun. I'm not looking forward to the next 2 weeks as I am going to be working nights and not going to get to spend much time with the kids or Jonathan.

Dinner is ready, gotta run.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It has been just over 2 weeks since S & K arrived at our house. The past 2 weeks feel like a lifetime at moments and like it was just yesterday at other times. The "honeymoon period" is definitely over. Foster care refers to the "honeymoon period" as a time when the children behave and act differently at first because they are unsure of their surroundings. K's honeymoon period seemed to end after about 4-5 days, S's however seems to be ending more recently. She is now pushing back on our limits/rules and tries the argument over and over "my mom said....". We can't really say "I don't care what your mom let you do...." but instead we say, "well here, we do it this way." Bedtime for K has gotten so much better. She hardly wakes up in the middle of the night anymore. Occasionally I'll still hear her cry in her sleep but not nearly as often. Going to bed for her is also getting easier. We have progressed to her hearing her stories and songs in her bed instead of having to be rocked. It's so sweet to hear her ask me "mommy please stay" when it's time for her to fall asleep. S is now pushing the bedtime issue. It's hard for her to understand that bedtime at 10pm is actually not unreasonable but since she was allowed to stay up as late as she wanted before (she's told us this herself) then she doesn't understand.

I don't want people to think that it's all bad, it's not. Being a parent these last few weeks has been one of the  greatest blessings we've ever had. These girls are so sweet and fun to be with. Their first court date was last week and they will be with us for at least 1 more month. There are a few family members who are trying to get home studies done so that the girls may be able to live with them. We will wait until next month to see where this is going. However, we have been told by our social worker that it could take a few months to have the family members home studies complete and approved. We will continue to love on these girls and teach them the love of Jesus while they are here. I'm so greatful that my residency program has been letting me spend so much time with the girls and Jonathan this month.

Please pray for us. Tomorrow K has a lab appointment to see if she has a pretty serious medical problem that she was possibly diagnosed with right before Christmas. It's hard for her to have to have blood drawn and it's hard for us to see her cry as well as to sit and wait for results.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bedtime Routines....easy to talk about....hard to accomplish....

Tonight is night 5 with S & K. Last night was K's first night to sleep in her own bed by herself. Last nights bedtime routine took an hour and fifteen minutes to get her to go to bed by herself. It involved much ear splitting screaming that was so heartbreaking to listen to. We have decided not to include a bath in her bedtime routine because she doesn't get one everyday. For now, while we are establishing her routine and getting her used to sleeping in her own room and bed we have decided to give her a bath in the morning after breakfast if she needs one. Since she doesn't go to school this will work out fine for now. Maybe once she knows her routine we can start doing baths after dinner or adding them to her bedtime routine on the nights she needs one. The routine that we made last night while flying by the seat of our pants includes 2 books, rocking and singing songs, then just sitting, then her lying in bed while I sit in a chair by her and finally her drifting off to sleep. Like I said, last night took over an hour to accomplish this because she was freaking out so much. Tonight however only took about 15 minutes. I call that success. I'm hoping that with a steady routine things will continue to get easier. Hopefully as time passes she will also begin sleeping through the night. 2 nights ago she woke up no less than 10 times crying out for "momma" which right now means me. Last night it was only 4 or 5 and 2 of them were to go to the bathroom. Hopefully we can keep the numbers down today as well, although she's going to the bathroom more because she has a urinary tract infection.

S really opened up to us last night voluntarily. It was nice to hear things from her side and to hear how she feels about them. She is a very sweet girl who is trying really hard to handle all of this so well. Today we met with our CASA worker, who was really nice, and she talked to S for about an hour. The first court date for the girls is on Wednesday of next week. Hopefully that will give us an idea of what's going on. Our CASA worker explained the process to us a little more today which was nice. I know our agency has explained it before but it gets so overwhelming that I can't seem to remember anything.

Being a foster mom has been the hardest, yet already one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I'm trying not to fall in love with these girls but I'm afraid I'm already failing miserably. Tomorrow we are all going to church.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The 3rd Night....

S&K have been here for just over 48 hours and it already feels like so much longer. They are both so incredibly sweet and loving. S (the oldest) has started coming out of her shell today and it's so much fun to laugh with her. K started calling me momma yesterday morning and started Jonathan daddy today. It's weird to go from not having kids to having 2 and one is already calling you momma and daddy. This has been more of a shock to us than I expected and it must be so hard on them. If you could keep praying for them and us. K cries in her sleep and wakes up scared. I know S must be having a hard time but she's not ready to talk yet, and that's ok. She will talk when she is ready. Things are still up in the air since their case hasn't gone to court yet and probably won't till sometime next week. Hopefully then we will know a little more about visitation with family, a semi expected length of stay, etc. It has been such an amazing, hard, trying, exciting, blessing, overwhelming at times, so much fun, loving experience! I am so glad that I have Jonathan to experience this with. Thanks for the prayers and congrats on our new family.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We Have KIDS!

Wow the last 2 weeks have been crazy. Vacation ended with lots of good family time. I started back to working nights right when getting back from vacation and just finished working nights on Monday 1/3. Yesterday morning we got a call about possible foster children. We said yes but then found out that they had already been placed with a family closer to home. However later that day we got another call about 2 sets of siblings asking which one we would be interested in. We chose S &K a 13 yr old and 2 yr old sisters. They got to our house about 9:30 last night and so far so good. They are very sweet and I think it's going to be great. I know that it's not all gonna be sunshine and roses but it's totally gonna be worth it. Today will hold us trying to enroll S in school and figuring out all the paper work for new kids. Please be continuing to pray for us and them as we all get to know each other and they learn to understand and accept their situation. I pray that they will know they are unconditionally loved here.