Miss Sweetie and Miss Fannie

As kids come and go out of our home we have given them all nicknames in order to protect their privacy. Through out this blog  and blogs to come I will refer to them with their nicknames to continue to protect them. 

Our story continues….

Jump forward a few months after our first little man removed so he could be with his siblings and we are now the foster parents to two beautiful little girls, one turning 1 and one just a few months old. I will share a small portion of their story with you. I received a call about the girls, of course I said yes,  and was told I would get the baby first while the older one was in the hospital. The worker brings us a very tiny and sickly baby girl who was small enough to fit in the palm of my hands. For the next few days we bonded with her,loved her and watched life slowly came back into her eyes. It came time to go pick up the oldest sister and I was taking into a room to watch a video about how to care for her head injury. The nursed warned me that she had not moved much or made any type of eye contact with anyone since her surgery. I slowly walk to her hospital door  scared of what I was going to see and questioning myself on if we could really handle this situation. Then I opened her door and as if she knew exactly who I was she jumped up and smiled.  She began reaching for me and babbling.  The nurses looked puzzled and asked if I knew her. I replied no, I did not know her or her family I just said yes when Dhhr called.  I picked her up and as if she knew she was safe she hugged me and fell asleep on my shoulder as I signed discharge papers.

The next few weeks were filled with doctor appointments, birth to three appointments, and even a sign language specialist, we were told both girls were deaf. Life was moving fast but we loved it.  They quickly became part of our family. If we did something they were with us. Church, vacations, trips to grandma and grandpa’s it did not matter we were now a family of 6 and we could not be happier.  The legal side of the system was moving along as well. Visits with the birth parents stopped we were told they would be moving towards termination of parental rights.   After that they would be placed up for adoption. Since they had been with us longer than the 6 month bonding law things looked great(at this point they had been with us 8 months).  Soon they would be forever ours. We could relax.

My husband and I decided to take a weekend get away just the two of us. We made the necessary arrangements and off on the motorcycle we went. We were enjoying our long weekend when my cell phone rang.  It was the on-call worker. She had a little boy almost 2 months old that needed placement just for the weekend until the grandmother could get things in order.  I told her to let me ask Todd and I would call her right back. I turned around and there I find my wonderful husband packing our bags, he over heard the conversation and was already getting ready to head home. I called her back and told her we would be home in about 5 hours. 

We get home, get the girls and our older kids and then wild man arrived all 4 pound 5oz of him. Then on Monday the phone rings……

The GAL  (the girls lawyer), the caseworker and adoption worker scheduled a meeting at our house. We thought it was to finalize that we indeed want them to be forever ours. That was not the case.  An aunt and uncle out of state had been located and as long as their home study checked out the girls would be placed with them.  We were crushed.  We did all we could, we went to court had a hearing, met with the a panel of people on the case pleaded through pictures, testimony, and tears for them to allow the girls to stay with us.  They were our girls now how could this happen? 
While we waited for the decision to be made visits with the aunt and uncle were set up.  We met them and I wanted to hate them, after all they were trying to steal our girls, but I didn’t hate them. Their family was so similar to ours. They were every involved at their  church, they also had older kids, football on Friday nights and when I handed over “Miss Fannie” to the aunt she cried just as I had done.  They were still in shock. They did not know anything about the girls in fact that did not even know they existed until the worker called them. They too had dropped everything they were doing and headed to met the girls.  I really wanted to be angry, but they were sweet genuine people who where just as confused and scared as we were. All of our lives were about to change forever.

Our court date arrived and we headed to the courthouse praying for God’s will to be done but hoping it was for the girls to stay with us.  We get off the elevator to see the lawyer talking with the aunt and uncle, the hearing had been moved up and we had not been notified.  The lawyer looks at me and says, the girls will be going home with Mr and Mrs X today. Please go home and pack their stuff and be at the office in an hour.  Tears rolled down our faces as we turned to get on the elevator.  9 months and it was over like that.

We hurried home, quickly packed their things while our older kids told them goodbye. We loaded then up called grandma’s and grandpa’s to tell them the girls were leaving us and that no we didn’t have time to let them sat goodbye. We pulled in the office and their the lawyer and the aunt and uncle were waiting. I held back tears as we loaded their things into the van, kissed them both ever so softly on the top of their heads and told them I would forever love them as I prayed.  That’s when their daughter came up to me and handed me a letter she had wrote. In it she thanked me for loving the girls and keeping them safe. She was maybe 7 or 8. I hugged her and told her she was going to be a great big sister and thanked her for being so kind.  We drove off while they continued getting things in the van. I have never cried so hard.  

How were we to continue? Why did this happen again? Why was God doing this to us.  We walk through the door and I find our wild man sleeping peacefully thanks to my in laws, they watched him while we took the girls down the road.  I vowed then that after he returned to his grandmother(a month in and still working on getting things worked out) We were done. My heart could not take it anymore.
The years have passed and I am pleased to say I still get to see “our Miss Sweetie and Miss Fannie” thanks to social media. They are beautiful and talented and have grown much.  They have  a wonderful family that loves them and I see they are where they belong. Yes I miss them daily but I know now God had a plan for them. I am thankful their forever mom aka their aunt and I have become friends and she let’s me see them through the power of technology. I still have the letter their daughter wrote us tucked away with some photos and things from our time with them.  And who knows maybe one day I will get to see them again face to face, but for now I am blessed that we had them for the time that God needed us to watch over them. I am blessed we got to feed them and help them become healthy, we got to love them when they needed love the most. We got to be part of their beautiful story because God saw fit for us to be there at the moment in time.   

From our beautiful chaos to yours enjoy your day!

Life goes on placement after placement

My kids are playing on the swing set and having a water balloon fight and all I can do is smile. Well that’s a lie. I also find myself thinking about the little ones that are not here.  I have wondered many times why so many foster children have came into our home only to be forever placed somewhere else. With every departure a piece of my heart goes with them and I question why did he/she not get to stay?  Our first placement was no exception. 

Our first little boy as only with us for three short weeks, but I was in love the moment I saw him.  When the on call worker called and asked of we could take the placement I quickly said yes.  We were told it would take months before we got our first call. But here it was two weeks after we finished our classes, we had not even received our certificates in the mail to offically say we were approved.  The worker said it would take a few hours to get things ready so that gave me time to go pick up a baby bed and a few must haves (diapers, bottles, a few outfits, and some baby wipes)  The workers came to our home and in somewhat like a business transaction he was placed in my arms with a list of things that needed to be done within the next 72 hours, I was asked if I could handle it and then they were gone.   I called my husband and told him, “its a boy” and took our new addition with me to pick up our kids from school. Needless to say everyone was excited. The next few days were full of doctor appointments and holiday celebrations. Life was good.  As many do with their first placement we were already picking out his new name and thinking of ways to decorate his forever bedroom.  Then one day mid December my phone rings.  The worker called to tell me that there had been a court hearing and that “our boy” Would be going to live with his siblings in another foster family. I was crushed. She ended our conversation with “I am sorry but I will be there in an hour”  And hour? That’s all the time I had to get him ready, to say goodbye, and to calm myself down before she came in. I carried him to the car, kissed his forehead, said a little prayer and just like that he was gone. Just as fast as he had come into our lives he was gone. My husband and kids did not even get to say goodbye. I cried the whole evening, I questioned God’s plan, I said I would never do this again, and then I prayed. Why would God bring this beautiful baby boy into my life and then take him away? I still don’t know the answer but I am thankful for the time we shared.

A few days passed and I called my homefinder to let her know we could be placed back on the Call List.  After all we had not spent months in training to give up that early and we knew the need was still there.

I still wonder about our 1st little guy. I am sure he is enjoying life with his brothers and his new family. I am hopeful he is loving life just as God planned. I am also sure he will never remember his few short weeks with us and the love he had for him, but that’s OK because I will always remember.  We have a his picture, along with all of our foster babies, hanging on a wall in our piano room. Every time I pass those photos I can’t help but smile. Even though most of them no longer live with us they will always be our kids. Each one holds a place in my heart.  As I watch my five little ones, now playing in their playhouse, I am thankful God saw fit to let me be their forever mom.  I may never understand why He chose to let these five stay but I am thankful everyday He did.  God is good all the time.

The thing about foster care is you never know how long each child will stay. It could be a week, a month, a year, or two years, or forever we just don’t know.  But while they are with us It is our job to love them, protect them, hold them, kiss them, and let them know what a family is like. It’s that simple. While they are here they will be MY CHILDREN to the fullest meaning of the phrase. And if they leave our home I will forever be their Momma C.  Placement after placement the heart only grows stronger.

From our beautiful chaos to yours enjoy your day.

Foster care training 101, how we became foster parents 

After going through a nasty divorce I decided to go back to college and make something of myself.  As a young child I dreamed, as many do, of growing up and changing the world for the better. I always thought I would become a teacher or a nurse to make those dreams a reality, but life happened and I ended up getting married shortly out of high school and had a baby.  The divorce was my second chance to make my childhood dreams come true. 

I decided nursing and teaching were not for me but becoming a social worker was my destiny. I started my online classes and ended up finishing my associates right before Todd and I got married.  After our wedding I started thinking about going back to college for my bachelor’s degree.  That’s when God intervened.  One night God spoke to me. His voice was as clear as day. I still get chills thinking about that one sided conversation. I jumped up and told Todd that I felt God was telling me ” Now that you know what these children go through, I want you to house them, love them, protect them,and you will be rewarded with My blessing.” The logical side of me was thinking there is no way. God knows we can’t do this.  I had loans to pay off and if I wanted to further my education I had to go to work so we could afford it. But I knew God wanted us to follow Him, that’s how faith works.  Sometimes God takes us out of our comfort zone that way we rely on Him and only Him.  So without questioning my sanity, Todd took my hand and said “Let’s do this.”  The next morning we had a family meeting and asked Sierra and Devin what they thought about us becoming a foster family.  They of course loved the idea. So as a family we made the decision to step out in faith and become a foster family.   

The next morning I started researching how to become a foster family.  I ended up calling the local DHHR and was directed to a home finding specialist who told me,   “As luck would have it we started a new PRIDE class last Saturday and had a few couples not show up. If you would like I can add you to that class?”  Luck had nothing to do with it, God had a plan and He was making sure it happened.  Just like that we signed up and attended our first class that weekend. That one phone call changed our lives forever.

In WV in order to become a certified foster family you must complete what they call PRIDE TRAINING CLASS.  This takes place over 25 hours in a classroom training. We took our classes on Saturday mornings down at the local college. The classes are designed to “prepare” you or help you understand how to raise kids.  The class covered everything from how to give a child a bath, to eating habits, to abuse, neglect, visitation with the birth parents, court dates, and so on. Basically anything that pertains to the care of a child in foster care it’s covered in class.  We watched videos, studied our books, talked with seasoned foster parents, asked countless questions, had our background checks and our fingers prints ran. And then there’s the paperwork, not going to lie it is a nightmare.  They need to know everything from how many bedrooms you have to what type of car you drive. Then the questions about what type of child would you consider taking in. I kid you not its close to 15 pages of questions like “Would you consider a handicap child?” , “Would you consider a child that wets the bed?, “Would you consider a firestarter?” And of course the “What age and gender do you prefer?” I had to Google many of the things on the list because I had no clue what they were. But I am glad they asked so many questions, it helped us figure out what we thought we could handle and what we knew we could not. Once all of that was over it was time for our home study. They came out made sure we had enough room,checked for smoke detectors and  they talked with our family and our pastor. We were set.  Our classes started in August and by early November we were told by our wonderful instructor we were ready.  I can honestly say I still don’t think we are ready and its been six years lol.  No about of book work or video watching can prepare you for what some of these kids go through.  It is truly awful.  As class wrapped up in early November we were reminded that it could take months before we got a placement call. Over the next few weeks every time the phone rang I jumped. Then one day just two weeks after we finished class my phone rang,”Crystal, this is “Mrs X” with the county DHHR I see here you are open for placement. I have a two month old baby boy can you take him?” 

Some much for  months of waiting ūüôā
I will end there today. Check back tomorrow.
From our beautiful chaos to yours have a fantastic evening

Get to know our family

Hello everyone my name is Crystal. ¬†I am a mother of seven. ¬†My husband and I became foster parents back in 2010. We have been mom and dad to many children over the last six years and have been blessed to adopt five of them. This blog will be about our journey through foster care, our faith in God, a safe place to ask questions for those thinking about being a foster to adopt parent,¬†and I will ¬†be sharing our personal story ¬†about our beautiful chaos along the way. ¬†Foster parenting is not for the weak of heart. In fact it’s hard, but it is so rewarding. If you would have told me 10 years ago I would have 7 kids I would have laughed. That was not my plan at all but God has a funny way of doing things His way on His time.

A little about our family. ¬†At the age of 32 I found myself divorced for my high school sweetheart and a single mom of two. ¬†After years of being told I was not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to do anything with my life I found myself believing these things to be true. How was I suppose to take care of my kids when I was nothing? I prayed and looked for answers. ¬† It was the 3 of us. I had to be good enough I had no choice. ¬†My kids and I survived, somehow, ¬†and we started getting use to our new normal. ¬†I was perfectly fine with just the 3 of us I didn’t want a man/husband, my focus was my children. But you see God has a way of giving us just what we need when we dont realize we need it. That’s when God (with my daughters help) reintroduced me to Todd. Todd and I had been good friends in school but after graduation he went off and joined the Army and I got married. ¬†Our happy little family of 3 became our happy 3 plus 1 and thats where our foster journey begins, but the rest of our story will have to wait for another day. ¬†It’s time for dinner and I have little ones waiting

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours have a wonderful day