My Boys

My Boys

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Call to Foster

     So many people have been asking about Adam and I becoming Foster Parents that I felt writing the experience and sharing it would be the best option. Recently going from a mom of 3 boys to a mom of 6 boys ranging in age from 7 years down to 14 months I have no idea how long it will take me to type this and hope to have it finished before they turn 18! It has been a long but incredible journey that the who, what, when, where and my favorite WHY can not be answered in a 5 minute conversation while wrangling 6 kiddos in wide open spaces. It is a journey that is near and dear to our hearts and most importantly a call that God has placed in our lives and he refused to let go unanswered. It is a call that we have answered in obedience and love, though we ourselves have had our doubts along the way, we are learning the over abundance of joy that comes with obeying and following Christ down paths you never planned for yourselves in life.
     Rewind 11 years. Adam and I have laughed lately over a conversation that took place between us shortly after becoming engaged. We were driving to Dallas to one of my many doctor appointments. The topic of how many kids we wanted to had come up. Adam ONLY wanted 2 and I always wanted 4. My reply to his insistence on no more than 2 was "Well I'm sorry but that's a deal breaker. I feel it would be a mistake for you to marry me because I know I want a large family and JUST 2 kids is plain boring!" No offense to you 2 kid households out there, to each his own, but I still feel I would be horribly bored and just plain sad with only 2!
       Obviously, we made a compromise! The compromise for Adam was 2 kids and a midget! This being because he has a stubborn streak that refuses to admit to a compromise. For me it was 3 children. I also must add we were making big plans even though I had been told by 2 Infertility Specialists that children would never be possible for me and that the only chance I had would be to do Invetro Fertilization. In case you didn't know IVF Therapy cost more than we've probably ever made in a year and we just never felt if that was are only option that it was something we should pursue. I always said, "God has placed a longing in my heart since I was 5 years old to grow up and take care of lots of babies... he will make me a mother one way or another." Honestly I never imagined it being BOTH ways.
       Fast forward 2 years into our marriage. We were trying to get pregnant. My wonderful Christian OBGYN at Baylor Dallas (Dr. E) was holding our hand through the long journey of trying to get my ovaries to participate. After nearly a year of trying and taking fertility pills we agreed to do 3 rounds of a hormone shot. During this time I was working as a Teacher at a Daycare. I was the lead teacher in the 3 and 4 year old Pre-K class. This is where God began to pull my heart strings for Fostering. I do not consider it coincidence that I had 3 students in my class that were Foster Children. I hold the conversations I got to have with these Foster Parents and the experience with these kiddos near and dear to my heart to this day. We prayed that if after 3 shots there was no baby that God would lead us the direction he wanted us to go. Well, it only took 1 shot to get Trenten and the rest is history. After being told I would likely have no birth children of my own I have delivered 3 miracles and conceived 2 of those completely unplanned.
     You would think after this journey alone and seeing God perform so many miracles large and small along the way that we would have faith that could move mountains and NEVER doubt God or put limits on what he can do. I guess that's where the human nature kicks in but I always find myself so disappointed in my lack of faith but so grateful for God continuing to mold both of us with new lessons and chapters of following and trusting in him alone not ourselves.
      The next chapter of the call to Foster came when Jonah was 2 and we felt led that due to my complicated pregnancies we should continue growing our family through Foster/Adoption because the desire never left our hearts even after having Trenten and Jonah. We began the process through a Foster Agency a friend recommended out of the Ft. Worth/Arlington area. While beginning the paperwork process we learned that I was pregnant. We were shocked but excited and torn on what to do. Do we continue the Foster process or is this God telling us not yet? 12 weeks into the pregnancy I miscarried. At that time, I was in such a depressed state we contacted the Foster Agency and explained the situation and stopped the process. During this time God worked my heart and mind over through a church bus ministry and the infamous 7 who changed our family forever. 
      I was following my heart for teaching by teaching a 1st grade Sunday School class at FBC Malakoff where my entire family attended church. It was a season of God moving like I had never seen in the 10 years or so of being a member there. It was lead by our wonderful Pastor at the time Nathan Lorick. The church was holding block parties throughout the community and out of those block parties a bus ministry began that my Dad was one of the leaders of. In all my years as his daughter it was the first time I saw God capture his heart in such a way that helping these children and their families became his mission in life. It was amazing to witness and such a testament in the life of our family. I often thank God for this season before he called my Dad home to heaven and look back on the memories of riding the bus with him as some of the fondest memories I have.

     To make a very long story short, a group of 8 siblings from a blended family, that were a major part of the bus ministry, were removed by CPS for abuse and neglect. My parents felt the call to take all of them in. CPS placed 7 of them with my parents who were in their early 50's at the time. 4 boys and 3 girls ranging in ages from 4-11 years old. Many thought my parents were crazy but they followed through with following God's calling in their lives regardless. I worried over them having the patience and ability to handle 7 and a wise Pastor's wife Jenna Lorick told me, "if God calls you he will equip you.." and that really struck my heart and stuck with me. It made me analyze my own life and what God wanted from us that I repeatedly put on hold for my own fears of being unequipped.

     My Dad passed away in May 2011 about a year in to caring for the 7. CPS removed the 4 boys from my mom because 7 was 2 more than she was legally allowed to care for on her own. Adam and I contacted their case worker and tried to get them. At the end of the day our house was too small by state regulations to take in 4 more in addition to the 2 boys we had and the 1 I was due to have in a matter of months. It angered Adam and I beyond measure that they could live in a 2 room shack with no lights, running water, heat or food but a loving home that was a little cramped was unacceptable. I really struggled with this and wrestled with God over why he would place something so heavy on our hearts if it just wasn't possible! Yes, some more "oh' ye of little faith" moments for sure. Our Pastor Nathan advised us, "If the only thing stopping you is a house, pray for a bigger house and have the faith that God will deliver."

     I have to admit, Adam and I both discussed how crazy he was. "Who is going to just offer us a house big enough for Fostering plus our own within our budget?" This was some serious dreaming big! We prayed and we prayed and we prayed.... and God delivered. Only 3 short months later out of no where we were offered the City house in Chandler within our budget and large enough to fit a small village of children in. I am daily in awe of how God provided and continues to provide for us to make all of this possible. We began the Fostering process once again, this time through Azleway Inc. a Christian agency my parents certified through locally that we never knew existed until then. It took us forever because of hurdles like me finishing my degree and Student Teaching 5 days a week and having surgery etc. Yet, God faithfully delivered us through every hurdle and obstacle.

     We became Foster Certified in October 2013 and decided to wait for any placements until December 6th my last day of Student Teaching. I graduated December 14th and by that point I was discouraged that we hadn't received a call for placements, Adam kept saying, "They will call! It's only been X amount of days." Boy did they ever! On December 20th we received our first placement. They called with 3 available. We told them we couldn't choose which ones. So, they put us in for all 3 and we got 1. We were so excited and so blessed beyond our wildest dreams. Then, on December 31st they called saying the other 2 still needed a place. Once again, we felt our job is to say yes and God will sort out the rest. Most of you know the rest of the story that our house is running over with 6 little blessings.

     It isn't easy. It is the most challenging thing we have ever done. I venture to say this would be impossible without God. I cling to the verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" daily. My husband is amazing and I am wowed daily at how God works through him providing him with amounts of patience I have never seen before. He is so supportive and encouraging and if anything I feel this experience so far has strengthened our relationship. I hunger for my time with God daily and thirst for his scriptures to provide me with strength for each day and encouragement when the sceptics come calling.

     I know it may seem crazy to many and I also know this life wouldn't be for everyone but it is for us. We are experiencing God and his joy, love, peace and blessings beyond anything we have ever known. My dad told me, "Do what God calls you to do and you will experience Joy that you have never known before." In the back of my mind I thought, "How does 7 kids in your 50's equate to Joy you have never known before?" Now, I know. So I challenge you to look at your life and the life of your family and seek how you can follow God this year? How can you or you as a family answer his call? How can you serve? How can you love? It may not be Foster parenting but it has to be something and we are never to young or to old to serve the Lord! If it is Fostering or Adopting and you are looking for an agency to help walk you through the process I whole heartedly recommend Azleway. They have been amazing and we are so thankful for the go between with us and CPS it is extremely helpful especially to a couple of Newbies!

Azleway Tyler Texas: 903-566-8444 Main number for Info.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today... September 24th, 2011

Today my Dad would have turned the Big 55. I would have made him another gigantic Ding Dong Cake and we would have all gathered together to celebrate. The Lord had different plans for our family today though, and although we dont like it we are learning what life is like to live with out the big man with a big heart.

Memories flood my mind of him, they have all week. I cant say sitting in a hospital room with no escape has made it easier. I dread the day Eli James will be born to a degree because he wont be here for it. I just can't imagine what that will be like birthing his name sake and him missing it.

I can imagine if he were here, he would be thrilled over the new IN&OUT right up the road, and come to see me just to get some. I can imagine that Dr. Ehmer would have called him a few times by now to "Have my dad come sit on me and tell me to hush." In doctor Ehmers words.

Yet, none of this was meant to be. I guess I wrestle with that on some days. It's still hard to believe he's never coming back, and we have to wait for our turn in heaven to see him again. I'm glad today I can remember the big man with a big heart, and cherish the memories he left behind of 54 years well lived. I love and miss you Dad everyday.

Until Next Time,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

1 week, 7 days, 168 hours...

So, we have made it through the first week, the first 7 days, and the first 168 hours with out my dad. I can honestly say I do not know how people who do not know the Lord, survive loss of this magnitude. It is a hurt a constant pain in your heart and gut like I have never experienced or known. I know time eases all pain, and that the Lord will bring us all through. That doesn't mean I keep from thinking of him constantly, and replaying the past week over and over through my head.

Yes, I believe the Lord knows the time and place he will call us home from the moment he puts us on this earth. I believe with out hesitation that the moment my dad left us, he was standing in Heaven. I have undoubted faith of the promise we will be reunited again. Yet, it's getting through all the weeks, days, and hours until then that seems unfathomable.

I watch my mom, and worry about her being alone. That is when my heart breaks all over again, to watch her alone. My parents were always together, they worked together, farmed together, and took on 7 kids together. It just seems unnatural for her to be alone.

I replay last Saturday over and over in my head. I wish that when my Dad called to say he was sick, and I was there at the shop with my mom that I would have gone with her although she told me to stay and keep the shop open for her. My gut was telling me he was more than heat sick this time. I talked her through CPR on the phone when she called me panicked not knowing what to do. I wish I would have been there to do it for her. Yet, I know in my heart regardless of what anyone would have done different he still wouldn't be here today, it would have just made me feel better.

I read my Bible at least every morning if not more through out the day, searching for words of comfort and peace. I found this scripture today that made me think of his life and how he lived it.
1 Timothy 4:5-6
5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

My dad undoubtedly is still everywhere I go. Everywhere I look at the farm, I see memories of him. My favorite way to aggravate him, was to raid his fridge shortly after arriving for his Claussin Pickles. He kept regular off brand hamburger Dill pickles on hand for kids and other company. The Claussin Pickles were his and everyone knew it. I just disregarded the rule. I would eat them all or just leave him one, so the next time he went to make a sandwich he would think of me as he yelled about me eating all his pickles. I went out to babysit the 7 for him and my mom not to long ago, when I raided the fridge for the pickles, he came up and said, "You know the kids pickles are in the door?" I replied, "Oh'... Well, good thing I'm an adult now." He grinned and went on, as I continued to finish off his jar of pickles!

I drove his 15 passenger van for the first time yesterday. 3 packs of Marlboro Red box, an empty Diet Coke bottle, and a note pad with directions he wrote down to somewhere all sitting in the console. Oldies radio blaring, because he was so hard of hearing.Yet, you don't want to change anything you just want to leave it as he had it.

He is at my home too, we had a lot of family gatherings at my house. My favorite was Trenten's Birthday in January when he stole the action figure off his cake, that my dad and I had just argued over him letting Trenten stick his finger in to get icing off of. The next weekend when Trenten went to the farm it was hanging from the light over the dining room table. He lived to aggravate!

The Shop is another place he is everywhere. The last time I saw my Dad alive was standing in the kitchen where I bake and decorate cakes. The first person I wanted to show my magnetic car signs and business cards was him when they came in the mail yesterday. He would have thought they were pretty neat, and been glad I was finally doing something to seriously launch my cake business.

I guess you can say the last week, 7 days, or 168 hours have been the longest of my life. It has seemed unreal, and like a bad dream you just can't get yourself to wake up from. Writing helps, and staying in the word, along with lots of prayers from people who love us. Yet, we have to look ahead to how to get through the next week, the next 7 days, the next 168 hours with out him.

Until Next time,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not Your Typical Father-Daughter Duo...

Many of you know that today my family suffered a major loss. We lost my Dad to what is believed at this point to be a massive heart attack. We will know more in the days to come. We have lost our Rock, our go to guy, our constant pillar of strength in every way.

Any of you who know me, know I have to write at times like these it's all I can do to process everything running through my mind at high speeds. It's not always my wisest decision, but tonight it is what I need.

We were not your typical Father-Daughter duo. I was not Daddy's little princess, I was his worm face. A title I became accustomed to over the years that typical girls would not. We didn't go to Father daughter dances, we found that lame and weird in our opinions that were also always the "right" opinions, but not necessarily the "same" opinion.

We both refused to acknowledge any resemblance of each other, especially when it came to how we behaved or the manner in which we spoke our minds. We butted heads more often than any 2 other people in the family, it was our own way of communication.

Even though we were not your typical father-daughter duo, we were a duo. I learned more from him in the last 5 years, than total of the 24 years before that. I learned good business sense, and that business is business as I ran the office end of the business he had built for 3 years.

I learned the most when I became a mother, and I witnessed him as "Papaw" for the first time. I learned that no matter how much I insisted we were nothing alike, that no 2 people could be more the same. I got to see the big hearted side of him for the first time, he hid from me all the years growing up because he felt the need to be stern not soft. We were able to bond through my children.

I have thought all day of the times we wasted bickering and being Jim and Julie Crye. I thought of all the things I'd like to take back or do-over. Yet we all know, there are no do-overs in life. I thought of the good times we had, and how much I will miss him everyday, and my children will as well. It is hard to be at their house, because I keep looking for him to come stomping in the back door any minute.

I wish we would have said "I love you" more. I hope he knew how much I did love him, how much we all loved him. I am glad I can re-call every time he told me he loved me, and every time he told me he was proud of me because those were words he didn't give away often. Yet in my heart, I know he loved me tremendously, I know he was proud, he was my dad and I was his only daughter.

He was so many things, to so many people. I am glad I got to witness all God had preformed in his life lately. I am so glad that I had a father who loved the Lord, and Served so diligently. If nothing else, I know I learned from his example here. I was always in awe of the way he followed God's call with out hesitation.

I know I learned so much from him, a strong work ethic, how to care for others, and serve others. He was a big man, with a big heart. I loved him so much despite all our bull headedness.... I was one of the blessed few to call him Dad.

He will undoubtedly be missed by all who knew him, I find great joy in the fact that where he is there is no more pain, no more fear, and he is rejoicing with the loved ones who have gone on before him. He is with his brother, his grandparents, and many friends. We are here, but I know I have a promise of seeing him again one day. I will miss his smile, his loud laugh I believe I inherited, and his contagious personality. I will miss watching him as "Papaw" in action taking my boys to feed pigs,the endless tractor rides, stealing Trenten's action figures just to aggravate, and giving my boys rough bucking bull rides on his back.

So even though we weren't the typical Father- Daughter duo, we were a duo indeed. I will love you and miss you dearly dad until we get to meet again. There is no arguing in heaven over who is right, or who is more stubborn so I hope you got it all out of your system while you were here. I love you dad!

Love Your one and only daughter,

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Beautiful Reminder...

If any of you know me even the slightest I have 2 characteristics to my personality that can be used for greater good at times, but can also be a boil on the butt of anyone who is dealing with me. I have honestly just came to the realization in recent years that I do have some issues with being "in control" that daily require me to consciously make an effort to overcome. This issue can cause big walls between you and God as a Christian when you just can't make yourself let go and let God even when you really are trying.

My second issue is "being all things to all people at all costs". I have learned so much about this in the last 6 weeks. God has really taken me on a journey of realizing and overcoming that you just can't be all things to all people that's his job not mine! I have realized recently also that many closest to me have paid a greater cost in my need to make everyone happy. The juggling act crumbled, but God was there. Reminding me of his perfect plan for my life and for my family.

Yet, today another journey the Lord delivered me through. A minor surgery with Doctor Ehmer to remove Endometrial tissue that once in there with their camera could see was nearly on every surface of my female organs and all the cracks and crevices between. I had been told before surgery based on the severity a partial or full hysterectomy were possible. After 6 weeks of contemplating what that would mean as far as never being able to have any more children, what it would all be like afterward. Last night I felt a little anxious and saddened. The planner and control freak in me had finances lined out through February, the grocery shopping done, plans for my 2 closest girlfriends to be here for my boys immediately if anything were to go wrong. Adam covered in anyway possible to make things easier on him after my surgery. Then last night after reading Phil. 4-9 I was reminded my anxiousness was for nothing, that all I needed was to present my requests before the Lord and he would hear me. He would send me peace that passes understanding.

The scriptures were right, I was ready this morning and had peace. I can't Thank those who have prayed for me recently enough, I know with out it I would have been a big ball of nerves. I wanted to share Phil 4-9 and this song by Kari Jobe that radiated in my heart before the surgery, through the surgery, and after. I hope it is a Beautiful reminder for you as well as for me about what its really all about, and how BLESSED we really are. I hope you enjoy!
Until Next Time,

Kari Jobe Beautiful Lyrics
Here before your alter
I am letting go of all I've held
of every motive, every burden
Everything that's of myself

I just want to wait on you, my God
I just want to dwell on who you are

Beautiful, Beautiful
Oh, I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, Beautiful
Oh Lord your beautiful to me

Here in your presence
I am not afraid of brokenness
To wash your feet with humble tears
I would be poured out til' nothings left

And I just want to wait on you, my God
I just want to dwell on who You are

Chorus Again

Holy, holy, Holy, You are, you are 4x

Chorus Last time!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Long Road...

This week God has reminded me in several ways about how He always has his hand upon us, and how His Plan is the Perfect Plan. I have always struggled with this. I have learned thus far in my life that I like to control my life too much, and I miss out on many Blessings from above because I'm trying to control everything instead of letting go and letting God.

This week so much has happened in this area I could Blog about. I resigned from leading the Wednesday night Children's Program at church which was extremely difficult for me personally. My other responsibilities in life have become to demanding to continue on, yet I worried Who else would do it if not me. This Wednesday night out of the blue a girl who is 14 came and volunteered to help lead Games in our Department on Wednesday nights. My last Wednesday, and God delivered. For it was someone who I could not see coming, but God has an ultimate plan and will always provide.

The stories of how God nudged me this week could go on and on, but none were greater than this Thursday at a Doctor Appointment I had put off as long as I could knowing the verdict would not be what I wanted. Dr. Ehmer and I go way back. I came to him as a 19 year old girl who had suffered for 3 years with female problems. Another doctor wanted to take at least one ovary out. Dr. E as I call him fought to keep it, and give me the chance to become a Mother one day. I looked at him hurting and with tears in my eyes at 19 and said, "Can we just try anything so that I can have a child of my own one day... just one." So we did. No surgeries just medications, and a long painful 4 years later Miracle Baby #1 Blessed our lives. He came from the very ovary another doctor wanted to rid me of, the only ovary that I have that does anything from time to time.

Our family was complete. If God never allowed us another I had one handsome little man who I couldn't love anymore. Just as Dr. E suspected he helped rid me of large ovarian cysts that ruptured and caused extreme pain. We Thanked God for the One Baby every doctor before said would never be possible.

Then Surprise. A year later no fertility treatments, no planning at all Miracle Baby # 2 is conceived. This was really never supposed to happen, a pregnancy with out fertility drugs, so I never doubted the entire pregnancy that God was up to something big here. When he was born and landed in the NICU on a ventilator at 9 lbs. I never doubted that God would bring him through, he wasn't done with him yet. I am so Glad he wasn't because this one changed the whole dynamic of our little family from the day he came home.

I remember after my C-Section they let my mom back to talk to me in recovery because Adam was with Jonah on the way to NICU. My mom couldn't understand why I didn't let him tie my tubes while he was in there. I answered, "because Mom I just want to try one more time for a Girl." She replied, "Your crazy.. with everything you've been through and both deliveries have been rough why do that to yourself?" I said, "Stop and think of your life with out me for a second and then tell me its not worth it." She said no more ever again about my quest for a Third baby. Even though it has seemed crazy to plenty of people including my husband at times.

I thought Miracle # 3 was possible and on its way in June. Until the Lord had a different plan, and yes the control freak in me has definitely struggled with this. I can only say it is the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced to have no control or way to Stop a miscarriage. You just have to endure and then pick your self up and move on with a smile because people don't like to see you with out one. Regardless of what you feel like inside, regardless of weather you think in March I should have had a newborn to hold, and that's not going to happen now. It is definitely something only God can carry you through, nothing you can do on your own. Sadly it's not something you are over in a month either, I don't know when you really get over it because I'm not there yet. I do know that I found great peace in giving her a name, instead of referring to it as "the miscarriage" or "it". My gut tells me it would have been a girl, although it was to early to tell. Everything about the pregnancy was different from day 1 than the boys pregnancies... so that's my opinion. So we named her Adlie. Half Adam's name half my name. Pronounced "Adlee" if that helps. A name we considered for a girl, although Adam really wanted Abigail.

Four months have passed, and as far as my female organs go I am a mess. Trenten fixed me temporarily, Jonah gave me some issues here and there, but Adlie has reeked havoc on me to sum it up nicely. Dr. E believes the pain is endometriosis now, and has put me on 2 medications for this. He is giving the medications 6 weeks to make me feel like a new woman or surgery it is. It has been a long road leading to this point, one that he has held my hand for 10 years now through. I cried as we discussed the possibility of a hysterectomy because even though at this fork in the road I know that is best it is hard to have your female organs removed and KNOW you will never have another child. Yet there is peace here. I love that I have a Christian doctor who can say to me, we prayed for one miracle and God blessed you with two... what more could you ask for.

I have peace that there are many ways to be a mother. God has blessed our family with the witness of that through the 7 over the past 4 months also. Do I think it is by coincidence that all of that runs together. I do not. I have been reminded that there are lots of great kids who need someone to love them and teach them right here in our community. So if I have a hysterectomy does that mean I will never have a 3rd... I don't believe so. This is where I find my peace. In that the Lord has a perfect plan not only for me, but for my family, and although it is unknown I need not worry for it is in the Masters Hands!

Our Journey together has Only Just Begun...

They have been worth every moment along the Long Road!

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just a Voice...

I am just a Voice of someone I used to know
Hushed silent...
although at times feeling like I'm screaming
at the top of my lungs in my own little sound proof box.
No matter how hard I try to beat the walls of my box down away from me
to free myself from my tourment they stand firmly in place
Like a solid rock unable to be moved.

No one can hear me.
I say the same things over and over but none in my world acknowledge them.
Who am I?
Just a whisper drifting through their lives in the wind.

Is it selfish to even want to be heard? My life is not my own...
The pain of the uncomfortable silence cuts deep
Wounds fester, bleed deep beneath the surface...
Yet, we throw a band-aid over them and say, "that's done."
My wounds are gapping open, my sores are fresh...
Yet the one who should be my nurse throws salt in my wounds...

Maybe I should surcume and give up the fight.
Maybe the life of a deaf, dumb, blind, mute should be the life for me.
Why do I bother!!!
Maybe this is the dumbest thing I've ever wrote, for sure the ugliest...
Maybe it just had to be done!
Maybe its late and I should just go to bed....