Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I can't sleep.

Our city is on fire.
30,000+ people have been evacuated.
Homes and businesses are burning.

I took this photo Saturday while driving home from a picnic with Ben's company:

That fire has grown into this:
(All images are from Facebook...
"shared" so many times I have no idea where the originals came from.)



Devastating.

Please pray for our city.
Pray for rain.
Pray for no wind.
Pray for the firefighters, police officers, and news crews that are working non-stop,.
Pray for the families who are waking up to find their homes in ashes.


*We are not in the path of this fire.
We are the "B" on the the map below.
The blue areas are the current evacuations.
The red/pink is the burn area as of 5 hours ago.

Authorities speculate that it will be mid-July before this fire is extinguished.
I cannot wrap my mind around that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Phew!

Now that I've gotten the foster care post off my chest I feel like I can blog again.
I started writing that post 2 or 3 weeks ago.
I don't know why it took so long for me to hit "publish".

It's been a crazy week around here.
My friend, Sarah, and I were subpoenaed to testify in court on Monday.
Monday turned into Tuesday.
Tuesday turned into Wednesday.
3 days of inconvenience because we witnessed an assault in a park 1.5 years ago.
I'm not sure how much I can disclose about the case, so I'll stop there for now.

None of this is the point of my story anyway.
Point: Sarah and I were talking about how messy our homes have been this week.
Then, she texted this to me:
Made my day!

P.S. I have friends who have immaculate homes.
They are not dull.
They just actually enjoy cleaning their homes.
I, on the other hand, do not. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Announcement

We've been keeping a secret.
Well, it's not really a secret.
But there's something big happening in our family that I haven't blogged about until now.

(If all continues to go as planned,)
 We're going to be a foster family!

Some questions we've been asked...
-----------
What led up to this?
It started with the purchase of this home.
To us, it feels like a mansion-
WAY more space than we need.
But, we felt certain God wanted us here and certain he was going to use it.

Then, for the past year Ben and I seemed to flip-flop on fostering.
I'd be gung-ho,
then he would be.
but never at the same time. 

But, on March 4th that changed.
Though we were in separate places, 
we both heard loud and clear that we were to to become foster parents.
Neato!

-----------
What agency are you using?
After researching exactly zero agencies in the Springs,
we decided to go with Hope and Home.
We have friends who have had good experiences with them,
and a friend who was working for them.

-----------
Are we going to adopt?
We are certainly open to adoption!
Ben believes we will.
I'm unsure.
(Probably a defense mechanism, 
knowing it's more likely for a child to be returned home than to be adopted.)

-----------
How many children? What ages? Gender?
We initially both felt we should only foster children younger than Alice.
I wavered a little on that, but after speaking with a couple foster families,
we've decided to stick to our gut feeling...babies/toddlers under 2. 

I'm pretty sure we can only fit one more carseat in our cars...
maaaaaybe 2. 
So, unless we get a larger vehicle, we're currently limited by that.

Boys or girls, but I'm kind of hoping for girls.
We know girls.
We have girl things.

-----------
But what about Alice? 
I have to admit I was a little caught off guard by this question.
No one asks this when you're pregnant with #2, do they?
But, I see how it's different.
Babies will come and babies will go.
But, I've been taking care of my friend's babies for the past year and she did great with that.
She's probably more prepared for the transition than most 2 year olds.
Most important, we feel that God wouldn't have called us to foster care and not Alice.
We're a package deal.

-----------
Is there really much need for foster care in Colorado Springs?
This is the area where I have changed the most.
I was completely blind to the needs in my own city.
We have heard horrifying stories in the trainings.
And the thing is, they weren't stories from years ago,
they were stories from these past few months!
My heart hurts for these children.
Children who are afraid to go home.
Children whose basic needs of food and love are not being met.
Children who are being sexually abused by people who are supposed to be protecting them.
Children who are being burned, beaten, isolated, tortured, and neglected.
We can't un-see what we've seen,
or un-hear what we've heard.
Our hearts are broken for these children.
Every child deserves a safe and loving family.
The end.

-----------
When is this all going down?
(No one has actually phrased the question like that.)
We just finished our homestudy and it should be submitted next week.
We'll be ready for placements in July...
which is only 10 days from now.
Crazy.

-----------
Will y'all have other biological children?
Super touchy subject for me lately.
I desperately want to be pregnant again.
Literally every time I open my computer I see a pregnancy announcement.
I cry every time.
Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED for my friends who are pregnant.
(I'm pretty sure I could easily name 20 of them.)
I know I need to unsubscribe to some blogs and Facebook feeds for awhile.
The constant belly pictures, morning sickness/food cravings, 
and pregnancy updates are a little much for me right now.
(It's not you. It's me.)
I believe it'll be better once we have our first placement,
but right now, it's really hard.
It was our plan to be pregnant by now, 
but we know we need to be obedient to the Lord's calling and begin fostering first.
I long for another little person in our home.

-----------
Other things no one has directly said, but we know has been thought...

You guys are weird.
No duh.
Surely this wasn't first thing that tipped you off.

Foster parents are money hungry people who run mini-orphanages.
We are no longer in 1960.
Sure, I'm sure there are still really crappy people doing foster care,
but that is CERTAINLY not the norm.
If you're doing it for the money, you will be very disappointed.
Yes, there is money involved; a monthly stipend depending on the needs of the child.

If you see us in one of those self-driving Google cars, you'll know our secret...
we became wealthy from foster care.
But, chances are, that's not going to happen.
From what we've gathered, the stipend covers the cost of food/formula, diapers, clothing, and personal items...as it should...and that's about all.

Y'all have lost your minds. Foster kids are 30 shades of messed up.
Well, first of all, God told us to do this.
If anyone has a problem with it, they should take it up with the Big Guy.

Secondly, every child who comes into care has either been abused or neglected.
Every. Single. One.
Will they have issues? Most likely.
If your mother regularly dipped your feet into boiling water as a discipline technique,
you may have some issues, right?
Right.

Again, we feel called to this.
It's going to be hard, but we know it's going to be worth it.

Also, by only fostering babies/toddlers under 2, it'll look different.
I don't think you'll need to worry about your child hearing the 
f-bomb, or anything, when they come over for a play date. :)
We may one day be one of the AMAZING people who foster older children/teens,
but for now, this is what we believe will work for us.

-----------
So, I think that about sums it up for now!
I'm happy to answer any questions, if you have any.


P.S. We don't feel like we're doing anything spectacular.
We aren't special.
No gold stars needed or wanted.
I read this blog post (by Cassie & Co.) and felt I could've written it.
She said what my heart was feeling.
It's not about us.

P.P.S Here's a little peek into the "new baby's room", as Alice calls it:
It's a work in progress. :)

"That tastes tasty."

(One of my favorite things Alice has been saying.)

My top 3 favorite consumables in the world= coffee, chocolate, and wine.
Nutella isn't far behind.

I just made some coffee.
Added some cream and a spoonful of Nutella.
Awesomeness.

Tomorrow I will try it iced.
Oh yeah!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Zoo!

Alice wanted to celebrate her parent's wedding anniversary by going to the zoo!
(Not really. I made that up.)

We had the entire monkey house to ourselves.
A unique experience...especially in the summer.



Checking out the view...
and the smoke from the High Park fire that blew in today.

Grizzly watching with friends:

Alice is still not a huge fan of feeding the giraffes.


Alice talked about petting a wallaby the entire drive home.
It was a highlight, for sure.
I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo of it!

Fun morning!

Four!

Today is our anniversary!



That was my favorite day.

Every year Ben and I loudly sing this song to each other:
(I chose the sing along version.
You know you want to.)

It's quite possibly one of the cheesiest songs ever.
Makes me laugh.

Alice doesn't find it nearly as funny as we do.
Today she kept saying, "No! No! I don't like it!"

I love my husband x 1,000,000,000,000,000.
Thank you, Ben, for choosing me!

Friday, June 1, 2012

InstaMay

Dear May,
You were a good month.
A crazy busy month, but one filled with lots of memories.
See you next year!
Love, Melissa