Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Parenting with Scripture

If you are a parent, you're going to want this book. It is an amazing tool. I discovered it a couple years ago and bought a case of them to give to families at church. Now I find myself needing it! It gives Scripture references for just about any topic that a child needs to learn about. It also includes discussion questions and application ideas. It is important to me that K.K. knows that my rules are not just her new mom's new rules, but these rules come from God. So, moms and dads, get your hands on a copy of Parenting with Scripture by Kara Durbin.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ups and Downs and Curves

This has been a week with lots of ups and downs for K.K. -- bad days and good days learning how to read, telling lies and telling the truth,...

It has also been one huge learning curve for me -- mostly learning what K.K. has and has not been taught, then teaching after the fact what is and is not appropriate in many different situations.

I'm emotionally exhausted after this rollercoaster ride of a week...I can only imagine how K.K. is feeling.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sick :(

I got a call from the school today. K.K. threw up. When I picked her up at school, she said she was feeling fine. However, she threw up again when we got home. The poor thing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Small victories

I was told that K.K. had bathrooming issues. The family that cared for her before she came "home" would wake her up to go to the bathroom around 11:00. I have continued that pattern each night. We have also talked about how taking care of her body is more important than any toy, doll, show, book, etc.

Yesterday, I heard K.K. get up around 5am (much earlier than her norm). She went to the bathroom and then went back to bed. At breakfast, I told her how proud I was that she was taking care of her body like that.

Tonight, I was just getting ready to wake K.K. up for our nightly trip to the bathroom when she got up on her own!!! I was elated. K.K. just smiled. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First day of school

Kilaharee was so excited about starting school today. She was still awake when I checked on her last night shortly after 9:00 and she was up bright and early (TOO EARLY) this morning.

When I asked her how school was, she said, "School went fabulous. I didn't have to go to the principal's office. The best thing was the media center, but we didn't get to take out any books because Miss Lotane was going to be back in a 'jippy' (jiffy)." She said she didn't make any friends, but she remembers Gabrielle, Sonu (sp?), and Samantha. The principal said she was a little teary this morning, but she pulled it together. I asked K.K. about it and she said she wanted to be at home. I told her that I wasn't at home, that I was at work and she would have more fun at school. (Although, I must admit that I did have fun at work...it was nice to talk to and be around adults!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Miss Lotane

K.K. and I met her teacher, Miss Lotane, today. She, too, is an adoptive mom -- and her daughter's nickname is K.K.! They have been together for 2 1/2 years. They also met one week and were together the next. It is so cool to see God's hand even in these details.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Love and Hurt

I was unpacking one of K.K.'s suitcases with her yesterday. We found a heart shaped box with some coins in it. One of her necklaces was inside as well. I just had the opportunity to look at it...on one side it says "Love", on the other "like you've never been hurt". Please pray with me that this statement will be true in her life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today's phone calls

My social worker called to tell me that my homestudy was approved by her supervisor and everything looks good.

Kilaharee's social worker called and arranged to visit us on Thursday morning to make sure we're all set and K.K. is settling in.

I called Kilaharee this evening to say goodnight. She said she is very excited about moving home!

Wow! I can hardly believe that I am bringing my daughter home tomorrow! God is so good!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kilaharee :)

I had dinner with my daughter last night and tonight. I arrived at her daycamp at 4:00 yesterday. Her social worker met me there. We worked on a puzzle together. Before the puzzle was half done she was sitting on my lap doing it with me. It was precious. At dinner, I mentioned that there were a lot of people praying for her and talking to Jesus about her. She started singing "Jesus loves me" to her own little tune.

She is a sweet, endearing little girl. I can't wait for everyone to meet her. I bring her home next Wednesday!

Interesting facts:
* nickname - K.K.
* favorite colors - red, pink, purple
* wants to play soccer
* likes Disney princesses and Dora
* likes animals, broccoli, and shrimp (I'm in trouble - she tried to encourage me to eat some shrimp by saying "try it, you might like it")

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I met with the little girl's social worker tonight. I will be meeting her on Wednesday and Thursdsay afternoons. If all goes well, she will be with me on August 13th!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's (possibly) a girl!

I spoke to my social worker between Backyard Clubs this afternoon. There is a 6 year old little girl in need of permanent placement. She is LEGALLY FREE for adoption! I am going to speak with her social worker later tonight to find out more information. If it looks like we would be a good "match", she could be placed with me by mid-August! (I have to point out that this would be 9 months from the time the process began...too funny!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Signs of life

My social worker just called. She was working on my home study and had wondered if my brother and his girlfriend had their baby yet so she decided to call. That's all. It seemed like a strange thing for her to call about (at least to me), but it's nice to know she was working on the home study!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Still waiting

For those of you checking in and wondering what's happening, I'm still waiting.

It has been 5 weeks since MAPP training ended...my social worker officially has one more week to finish my home study. I don't know how much I should push. Does the "squeaky wheel" really get the grease or just annoy the mechanic? I will wait until BYCs are over. If I still haven't heard anything, I will try contacting the social worker for an update.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


So, I'm in the "waiting room" of this journey again. 3 weeks have gone by and I am waiting for my social worker to finish my home study. My understanding was that she wanted to talk to me one more time before she completed the home study. I haven't heard from her at all. I have to remind myself that one of those weeks was a holiday week. She did say she had 6 weeks from our last class to finish the paperwork...so, I need patience as I wait out these next 3 weeks.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pray for wisdom

A friend asked me if I would be interested in adopting a teenage girl. Before that phone call, I had not even considered adopting an older child. Please pray for God's guidance as I make this decision.

UPDATE: When my friend told her husband that she mentioned adopting this young lady to me, he asked her if she wanted me to hate her. I guess that is a pretty clear sign this is probably not a good match for me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Applying MAPP training to real life

There is a family in our church that does foster care. They are on vacation this week and needed someone that has been CORI'ed by the state to watch a couple of their foster children. (This is known as respite care.) Since I have been CORI'ed and have completed the MAPP training (and with my social worker's approval), I was able to help them out. As I have been getting to know these two precious little boys, I am amazed that so many of the things we learned in MAPP training apply to them. The first thing I noticed is that the oldest one has been "parentified". His brother always asks him questions before he'll ask me. When the younger one doesn't know how to do something, the older one steps right in to show him how to do it or does it for him. The younger one won't get out of bed in the mornings until his brother tells him it's okay...even after I try to coax him out. Secondly, despite the older one being parentified, they are both emotionally very young.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting ready

Now that MAPP training is done and the home study will be completed in a few weeks, I need to prepare the apartment for placement before the craziness of my summer begins. Here's the preliminary "to do" list:

1) Move the desktop computer out of the "kids' room" into a public area
2) Get beds and dressers
3) Make room in the closets (a daunting task!)

I know there will be more to do...most of which I will not be able to do until I know who the child is (or children are).

I can't wait to meet him/her/them!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MAPP graduation

I officially completed MAPP training!

I received my certificate from MAPP trainers, Deb and Sharon, tonight. My social worker will have the home study done in 6 weeks (or less).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Legal mumbo-jumbo

Tonight, one of the DSS attorneys spoke to us about the legal part of this journey. There is so much that has to take place for an adoption to be finalized. There is so much to take into consideration...legally free, legal risk, open adoption, closed adoption,...legal, legal, legal.

Things I learned...
1) Once a child is in my care AND is legally free for adoption, the child has to reside with me for at least 6 months before the adoption can be finalized.

2) Open adoptions can be negotiated to help birth parents make the decision to sever parental rights. It can be used like a settlement to avoid the final ruling by a trial judge. As in any court case, the "deal" may be placed on the table at any time and a decision will need to be made quickly.

3) Open adoption scenarios can run the gamut from the adoptive parent sending a picture and an update to the birth parents on an annual basis to the child and birth parents having supervised visits 3-4 times per year.

Please pray for God's wisdom when the time comes to make these legal decisions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

"One slightly negative thing"

My social worker came last Wednesday for the second home visit. Praise God, I felt much more comfortable this time around.

During our time together, she explained that there is only one slightly negative thing that could make this process longer -- the fact that I'm single. This was not news to me...the first social worker that came to do the physical standards visit said this could take two or more years because I'm single. However, my social worker said that this negative was not a reflection on me, but on the bias of some social workers that want a "traditional" family for the children in their care. She reassured me that she did not think that the waiting part of this journey would take two years.

Anyway, I gathered from our conversation that I will not be "screened out" at the end of the training!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Overwhelmed with gratitude

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, encouragement and support that I have received since I shared how God is leading me on this adoption journey.

During the MAPP training last night, I was able to share several stories of how encouraging and supportive everyone has been. After the meeting, one of the guys told me he was relieved to hear that people from my church supported me in this journey. He was worried that a single woman adopting a child would be frowned upon in the church and that I might even lose my job because of it. He explained that in his previous church, they never would have supported such a thing. I have to admit that I was shocked by that statement. I am so thankful that "my church" is not like that!

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27a)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A precious gift

This simple birthday gift meant the world to me...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pray for this child

Please pray with me for this child...

Dear Lord,

At this time, I do not know who this child is, but I know You do. I praise You because this child is fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I don't know when I will meet this child, but I know that all the days ordained for this child were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Prepare this child's heart for the day when we will meet.

I don't know where this child is right now, but You saw this child in the womb. This child's frame was not hidden from You when made in the secret place.

I have no idea what this child has lived through or why this child is in the care of DSS. However, I trust that Your plans for this child are plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give hope and a future. Hem this child in - behind and before - with Your love and protection. Keep this child safe.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

from Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 29

Pray for me

Please pray for me as God leads you...

On May 1st, I went up to the North Shore to spend the day with God. Here is an excerpt from my prayer journal:

Father God,

There are so many thoughts and feelings all jumbled up inside of me regarding adoption. I am excited ~ about this child you have prepared for me, to be a mom, to help a child, to share Your love. I am also nervous ~ about our first encounter, about my ability to care for this child and his/her needs, about the changes that will come (cause You know how good I am with change). God, I need Your guidance and wisdom.

Please pray that God would guide every step of this journey and that I will trust Him all the way. Also, please pray that I would be salt and light in the MAPP class.

God is in the details

When I told my friend, Susan, about the adoption, she shared how she had been talking to someone else about me and adoption. Here is a part of an email she recently sent to me...

As I mentioned to you, I've prayed for a long time about adoption for you because I just knew how desperately you wanted a child. I feel like though you never told me, God had already shown me that part of you.

I love how God moves in the hearts of His people to pray! I love how He answers those prayers!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Q & A

Would you like to adopt a boy or a girl?
Either. It's interesting how some people assumed I would want a girl and others thought a boy. I don't have a preference either way. I was reading profiles of children waiting to be adopted and I was surprised that I was drawn to the boys more than I was to the girls.

What age?
The ideal age-range is 4-8. (Hence, my degree in Early Childhood Education.)

Would you consider a sibling group?
At first, my answer was no, but God has since changed my mind. I am willing to adopt same-gender siblings if that is His will.

Navigating the adoption journey through DSS

Of course, I know that this journey is just beginning. It is a journey that will last the rest of my life and the life of the child God has chosen to join my family. However, this part of the journey, the application and training process, seems so long. It is definitely a lesson in waiting for me.

Thanksgiving week, I began calling the toll-free adoption number I found online every few days. I waited...

I finally heard back from someone the first week in December. This person gave me the phone number of a social worker in the Worcester DSS office. So, I began calling and leaving messages. And, I waited...

Another two weeks went by before I finally spoke with a live person at DSS. She said she would send me an application packet in the mail. I received it on December 20th. It was lengthy, but I wasted no time...I had it in the mail on December 21st. Then, I waited...

The month of January came and went. I waited...

In February, a social worker called to set up a time when she could come into my home and do the "physical standards" evaluation. The social worker came on Valentine's Day. She had a short punchlist of things that needed to be addressed. For those of you thinking of adopting, be sure you have a bathmat for the bathtub. ;-) She said she would send me a letter with the punchlist and asked me to respond in writing how and when I would complete each task once I received the letter. For the letter, I waited...

I received the letter two weeks later and responded within a day. Then, again, I waited...

The month of March came and went. I waited...

In April, I received a call from DSS saying that they were beginning a MAPP (Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) training class at the end of April. This is a 10-week training required of potential foster and adoptive parents. Along with this training, there are also home visits. My first home visit was on May 21st and the next one is scheduled for June 4th. The MAPP training will be completed on June 17th.

So, that's where I'm at on the journey right now...

Waiting for the home visits and the training to be over...

Waiting to find out if I am approved...

Waiting for the day when I meet this child, my child...

It could be two months...

It could be two years...

I will wait for God's perfect timing.

When Love Takes You In

In the beginning...

Some of you may be wondering how this all began...

Adoption has been a thought in the back of my mind for years. I went through my journals to find this entry:

November 7, 2001
"On my way home from work today, I found myself crying out to You -- not knowing if I'd ever get married, sharing my heart's desire to have children, knowing that I would not be able to adopt because of financial security. At the same time I thought about the possibility of being the guardian of one of the families that I am close to (making sure You knew that I didn't want anything to happen to them). Tonight, my friend Claudia im'ed me and asked me to call her. I did. She asked me if I would consider being the guardian of their children should something happen to Hank and her. God, You are so faithful to me. You know the desires of my heart."

Wow! I am always amazed how God is in the details!

Well, time went by, I got a job as the Director of Children's Ministries and finances were no longer an issue. However, I was living in a one-bedroom apartment and adoption was still not an option...in fact, I didn't even think about it.

Last summer, I decided it was time to move when my landlord chose to raise my rent yet again. So, I found a two bedroom apartment in Shrewsbury. At that point, space was no longer an issue, but the idea of adoption didn't even cross my mind.

In November, Jodie and I went to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert in Lowell. (For those of you that don't know, SCC is a great advocate for adoption.) During the concert there was a number in the corner of the backdrop that kept increasing throughout the night. It was small and I'm sure most people didn't even notice it, but it was annoying me. After the intermission, SCC started talking about that "annoying" number. He said that number represented the number of children throughout the world that became orphans during the time we were at the concert. WOW! On our way home, Jodie bluntly asked, "So, why don't you adopt?" As I shared my story, I realized that there were no longer any barriers. I spent hours praying and researching adoption when I got home. It was then that I decided I would like to adopt a child through the Department of Social Services here in Massachusetts.

Friday, May 30, 2008

This probably isn't the best time...

On Thanksgiving Day, after my brother, Ginger and the boys left, I said to my parents, "This probably isn't the best time to tell you, but I am pursuing adopting a child through DSS."

So, for all of you that haven't heard yet...I am planning to adopt a child!