court approaches

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Slagells will have their day in court. It's actually only three weeks later than what they originally estimated. For DJFS, we're going to consider this a win.

We're told that we will go to the judge's chambers for a brief question and answer session based on whatever the judge wants to know about us. Stuff like why we want to adopt Mr. B and Baby R, the strength of our marriage (Isn't that laughable? The standards to adopt a child versus just birth one are very, very far apart.), any info he wants to know about the kids and their future based on what he read in their report, and maybe he'll talk to Mr. B if he will cooperate. Then all the rest of the family will be invited in. Not to the chambers, though. We were asked about how many people would be coming, and I said, 'Not too many. We estimate less than 20.' They laughed and said, 'tell your attorney you'll need the big courtroom reserved.' Thus, everyone else will join in the big courtroom where he'll do the official pronouncement stuff, allow the kids to bang the gavel, pose for pictures, etc.

Now I have to decide what to wear.

tuesday parenting

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"I experience this daily, recognizing again and again that rather than being Jesus, I am needing Jesus. And this realization has been my deliverance. I fail in my efforts to be Jesus to my children because I am not Jesus.

We can never replace Jesus in our children's lives. We don't even do the work of Jesus in our children's lives. We do the work of parents, which it to point our children to Jesus. And then Jesus does his own work - with or without us.
In the times when I feel like I fail most - when I dissolve before my children into anger and helplessness - he covers and forgives my exhaustion, sin, and limitations. He teaches me that his own work in my children's lives is not dependent upon me, that even in my weakness I am living out before my children the most essential truth of our lives: all of us are in severe need of this glorious and merciful Savior."
  - Leslie Leyland Fields

Fields, Leslie Leyland. "Parenting is Your Highest Calling": and eight other myths that trap us in worry and guilty. (Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press, 2008) 135-146, 143.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Still waiting for more news this week. We will hopefully have a court date soon, but if not, we will continue to work on our patience. In the meantime, I have exciting new possibilities to think about. I think I'll fill my mind with those prospects. I'll think about exciting possibilities, new music, new books, new friends, fresh starts, and the list of graces that grows ever longer week by week.

267. dedicated servants
268. noisy, joyful praises
269. God working through adults and kids alike
270. a community where what's typical is unusual - where the majority instead of the minority serve with gladness
271. smoothly functioning technology
272. blue and yellow generic certificates - the first pieces of documentation where our children are listed by their new names
273. free replacement of a crown
274. sweet relief of air conditioning
275. friends with skills and willing to help fix broken household items
276. the promise of new friendship
277. families who look like ours, validation for our children
278. my children's joy at watching their uncle play football
279. hazy mornings after summer rain
280. pinatas in the sanctuary
281. children in the sanctuary
282. lazy afternoons with overseas friends
283. once AGAIN the sweet anticipation of the wait

forward progress

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm behind again this week, but only because I thought our computer had broken. It was a confusing problem. Wendell came home last night and worked on it for a couple hours before he figured it out. It wasn't broken. We had just forgotten to check one thing. I felt stupid, but at least Wendell also didn't figure it out right away. At least it's not broken.

This past week, we finally signed the adoptive placement papers and met with our attorney. We are official now. We are no longer a foster family. All the papers completed and signed, case is filed with the court, and by the end of the week, we'll have a date for the judge to bang his gavel and say it's over! Well, it's not over by any means, but there is a tremendous weight that is slowly being lifted off of us. Every step forward is freeing us a little more. I regret the time that we've spent under this weight. Not that I regret any of the moments spent with our children, but I regret that the weight of the unknown future has robbed us of some enjoyment. Baby R is 19 months old, and even though she's spent almost her entire life with us, I feel like I've missed the bulk of it. I did not enjoy her infant stage as much as I wish I would have been able to. I'm looking forward to the future and not worrying about that aspect. There is plenty to worry about for my children, but whether or not they will be my children is not a worry I will have any more.

Now my worries will be all about the future. How and where we will raise our children. How we will deal with adoption, birth families, openness, racism, integration, and all of that. What our calling and future is in the foster care system. I'm excited to move forward.


Monday, July 11, 2011

It's VBS week here. So I'm busy, but even when I'm not busy, I'm distracted. I have a couple posts brewing in my head, but they are unlikely to make it out coherently today. In the meantime, I'm still counting...

250. the quietness of a pensive, peaceful morning
251. financial relief for essential healthcare
252. access to materials we're not "supposed" to have - an unexpected blessing for our children
253. sticky hands and tired chidlren
254. the gift of free, private swimming time
255. protection for children and families who desperately need it
256. reliving my childhood, playing in the pool with my siblings
257. a husband who gives up precious sleeping hours to build his children a toy
258. joyous leaping and bouncing
259. deep green hostas grown so large they crowd out weeds
260. tower of donuts. with sprinkles.
261. friends and family joined in celebration
262. matching uncle and nephew baseball caps
263. blowing out your own birthday candles
264. the second of many birthday celebrations to come
265. progress towards finalization
266. a family for our kids' older sister


what a difference a year makes

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mr. B's birthday, 2010

Tonight we celebrated Mr. B's birthday. Next week we'll have VBS all week, so there won't be time for a party. I don't remember enjoying a birthday party so much in quite a while. Once everyone had left, I asked Mr. B how he felt about the night. He said he had 'super much fun'. Then he added, "I didn't think I would blow out the candles. I blowed out the candles." I said, "yes, you did!" He says, "Last time I couldn't blow out the candles, but this time I did."

That small little statement has just overwhelmed me all night. He had such pride in his little voice. Something I hadn't even thought twice about, but Mr. B had been thinking about it all night. He knew it was a big deal. Big enough that it became the primary descriptor of his entire party. Something I didn't even remember until he reminded me, but you know what? He's right. It's a big deal.

In the picture above, you can see a bit of the expression on Mr. B's face from his 3rd birthday. It was full of anxiety and fear for him. He didn't smile much. He couldn't/wouldn't blow out the candles. He made the appropriate facial expression, but it was Wendell who actually blew out the candle for him. We have some video of his 3rd birthday party that I find so disturbing now. He was a different child. That was a little boy overwhelmed by anxiety, fighting depression, struggling to trust, longing for forever.

This year was so very different. There was still anxiety, but so little that probably only Wendell and I noticed. There was mostly just a happy little boy who enjoyed celebrating his birthday with his family and friends. A little boy who is currently conked out in his new sleeping bag, listening to his new CD, doing a 'sleepover' with his older brother in the bottom bunk. Tonight, we could put Mr. B to bed with promises of next year's birthday, with assurances that he will be celebrating his birthday with us for the rest of his life. Tonight, my little boy could blow out his own candles.

Mr. B's birthday, 2011


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

  • The 4th has totally thrown me off. I'm still stuck on Tuesday, even though my calendar clearly says it's Wednesday. As a result, I cannot put coherent thoughts together; thus this random list of items for today's post.
  • We've been swimming a lot the past few days. Baby R thinks that she can swim. She's sure of it, in fact, and she holds you in contempt if you try to indicate to her that she needs a floaty or needs to be held. The pool is amusingly green right now. We've dumped in chlorine by the gallons, but it's just not getting better very fast. I'm pretending it's a lagoon.
  • We got a trampoline for the kids. It is much larger than I anticipated, and due to the design of the net, it looks a little like a circus in the backyard. I am undecided if I really like it or not.
  • Mr. B turns four next Monday. Four. years. old. It's ridiculous. I am not a fan of growing up.
  • My serious and important conversation did not actually go as I had hoped. It wasn't bad, but I kind of got the feeling I would be ignored. Which is ok in normal situations, but this one happens to be a pretty big deal as far as content. Also, I'm not wrong. Sometimes I am wrong, sometimes people have different opinions on various stuff, but in this particular instance, I'm not wrong. I feel uneasy about it even though the conversation's done. I feel at peace knowing that I did what I was supposed to, but still...unease.
  • I love So You Think You Can Dance. And Masterchef. Both of those shows make me feel capable of doing things that I am totally unable to do.
  • I am in love with the Zooey Deschanel previews. Whatever the new show she's going be on - not exactly sure what it's called, but the previews are hilarious. I'm a huge fan of the Deschanel sisters anyway. They are beautiful and talented, and they both have great style. Oh, yeah, they're funny on top of it.
  • I have not been running in five days because of a twinge on the side of my knee. It sucks. I'm behind in my training now, and I'm not very pleased about it.
  • My cousin is cleaning my teeth. She's in a dental hygienist program, and they have clinicals. It's super cheap, but very very long. By the end of my visits, it will have taken nine hours to do what can be done in a little over a half-hour in the dentist office. At least I'm not paying much, and I'm helping students learn. It's very altruistic. However, I found out today from the supervising dentist that I have two cavities. One I pretty much knew about, but the other is kind of underneath my crown. I asked what this meant. He says, "probably you'll need a new crown". Terrific. Because I keep hundreds of dollars just lying around for dental work at all times.
  • I currently have 24 bug bites from 40 minutes spent outdoors this evening weeding my back flowerbed. This proves that weeding is bad for my health, and I should probably never do it again.

growing up is hard to do

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I have to have a conversation this week that I don't want to have. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it's one of the most important conversations I may ever have. But it's sensitive, and it may be painful, and I'm upset and angry and sad and scared all at the same time.

Time to be a grown-up...
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