Friday, March 28, 2014
As we gathered around the kitchen table at the appointed time waiting for Kerri to join us, L called us before we could call him. Hmmm, I guess he was really looking forward to it.
It was a great conversation and the best part is that all three of them got to "meet" each other and engage with each other without having to wait until April 12. Zach and Sean both wanted to ask L a silly question. Sean asked if he liked unicorns ("Umm, I don't think they're real, are they?") and Zach asked if he liked cookies ("Oh yeah, I like all kinds of food!"). It was a real icebreaker between the three of them. It was also good for us to see how well they all got along.
Before we knew it, 30 minutes had gone by and we needed to say our goodbyes. This was the awkward and difficult part. L had a hard time as did we.
In the past few weeks Zach had expressed some concern that he (Zach) wouldn't like him (L). When it was all over Mike asked Zach what he thought and his response was "He's pretty cool..." And his smile added even more to that. Sean said pretty much the same thing.
It's heart-breaking to end a conversation and not tell him that we love him. All we want to do is hold and love on him but we can't for now. Some people might ask "How can you 'love' him when you just met?" My answer is simple, it's the love of God. The day we met Zach and Sean we fell in love with them. The same is true for L. We can't explain it beyond that.
We thank God for this journey and ask him to bless our endeavor to bring L home. Thank you for praying with us.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
We were both nervous and excited and sort of wondering how everything would go. When we got there we texted our social worker and told her we were outside and she said she, L and his social worker were waiting inside.
When we walked through the door, here was this boy that, at first glance, was everything we were looking for. Mike shook his hand and Kerri gave him a hug. The waitress told us our table was ready and we followed her.
On the way, L fell back to talk to Mike and said "I haven't been able to sleep since Friday, I've been so excited about this!" Mike said "Yeah, we're pretty excited too..."
We sat with Logan between us and our social workers across the table.
L is very conversational. Mike mentioned later that children in general and boys in particular don't usually engage in conversation with adults - especially those they don't know. L just chimed right in and we were off to the races.
The conversation was easy and we listened, laughed and learned a lot about him.
He said that several people have told him that he was too old, that nobody would want to adopt him and that he needed to accept that and figure out what he was going to do with the rest of his life. HE'S FIFTEEN!!! With that, Mike put his arm around him and pulled him into a hug. L reciprocated and the two of them just sat there a minute in an embrace that could melt the Grinch's heart. It was a very emotional moment.
Our next visit with him will be Saturday, April 12 in Birmingham for an activity and lunch.
It's going to be difficult to wait that long but there aren't any other options. In the meantime we have told him we will call him twice a week and Mike is texting with him a LOT.
Mike told our social worker that it's frustrating because this is like dating.
You have someone that you really like and you want to impress them and get them to like you as well but you don't want to be a stalker or that creepy person that calls all the time for no reason. You don't want to be too clingy but you don't want to be too distant, too aloof. So you wait for the appropriate time to make another contact and just keep the ball rolling when what you want to do is pick it up and shoot a goal!
Now imagine if both sets of parents were watching every move and telling you to hold off and slow down. Our social workers are those parents and we agree with them but it doesn't make it any easier.
We hope that when Zach and Sean meet L for the first time on April 12 everything goes smoothly. The next visit will hopefully be be a spend-the-weekend visit sometime later in April.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, We are both very encouraged by what we have experienced thus far.
Please continue to pray for L, for us, for our family and our future together.
Monday, March 24, 2014
I wanted to let you both know that [his] worker met with him on Friday to tell him that an inquiry had been made and to see if he wanted to visit. She e-mailed me this morning to tell me that he was a bit in shock because he did not ever think he would have another opportunity to be adopted again. He also looked at the pictures and said that you have a nice house, and commented that he liked the idea of being the older brother. He is very excited about tomorrow, and has already called his worker this morning to express his excitement!
He didn't think he would have another opportunity to be adopted. It breaks my heart that a fifteen-year-old boy is in a situation he thinks is hopeless. Please pray for him, that he would see God in us, that we are HIS light shining on him, and that he finds joy by us showing him God's love.
Please pray for us as we meet him, that our nervous excitement is controlled, that we can remember all the things we need to ask and talk about, and that we are all, he and us, relaxed enough to enjoy ourselves as we meet for the first time.
We meet him tomorrow night for dinner.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Kerri and Mike will get to meet him next week when his social worker brings him to Montgomery. and we meet for dinner at a restaurant. Zach and Sean will not be there since the staff felt it would be best if we got to meet him first; it would be less chaotic and overwhelming.
We can't TELL YOU how excited we are about this!
The plan proposed by the staff is for us to meet him for dinner with our social worker and his social worker. The next step is to schedule a visit on a Saturday in April somewhere in Birmingham. The next visit would be for him to spend the weekend with us.
He does not yet know anyone has inquired about him and his social worker is going to meet him over the weekend to tell him about us and show him a scrapbook we made that shows us, our kitties and our home.
There is so much to think about. So much to plan. So much to do.
Please keep praying!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
For Mike, he just really needed to get a sense of if it was going to be days or weeks.
Well, basically, in order for a visit to occur, all the DHR people involved in the case need to meet and officially sign-off on whether or not we are a match. While we have been approved to be adoptive parents, we still needed to matched to the boy we asked about before we could schedule a visit and more.
That meeting occurs twice a month, in the first and third weeks. Based on where we are in the calendar and what was needed to have the meeting, it was not possible for it to happen the first week of April. So, it appeared our case would be "staffed" during the third week of April.
This is actually a good thing because, assuming we all like each other and we want him to join our family, we have to consider what to do about him finishing the school year where he lives now. This puts the whole thing so close to the end of the year that he would probably stay put until summer.
Yesterday (Wednesday) I got a call from our social worker and she told me that the county where he lives is not required to stick to that schedule and they would having the staffing meeting today (Thursday)!
What this means is that this afternoon we will know, for sure, whether or not we are officially considered a match and we can then set up our first visit.
What this also means is that, assuming we all like each other, it will be emotionally difficult to have this child that you desperately want at home with you unable to be there because of school. It is still MUCH more to his benefit to finish the year where he is.
We have talked as a family about how this process would occur and it would mean Friday trips to the county where he lives to pick him up and Sunday trips to take him back. But we covet whatever the Lord allows for us. Kerri mentioned this might also help him make the break with his foster family and friends before being uprooted yet again.
Please continue to pray for us.
We are a mixed-bag of emotions and we need peace and guidance on how to proceed in a manner that is best for EVERYONE. Sean says he is looking forward to it. Zach says "Sure, whatever." Kerri says "Wow!" and Mike says "How much is this gonna cost??" :o)
Our faith is in the Lord and we know He will provide for our every need.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
We submitted our home study to the state office in August 2013. At the same time, there was some turnover and turmoil and our file was lost. Our file was lost three times.
Finally, in January, it was assigned to a caseworker and we received our approval on February 24. It means that we are able to locate and adopt a child again.
Sometime during December or January, we both started looking at Heart Gallery just to look. Each month they feature a child and the child that month was an older boy, age 15. Kerri showed his profile to Mike and he dismissed it out of hand because we were looking for a little brother for Sean, not an older brother for Zach. This was a big, fundamental difference,
A few days later Mike took a look at the profile Kerri had shown him and it really connected. After a few days he told Kerri that he could just not get him off his mind and that, maybe, this is the child we are supposed to adopt, despite what common sense, in-depth planning and sage advice said to do. Maybe, just maybe, our God is bigger than all that and an older child is what God wants us to have.
So, before being approved, we notified our social worker that there was this child we were interested in looking at for a possible adoption. Until we were approved we were not allowed to know anything more in detail about him than what we saw on Heart Gallery.
After our approval, we received a case summary and it was rough, pretty much a worst case scenario. We spent time reading and discussing its contents and whether or not we could proceed. Mike kept asking how we could have gotten it so wrong, that everything in Mike said this was the child but everything they were reading about him said NO!
Kerri guessed right and it turns out, we were sent the wrong summary (Praise God!) and when we met with our social worker on March 4 we were given the correct summary.
When we read the correct case summary there was nothing that jumped out and said it couldn't work. We asked more than a few questions and asked that his case summary be updated with the answers.
While we have not yet received the updated case summary we have gotten the answers and it continues to look good. The next step is to set up a time to visit with him and see how Zach and Sean get along.
The big concern is that he was put into foster care and later successfully adopted and then that family broke apart and he was made to go back to foster care and look for another family. So, he not only lost his birth family but he also lost what was supposed to be his forever family. This is a situation that is NEVER supposed to happen but, in this case, did. He lost everything he had not just once, but twice.
Please pray with us for clarity and discernment. Neither of us feel there is anything we can't work with but we know, for a variety of reasons, it will not be an easy path we take. That said, our God is bigger than any of these problems and we fully rely on Him to guide us, and protect us, and provide for our every need.