January 13, 2015

Our First Foster Care Placement

Yes, you read that right...we have our first foster care placement! This last week has been a whirlwind and I still can't believe we have a baby girl at home now. 

As I've previously mentioned, we recently got certified to foster, but were going to wait until we move (this Friday!) to open our home. We had said we'd do ages 3 and under, and figured we would get a toddler so didn't want them to have to move again shortly after being placed, so we all decided it would be best to wait til we move to open. We didn't anticipate getting an infant, which the moving wouldn't effect as much. 

Our previous case worker had left our agency right after Christmas, so we had a new case worker whom I hadn't even met yet. The plan was to touch base after we moved and were settled. 

But then last Monday I got a phone call that changed everything. :) I was rocking Maeva for her nap and my phone rang. I thought it was something about the closing of our house, so I went ahead and answered it. Turns out it was another case worker at our agency who had a potential placement she wanted to run by me. I told her we were only open for respite at the time, but was curious what it was. She gave me what little details she had and I told her we'd pray about it and let her know ASAP. 

When I hung up, I immediately started praying and crying because I knew this was what we were supposed to do and it was all a little overwhelming. I was still rocking Maeva and she said "Mama can I pray for you?" So of course I started crying even harder as she said her simple little prayer that blessed me more than you can imagine. 

I should back up and say that the night before, Patrick and I had prayed together that the Lord would stretch us in our faith in the coming year and use us however he see fit to glorify Him. Note to self: He answers those prayers really quickly. ;) Totally kidding but it did make me realize - this is what we asked for. We would be moving in about a week, had done zero packing, and were going to bring a baby with special needs home from the NICU? Almost everybody we told looked at us as if we were crazy. But thankfully we had an amazing family and group of friends supporting us in prayer and encouraging us along the way. 

But I can tell you - I have NEVER felt such a firm direction from God in my life as to this is what we were to do. Each day I spent at the NICU, I learned more about her medical conditions. If it were me in my own strength? I would have been running for the door. I am not medically inclined and it's overwhelming to think of doing all these things while caring for a 2 and 4 year old. But the Lord continued to remind me - you are not alone. Be obedient and I will sustain you. And wow has he ever! 

I called the case worker back Monday afternoon and told her we were interested. At this point another family was still deciding, so they would have the first option for placement. If they said no, the case worker was going to contact me. I never heard back that night, so the next day I texted her to see if she had an update. She still hadn't heard so we continued to wait. 

That night our church had a worship night specifically for those fostering & adopting, or those considering it, and for those wanting to support people who do in prayer. Our church has multiple campuses and this wasn't at the campus we normally attend, but thankfully a friend mentioned it to me. So we went, and it was wonderful. The worship was amazing and as we were singing"Oceans" I looked down and both Maeva and Manny were raising their hands singing, and I started ugly crying. (The first of many) I felt the Lord then confirm to me that even though we hadn't heard anything, we would still be offered this baby. And we were absolutely to say yes. 

On Wednesday morning, I had decided I would wait until noon to text the worker again for an update. But I didn't have to because about 11:45 she texted to say the baby was still available and are we interested? And so the rollercoaster ride began! I spent the next several hours on the phone with different case workers and learning next steps. We planned to go meet her that evening. 

The first night Patrick and I went to visit her in the NICU was so surreal. We showed our ID's, and they gave us a name tag that said "Parent". And it hit me like a ton of bricks. This sweet baby needed us to love her as our own. They told us to go in back, and we were like  - where do we go?? We were clueless, so they gave us her room number. We walked on back, and when we entered and saw the cutest little baby lying there all by herself in this big hospital room my ugly cry came forth. Again. ;) 

This is the first time I held her. :) We spent a couple hours with her and learning more about her from the nurses and when it was time to leave, I already had a hard time leaving her by herself. Yes, she'd been there 2 months and been just fine. But she quickly stole a piece of my heart and I couldn't wait to get back in the morning. 

I have lots more to say but I am out of time. I had to come to the new house to meet a delivery guy so I'm posting this from my phone. But they're done now, so I need to head home and start packing!! Hopefully I will be back soon to share more. I wish I could share her beautiful face but unfortunately I can't. She is definitely a little miracle and I'm thankful the Lord has blessed us with being able to care for her! 

January 3, 2015

Christmas Card 2014

I meant to post our Christmas card for Faith's Christmas Card carousel and time got away from me (so predictable!) But better late than never! 

This was the first year since having kids that we didn't do professional pictures. My mom took the picture on the front when we were at the beach this summer, so I just decided to use it and do something different for the back. 

Since I kind of fell off the blogging wagon this year, for the back I decided to do a little newsletter type template I found online. I always love reading updates from people when they include them with their cards, but have never done one before. 
I know this is late, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! :) 

November 25, 2014

Free Christmas Printables: Deer Head & Fair Isle

Last Christmas I changed up my mantle decorations, and designed a couple of prints to go on it. I never had the chance to share them, so thought I would this year! I didn't take a picture of my mantle fully decorated (that I can find anyway), but I did take a few of the deer head print up close, probably to send to my mom for feedback I'm guessing. :)

I printed mine as 11x14 prints at SAM'S for less than $2 each. Dollar Tree has 11x14 black frames, so I just bought 2 and spray painted them gold and also added a coat of the glitter blast gold spray paint.   
As you can see, the deer head has a glitter look to it, so you can print it and call it good, or if you're feeling feisty, you can add some actual glitter to it once you print it. I just covered the deer head in regular glue, then glittered it. I decided to do the red nose separate so it could be removed, and I also thought it might be easier to glitter that way. So after I glittered the whole deer head, I cut a small circle out of cardstock, and covered it in glue and red glitter, then taped it on to the deer head. My reason for doing this? Well, Manny was (still is) obsessed with deer, moose, etc., and I knew he wouldn't want me to take this down (I was right) after the holiday season, so I took the red nose off and left it on our mantle.  
Again, not the best picture because I just found a picture of the kids where you could see the mantle in the background and zoomed in. But it gives you an idea of what I did with it in my regular decor. I would take a better picture, but I've since taken it down because I had to re-do the mantle since the realtor is going to be coming soon to take pictures of this house we're in because the owner is going to put it on the market since we're moving out soon. Never a dull moment here! :)

If you'd like to download either print, I've included them below in 3 sizes: 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14.

Tis the Season! :)

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