Monday, November 28, 2011

Gidget Goes to 1

This is the first day of our new big adventure.  Pastor Husband and I got a staff position at a church in Indiana.  We've never even been to Indiana!  We'll be starting up ministry to children and youth.  Pastor Husband will be leading praise and worship.  To say we're excited is an understatement.

Today we left my parents' house and left the kiddos with them so we could get our stuff out of storage in NM.  We drove over 600 miles today.  I'm exhausted.  We picked up our Penske truck in Lubbock, TX and drove on in to Clovis.  In the morning we will go load our belongings in our truck and head out.

I had big plans to take lots of pictures and post them every day but that didn't happen today.  Maybe tomorrow?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I'm not stressing either way.  I have too much to do to stress.

I'm off to bed.  I'll update again tomorrow night.  :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gidget Goes Reviewing: A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker is an awesome read that is a great reminder that all children are a gift from God…a good and perfect gift.  This is the true story of Amy Julia and her daughter, Penny.  Amy Julia’s world is shattered when her daughter is born with Down Syndrome but time and God soon teach her that every child is a good and perfect gift from above.  This book made me laugh and it made me cry.  It made me hurt for the babies who are sent to their deaths because they’re not perfect in the eyes of the world.  Amy Julia gives readers a great view of life with a child who has special needs, both the good and the hard.  I highly recommend A Good and Perfect Gift for anyone from teens to older adults.
I was provided with a copy of A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker from Bethany House Publishers for review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Gidget Goes Reviewing: The Mercy by Beverly Lewis

The Mercy is the final installment of The Rose trilogy by Beverly Lewis.  This book provides the end of a wonderful tale of two sisters.  It brings a delightful ending to a story of love, love lost, friendship, and family.  This story took me for a wonderful ride.  I knew where the story just HAD to go but had no idea how Ms. Lewis would get me there.  I was both surprised and satisfied with the final installment that I had been waiting for with great anticipation.  Without giving the story away, the ending was no surprise but the curves thrown and corners that were rounded were wonderful!  This book, this entire trilogy is a must read for those who love a good Amish tale.
I was provided a copy of The Mercy by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House Publishers for review.  All thoughts and opinions of this book are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beth on being adopted as an infant

Today's adoption story comes from my dear friend, Beth.  Beth and I met about 6 or so years ago online.  She has been an awesome friend and I have loved getting to know her.  She lives in East Texas and owns her own business.  She's the momma to several little doggies (I just love seeing pics of them!) and has done a wonderful job of helping her dad raise her younger brother.  Beth is a very inspirational young woman!  Thank you, Beth, for sharing with us.

Adoption has always been something very special to me, since I was adopted as a baby.  To try and put it simply, my aunt & uncle adopted me from my aunt's older sister, and became my parents.  It was not an easy process though, adoption never is.

I was born early on a snowy morning in late December to a woman who was wonderful but into some habits that were not.  She was older and already a mom to two grown children:  a daughter that would become pregnant with her oldest 6 months after her mother realized she was pregnant, and a son.  I could have been terminated, but thankfully my birth mother did not believe in that.  She gave birth to me, and my family being the close one that it was was all there.  My future mother held me not knowing that one day she would become "Mom" to me.  My birth mother took me home, where ever home was at the time.  At one time after I was born I believe her home was with her older sister, another aunt of my maternal grandparents family.  I was loved and cared for, but my birth mother knew that she could not continue to care for me as I should be cared for.  Five months after I was born she gave me to the state of Texas to be placed for adoption.  From there I believe she moved on to another place to live, and went about her life as best as she could.

Little did she know, her younger sister & her husband had already been trying to get pregnant for about 4 years now, without any luck.  When the news came through the family grapevine that the older sister had given up her newest daughter for adoption, my future parents knew what they wanted to do.
They started the process with the state, filled out the paperwork, passed all kinds of tests and background checks.  They were allowed supervised visits with me in a secure facility every 2-3 weeks for only 30 minutes at a time.  They were fighting the State of Texas for custody, so they had to have a lawyer to help with the proceedings.  An ad was even put in the local paper to let my birth father know I was up for adoption, and he could put a stop to it if he wanted.  No one ever came forward.  I don't know who my birth father is.  Honestly, he was probably the kind of guy who didn't even know he got someone pregnant, and that's ok.  The process took months though, and my family stayed strong with lots of support and prayers, as well as completing family reference letters.  My maternal grandparents & extended family were really excited about the idea of me staying "in the family".

My future parents were not the only ones applying to adopt me.  My foster parents who had several other children wanted to adopt me as well.  There was one time that my future parents got to visit me in the foster parents' home, and after that my foster family decided not to try and adopt me.

The time came for the house inspection visit, and my future mother was nervous.  My future parents owned their own house, and everything was very clean and well cared for, but not new.  They also had three dogs, and that caused extra worry.  The anxiety of maybe not being the perfect parents didn't get to them though.  They aced that inspection!  Turns out the inspector was very similar to my future mother, and she loved dogs as well.

Three long months after becoming a ward of the state, my future parents officially became my legal parents-- the only people I'd ever consider parents.  My future parents and I were late to our court proceedings because I had to be changed first.  I think that made a good impression on the judge.  In the courtroom the day it became official the judge said to my parents with a smile, "Now you know you can't bring her back."  Haha!  After all the hard work, stress and prayers they had just been through, they never wanted to consider the possibility of giving me back!

I was probably four years old when my mother told me I was adopted.  It did not stress me out a bit.  In fact since that day I've been proud to be adopted, and not ashamed to tell anyone about it.  I am blessed and very thankful that I was adopted within my family.  I grew up under a watchful eye because my birth mother would make kidnapping threats while under the influence.  Aside from that I grew up hearing the good stories about her, and I know what qualities & talents that I have that are from her.  I've always been the "weird" one in my family because I like different things, and that's ok because I'm adopted.  Unlike some other adopted children, I never wondered about why I am the way I am.  I don't have this need to find my birth parents because I met my birth mother before she died.

I wish it was my mom writing this story.  She's no longer with me, so I'm relying on stories she and other family members told me.  My dad, who doesn't talk about things like this unless you ask him, was glad to fill in the details.  The adoption process took place in 3 months, but the love I have for them will last a lifetime.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adoption from foster care

Today our blog comes from my dear friend, Pat.  I have known Pat for over 17 years and Pastor Husband has known her for much of her life as they grew up going to the same church camp and their families knew eacother.  Pat is the wife of a real sweetheart of a fella and momma to one sweet little boy and foster momma to currently one little girl.  Please let Pat know how much you appreciate her.  Thank you, my wonderful friend, for sharing with my readers!  I love you!

I never, ever thought that it would be me…

My dream was to be a wife and a mom…it took a long time for the former; I wasn’t planning on waiting too long for the latter.  On our first anniversary we stopped taking birth control and waited to see two pink lines on the pregnancy test. Month after month, nothing, finally, one month, I saw two pink lines…only to have a miscarriage two days later.   The trauma of two years of fertility treatments soon followed.  We discovered that we could conceive, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to carry a baby for more than 5 to 6 weeks.  

I was devastated.  I felt that I was letting my husband down, my family down and that God had cursed me with barrenness.  I especially felt that God had let me down.  I was so angry and so scared.  The desire to be a parent was SO strong in both of us, and we couldn’t have a child.  Every time I went to the grocery store and saw a baby bump, every time I checked Facebook and saw announcements that another friend was going to have a baby and every time I saw one of “those” news stories of a parent harming their children I raged against God.  Why was he punishing me, why was he hurting my husband through me?   That is a whole other story in itself, but I must say that I had to grieve.  I had to grieve the six angels that are waiting for us in heaven that we never held in our arms, and I had to get to a place where I said, not my biological child, but the child that God places with us.

The very first place that I began to look was into private adoption.  First, I wanted a baby…second; I had seen all the “lifetime” movies about kids from foster care.  I was very afraid that a child would be placed into our lives that we would love with all our hearts and 5 years later, it would be decided that they should go to their bio family and they be ripped from our arms.  First let me say that private adoption is a beautiful thing.  A birth parent that chooses to place their child for adoption chooses life for that child when there are so many who would tell them to kill it because it was convenient, BUT we didn’t choose an agency that helped us to feel that.  Instead, the deeper we got into the process with the agency the more expensive it got, and the more it felt like we were trying to buy a baby.  In the process of working with this adoption agency, we conceived and miscarried babies number 5 and 6 and our case worker decided that I was “too emotional” to be a parent.  She told us that we were going to be dropped from the agency…to me that was the final nail in the coffin of my being a mother, and again, it was my fault.  

One of the most devastating things that happened during these struggles was all of the commenters and “Christian” advisors.  I was told everything from, “relax and you’ll get pregnant” to “What sins have you committed that you haven’t confessed?”  I dropped completely out of church, I detached myself from all of my friends who had children, and I told my husband to find a wife who could help him be the father that I knew he could be.  I felt completely and totally abandoned and rejected. I gave up my dream of ever parenting, but the desire was even stronger than ever before. 

 (If you want my husband’s perspective on all of this, you would have to ask him…that’s his story)

In July of 2010, a friend who had known of our struggles sent me a message via facebook with the contact number for Arrow Child and Family Ministries (  He posted that 3500 kid in Texas alone were waiting on families, but I wouldn’t contact them…I’d been dropped by another agency.  

In December of 2010, I got a call from a social worker in Arizona.  My mom had spoken to them about our desire to have children and that we were thinking of adoption.  Because I was raised on the Navajo reservation and am an “honorary Navajo” they were approaching me about the possibility of adopting a Navajo child.  I was floored.  I told the social worker that there was no way that she or anyone else would give us a child due to the experience with the previous agency.  She asked if there was something in my background check that came back bad.  When I explained the whole situation, she said, “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard, and she asked to send me an application.  This got me to thinking and that afternoon, I contacted Arrow.  

Mike and I transferred our file to Arrow and began our training classes in January of 2011.  Many of the fears that I had about adopting from foster care were alleviated.   I learned that children can come into foster care as early as 2 days old.  I also learned that in the state of Texas, a bio parent has about 18 months to change their behaviors and to work a parenting plan if their children are taken into custody.  I learned that adoption from foster care is virtually free, and that the state gives incentives for children to be adopted from foster care.  I also learned that children adopted from foster care come with baggage and I had to be ready cope with that. 

We completed our classes in February, had our home study done in March in in April received a call that a 4 year old boy was free for adoption.  We were approached to submit our home study for him because they were being very selective about who he would go to.  We said sure…this was on a Friday.  The following Tuesday, we got a call that we were at the top of the list for the child to be placed with us, please send pictures of our home and of ourselves.  Thursday afternoon, we got a call saying that we were selected to possibly be this child’s future parents and that his foster mother needed respite for the weekend…did we want to try him out.  All this came about without us ever seeing a picture or knowing anything about him other than he was 4 years old.

J came to our home Friday afternoon, Mother’s Day weekend.  Nia Vardolos talks about seeing her 3 year old adopted daughter and thinking, “I’ve found you”…That’s what I felt the second I saw J.  We had to take him back to his Foster parents that night, but he was with us permanently 4 days later.  We hope to finalize his adoption in December.  

We now have 3 year old foster daughter who came to us at 3 a.m., we are keeping our fingers crossed and sending up much prayers that we will get to keep her forever as well.  

Our story is not typical for adopting from Foster care…Here are some things that you do need to know about this journey.

Most kids already free for adoption are older, part of a sibling group (please keep them together) or have medical needs.  There are two paths to adoption from the Foster care system…matched adoption or foster to adopt.  Matched means that they are free, and you’ve been selected to parent (most of these are older children).  Foster adopt…most of the babies are put in these types of placements.  The children are not legally free for a time, but if they do become free for adoption you are the first one asked.  This is risky but rewarding.

1.        Find an agency that will support you.  If you are a person of faith, Arrow is wonderful and has a wide reach in Texas.

2.       If you can’t find an agency, DFPS will train you as a foster parent, just don’t expect much support.

3.       Things you MUST be able to do if you become a foster/adopt parent:
          a.       Get fingerprinted by FBI…this is one of the only expenses that you will incur
          b.      Get your home inspected by both the health and fire marshals, check with your agency or city about requirements.
          c.       Decide what type of path you want to take in adopting from the foster care system.
         d.      Know that you can discipline a child without being physical.  (You cannot physically punish or spank a child in foster care…after you adopt…different story, but not always best).
         e.      GET a support system. 
         f.        Get your home study done, and wait for placement.

4.       Foster parents DO get a monthly stipend for the children in their care…if you think this will help you earn money…it won’t…if you are in it for the money…we don’t want you.

Going this path to adoption is not the easier path…children are not in foster care for no reason…ALL children in foster care are there due to abuse, neglect or abandonment…the orphan child whose parents were killed and has no place to go doesn’t exist anymore.  Be prepared for great rewards, but be prepared for greater heartaches.  Have your own “stuff” dealt with, because a kid coming into your home will bring it to the surface.

I look back on my journey now, and find that God was leading us into a direction that I really didn’t want to go down, but at the same time he did some preparation along the way…the anger, the abandonment and rejection I felt are all things that my children felt and continue to feel.  Do I still want a baby?  Yes, but there are advantages to having your children come to you potty trained and able to tell dirty jokes (J’s favorite…the white horse fell in the mud).  Who knows who else God is going to put in our lives, but can I imagine our life without our children…no.

Once I heard a story about a couple of kids to be placed with us, and I asked Mike…Why could that person have children and not us?  He responded, “so that hurting children could have a place to come.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

On being adopted as an older child...

Today I have a guest blogger.  Her name is Angel and I have known her since she was 10 years old.  She is a beautiful young woman with a bright future ahead of her.   I have been blessed to have been a small part of her and her brothers lives.  Angel was adopted as an older child as well as being part of a sibling group of four.  Please let her know what a great job she did in your comments.  I'll make sure she gets them.

My name is Angel and I'm now 23 years old. I was adopted when I was 10 years old. I have to admit that it has been a very long journey.I lived with my real parents up until I was 9 years old. Life seemed like it was great. I had my brothers and my parents and my life was full of happiness. Then one day in January of '98  my world came crashing down. My parents were arrested and me and my three brothers were placed in foster care. My mom promised that we  would all stay together and that is one thing I'm grateful for today.

After going into two foster care homes, our case worker told us there was a family that was willing to take all four of us in. I wanted to be really happy but my heart was filled with sadness at the same time not knowing if we would ever see our parents again. That fear became a reality in 2000 when our foster parents of two years adopted us. It was a happy day for all of us because the uncertainties that come with foster homes kind of always added  a lot of stress to my life. We all had to grow up fast.  I took on the responsibilities of caring for my 4 year old brother and my 12 year old brother kind of took on the role of acting as a father. He always told us what to do and what not to do. He was really the one that kept us all together..

Any way, back to the day that we were adopted, that day gave me some relief because we had real parents that loved us, adopted parents that gave us a second chance at life and childhood, and we had real rooms with tvs and bears and all the toys we could ever want. Life was good. I was grateful for what they had given us, but I still had to go through the grievance process of losing parents , even though they were not dead, it was as if I had to believe that. I was angry that these people wanted us to call them our mom and dad.. OR so I thought. I could never come to acceptance of calling then "mom" and dad.

Till this day I still think of the what ifs and the life I would have had if I stayed with my real parents. I still miss them very much and not a day goes by that I do not think of them. I missed them seeing me learn how to do math, how to play the clarinet in band, graduation, and I'll miss them when I get married and have no one to walk me down the aisle or cry on the front row because their losing their little girl, and I'm sure I will miss them when I have kids and their real grandparents are not there to see the little moments of life that mean so much to me. I have searched for them but come up empty handed as so has my little brother and my older brother.

Some of my brother say that our foster mom is not our mom and will never be our mom and they still hold grudges toward her. Our adopted dad died a year after we were adopted so our adopted mom had to raise us on her own. we were a happy family until she got remarried and later divorced and all our relationships went down hill. Even though we are not close I still thank her for what she did for us. It was a selfless act to take us in and give us the life we have now. I can say without a doubt that without her I would not be where I am today. I am in college working on my early childhood development degree and I am really happy to be in east Texas.

To all those that are planing on adopting kids that are old enough to remember their real parents, don't come on too strong, given them time to grieve their loss, teach them that it is okay to miss them, and finally remind them that you love them and you adopted them to give them a fair chance at life. Every child deserves to be loved and natured in a way that will help them succeed in life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today begins National Adoption Month

Adoption is close to my heart; some might even call it a passion.  It would make my heart extremely glad if every single child in the world had a mommy and daddy to call their own and love them.  Why do I love adoption?  Am I adopted?  No, I'm not.  My sister is.  She is the daughter that grew in our hearts but in someone else's womb.  Is that why I love adoption?  No, it's a very good reason but it's not why I love it.  I love it because every single child should feel loved and cared for.  Every one.

There are children all over the world who have no mom and dad to tuck them in at night.  They have no one who tells them every day that they love them.  No one to cook their meals with love (and make Momma loves me casserole).  Every day there are children who wonder what it is like to be a part of a loving family. 

Where are these children?  There are children right here in America who need parents to love them.  Some are homeless.  Some are in childrens homes.  Some are in foster care.  There are children in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico, and Haiti...just to name a few.  There are babies, younger children, older children, teenagers.  There are single children and sibling groups. 

Isn't it expensive to adopt?  Well, it can be.  However, there are many ways to adopt.  Some are expensive.  Some are not.  You do NOT have to be rich to adopt.

This month I will be featuring several guest bloggers.  Two of those will be from my own family.  My mom will tell you about her experience as an adoptive mother.  My sister will be telling you what it is like to be adopted in a semi-open adoption situation.  I'm waiting to hear back from some friends; hopefully they'll be sharing with you as well.  Of course some time this month, I will be sharing what it is like to have a sibling that is adopted and tell you our adoption story from MY view.

I hope you enjoy what we have to share this month.  Perhaps I can give you some helpful links too.  Maybe I'll get you to think about adopting a child who needs a loving family.  Maybe YOU can be that family!