Monday, November 30, 2009

And So, Here It Is....

**This is a long post, but it explains the last month and then end of our adoption journey.

This is a difficult post for many reasons.

One, because I just don't want to type the words.

Two, because I don't want to take the time to think it all out again in sequence.

Three, because the many people who used to read this blog causing me to have at least 100 hits a day are mostly long gone so what's the point?

Four, most of my family that matters and friends in real life and those I met blogging and are on Face**Book already know some tidbits here and there.

Five, because I really just don't want to type the words.

I am going to have to update the link hidden under Mr. Panda's picture under my header. The update will have to tell about how there is going to be no addition to our Panda Family.


Unless God supernaturally plops a child in our arms, that is.

Before Thanksgiving, it had been since a really super fun Pumpkin Party in late October that I last posted on here. What a fun party that was. However, the following Monday rocked our world and changed our lives forever.

As PandaGirl was finishing up her ballet lesson at 6:00PM we got a call from our adoption agency. We had just been licensed on October 15th to adopt through our state foster care system.

We finished all the training and homestudy, etc. in the summer and were waiting to be finalized so we could then "wait" for a placement of a child/children. We had specifically requested a little boy under the age of 5 and that we felt very called to adopt African American. We opened up to a sibling group just so we wouldn't be laughed at by the system whereas if we said we'd only take one child they'd just throw out our homestudy thinking we'd lost our minds believing there was just "one" little black boy out there amongst the wolves in the foster system. On the the day we were licensed our agency rep. also said over the phone that they thought they had a placement for us.

WHAT? Already?

OK-God, good one! Thanks. We knew it had taken much too long for us to get licensed. Maybe this was a little treat He was doing for us since we're so good and all and that's how He rolls. (not)

I hear the profile info. on this four year old little boy. I am led to a website with his picture and some more info. I mentioned to the rep. that it stated this Little Guy should only be placed in a home with NO CHILDREN, but he just kind of blew that off saying he'd do "fine". The rep also informed me that Little Guy had a diagnosis of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) of which we had specifically said we would NOT be willing to take, BUT and a BIG BUT I must say, the rep told me that upon his own observation and that of others that Little Guy didn't really exhibit any of those linked behaviors as associated with RAD.

OK, another one I chalked up to "well, he's the professional. I guess it'll be OK." Bad idea.

PandaPop and I prayed over all of this and find out a few days later that the CPS worker wanted a black family to take Little Guy.

Well, fiddle-dee-dee-crap.

Ummm, Lord, why dangle the carrot?


Moving on to the next hopeful call in this process. Thought Little Guy was out of the picture, but then we find out that the CPS worker likes us on paper, but wants to meet us in person.....two weeks out. Yay, another waiting time. That brings us to actually about four days later.

Monday, six o'clock after PG's ballet class.

PP gets a call from our agency. "Can you meet Little Guy tomorrow afternoon?"

Duh!!! YES!

Guess that means we won't need to meet in two weeks.

Hmmm---wonder why the hurry??? OHHHH---it's because current foster mom has admitted him in a psych ward where he doesn't belong at age four!!

Tuesday, we meet Little Guy for about 20 minutes with foster mom present and he's is so drugged up that he falls asleep while we are there. Very, very weird and awkward meeting with foster mom, CPS worker, a rep for us from our agency whom we'd never met, the hospital rep, us and Little Guy. Everyone just stared at everyone else. Weird.

We left the hospital and headed straight to the CPS worker's office across the metropolitan area IN rush hour traffic to pick up the files (which she forgot to bring with her!!!) containing all of Little Guy's info while living in the foster care system.

The System. It's so crazy. So much heartbreak.

We were required to read two five inch notebooks FILLED with papers so that we could have a 10:00AM conference call saying that we'd read it all and agreed to all of this placement, etc.

By 2AM we were bleary-eyed and ready for bed. My eyes and mind stopped working long before two, but PP kept on reading all about our Little Guy. So, so, so sad. This little fella was just the recipient of many someone elses doing wrong. He was and is totally innocent. His mind just lives in survival mode 24/7. Bless him, Lord.

We were heading into this thing as a permanent placement.


Means a pretty long time from the dictionary I know. I'm hearing Squintz from The Sandlot saying, "FOR-EHH-VUR. FOR-EHH-VUR."

We were so excited and so ready for this permanency. Hesitant and nervous with the hard job ahead, but really ready.

OUR SON WAS FINALLY COMING HOME!! Hip, hip hooray!! All the prayers, all the longing and waiting, all the training and prepping: it was finally time and it was happening soooooooooooo FAST! We must REALLY be good for God to make all this work out so quickly after we were so disappointed in how long it took to get licensed and how we'd been waiting for FIVE YEARS to adopt child number two. Wow-we were rolling now!!!

The issue now was how were we and the agency and CPS going to get Little Guy out of the hospital with Red Tape wrapped all around the situation?

Fast forward to Thursday. We headed out on the 45 minute drive from our town to the place where he was staying to pick him up at 10:00AM. After getting tangled in the Red Tape, by 5PM we finally got to leave with him along with his gobs of serious medications. We're not talking Tylenol here. I am leaving out many, many details, but just know that there were many more things that went on during this time. Oh, let me mention that AS WE ARE GETTING READY TO L-E-A-V-E the hospital with Little Guy, the CPS worker tells me, "You might want to put all your knives away in the kitchen. He'll get into them."

Oh really? Wow.

That kinda freaks me out a little,

but thanks for the heads-up, sista.

Lest I forget to add this helpful hint, too: "Oh, and when you're in the car he has to sit in the middle with an adult beside him because he tries to get out of the car while it's moving and he pushes all the buttons."

I'm starting to sweat just a tiny bit at this point.

I swallowed real hard, too.

You mean they aren't going to bring out my new bouncing baby boy in a light blue blanky and send us on our merry way?

Maybe a straight jacket wasn't what I was hoping for, but by the sound of my Hints from Heloise it seems it might be more appropriate than the typical seatbelt in our car.

Well, too late for any re-thinking.

Here he comes running down the hall to us.

"OK-well, bye! See y'all soon. We'll be out in the next couple of days to sign the placement papers." said the CPS and agency workers.

On the drive home, now in the dark, I began panicking a little. Deep breathing seemed to calm me for a minute or two at a time. By the time I walked into our home I was in a full blown first time panic attack, I think. I was totally freaking out at how our life had completely been turned upside down in the blink of an eye!!! What happened to our cute little three*some? How in the world were we going to take care of the needs of this Little Guy who likes to play with knives and needs to be bolted to the backseat of the car in order to go anywhere?

What the crap have I done???????!!!!!!!!!!!!



breathe in, breathe out.

That was around 8:00PM. By 10:00PM I called our next level agency rep, our case manager, bawling telling her I couldn't do this. See, Little Guy that came home with us was not the same Little Guy we met who'd fallen asleep in the 20 minute visit nor was he the same boy that we played with for about 30 minutes earlier that day.

Now we had been introduced to kid who needed the straight jacket.


However, THIS was reality and we, along with several other grown-ups who are professionals in this foster world had told Little Guy that WE were his forever family.

"Look! this is YOUR Jeep. YOUR room. YOUR toys. YOUR mommy, daddy and sister. YOUR new forever life!! You aren't going anywhere else! This is what you've been waiting for!"

There is NO WAY we could destroy that kind of hope in this little person

who has NEVER known consistency.

The CPS workers and our agency people all jokingly told us that we were by far the "most bizarre placement ever" since everything that was done for us and Little Guy was completely different than the norm. Normally, even with a straight adoption like ours, there are 3-4 PRE-placement visits that take place. We didn't have that opportunity. I can guarantee you that if we would have had those PRE-placements and were able to experience Little Guy's true self, we would never have continued with the adoption. Everything went so fast and furious that there was no time for thinking.

Our bad.

And their bad.

We take responsibility for our part in moving so quickly because we were just so ready for our little man to be home with us. We SHOULD have said, "slow down" and we SHOULD have made more of a to-do about the statement in his profile saying he should be in a family as the only child and we SHOULD have looked more into the diagnosis of possible RAD. We SHOULD have done things differently, but so SHOULD have the agency and CPS.

They needed that little boy out of the hospital where he shouldn't have been placed while technically under each of their care.

We happened to be a great family to get him out.

Too bad that decision has ruined our chance of expanding our family.

Six days later, we were exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually. Little Guy took 24/7 eye-to-eye contact kind of supervision. His aggression issues (which we DID read about in those super-duper notebooks on inch nine of the ten inches on day five of chaos) were beyond anything we could ever handle on a regular basis. There is a REASON it stated he needed to be in a family as the only child: HE HAS TO HAVE THAT KIND OF ATTENTION. He was physically and verbally aggressive with PandaGirl several times. Anytime he thought we were out of his sight he'd start spewing uglies at PG. PP and I both had to have several full-body restraints per day with him in order to get him out of him tantrums. I was hit, pinched, kicked, spat on and had my glasses knocked off my face and slung across the garage. He was a darter, so I had to keep the house locked tighter than a drum so I wouldn't lose him. I doled out so much medication in a day's time that I felt a pharmacy.

I shed more tears from way down deep inside than I can even talk about. We posted pics on a secure site and gave access to family and a few friends. Told everyone on Face**Book about our new son. Many, many people all over this planet were (and still are!!) praying for us. I was torn between wanting our family "complete"and then not destroying this little boy's life any further by sending him away and knowing full well that he far exceeded anything we offered to take care of and knew that we could do.

It was all such a huge hairy mess.

The agency was totally ticked at us and kept repeating, "you made an unconditional commitment to him, you can't do this to him!!" when we called several times saying we couldn't do "this". Like we PLANNED on taking him back as if returning shoes that didn't fit!! GRRR!

Thank God we hadn't signed any papers yet.

On day six we had to make the horribly difficult decision to let our Little Guy go. Go to a respite home where he loves and thrives and the family wants him except only the father works abroad sometimes so the State thinks that's not a good idea. What?!! How ridiculous can you be?!!!!

We also had to let go of our dream. My dream. I don't know.

Somebody's dream was gone forever.

How in the world did this happen and why did it happen to us?

After five years of struggling to adopt, losing thousands of dollars and too many emotions to count along the way, we are done pursuing another child.


Done hurting.

Done hoping and losing out.

Not done wanting, but done trying.

Our sweet PandaGirl IS enough. It has nothing to do with her, per se. It has to do with my dream of my little transracial family with our beautiful Chinese daughter and our gorgeous black son all put together only to be ripped apart with no "fix" in sight.

I've been in a funk ever since it all happened. What gets me out of it is thinking of so many others who have worse things in their life. I was moping around a store the day after Little Guy left our home and was struck by the thought of the holidays coming up and how sad that was to think of our loss. Of what was going to so great with "the kids" and how it had all gone to pot so rapidly. Then I remembered two of our very dear friends whose husbands died this past summer just a few days apart. I went and bought them both cards to get out of myself and my pity-party and into others who needed some Jesus Hope. Felt good to do it.

Yesterday in church was very difficult for me. It's been a few weeks now. We've faced our congregation who have lifted us up in prayer. We've faced our family. We let all our friends on FB know. We felt like we had let people down, let Little Guy down, let PandaGirl down, let God down, let the mailman down. Anybody in our reach was part of our feelings of not measuring up. It all happened so fast that some didn't even know it all happened. Weird.

The whole thing has just been surreal and weird.

Life could be so much worse, but this is a huge loss for us. One that makes no sense. As if ANY loss makes sense. Shattered dreams for what purpose? To glorify God? No. He isn't into seeing our pain for some sadistic glory kick. He is, however, showing Himself to me. The whole purpose in Jesus coming here to this awful place called Earth.

I have found it hard to live in peace, to find joy, to move throughout the daily things we must. I bought that JOY ornament up in my header picture and stuck it smack in the middle of our Christmas tree to remind me that JOY comes from Jesus, not circumstances.


Sweet Jesus.

He IS the reason that we are in this Christmas season. How do people live without the hope He brings? HOW??? Life if so darn hard and sucky (I HATE that word!!!) that I can't imagine how people move from day to day with no real HOPE.

Mind-numbing to think of WHY people choose to live without Him.

We are moving forward.

We love the movie "Meet the Robinsons" because it is an adoption theme and it's motto is that when things mess up, "keep moving forward".

I believe that is what God wants us to do.
Not to keep moving forward aimlessly, but to keep moving forward toward Him.
He is Truth.
He is Right.
He is in control.
He is Order and not chaos.
He is Love.
He is Security.
He is Peace.
He is JOY.

I asked PP if I will forever cringe and push back tears when I see a little black boy/man or when I see other families with more than one child or the families who seem to adopt so easily or I see anything at all that reminds me that whatever it was we strived for isn't ever going to come true. That sweet PandaPop. He is so good to me.

"Keep moving forward, honey."

My BFF across the Pond told me of Selah's new song called "Unredeemed". It talks about how all my shattered dreams can be placed at the feet of Jesus where he bore everything ugly on that horrid cross just for me and they will NOT go unredeemed. Whew. That is so comforting.

What I see through my little peep-hole is just not accurate when I think one day I'll get a Room with a View and see the whole picture for what it truly is. The view that will confirm in my being that all our prayers, time and effort on this Little Guy were not for nought. That the Truth we spoke into his little heart and the holding and kissing and loving despite his behavior was all for something bigger than us.

Though it seems like CPS and our agency failed our family and failed Little Guy, we did what we were called to do.

We have upheld a particular verse for several years in hopes of someday opening a retreat of some kind for ministers who have been burned by others or from their own mistakes and give them a place of refuge and hope. Psalm 25:20-21 has resonated with us, lived with us and stirred in our hearts:

"Guard my life and rescue me;

let me not be put to shame,

for I take refuge in You.

May integrity and uprightness protect me,

because my hope is in You."

That has been our prayer for the someday retreat and for this Little Guy before he ever entered our lives. Now we can look back and see that the Lord used our home and hearts to be the refuge for him. It was for something bigger, I just know it was.

And so, that's that. All wrapped up in some funky paper.

I hope this gives a little glimpse into why I've been off here for so long and to let those of you know who have followed along our path to try and adopt (possibly you even gave money!!) how very much we appreciate that you would take time to pray for us.

God IS good and faithful.

I deserve death and hell, but because of the sacrifice of Jesus, I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven according to Ephesians 1:3-8.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then please consider giving Him control of your life. He is the only hope we have. This world offers nothing of lasting value. He does. He is not tradition or religion or a certain church or just a belief. He is what is right and true. Bless you as you decide what to do with your eternity. It's your choice.

Thanks for hanging on with me.

Be a blessing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks For...

Hot/cold fresh running water.
And Flavors.
Horse Ranches.
Comfy bed.
Fun bags.
Blue pens.
Cathartic tears.
Cute cups.
Beautiful music.
Toilet paper.
Memory Lane.
The Country.
Hope--though dreams seem to be crushed or unreachable.

Striving to be full of JOY this Christmas season. Blessings to you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Testing--Hello?--Test-Test: Today Is Brought To You By The Numbers 18, 6, and 12

Hello friends!! I know, I know---it's been too long since a post and as a friend from church told me last night, "I'm sick of seeing that pumpkin party!" LOL!!!

For those of you not on Face**Book with me or know me personally then you have no idea of the recent chaos in our life.

That will be another post all it's own. Really deep thoughts that don't go along with this post.

This post is to celebrate today: November 20, 2009 (by the way---I just had to delete the "19" from my year because we aren't in that century anymore).

18 years ago today I met my darling, handsome, funny, sincere, loyal, dependable, intelligent, crazy, HOT, godly, Renaissance man! No one can be more of a perfect fit for my quirks than him. We are a perfect match!!!

6 years ago today we saw the beautiful face of our funny, tender-hearted, servant-hearted, creative, gorgeous daughter for the first time on a computer screen. We cried tears of awe and joy as the page opened and scrolled down to reveal her precious face at the age of 9 months old.

The irony of these years is that they are 12 years apart to the day.

My favorite number has always been 12. It has followed me all my life and to think that God giggled a bit when He so creatively allowed me to meet the two most important people in my life---exactly 12 years apart---makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Good one, God.

I might be back on here before Thanksgiving, I might not. If you don't see me on here again until December, then please know that I am counting my blessings that are so freely given me by the Lord.

He is good.

I can hurt and bleed and cry and ache and wonder why.

I can laugh and smile and giggle and dream and hope.

He is there for all of it.

What a blessing to be His.