Wow, 2014 blew our minds! Reflecting back on last year’s update, I never thought the update I am writing today would be what it is.
I have blogged a little bit about our foster care journey since our 2013 update. I went dark in the early spring because we were in a 6 month waiting period where I couldn’t share anything about our kids online. I encourage you to read those blog posts if you haven’t.
Last year’s update stopped with the placement of 6 year old little Mark. When we were presented with him, we were told it would be an adoptive placement and that he would be ours. As with the “foster coaster” rides we’ve experienced all along, we found out about a week into his placement that his mother was fighting to get him back. Long story short, because of the holidays and his situation, he was returned to his mother after living with us for a month. The month we had with him was fun and sweet, and we will always have good memories of him.
When Del went home last fall, we decided that the back and forth of foster care was done for us. We switched our focus to adoptive placements. We started looking for children on the state adoption website, TARE and sifted through bulletins from our agency. We even submitted our paperwork for 2 children we heard about when we were in a court hearing for Del. We were looking for 1 or 2 kids; at this point age didn’t matter as long as we could fit them in our home. On January 16th, we received 2 bulletins: 1 was for a 15 year old boy and the other was a sibling group of 4. We decided to submit for the 4; it was out of our comfort zone, but there was just something about them. Things moved quickly from there. We met them on February 8th and then they started coming for weekend visits every weekend until they moved in on March 7th. I won’t go into all the details, but the oldest boy was unable to stay with our family and moved out in May. But, we adopted the other 3 on September 15th and they are now a part of our forever family.
We are so blessed to have Xavier, Pierce and Elizabeth in our family. Read on to find out about them!
Here are the current family stats:
Mark is still working at Austin Regional Clinic, doing computer programming. This year, he was promoted to supervisor and has 3 programmers working for his team. This has been a challenging year for him adjusting to being a boss, but he loves his job. We are thankful for the security his job gives us. He is the leader of the boys group, Royal Ambassadors at church and is a handbook leader for our AWANA club. He is a great dad, making time to build relationships with all of our kids and has had to do lots of projects this year to make our house ready for 6 kids.
Mark and I got to go to a Texas Rangers game this year. We also got to go to a couple of Round Rock Express games and a couple of stock car races at the track in Kyle.
I am a stay at home mom, but I am definitely busy. I still get to be a part of MOPS, since Kendall is still a preschooler (this is the last year!). Also, for the last 3 years I’ve directed our church’s Heroes Camp, which is quite a task, but I love it so much. It is what our church does for VBS; it is a full day, camp type experience, with field trips and swimming and Bible lessons, oh my! I also am the one that keeps up with all the kids’ appointments, paperwork and training. This year, I got to do the huge stack of adoption paperwork (times 3), which was busy and stressful.
This fall, I started working part time at our local YMCA at the front desk. I love it a lot; it’s a break from home life and a nice change of pace. This year, I also took control of my health and lost 40 pounds. I trained and completed a half marathon in October in a time way better than I expected.
Xavier is 13 and in the 7th grade. Xavier is fun loving and thoughtful. He plays the clarinet in band and likes to play soccer and basketball. He enjoys playing with LEGOs and playing Pokemon. Xavier gave a testimony at church in August about his experience before and during foster care. He has seen God’s loving hand of care in his life all along. Xavier is always willing to help others, and he does it happily without complaining. He is hoping to go on a missions trip to Ethiopia in 2015 to minister to orphans and to see hippos in the wild.
Riley is 12 and in the 7th grade this year. He has done really well in band and made the top band at the end of 6th grade. He is in the youth group this year, and he and Xavier really enjoy going whenever they can.
Riley still enjoys LEGOs and building things. He also creates his own stop motion videos. He is a great big brother. We can count on him to help and be a good role model to all of the kids.
Pierce is 11 and in the 5th grade. He loves to read, especially Warriors books and Rick Riordan books. He loves to figure out how things work and to fix things. He also is a puzzle master; we have quite a few puzzles that I’ve glued together this year. Pierce is also very active and played soccer this fall. He also likes to ride his bike and play Frisbee outside. Pierce also hopes to go to Ethiopia in 2015; he loves to talk about Africa.
Elizabeth is 9 and in 3rd grade. She loves to be crafty, drawing and writing all of the time. She also enjoys being creative with her LEGOs and building new things out of her pieces. She loves to collect things like rocks and keys. She’s always got something in her pocket. She enjoys being active outside, throwing the Frisbee or observing bugs.
Tyler is 9 and in the 4th grade. He loves to eat; he never ever seems full. He also loves to read and is enjoying Geronimo Stilton and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. His good buddy lives across the street and they get together often to play Minecraft or Pokemon.
He also likes building LEGOs. Tyler is always funny and playful. He is a good friend and a good leader in class.
Kendall is 4 (almost 5) and is in preschool 2 days a week this year. She is a girly girl, always worrying about how she looks or what she’s wearing. She is the only extrovert in our family and has friends everywhere she goes. She loves princesses, ponies, Ariel and playing pretend. She always wants to do what the big kids are doing, even playing Minecraft or watching Pokemon. She is a joy to have in our family, and we are so thankful for her. She is a sweet sister.
Since the adoption in September, we have been working on adjusting to our new family life. It has been interesting and a big change for us after having been so fluid for the last 3 years. We don’t feel like our story is complete yet, but we do believe that this is a season of “settling”, where we won’t take on much new stuff for our family. We are taking this time to bond and deepen security in our home. We also want to come alongside our friends and family as they have needs that we can meet to support and encourage them. We are very excited about 2015 and all that God has in store for this family of 8!