Whatever name you see fit

So, I know most people are so tired of the election Crap. The votes. Popular vote, electoral vote, the non voter. Whatever. I am tired of it too. But I have to get on my soap box and rant a little bit. I am just appalled at the actions in this country.

I mean seriously, is this the America we want our kids to grow up in. A country where college kids get tissues and hot chocolate. Coloring books and playdoh?! WTH has happened?! I can’t even fathom the BS going on. Riots, protestors, and all in the name of making America a more loving place to live. I have said this before and I will say it again. Liberals, leftists, democrats, whatever you want to call them are all love and peace until it’s not their way. Then they think they have the right to call names and accuse people of being homophobes, sexists, bigots, racists, mulsimphobes, and whatever else they call us. It’s ridiculous. All the while they claim to just want peace, love and acceptance. I guess it’s peaceful to allow the killings of 4 American soldiers. And late term abortions are pretty peaceful too. Nothing like killing a baby to show your love.

I will tell you the names I give myself. I am a Christian, a wife, a mother and a conservative. I am a woman who believes life is unfair and hard. And I believe that we all just need to have a come to Jesus moment. But you can call me whatever name you see fit.

It’s scary to think these adults will be the leaders when I am old. It’s terrifying. I guess when ISIS or Russia tell us they will bomb the US these leaders will get a coloring book and cry about it to think about their feelings. And sort through their emotions.

And all this Crap about “what will I tell my kids?” You will tell them that this is America. This is a democracy. You don’t always get what you want. This is life. Today I told my kids what the college kids were doing, the looks on their faces were priceless. Then I told them to finish their chores and go shoot their guns outside. Because no way in hell am I raising blubbering college kids needing playdoh to cope.

***Done ranting***

It’s one of those days

So here I am sitting in the family room trying to not be so angry. Or maybe trying to figure out what I am so angry about. It’s been one of those days, maybe one of those weeks, hell maybe it’s been a whole month. And I know that most of us don’t like to broadcast our bad days, but sometimes we need to. This is not a husband bashing post. A kid bashing post or anything like that. It is simply a mom and wife who is tired. Angry. Aggravated. And just put out. Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, my problems are minimal to most. And yes, I love my husband and kids more than anything. But I also have bad days.

Long story short, I am just in a bad mood. I may be sick, who knows why my nose is clogged so badly I have to breath through my mouth, which I hate. My head is pounding. And I am just hungry but nothing sounds good!  Little annoyances add up and it gets over whelming. Like the fact last night the neighbors cows and massive black angus bull got on to our property and was running our baby colt. So I had to figure out how to get my horses into another field but not let the huge bull and 15 heifers that were with him in that field. I had to do all this alone at 11:30 at night because my husband works nights. And everything seems to happen at night, when I have no help from another adult. Never fails. We have a nice calm day and then the sun sets and all hell breaks loose!

And tonight while having all the kids take baths and showers Griffin yells for me that water is coming out from under the toilet. That then becomes the toilet won’t refill. The shower is now filling up with nasty black water from the drain. Oh, and guess what, the bath tub won’t drain. So now I am plunging the toilet, shower, and Jacuzzi tub all the while each time I plunge down black water comes back up, possibly with food mixed in. Oh yes, I remember telling Matt over a month ago that pipes in the kitchen needed cleaned out because the sink was draining slow. So now it’s all backed up in the shower. Awesome. After just standing and staring at the black food water in the bottom of the shower  unsure of what to do at this point, I decide to get the 3 year-old ready for bed, but not before getting his antibiotic because did I mention he got attacked by our rooster over the weekend? Yea, black eye, puncture in the back of the head, puncture on his cheek, scratches all down his arms, back and face. And on that day we also found an abandoned kitten we have been bottle feeding every 3 hours like a newborn. Then add in laundry, home school, grocery shopping, bill paying and budgeting, animal care, and anything else I need to take care of and I am just mad.

Am I too blessed to be stressed? Absolutely, does that mean I am not? Nope, it doesn’t. It means that I am tired of asking my husband to do things and having to wait weeks to get it done. And having to ask my kids to do the same things every day. Yes, the animals need fed everyday, yes you have to do school, please finish your chores, etc.  And making stupid phone calls to the trash company because for the 5th week in a row they haven’t replaced the trashcan they broke. Or anything else that a stay at home mom has to do to keep the household running. Does it mean I am not blessed, no it means I am human. So listen up mamas, we all have those days. Days when we don’t want to do another thing for another person. Why should we? No one does anything for us, right? I know that voice in your head. I hear it too, quite often. So instead of making myself feel even worse by telling myself to just get over it,  I am going to accept these feelings tonight. I am in a bad mood and that’s ok. I will go to sleep and start over again tomorrow. Will I be happy tomorrow, I don’t know yet. I may end up being like Ouiser and just be in a bad mood for 40 years!

 

I am an addict

Ad-dic-tion  noun – the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

Hi, my name is Emilee and I am an addict. Not to alcohol or drugs. No, I have an addiction to foster care. I have used the analogy that it seems like a drug sometimes. If I could just get one more hit (kid) or one more drink I would be satisfied. But that is never the case. Child after child I say I am going to take a break. I am going to maybe quit all together. This is the last one. Then that child moves on and I am waiting for the next referral. I feel the flutter of excitement when the phone rings or the email comes in from our worker. I start doubting that I want to do this again. Then I hear the story and I always ask for the names so it seems more personal. And I sit and think. I go back and forth. I weigh the pros and cons. I ask A LOT of questions. I talk to Matthew and the kids. I make sure they are on board. There is never a placement accepted if we all don’t agree to it.  Then most of the time I decline or take so long to decide that another home is found. I do not take placements lightly. I am in this for the long haul. I want it to work out. Whether that be until the child returns homes, TPR is done, family members are found or we decide to have the child(ren) placed elsewhere.

So yea, I think it is fair to say that foster care is an addiction. Sometimes I even feel the need to “hide” this addiction. I get nervous to tell family and friends of our decision to accept another placement. I slowly introduce the idea that maybe we are ready. That there may be a good fit. I know that the people concerned about us only have our best interest at heart, but as true with any addiction the person addicted doesn’t always see clearly. It may not be the same as a drug addiction or an alcoholic but there is a dependence on fostering. I depend on fostering to bring me closer to God. To lean on his understanding and not my own. To understand that I am not in control and he has greater plans for us all.  I always feel like there is just one more child that needs help, needs loved, needs a home, needs God. I want to be the hands and feet of God. I want to bring these kids to him. I want to show them the love of the Father and of a family. And I want to bring myself and my children closer to God. What better way is there to show God’s love than to open your heart and home to children that are sometimes difficult to love.

So as the two children that have been living with us for over a year are packing and preparing to leave this week, I am preparing the room again. I am already thinking of ways to arrange the beds so that we could accept more than one if needed. I am thinking about what ages we would be open to this time. Would we want more than one again? Do we want to do a teen and her baby? Do we want just one little one? One older child? As sad as it is there will always be kids to fulfill my addiction. I will always be able to take another child in, as long as we decide as a family that we want to continue to feed this addiction. So who knows, we may take a break or more than likely we will decide to take a few more kids!

Yea, I have changed.

life changes

Life is all about changes. Some are good some are bad. We go through life hoping for praying for and sometimes not wanting these changes. But they happen. And sometimes we don’t even realize some of the subtle changes that happen. Small changes that take place over a length of time. Like from the freshman 15 to the mommy 50! 😉

And for the most part I am glad that I have changed. And I know that other people change too. But I also know that I am guilty of assuming that some people have not. I know that when I see or hear about certain people from my past, especially high school that I still have a certain image about them. But I would hate to think that people still think of me as the same girl I was then. I am far from it.

And why am I so far from who I used to be? Well there are a number of reasons. Maturity for one. Hopefully I don’t think and behave like a 17 old girl!  Life experiences and lessons that I have learned. And God. I have changed in the biggest part due my faith. When there is a heart change there is a life change. And that is what has happened with me. My heart has changed. I try so hard to show the love of Christ through my life, that it had to change. Is that to say I am perfect and do no wrong? Far from it. I mess up daily. From my thoughts to my actions.  I struggle. But I continue to try.

Some people have accused me of changing too much. That I am not like I used to be. That I am a prude. That I am no fun anymore. And that’s fine. I have a great time and have so much fun. Is it the same kind of  fun I was used to have? No. It is just as much fun? Yes. And I am proud to say yea, I have changed. I am a different person. And I am going to continue to change and grow. And I am also going to remember that when I think of someone from my past, they have probably changed too.

No is a blessing sometimes

I am struggling. Really struggling. I feel like I have made peace with the decision, then something comes out of the blue and shakes my peace. I start all over again, struggling to make the decision that is expected. I have a time limit on this decision, as do most. I only have a couple months to reach a decision that is going to affect several people for the rest of our lives. We aren’t talking about what to cook for dinner or even what job to take. We are talking about making the decision to make children a forever part of our family. This is tough.

I never thought going in to foster care that this would be an issue. I had always just assumed that we would foster, kids would be reunited and go back home or they would stay with us forever. I was naïve. I guess I hadn’t taken into account that you can’t adopt every child that is placed with you. I just never thought I would be a person who could have children living with her for several months and then decide not to adopt them. That literally never entered my mind. It still seems inconceivable. What kind of a person has children in her home (that she has fallen in love with) and opt to have them not become permanent family members? In my mind that is a terrible person. That is an insensitive person. That person is me.

We have made the decision to not adopt the children who have been with us for 9 months. And of course this is all dependent on if that is even what the court rules. But given the court rules for them to be adoptable we have chosen to not be that family. And believe me this was a hard decision. Probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life up to this point. There are really no excuses, just the reasoning that I have come to accept. First and foremost, I don’t feel like this is what God is placing on my heart. We don’t know that it is the best fit for all involved. We feel like there is more for us to do as a foster family, and if we adopt we will no longer be able to foster, because we are at our limit. We feel like everyone would benefit in the long run if the kids were placed in another home. But as I type that sentence my heart skips a beat. I get sick feeling. I feel panicked. What will I do with out these kids here? What will I do when I don’t hear their laughter? What will I do when I am packing them up? I will cry. I will grieve. I will doubt my decision. I will dislike myself. I will dislike the system. I will dislike their situation that has made them foster kids. I will dislike every aspect of this decision.

And only time will tell if we made the right decision. And only God knows why we had to make such tough decisions and what lies ahead for us and the kids. And every day will be a struggle. I will have good and bad days. I will beat myself up. I will be angry and sad. But I will also remember the words a dear friend spoke to me when I was talking to her about the struggle I was having. She said, “our daughter was a no to another family. They had the option to adopt her and they said no. Their no was our blessing. If they had said yes, I wouldn’t be a mom right now. Your no may be someone else’s blessing.” And that is what I am going to walk away with. That is the little bit of goodness that I will take from this. And God has all of this worked out for the greater good. And my no will be someone else’s blessing.

***** Since initially writing this post the kids have been baptized and saved. At the times I was struggling and would talk to God and wait for a response, I did hear his still small voice. I heard that even though we may not secure the kids a forever home here with us, we (God) have secured them a forever home in Heaven. We will see them again.*****

Did God let this happen to me?

“Did God let this happen to me? You know the stuff that happened” Wow….this was the question that was asked to me by the little girl living with us for a while. We were discussing how great God is, how he knows everything that happens, how he has wonderful plans for us all, and he always wants the best for us. I know for me it’s hard to comprehend the greatness of God so I try to simplify it even more for the kids. Basically God loves us all and wants us all to be well taken care of and make good choices. But this question stopped me in my tracks. How can you explain to a child who has had unimaginable things happen to them, who has been removed from what life they know, and living with the consequences of the bad choices  of the adults in their lives that God knew this was going to happen them. Here we have these kids that are just being introduced to the loving God. And then you tell them that God knew what was going to happen to them. It’s a hard concept to grasp.

So I just really avoided the question. I didn’t feel like I had a good answer at that time. I didn’t know what to say to her. Because for her to hear, “well yes, God did know this was going to happen to you” would open a plethora of questions. I needed to be better equipped myself. So after some research, reading in the word, talking to Matthew I now have some answers that I am confident in. Yes, God did know these things were going to happen to her. And yes he did “allow” it. Now, was it God’s choice and doing? No, I don’t think so. Man has free will and I think that Satan still has more power then we would like. And Satan comes here only to kill, steal and destroy people. And what better way than to kill the security children have in families, to steal their innocence, and to destroy their faith. With every child abused Satan has accomplished all he sets out to do. And when these children aren’t helped and they continue in these abusive situations it continues the cycle and Satan just sets back and  smiles.

So why does God allow these things to happen? That I can’t answer. I have no idea. I can tell you why I think bad things happen. I think it is so that people grow closer to God. So that their faith increases. So that people become more reliant on God. When you are being tested and your life is hard you have choices. You can chose to turn from God and blame him or you can turn to God and trust HIS purpose for the suffering. You may never really know the his reasoning. He doesn’t have to show it to you. But if you have faith and trust in God he will right the wrongs on his terms. God will bring more good from the bad that has happened in your life.

So maybe this happened to my little girl so that she could be removed from that house before it got much worse. Maybe it was so that they could come to live with us and be introduced to God. Maybe it was to have the perpetrator caught and prosecuted so that no other children were harmed. Maybe it was to be a wake up call to the family so that they can straighten out their lives and make better choices, to end the cycle. I don’t know why these things happened to her and to all of the people who suffer. But I do know that I want to teach my kids and myself that bad things happen and in those times we will turn to God instead of away from him.

Are you shouldn’t me?

Expectations. They can be a good or a bad thing. It is healthy to have expectations of yourself and for people. Maybe not for people just in general, because I do feel that most of society will let you down. But with friends, family, and co workers it is good to have some level of expectation. With that said, I know I am guilty of having too high of expectations. Even of myself. I have recently been introduced to a term, “shouldn’t yourself” And I do that often. And I do it to others.

So what does this shouldn’t yourself mean? It is when you have an expectation of what you should do. So instead of watching TV I should be folding laundry. I should be vacuuming. I should call my friends. I should make dinner. I should save more money. I should have a cleaner house. I should be a better person. I should blah blah blah. In the process of learning about this term I found out that you should never really do anything because of guilt. Every thing that you do should be done because you want to. I know that I have spent many years of my life in guilt. My go to saying for almost every situation in my life is “I feel bad” I feel bad about what ever decision I finally decide on. I don’t like thinking that my decisions have caused anyone any problems. So I guilt myself into getting things done.

Then comes the problems with shouldn’t your loved ones. I know that I do this particularly to my husband and to the kids. Well Matt should have gotten that done. Matt should know I need help. He should know to pick up the dirty clothes. He should want to help me. He should be doing x,y, and z instead of what he is doing. And then the kids….. they should know not to throw clothes on the ground. They should know not to hit each other. They should know how to behave at all times. They should want to be nice to each other. They should want to have clean rooms. They should be able to figure out that homework. They should know how to read. They should know how to do fractions. They should be potty trained. They should remember what I told them yesterday. So what is the big deal about shouldn’t your family? Well first off, majority of the time they don’t know what I think they should do. I haven’t really expressed everything I am expecting. So here I am having the bar raised and they are unaware they need to reach it. Then I get mad, disappointed, and aggravated. And sometimes I express these feelings and sometimes I just hold them in until I explode over something so trivial they look at me like I am crazy.

An example of these expectations here recently is I let the trash can in the bathroom overflow. It was running over. There were tissues, q-tips, wrappers, toilet paper rolls, and whatever else strewn about the floor around the trashcan. So I thought, well someone in this house “should” see the trash is full and they “should” empty it and they “should” pick up all of the trash around the can. Well I waited and waited. Three or four days passed and nothing. In fact, they just continued to throw stuff on the heaping pile. Finally, I could take no more. So I picked it up, emptied it, and returned the can back to the bathroom. And to top it off, they didn’t even notice!! Well…..they heard about it. Everyone of them. I explained how I couldn’t believe they saw all of the trash and continued to throw stuff into it. How they didn’t care enough to pick up the trash and if it wasn’t for me we would live in a pig sty. After blank stares the common reply was, “well I didn’t know you wanted me to or I would have.” And since I am still trying to improve in this area, my first response {wanted to be} was “Should I have to tell you? Do you not care enough about this house or me to just help and do it with out asking. Are you blind?” Then I realized I had shouldn’t my family. I had expectations that they weren’t aware of. I allowed the bar to rise and then took it personally when they didn’t reach it.

So I am really trying to realize that people not reaching the expectations I have set for them isn’t a reflection of their love for me. And I don’t want to make my husband and kids do things only out of guilt for me. I really want them to want to help. And with some of the situations, they really just aren’t capable of reaching the bar I have set for them. I expect way too much sometimes, especially from the kids. I can’t hold all of the kids on the same levels when mentally, emotionally, and cognitively they are not on the same level. It is unfair of me to expect so much when maybe they are giving me the best they have. I need to stop feeling guilty for the decisions I make and stop making people feel bad for the decisions they make. So I am going to try really hard to stop shouldn’t myself and my family.

blah blah.

My McKenlee

mckenlee

Since starting this blog I have focused on the children I have. One child that I had, but is no longer with me is still just as important in my life. I have a baby in Heaven. I have a little angel there. Her name is McKenlee Peyton Gratz Rogers. She was born December 19, 2003. She would be 12 years old this year. It is hard. I see other 12 year olds and wonder if she would be like them. I wonder what her favorite color would be. Would she be really girly?

In April 2003, three days before my 21st birthday I found out I was pregnant. I had been married for 4 months. (My ex husband and I had eloped to Gatlinburg, TN on 01-02-03 and married in a small chapel with just immediate family. We were planning on having a wedding in May. He was in the Army and was in basic training in Georgia and then got stationed to Alaska. Of course the pregnancy wasn’t really planned but we were very happy.) I immediately started in with morning sickness. Actually, I had morning sickness the week before while in Florida on vacation but didn’t know what was wrong with me. I also apparently didn’t realize I was “late” by about 8 days. I just been enjoying myself on the beach. When I could confirm this was morning sickness after 3 positive tests, I puked from 10am until 8pm. I would put a glass of water on my nightstand before going to sleep so that I could drink it upon awakening so that I wouldn’t dry heave. Thankfully I was still living at home with my parents and not working either. So I actually had it pretty easy. I became part of the couch for 3 months and lived on tomatoes and coco-cola. I ate tomatoes like apples and drink coke to settle my stomach. I also enjoyed red kool aid, but it didn’t settle well so I would make a big glass just so I could throw it back up! I also became glued to the book, What to Expect while Expecting. I knew all about pregnancy. What to expect. When to worry. What to be concerned about. All of the body changes. The hormones. The amount the baby was to move. The amount of weight I was to gain. I started drinking organic milk when I finally could eat again. I avoided coffee, stopped my medicines, stopped smoking, no drinking, no tuna or swordfish, etc. I went by the book. I went to the doctor every month. I had my ultrasound at 20 weeks, we found out it was a girl. Everything looked great. I gained 33 pounds, blood pressure stayed normal, no gestational diabetes, no complications. But looking back now and hindsight is 20/20 I now realize McKenlee didn’t move like a “normal” baby. But with her being my first I didn’t know the difference. I counted and she moved the recommended amount of times. I think it was 10x a day possibly. And she did, but that was about it.

So come December 18th after being a week past my due date I went in to be induced. I went in that evening and started with cervadil to have the Pitocin started at 5am on the 19th. So after laboring close to 13 hours and dilating to 3 and no epidural the doctor decided to do a C-section. I was a nervous wreck but also ready to be done. Even though I wasn’t dilating I was contracting at constant peaks and very little relief. I just wanted her in my arms and to be done with labor. My ex-husband wasn’t able to be there. He may have actually been in Afghanistan at that point, so my mom was my partner. She dressed in the surgical clothes and we went back. I don’t really remember the surgery or actually seeing McKenlee right when she was born. But I do remember going to the recovery room and waiting to see how she was. I remember asking my mom how she was and mom would say she is fine, then leave the room. I would ask again and mom said she had clubbed feet but that could be fixed. And after that things are a blur. I remember going to my room and I still hadn’t seen McKenlee. I was anxious to hear how she was from the doctors and get to hold her. At this point I had absolutely no idea anything was wrong. I knew she had lots of dark hair. I knew she weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces. She was a big baby. She had big eyes and seemed healthy. I remember wondering why I hadn’t got to see her yet. Then 2 doctors came walking in. One I recognized as the pediatrician and one I didn’t recognize. As I laid in the bed and they stood at the end, asking who I wanted to have in the room while they talked to me I knew something wasn’t ok. I said that my mom, dad, and sister could stay in the room. My grandmother and aunt left the room.  As I lay there sore and recovering from having the C-section I tried to sit up more so I could see the doctors better. The pediatrician said that he was sorry, but there was something wrong with McKenlee, they just didn’t know what. I can feel the pain in my chest, that sickness, that breath taking pain come over my body. I remember I rolled to my side and the pain from the surgery took over and I tried bringing my knees up to my chest but couldn’t, so I rolled back to my back. I apparently screamed because my aunt and grandmother heard me from outside the room. I don’t remember what the other doctor said, but I do know that she stood there holding some papers. The pediatrician explained that McKenlee had low muscle tone and wasn’t responding to stimuli the way she should. And then I don’t remember what else he had to say. I don’t remember them leaving. But I do remember the nurse bringing McKenlee to me. And I remember being disappointed that I hadn’t got to hold her or see her as the “perfect” baby I thought she was. I already knew there was something wrong by time I got to hold her. There was a gloom that hung over already. I am so upset still to this day that I never got to experience just seeing her as a healthy baby. I think every mother should get to hold their baby for the first time and know that they are perfect. I already knew she “wasn’t perfect” The doctors words kept ringing in my ears, “there’s something wrong with her” And honestly I almost didn’t want to hold her. What was the point. No need to get attached now. Just send her back to the nursery. And of course looking back that was just a defense because I was already so attached I didn’t know how to accept that something wasn’t right.

Fast forward a few days. After several doctors coming in and out non stop. Doctors were also coming from other hospitals to see if they could confirm what was wrong with her, we got a loose diagnosis. There was no real test for this syndrome but based on her symptoms the genetic specialist from UK Hospital confirmed what we didn’t want to hear. She had Zellweger Syndrome. It is incurable and terminal. They had only saw one other case in the history of the hospital. It affects 1 in 100,000 babies. It is a recessive gene syndrome, meaning I carry a recessive gene as did her father. Basically she had a disorder of her peroxisomes. Peroxisomes are needed for normal brain, liver and kidney function. She had cysts on her liver, kidneys, and brains. She also had an undeveloped myelin sheath. She also had low muscle tone, an enlarged liver, characteristic facial features, she tested with poor hearing, and she had seizures. She was a classic case of Zellweger. There was really no doubt that this what she had. Of course, I didn’t want to accept that diagnosis. I still had hope that the doctors were wrong. They were mistaken. She was going to beat this. The cysts and seizures would go away. Her muscle tone would go to normal. And still to this day I “know” that she could hear me. I know her eyes turned to me when I talked to her in her little crib in the NICU.

McKenlee never got to come home. She was in the room with me at the hospital when a nurse came in and checked her and realized her color wasn’t good. She wasn’t getting enough oxygen so they placed her in NICU. And as bad as this makes me feel I am not sure how many days old she was at this point. The days began to run together and everything is sort of a blur. Between the pain pills for surgery, the Xanax for nerves, the antidepressants for my mood, the doctors, nurses, visitors, and trying to see if my husband got to come home from Afghanistan I lost track of time.  I do know that my ex did get to come home. We picked him up from the airport, so at that point I had already been released. It as very hard to be wheeled out of the hospital with balloons, toys, and a diaper bag, but no baby.

We spent 12+ hours t the hospital everyday for the 2 weeks she survived. We went home long enough to sleep and shower. We ate at the hospital and set in the private NICU room they had given us. We got to give her baths and hold her. She had so many cords and machines hooked to her though. She was on oxygen, a heart monitor, a monitor for the seizures, and she also had a feeding tube. But we would sit in the glider, lay a pillow on my lap, leave her all swaddled and just rock for hours. I so bad wanted to sneak her out of the hospital, just take her home. Then panic would set in, how would I care for her. She needed these machines to survive. They had shown me how to change and insert her feeding tube, which I didn’t like doing. It was just wishful thinking. I wanted her to see the nursery I had prepared for her. I wanted her to come home.

Christmas day McKenlee would have been 6 days old. And since everyone had assumed she would be home, there were many presents for her under the tree. So I sat and opened those without my baby there. I held up the little outfits knowing in the back of my mind she would never get to wear it. But smiling and thanking everyone for what they had got her and saying how cute she will look in it. But I think we all knew she would never get to wear the clothes. Or play with the toys we had for her. Just no one could say it out loud.

January 1st 2004 mom and I were having lunch at Olive Garden before heading to the hospital. My phone rang and it was the doctor. McKenlee was having one of her spells and he thought we needed to get there fast. Of course we left immediately, we had only ordered drinks at that point so we just left. Getting to the hospital was agonizing. I couldn’t get up those stairs fast enough. We went in to find McKenlee comfortable but struggling. So I held her, mom called my dad and my ex. The hospital gave us a room to stay in that night there on the same floor. And we took breaks. We rotated for over 15 hours. At one point a doctor came in and evaluated her, he turned to me and said “I think she is trying to die” Oh, God, the pain. The gut wrenching feeling that came over my body. I got mad at him. I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t need him to tell me my baby was dying. I needed him to fix her. To make her better. I needed a miracle. But I also needed her to stop holding on. And that is what I whispered in her ear as she lay in her little bed. I told her to let go and not hold on for mommy, I promised her I would be ok.

Hours passed and the time came. The date was 01-02-04, on our one year wedding anniversary. Her dad was holding her and I was watching the machines. I watched as her heart rate went from the 90’s to the 60’s. And the last number I remember was 17bpm. Then I saw her oxygen monitor had 000’s on it. I heard the beeping become a solid noise. I looked at her dad, I looked at the nurse, I looked at my mom and I started to shake. I couldn’t stand. I needed a chair. My mom came over and sat me down.

We held her for another 4 hours after she passed. We brushed her hair. We changed her clothes. I caressed her soft little face. I just held her. I knew that once I gave her over to the funeral home I would never get to hold my baby again. I just held her as long as I could. I didn’t want to let go. I couldn’t let her go. How was I supposed to let my daughter go, to never hold her again. To never feel her whole little body in my arms. I couldn’t, but I had to. So I did. I walked out of the hospital with no baby. I walked out of the hospital to drive home and not come back to see her. I drove home no longer a mother.

We had the funeral and it was lovely. We buried her in her “coming home” outfit. Which I guess was really her “going home” outfit. She didn’t get to come home with me, but she went home. She went  home to the best father. She has no more pain, no more suffering. She no longer is having seizures. She no longer has to have a feeding tube. She has a perfect body. She is that perfect baby I imagined her being. And I can’t wait to see her that way. I can’t wait to hold my baby again. To feel her whole little body in my arms. I know that day will come. I know she will be waiting for me at the pearly gates. And I know that we will know each other as if we have never been apart. And at that point I will know what her favorite color is. Or if she is girly.

Follow His Lead

88a0d05896ededd0fe3b79aeaa562e8dAs the new school year is approaching and sports are starting, I began to realize I have a lot on my plate. I have 5 kids that I am responsible for. I have visits, therapy, soccer, co-op, archery, dog club, lesson plans (homeschool and co-op), pick up and drop off times, social workers to talk to, court dates to keep straight, dentists, orthodontist, and Dr. visits. I make all of the phone calls needed to keep everything straight for all of the children. And then I also take care of the house. So it got me thinking. Wouldn’t life be much easier if I only had “my” two children? Seriously. I would have soooo much less to keep track of and soooo much less to worry about.

No social workers. No visits. No IEP’s. No therapy. No documenting. No court dates. Wow….what would my day look like? Probably a lot more relaxed and laid back. Not so many forms and binders. Medical passports wouldn’t be cluttering up the cabinets. Life books wouldn’t be on the shelves. The laundry pile wouldn’t be sky high. The grocery list wouldn’t be a mile long. And I would be able to just tend to myself and my kids.

But what if Jesus had done that. What if he had only tended to himself and what he needed. What if he hadn’t talked to the lady at the well? What if he hadn’t healed the lepers body? Or made the blind see or the lame walk? What if he had been so consumed with just his self, where would we be today? I am sure Jesus would have walked a much easier path had he kept to himself. I am sure his worries and burdens would have been less. But that was not the life God had planned for him. He was sent to Earth knowing he would live a life serving others and making the biggest sacrifice there is. Dying for others.

Of course my life could be easier. Less stressful. Less chaotic. But then I remember the bible verse Matthew 25:35-40…..”whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters you did for me” Of course there is more to the verses, when he was hungry we fed him, clothed him, visited him in prison, gave him something to drink. And the song by Audio Adrenaline Kings and Queens also comes to my mind. Different parts that stick out are, “on the road on the run, when their lives have only begun these could be our daughters or our sons. And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating I know my God won’t let them be defeated Every child has a dream to belong and be loved” and “these are the lives that the world has forgotten waiting for doors of our hearts and homes to be open”

I am not saying that foster care is for everyone. Not everyone is called to do the same things. But no matter what it is that you feel God is placing on your heart, listen. It may not be easy. It may be hard. It may be out of your comfort zone. But when there is a calling that God has for you he will provide what is needed to complete that call. Are there days I wish I hadn’t listened to that call? Of course. Are there moments that I think I am in way over my head. Yes. And days I am tired and aggravated and I don’t want to listen to another report, talk to a worker, go to court, or take care of anything pertaining to foster care. But I know that God has this in his plans. And on some days I wish this wasn’t in His plans, but it is. And where he leads I will follow. Even if it is hard.

M doesn’t stand for maid

mom-maid

I have developed this new saying around the house, “I am your mom, not your maid.” And I mean that. I do not care to do the motherly duties of a stay at home mom. I cook, clean, do laundry, run errands, fix a sippy cup, pay bills, keep all of the scheduling straight, grocery shop, fix a sippy cup, plan a weekly menu, home school, sign up for extra curricular activities, fix a sippy cup, and take the kids anywhere they need to be anytime. I remind the kids about the animals needing cared for. I remind {aka harp} my husband of what he needs to do 😉  That is all fine. But I will be darned if I am going to walk behind my 5 kids {6 if we count Matt} all day and pick up behind them. That’s ridiculous.

Just today for instance I told one of the boys to pick up those nerf bullets. He goes around picking them up. I then tell him when he is done to take his clothes upstairs. So what does he do? He throws one of the bullets with the suction towards the fridge, it bounces off and lands on the floor. He walks away to get his clothes. Aaaaggghhh!!!! So I may have raised my voice a little, as I questioned if he seriously just did that. I mean really….you were in the middle of picking them up, threw one on the ground and left it!!! I asked him if he thought that maybe this is the reason they are all over the floor!!!

A bit later this morning one of the kids, says “but you like to clean” Um, no. I like a clean house, not to clean. If we could afford to have a maid, I would in  heartbeat. But since that isn’t in our budget, I clean. But that doesn’t mean I am the maid. I will love these kids, raise these kids, guide them, direct them but I am not going to wait on them hand and foot. That will cause them to be unappreciative adults. Said child then said, but I don’t like to clean…haha me either. But I don’t expect things to just be done for me. You have to do what needs to be done. You can’t sit around all day expecting things to be handed to you. That’s not life. That’s not reality. And maybe in some kids world it is. Maybe I am too hard on my kids and have them do too much. But I don’t think it is too much to ask a child to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Or pick up their toys. Put away the clothes that I washed, dried, and folded. Wipe down the sink they use. Clean up the dinner dishes, the dinner I planned, shopped for, and cooked. Vacuum occasionally. Put away what they get out. I think that teaches responsibility. And they don’t need rewards for that….that’s part of being a family. And I think kids today need that. Look at some of the young adults that don’t know how to survive in the real world. The ones who have graduated college and still live at home. Young adults who still have a mom cleaning their home or doing their laundry. I guarantee their mom became their maid!