Saturday, January 30, 2010

Babies update #9

There isn't much to report, which is a good thing. I did want to update everyone on how things are going, how I am feeling, etc.

I did see my OB just a week and a half ago and I go back in another week and a half, so three weeks between visits this time. From that appointment I'm pretty sure I'll start going every two weeks for a month and then every week until they are born.

It's pretty exciting. We have just a bit over 9 weeks left, at the latest, until the girls arrive. I am doing pretty well and my only complaint is that I am not sleeping well, which isn't a surprise to me at all. I'm finishing up week 28 and the nursery is ready and waiting for the girls. I worked on it with a friend of mine for a few hours on Friday and we really did some work in there! I am really pleased that it's starting to feel like a nursery again.

We also got our second car seat today. Really excited to have it and now, with the exception of a hospital bag, I am ready when the girls are! :) Just praying it's not before 36 weeks.

I love my husband!

I have to brag on my husband. A week ago he gave me a great gift. It is the best gift he could ever give me. In fact, I ask for this gift on numerous occasions. This gift is better than anything he could ever buy at a store.

He gave me his time. We’re learning in our small group’s study on Purpose Driven Life, that time is such a valuable gift because it can never be regained. When someone gives you their time, they are giving something of themselves.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jacob gave me a nice big chunk of time together. A “Rebecca Extravaganza” where I get to choose what we do and he goes along with it. Around 2 we found ourselves in the basement, looking for something, when I asked him if he would help me put away the last boxes of Christmas decorations. They are stored under the stairs and with my ever-growing belly, it’s not a good idea for me to lift them. So for about 15 minutes, he helped me organize and put things in their places. He also helped give me some peace in that moment. As most women know, when their house is clean, picked up, and organized, they feel peaceful and relaxed. I felt so good after just those 15 minutes.

Later that afternoon I asked if we could go to Starbucks for a coffee date and then to Target to check out some of the baby things on sale there. As part of my extravaganza day, Jacob agreed. We loaded the dogs into the car, because we almost always take them with us wherever we go, and headed to Starbucks. I originally thought we would just get some coffee and head over to Target but Jacob suggested that we sit for awhile and just hang out. A great idea. We flipped through a little date book called Coffee Dates for couples and I found a great question for us to talk about: Our dream house. We talked about what we would want if money were no option and what our house would be like if we could have whatever we wanted. It was really fun, especially when I asked him what he liked the most about his house in Indiana, where he spent much of his childhood.

From Starbucks we headed to Target where there was a big sale on baby items, 50% off. He did what I have always wanted him to do, engage with me and enter into the experience. I pulled little outfits off of racks and he would tell me how he liked the ruffles or the cute butterfly pattern. It was really fun and we even picked out a few outfits to dress our girls in.

We ended our evening watching a set of home videos that were taken of his old house in Indiana. It was fun getting the tour and being able to see a bit of where he grew up. Then he played our engagement video which was really fun to watch and remember how fun it was to get engaged. We both looked so young in the video, its crazy how we’ve changed in just 5 years.

I am so in love with you, Jacob. I love getting to spend my life with you and every experience!! You are the greatest husband for me!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Foster Care Training, cont.

Today was far more difficult and challenging than yesterday was. We didn't have as much interaction and stimulation to keep us interested and so the first half we all felt dumped on with information.

We learned about the law and all the things that go along with what has been put in place and why. The frustrating part about today was that in some cases the law made zero sense. The first goal in any case is what they call "reunification" or getting the kids back with their biological parents. If that can't be done after lots of different trials and hearings, then that child or children is placed in a forever home/adopted. That makes sense.

In order to explain the law and different things to us today they shared with us various scenarios. One of them was a case where the social worker kept saying that this mom was a good parent when she continually would go back to her abusive boyfriend and allow her child to witness and be around when she was abused. I asked how many times it took until parental rights were severed. They said there was no limit as long as that mom was doing what the state required and proving to be a "good parent". That means she had to keep doing certain things like going to counseling or staying clean and sober, in order to keep her child in her custody. This does not make sense.

Basically, there are more rights for parents than there are for kids. In fact, I venture to guess if animals have more rights than children do. I know I'm simplifying things here, but we weren't the only ones in the room who were appalled at that specific situation.

It's incredibly sad and I feel really angry at the injustice there is in this state and in this world for children. To be fair, the state does some great things for kids and for that I am really grateful. It's the situations where it seems so backwards that make me so mad.

As one of my readers put it: It's emotionally taxing, and yet God is sufficient for all that we need. He already has been sufficient so why would He not continue to do so for us in this new journey?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Two kids aren't enough

"So tell me about why you're here? I'm intrigued since I hear you're having twins soon and yet you're here at this foster care training." One of the other attendees looked at me with wide eyes and a smile on her face.

Today, Jacob and I, along with my bulging belly, sat through an excellent 7-hour training session on becoming certified foster care providers for the state. We both expected to be bored and feel overwhelmed with information and paperwork, yet we came away having enjoyed our time and with a different perspective on the foster care system.

The women who led our training today did so with an upbeat attitude and spirit. They interacted with us and forced us to interact in front of the group on several occasions. We learned so much and yet still have tons more to go through tomorrow and on one more Saturday later this month. We learned about a "sample" family and the situation they were in that caused the kids to be put into foster care and we talked through different options to help them and also positive and negative things that we saw in that family. It was really interesting, even though none of it was true. The story was given to us as an example of what we might encounter along our foster care journey.

I learned that just because you have a foster child in your home doesn't mean you can share their story with anyone. In fact, we all signed a confidentiality agreement today saying we wouldn't divulge any information about a case we were involved in, ever. I can't talk about our foster child's situation to anyone unless they need to know because they will be in contact with that child. It all feels very sticky and yet I understand the reason behind keeping our mouths shut.

Simply this: It's not our story to share.

It's a great lesson in gossip that I never thought I'd learn in quite this way. To respect and honor a child in my home who might not want anyone else to know what he/she has been through, is one of the many things we'll work to achieve during their stay with us.

We also learned about grief and loss as it relates to these children and their biological parents going through these situations. I hadn't thought of these kids experiencing grief or loss, but rather relief that they aren't in that situation anymore. And while that might be the case for some children, I am sure that although the situation they came from isn't what is desirable, they still miss their parents and the routine they were used to and their things that had to be left behind. I am all the more aware of other ways we grieve.

We go back tomorrow for another 7 or 8 hours and then on the 23rd we'll have one last full day of training before we're fully certified. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.

We're having two babies soon and signing up to bring other kids into our home. While it's scary and uncertain, we are sure of this: there are far too many orphans in this world without parents to guide them through life for Jacob and I to just sit here in our comfortable home and do nothing. We know that we are called to help the orphans of this world and we're excited to see exactly how we'll do that in the years to come.

As of now, we're interested in what's called "respite care". What that means is we would come alongside another family who has foster children and provide care and respite from their daily lives. We might take that foster child to his soccer game or we might take her to the dentist. If that family were to take a vacation out of the state, that foster child(ren) would have to stay behind and we would be the ones to take care of them while their foster parents are gone. We feel that we can do that right now and then later we definitely want to adopt and possibly do foster care ourselves. We shall soon see what God has in store for us.

More tomorrow, maybe. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Babies update #8

After spending nearly three hours at the doctor's office, I am glad to be home and thankful for a positive report to share.

At 11 I had my 7th ultrasound, this one only lasting 45 minutes instead of an hour and a half. Although I wouldn't have minded since I love any chance to peek in on the girls and see how they're doing. The ultrasound went great. Both girls are measuring right on and doing well. According to their measurements both of them weigh around 1 pound 10 ounces, which is just an estimate since they can't really weigh them. I have plenty of amniotic fluid around both girls which is great considering I was dehydrated last week.

At this stage in the game Baby A is breech. Those cute, little feet that like to pound away on my bladder are pointed the "wrong" way. I am praying that she'll somersault around and stay put in the head down position. :) But that's just what I would prefer. I know babies can turn around up until the moments before birth. Ouch! Baby B must be a rule follower like her mom because she is head down, which is great! If only A could be more like her sister! I'm sure that won't be the last time I think that to myself. :)

After my ultrasound I hurriedly drank a bottle of the glucose mixture for my blood test an hour later. When I was pregnant with Molly I failed the first 1-hour test and had to go back for the three hour tour. So this time I wasn't going to take any chances, I just fasted all morning. I drank only water and even Jake kept forgetting about me not eating and asked me several times during the ultrasound if I'd like a piece of string cheese!!

After my blood test I went back to the waiting room of my OB's office and scarfed down a delicious pb&j followed by more water. Hmmm, food is yummy. My appointment with Dr. Austin was pretty laid-back, as always. He asked if I had any questions, measured my belly, and took a listen to the girls hearts. In and out and I was done.

I start seeing him every two weeks now for awhile and then he'll change it to weekly. I'm so thankful we're nearing the end of the second trimester. Makes me feel so good with each passing week and knowing the girls are getting stronger and bigger. I am so excited to meet them and hold them in my arms!!

And now, let the nesting begin...