Foster Parenting & Adoption Pt 2

Adoption-heart-graphicSo our young man came for a Christmas visit.  It was so exciting because even at age 16, he believed there is a Santa Claus.  He functioned on about a 8 year old level emotionally.  My husband and I made sure Santa came to visit him and brought some of his favorite things and of course needed things.  It was truly an extra special visit.  We were all three sorry it ended so quickly, as visits were special because he lived in a facility over 5 hours away.  This long drive made it difficult to do quick visits or day trips.

We spoke to the placement specialist afterwards and requested to try again with our special young man.  It was at this time we were requested to sign up with another agency that could provide extra services for our boy.  At first we were told it wasnt a big deal that we might have to take a class or two and the rest of our home study process would be accepted by the additional agency.  Then we were told it was a mistake that we would need to take additional classes and redo the whole home study process.  We did not want to go through the whole process again.  Especially when our boy had already been in our home for quite some time and we were well aware of his needs and the services that would be required for his best welfare.  So we balked at this prospect.  Then it was suggested we could go through a different agency that wouldnt require so much, I said we would consider it, please have a representative contact us.  The specialist informed me I needed to contact that agency, so I did.  The agency seemed a little befuddled that I was contacting them and not the placement specialist and explained to me its not as easy as I was told (once again).  I contacted the specialist with this information and she said she would contact them and get back to me.

In the meantime we had requested another home visit with our boy.  He called me almost everyday and was doing great in school and with us.  He asked me each time I called was the visit approved and I would have to reply “not yet”.  He was becoming agitated at this thinking the worse that the visit would not get approved.  His agitation always manifested itself in acting out at school toward others.  He ended up with an overbearing restriction that prevented us from speaking with each other for a short time.  While this was going on, the meetings between the specialist, myself and his team were continuing and we were at a standstill because they wanted us to add this extra agency and didnt want to have to travel the boy back and forth for the 5 hour trips, much less have to case manage him from this distance.  The point of the second agency was to relieve them of this hassle during the adoption process which would only involve a couple months time.

While the process was dragging on and I was trying my best to fight for him as I had for over a year now, I allowed another foster child to be placed in our home.  A teen girl.  I didnt see a problem with this because I was starting the process to make a new extra special room for our boy.  Plus he was going to be permanent and she only had less than a year before she would be on her own at age 18.  It was during this time I called to have our daily talk and the person who answered the phone informed me I was no longer permitted calls with him and if I had any questions to speak with the office.  I had just talked to him the day before!!  What is this craziness?  I contacted the placement specialist, she informed me he was being placed with another family for adoption and was being moved to their home in a few days and it was best if I didnt speak with him for awhile.  Stunned, heartbroken, ummm, I about lost my mind, no one warned me, I didnt know what to do.

I contacted a lead person in the Children Services Adoption office and requested their help with the misleadings, the unfairness, etc.  Ultimately I was told this was the best thing for him because the family had another autistic child and was closer to his case managers.  I was told I could talk to him soon.  I was also told all the work I had invested him was evident and this great opportunity for him was possible because of my believing and fighting for him and teaching him many valuable things.  Now I know this should have made me feel better, but it didn’t it only broke my heart more.  I cannot tell you the reader in mere words how much I love this young man.  He made me laugh, he made my day everyday in so many small ways.  I didnt mind the work, he was a joy to me.  Yes he struggled to get along with my husband because of male figure abuse he endured early on, but that was going to be something he would have to work through anywhere.  He was doing a great job on building the male relationship with my husband.  Sitting here and telling this part of the story reminds me how much losing him still hurts my heart.  I cant take down his pictures because he will always be a part of my heart.

I have contacted his placement specialist a couple of times to check on him and make sure he is doing well.  I have been assured he is doing great with his new family and the adoption is almost done.  I asked to send him a Christmas present and was given an address where I could send it.  I did not send one because I can not allow myself to interfere with his new life and I have to let go.  It hurts too much to revisit his place in our home and heart still.  I know there will come a day when it will be ok, but that day has not come yet.

Coming up next…The new Foster Child….

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Living with Hemochromatosis 3

Iron Overload

This is an ongoing blog about my journey and daily life after the diagnosis of Hemochromatosis.  I am writing this blog to help others who suffer from this disease to know they are not alone AND to help me release some of what I am going through.

Feb 29.

Today is not a good day for me; my joints are hurting, my depression is at a high level and I dont have the energy to crawl out of a wet paper bag.  But I refuse to give up, I refuse to waste this day.  No matter how I feel, today cannot be regained once it is over and I want to make the best of it I can on any level.  I know the Holy Spirit is here with me helping me every step of this day.  I do not need to worry about tomorrow, because it will be here soon enough.  I have a beautiful 6 month Foster infant to care for and she gives me motivation to get up out of the bed and try my best no matter how small or great that effort ends up being.  I have been thinking a lot about the future and what it might look like.  I do not worry about the future, that is God’s job.  But with what I am dealing with, my question is how do I want to go forward??  On top of my own medical troubles, my husband has Rheumatoid Arthritis and my own disease has opened my eyes even more to what he lives through and I understand more about the things he says and our future together.  In the days ahead I plan to do a lot of praying to be sure ideas and plans are in His will for me and us.  As for today, just writing this update is accomplishing something which is better than nothing and sleeping the day away inbetween baby feedings.  I’ve got to remember life is what we make of it, sick or not, life is a beautiful gift.

Living with Hemachromatosis 2

hemochromatosis-8-728Continued from first blog.

After the holiday I contacted my doctor about the failed attempt for the Phlebotomy and asked for a new corrected script.  I was told to go to a different lab…an actual blood donation center … and that they preferred I went to the Hematologist for the prescription.  So I contacted the Hematologist who insisted on yet another appointment to write the script.  To shorten this part of the story, I went to the appointment got the script.  The next day I scheduled a baby sitter for my foster infant and went to the blood center.  I registered, went back and was told a “preliminary test” had to be done according to the script.  They did the test and said I didn’t qualify for the bloodletting because my Hemocrit is 38%.  I truly did not understand what they were saying and why.  I asked if my Ferritin level had miraculously gone to normal!  I was told no it didnt have anything to do with that.  The nice woman said I could keep coming back everyday to see if the Hemocrit level changes, that it has to be 46% minimal.  OR I can get the doctor to rewrite the script for a lower percentage which some do.  Disappointed again I leave without the procedure.

I call the Hematologist.  The nurse informed me that the doctor will not write a script for a Hemocrit less than 46%.  Still not understanding this Hemocrit stuff I turn to WebMD again.  Hemocrit = blood volume, 37%  = anemia.  Why could they have not just explained this to me in these simple terms?  I know what anemia is, I understand that if I’m almost anemic I can’t have more blood taken!!  But wait a minute, this is not good news.  I have Hemochromatosis, my Ferritin level is too high and is beginning to cause liver damage, and the treatment bloodletting, is not an option for me because I am also borderline anemic.

Rheumatologist appointment is finally here.  He opens the file and goes over the lab results with me and provides a good exam of my joints.  He tells me the good news is…I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus!  Yay!  The bad news is…I have Hemochromatosis induced Osteoarthritis which is more intensified than the basic.  Okay, so what is the treatment?  The Doctor shares with me, there is none.  He says to continue to take ibprophen and eventually I will have to endure joint replacement surgeries.  If the symptoms increase I can contact him and we can discuss a different pain option.  But for now have my regular doctor continue to prescribe the prescription strength ibprophen.  I ask him if ibprophen is hard on the liver (mine already being compromised) he said not really unless taken in large doses.  He said he will see me on an as needed basis and to follow up with my regular doctor.  End of appointment.

Back to my “regular” doctor for a follow up visit to discuss all the results from the Hematologist and Rheumatologist.  DOCTOR; So your fatigue is caused by Hemochromatosis, which inturn has caused Osteoarthritis, mild liver damage, borderline diabetic, increased iron levels, enlarged red blood cells and depression.  Bloodletting can’t be done because your basically anemic.  I wish there was something I could do for you, but there is nothing.  ME;  So are you telling me this is my life from here out and I am not going to get any better and there is no treatment?  DOCTOR;  “Well the good news is your not going to die today, the bad news is each day forward is going to be your best day”.  ME:  So let me make sure I am understanding you correctly, today is the best day of my life because each day I live is a progression in the disease and the subsequent diseases that are caused by it?  There is no help or cure, this is just what I have to live with?  DOCTOR;  Correct.  The only other treatment I know of is a particular injection they can do, but only in extreme severe cases and your not there yet.  The bloodletting is the tool they use to keep the iron levels down, but since you can’t have that done there is no way to get the iron level down on it’s own consistently.  I wish there was more, but there is not.  Come back in six months and we will check your blood levels again with labs.  So I ask the Doctor about the ibprophen the Rheumatologist wants him to prescribe for the pain in the joints.  He says he will prescribe it for me no problem, but to try not to take it everyday because it can cause damage to the liver.  Wait! Back-up here!!  Didn’t I ask the Rheumatologist about that??  Didn’t he say it wasnt really a problem?  Didn’t I doubt his response?  NOW this Doctor is saying it could be a potential problem…does anyone really know what they are doing or care about my health??  This is so discouraging.

The stunning reality of the multiple Doctor appointments and tests are slowly creeping in, but I admit this is hard to digest and my mind does not want to accept it.  We can transplant hearts and limbs, but we dont have a valid method for getting too much iron out of a persons blood.  In case I didnt mention it earlier, the problem with too much iron in the blood is that it saturates and attacks a persons vital organs destroying them and causing pain and death.  Basically its a long term death sentence.  I am struggling with this emotionally.  But there is some good news, my husband and I had a really good doctor we both thought highly of and had confidence in.  We were no longer able to go to him because of Insurance (not being in the network), we just found out that he now accepts our insurance!! So I will be going back to him, thankfully.

I will continue to write about my daily life and journey with this disease, It will be titled “Living with Hemochromatosis 3”  It will be an ongoing blog so be sure to check it for updates to whats going on.  I also encourage feedback, especially if you are familar with this disease and have knowledge to share.  Company is usually a good thing.  God Bless you.

Living with Hemochromatosis

I was recently diagnosed with Hemochromatosis after a long search for the reason for my achy bones and chronic fatigue.  My story begins in about 2012, when I began finding it very difficult to get through a workday without involuntarily falling asleep.  I tried bumping up my energy level with energy drinks for a while, but it didnt really work for me.  I began to have chronic earpain which convinced me to go to the doctor and find out what was going on.  This was not an easy choice because I did not have any health insurance and our household income had been reduced to a quarter of what it was due to the economic crash.  However I felt poorly enough I called the County Health Clinic and made an appointment.  Their fees are based on income so it made it a little bit more affordable.

I went to the appointment and they did a lot of bloodwork.  The Doctor said my ear did not look infected but had a lot of fluid and looked somewhat abnormal.  A new appointment was scheduled to return for test results.

The test results showed confusing information that didnt provide many answers.  Slighlty elevated liver range, slightly enlarged red blood cell count, and a very low vitamin D3 result.  I was told to load up on D3 and see if that makes it better because a low D3 can cause fatigue.  Also I was given medication for the ear fluid.

Time went by and I returned for a recheck with little improvement.  At this time my weight was also creeping up and the stress level at work is growing.  the doctor again thought some additional bloodwork should be done.  The results were the same except the vitamin D3 level had improved.  It was not to the normal level yet, but much better. This time the sugar test showed a higher level indicating borderline diabetes and the arthritis test was slightly high.  I thought the diabetes threat was normal with my increased weight and family history of the disease.  The arthritis level was explainable too with my aching bones.  The ear continued to give me problems but it seemed there was not an explanation for the fatigue and it was chalked up to the ear and work stress.

About a year goes by with little improvement and I unexpectedly lost my job.  The stress level was on overload and a antidepressant was added with great results.  The only issue was the fatigue was ongoing and each day I found myself literally pushing through to get things done and function normally the best I could.  It was about this time my husband was made full time at his new job and he would be given medical benefits.  We were hopeful of adding me to his insurance next year.  In the meantime I worked odd jobs for a little while during a search for a new permanent job.  It was at this time I began doing foster care.  The foster care decision really helped me in many ways.  It fulfilled my passion of servitude, it helped with my empty nest issues, it provided a small amount of income and it was something I could do and still be able to take naps on bad days.

Time goes by and the healthcare sign up time has arrived at my husbands work and I am added to his insurance plan.  By the way I had previously looked into the Health Exchange Insurance program for coverage, when I worked it was too expensive and when I was out of work I didnt qualify.  With the new insurance I went to the doctor for a check up and to talk to him about my existing health issues.  I also went for a check up with my OB/Gyn.  It was now suspected the fatigue and achyness was a result of menapause.  I made the appointment, did some hormone blood work and was put on a very low dose of estrogen.  Great, I’m thinking this is the answer to feeling better, wrong!  The estrogen did help with the hot flashes but none of the other issues.  I continue to live with it for the next year.  During this time my family is telling me their concerns because to them I appear to be very ill and dispite my best efforts to hide how I really feel they are seeing through it.

It’s November and time to sign up for another year of health insurance has come about. This year (2015) my husband talks me into participating in his employer’s “Blueprint for Wellness” program. This is where you voluntarily go and have bloodwork testing performed to check for potential issues you may not be aware of.  It’s designed to be a proactive tool for health improvement.  My results came back and they were very alarming. My results were flagged for Cardio CRP, Hemoglobin A1c, Ferritin, MCV, MCH, and Vitamin D.  Dropping my overall health percentage to 63%.  These results in a nut shell indicate borderline diabetic, High Iron Levels stored in the body, Cardio issues, Enlarged Red Blood Cells and again low Vitamin D.  Red flag!  I make another doctor appointment.  Strangely enough the results make me feel better emotionally.  Because, now I know that I am not a hypochondriac there is a real reason for my fatigue and achiness.

Internally I worry about people thinking I am lazy or that I am looking for a reason not to do things I should.  So I push myself hard to keep going and continue to produce results just as I always have.  I expect a lot from others and I hold myself to the same principal. With the fatigue I often feel like a failure and it depresses me, especially when they can’t find a real reason for how poorly I am feeling physically.  So the medical testing report gave me peace of mind and added worry as to what all these negative test results add up too.

Next Phase…getting to the bottom of it all..

I contacted the Health Department and obtained copies of all my previous testing.  With the Blueprint for Wellness testing report and the copies of the previous labs I went back to see my doctor.  I am a relatively new patient of his and I dont have a good understanding of his bedside manner yet.  This creates a bit of an unsure confidence for me in his dedication to get to the bottom of what is happening to me.  On appointment day he reviews all the testing and tells me most women my age complain about fatigue and by the time they are 65 they must feel better because they stop complaining.  He also said I could starve myself and lose some weight, this would help the achiness.  But he did have a couple concerns with the labs results; the Ferritin level was too high and he wanted to look further into the arthritis testing result.  He told me that a “Bloodletting” procedure could help with the Ferritin Level (Iron).  But first lets do more tests to be sure there are no false positives.

Upon getting the new test results back, the doctor’s office contacted me and said they were scheduling a specialist appointment with a Rheumatologist.  I asked what about the rest of the issues, the nurse said nothing was mentioned.  I asked her if the doctor would refer me to a Hematologist for the englarged blood cells and ferritin levels.  She said she would get back with me after speaking with the doctor.  She called back with an appointment for the next week with the Hematologist.  The Rheumatologist appointment is over three months away.  My confidence is increasing that something was being done to figure out what the root of the problem is.  I have a lot of symptoms but no diagnosis at this point.

My husband accompanies me to the Hematologist appointment that is scheduled at the local cancer speciality center.  The resident intern speaks with us first and goes over all the new test results then the previous.  She states her concern about the results and suspects a minor possibility of an arthritis related disease or Hemochromatosis.  At this point I had visited the medical sites on the web and Hemochromatosis was one of the things the website pointed out.  The doctor comes in…he is in an obvious hurry, he confers with the resident in our presence reviews a couple test pages then says he wants more testing done to confirm or rule out possibilities and leaves the room.  Within a few days I had many vials of blood drawn for testing and a ultrasound of the main organs in my abdomen.

My return visit for answers…hopefully.  The resident comes in the room like before and I am there by myself this time.  She says the tests confirm multiple related issues going on.  She begins with Epstein Barr Syndrome to which I tested postive.  She goes on to tell me this is a form of Herpes.  My mind is spinning, where did this come from?  Herpes?  I have only had one partner my entire life how could this be I asked her.  She said its not what I am thinking that there are different types and the most common form is from contracting mono at somepoint then becoming a carrier for it.  Going back I recalled someone at work saying they had just got over having mono, was that when it happened I thought?  Honestly the more I think about it, the more I dispute this diagnosis because I never have any symptoms of this illness, nor has anyone in my family contracted this. If I was carrier wouldnt I have passed it along to others?  Then why has that not happened?  Again I dispute this finding for retesting at a later date.  Going further she explains the liver levels are increased because I have cirrosis of the liver mine is enlarged… again I am thinking what?? I dont even drink or smoke, really?  Next the arthritis RA factor came back high.  Continuing she states, I am definitely borderline diabetic, no surprise there or so I thought.  And lastly she says, I tested postive for two copies of the H63D mutation in the HFE gene, in other words, Hemochromatosis.  She goes on to tell me that so far there is no indication of mutation in the genes, which is the only good news I have received so far.  Technically the Alleles indicated H63D/H63D Homozygote proving positive for evidence of HH.

Not being medically astute with all this I ask her what does this mean exactly and what are the treatments.  She says there is nothing to be done for a carrier of Epstein Barr. She said the Rheumatologist will want more testing most likely and will decide exactly what related form of disease I have and he will treat it.  The liver, she said to try to watch your diet and not eat too many fried and fatty foods.  The liver disease is caused by the Hemochromatosis.  In fact the diabetic issue, the liver issue and the arthritis diagnosis are all conditions of having Hemochromatosis.  Okay, so how do we fix it I asked?  We can’t she said there is no cure it is a gene malfunction and you need to let your children know they should be tested for the disorder because it is hereditary.  She continued with sometimes bloodletting will lower the Ferritin levels preventing some additional damage to the liver and other possible organs.  Wow and Oh are the only words that come to my mind at that point.  The doctor came in and confirmed what she had told me, the appointment was over and a six month follow-up was scheduled.

It was almost Christmas and my husband and parents wanted to know what are they going to do to help me feel better.  When I told them nothing but recommended I keep the appointment with the Rheumatologist, they were upset.  My mother was determined something must be available to help me and she went and talked with her doctor about me.  You just have to love Moms!!  She called me and said her doctor highly recommended I see if the blood letting procedure would be appropriate to help me.  She said this procedure has been very helpful to many for the fatique.

Meanwhile I again was researching Hemochromatosis, its symptoms, its treatments and its effects.  The doctor left a lot out during my appointment in which I was told I had this disorder.  It was never mentioned to me if nothing was done to help treat it (recognizing there is no cure) the Ferritin levels would continue to increase and damage my main organs leaving me to an untimely death.  Umm, I think this is information I needed to know!  Again the treatment listed was bloodletting or a some kind of injection for really severe cases.  Putting it together didnt the doctor tell me I already had cirrosis of the liver from this disease?  I believe most likely that it has taken a minimum of three plus years to discover this was the problem.  I do not think I want to wait until I have heart and pancreas damage too before trying to minimize the effects of it.  A call to my regular physician was in order.  I contacted his office and asked about the bloodletting procedure and would I qualify to have this done?  His office called me back and said he had ordered the procedure and I could come by and pick it up to take to a lab.

I went that same day and picked up the order.  I drove to the lab the very next morning to have the bloodletting done and another test that had been ordered.  With the order in hand I registered at the front desk, prepared for this to take a little bit of time.  I was called back within minutes, the attendant drew a vial of blood and said I was done.  Its that brief moment when confusion sets in because what you just experienced didnt match up to what you expected.  I said to the attendant I thought I had two orders, one for the test and one for the bloodletting.  She replied I had given them two orders and she did the test, but the other one is written wrong.  I said how is it wrong?  She replied it just says Phlebotomy on it and thats what we do not a test.  Huh?  I told her no it was the test and pointed out the diagnosis/billing code on it indicating the purpose.  She again said it was not a test and I needed to recontact my doctor for them to rewrite it.  What else was there to say?  I left disappointed and decided to wait until after Christmas which was at the end of the week to pursue it any further.  Then the doctor was on vacation until the new year. Time is going by and still no help.

Next…..Getting the test done

Foster Parenting & Adoption

I am beginning a new blog on foster parenting and adoption through fostering.  I’ve now been a foster parent going on three years.  The journey began with the intent to adopt a very nice teenage boy with some special needs.  My storyline is based on Tennessee Law and each state has different rules and policies which could make your experience diffent.  This story will be an ongoing part of my blog with periodic updates on progress until the story reaches a good stopping point.

Its important that you the reader understand I am a 50 something married woman with two grown children and one grandchild.  This fact is very relative to this story.  Age has a lot to do with many things eventhough the younger we are the more we deny this truth.  It all began one late night when I could not sleep.  I often transfer from my bed to the sofa, because the transition tricks my mind into thinking I am now more comfortable and can sleep.  It was late October and a chill was in the air.  I snuggled under the blanket on the soft sofa and fell fast asleep.  I am a night dreamer and I believe often (not always) dreams tell us many things, including messages from the heavens. This particular night I had a very vivid dream.  In fact to this day I am not sure if I was dreaming or it was reality.  Nonetheless to me it was a real event.

I recall sitting on the sofa and Jesus sitting beside me.  I dont remember seeing His face or anything, I just knew it was Him.  Quietly He said to me I should adopt a child.  I replied to Him that I was fine with that but He would have to convince my husband this is something we should do.  I did not believe my husband would agree due to our age and the point we were at in life.  In the morning when I woke up I began the normal early routine of fixing coffee and getting ready for work.  As I went about preparing for the day I temporarily forgot about the vision until…there it was forefront in my mind to where I could think of nothing else. This is how my journey as a foster parent began.

I briefly mentioned the vision to my husband and his reaction was what I expected, he likes things as they are currently.  Just the two of us, quiet and no drama, but he agreed to think about my request to make an inquiry.  The next morning I asked him again and he reluctantly agreed to making an inquiry for adoption.  That morning I got online and was directed to the adoptuskids.org website.  It was such a strange feeling seeing all these children listed like the pets at the local shelter.  The listings were complete with pictures and descriptions of them and their hopes and dreams for the future.  It was heartwrenching and felt so wrong to pick a child like this.  But I read through them all several times and one teen girl kept resurfacing in my mind, so I made the inquiry on the website.

The next morning I received a call from the website and was asked if my homestudy was complete?  Homestudy?  Whats that I asked, she said I had to go through an agency so my home could be verified that it was fit for adoption.  She then asked if I had completed the PATH classes yet?  Another unfamilar term for the me the newbee.  PATH?  She then explained we had to sign up for the classes before we did anything else and just to let me know the likelyhood of us adopting this girl wasnt very good because they (meaning Dept of Children Services in TN “DCS”) are really designed for Foster Care.  I was very disheartened and doubted that my vision was real.  I began to pray very hard and I asked God to confirm this direction so that I am sure this is what I am supposed to do.  I believed He would answer in a way I would understand whether I should push forward or not.

The following morning in early November I received another call from DCS in response to my inquiry.  I was a bit confused because I already had the call the previous day and I told the woman about the call and that I was dissueded from pursuing adoption.  She was upset that anyone would say that to me and stated the previous response must have misunderstood me.  She offered to go ahead and contact someone regarding the PATH classes for me and to get the ball rolling.  Thank you God for the firm confirmation.  I agreed to scheduling the classes and waited for the call.  I explained to my husband about the requirements and surprisingly enough to me he agreed.  The next day someone from a related agency contacted me and scheduled us to get started on the PATH training classes, and it just so happened they were starting in two weeks right around Thanksgiving.  Another confirmation from God in my mind.  Great we were now scheduled for the classes.  In the meantime I received another call from the “Placement Specialist” for the girl in my inquiry.  We talked a long time about what we needed to do to prepare for the possible adoption.  The Specialist was excited about the possibility of a permanent home for this child.

Fast forwarding to the month of January…

In January we finished taking the PATH classes to become a Foster Parent.  Both becoming a Foster Parent and the PATH classes are a requirement to adopt from the Adoptuskids.org .  We began planning a near future visit with the girl, all we had left to complete was the Home Study which we were told does not take very long.  The Homestudy is in reality the longest part of the process.  This is where you have tons of paperwork to complete with very personal questions about your family background, what kind of marriage do you have, what kind of marriage does/did your parents have, your relationship with your siblings, etc.  It also includes a home inspection that have many requirements, a background check, fingerprinting, and so on.

While we were waiting for the Home Study process to finish an unexpected problem developed with the girl.  Our faith is very real to us and my conviction that I was given this directive from above is unflappable.  Once of the reasons I felt so connected to this particular girl was she had written part of her story and said she wanted a christian home that would support her in faith.  I didnt feel like there were a lot of children that had been the horrific situation she had and still held on to her faith enough to make a christian home critera for placement.  At this time she lived in a foster home and had been there about a year.  The unexpected problem arose when she was asked to visit with us to see how each of us clicked together.  Faced with this she did not want to leave where she was.  I questioned the specialist then why would we force her, and was told the current Foster parents did not want to adopt her mostly because of her serious medical conditions and potential for extreme medical bills.  I also asked myself why would I want to take this on at this point in my life, but the answer was always the same, because I was sure this is what God wanted.  So we pushed forward to see if somehow we could ease her mind and set up the meeting.  Meanwhile our Homestudy is finished and it is now the end of February.  I remember the call well, the one where the specialist said the girls Foster Parents faced with adopting her or losing her is moving forward with the adoption.

At first I was heartbroken and I didnt understand why I had gone through all of this only to have it end this way.  But after some thoughtful prayer I realized this was the plan all a long for this particular girl.  If we had not pursued a possible adoption of her, the people she had called family for over a year would not have made the move to make her a permanent part of their family and this is what her heart truly wanted.  God used us to make this girls prayers become reality.  I am firmly satisfied with that.

So where do we go from here?  Was this child a help to progress to the one we are ultimately supposed to help?  Adopt?  One of the issues for my husband and I is we really do not want to be Foster Parents, our ultimate goal is adoption.  The main reason for wanting adoption over Fostering is the turmoil over separation of the kiddos as they come and go.  I am a sensitive loving soul, there is no such thing as staying detached for me.  I must love them all like my own, I cannot do any less and this sets me up for constant turmoil and heartache.  While I am more than willing to obey Gods plan, I can only take so much emotional upset before deep depression sets in.

The placement specialist contact me after a week or so and asks if I am interested in another child.  I had been praying and did not feel like my job was complete yet, and so I said yes.  I started scouring the pages of adoptuskids.org again waiting for one particular one to fill my heart.  At first it just didnt happen.  My husband and I did not want to take on a child that was too young.  We wanted to help the older ones that are harder to place, just like the girl.   There was one boy who’s eyes really kept pleading with me through the picture, but he was special needs and I was uneasy about it.  I inquired with the placement specialist about several others from the website and there was one possibility but she thought he was going to be testing the waters soon with a distant family member.  But she did have a young man that she thought would be a perfect fit, was I interested in some pictures?  Yes and there he was the boy with those eyes!!  We set up a first meeting we drove a long way to spend just a few hours with him.  He stole my heart all six foot three of him!!  Oh and that sweet smile it just melted me.  By April he had moved in with us.  In order to move forward with any adoption, each child must first be Fostered by you for a minimum of six months.  This young man was autistic and needed some special things such as education and proper ettiquette training.  We moved forward and all was very well for about three months.

I think it was mid June when he had his first extreme anger outburst at a local kids center we had him enrolled him.  When they called me I truly thought they were mistaken as I had not witnessed this side of him at all.  From there things went down hill, there were problems at home and school.  It wasnt working out and I wasnt equipped to change it.  I was heartbroken and so was he the day he left to return to his special residence school.  The boy and I had really bonded and it was terrible for both of us.  But due to his background he had extreme anxiety regarding men.  Eventhough we were going through a lot of family counselling together to try to fix it, the problems were getting worse not better.

After he left, about a month went by when he called me and asked if I minded if he continued to call me, of course I said he could call anytime I truly loved him.  This was about October sometime.  It was hard to believe that almost a year had gone by since we first answered this calling.  It was decided he would make a home visit for Christmas and we would see if things were now better since he had a lot of therapy and was now understanding the consequences his actions can have.

The Christmas Visit.

Here Chickie Chickie Update

So its been a while now since we first brought the chicks home, and things are much different.  While we started out with just Orpingtons, we added to the group two Araucana chicks that we got in a raising backyard chickens class.  The woman highly recommended them for the backyard along with a breed called Buckeyes.  The baby chicks were not sexed so we didnt know what we were getting.  The Araucana chickens orignate from Chile and are best known for their colorful easter eggs.  As it turns out we have one hen and one rooster.  They get along well with our Orpingtons.  Enough time has passed and they have begun to lay eggs.  Cold weather has also settled in our area.  Our Orpington hens lay nice brown eggs medium in size, one about every other day.  The Araucana hen lays an egg almost daily, small in size, blue green shell color with a very nice deep orange yolk.

Now of course we have two roosters also, one Orpington and one Araucana.  Both crowed very loud when they found their voice.  We used narrow strips of velcro to make them crowing collars.  We fastened them around the top of the neck under their feathers tight enough to barely put a finger between the collar and the skin, (allowing room for them to breathe).  The collar helps lower the volume of their crow making it better for the backyard and neighbors.  The collar does not stop crowing altogether.

The Orpington and the Araucana are different in size.  the Orpington is a larger bird that is poofie with feathers.  The Araucana has more decorative coloring and is smaller and more slender, but very attractive.  So far we are very pleased with our little flock.

Here Chickie Chickie

Captain, Lavie & Princess Leia - 5 Weeks old
Captain, Lavie & Princess Leia – 5 Weeks old

As we fast approach the 6 week age mark today, here is a sweet picture of Captain Rooster (the largest), Lavie Hen right next to Captain and Princess Leia the cream color hen.  Yes! she finally has a name. Our foster boy named her, he is a big star wars fan.

On our 6 week mark, we finally added the dark blue hen who we named Smurfette, and also a Golden Lace chick hen (not Orphington) who is black and gold.  Her name is been decided as Lacey.  Pictures of the two new ones, very soon.

The two new hens are slightly larger than the other two hens.  They are all doing great together and enjoy playing in the yard.  They are now starting to look forward to me coming out and picking them up to play in the yard pen.  Bugs are starting to be of interest, but they don’t seem to be quite quick enough to catch most of them yet.  The other day I was gardening and found a nice big worm which I gave to them.  It was hysterically funny to watch them take turns picking it up and being chased for it.  I had no idea one worm could provide such a great form of entertainment and long meal.  I am satisfied with our little brood of chicks.  The breeder I got them from assured me the Golden Lace chicken will do just fine with the Orphingtons and is similar in size as well.  I didn’t really want to mix the breeds, but wait until you see her, she is soooo pretty.  Okay, so a chicken is like an ugly child, only someone who truly loves them can see the beauty.  But that’s fine with me.  We have now started adding some left over table scraps to their feed selectively.  They especially like bread products.  We will have to get their coop done soon as they are growing very fast!  My next adventure with them will to research clipping their wings so they cannot fly.  Any suggestions??

God Knows You By Name – Max Lucado

I came across this daily devotion by Max Lucado from his writing, Grace for the Moment.  It resonated deeply and I wanted to share it with you.

I have written your name on my hand. – Isaiah 49:16

Quite a thought, isn’t it?  Your name on God’s hand.  Your name on God’s lips.  Maybe you’ve seen your name in some special places.  On an aware or diploma…. But to think that you name is on God’s hand and on God’s lips…my, could it be?

Or perhaps you have never seen your name honored.  And you can’t remember when you heard it spoken with kindness.  If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name.

But he does.  Written on his hand.  Spoken by his mouth.  Whispered by his lips.  Your name.

As I sat thinking about this, it came to me I never have thought about my name being written on his hand or God speaking my name with his mouth.  I have visualized my name written in His book of life, but not being spoken by God.  Somehow the recognition of God saying my name aloud feeling so personal and specific about our relationship as Father and daughter.  It puts things in a new light.  It makes me feel humble to be recognized by God as an individual, it is truly beautiful.

I hope you enjoy this devotional as much as I did.

Baby Chicks are Growing

The three baby chicks are growing nicely.  Two have names now, theres “Captain” our rooster and “Lavie” our lavendar colored hen.  The third remains unnamed at this time.  I contacted the man who I got them from about getting the blue one, but have not been able to get a mutual time for pick-up.  The yellow fluff is almost gone and the pretty feathering is coming in.  I now understand why each chicken pack needs a rooster, the hens are clueless without one.  The two little hens wait for Captain to instruct them on everything and then they follow.  Very much unlike the human female.  I like to observe their behaviors it is curious to see them interact.  Today was their first day out to play in the yard.  I set up a nice pen and let them graze and play.  At first they were scared, but then Captain noticed some bugs in the grass and went crazy pecking at them of course the two little hens followed pursuit.  They had a grand time chasing bugs and playing in the grass.  Tomorrow I hope to let them play even longer and take pictures.  Stay tuned for the next update with pix.