Thursday, December 15, 2016

update on Cash man!

Our family was sealed to Cash-man this year a couple of days after we adopted him!  He is doing really well.  He has his tantrums etc. just like any 5 year old of course, and a couple of things we are working through, but overall it has been easier than i thought it would be to adopt a little boy from foster care.   I think people hear more about all the hard or scary things about foster care and not enough about the great and special things!  Something many people don't know is how much you can specify when you agree to do foster care.  You can pretty much say exactly what you are looking for and what things you can and cannot handle.  The more specific you get the longer it could take to get a child, but you are able to ask for exactly what you think you can handle.  You can even request that they be legally free so you don't have to do anything with the bio parents.  

Pace gave a talk at the primary program about our sealing and he said "Cash kept winking at everyone and we were all so happy and I thought maybe one day I will adopt"  When we were getting our pictures taken afterward, Cash kept wiggling his eyebrows up and down at the people watching- like "too late to take it back now mwahahaha!"   It was a wonderful and amazing day and we are so thankful for the way Heavenly Father knows us so well and the ways He blesses us!

I kept thinking how sad it was that Cash had to go through what he had to go through and that maybe if I had been more in tune after we had Daphne and been willing to have another baby then maybe Cash would have just come to our family in the first place and not had to go through the sad times he did.  I know with all my heart though that this thinking is faulty!  Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for everyone to become the person they are supposed to be!  And as it says in the sealing, it is now just as though he had been born to us!  He is ours FoREVeR and he was always meant to be ours!
What an adorable, sweet and silly boy, i LoVE his little high voice!  He learns songs really quickly and has all 13 articles of faith pretty much down!  The kids are, for the most part, patient and great with him, especially the girls.  He has some really great teachers and I am also so very thankful for our extended families who have been so supportive and welcomed him whole-heartedly!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Our new little boy!

The Story of the Green Stocking :)

When Daphne was 1 we got new Christmas stockings for our family :)  They were so dang adorable that I knew we would have them forever! haha! ;)   I felt in my heart that there was, perhaps, one more little boy in our future so I bought an extra green stocking.  (the girls have red and the boys green)  For years Tyler and I have talked about adopting.  We always said when we were done having kids we would talk about adopting one more.  

After our five kids (and 6 years of talking about maybe having another one and deciding we were done having kids) we were still doing just that, talking about it!  Finally around the end of 2014 we made a final decision:  Things were too crazy with our own five and we already felt like we should be doing a much better job with them.   Deciding our family was complete, we went forward :)  

The Lord had other plans for us though!  In January of 2015 I was on the computer one day, not thinking about our family or children or anything, and I got an overwhelming  feeling that we needed to adopt!  The spirit was so strong that I immediately stopped what I was doing and started researching adoption and what we would need to do to get started.  I looked for hours at faces of children in the States who were legally free to be adopted.   When Ty go home I told him and asked him to please pray and try to get a confirmation that this was the right thing.  He is so loving and loyal to me that he said he didn't even need to.  He said he knew that I was living right and in tune with the Spirit and that he would pray about it, but that he already knew it was right because of the way I had felt.  I have always doubted my ability to recognize and understand promptings, and it scared me to not have confirmation from Ty, but I was felt so loved and appreciated his show of complete acceptance and trust! 

 We did not have any desire to do foster care because we worried about all of the extra time and stress it would be to do visits with bio. parents and court, team meetings etc.   Also, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle it if they had to go back to the sad environment they were removed from.  Looking back, I am a little bit ashamed of thinking these things, because these sweet little kids need help and somewhere to go while their parents get their act together.  

 We felt strongly that we didn't want to go out of the country either, that there was someone who needed us locally.  After realizing that there were not many kids available for adoption who were younger than Daphne and not severely handicapped, I got discouraged for a time.  It isn't that we don't love teenagers haha or have a very tender spot for those sweet little spirits that are severely disabled and need 24 hour care, I just felt unable to add those unique challenges either of those scenarios would present to my already insane life!  

I had not been able to get any responses from the lady I had emailed to find out how to get started with the process and had lost some steam.  I hadn't done anything for about a month.  Heavenly Father knows us so well!   I had been taking a lot of time looking at photo listings and was stressed about the time I was taking but not accomplishing anything.   He sent me Bradley.  I was looking at photo listings one day and came upon a picture of a darling little 5-year-old boy.  His blond hair and dimpled cheeks captured my heart.  He reminded me of Pace.  I felt strongly that I didn't need to look at any more pictures.  I felt that it meant we were supposed to pursue adopting him.  The trouble was, he lived in another state and his caseworker wasn't having anything to do with me!  She said he needed to be adopted right away and we were a few months out from being able to get certified, even if everything went smoothly.  

Immediately though I got back in gear and got a private home study to speed the process.  By the end of April we had finished out classes and were certified to adopt.  I had been in touch with Bradley's caseworker and contacted her through our home study worker.  Even after doing all that, they still didn't want to place Bradley out of the state.  I didn't understand!  Why would they make him stay in a home where they didn't want to adopt him when there was a kind family willing to love him and keep him?!!  I know she wanted him to stay in his area so he didn't have any more upheaval than necessary, but no one was coming forward!  I know the caseworkers want to help these kids, but they are also overloaded with work and an out of state adoption takes tons more paperwork and trouble.  Our home study worker had found out some more information about Bradley and told me that he was struggling with the two problems I had told myself I couldn't deal with.  I prayed again about it and felt the Spirit asking me, "Does it matter?" And I knew it didn't matter and that Heavenly Father had asked this of me and would make me equal to the task.  

I am a firm believer in just doing our best with what we know at the time and moving forward however we can.  I know Heavenly Father won't allow us to make a wrong choice that goes against His plan for us as long as we are doing our best to live right.  It seemed that we had hit a dead end with Bradley and Tyler and I both felt that even though we were scared to do Foster Care, that was where we were being led.  I wondered if there was a child we were supposed to foster and that maybe then the adoption of Bradley would come through.  We had to jump through many hoops including doing much of our paperwork, back ground checks and finger printing twice because they changed the laws in the midst of our process. 

I  had interpreted my feelings to mean that Bradley was supposed to be our son and I couldn't get him out of my mind.  All through this difficult time, not knowing what would happen, but feeling so strongly about Bradley, I kept praying for Heavenly Father to just allow me to be calm and not to agonize over things.  He answered my prayer in an amazing way.  Somehow I would hardly think about  Bradley at all except at night when I would say my prayers!  It was a miracle to me.  I am someone who worries and stresses about things that aren't settled and I couldn't focus or get anything done, but Heavenly Father LOVES us so much!  He helps us through our trials and takes care of us!  Finally, at the beginning of July we got a call saying they were considering us and one other family to adopt Bradley! 

I had been struggling so much and doubting my ability to understand the Spirit and feel promptings.  I was so excited and sure that soon Bradley would be ours.   About a week later they called again and said, "We have decided we still don't want to place him out of state and are going to try to put him with a family who has a little boy in his preschool."  I was completely crushed!  I began to doubt my original prompting that we were even supposed to adopt in the first place.  I cried and cried and didn't understand.  I doubted my worthiness and wondered if I had imagined the whole thing.  Why would I feel so strongly that we were supposed to adopt Bradley when it wasn't going to happen?  I tried hard to just put my faith in Heavenly Father and tell myself that I would understand someday.  

I racked my brain for any reason why I would need to feel that he was meant to come to us, and could only think that maybe another child was meant to be ours and that if Heavenly Father hadn't helped me get in gear again by giving me strong feelings about Bradley then we wouldn't have been ready at the right time for the child who was actually going to be ours.  It seems trivial, but it also saved me hours and hours of time over those months, looking for a child to adopt and I was able to spend that time doing things for my family that needed to be done and would otherwise have been neglected.  I secretly doubted my reasoning though and struggled giving up on the idea of Bradley.  I fully expected to be called any day and have them tell me that the other placement fell through.  

A couple months went by and finally our Foster Care license was complete.  It had been buried under a mountain of paperwork on the desks at DCFS and many things had happened to delay it that usually don't happen.  A couple weeks later, Ty came to me and said he thought it was really time to quit Malad.  He had been driving to Idaho to do overnight ER shifts once or twice a week for 9 years and we had discussed quitting for years but never felt good about it.  He said he felt that we would soon get a placement and he didn't want me to be alone at night because he didn't know the needs the child would have and didn't know what it would be like.   

He did his last shift and about two weeks later on Nov. 18th we got a call that there was an opportunity for a placement.  A little boy 4 years old (we had hoped for 3-5 years old:) named Cash.  We were told he was developmentally delayed because of being neglected from 0-2 years.  We were also told that the foster family who had taken care of him for 2 years had decided not to adopt him and they were looking for a placement for him.  We had to decide by the next morning, but it wasn't much of a decision... :)  everything had just seemed to work together for this placement to work out for us.  Also, all the details we learned about him were things we felt we could help with and handle.  On Thursday I picked him up from DCFS and he came for a visit for a few hours and had dinner with us.  He was so cute and we all had so much fun with him.  Friday afternoon I picked him up again and he slept over.  The kids were so excited and were so sweet with him.  He slept great and we loved having him here.   

Two days before Thanksgiving he came for good!  It has been a crazy time, but the kids have been great and helpful and (mostly) patient with him pushing the limits and taking their toys and flooding the bathroom!  He is actually better behaved than a lot of 4-year-olds!  He says “excuse me’s!” when he burps and “I’m sorry buddy!”  when he is in time out.  It is emotional wondering if I am able to give him what he needs and wondering if his behavior is normal or if he is in need of different kinds of therapy or different reactions and consequences than I would have given my kids when they were four.  I know that he was meant to be in our home though and am so thankful that Heavenly Father knows us and what we can handle and that He gives us just enough to stretch us and help us grow (with His help) but never too much for us to handle with His perfect strength and help.

His foster mom told us he had celiac (not true… eating normally) and a quite a few other things that we have not seen any evidence of.  I know he will continue to test boundaries as he gets more and more comfortable, but hopefully he will feel our love for him and I know we will continue to be guided by the Spirit and know what to do for him and how to best help him with all his needs.  We love him so much and he is adorable!  I can’t express how thankful I am for my blessings and that Heavenly Father trusts me with these 6 AMAZING kids!  The holidays were wonderful and special...and we finally got to get the last green stocking out of the package and hang it!  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

quitting malad

 finally... after 9 years!  all the co-workers signed this door because Ty complained about it slamming and squeaking and waking him up for 9 years then a week before he quit they finally got a new one!  they cut out the handle for his gift :)


 getting tylers costume ready!
 adams family play
 witch sisters doing a mini play thing for the kindergarten

 saunders cousins!

 mini me(mia)
 pace and freaky emett- buddy/cousins
 trunk or treat

 trey's class got to crack eggs on their teachers head for his birthday

 for some reason the kids like to dig through the costume closet and be something different at school than they are on halloween...?

breakfast with a witch
picking pumpkins

Missionaries are home!

 ty's parents returned from a wonderful mission to eugene oregon!  John celebrated by buying a shelby gt convertible!  his dream car!

saunders family!!


 Tyler and I celebrated our 17th anniversary at a resort in jamaica.. it was soooo nice to just relax!

 we attended church in a strip mall with about 18 members and a couple missionaries. we gave our cab driver a pass along card and he came in to church with us for about half of sacrament.  He played christian rock songs for us on the drive - "Jesus is Awesome!!!"

 Our caddy Clive told us our good shots were "music mon... just like on t.v."

duns river falls

 glass bottom snorkeling boat
unlimited pina coladas!  :)

someone's  excited to see us!