Decisions, Decision, So Many Decisions

I make millions of decisions each day.  The first is generally whether to get up and exercise or turn off my alarm clock and keep sleeping.  The last is usually whether to read my Bible before bed or Harry Potter.

Kirk and I have had to make many decisions in our married life.  Some have little effect on our lives (i.e. What show should we watch tonight?) and some have changed the course of our lives (i.e. Should we become foster parents?).

Some decisions are made in a split second and some have time to be prayed over for days or weeks or months.  Someone once told Kirk that as long as your decisions are in line with the big picture of where God is calling you, it doesn’t matter the specifics of each “little” decision.  I say “little” in quotations because when I say little I mean decisions like whether or not to take a specific foster placement.  I’d like to share some examples of three decisions we’ve made in the past few years that have changed the course of our lives.  Many people have seemed surprised that Kirk and I would chose to uproot our family and move to Chattanooga, TN but each “little” decision we have made has led us to this big decision for the well being of our family as a whole (and God making it very obvious that this was His leading).

IMG_4809Two and a half years ago I was driving my cousin to the airport to go visit her family for Thanksgiving break.  It was the day before Kirk’s sister and her family were to arrive to spend Thanksgiving with us.  I got a phone call from my case worker (as a waiting foster parent, I always answered the phone when she called).  Could we take a two year old boy?  He was going to an emergency placement that night but would be brought over the next day.  “Yes,” I said, “I’ll need to double check with Kirk when I get home but assume we’re saying yes unless I call you back.”  Kirk was more hesitant.  We had a lot going on with family coming into town, my birthday the next day, Thanksgiving, etc.  After an hour of thinking about it we decided to take him.  Fast forward two years later and it’s Daniel’s adoption day.  We love Daniel and he’s an awesome kid.  He’s gone through some rough stuff in the first few years of his life and is still growing emotionally…putting him developmentally as a 5 year old but emotionally more like a 3 year old.  A decision made in an hour that has changed our lives forever.

20141025_072846One and a half years ago we had been doing respite care every few weekends for a former placement to help his mom adjust to suddenly becoming a mommy of a newborn.  We were so tired and sleep deprived having had back to back newborns for several months and after sending him home on Sunday decided to take a little break.  On Monday I got a call from our case worker (this time I was in a meeting and missed the call).  Could we take a 6 week old boy?  He was with a wonderful family but they would not be able to continue to care for him.  I was hesitant and called Kirk.  He said, “Yes, if we want to continue to grow our family we have to keep saying yes to placements and following through in however we can serve each kiddo and their family.”  Fast forward and we have a very active, very heavy, very strong-willed and rambunctious 21 month old who, Lord willing, we will be adopting this summer.  Baby K is constantly on the move and began showing toddler-like behaviors at the age of 18 months. He’s an awesome kiddo but a lot of work to keep up with.  We decided to take Baby K after asking one question, “It looks like we’ll be adopting Daniel who is an African American so we’d like to only take Baby K if he is an African American so that Daniel won’t be the only black kiddo in our family.”  It was an instant decision that changed the course of our lives.

IMG_5368Accepting Baby K mostly changed the course of our lives a few days later when we found out that he had an 18 month old sister that might come into foster care in the future, “If she does, can you take her too?”  We had weeks to make this decision.  It was a hard decision because we knew that if we said no we would likely have to say goodbye to Baby K because they would find a home for them both to be together.  But at the same time we were feeling very stretched as a family and wanted to be careful not to take on more than we could handle.  We didn’t know her and what level of care she would need.  Two months after Baby K joined our family, Girly K joined us too.  God knew our limits and didn’t give us more than we could handle.  We had several months to decide if we could handle being a family of seven and had to pray through a lot because we knew taking Girly K would change the course of our lives.

IMG_5333Fast forward to today.  We have five children.  Our two oldest are very stable, having normal sorts of needs and issues.  Our biggest stress for them is making sure that they get enough attention from us.  The youngest three all have needs that we anticipated in varying degrees.  I love them each so much.  They are hard to parent for various reasons, all of them displaying toddler-like behaviors.  Having three toddlers is hard work.  It’s especially hard when Kirk is gone most of the weekend.  When we were presented with the opportunity to move to Chattanooga where Kirk’s work schedule would match up with our kids weekly schedule we jumped at the opportunity.  It’s hard to image weekend life with two parents available after being the only parent on weekends for 10 years.  I am so excited about being able to go on family adventures on Saturday mornings (or even sleeping in).  I am so excited about going to church with my kids AND my husband.  I know that Kirk’s presence on the weekends isn’t going to instantly change the behaviors of my kids or their needs.  But not being the sole grown-up responsible for de-escalating each child, disciplining each behavior, and comforting each child is something I look forward to.  I am so thankful to the Lord who has given us this opportunity to move to Chattanooga where we can focus more on the health of our family.  (And I haven’t even begun to talk about how excited I am to live so close to my in-laws, my sister, Kirk’s sister and her family, and my brother and his family…and in a few years my parents.)

I’m so thankful that my future lies in the hands of an all-knowing and all-loving Heavenly Father and that he has led our family into this new adventure.

 

Big Changes in the Ward Family

As an MK (missionary kid) I crave change.  If you don’t believe me, just ask my husband.  We have been married now for just under 12 years.  The first year of our marriage we moved from Chattanooga, TN to St. Louis, MO and both started new jobs.  The second year of our marriage we had our first child.  In the third year of our marriage we had our second child.  The next year we bought a house.  Then we got licensed by the state as an adoptive family, and had a pre-adoptive placement for about 6 months.  Then we recovered and got a dog.  Then we got licensed as a private adoptive family and had and lost a placement.  Then we got chickens and built something tangible together as we recovered.  Then we got licensed as a foster placement and had change after change (one time we received a new placement the same day one left).  That’s a lot of change and in the midst of it we have welcomed one more kiddo as a Ward and Lord willing will welcome the other two on a permanent basis soon as well.  We’ve also added and lost cats, added and lost lots of chickens, and added another dog.  I love change but it can also be exhausting and as a family we were ready for a year of just settling in to who our family is now and enjoying a slower pace as we move out of the fostering stage of life and into the “no more adding babies” stage of life.  This year was going to be our year of REST.

God has other plans, plans that we were not looking for or anticipating.  This year will be the year of the biggest change yet.  Moving again.  Kirk and I moved here as a newlywed couple twelve years ago.  This summer we will be packing up our family of seven humans, two dogs, one cat, and seven people worth of stuff (the chickens will be staying behind) and moving them all back to Chattanooga, TN.  I like to joke that we just came to St. Louis to have children.

This change has come as a shock to most people, it was also a shock to us.  Kirk was asked by Chattanooga Christian School to consider applying for their job as a Upper School Band teacher.  Though we’ve never expected to leave St. Louis, we started thinking about it…making our pro and con lists.  Pro…Kirk would be off on weekends and summers.  Con…he hasn’t really taught in type of setting before.  Pro…we have lots of family in and near Chattanooga.  Con…we love our church family in St. Louis.  Pro…CCS has a desire to improve their diversity.  Con…we love The Freedom School and the diversity it is dedicated to.  Pro…all the kids can go to the same school.  Con…we’ll miss our foster support…wait, can we even take our littlest two????!!!!!

This last “con” has been the biggest question mark in our minds.  God seemed to be opening door after door that was leading us to Chattanooga but we knew we wouldn’t leave our youngest two kids behind.  Their case is moving toward adoption but would it move fast enough for us to be able to move this summer.  This is still a question mark in our minds.  It feels like God is testing our trust in Him through it.  The last door to open was the official job offer.  Now the only thing that would hold us back is the St. Louis City court system, not the most efficient or time-sensitive entity in the world.  We have a great team working with us for the permanency of our kiddos but we really have no control over how things will play out.  WE NEED PRAYER!  We need prayer for God to move the “mountain” which is the court system so that we are at a point in their case that we can move them out of the state.  We need prayer for us that we will be able to trust God in whatever the future holds.

The Bible verse sitting on my kitchen window these days is so common that it’s easy to skim past all the wonderful encouragement…Philippians 4:6-7, “DO NOT BE ANXIOUS about anything, but in EVERYTHING by PRAY and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made know to GOD.  And the PEACE of GOD, which surpasses all understanding, will GUARD your HEARTS and you MINDS in Christ Jesus.”

Grief of Adoption

I have been slowly mulling over a couple of blogs I read a month or so ago.  These days my thoughts are scattered and interrupted by the nearly constant needs of my small children.  It takes time to formulate my random thoughts into cohesive ideas.  It takes even more time to find the time to sit down uninterrupted and write them down.  So forgive me if they are not fully processed or if nap ends in the middle of my post.

I recently read an article by Dr. John DeGarmo called My Grief Is Real: The Tears of a Foster Parent.  As a foster mom I have cried many tears over my kids who moved on.  I usually cried those tears the first time we found out they wouldn’t be staying in our family.  And God faithfully comforted me each time as we began to work toward helping that child move on to the next phase of their life.  Dr. DeGarmo’s article is a very encouraging article if you are in the midst of this phase of your journey…one of moving kids to the next phase.

But I am no longer in that phase of my journey.  My family has moved on toward the next phase, where our kids will not be moving on from our family.  We adopted Daniel last November after two years as his foster parents.  And we are moving forward in the process with Girly K and Baby K and will, Lord willing, be adopting them this summer. Reading DeGarmo’s article made me think about the differences in the tears I cried for our kiddos who moved on and my three youngest kiddos.  There were tears of grief for the kiddos that I didn’t get to keep, that we said goodbye to.  But those tears didn’t last very long.  We met daddies and cousins and friends who loved our babies and we could easily see God’s hand in moving the kiddos on.

For my youngest three kids, especially Daniel, I have cried many more tears.  Tears for Daniel as we experienced the back and forth of if he would stay or if he would move.  Once we knew he was staying we cried tears for him that he will never live with his birth mom again.  He has a bond with her that I can not understand in my rational mind…to love someone who has done such harm to you.  I cry tears for him as I anticipate the hard conversations we will have with him about her.  My tears aren’t all for Daniel.  I cry a lot of tears for myself.  Parenting Daniel is hard.  I cry because I will be his mommy forever and I will have to be the one to have the hard conversations.  I will be the one he will hate for taking him away from his birth mom  I will be the one he yells at in anger, “You’re not my real mom, I wish you’d never adopted me!”  I have a different kind of grief and tears for Daniel.  I grieve the pain in his heart and I grieve the pain in my heart as I struggle to love him the best that I can, knowing that it will be forever, knowing that it may always be hard.  I cry tears for two oldest kids.  I cry that we have given them a difficult brother.  I cry for the sweet times I miss out on with them because I have to give them space away from him when he is being mean or aggressive with them.  I cry for the loss of the simple, impulsive life we used to live and will never be able to live again.  I grieve that they no longer get to have that.

I love my Daniel and I prayed so hard that God would let us keep him.  We see tremendous growth in him and he is a delight to call my own.  But I am not naive about the journey we face.  I know that it will have it’s ups and downs.  I have no doubt in my mind that God brought us to this specific time and place.  And though I cry a lot of tears I know that He is here with me in the midst of all of them.  He does not judge me when I cry tears of anger because Daniel is hitting and scratching and kicking me because I did not give him his black coat because I don’t know where it was.  God is with me when I cry tears of grief over the loss of time with Joanna and Sam or Kirk.  God is with me when I cry heart-broken tears when he says he hates me because I gave him a consequence for disobedience or he says he feels safest with his mama (his birth mom) because she gave him bottles (though I know the truth about how she treated him).  These are the tears that I cry now.  Yet God is my comforter.

I was thinking about these things, saying yes to loving Daniel as a son forever, despite the many tears, as I read a blog post by a friend from church, Kim Rankin.  She talks about Being Brave.  “Perhaps bravery is not the absence of fear, but the refusal to be paralyzed by it. Perhaps there is bravery in admitting we are scared. Perhaps recognizing we need help is the bravest thing of all.”  There is a special kind of bravery that God gives us that leads us to do things that the world would call foolish.  Bravery for me is saying YES with all of my heart to Daniel even though I know in my mind that it will not be an easy journey.

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Why Adopt Little D?

Someone recently asked me why we have chosen to adopt Little D.  Kirk had said something to me, a “tongue in cheek” prayer.  “May God continue to bless D with new levels of maturity and peace so that his presence in the house does not slowly kill my wife.”  Though it was said somewhat sarcastically, it is a real prayer of our hearts that we pray humbly and desperately before the Lord.  This person asked me why we would choose to adopt a kiddo that we felt was slowly killing me.

This past summer was nearly impossible.  Five kids is a lot!  Balancing the needs of older kids and little kids is hard.  Balancing the needs of kids who want to chill without structure at home and a kid who needs specific structure and constant activity away from home is hard.  Carrying a 30 pound infant everywhere while chasing a 30 pound toddler who hasn’t learned boundaries is hard.  These are surface, logistical needs I faced each day this summer.  Not to mention that my family wants to eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert EVERY SINGLE DAY!

There are emotional needs as well.  There are A LOT of emotional needs when you are parenting children from “hard places”.  Parenting children who are emotionally needy, children who are on the brink of “fight or flight” (mostly fight in Little D’s case) almost all day is exhausting.  Keeping on top of behavior to prevent all out rage is taxing.  Staying calm in the presence of a child who is fighting against you, literally in fear of their life, is nearly impossible.  With the help of the Holy Spirit I am able to love my little boy through these fears.  With the help of the Holy Spirit I am able to remain gentle and kind with my words and my body even when he is attacking me with his words and with his body.

But I do get enraged.  I do get so angry that I want to hurt him.  I get so used up that I want to disappear for a few days, or at least lay in bed by myself all day.  I found that by the end of the summer I was beginning to feel the physical effects of parenting Little D.  My body and my heart were all used up.  It’s in these moments that my prayer is that God would help me to survive another day.  It’s a real cry, from a really exhausted mommy; it’s a real cry, to a powerful God, a loving Father.  It’s a plea that He would give me the grace to love a child who calls me a “stupid cry baby” and threatens to “punch me in the face” (we’re hoping to deal with these issues before he becomes older and has worse names to call us).  A child who scratches, kicks, hits, and spits because he doesn’t want to eat the cereal I gave him for breakfast, the cereal he insisted he’d eat this time (his fear is telling him he’s going to starve, that I’m withholding food from him).  Or throws books at me as I leave him at bedtime.  It’s in these moments that my husband cries out in prayer on my behalf.  We cry out because we also see the charming, delightful little boy that he is.  He is precious in the sight of the Lord and we believe in a God of healing and we have hope and faith that God can heal Little D from the hurt he has experience.

So the questions come in these moments…why would you choose to adopt Little D.  I guess I’ve never really thought about it that way.  To be honest, it was never a question that I asked.  We chose to foster because we wanted to be a safe place for kids who needed a safe place.  I choose to adopt Little D because when that question came up he was already my son.

Me and D (one month as his mommy)

Me and D (one month as his mommy)

A (Sun)Day in the Life

Sundays are one of the hardest, least “sabbath” days of my week. Kirk and I have a unique situation in our family dynamic due to his job, as well as our choices in growing our family (i.e. adding three kids in the space of 1 year through foster care). Before I make some observations about our “sabbath” I need to make some disclaimers…
1. I LOVE my husband and I am so thankful that he has a job that supports our family, that he loves, and that he is gifted in.
2. I LOVE my children. I love my big girl and her helpful, big sister attitude. I love my big boy and his extreme patience with his little siblings. I love my middle child and his charming nature. I love my giggly little girl. And I love my chunky ball of baby joy.

Having said that, Sundays are the hardest day of the week for me as the wife of a music director and the mother of five children. Sundays are the hardest days of the week due to the physical and emotional stresses I have.  They are also one of the most refreshing to my heart and soul and my steadfastness in the Lord. In the midst of the chaos and exhaustion, God meets me and restores my soul so that I can make it through the next week.

Kirk leaves for church at 7:30 (hopefully the little kids are mostly fed, I’m mostly fed, and the big kids are out of bed). We attempt to leave at 8:00. This means making sure 5 kids are dressed, fed, teeth brushed, and have used the bathroom. Two can do all of this on their own, one can do some of it on his own, the other two need help for most. We do our best to get to church on time but sometimes I realize as we leave that I haven’t finished getting myself ready, or one of the little ones poops in their diaper, or we realize the car is out of gas.

Being the wife of the music director means that Kirk is engaged elsewhere for most of the “worship”/singing part of the service, the part when all of the kids are with their parents. I can’t do it by myself and have had to humbly ask for help. My plea for help has consistently been greeted by overwhelming acts of love. One family from our house church takes my very heavy, very squirmy baby from the moment we arrive at church until they’ve dropped him off in nursery. Most Sundays I can handle the other four kids. But any time there is a transition or change in our life the middle kiddo’s life feels out of whack and that generally leads to a decrease in his ability to control his emotions, behaviors, impulses, etc. Sometimes we can calm down in the middle of the service, sometimes it takes a minute in the foyer.  And now and then it takes several minutes sitting and calming down in the bathroom.  I need someone who can sit with my other three kids while I deal with these behaviors.  Once again I ask for help and have never failed to find someone extra to sit with us.

Our church has recently gone through some scheduling changes and I have really loved the new changes. Kids ages 4 and up sit with their parents through the sermon. Today was Little D’s first Sunday in the sermon. We know that this will be hard work for him to learn to sit quietly for this amount of time. But we also believe this is a skill that he needs to learn.  Kirk is with me for this part of the service so I am thankful that we can work together on this skill for Little D. It’s also proven to be a wonderful time to give Joanna and Sam some much needed “snuggle” time.🙂

Between the first and second service there is about and hour and a half during which the kids have Sunday school and there are also Adult Ed. classes. I have enjoyed how much this has slowed down our Sunday mornings. Kirk and I are able to spend time together between services playing with the little kids and having conversations with other families. It’s been fun to get to catch up with other church members that in the past I didn’t have time to keep up with because church felt so rushed. Once the little kiddos are more settled into our family I look forward to attending and Adult Ed class. We rarely have done this in the past because they used to take place in the late afternoon and Kirk, and I, are generally wiped out from our morning responsibilities.

I get the kids home around 11:30, make lunch, and put the little three down for naps…wow, sounds easy when typed out. Kirk gets home around 1:45 and I’ve enjoyed taking the time while I wait to try to blog again.

Though it’s hard to focus on the singing of church, God continues to encourage my heart through the songs we sing. Though it’s hard to focus on the entire sermon, I can get the general gist of the message and I am weekly reminded of God’s love and grace and His call for us to serve Him in our daily lives. I need these reminders that the hard work of caring for my foster kids and their difficult issues is the good work of God’s kingdom that He’s called me into.  I’ve come to think of “sabbath rest” as less of me getting to have what I want (focused worship, contemplative Biblical instruction, sitting on the couch and watching TV all afternoon) and more of a day of serving (serving my husband as he serves the church, serving my kids and working to teach them how to worship the Lord, serving our neighbor’s daughter so she can come to church, working to find little bits of rest along with my family rather than in solitude).  God meets me and encourages me, even though sometimes it’s just through a small comment during the sermon or part of a song…

“Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.” (Power of the Cross, Keith Getty)

 

God’s Timing is Right (even if it’s hard)

*Author’s Note: D is up from his nap so this is an unedited and pre-proofread version of the post…unlikely to be edited later.🙂

I made the comment to Kirk last night that sometimes I wish we had been able to have D since he was born.  We were thinking back over the various children God has brought in and out of our life and the journey that He has taken us on in order to get us to where we are today.  On the day that D was born, we weren’t ready yet to be his parents.  Four and a half years ago, when D was born, if he had entered foster care we wouldn’t have been there to be his placement.  We didn’t want to be foster parents, we wanted to be adoptive parents.

Sam and B Girl

Sam and B

Three month before D was born we took in a pre-adoptive placement.  One month into our journey we became foster parents as the court decided to try to get the kids back with their mom.  This proved to be 6 of the hardest months of my life.  We learned that some moms desperately want to be good moms but just haven’t been taught how.  They love their kids but seem to be unable to get stable enough to provide their kids with what they need.  After 6 months we had to ask for the kids to be moved, we struggled through the guild of that decision and closed our foster/adoptive license saying we would never foster again (at this point D was 3 months old).

Adoption Blanket for baby S

Adoption Blanket for baby S

By the time D was 1 year old we had decided to pursue private adoption and were working on our private home study through a local foster agency.  By the time D was 18 months old we had been matched with a mom and were taking home her baby from the hospital.  A week later we were driving to her house to give the baby back.  We spent the next six months trying to figure out what God was doing in our lives and asking Him lots of “why” questions.

"baby M"By the time D was 2 years old, we had decided to foster.  We’d re-taken the 9 weeks of classes to become licensed and switched our adoptive home study into a foster home study.  And taken in our first placement.  We still stay in contact with Baby Girl M’s father. I asked God for a clear sign that fostering was the right path for us and He gave us M.  She was delightful.  Her father was grateful.  We had spent months healing from the pain of feeling like God had used and abused us in our previous situations.  We began to see more and more the dire need for foster families.  In the two years that we’ve fostering we’ve had 8 placements (and done respite for several more).

Little D (a few months after he joined us)

Little D (a few months after he joined us)

After baby girl M who went home to her dad after a couple of months.  We had her in the spring.  That summer we had baby boy J who went to a friend of the family.  That summer we also decided not to pursue twin girls J and J.  We did respite care for them for several weeks and enjoyed them so much.  This was the biggest conflict of our marriage so far.  That fall, on my birthday, we took in Little D.  If D had come into care when he was born, we wouldn’t have been ready for him.  It’s been a long, hard journey, but I am so thankful for the work that God has patiently been doing on our hearts to bring us the the place where we’d be ready to step in and become his parents.

 

 

A Good Mama

20150703_062351Little D’s chicken, Snow White, went “broody” about a month ago…this means she started collecting eggs and sitting on them to hatch them. Unfortunately, without a rooster none of our eggs can hatch, I’ll spare you the chicken reproductive system. We drove out to Duda Lang Farm and bought a dozen fertilized eggs and put them under Snow White. Twenty-one days later we were supposed to have cute little chicks following their mama around as she teaches them how to eat and drink and survive in the world.

 

By the end of day 1 we were down two eggs…eaten by other hens while Snow White got up for a quick nibble of food and to stretch her legs.  (A broody hen sits on her clutch of eggs day and night for 21 days, turning them every 15 minutes to help them develop properly.)  We started keeping a closer eye on them, especially whenever Snow White got up for her brief daily meal. After a couple of weeks eggs started to disappear. We’re not sure what was happening but by “hatch” day we were down to only 3 eggs.

20150703_071827On Thursday night, before I went to bed I checked the eggs and found that two of them had a little crack, “pip”, in them (an air hole) showing that they would hatch soon. The next day we anxiously watched and waiting as one of the eggs slowly opened more and more. It was almost all the way open when we decided to have lunch and nap time. After nap time when we went to check on the new chick…it was gone. All that was left was half of a shell. We suspect that another hen ate it.

 

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So we blocked off the other hens in an attempt to save the next chick. We waiting excitedly all day and finally after dinner it made it’s appearance. A floppy little black chick cracked out of it’s egg, exhausted but triumphant. We kept a careful eye on Snow White to make sure she was careful with her new little chick. All was well as we put the littlest three kids to bed. We let the big kids hold the 1 hour old chick before they went to bed. When Kirk and I checked on it before we went to bed it had been smothered under Snow White. The third egg turned out to be a dud and had died before even hatching.

20150704_110316This day was such an emotional roller-coaster. The highs of watching the eggs slowly hatching. The lows of checking on them to find death and an empty nest. The next day we went back out to the farm and I debated and debated whether to get young chicks to give to Snow White (apparently we could sneak them under her at night and she’d wake up and assume they’re hers). “Maybe I can teach her to be a good mama hen. Maybe if they’re a little bigger she won’t smoosh them. Maybe if there’s more of them she’ll be a better protector.” In the end we got six week old chicks…just about the age that chicks are off on their own and the mama starts laying eggs again for her next clutch. It wasn’t worth the risk.  Snow White was not a good mama.  She didn’t keep her eggs safe enough to develop properly into chicks.  She didn’t keep the eggs or chicks safe from the other hens. She wasn’t able to keep them safe from herself.

Coincidentally, as we’ve been having discussions with Little D about Snow White being a good mama to sit on her eggs and keep them safe and warm, we’ve also begun conversations with him about adoption.  Adoption in general, and specifically his adoption into our family.  This weekend, as we watched Snow White’s patient sitting on her eggs come to nothing…we talked with Little D about how he will not be able to live with his birth mom again.  Snow White was unable to keep her eggs safe and provide them will all that they need to survive in the world.  Little D’s birth mom was unable to keep him safe and provide him with all that he will need to survive in this world.  We told him that since he can’t go back to live with his birth mom we were asked if he could keep living with us and be part of our family forever.  And we said, “YES! We would love to have his as a part of our family forever.”  We told him that since we picked out names for Joanna and Sam when they were born and so we had picked out a new name for him too.  We were going to change his name to Daniel.  He asked if he was going to have Daddy’s name and was very excited that he would be a Ward forever.  The court system is moving slowly, but the movement is forward.  We hope to have an adoption date before the end of the year.

Daniel with "White Head"

Daniel with “White Head”