Friday, February 26, 2010

Five for Friday

Today I decided to be like my friend The Toddler Whisperer and do a Five for Friday list. These are the five things I think every foster mom for newborns should have. My list might be different in a week or so, but this is as of today, with all of my three weeks of experience.

In no particular order:

This chair, brought over by a friend has been a lifesaver. It's the only place Baby F will sleep other than in our arms. (or the carseat in the moving car)



We got several of these Kiddopotamus wraps in the bags of donated clothes from our mom friends. They work like sleeping pills for Baby F. (not that we'd know how sleeping pills would work on her...)



Soothies! Modeled by our very own Baby F (wearing the oh-so-stylish cap her friend Katy brought her). If the baby had a mute button, this would be it. God bless you, soothie inventor!



We don't have a changing table, per se, but with a couple of these in every room and in the diaper bag, I can turn any surface into a changing surface. They are so soft, the aforementioned Katy likes to steal borrow them as blankets. And they are definitely waterproof as advertised!

And finally, no new mom's (foster or otherwise) collection would be complete without:

 

What other things should be on my list? I know you can't post pictures in the comments, but send me links! Hook a sista up!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

#2000

I just noticed my viewer counter is at 1949, which means it'll hit 2000 soon. If that's you, take a screen shot or pic of the counter and send it to me. I'll send you a prize that you'll really like. :-) (If you don't have my email address, leave me a comment and I'll send it to you.)

Courtside seats

Today I took Baby F to go be with her mom at her court hearing. I wasn't sure what the hearing was for exactly, but knew that some jail time for E was a possible result. I went because I was very curious about the process and also because I wanted to show my support for E and for her to get to be with her baby in case the jail time was immediate.

Like most things governmental, it was hurry up and wait. Well, mostly just waiting. After about an hour of us waiting outside the court room, her court-appointed attorney came out and pulled her aside and chatted with her some. She told us it was about the deal he was going to propose to the prosecutor. Then, about 30 minutes later, he came out, went over some legalese with her, then took her into the court room. They came out a few minutes later and disappeared around a corner as she mouthed something about a blood test. Then I had to leave to go to another appointment.

I was a little disappointed, because I didn't get to go in and find out what the outcome was. I think she's going to do some jail time over the next 3 weekends, but I'm still not really sure what for. I guess it's none of my business.

I'm proud of her for owning up to her mistakes and taking responsibility. I'm sad that she will have this on her record. I know how society looks at people who have criminal records, because I am part of that society. I wish I had spent more time in my life around people like this. I think I would have more compassion. I am getting it now, but the raw humanity of these people smacked me in the face today, and it wasn't pleasant.

People-watching outside this court room was not nearly as fun as people-watching at a mall or airport. These people aren't getting what they want and they're not going anywhere good. They were mostly minorities, wearing desperate faces, every shoulder tensed and every brow furrowed.

I tried to bury my face in the book I'm reading about a guy who made a difference somewhere else in the world (Stones Into Schools, the follow up to Three Cups of Tea- very, very good!), but I couldn't escape the screech-like desire to get out of there.

People are giving us alot of praise and adulation for doing this foster care thing, and I probably would do the same if it was someone else. But, the truth is, we are just a tiny link in the chain. I'm not minimizing the effect we're having on Baby F and E, but there are people who are out there all day long working in the trenches for thousands of people like them. Social workers, police officers, guidance counselors, therapists, court appointed attorneys, court appointed special advocates, and so on and so on. We've got nothing on them. And I am so proud of those of you, my friends, who are in these types of careers.

Thank you.

Though my relatively short experience in my courtside seat left me with a bitter taste in my throat, it was good for me. It was what I needed to snap out of this fluffy-pink induced haze I get into cuddling with Baby F on my comfy couch in my warm, well-decorated home.

If I don't have the stomach to be around people exactly as they are and love and accept them as such, I don't have the heart to help them get someplace better.

Ok- tomorrow I'm going to write something fun or funny, cause this one was depressing, but it's just another part of the journey we're on. Thanks for coming along.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baby Mamma

I spelled it that way so you don't get confused with the awesome movie my two pretend BFFs made in 2008. And so you don't think this blog is about surrogacy or juice shops.

I want to tell you a little bit about Baby F's mommy, E. The thing I have to be sensitive to here is that I hope that I get to be friends with her for a long time and someday she might read this blog, and I want to honor her in what I say. Maybe someday, I'll get to help her tell her whole story.

For now, I'll tell you this. She is a sweet girl (she's 24, but I can call her girl because I'm soooo much older) and really loves her baby. She wants to be the best mom she can and is making all the right decisions so far. We got so lucky/blessed having her as our first birth mom in our foster care journey. The children you can kind of prepare for, but the parents are a different story.

In the time I've gotten to spend with E -- two doctor's appointments, two visitations and one church mom's group-- I've so enjoyed getting to know her and hearing her open up about her life.

She is the oldest of 5 daughters her mom had by several different men. She spent a year in foster care as a child and unfortunately had a terrible, heartbreaking experience. She came to this area to get over the difficult breakup she had with her first baby's daddy (the baby stays w/ him), only to fall into a crowd that influenced her in very negative ways, leading to the bad decisions that led to Baby F being placed with us.

She is proud to say that Baby F has changed, even saved her life. She said that when she first held her, she decided she was going to turn her life around and make a better life for her baby. I think that if she had never had Baby F, or if CPS hadn't gotten involved when they did, she would've fallen through the cracks of society and never had a chance. Now she has people helping her get into programs, like WIC, food stamps, Section 8 housing, etc., that give her this chance. She has people like her CPS workers, her cousin who practically raised her, and us to encourage and help her make good decisions. Best of all--and this is nothing new, but perhaps new to her--she has a God who is crazy about her and has good plans for her and Baby F.

She is working on taking a test to get her GED. She is spending her days applying for jobs or at the library. She has completely cut off all connections with bad-influencing friends. She is thinking about and planning for Baby F's future.

She is experimenting with different colors of blonde for her hair, but I'm encouraging her to go back to her natural brown to match her daughter's. She loves jewelry and painting her nails bright colors. She looks amazing for having had a baby 3 weeks ago.

She soaks in every inch of her baby's skin, delights in every squeak and squeezes every moment she has with her to the last drop. Just as any mother should.

I know this is just skimming the surface, but I hope you get a picture (even without a face to go with it) of the kind of person on the other side of foster care. Though the news can't help but publicize parents-gone-wrong, she represents the best of what the system can do. Sometimes a child ends up in foster care, not because their parents want to hurt them, but because they aren't equipped to care for them. Many parents are like E. They embrace the help available to them and get to take their children home. They might not be perfect parents (but who is?), but they are better parents, and that's all we can ask.

We're blessed to be a part of E's story now. We're determined to see her succeed. We're excited to see her break free from her past and start a new chapter.

So, as excited as many of our friends and family are for us to have a sweet, pink, tiny human in our arms, I hope they (you) will be as excited for E to have her permanently in hers.

Oh- I just can't leave you without this amazing picture from our visitation today. I think Baby F was trying to show off for her mommy. 3 weeks old, this one! She just keeps getting more amazing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Dog Ate My Blog

Oldest excuse in the book, right?

(Jennifer, you probably don't want to read this one.)

(Jennifer is Mocha's previous owner.)

Even though Mocha (our new 4-yr-old chocolate lab) didn't technically eat my blog, she did eat up all the time I had to blog by going on a little run without me or her collar through the streets of my zip-code. A brown dog running in the road at dusk. Thinking it was a big game. Real fun.

I was just taking her for a quick potty break before I left for our last session of the Beth Moore Bible study, when she wrapped herself around a tree and got her collar off before I could do anything about it. And she was off.

In the right setting, it's a beautiful thing to watch this dog run. It usually makes me so happy, even to the point of rejoicing a little, that she can use her legs and lungs the way she was created. When she has boundaries, her freedom is healthy. When she doesn't, it isn't.

I won't take you on the fright fest that was the 30 minutes I spent chasing her across busy streets, through snowy yards in the wrong shoes, being told by strangers "You'd better catch her," and around dumpsters where she dined on things I'm pretty sure no living thing should ingest. I just cried and prayed that the same God who made the donkey talk to Balaam and the bear eat Elijah's tormenters would make my dog come back. And finally, the lure of the dumpster and some young girls who saw the action and came to help brought her close enough and still enough to grab. I said it then and I'll say it now. Thank you, Abba!

I got to the study late and we started late and finished late, so my blog tonight isn't what I planned about Baby F's mom and our growing relationship, but it's actually probably a better topic for tomorrow after our visitation. Until then, good night and watch out for dogs in the road.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Intro to ICLW

This is going to be a little weird. It's International Comment Leaving Week, which is where a bunch of bloggers leave comments for each other the last week of every month. Most of the topics on these blogs involve something to do with infertility, but there are various topics. So, I signed up to get more readers and to offer a fresh perspective on the whole thing, because, let's face it, I'm pretty unique.

So, not only can my 653 Facebook "friends" read this posted as a note, but also my IRL friends and new readers finding me through ICLW. How to tell this story to all these audiences and maintain a decent level of privacy and not make people uncomfortable around me..... Let's see.

I'm a 32-year-old Jesus-loving Air Force Reservist. I've been married to my wonderful John for 4.5 years and we've been TTC (trying to conceive) for 3 of them. I don't have a dramatic story as far as that is concerned. In May 08 we both went through IF (infertility) screening and my ob/gyn indicated there was something a little off in both of us, but that we'd need more testing which our insurance doesn't cover. So we went through one round of Clomid (a popular fertility drug) with no result, and haven't felt led to do anything else medically yet. Then, in Nov 09, after a few other dr's appointments we found out that there's nothing wrong with either of us, and sometimes these things just don't happen (or they do. whatever.).

You can read more about how we feel about the waiting process here.

Meanwhile, in Dec 08, we decided to pursue foster care as a way to "give out of our need" and help other families while we waited for our own. We started the classes in Jan 09 and after procrastinating getting our paperwork turned in, our homestudy was approved Aug 09. I blogged about this here.

Bringing us all up to speed, we got our first placement on Feb 4, and you can read about the lovely Baby F and her mom here, here, and here, then she's mentioned in pretty much every other blog since.

There's alot more to me than IF and foster care, but that's probably what brought most ICLW readers over, so I'll be blogging about Baby F and the foster care process for the rest of this week. I hope to keep it interesting enough to keep you coming back.

PS: I call her Baby F online because she is not our baby and it's not my call to make to put her name with her pictures. I know some parents who refer to their own children that way and I think it's a great idea. She does have a lovely name that starts with F that means happiness or good fortune, so you can figure it out if you want!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How not to meet a celebrity

You know how some people need help picking out clothes, or knowing what they want to do with their lives, so they hire personal shoppers or life coaches? Me, I probably need both of those, but most of all I need help interacting with famous people.

Part of my problem is that I have a high capacity for considering someone famous. Like some of my friends who are bloggers and have more than 21 followers (that's how many I have), I consider them famous. My friend Alece has 231 followers. I've known her since I was 14, but I still get all giddy when she comes to town and hangs out with me.

I used to be kindof obsessed with being famous. I even wrote a song once about how I was going to be famous someday. That was back in college when I was in an awesome band called Sunday Comics.

(we have a fan page on Facebook, so you can go check out our awesome music, including "Famous Someday." Ooh, I just saw that we have 21 fans, which is approximately 11 more fans than people who bought our CD. We're on our way, baby!  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sunday-Comics/14596327698?ref=ts)


One of the girls in that band, Jessica (Canning) Means, has songs on iTunes and her music has been in movies, so she's for real famous. Good thing she was one of my bridesmaids, so usually I can keep my "cool" around her. (yes, my cool is such that it needs "" around it. if you know me, you know this is true)

But most of the time, I cannot keep my "cool" and I turn into squeaky tongue-tied teeny bopper. One of my brothers used to be in a band and they were so famous they had CDs AND T-shirts, and even though I grew up with the guy, I was still all fan-ish at his concerts. My other brother works for a real band and he's close enough to being famous himself that when he calls me I get all excited. (Well, that's probably more because I love him, but still...)

Today I proved yet again that I need a S.C.A.C.C. (staying calm around celebrities coach).

John and I went to a concert where Melinda Doolittle was performing with the U.S. Air Force Band. Melinda was a finalist in Season 6 of American Idol, and I went to high school with her. She was a junior and I was a senior. I hung out mostly with juniors since they were only one year older than me, whereas most of the seniors were two years older, which in high school makes a big difference. (I was a 15-16yr old senior. Yeah, be impressed.) I got to know her through various Christian club activities, choir activities (she was in the better choir obviously, but we performed together sometimes) and musical theater. She was in my lunch group of friends. A group that nicknamed me Anna Banana (original, I know) and actually got me a stuffed banana as a going-away gift and signed it. I think they were making fun of how I once asked Kevin Smith (Kevin Max) from DC Talk to sign a banana he was eating, then showed the banana to everyone I knew. I needed help even back then.

Here are some pictures to prove my connection with Melinda.

(Our Christian club was so big, we couldn't all fit in the same picture. It was Tulsa, after all.)

(Her signature on the banana and picture of her in our yearbook)

One of my neighbors is in the USAF band, and I had asked him if he could hook us up to "meet" Melinda. He arranged it, so after the concert-- which was excellent and you should go buy her new CD-- we went back stage and waited outside her dressing room. While we waited, Baby F stole the show and even almost got stolen by one of the amazing Air Force vocalists, MSgt Shani Prewitt

(look at Baby F's double chin! she's chunking up, she is!)

Finally, the door opens and right there is none other than Melinda Doolittle herself!!! I was totally expecting a manager or some lackey, but nope, she opened it herself. 

Then, I threw myself in her arms.

No lie. 

I gave her a big hug while simultaneously saying "HiMelinda,I'mAnnaandIwenttohighschoolwithyou!"

She graciously smiled and said, "Oh yes, Anna. I thought you looked familiar." Which was nice of her to say because I clearly look nothing like this:

(yeah, that's where the Andie MacDowell comparisons come from)

So after I fumbled through telling her how awesome she is and how much I thought she was awesome and stuff like that, her manager came in and said to her "Do you know a girl named blahblahblah? She said she went to high school with you and she's here," and started to lead her away. 

Everyone looked at me like I should know this girl, too, but I didn't. So I think it's code for "It's time for you to escape crazy fans." 

But I really did go to high school with her! (I should've brought the banana to prove it!)

We did manage to take a picture with her, so, mission accomplished.


Melinda, if you ever read this, please know Baby F and I think you're awesome!

(A special welcome to any new readers from ICWL. Thanks for coming by!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Letter for Beth Moore

(I apologize to my readers for shamelessly using my blog to try to contact Beth Moore, but I really don't know any other way!)


Dear Beth,
Some of my friends and I have been going through your Patriarchs study. Next week is week 10, so we're almost done, but we wanted to send you some pictures of our group. It's been fun because three of us are moms and one of the moms had her baby around week 3, so her little boy, Calvin, has grown up with you his whole 4-month life! (It's taken us a while to finish with sick babies, sick mommies and holidays!)

Seth (11.5 months) has learned to walk and Katy (18 months) has learned so many new words since we started, so it's been fun to watch them grow and mature physically as we have grown and matured spiritually.

My husband and I finally got our first foster placement two weeks ago, so we figured it was time to take a picture with all of us and the babes.

l-r: Amy holding Calvin, Bre (on couch) holding Seth, Mary (in middle) holding Katy, me (Anna) holding Baby F

Here's Liz (our gracious and beautiful hostess) with her hands full!


Katy is offering you the ball. It sounds like "Beh" so she could actually be saying "Beth"


Seth is laying his hands on you (sorry about the inappropriate location, he's still learning about boundaries!)

And one more bonus, just for fun:
4-month-old Calvin and 2-week-old Baby F

Well, Beth Moore, I hope you get a chance to see this. We don't expect an answer, but just know that we love you and are so grateful for all you do.

Love,
Anna, Liz, Bre, Amy and Mary
(and Katy, Seth, Calvin and Baby F!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

What have I done?

I know we usually ask this question of ourselves when we do something wrong or something we think we will regret. I'm just using it because of the shock value to lure you into reading my blog about what I did today.

I have so many thoughts about what I want to blog about. Most of them are deep, make-you-cry kind of thoughts, so I'm gonna save them for later because this is a happy day. Why?

Because I woke up breathing, for one. And the sky was BLUE!!! And the sun was out!! And Baby F slept and ate like a champ all day, proving, once again, she is the world's best baby (good job, E!).

Well, other than that, it was fun because I made banana bread and cookies, caught up on Parks and Recreation, dug out my car, then went shopping to finish up the New Moms Baskets I am putting together as part of the Women's Ministry of our church. I've been working on these for several weeks now, but had to kick it into high gear now that it's February. Have I mentioned that we have 12 babies coming between now and September? Well, three of them are here, with two more coming in the next two weeks!! The snow and getting my own little baby delayed me for a week or so, but I'm good now.

(I know you might think there is something in the water, but I am drinking all the water I can and it's not working. What? Oh, it's not literally in the water? Note to self: go with plan b)

Baby F went shopping with me and completely slept through three stores. Definitely a natural shopper, this one.

I debated putting up a picture of the baskets because my blog is so popular, one of the moms is just sure to see it and then know what she's getting. I'll just count on that foggy mommy brain to block all memories of this posting. And really, you can't see everything that's in it, just that it looks fun and bursting with blessings.

I got this one done just in time to take it and a meal over to new parents Andrew and Morgan. They welcomed JL into their family one week ago, so we took Baby F over to meet him. He's three days younger than she is, but that didn't stop her from flirting. Such a tease, this one.



Then I did a little bit of blog lurking and found this thing called International Leave a Comment Week. Have you heard of it? There's a purple icon with a little dog on the left side of my blog (not on Facebook, only on my real blog) where you can find out more. I entered Anna's Joy on a list of other blogs with infertility/baby/family related issues, where for one week every month the people who sign up  leave at least 5 comments every day on the other blogs on the list. This month it's Feb 21-28. I think my blog will stand out because of our foster care experience and because I am such an excellent (and humble) writer. I already checked out a few of the other blogs on the list and look forward to reading about some other families journeys.

So, that's alot to do in one day, I think. How 'bout you? How was your day?




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shots to the heart

Shots, like pictures. Get it?








and one more, just for fun...

THIS IS NOT A REAL BABY!!! DON'T CALL CPS!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Baby F Files- Part Three

This one could be subtitled:


The Mommy Hook


I saw this on my friend's baby registry, and though I don't know how well it works, I think it's a fabulous idea.


But, that's not what I mean by the mommy hook. I mean that huge hook in your heart that attaches to the little one in your care. This tiny six pound baby has got me hooked. By the tone of my own mom's voice when I called her the other day, I think she's still hooked on me, so I guess this hook is pretty strong.  This is gonna be hard, y'all! (more on that later)

Today I went on my first expedition without her. I felt like something was missing, and when I finally realized it was her, I couldn't wait to get through the checkout line to come home and pick her up! I think she really missed me too, by the way she squeaked and squirmed to see me.

Other than that, we are doing well. Yesterday she attended her first church service. In our living room. In her pajamas. As did the rest of our church. Snow has pretty much shut down the city, so they recorded a broadcast for us all to watch online at the regular time of church. After "church" we had visitors, who brought Baby F her very first outfit bought just for her. 

Thanks Fergs!

Then we went out for a walk to show her the snow. (You slinging mommas will be proud of me)

And yeah, the snow is up to the bottom of my jacket, except for the narrow path our wonderful HOA president dug!

She also went to her first Super Bowl party. She was passed around delicately and oohed and ahhed over, just as every baby should be. See, it's not just us who are giving her the welcome to life that she deserves. It's all the people who hold her and kiss her and tell her how cute she is, and all of you who are celebrating her life. John and I get to be the vessels to pass that on to her mom, but you are a major part of the process. So, thank you!

She is becoming very hands on, and likes to hold her bottle and her pacifier. It's pretty cute.


Well, we're about to go hunker down and witness Snowpacolypse Part 2. The NWS is calling for 10-20 inches tomorrow. Oh joy!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Baby F Files- Part Two

A few disclaimers:

Sorry for all the blogs in one day. I'm not trying to hog the blogosphere or anything, or bore you with every tiny detail probably common to all new babies. I'm just trying to write this all down while its fresh, because apparently I'm going to be sleep deprived soon.

Also, thank you for all the encouragement and thinking we are awesome for being foster parents. Please know that if you are a parent taking care of your child, I stand in awe of you. You are a guardian of life, a true super hero. I want to be like you someday soon!

Ok, now on with the Baby F story. (Preface, Chapter One)

Last night (Thursday) was our first night with her. We followed a pretty simple schedule of feeding her 2oz of formula every four hours (as instructed by the CPS worker), changing her when the little stripe on her diapers turned green and holding her to our and her heart's content.

Other than that, it was a surprisingly normal night. We made an oven pizza, John fell asleep on the couch while I watched TV. Then we went to bed. With a little baby in tow. So that wasn't very normal.

She fussed a little bit, and there was a time when she and Mocha were doing a duet. Mocha, by the way, is far more interested in the baby bottles and diapers than she is in the baby. Which I guess is a good thing, as long as we keep all of them out of reach! But, for the most part, she slept like a champ.

The big event today was her first doctor's appointment and our first meeting with E, her mommy. Our entourage probably made a strange sight in the pediatrician's office. 4 adults; 3 women, 1 man. One tiny baby.

I was so happy to see how excited E was to see and hold Baby F. The whole time (about 2 1/2 hours), she held her and kissed her and cooed to her as much as she could. She was visibly exhausted, emotionally and physically, and as much as I wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything was going to be ok, I just let her enjoy the time with her baby. There will probably be time for that later.

As the 5 of us sat in the exam room waiting for the doc, we discussed the visitation schedule for next week. We'll start meeting twice a week at a government services center nearby, with us, either or both of the birth parents and a CPS worker. I guess based on how those go and how well they're doing with the plan, we can meet more frequently, then even have them over to our house.

Baby F is doing great. She is a little yellow, but nothing the doc was concerned about. She was 6lbs at birth, then down to 5lb8oz at discharge, then 5lb10oz at the appointment. I was so proud of us for helping her gain those 2oz. I'm really passionate about helping turn her into a little chunk. I hope to see some rolls on those scrawny legs before she goes home. (I'm sure I'm gonna get all sorts of comments from moms saying how babies don't turn chunky in a month, but a girl's gotta dream, ok!)

Overall, it was a very encouraging visit. We're treating our little lady guest just as we should, the only recommendation from the doc was to go three hours between feedings. Most of all, seeing E's resolve to get better and have Baby F go home with her did our hearts well. We took some pictures of them together, which I'm gonna frame for her and give at our visit next week.

The rest of today has been quiet and routine, watching the snow fall and washing the baby clothes, talking to friends, and gathering a true plethora of advice.

Thanks again for your prayers and well-wishes. I am blessed to have family and friends near and on-line to walk through this with us!

(my camera battery is dead. I'll post more pics tomorrow)

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Baby F Files- Part One

Wednesday, Feb 3, 3:30pm: Sandy, from Family Services, calls to see if we are available for a newborn placement. She doesn't have any details, except that the baby was born the day before and looks like she will be released from the hospital on Friday. I say, yes!, we are available.

5:30pm: Cathy, from Family Services, calls to give us more details. Baby F's mom didn't get prenatal care, so they are observing baby to make sure she's ok, so far so good, and on track for a Friday release. She explained the logistics of a "non-custodial respite" situation, which they were trying to arrange. Basically, the baby is still in the custody of her parents, but we will care for her for up to 30 days to give the parents and the county time to put a plan together for her to go home. This is a best-case scenario where the parents are willing and mostly capable to parent, but need a little more help. If, after 30 days, the plan needs more time, the county takes the baby into their custody (she remains with us) and the parents continue to work on the plan. Giving the parents the option of a non-custodial respite gives them confidence in themselves and the system that nobody is trying to take away their baby and that they are going to get the help they need. We'll learn more tomorrow.

We can't really call or tell anyone at this point because it is so uncertain. We've been in a similar place before and the baby ended up going to his grandma- a great solution! I do call one friend who has a baby car seat and bassinet to see if she's available for me to come get them on Thursday.


Thursday, Feb 4, 11:30am: Cathy calls, says Baby F is showing some concerning symptoms and she'll be staying at the hospital until Monday. She says she's 95% confident we will get her, but there's always some chance a random aunt or grandma will turn up. At this point the only family member the mother called hung up on her.

1pm: I am at my friends house for lunch. Friends who just happen to have twin girls about to turn one. I ask them if I can borrow some newborn items and they start loading me up with clothes, blankets, equipment and advice.

2pm: I realize my phone has been going off. 4 missed calls from Cathy and John. Turns out Baby F is doing might fine and they are releasing her today. Can they drop her off around 4:30? Oh yes of course! Friends load nursery starter set into my car. I race to other friend's to get bassinet and car seat and she also loads me up with clothes and gear.

In the midst of this, DC is preparing for "snowpocalypse" and I have no time to go to the grocery store. Hero husband leaves work early and heads to store to buy things like Simulac and Dreft, as well as bread and milk (like everyone else in the world!).

4pm: Cathy calls, says CPS worker is going to go get dinner before getting the baby, so she'll be late. Fine with me as I'm still racing to get car unloaded and stairs vacuumed (somehow, that's very important right now!).

5pm: Groceries put away. Kitchen clean. Dog safely tucked in John's man cave. We pray and talk about how we should best communicate with each other when we are getting overwhelmed about this. (Can I just say how much I love my husband and how grateful I am for our friendship/marriage?)

5:30pm: CPS worker arrives with Baby F. She brings a bag of clothes and gear donated by a local charity, and some diapers and formula from the hospital. She has us sign some paperwork, tells us to bring Baby F to a doctor's appointment Friday and is gone by 5:45.

WOW! 

There's a little baby in our house! What in the world?!

To be continued....






Hope for the right things

She is why.

She is why we haven't gotten pregnant in 3 years of trying, even though there is nothing "wrong" with us. She is why we have been content with all the things God has given us, instead of striving for what He hasn't. She is why I haven't gotten a "real" job in the past 2+ years. She is why we sat through 2 months of classes, 6 months of home study, then 5 months waiting through 2 other false alarms.

No, not precious 3-day-old Baby F, whom we have the honor of providing respite for over the next month. "She" is E, Baby F's mom. She is trying to overcome her addictions and make good choices in order to take her sweet baby home, and we are so excited to help her.

See, this is our heart as foster parents (if you missed it, I blogged about it in August, you can go catch up there). To be a safe haven for children in a time of need AND to help in the restoration process of their families.

And in your hope for us, please don't hope for this.


Don't hope we get to adopt Baby F. Don't hope this is God's answer to our prayers for a child to raise. There is next to little chance this will happen and it's not what we are hoping for.


Instead, please hope for this.


Hope (and pray, if you will) that E will find and accept Abundant Life the way her Creator intended. Hope she sees herself as someone who is worthy of restoration and will commit to the hard work it will take to stay sober and provide for the baby God graced her with. Hope her relationship with Baby F's dad is healthy and life-long. Hope she makes good decisions as she raises her daughter to break the cycle of addiction and poverty.

I'm not saying, don't be excited for us. Oh, we're excited. I mean, a lady came to our house yesterday and left a 2-day-old baby in our care. Friends have overwhelmed us with baby stuff, and there are so many cute, pink things that I just want to wake her up and try them all on her!

But also be excited (please) that we get to be a part of E's life. That we get to be two people who care about her in a world that has forsaken her. That we get to show her God's love in a real, tangible, non-judgemental way.

Because I tell you what. Someday, in 2 weeks, 30 days or 2 years, Baby F is going to go home. I'll pack up the pink things and give my friends their baby stuff back (don't worry, girls, I won't keep it for 2 years!). It's not going to be easy, but it's exactly why we need to hope for the right things. Because the seeds of love and mercy we sow and tend in E's life will have much greater fruit than all the cuddling and kissing and formula we can give Baby F now.

Whew, now that we've gotten through that, I can write all about Baby F. But first, if you haven't yet, please do me a favor and go comment on my other post. http://annasjoyblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/stuff-annas-joy-readers-like.html
I'm 18 comments away from giving away a book.

Oh, you're probably dying to see a picture. Here you go. :-)

her real name means: She will be fortunate and happy in a world of bitterness

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stuff Anna's Joy readers like

I want Jon Acuff to write a guest blog for me.

He's the author of the Stuff Christians Like blog and the book based on it. I love his humor and writing style, and if I'm ever funny here, it's because I'm inspired by his blog (and also because I'm funny). If you don't read it a few times a day, you should. Your world would be better.

He is offering to write guest posts for anyone who asks, so I'm gonna ask. And when I ask I have to include the link to my blog.

Anyway, he said on his blog he doesn't care how many readers the blog he guest writes for has, but I want to show him that my readers (all 16 of you) REALLY want him to come over.

So, if you would please leave me a comment that says "Please, Jon, Please!" You can also leave a suggestion for what you think he should write about here. (Please click over from Facebook, he won't see your comments there!) If I get at least 30 people to comment, I'll buy one of you the book. (See, Jon, I'm helping you out here!)

Thanks!

http://annasjoyblog.blogspot.com

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hello again

Today I logged back on to Facebook after a month away. Here's what I had waiting for me:


Most of the e-mails were about Haiti or asking me to babysit (oops!). Most of the friend requests I didn't recognize (could be because of celebrity look-alike week) and most of the comments were on my notes/blog. Eh-hem. Yeah, well thanks for reading and keeping me in mind!

I really do like being on the FB to keep up with all my friends and "friends," but I was kindof addicted. I read somewhere that the average user checked it 3 or 4 times a day and I was about 100x that. Like, "Oh, it's been 30 seconds, I wonder if anyone commented on that clever thing I wrote yet."

But a month away was good. I didn't lose any friends (I think) and my relationships with the people I was actually present with grew stronger.

Now that I'm back I need some guidelines to help keep me on track and not abuse the gift of the time I've been given in each day. Do any of you have suggestions? I know, "just don't go on it as much," right?!

I've also been "fasting" from TV (except for football and news) and am really looking forward to getting caught back up on my favorite shows. What's good this season? (No, I can't watch Lost, I only saw season 1 and am waiting for this one to be over to watch the whole thing.)

And, in case you haven't told me in a while;

"How you doin'?" (ala Joey from Friends)
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