Friday, February 10, 2012

DEC 2011--Sibling Group Adoption

Well, it’s been over a year since my last blog—that should tell you how busy little David keeps me! He is three-years-old now and all-boy, and full of energy! Over the past 14 months, David has been such a blessing to us and we thank God every day for him. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you see the hilarious things he says on a regular basis—he makes us laugh multiple times per day! Back in December 2010 we had our home-study updated and started waiting for another placement from foster care. In the Spring of 2011, we had a caseworker contact us about a sibling group of 5 from Missouri; then soon after that a caseworker contacted us about a sibling group of 5 from Kansas; and then, believe it or not, a caseworker from here in Georgia contacted us about a sibling group of 5 as well! The ages of the kids were 9,8,7,4, and 1—which would mean that we’d have 6 children under the age of 9! At first we thought, “This must be God, because it’s the third sibling group of 5 and we haven’t been asked about any other kids.” Then we thought, “No, six young children is way too many—we won’t be able to handle all of them.” Then it was, “Well, if God brings them to us then he will give us the ability to do it.” And then, “But it isn’t fair for the kids not to get the attention they need.” It went back and forth for a few days as we told the case worker we would pray about it and get back to her with an answer. One night, I was having trouble sleeping, so I got out of bed, went into the living room, sat on the love seat, turned on the lamp, and opened my bible randomly. It opened up to Isaiah 54 and I just glanced down and the first verse I read was verse 13 which says “All your children will be taught of the Lord, and great will be the peace of your children.” Then, believe it or not, immediately after I read that verse, the light bulb in the lamp next to me blew out with a mini explosion. I jumped and then, of course, was in awe of God—I knew he had spoken to me very clearly and directly and had settled the matter. I was able to go back to sleep and slept soundly.

We called our caseworker and told her we wanted to move forward with the placement. We soon started having visits with all five children, and they called us Mommy and Daddy from day one. But there quickly appeared a serious emotional/behavioral issue with the four-year-old child, who had already been separated from her older siblings earlier in the year for not being able to adapt to life in a large family—she needed an immense amount of attention. That, on top of the fact that the biological mother had another baby who was now also being taken from her, led DFCS to decide to split the sibling group into two. They asked us to keep the three oldest children, and they found another home for the three youngest. It was a very sad and difficult decision for everyone, but all of the adults involved do feel like the children are now getting what they need, and doing better than if they all lived together under one roof. In fact, they had not all lived together previously and had been split up even when with their biological family.  We’ve had a couple of visits with the younger siblings, but the new adoptive family wants the kids to settle in and adapt better before we make visits more frequent.

So, now we have four children living with us—Luke who is 10, Gracie who is 9, Sara who is 7, and David, 3. They came to live with us permanently last summer, and believe me—it was quite an adjustment. In the beginning, I confess, I was saying to God, “Lord, what did I do??? We were settled with David….everything was fine….and peaceful…..I can’t handle this stress—it’s too much God. Please help me!” I felt so weak and sick, I went to the doctor twice, and he did a bunch of blood tests and of course found nothing.  I didn’t realize how much stress could affect a person physically. The kids were always very affectionate, loving, and helpful—but they were incredibly HYPER!!  I like a calm, peaceful atmosphere. But what I was hearing/seeing was thundering up and down the steps, screams of laughter or screams of fighting, messes everywhere, jealousy, competition, arguing. I just didn’t know what to do. Of course, our hearts went out to them because we understood how difficult it must be for these kids to accept the fact that they would never be able to move back with their biological mom and grandmother. We knew we weren’t the only ones going through a stressful transition.

I had planned on home schooling our kids, when kids were just an “idea” and we didn’t have them yet. But when August came around, and the children had only been living with us for less than a month, I really didn’t feel up to the challenge of home schooling them—especially when they were so hyper-active. So they started school, and we once again had peace in our home! At least until 3:15 when they got off the bus! Gradually they did start to settle down. I imagine that moving to a new home must be a tremendous emotional upheaval for children, on top of the fact that they never really had any structure growing up. Considering these things, they adjusted very quickly to our home. They all get along now exceptionally well now; they are learning not to be jealous of one another but to be thankful for what God has given them; they are very helpful around the house, and I’m happy to say that it’s been months since I’ve had to go outside and scoop up dog poop! I’m happy for the dogs, too, who now get lots more attention than they have since little David came to live with us. What I am most happy about is how tender all of these kids’ hearts are toward the things of God. They soak up the teachings of God like a sponge, and pray every night for all family members who are far from the Lord—they know that this life is not the main event—it’s eternity in Heaven that we really look forward to!

We had a great Christmas holiday with the kids—home relaxing for the first week off and then visiting family in PA for the second week. My second oldest daughter, Elizabeth, who is 25 and lives nearby, spent a lot of time with us. The kids just love her and they call her Sissy. And we got to spend some quality time with my oldest daughter, Shannyn, who is now married! She lives in PA near my sister, and I really miss her and hope she moves back down to Georgia soon. Actually, I'm trying to get all of my family to move down here! The day we drove home from PA was the day before school was to start again. During that 12 hour drive, Norman and I decided that we’d try home schooling—only Luke for starters—since he is the one who needs the most attention with school work, and since he’s the oldest. Were the girls jealous? YES! But they soon got over it and I told them I would seriously consider home schooling them soon as well. I know that God will give me the strength to do it!  So far, working with Luke at home has been much easier/smoother than I had expected! Such a blessing:) 

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