Showing posts with label TPR. Show all posts

We signed the Adoption Placement Agreement!

Oh my goodness!  We have been so delayed in sharing news because so much has been going on! Recently FatherWinter, Superbug, Honeybee, and I met Mrs. Care in her office to sign the final adoption placement agreement.  It's official.  We are officially on the road to finalization!!

Can I tell you how amazing GOD has been in this journey?  We have had a lot of curve balls thrown at us in this process.  Some of them we dodged or hit with ease.  Others have caused a lot of strain.  But God has been faithful and has seen us to this point.  We are truly thankful for that.

The day before the procedure I have to admit I was on pins and needles.  In the back of my mind I was wondering if I would be receiving another phone call from Mrs. Care as we'd received in August of last year.  (Wow, has it really been that long?).  I found myself wondering if we would hear something at the last moment like we did that awful evening.  Thankfully, no.  Not this time.

This time, I left and with my family walked into the offices to sign the paperwork that would officially start the process for adoption finalization.  There is no more legal risk.  Everything has been cleared. All that remains is our signature and then processing of paperwork.  In a few weeks, this could all be over.

I'm so amazingly excited.  What's even more exciting is pretty soon I'll be able to share some of the family pictures with all of you!  But for now, here's a photo of us from our signing placement day.

We're holding Honeybee, but can't share her just yet!

An Awesome God...

I've been a bit quiet this week.  I wanted to immediately log on and share what's been going on in our world.  I also tempered myself knowing that there are still privacy concerns in all things.  So, I've been a bit close lipped.  I can say that recently a hearing was held with regard to the TPR appeal issued by a member of Honeybee's family.

Scriptures have been posted everywhere



The appeal process and our experience of it has been sometimes quite disconcerting and, at times, alarmingly frightening.  Still, we prayed.

We posted scripture, meditated on those Words, trusted God in His will and judgment, and prepared ourselves for whatever came our way.

The "whatever" that came our way was the judge ruling in favor of our petition to move forward with permanency and denying the appeal for termination of parental rights.  We are so thankful.  What this means now is we have to wait for a period of time while the opportunity for yet another appeal is provided.  If that appeal does not come (and we are actively praying it does not), we will be allowed to complete the paperwork that will finally allow our daughter's adoption to be finalized.  In a few months, we hope to be introducing a beautiful family portrait of all family members.

It's been a very long journey.  It is wonderful to be able to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. Ms. Care recently stopped by for a visit and told me it would be her last supervisory visit before we sign the appropriate paperwork.  Wow!  That kind of caught me off guard.  Ms. Care has been such an integral part of this journey from the very beginning.  She has seen us from the first day Honeybee was placed in our arms and loved in our hearts.  Now, we are approaching a time when the standard 30 day visits are no longer required, when calls asking for permission to take Honeybee out of the state won't be a necessity.  We're approaching a time where we can share family photos with my family out of the state over email without any hindrance.  I'm really looking forward to it.

BUT, I am also sobered thinking of her birth family.  The updates are still going to continue and nothing will ever change that.  But I know how it feels to want to know the other side of you, to know whom you look like, and what activities you share in common.  Honeybee will always know who she is and where she comes from, but I do wonder how she will feel about her story.

One things is more than certain.  I am so very thankful that God has seen fit for Honeybee to remain with us as her forever family and that we are allowed to love her and protect her as well as we are able.  I will continue to pray for all parties involved.  I know this is not an easy thing at all.

Our Honeybee remains happy at home.  For that, we are grateful.

-WinterMommy

Maybe God is trying to tell me something

Have you ever been prayed for something so fervently for so long and then, when you didn't see it manifesting itself, you stopped praying for it?  Not because you didn't believe that God could do it, but because maybe you were just tired of seeing it not happening and figured it wasn't in God's will. [And] Just because you didn't ask or talk to God about it didn't mean the desire left you.

Well, I prayed quite some time ago that God make me over.  I asked Him to remove the things in my life and heart that weren't of Him.  I asked him to make me in His image.  Even in doing so, I acknowledged that the process could get messy, but I wanted it.  I truly yearned for it.  Then, one day, when I felt like I wasn't really seeing the progress I thought that I should see, I stopped praying for it. I didn't stop hoping for it, desiring it, but I stopped going to God about it.  I don't know why it didn't dawn on me that God is still well aware of the desires of my heart.

The past few months have been very trying.  I have found myself depending more and more on God and less and less on me.  That's a good thing, but it's hard.  My moment of transparency...it's one of the hardest things I'm learning in my life.  I have always had this pure acknowledgement that I am nothing without Christ and that I am worthy of nothing without Him.  But, in pure honesty, there were/are some areas in my life that are not what they should be.  One of those things is my blatant refusal to step out of my comfort zone.  What's wrong with that, you ask?  Well, I have purposely not done things that I believed were God's desire for my life.  Yep, I said it.  I'm not proud of it either.

Quite some time ago, I had the opportunity to make a career move with quite a sizable income increase.  It was during a time where I was approaching the end of one contract and needed another one immediately.  The interview went okay.  I honestly thought I could have done loads better.  I wasn't as confidant about this position as I asked questions and answered those thrown at me.  I walked away thinking I wouldn't be offered the position.  I was quite surprised when the opposite occurred and I was offered the position with quite a large increase.  BUT, it was something completely and totally out of my comfort zone.  It was something I thought I could possibly do, but something that I didn't really feel comfortable doing.  It would be a very steep learning curve. It was a lot of responsibility and put me in the front, in a managerial role.  I didn't want that.  I was and am much more comfortable in a supporting role.  I don't need my name in lights.  I don't even need you to know that I did it.  A simple thank you is sufficient.  Even without one, I'm good.  The fact that this position would be in front of everyone and good, bad, or indifferent I would be the go-to person bothered me a lot.  I talked to FatherWinter about it.  I prayed about it.  I felt like there was a reason I was there, but I was afraid and out of my comfort zone, and I turned the job down.  Ugh... if this was a test, I failed.

Still, God allowed me to find another job with a smaller increase but something that I was very comfortable in.  It was something I thrived in.  I did well, bought smiles to faces, and have enjoyed small luxuries like a shorter commute and the ability to be present for my son's school functions. These things are very important to me.  So, I was admittedly unprepared for recent developments.

Two days ago, I was asked if I would consider taking a position still within the company, but outside of the main office that would have me in a terrible commute at least part of my work week, would cause inconvenience for my family and I, and would take me completely and totally out of my comfort zone. I discussed with my family, thought about it, and quite frankly because of fear of comfort zones, I turned it down.  But even as I did so, something within me knew that wasn't the last I'd hear of it.

Fast forward to today.  This afternoon, I received an email from Honeybee's social worker regarding the upcoming TPR.  I talked to her on the phone regarding some information about our Honeybee's hearing and the frustrations that are still there and the fear that subtly exists as well.  I got off the phone feeling drained and in need of some kind of light.  I called a very good sister in Christ who helped to calm me down without even knowing all the dirty details (I so love her for respecting the privacy of Honeybee's case) and prayed for me.  After that conversation and the frustrations of the day,  I returned to my work space only to log on to my computer and read an email request to come to my supervisor's office when I was free.

There, I was informed of some major shake ups in the company that could possibly remove our entire office.  Because of the shakeup, employees would need to make adjustments to ensure they were able to be employed full-time.  I would need to reconsider my comfort zones...and the position.  Sigh....Good one, Father.

Funny.  This isn't the first time I've been invited to attend a position in this location and in this area.  I keep finding myself returning to it.  I feel like Jonah.  I don't want to.  Unlike Jonah, I don't feel like I'm being directed that way, but...aren't I if every other door is closing?






This morning I woke up with a lot of heaviness.  I didn't know why and I didn't like it.  My daily devotion email said:

"For those of you, My people, who are stressed because of your work load or circumstances, take a deep breath.  I tell you truthfully that everything is going to be all right.  No need to worry.  Take every opportunity to relax even it it is for a few minutes, and re-focus on knowing you have My Spirit to comfort you and lead you to peace and safety, says the Lord.  You are not alone.  Psalms 31: 3 For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me."

That read like some pretty sturdy guidance to me.  So, I've tried to proactively schedule some me time...some real me time.  Not me time like sitting in a restaurant reading or even scheduling a massage.  I plan on scheduling some time just for me to sit down in a quiet and beautiful setting and have an earnest talk to God.

Until I get to that place and space, I'll just continue to pray to God from wherever I am and ask Him what He wants me to do next.

Still, I make no qualms about it.  I am so outside of my comfort zone.  I don't like it.  But I do believe that what God has planned is better than anything I could ever plan for myself.  So, please continue to pray for me and my family.   It would certainly be appreciated.

-WinterMommy

"We don't know what's going to happen"

I debated sharing this post.  It's kind of a raw place.  Writing about it almost makes it seem like I'm in a perpetual down place and that's not the case at all.  Quite the contrary in reality.  This week has been pretty good with plenty of smiles.  We've celebrated some really cool milestones like Honeybee climbing the stairs from bottom to top all by herself with Mommy in front her scooting upward and Daddy behind her just in case.  She was so proud of herself.  She sat on the landing and just beamed. We are so proud of you, sweetness.  She did so again this afternoon much quicker than her previous attempt and with much more confidence.  I remember thinking  1.  I'm so proud of her and 2.  Time to put the baby gates up.

So,  no.  It's no a bad place in our home.  But it is a place where honesty is free flowing.  Yesterday, FatherWinter and the family were in the family room watching television when FatherWinter's phone rang.  It was one of our family members calling to see if he, Superbug, and Honeybee would still be making a trip out of town to see another relative they haven't seen in a while.  The conversation was going well and I was about to leave the room so he could continue to talk to his relative in private when I heard "Yes, I really want to take her.  He hasn't met her yet and who knows what's going to happen".

The words hit me like gut checks.  I knew he was referring to the fact that no one knows what is going to happen with our Honeybee.  No one knows the judge's decision.  No one knows how this is going to go.  No one knows if our Honeybee will be our Honeybee for much longer.

"We don't know what's going to happen"

That's the first time that I have ever been aware of FatherWinter speaking anything other than positive thoughts about this journey to his family.  The realization has been sobering. When a man who seems to have this almost annoying ability to always remain optimistic even in haltingly critical times suddenly speaks in questions, it's scary.  It almost seems like we are preparing for the worst.  I suppose we always have been.  We've just not acknowledged that to our extended families, or so I thought.

She. is. our. daughter.

Sigh.  I've gotten in the unconscious habit of publicly vocalizing affirmations over Honeybee.  I don't really remember when it started.  My great grandmother used to do it on occasion. Now I'm doing similar.  I'm just speaking love over .our Honeybee  You are loved.  You are blessed.  You are protected.  You are here.

Every day Honevbee does something new and amazing.  It's amazing how smart she is.  How she is picking up things at a ridiculously quick rate.  I recently downloaded her first app.  It's a sight and sound app that lets her tap the screen and hear the sounds of multiple animals and cars.  She loves it.  LOVES it.  She's figured out how to reset the time out screen so she can play with the goat (her favorite sound) over and over again.  If I try and turn the phone off, she figures out a way to turn the screen back on.  I only let her play with it a little while 10-15 minutes as we go over the animal sounds together, but I am always left in awe at how fast she is growing and at the memories that we get to share.  I don't want to not have the opportunity to do that in the future.

"We don't know what's going to happen"

It's true.  We don't.  The only thing we can do is pray.  And I have.  I will continue to do so.  I will continue to live.  I may even blog about moments of frustration or emotional stress until all is done, but I and our family is okay.  I believe with all that is in me that Honeybee will be just fine, that she will be home with us, and that she will have our love covering her forever.

But I will remember without a single misstep that we truly do not know what is going to happen.

-WinterMommy

Frustration abounds

Photo credit: Gospeltoday.com
So, yesterday I shared a post of how amazed I was the our daughter had been with us for a full year.  I lovingly recounted the emotions that were in my head as FatherWinter and I went to pick her up from the agency.  I remembered the joy of the day and the feeling of overwhelming love and gratitude it bought.

Shortly after that post was released, I received a call from Ms. Care, Honeybee’s social worker with not so good news.  Sigh.  We are actively in a fight for our daughter.  We have always been in a fight for our daughter, but as comedian Kevin Hart likes to say, “it just got real”.

I really, really want to go into details..the pure unadulterated details as I see them, but I am so worried about legal ramifications that I will keep things as close vested as possible.  I will say only this.  I am so very frustrated that in a world where a child has been loved and raised by a family since said child was two weeks old, and where said child calls the family that has loved her Mama and Daddy, and has developed an intense bond of love and commitment with them; it is heartbreakingly difficult to understand the possibility exists that someone can come in and remove this child simply because they now have an interest because of blood line…not necessarily because of love. 

Tonight and every night hereafter until everything is complete, I will lay my daughter to rest as I have every night since her arrival.  I will place her in her crib, rub my hand over her back and hair, stand above her crib and place a kiss on my fingers and apply it to her hair.  I will say a pray for her protection during the night and I will pray a prayer for protection in days to come.  I will utter the same words I utter every night, “I love you, my sweetness” and I will close the door and allow her to close her eyes in peace.

I will pray that God will give FatherWinter, Superbug, and I strength to endure this storm and that He will be merciful in allowing us to continue to love and raise our daughter.  I don’t think my heart can stand any other outcome.

My husband, in his God-given wisdom, reminded me on the first day of recent communications about the ongoing TPR events that we must not be anxious.  I was short in response at first, but acquiesced almost as quickly because I know his words are true.  The word of God tells me that I am not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I am to present my requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  So, I shall. Pray.

I invite my friends, family, and followers of this blog to do the same.

Praying for forever,

-WinterMommy

Playing Catch Up

Yep, things have been more than a bit busy around our way lately.  I have been trying to share some of our family doings for a while now, and truthfully; I’ve just been too tired to share.  Forgive me for that one.  Because I know there are some family and friends from afar who use this blog as a “what’s going on” board, let me see if I can play catch up.


Welcoming the newest member.  A few days ago, we were able to post a picture of the newest addition to the family.  Both mommy and daughter are still doing well.  FatherWinter and Superbug saw her on her first day home.  As Honeybee still had a bit of green mucus, I decided not to go.  I can’t wait to hold and love her though!  She’s such a big baby already!

SuperBowl .  In true Winter family tradition, the family gathered at one of the siblings homes and watched SuperBowl.  It was a nice time for the most part…minus that last play.  (REALLY?!) 

Only two people of the 20 or so gathered were cheering for the Patriots, so every other face in the place ended up looking like this…



(Thanks, Clark Mitchell and Chat Sports for the swipe)

Yeah, it was a shocking development.  I heard on the news this morning that the Seahawks coach says he wakes up at night thinking of that call and that play.  Hmmm….I bet he does. 

I think one of the highlights of the game for some of the guys was the Katy Perry halftime show.  I mean, it was pretty okay.  I liked the “lion” moving across the ground with the team and her roar, but this show wasn’t my favorite in SuperBowl performances.  I think the highlight for me was seeing Missy Elliot.  I had fun reliving some high school and college moments with her appearance.  It was all blue and gold and band dances for a moment...
...sorry, marching band flashback.  Thanks for letting me see how the new heads do it now that I've flown the coop :)

But still, I think the show was just okay.  (Don’t go off on me, Perry fans.) Katy is a super talented artist, but I think she and her performance was a “safe” choice for a sporting event that has seen more than it cares to remember in the way of controversy (a la Janet Jackson anyone). 
Overall, it was a pretty good night for family, food, and fellowship. 

2nd Semester Awards.  On last Friday evening, Superbug came home with a letter informing us that he would be receiving an award for the 2ndSemester on the following Monday.  He was very excited as he has been working very hard this semester.  All weekend long, he reminded me of the ceremony and was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it.  Fast forward to Monday morning and I awoke about 20 minutes earlier than I usually do so that I could make sure everything and everyone was ready to leave the house on time.  Instead of allowing Superbug to catch the bus, I drove him to school and then drove Honeybee to her daycare.  I immediately dropped her off and then returned to the school to watch the awards ceremony with 15 minutes before start time!  Woo hoo!
A couple of weeks ago, Superbug’s class had to learn portions of famous speech’s.  Superbug decided to learn the 2nd half of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.  I was unable to hear him recite the speech (which was so sad for me), but was pleased that he was the only student in the class to receive a 4 (highest) on his speech!  As the awards ceremony began, I was surprised to see my Superbug on stage with three of his peers reciting the speech.  Superbug had the hand motions, the articulation, and the voice control down!  I was SO proud of him!  I couldn’t stop snapping pictures!
After the recitation, the third grade teachers handed out earned semester awards.  These awards focus on the core character values taught at the school.  I was very pleased and humbled when Superbug received the Helping Hands award.  According to his teacher, Superbug has a massive heart and is always the first to help teacher, staff, or student.  He goes out of his way to make life easier for everyone else.  She spoke other very kind words about him as well.  I was SO very, very proud of him again.  He’s only 8, but he already has so much love in his heart.  He puts me to shame sometimes J .

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father which is in heaven (KJV) .  That’s our Superbug to the letter.

1st Birthday Party.  Yep, I’m super excited.  Our Honeybee is about to turn 1!  In a previous post, FatherWinter calmed down a massive planning.  So, I’ve adjusted fire and we’re still doing a nice birthday party with pink and black d├ęcor and color scheme.  Think Minnie Mouse meets chic fashion.  Yeah, it all works in my head!
Pinterest and Vistaprint have been great helps.  The board has given me some great ideas and my fellow blogger @FlourishingHope has been wonderful in the encouragement and creativity department!
 
No, Honeybee's name isn't Rylee, but isn't this
a cute cake?!

Honeybee will have a host of her family and friends at the event.  We’re even including her Interim Infant Care family and her social worker Ms. Care.  I can hardly wait to share pictures of the day.  I’m still disappointed that we can’t share photos of her face from that day, but it will still be fun to show everything else.

The Hearing.  From my previous post, you know that Honeybee’s TPR Appeal trial was continued until some legal requests from the judge and GAL could be fulfilled.  The wait is excruciatingly long AND each day there is something else to thin about with regard to the hearing.  Today, Ms. Care contacted us to inform us that this may not be an over and done with hearing come the continuance date in the Spring.  Without getting involved in all of the legal and personal information related to our Honeybee, a legal intent statement was via email today that completely set my mind in a different and none to pleased place. 
It likewise caused Ms. Care to be extremely frustrated.  It is very frustrating to know that you love your child so much, are giving them everything they need, some of the things they want, and have been doing so since shortly after their birth, but someone else who has never even seen or acknowledged your child has the ability to cause so much strife.  Sigh, you all keep praying for us.  This road is stressful to say the least.  I know that whatever the outcome, God will have his glory, but I would be lying if I said my thoughts have always been butterflies and rainbows.  Sometimes I’m just so frustrated that I find myself wishing it was already done by now.  But I know there is a blessing within every struggle.  I’m just tired of walking in that struggle.
Hopefully and prayerfully, this will come to a resolution in a few months.  In the mean time, we're going to continue to love Honeybee as best as we know how...with all of us.
We hope you have a great evening and check back soon.  Plenty of upcoming things in our Winter family.  Keep us in your prayers please.
-WinterMommy

I’m not “fine”. I guess it's time to admit it.

Yeah, I'm not exactly feeling "fine" today..
A few close friends and some not-so-close curious people have been asking what is going on with our Honeybee and her TPR situation as they know there has been recent activity on that front.  Several have hinted that they went to the blog awaiting a post and began to worry when they saw no information.  So, I started getting phone calls or desk visit pop-ups.  The close family members are always upfront and there is no small talk (love them for that lol).  They simply ask “so, what happened with Honeybee”.  The others who don’t necessarily want to come out and ask what’s going on always start with the customary question of “So, how are you doing”.  And, lately no matter how torn up I feel, no matter how frustrated, angry, confused, or scared, I say “I’m fine” and I try to change the subject.  It’s been tearing me up inside. 

Yesterday, I read a post by a fellow blogger whose subject was exactly the same thing.  How she and her husband are enduring some trials, how she as a mother and a wife is trying to be all things to everyone and how she recognized that when she was telling people that she was “fine”, that she was lying, and how she was reminded that lying is a sin.  Whoa.  Lying?

I’ve read that post over and over and over again.  I know what she is feeling.  I understand what she is going through, though I have to say that she is handling things much better than I.  Her relationship with Christ is truly inspiring.  I hadn’t thought about my telling people that I was “fine” was a lie.  I just don’t want to bother people or burden them.  I’m emotional by nature and I certainly don’t want to disintegrate into a “woe is me” child of God.  I mean, how is that supposed to help and encourage anyone.  [AND] Aren't I supposed to walk through my trials and tribulations with my head held high knowing that God is sustaining me.  Aren’t I supposed to be an ambassador for Christ?  Who knows who is watching me and gaining encouragement and strength from my journey?  So, if I break down and tell someone other than Jesus what I’m really feeling, doesn’t that take away from my faith some kind of way? Sighhhhhhh.  The truth is, this is hard.

I’m worried.  I’m scared.  I am frustrated.  I keep trying to tell myself that everything is going to be okay, that Honeybee will be with us forever and we will continue to be an awesome and amazing family.  But what is God decides that’s not His will?  How am I supposed to open my arms and release my heart?  This sucks L.

Point blank is soon our Honeybee will celebrate a year of life.  It’s been an amazing year.  She’s experiencing and doing so much.  She’s happy and healthy.  She’s waving bye-bye and blowing kisses.  Her features are changing.  But her love is so pure and so perfect.  The way she lights up when we walk into the room to get her ready for the day.  The way she excitedly tries to launch herself out of our arms when she sees her grandmother.  I don’t want to think about her not having us and our not having her. 

So, what’s happening with Honeybee?  We’re waiting… again.  We’re continuing to love Honeybee, continuing to nurture her, continuing to provide for her for as long as we can, with the hope, desire, and prayer that it will be forever.  We’re planning family trips and activities and adventures and are going about life as normal, for as long as normal will allow us.

I’m currently planning a birthday party.  I am also looking forward to zoo trips and outdoor adventures as soon as this weather starts heating up.  I’m trying to go through life with a smile so that the “fine” I tell everyone I am truly exists.

Your prayers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ are always appreciated.


-WinterMommy

Evening Thoughts

I have been sitting in front of this computer for no less than 20 minutes trying to put my thoughts onto the computer screen.  There is so much I want to say and so much caution that I feel before sharing any of it.

Earlier today, I sat down with my daughter in my arms and held her as she smiled and gave me kisses.  I was about to put her down for a nap when we passed by FatherWinter on the stairwell.  She reached for him, practically leaped from my arms, and went to her father excitedly.  I watched the moment with a  smile on my face and chose to delay her nap for a few minutes.  I knew she and FatherWinter needed this time and I'd already basked in mine.

Though FatherWinter has not shared his thoughts with me, I know that the thought has crossed his mind and heart quite a few times this weekend that this could be the last weekend we get to hold our Honeybee.  It's a heart-wrenching and frustrating place to be to be certain.  Loving your child with so much of you and knowing that the possibility of having to love her from afar may be made is gut-turning.  There is no other way to describe it.  

And this thought stays with you, pushed back in the deep and dark recesses of  your mind, hiding.  You have faith.  You know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  BUT, you also recognize that it is the will of God that must be fulfilled and just because you desire something doesn't necessarily mean it lines up with what God wills and desires for your life.  That being said, I speak those things that are not as if they were. 

I sincerely believe that Honeybee's best interest lies with out family.  The ones she calls Daddy and Mama (she finally says it to me :) .  This afternoon, Honeybee awoke with a fever.  I suspect it's a combination of the new tooth she is trying to cut and a cold she is fighting.  When I touched her, I knew right away that she needed care, concern, and medication.  I immediately took care of her, lowering her temperature, cuddling, loving.  This is my daughter.  This is what I do.  She is currently resting well within her nursery.  

I don't know what is going to happen, but I do know I love my Honeybee and I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to be her mother.  I am so looking forward to being her mother for a long, long, long, long time. 

I’m scared…and I don’t want to be

Our Honeybee brings sunshine on cloudy days
In a few days, there is to be a TPR appeal hearing for our Honeybee.  I don’t think I have ever been so worried about the possible outcomes in all my life.  Here is this beautiful, amazing, wonderful baby girl filled with love and personality who started calling me “Mama” this week.  We’ve raised her since she was about two weeks old.  She is our child, our heart, our love.  We provide everything she needs through that which God has blessed us.   She has shelter and safety, food and nourishment, comfort, and love.  She is our daughter and nothing and no one can change that.  BUT, she is also not yet legally ours.  This decision could determine the course of Honeybee’s life like no other event she will ever experience.  And, while I know that fear is but false evidence appearing real and that God has not given me a spirit of fear…it exists and I am calling on Jesus to slay that spirit for me.

Last night, I was holding Honeybee as it was time to put her to bed.  She and I locked eyes as I carried her up the stairs and it was just she and I in that time and space.  There were no worries, no threats of interruption.  It was just us.  I laid her down and returned downstairs to a dear friend who came over to visit for a bible study.  All was at peace and well with the world.

In the almost year that Honeybee has been with us, she has experienced so much love, so many experiences.  She’s gone on vacations and has been surrounded by tons of family both here and states away.  I’m looking forward to warm weather for zoo trips and mall walks.  I plan to show her the same things I showed with Superbug.  We used to stay in the wind as the old folks say.  I want her to know this world can be amazing.

But how will that be possible if she is not here.  I am reminded to make my request known to God.  So, I shall.  But my heart will be bound until I get a call that lets me know that our Honeybee shall be in our forever family always.

Your prayers are always appreciated.

Thank you and we love you.


WinterMommy

The Visit

This morning, I woke up early not wanting a repeat of the past couple of days.  I made sure Honeybee had her morning bath and her breakfast, made sure she was her happy and vibrant self, and was tidying up a bit around the house when the doorbell rang.  My heart did a flutter, but I’d prayed about this; it was God’s doing now.

The guardian ad litem walked in and we exchanged pleasantries.  We went immediately to Honeybee where she was banging blocks together in the morning.  The GAL was a bit disappointed she wouldn’t see my son or husband, but I think I eased her mind when I gave her my phone.  She was able to see video of Honeybee playing with FatherWinter (dancing and singing—it’s so cute and I can’t wait to be able to share it with you all).  She saw photos of Honeybee and SuperBug’s daily ritual where she crawls over Superbug while he play screams as if she is the greatest villain, which in turn makes her scream as well.

We discussed the really great relationship that Superbug has with his birth father and the fact that we all get along and are very friendly with each other.  I understood the question to see the dynamics of how the family works.  She was very surprised to see that Superbug’s birth father had joined us for Christmas brunch and that we’d exchanged gifts with him.  I just told her the truth.  We do what’s best for superbug and we genuinely like each other.  Just because parents didn’t work out in a relationship doesn’t mean they can’t be cordial and supportive of their children.  Then I explained the adoption contact we have (after the GAL asked) with Honeybee’s birth mother. 

During the conversation, Honeybee (whom I was holding) decided she wanted a kiss and plopped one on me right there!  The GAL thought this was adorable and remarked that she certainly was connected and in love with us.  We then went to the baby’s room where I showed her crib and clothes.

Afterwards, the GAL left for her journey back to her office and I took Honeybee to daycare so I could return to work.  All in all, it was a very pleasant meeting and I hope that it means good things are in store for our Honeybee!

Writing again very soon
-WinterMommy


The Phone Call

I was running late to work this morning.  It’s been the story of my life for the week.  I can’t seem to make it pass the threshold of getting out of the house by 9. 

Photo credit: smartphones.wonderhowto.com
 Either I’m too tired to get up by 7 or something happens that requires me to redo a step that would allow me to be on time.  This morning, I left the house late again.  I’d managed to get Honeybee dressed, fed, locked into her carseat, and on the road.  I’d literally just dropped her off and was driving down the street when I noticed I’d missed a phone call from with an out of the area code.  I waited until I got into the office parking  lot, listened to the voicemail, and panicked a bit.  The call was from Honeybee’s ad litem.  I’ve only spoken to her once.  It was a three minute call prior to a court hearing to ask information about our Honeybee.  I answered her question and hadn’t heard from her again. I wasn’t surprised though.  The life of a Guardian Ad Litem is very, very busy and I know how difficult they have it with custody cases and the stresses of back and forth.

Today, she was calling to let me know she needed to meet with us before the end of the year, which is tomorrow.  Knowing the TPR case is rapidly approaching, I readily I accepted.  Now, I’m experiencing the familiar butterflies I felt prior to the first home visit from Honeybee’s social worker.

Will she like us?  Will she see that Honeybee is happy and healthy with us?  Will Honeybee feel like playing with her?

I’m still nervous.  I’m still a wreck.  But I have a feeling everything will work out as it is supposed to.  I’ll be sure to give an update tomorrow!  Just keep us in our prayers! 


-WinterMommy

The last visit of the year

Merry Christmas for Honeybee's social worker
Earlier this morning, Honeybee and I were visited by Honeybee's social worker for her last visit of 2014.  As usual, we chatted about how things had progressed with our Honeybee, how big she has gotten, how she is dealing with the RSV and breathing treatments.  We spoke about how she is becoming such a big girl and how she is progressing in those minor developmental delays I wrote on a few weeks ago.

Honeybee smiled, played, laughed, and had a great time.  She showed off her new skills of waving and picking up cheerios.  Afterwards, we discussed the progress or lack thereof in Honeybee's TPR hearing. FatherWinter and I are certainly looking forward to the day where we can call Honeybee our daughter and it be true in every form, not just our heart.

It was a bit of a disappointment to acknowledge that during this Christmas holiday, we still have the moment of worry.  This will be Honeybee's first Christmas.  I hope it won't be her last with our family.  I must admit thoughts of the upcoming TPR appeal hearing do not fill me with a warm and fuzzy.  Still I trust that God will have His way in all things.

I find myself thinking of her birth mother a lot today.  I wonder if she is thinking about Honeybee.  If she wonders what she looks like, how big she has gotten.  Does she imagine what she would be getting her for Christmas?  Does she cry from missing her?

I wonder if every holiday will be like this.  Will every moment have me thinking of Honeybee's birth mom and the emptiness she may be feeling?  I wish I could reach out to her and let her know that I think of her often, that I am loving Honeybee with every breath in my body.  Right now, we can't communicate.  It'a frustrating, but I understand the reasons.  Still I hope she knows that someone is thinking of her in the most positive of ways right now.

In a thoughtful frame of mind...
-WinterMommy

Of Streams and Waterfalls

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I can’t say it’s because a lack of things going on.  There is always something going on in our household.  Actually, my lack of writing has been a combination of things.  I’ve been busy at the office.  I’ve been busy at home.  I’ve been busy building another business.  [And] I’ve been fighting through some really honest and open places in my mind.  I haven’t been in a place where I wanted to share.  If I was in that place, I found the words wouldn’t come.  Plus, not too many people are clamoring for my thoughts, so I’ve been comfortable with keeping them to myself.  That being said, here I am ready to dump my streams (trickles of information) and waterfalls (a lot of information) for you to consume.
So, where shall we start?  Let’s start with my Honeybee. 

Honeybee.   She turned 8 months recently.  It’s amazing how quickly she hit that mark.  With that mark comes increased mobility as she all but has the hang of the crawling thing.  She has this lopsided crawl going on right now, but it doesn’t stop her from getting where she wants to get.  She’s tiny still.  Her 3 month old clothes fit her just fine, but she can comfortable fit some cuts of her six month old clothes as well.  She’s recently learned the word “hi”, but is confused to what it means.  When someone says “hi” to her, she jumps (literally) jumps from your arms to that person.  She did this in rapid succession for about 7 minutes last night jumping from me to Nana to SuperBug every time someone would say “hi”.  She did the same thing this morning and the spectacle is quite comical, but we are still trying to teach her that it is a greeting and not a request.  In the meantime, it’s her new favorite game.

She’s eating a lot now.  You know those Gerber containers?  She eats two of the smaller ones or one larger one and two smaller ones in one sitting.  Then she wants a few ounces of her bottle to wash it down.  No, we aren’t over feeding her.  She actually yells if she is still hungry and then turns her head when she is no longer interested.  Her personality is quite strong and very independent.  I love learning her moods and the person she will one day be.

SuperBug.  SuperBug is doing well.  Picture Day was this week.  I was looking forward to a nice Fall picture of him in a Fall sweater and colors.  It was not to be as the temperature was a balmy 79 degrees.  That was very surprising.  He ended up in a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve underneath (the trend).  He then took the long sleeve off some point in the day.  I myself went to work and was surprised to see people in linen summer suits and short sleeves.  The office actually had the air conditioner blasting.  Yep, the air conditioner.  I ended up working a bit late and then left work to get some errands done.  When I got home, Superbug greeted me with his usual hug and enthusiasm.  I asked if he’d gotten a chance to go outside and play in the warm weather.  I was disappointed that he had not.  FatherWinter and I have an agreement with SuperBug that he may not go outside and play until and unless he has completed his chores and his homework.  Some nights he does it in minutes (it should not take more than 20) and some nights he does it in hours.  We were worried at one time that it was because he was having trouble understanding the work.  During a parent teacher conference we found this was not the case.  He simply gets distracted.  So, we are actively working on that.  That being said.  I was very disappointed that he couldn’t go outside and play.  It was probably one of the last arm days we will see for a while.

The TPR thing.  Things are still going forward with the TPR case (See Of Scents...).  It’s nerve wrecking to say the least.  I have said this before.  I know God has not given me a spirit of fear, but I also know that I do not presume to know the will of God.  I certainly hope and pray that Honeybee will remain with us—the only family she has known.  I just don’t know what God has in store.  I know that I love this child with every fiber of my being.  Every breath I watch as she sleeps soundly in my arms, every smile she throws my way, every snuggle just reinforces that I would move heaven and heck for this girl.  She’s my daughter and I love her.  I understand that she wasn’t birthed from my womb, but she was birthed in my heart.  I ache to think that one day I might not get to hold her or kiss her or give her the nighttime routine that has become her comfort.  I have always worn the banner that there is no weak woman here.  I still wear it, but must admit that to be without her would be devastating.

Stepping Out on Faith.  Things have been very busy in our household and the action has been centered in my home office.  Several years ago, I believed I felt God’s calling on a business venture that I’d dabbled with in college.  I have a passion for writing and communication and I love to help people achieve their own passions.  One day, after a particularly stirring sermon, I felt like it was time to restart the venture.  I put the thought away and went to sleep, but remembered occurrences in the week that had seemed to confirm what I’d been feeling.  That night, I was awakened from a slumber and started retyping and revamping a business plan.  That same night, I officially launched my business.  That was several years ago and like rivers, I’ve had some ebbs and flows and shallow places.  Things had gotten quiet because I was pretty uncomfortable with stepping up and out of my comfort zone.  Recently, things started happening in such a major way that I could no longer deny that God truly wanted me to continue this venture in earnest.  So, that is what I have been doing.  I started a social media and content management firm that specializes in small business owners.  I’ve been blessed to receive referrals, recurring customers, lock on and negotiate some pretty great media moves, and secure some of my client’s place in the limelight.  I love what I do and hope that one day it will become my full time career, if that is God’s will.  That notwithstanding, I still greatly enjoy my daily temporary full time and the work I do there.  But, when it’s quitting time, I go home, get the family taken care of, and then I’m locked in the home office for hours.  For the past week and a half, I’ve not gone to bed before 11p.m.  More often than not, it’s midnight.  I’ve been waking at 5-7 depending on how many times I need to hit snooze and making it to my TFT to give it my 100% here.  Pure transparency, it’s starting to catch up with me.  I’ve missed more than a couple of dinners and have subsisted on breakfast smoothies (which are AWESOME) for my energy and grilled cheese nom noms for lunch.  Today, I feel a little less peppy and recognize that I need to recharge.  It was a great night last night with a new monthly contract signed, two requests for prospective client meetings, one media opportunity secured, and the successful release of press for a client.  It was about 1230 when I made it to bed this morning.  I think I will have to take a bit of respite for tonight.

Daycare.  You all remember a few weeks ago I shared that Honeybee will be joining the ranks of millions of other children who venture into the doors of daycare.  Well…next week is the start.  I. AM. SO. NERVOUS.  I mean it.  I mean, I am nail biting, twist my hair, eating junk food, planning my surprise drop ins NERVOUS.  My baby is going to be away from me for a bit.  Sigh.  She’ll only be there a few days a week.  It’s more to get her acclimated to other people and children besides NanaWinter and ourselves.  Plus, now that she is mobile, it will be easier on Nana.  Still, I am NERVOUS.  The great thing is I know where she is going.  The daycare is the one that so loving cared for my son many years ago.  I know the staff.  The director is one of the kindest and sweetest ladies I know.  That being said…I am still nervous.  I wasn’t even this nervous when I allowed my son to be cared for there at 9 weeks of age until he aged into pre-school at 3.  Part of that was because I knew the people caring for them.  I mean I knew all of them.  I worshipped with them, sang with them, cried with them.  They were my family and I theirs’.  They were the strongest, most wonderful people I have ever known.  And I love them to this day.  But, they were elders and as elders typically do, they retire or fall ill.  That and my son grew up.  His last time there was 5 years ago.  Now, there are new people.  People whom I know, but not intimately.  People whom I know will love my daughter, but not like I can love her.  People who may confuse her size with weakness.  Something she most certainly is not.  I want to make sure she is healthy and happy when away from me.  I know she will be, but still I am nervous.

More…well, I’m sure there is tons more that I can tell you, but I won’t right now.  But be on the lookout J.  I’ll be sharing soon!




Of Scents, Of Time, Of Mine

I received an email tonight from Honeybee's social worker.  It was one of those emails that you knew was a harbinger to not great news.  "I just tried to reach you on your cell....Call me ASAP...."  I literally ran up the stairs to grab my cell phone from its resting place on my nightstand.  I called our social worker and she said words that caused a lump in my throat and complete stillness in my home.  After she confirmed that my husband was standing beside me and that he was on speakerphone, she informed us that Honeybee's birthfather had appealed, on the last possible day, his termination of parental rights.  He was, in essence, fighting the adoption.

It was surreal.  A man, who has never contacted, called, asked about, inquired about, or to our knowledge acknowledged anything Honeybee suddenly has the potential to disrupt what has been her only environment for 97% of her life.  I listened intently as the social worker continued with the options and told us what was already being done.

After the call, I was...less than thrilled.  A lot of emotions were in my world.  I called a cousin who has gone through adoption and was blessed as she prayed for my husband, me, our family, and for the birth father.  I thought about how difficult this decision has to be for him to make this decision at the 11th hour.  How he must have been agonizing in his heart whether or not he even wanted to make the challenge.  It brought no solace and I found myself wanting to hold our Honeybee and I did....I am.

Tonight, my daughter is currently lying on my lap while I type.  I am watching her little form nestle securely in my arms and stopping to see her chest rise and fall ever so gently.  I am smelling her.  A hint of cocoa from the shea buttter.  A bit of acridity from the formula.  My baby.

I don't even want to think of the possibility of her not being able to be here.  She is mine.  I love her.  I know her father must love her because he is contacting, but I have to be honest....I want him to just understand what we are feeling here.  Five months is a long time to say no.  And suddenly you are saying yes.  Having never been in the situation that he is in, I can't say I understand his emotions.  I can't fault him for them.  They are legitimately his to endure and experience.  But I pray that something be said, done, or agreed to that will allow Honeybee to maintain the security, love, and environment that she has now and the ability to grant him peace that she is indeed safe and loved.

I know this is a difficult process for all involved.  Ultimate, I pray that whatever happens will be a blessing for her life, but I have to admit, my prayers will be for peace...the kind that surpasses understanding.

I say all of this and am then reminded of the post I wrote only a few days ago reminding me that Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  I know this will work out as it should and as God wills it to be.  God has not given me a spirit of fear.  In that I am standing strong and resting on His promises.  I know that He already knows the outcome.  As He created Honeybee, He has created her journey and I know sincerely, He will order my steps to ensure that hers walk that path wherever it may lead.

Of Fear and False Evidence


Fear is NOTHING but False Evidence Appearing Real...

     So, I just so happened to look at the calendar today and realized the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) court date is rapidly approaching for our Honeybee.  Immediately, my heart did one of those flips that I didn’t appreciate.  I am certainly not a fan of those.  To me, they mean nervousness or fear.   I have to say while I am not a fan of the heart flops, I am a fan of what came to my mind a half second later.  Several months ago, our pastor preached a sermon on Fear.  He used an acronym to remind us that Fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real.  We see a situation that looks like it has the potential to destroy our dreams, our desires, and/or US and suddenly there is a panic.  We don’t mean to panic, most of the time.  It’s a human reaction.  It’s our flesh.  But in those times, we must remind ourselves that God has charged us to “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the one who goes with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)”. These events and situations come as no surprise to God and He has already made provision for an outcome that is to His glory and for our good.  Psalm 56:3-4 reminds me that “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me? (Psalm 56: 3-4NIV)  The Word of God is absolutely correct.  There are a lot of uncomfortable and undesirable things that can happen in our journey to become Honeybee’s adoptive parents, but even in those occurrences, I truly believe that God is walking with us and will not allow us to fail.

     After I had my moment of “FEAR” and watched it be chased away almost as rapidly, I took another look at the impending date.  On one hand, I am pleased to see the TPR date approaching.  If all goes as expected, we will be one step closer to finalization and our little girl becoming a member or our family forever.  On the other than, I am filled with great compassion for what I know could possibly be the reaction of Honeybee as she grows older.  I was raised by a great-grandmother several states away from my mother and father, who were not together.  I know very well the ache of self-identity as I tried to wrap my head around why it appeared I wasn’t wanted, why there was no father in my life, why my mother’s hugs and kisses were not my constant companion.  I know very well asking what my birth father looked like and being told to look into a mirror.  I also remember very well standing in front of the same mirror and trying to see him within me.  

     I feel so much compassion for those conversations with our Honeybee.  I don’t ever want her to feel some of the emotions that I felt and with the upcoming TPR, I will want her to understand that in this process there have always been a host of people who love her, pray for her, and want her.  But explaining that to her could be heartbreaking as she is older, because I don’t believe any child ever wants to hear they were loved so much they were allowed to be loved by someone else in another home, in another location.  I know how she feels.  I do.  That was my journey.  It ended well for me and I pray the same for her.  There is still another side that remains.  I feel such love, adoration, and respect for Honeybee’ s birth mommy.  This woman truly loves Honeybee.  She does.  She wants to make sure that her Honeybee’s life is full of love and life.  She wants her to have wonderful memories and experiences.  I can’t imagine what she goes through day to day thinking and knowing her daughter is being loved and raised elsewhere, but knowing that the decision is so selfless that it’s sacrifice alone signifies the totality of her love for her babe.  I love her birth mommy so much never having even laid eyes on her.  My prayer is when she sees the documentation announcing the TPR, she knows that we are indeed praying for her and covering her with our love.

     Regardless, we are indeed approaching a milestone in the adoption process for our Honeybee.  With this one event, the momentum of the process will kick start and we will experience an entirely new portion of the adoption puzzle.  I’m looking forward to placing the pieces.

-WinterMommy