Foster Care Friday

Sometimes God asks us to go on a wild ride and trust Him even when it’s hard. This has been my month. Although jumping back into fostering has been so positive and having the weight of these babies in our arms is priceless, the all too familiar out-of-control, scary, unknown aspect of foster care is back.
We have these words to people we meet who learn we are foster parents: “we treat each day as a gift,” “we are never guaranteed time with anyone but that doesn’t make us love them less,” “they are our babies while we have them,” “we fight for our kids who have no voice,” etc. On most days I truly believe these words, but not everyday is most days. Foster care is hard.
I’ve often heard fellow foster parents describe their time in foster care and it seems unanimous. When you go through training you’re presented with tons of different scenarios. You’re “prepared” by the end of training. You leave with your “we’re going to love on these sweet babies, unicorn, and roses” glasses on. I think everyone’s glasses come off at different times. Our first case was described as “very unique” (not that there is a normal anyways!) so our glasses came off quickly. We drove thousands of miles to appointments, spent, on average, 15 hours a week on the phone, 8 hours a week writing reports, 4 hours a week with social workers visiting our home, and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week loving on these babies. There were days when the brokenness of the system wore into my bones, and other days when I saw the system behave the way it was designed. It’s a broken world but on some days, the system seemed to benefit at least one person. Either way we love and love without bounds.  We are NOT special. We aren’t different. God gave us the same hearts as anyone else but I believe He did place this particular desire on our hearts and now that we’ve been immersed in this foster care world, we have a responsibility here. There are days I don’t want that responsibility though. Days I want to throw in the towel. After our Baby J left, I lost a piece of my heart that will never return. That was the day this system failed this little boy. That was the day we witnessed injustice and our hands were tied because all we could do was pack up his things and kiss our baby goodbye. We hoped he wouldn’t forget us, told him we love him 100x over, and packed him up with the pictures we had taken over his time with us. The ache in my heart is here to stay. I can’t imagine it will ever go away. I miss his sweet hand press against my chest when he smiles at me. I miss him calling me mama. He has a smile that can light up the room. The weirdest part about all this? He’s not gone. He’s just gone from us.
I’m stubborn by nature. I like to prove people wrong, have no problem standing up for myself, and typically work best when I’m frustrated. This journey of foster care has broken me. It has changed me. It’s given me an element of compassion I couldn’t have gotten from anywhere else. It comes from this whole out-of-our-control experience. I may not understand the choices birth parents make but I love them in some weird way. I was all too prepared to hate them and instead find myself hating their actions, hating their circumstances, hating how it effects these babies, but overall, having some kind of love and compassion for them. There’s something about coming along side another human and trying to show them God’s love. After all, we are just as broken as they are. But I’ll tell you, I go to bed exhausted. I’ve never been an emotional person and I have more emotions than my mother now. Yikes!
Until next week… have a good weekend, sweet friends! 


#MoveItUpMonday

One of the things I love about Instagram in particular is the way you can see things change in the home, life, family, etc. without all the words or ads in the way. I was browsing my feed yesterday for a picture for #moveitupmonday and what did I find? A whole bunch of pictures of progress. All too often I get overwhelmed with the “needs to be dones” and loose sight of the progress that has been done. This kind of made me sad, thinking we get so far ahead of ourselves that we forget to just enjoy the moment. I’m a frequent offender in this category. Especially as a stay at home mama, I have days where I feel surrounded by my projects or honey do list for the house. Just two short years ago we were moving in to a white walled house. We left our home behind and it was a very difficult transition for me. Yesterday, browsing my own feed, I saw all the hours of hard work and planning Ryan and I have done, making this house our home.
Here’s our dining room before & after: 
(stay tuned this week for a few more from around the house!)



Our Trip to Tennessee

When we first got the news Baby A would be leaving us, we were devestated. Unlike with J, we had some kind of a clue she’d be going home and we also knew this was a positive day in foster care but that didn’t fix our hurting hearts all the way. It was negetive in the way our hearts were breaking, but this IS the way foster care is made to work. Family reunification CAN BE positive. Although we are all too aware, reunification can come too soon for some, but for A we were so proud of her mom and so grateful for the beautfiul relationship we had worked (hard) at forming. A’s family will remain in our prayers and hearts for a lifetime and we already have a date planned to see them!
The night we dropped A off was heartwrenching. It felt wrong to feel so heartbroken because we were SO very happy for this family. They worked hard and they got their baby back. On the car ride home, I told Ryan we needed a vacation. I say this often so I don’t think he took me so seriously but I told him, “no, for real… give me some dates.” We decided Nashville would be perfect: the perfect mix of fun and relaxation. Just what our hearts needed.
We knew we wanted to stay at a B&B or somewhere that felt authentically Southern. A few places on our list were already sold out but we stumble upon perfection in the Butterfly Inn. Not only was this sweet B&B in thee most beautiful setting, but it was thee sweetest southern home we ever have seen! It was very Joanna Gaines!
The flight was horrible (I hate flying) but we did make it in one piece. However, almost died in the worst, most expensive taxi ride of our lives. I didn’t know what was going to kill us first, the man’s driving or the meter price ticking away! We finally made it to the Butterfly Inn at 1am and our amazing vacation began. The room was gorgeous and we welcomed that big ol bed with open arms and sleepy eyes!
Our first morning there, we started the day with the most amazing breakfast either of us has ever had! I told them they need to make a cookbook, for real! The food was to die for!!

That first day, we spent most of the day in and around Franklin. There was so much we wanted to do and see but of course, not enough time to actually do it all. We did get to walk around Downtown Franklin, which we loved! We checked out some houses in the area and shopped in the sweet shops around the circle. There was a house (farm?) with bison and buffalo laying the front yard (WHAT?!) which was so neat! We had a slow day, which was really nice!


On Friday, we spent the day in Nashville. We knew we were going to the Grand Ol Opry that night so we decided that would be a good day to explore. We went to Centennial Park, walked around Vanderbilt and Belmont’s Nursing Schools (cue the pitter patter of my heart!), went to The Frothy Monkey, which has amazing coffee and roamed the area. We then got lost in the Grand ol Opry Hotel… okay no joke that place is HUGE! All we wanted was some dinner! Nope, we literally walked through the hotel, trying to find the exit for 45 minutes! We finally made it to the Opry and it did not disappoint! We saw the best show and toured the Opry after the show! SO fun! We said we’d totally do it again because you either are busy listening or taking pictures and the country music history in the Opry covers every nook and cranny. We could probably tour it 10 more times and be just as amazed!


On Saturday we took a little longer getting out of the B&B. Seriously you could vacation by staying at Butterfly Inn all weekend. There was a family of deer outside our window each morning. I would have loved to explore the trails. We will definitely be going back soon and exploring we will do! We went out to the lake in Hendersonville and spent some time walking through the neighborhoods there then headed to Downtown Nashville, Ryan bought his first pair of cowboy boots (yup, you heard that right!! My black and gray loving husband bought some cowboy boots and boy does he look sexy if I do say so!), and walked around the heart of Nashville. Later that night we met a sweet friend for dinner at Haddy’s, which had delicious burgers (the food in TN did not disappoint!) then went to Jeni’s for ice cream, which was the most delicious ice cream we’ve ever had!


We had an early flight out on Sunday and a piece of my heart stayed in Tennessee. The state is gorgeous and there wasn’t one thing we didn’t love! Until next time, I’m so thankful for the memories!

These donkeys were at the Butterfly Inn and I fell IN LOVE!!

Blogging Update! It’s Been Forever!

Okay, so it’s been a while. At the start of this year, I really planned to figure out how much of our “baby life” we’d share on here. I originally started this blog in hopes to keep our family and friends updated on our lives since we moved a little ways away and had made some big changes. Last year, we became parents to a precious newborn and our world turned upside down for this sweet girl. My effort in updating fell to the wayside as we adjusted to life as a family of three and exactly one month later, a family of four when our Baby J joined the family.
Anyways, at the start of the year I had great plans to jump back in, then the hardest month of our little family’s life came in January. Both our babies were “moved” and we didn’t know what our next move would be for our family. By the end of January we were broken and left wondering, seeking, and praying for God’s sweet will to be visible. We spent most of February working on ourselves and taking a fun vacation, something we don’t do enough of. We “unplugged.”
Well now it’s March and in true March fashion, has been an EXTREMELY busy month! On Ryan’s side it’s every women’s birthday this month plus 4 birthdays on my side! Ohh and our family bumped back up to 4 with in three days at the beginning of the month! WOW!
All this to say… This blog has been a jumbled mess of home décor, projects, cooking, and family, and I plan to continue this jumble, just more regularly now. I sure do miss and love this sweet blogging community!

For those of you sweet friends that have been lifting our family up in your prayers, we sincerely thank you. You have blessed our little tribe more than we could tell you.  Now, have a cup of coffee with me, and stay awhile.