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Monday, May 23, 2011

Bringing her HOME

Oh dear, I left you in suspense for a long time, didn't I?

So we began to consider this "diabetic baby." I gathered as much information about her and her needs as I could (not much information at that point) and we began to pray. I remember telling our close friend (and pastor) that we wanted God's Will but I hoped that His Will was for this baby to come live with us. And then, one day, it was over. A different solution had been figured out and this baby no longer needed a placement.

A bit disappointed and a bit relieved at the same time, we continued with the foster care certification process. Then on May 10th I received another call that the previous "solution" hadn't worked out and they wanted us to consider taking the baby but were also working with a few other more seasoned foster families and hoped the other families could take her because they were specialized in medically intensive care. For a week and a half we heard nothing but kept praying. On May 27th we were able to meet Anellah for the first time and discovered that she wasn't necessarily a "baby" but rather more of a "toddler" as she was 14 months old. Eventually all the other families dropped out because this child required too much care. As the other families left the picture, suddenly there was a huge push for us to do a million things (figure out childcare for this child, get a crib, go to UCSF for diabetes training on two separate occasions, talk to a bunch of social workers and supervisors, finish our certification, etc.) within a week and a half period.  On June 2nd I wrote, "I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it" but by June 4th she was magically in our home after living in hospitals for over half of her lifetime. The day we brought her home from the hospital almost all of the medical team that worked with her asked us, "Are you really taking her home?" We later realized it was because so many people had come to take her so many times but nobody had actually followed through.

Our experience on the day we brought her home was, I assume, similar to everyone's experience bringing a child home for the first time- very surreal. Suddenly we had a kid to care for, luckily she came with a LOT of stuff because all we had was a crib, some borrowed sheets, and some borrowed spoons/dishes. Honestly, a few months earlier we weren't even considering foster care and now we had a child to care for. We had a lot of questions, not only things like, "Umm, ok, what do you do all day with a toddler?" but also, "What should our role be in relation to her Mom?" "Will her Mom be able to care for her someday?" "How can we support that?" "If Anellah becomes available for adoption will we adopt her or are we here to prepare her for someone else?" "How did we get into this?"

I didn't realize the intensity of it at the time, but the first few weeks were amazingly stressful. AFTER welcoming her into our home we were told that technically our certification hadn't been completed as background check information from Texas was still pending so although we had to care for Anellah, follow all the foster care rules and spend a few hours DAILY on the phone with folks from the county we could not receive the supports of foster placement including childcare payment, our monthly stipend, or any other supports. On the record, Anellah was just at our house on a "visit." We were left trying to figure out how I was supposed to go to work and who was going to pay the babysitter not to mention the other costs associated with bringing her home (gas to and from UCSF, medical supplies, food, clothes, toys, everything!) By June 11th that was straightened out and finally everything was official.

 This is the day we brought her home, notice the shirt that I put on backwards. Oh well!
She cried when she first met Buddy but within a few days they became best friends!
First day home alone with Dad, thank goodness for her security bottle!

Living in the hospital she rarely had a chance to climb or explore, she immediately began making good use of her new environment.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Here are some photos from last March for your viewing pleasure!


My goal with this blog is to bring you on our journey of growing as a family and show you where God is taking us in his crazy but perfect plans. I thoroughly enjoy reading blogs that a few friends write but never really intended to write my own. What interesting information did I have to share? Then, a few months ago as I was reading a friend's blog about their adoption journey I realized some people may want to hear about our adoption journey. So this is where it will be. Hopefully I will also post lots of photos too since they're much more exciting than what I have to say.

It will take awhile to get caught up to where we are now so I'll start by rewinding to March 2010 when we first started thinking about foster care. How many of you grew up in a safe home where your parent or parents were stable enough to hold a job, prepare your meals for you, and support your growth into who you are now? Did you know that in 1999 there were  581,000 kids in the United States alone whose families could not do that? I didn't realize what a great need there was for foster families until I began working my current job which includes a foster care program.

Daniel and I started thinking that although we're FAR from perfect, we are pretty stable people and have been blessed with a house far larger than we need for two people and a dog. It seemed like we may have something to offer, if nothing else than stability. So on March 10th we started the cumbersome process of becoming certified foster parents. Within 2 weeks God began to work by having my boss at work approach myself and some other nurses to ask if any of us knew ANYONE who would be interested in being foster parents to a diabetic baby as she really needed a home. Never had my boss ever said anything like this before. I knew I had to speak up.

That's where I'll leave you for now, hopefully you'll come back to hear more of the story in a few days.