Tuesday, October 30

So in case you hear Graham say that he's getting a new brother or sister.......

It's true. We hope.
But not in the traditional big belly, 0-9 months sorta way.
We're not expecting, but we are expectant.
We don't know when.
We don't know how many.
We don't know gender(s).
We don't know race.
We don't know age.
That is a lot of we don't knows, isn't it?
We are in the process of being certified to become foster parents with the intention to adopt into a forever family. Graham is very excited and as we head to each meeting he asks if we're bringing home a brother or sister tonight. :)
First, let me take a moment to say that we couldn't have made this happen without some very sweet people who have selflessly given of some of their evenings to care for Graham & Eden while we attend meetings. Bethany, Laura, Steph & Jake - what a blessing you are to our family!
We are going through a Christian agency called The Bair Foundation. We have loved their commitent to not only these children, but the sovereignty of God through this process. Sometimes in these scenarios, results seem less than favorable. We may only have God's sovereignty to rely on and it is comforting to be partnering with a foundation who fully supports that.
We have completed most of our classroom training (20 hours) and now have to focus on completing around three thousand pages of paperwork. Approximately.
Then our home study and wah-lah - the waiting will begin.
We should be certified by the end of 2012 if everything moves along smoothly.  
A few things we need to do to prepare our home:
  • get a set of bunkbeds (we are anticipating that we could easily get a group of siblings and are preparing for that, though we believe 2 is our limit for the space we have right now)
  • get another dresser or two
  • get some more chairs for our dining table, since ours currently seats only 4. I don't think Graham & Eden want to eat on the floor. No, wait, they would probably love it!
  • put up a no-smoking sign. Yep, it's a requirement. :)
Here's what you can do:
  • Pray, pray, pray. And pray some more! This is a daunting task before us. One we don't take lightly, but feel God has called us to. We don't know what kind of turmoil, abuse, or neglect this children may have experienced. Pray that God would grant wisdom, grace, strength for loving & nurturing whomever he chooses to bring into our home.
  • Because we will not know ages or genders and could be given a quick placement - we would greatly appreciate whatever (local) friends could help with in the moment as far as clothing & carseats. Nothing would have to be given permanently, but even just loaned until we would have the time to purchase what would be needed.
  • Consider this as something your family may be able to do. The most common response I hear is, Oh, that's so good of you or I always wanted to do something like that..... What we hope people might say is, If they can do it, anyone can! :) The need is so great and even as we hear some of the more personal stories the burden increases in our hearts for these children. The Bair Foundation  (Pittsburgh chapter) oversees 70 children right now in foster care. That is one organization (out of several) in one city. Out of the families that are hosting these kids (keeping in mind that most are sibling groups), they currently only have 2 families with stay-at-home moms. Two. One of these was just placed with a 2 day old infant, one of these just had the children they were caring for go to the birth family's relative. Bottom line, they tell us we could be called right away. They almost could not find a home for the 2 day old infant because babies cannot be placed in day care until 6 weeks old. So we shall see!
We had 9 couples at our initial orientation class, only 3 came back to complete the other 4 classes for certification. Out of everyone who completed the last certification class, none have handed in any paperwork yet. The need is great.

Our goal is to only take in 1-2 children who would be 3 or younger. We believe keeping Graham in his role as first-born is important. We also see the need as great for taking in the younger children to give them a chance to be loved & nurtured at home. We desire for whomever we take in for there to be the high probability of them being available to adopt. Particularly for G's sake, who will most likely become very attached. However, though these are our desires, we hold them loosely praying that God clearly directs when & if those calls come. It would be hard to say no, but Bair says they fully want us to & expect us to if we don't feel it's a right fit for the family. Again, we covet prayers for wisdom especially for calls that could come with the possibility of just a few short hours before they are dropped off at our home.
Every time I watch the news now and see mother sets fire to house and charged with arson, baby found with broken arm and mother's boyfriend charged, father & mother arrested in domestic dispute, mother arrested on drug charges........I know that in most of these scenarios, kids are being placed into foster care that night. I praise God for the work that The Bair Foundation is doing and for the great care they give these children.
We excited for this new journey for our family.

Thursday, October 18

Graham-isms to mark down

You're the best giant mom.
Do you have a baby in your belly?
Why? Does it look like I do? (please say no.....)
Hmmm.....I'm seriously sensing a theme here. I promise I haven't put on 50 lbs. recently.
For reals.
And my personal fave.....
Thanks, Mom. You're sweet, aren't you?
Um, yes? :)

Monday, October 15

Must be all the carrots they eat...

But we have blown by 1/2 birthdays and in just 4 months we will have a 4 & 2 yr. old!
 Ah, Eden.
She is spittin' out new words all the time. Right now every word is yelled in exclamation:
Wow! Yay! Read! Ride!
My favorite words to hear her say are shoes & juice because she makes her lips all squishy. :)
One of her new faves is Ow. She seems to get a lot of "ow's".
She always wants to go outside and she loves to read books.
We're in that constant teething phase.....yuck. She has eight teeth, 2 molars and since her entire fist has been in her mouth I'm guessing there are more coming. Fussyness. Not my friend. Sigh.
She loves to help me unload the dishwasher and brings me all the plastic wear piece by piece. Then I set out all the sippy cups and she puts them in the drawer - great fun! 
She loves to copy Graham. Graham had just had me take a pic on this wall, so she lined up for her turn. :) Copying an older sibling does have its advantages & disadvantages. She goes in the potty - big advantage. :) We tried underwear for about 4-5 days, but after going thru constant wetting, I decided to hold off for a little while longer. However, I do still put her in on the potty all throughout the day, and she always goes, so I know that's a big hurdle already passsed.
She loves to go ni-night - also a favorite word. She's a great sleeper and no fussing at sleeptime. 12+ hours at night, usually a 2 hour nap.
She has learned the 'sympathy cry'. If Graham gets hurt, she comes up, gives him a hug and starts fake crying. It's hard not to laugh, G is not usually amused. :)
Re-paving the street - a full morning of entertainment!
I'm not sure if he's about to ambush her with a pillow.....
 or just squeeze her until she smiles. :)
They do have fun together most of the time!
Graham's new obsession is coloring. And by obsession I mean he can spend hours every day doing it! He even has a giant blister on his finger from coloring so much. Seriously.
 We have been doing the Kumon Books as kind of a 'structured learning' time. He loves them. He asks to do his schoolbooks every day!
I am so thankful for libraries. We go every week and G gets 5 books & 2 movies. He is then set for the week and has a constant new rotation - it's so great. He currently loves the Where's Waldo books, but is also into anything with dinosaurs.
 Every day he puts a picture he colored in the mailbox for dad to get when he gets home.
You see his D-A-D......... amidst the scribbles. :)
One night he insisted on sleeping in his new reading chair. :)
It's hard to look cool when......
I love that he is so affectionate. Every day he says a random 'I love you, mom' or 'You're the best cooker' or 'Dad, you're the best dad in the whole world' or 'Mom, I love this'. He is very loving. :)
My favorite word that I just can't correct him on is 'o-tay'. Recently I was explaining something to him and he says 'O-tay, I understand'. He finally changed from saying 'Braham' his whole life to 'Graham'. Kind of sad, but poor kid should be able to say his own name. :)
He is a good helper. He can clean his room or the living room spotless. Seriously, it's so great when they can be of actual help instead of just tornadoes of destruction! He also can fold the basket of cloth diapers for Eden and puts away the silverware from the disherwasher. He likes to say, 'I did a great job'. =) He also LOVES to help me bake. He is going to be a champion banana bread maker one day. :)
He loves going on special dates with mommy or daddy.
I recently found this Woody doll at a consignment sale and he absolutely loves it. He loves Toy Story. He's like a real-life Andy the way he carries it around sometimes.
He is always cracking us up.
 He's our cool cat. Tattoos and all.

Tuesday, October 2

Favorite fall tradition

For my blogging work for Pgh Momtourage, I was invited to bring my family and check out Triple B Farm's Apple & Pumpkin festival. It was a little bit of a drive, but we were not disappointed! It was a perfect Fall day and the perfect family activity.

 heading to the orchard.

 Apple cake, apple crisp, apple dumplings....all coming up!
 the perfect height for little ones.
 testing the goods

 hay ride

this apple kept missy-girl occupied for a while

 little miss muffet.....
 Graham is not known to be very adventurous :), but he loved this slide. I wish I could have captured his face on his first time, but he came flying down so fast! He still looks slightly terrified, but there were lots of giggles at the bottom.

 The One.
 Wait, no, this one!
 Did I snatch up one of the not-so-normal? You bet'cha!

 Andrew surprised me with Pumpkin Cheesecake Fudge.
Oh my mouth.
3 of the best inventions wrapped into one.
It was gone way too fast.
Sadly, they closed at 6 or we would have stayed for another hour!
A beautiful, idyllic place.