Today is the day we leave for an attempted family vacation. If you haven’t followed along for very long, then you don’t know we don’t usually have very good luck with said attempts, but here we go again. Our destination is familiar: The Dunham Family Farm in Illinois with a stop in St. Louis to visit old friends first. More trip, than vacation, we’re hoping for rest and rejuvenation. Crossing my fingers…now.
I dashed outside tonight to see the super moon and try to get a picture before remembering I don’t know how to take good pictures in the dark. So this was the best I could do and I had to get my house in it.
I’ve said before that I really love looking at houses with the lights on while it’s dark. There’s just something about how peaceful the scene looks that makes me able to imagine all kids of wonderful things going on inside for whoever happens to live in it. My own house, though I’m acutely aware of all the non-perfect things going on inside, still invokes a sense of peace and perspective for me when I step back and take a look from the outside for a bit.
We may have a full moon tonight, but I also have a full house and a full heart.
I thought this day could come soon and so I was right. Last night while I was up with A5w between, cough, 2am and 4:30am *yikes!* I got an email from his case worker letting me know they wanted to place them this morning. We emailed back and forth a bit as I told her I was in Owasso and couldn’t get them to her until about 1pm, but we made that arrangement and I proceeded to try to get that baby to go back to sleep. It was a LONG night.
I so seriously wish I’d gotten a picture of Katie with A23m because she really bonded with that little sweetie in a way she hasn’t with any of the other kids who have come through our home this year. Though they’ve only been with us since Monday, their leaving today was particularly difficult for Katie.
And the transition was a little concerning to me. At some point I keep hoping to encounter someone working in child welfare who places people over policy and views these little human souls as more than just a stack of paperwork, but I’m having more and more trouble finding that hope. After waiting for 20 minutes or so, someone came for them – not the family member who was taking them, not the case worker who met them on Monday, but an assistant they’d never seen before. She informed me she was there to wait with the kids and that I could go. I was surprised, but I handed her the baby and hugged the 23mo and we started to leave. The 23mo threw herself down on the floor in a puddle of tears. It was something new to us that we hadn’t seen before this week and there was no way on the planet I was walking out of there like that. She had no idea who this new person was and all she knew was that the family she’d started attaching to this week was just leaving her here with another new stranger. I picked her up and said we’d just wait until the family member showed up too. We waited another 20-25 minutes and I just held this little sweet one with her head on my shoulder, stroking her back and assuring her I’d stay longer.
Eventually the family member showed up. I expected her to just jump into this person’s arms in excitement. She didn’t do that. She didn’t cry, but she wasn’t super excited to see this person either and that was concerning to me too, but what do you do? I handed her over to her family member and told this person we’d loved having these kids this week and gave a little run down of what happened while they were with us. We kissed her one more time and walked away.
Katie and I got in the elevator and Katie burst into tears. This was a hard one for her. As it should be. Darn it.
We rode the elevator to the wrong floor and when we got off I was struck by a long line of people waiting for drug testing. I teared up then. There was just something about the hopeless long wait for someone to test you for something you’ve probably done in the past and could possibly still be doing and need to stop doing if you have any hope of seeing your kids again and that just tore at my heart.
We’re being confronted with a side of humanity we’ve sheltered ourselves from for so long that it literally takes our breath away when it parades right before us. And I wonder if we really should be so surprised. There is more of this going on than we even know.
And the hopelessness of that just breaks my heart.
Today my dad turned 69. I drove to Owasso with Katie, Millie, A23m, and A5w to be with my parents and celebrate. I asked my mom what would she cook for dad if she could and then I went to the store and got everything we needed for that meal and made it.
My dad has always erred on the goofy side and this picture is proof. I was happy to celebrate with him today and hope for many more.
What would VBS be without a little spray adhesive high on behalf of all of the volunteers prepping for it? And we ran out tonight so I offered to go get some more. On my way I considered how it would look if I indeed got pulled over. Something like, “Late 30’s mother of 6 was charged tonight for driving under the influence of spray adhesive after helping decorate her church for their upcoming Vacation Bible School.”
Wouldn’t that have just been awesome?
Okay, not so much.
And what was also not awesome was that it took me a little bit to find more cans of this at Walmart – and do you know how it looks when you check out with 8 cans of this stuff? I was all, “Oh, I know I look suspect here. It’s for Vacation Bible School crafts. Honest.” And she was all, “Whatever you say. I’m not asking questions.” And I couldn’t tell if she really believed me or not, but she was seriously not wanting to know.
While I was there Craig asked if I could pick up some software for him at the Apple store which was at the mall right next to the Walmart I was in. I knew I had to go THEN or it would close, so I dashed over there for what I hoped would be a quick 5 minute pick-up. You probably know where this is going. For all my love for Apple, there is NOTHING quick about running into their store for a pick-up. My name wasn’t on the order, so they wouldn’t give it to me and Craig had to make a call and there was a line which I ended up waiting in twice and… let’s just say that by the time I finally got all 8 cans of this stuff back to the church, the group had given up on me and packed up for the night.
So, not a super successful night for me in the errand and helping department. But now I know where to find the General Purpose 45 Spray Adhesive by 3M for the next time I need to stock up and be second guessed by a check out gal. Hint: It’s not in the crafts section where you might first look…
Y’all, I know. We’re supposed to be on a “break.” A4 and R3 have only been gone 10 days and we communicated we needed a month before taking another placement and we’re going out of town in two weeks and my own case worker through Angels is on vacation so I thought we were “safe.”
And then I started getting calls from the director of our agency. She called our home phone. She texted. She called my cell phone. I knew something was up.
Emergencies. They just keep happening. Two babies, a 23 month old girl and her 5 week old brother. They were taken tonight and needed a home and could we possibly?
And it doesn’t make sense and we are extremely exhausted and yet…they need a home and we have one. And I said, “When should I be there?”
So now we’re back to babies again. I’m really really REALLY thinking this is going to be super short. They apparently have a good family network and someone should be cleared to take them in soon. So in the meantime, we will love these little sweeties while we have them and pray for their soon-to-be home to be a good place for them to be.
Katie and Millie kicked off the summer by participating in Poteet Theater’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. We went tonight and it was fun to see them doing what they’ve been working toward for the past three weeks. Cuties, both.
Oklahoma signed HB1919 into effect today and they needed a couple of poster foster families to post with the governor for a photo opp. In spite of the fact that Maddie and Chloe had been at camp until the evening before and I knew it would seem early and they would need to change out of their standard summer uniform of sweat pants and t-shirts, I informed them that this was an educational opportunity and they weren’t going to miss it. They didn’t complain, not even a little.
In the end, it was pretty anti-climactic as we didn’t converse with the governor at all, but were just herded behind her, along with another family, when it was time for this bill to be documents. We posed, they snapped, and we were ushered out into the hallway. The end.
And that pink ring is still around my phone because I haven’t figured out what to do about my phone case yet. Boo.