Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Different paths

I have been asked a lot of questions about the logistics of our adoption journey so I thought I would take some time to explain that here.

Our first adoption was through the foster care system.  We were approved to be foster parents on June 1, 2006.  On June 6, 2006, I got a phone call from the social worker asking if we'd accept a premature baby being discharged from the NICU that day.  Lest you think we've done this NICU road before, let me just say that we thought HopeAnne was a preemie, but then we met Victor.  Hope's 4 lb. 5 oz. no longer count as tiny now that we've seen micro tiny.  Anyway, the most amazing part was that Hope's birthdate was the same day we had been approved.  Of course I said yes!  And then I called John to let him know.  Within 4 hours we were at the hospital picking up a little doll of a baby.  Her goal initially was reunification with her birth mother.  We watched an amazing woman try really hard to overcome and to gain custody of her daughter.  She loves her daughter so much.  Within a year it was clear that this little girl needed a forever home.  We said yes.  And just before her second birthday her adoption was final.

We wanted to continue to do foster care but for some reason, the state of Pennsylvania thinks that 6 children is enough and in most counties it is impossible to do foster care with 6 or more children in the home.  In November of 2010 John and I went to the Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit in Hershey, PA.  Our goals for attending the event were mixed.  John wanted to support his good friend, Ryan Keith, who was part of the team planning the weekend.  He also wanted to see if he could make a connection with someone to provide support for the many adoptive families in our church (at one point we counted over 30 adopted and foster children under the age of 18).  My goal was to talk to someone to see what our options would be since foster care was closed to us.  Within the first five minutes we found our answers, all at the same booth.  The social worker listened to our story, nodding her head in understanding at the PA laws, and when I finished she said, "I have two children right here for you," and she pointed to two photocopied pictures and a paragraph explanation under each.  Now, let's just make this clear, I did NOT go to the Orphan Summit to come home with a child.  The Good Doctor will tell you differently but that was never my goal.  I just wanted to get some information.  We found out later that a group of social workers had taken these papers, put them in an envelope, and prayed that a family would be found for them that weekend.  We said yes.  And that is how Shoun came to join our family three months later.  We are so thankful for the wonderful family that loved on Shoun before he came to our home.  They are now Aunt and Uncle to all of us and we look forward to time spent together with them.

As we both felt the call to say yes again, foster care would have been the first choice.  But we no longer had 6 children in our home, we had 7, so that was definitely out of the question.  We considered Safe Families for Children which is an excellent program.  But we didn't feel like God was opening that door.  In a very round-about, God-orchestrated way, we had met Tracie Loux, an adoption consultant, through Facebook of all places.  Although we still have not met in person, we exchanged many emails and I asked lots of questions about what an adoption consultant is and does.  Not only was I convinced that a consultant was the way to go, but I knew I wanted to work with Tracie.  One of the many benefits of working with a consultant is that your wait time is much shorter, even for us old folks with a gaggle of children already.  We have been so pleased and have shared our story with so many, referring everyone we can to her.  So far, we've convinced one other family to join her in the journey.  I hope that it's the first of many.  So you can say yes, too.

Tracie always highlights each match on her blog.  I've loved reading each of these and wondered what ours would look like when the time came.  Yesterday it was our turn.  I think she captured it so well.

On the Utah homefront...

Victor had an excellent day yesterday.  We did skin-to-skin for as long as he could handle it and he made it just over an hour.  After returning to his bed, he did miraculously well for the rest of the afternoon and first part of the evening.  Yes, miraculous.  And then about 8PM, he crashed (for those who wonder what I mean when I say this, here's an article that explains it in layman's terms).  For a long time.  This was the worst that I've witnessed.  And I gave in to fear.  But I refuse to stay there.   I will not fear because God is good.  Pray for continued strength and maturation of his lungs.  Pray against infection that is so common in these little guys with compromised immune systems.

Pray that I will not give in to the spirit of fear that was working overtime in my heart during this episode.  I do believe that for every heartbeat Victor didn't take, I took about 100 extra.  Or something like that.  When I got home last night, and put my mind back on Christ, I asked Him to show me where He was during that time.  He first gave me a picture of Himself standing at the foot of Victor's bed, holding him and speaking gently over Him.  He then showed me that He was also standing next to me with His arm around me.  Pray that I would remember 1 Peter 1:13 today and every day: "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."  At some point I wrote this next to this verse, "If we can win the batlle for the mind, we can win the battle against Satan, the deceiver."  Yes!  (And thank you to whoever originally spoke or wrote those words, I'm really bad at giving credit where credit is due for things I write in my Bible.)

This song was on the radio as I drove to the hospital and again as I drove home.  I think I know why.  We may be worn, but we are not defeated!  Redemption wins!

And on the PA homefront...

Pray for prom this weekend.  Yes, prom.  Not for Victor, for Andrew.  Yes, poor Andrew has parents that bring home a newborn when he's heading off to college.  Stranger things have happened.  Some day he will thank me.  I'm sad to be missing the excitement of prom happenings and the fun of taking pictures of all the friends looking fancy but I am so proud of my eldest and the young man that he has become.  Last night at the orchestra concert he won the Senior Orchestra Award, an honor voted upon by his peers.  That says a lot about who he is and I couldn't be more proud.

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