9 days

Only 9 more days. 9 days left until my son finally has my last name. Nine days left until he can legally be called by the name I have been whispering in his sweet little ear for 18 long months. 9 days until we are a legal family of four. I can’t even begin to process all the emotions I am feeling. I feel such joy that there aren’t even words grand enough to describe it; like the very best our english language has to offer cannot even begin to convey the depth and the breadth of the feelings this day will signify for me.

18 excruciating months of just NOT knowing. It would look good, and then look bad, visits would be kept, then blown, then decreased, then increased. Court decisions would get postponed, then go our way, and then visits would increase again. To say it has been an emotional roller coaster does not do justice to what my heart and mind have been through for the last 18 months. It has been an emotional blender. The other part of me is experiencing such an extreme sadness at the same time. I feel like I am grieving the loss of biological family my son is too young to comprehend. when I look at pictures and think back to the off and on times my son was with them; I am immensely thankful he has remained unharmed and thank the Lord everyday for placing him in our protection. But I am so sad. Sad for everything they should be but aren’t. I grieve the fact that they will never be what he needs and that they will never know the joy that he is to everyone around him. I am sad that they will never have even basic information about him; where he is, how he’s doing; they won’t even know his new name. and I am sad for him; that these people couldn’t get their life together in time to know an amazing little boy. I am so torn because throughout this entire process, for us to keep our son, they had to fail. Every victory for us was a defeat for them or a mistake on their part. I never prayed that they would fail or mess up, but I did pray that God would allow me to keep the child He so clearly placed in my arms, and that prayer had implications. For one to win the other must lose; for one to gain the other fails.

Watching your son, your very heart get carried out of your home by a stranger, while crying and reaching for you, knowing there is nothing you can do but wait until his visit is over is one of the worst feelings ever. Not knowing what is happening, not knowing if he is ok, or scared, or being cared for. Not trusting the workers assigned to monitor the visit any farther than you can throw them and trying to implore them to keep an eye on your son, your baby, your precious boy; while they look at you like you are just another client and you are getting way too attached to your foster kid.  Trying to find out information about how the case is going; something, ANYthing. Being told they will tell you as soon as they know but then being left out of the loop time and time and time again. Not knowing what else to do so you go on about your life. Trusting in God, but scared to death all at the same time. Bonding with your son, teaching him, watching him grow, listening to his giggle; all the while knowing that someone could ring your doorbell at any time and tell you to pack his things. Fear, joy, pain, anger, hope, helplessness, frustration, happiness, wonder, sadness, love, and disappointment all mixing together in such a violent cocktail you wonder if it won’t surely rip you in two; but then you look down into those big brown eyes and think “pour me a double, let’s do this again, I will fight for this child until my very bones turn to dust, you do not know me, and you surely do not know my God if you think this is even close to over!” 

 

Want to hear the best part? Let me whisper it to you: our God reigns. 

Did you catch it? Let me tell you a little louder: OUR God reigns! 

There is no use trying to contain it, let me shout it from the rooftops at the top of my lungs:

OUR GOD REIGNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He has calmed every storm, overcome every obstacle, moved every mountain, and changed every circumstance and HE. HAS. BEEN. VICTORIOUS! All glory goes to Him, all honor and praise are due Him, He is STILL a God of miracles. I have never been so humbled in all my life, I feel like if I spent every day of the rest of my life on my face before His throne it would not be enough; His love is amazing! I know it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that this little miracle is sleeping in the room next to me right now; and that is where he is going to STAY! 9 more days and the clouds of fear and doubt will be blown away because he will (legally) be MY child and NO one can take him from me! What a day that will be when I hold him in my arms for the first time as his legal mama, and the Lord allows the law to confirm what He declared in the quiet of my heart 18 months ago!  It is just almost too much for this poor heart to bear; but isn’t that just like God? He is Good, friends. He is so good. 

Advertisements

Jonah is 1

This blog is a little later than I had hoped, but nonetheless it is here!

My baby boy turned 1 in January! I cannot believe how quickly a year flew by! Looking at old pictures of him as we prepared things for the party, it felt like he was just placed in my arms yesterday! I knew that I wanted to make his first party a big one, even though he would never remember it ;) 

We went with a whale/nautical theme; I think this post will be mostly pictures. enjoy! 

 

196201212218

 

209

 

214                                                216

 

 217   223   225  

228

230

231 232234

 

235

 

I took a picture of Jonah every month and here they all were lined up for the year <3 

236 237

 

248

 

250   259   270

 

282  316  321

649  655  761

 

775

820

 

Such a wonderful time with friends and family! 

She’s a Vance

Friday was a monumental day in the life of our growing family! Little miss Mazie’s adoption was finalized, and she is now officially a Vance! We got her all dressed up in her brown and white dress, with a matching head band that mommy made just for this occasion! 

IMG 0001

Ok, well, someone wouldn’t sit up, but hopefully you can get an idea of how stinkin’ adorable she was! :) 

We went before Judge Trish Rose, who signed all our official paperwork and was even kind enough to pose for a few pictures! 

IMG 0008

We were so blessed to have most of my family there to share in out special day. The girls were so well behaved I hardly knew they were there! 

IMG 0011

Here is one of us outside the courthouse. Holding little Ms. Vance! 

IMG 0017

That night we went out to celebrate!

IMG 0019

This day was the culmination of so many years of waiting, so many prayers, so many tears, so many dead end roads. We know countless friends and family had been lifting us up in prayer for so long; we know God has heard your prayers, and we are so thankful for all of your intercessions on our behalf. We truly could not have made it through some of the valleys without the knowledge that you were all there for us, praying, waiting, and supporting us the whole way. We are beyond blessed and words fail to describe what we feel knowing that this sweet little girl is OURS. SHE IS OURS! And nobody can ever take her away! :) Now if only we can get things worked out on the other side, we will be a family of four for good. We continue to covet your prayers on that front. We are just so thankful to all of you. As much as this day was for us, it was for all of you too; everyone who has prayed, called, stopped by, and supported us. We are so thankful to have each and every one of you in our lives! 

The business of Fear

Fear is a powerful thing. It has a way of squeezing our chest and restricting our throat until we are sure the only way to breathe again is to run far away from it’s icy grip. Think about what people do out of fear; or maybe just to prove that their biggest fears about themselves aren’t true: Lie. Steal. Cheat. Nothing. (I’ll come back to that one, it’s the most dangerous)

     People lie all the time because they are scared; scared to be wrong, scared to be caught doing something wrong, scared to hurt someone’s feelings. People who cheat on tests are scared they will be inadequate. People who cheat during sports are scared they will be “the loser”. People sometimes even cheat on their spouses because their biggest fears are feeling unwanted, not needed, or undesirable; and they have to prove that this fear has no foundation because they are so scared that it’s true.

     Fear can drive us to some ugly choices, but the worst thing fear can cause us to do is nothing. It can cripple us. Make us stagnant. Render us ineffective in every area. Fear really can paralyze you; your fight, flight, or freeze response is triggered and that’s what leads most people to run. Every once in a while however, the fear is so overwhelming it freezes you in your tracks. This can do the most damage to a person’s life, but it’s sneaky, because they may never even know it happened. They will never know what could have been , what life could have held for them, had they just pushed through the fear.

   People often ask me, when referring to our decision to do foster care, “aren’t you scared?”. Yes. Yes I am. I am scared today, I was scared when we decided to do it, and I will probably be scared every minute  of every day until there is a definitive direction that this case is headed. I want to share pieces of a conversation I had with a wonderful friend about this very thing: 

  

 2/17/12

hey! yeah, it’s crazy, it all happened so fast! we are very scared in this waiting process, but it’s in God’s hands.  When we first got the phone call about him, tyler and I were scared. he had obviously been put into foster care for a reason, he was not up for adoption yet, and he has visits with his family often. We considered waiting; seeing what else God brought along;   waiting for an easier road. but then we realized: this is everything we have been praying for for the last 3 years. what is it that would    hold us back and make us pass up this opportunity? fear. that’s the only thing we could come up with; it was fear that would hold us  back. fear of the unknown, fear that we would grow to love him and then have to give him back, fear that we would not be equipped to  handle the challenges we might face with his unique circumstances. it all came back to fear. Fear doesn’t come from God. Fear is  nothing but faith in the enemy. and if we had let that fear win, we would have missed out on this sweet little blessing that I cannot  imagine life without! 


so we jumped. and we will love this little guy for every second we are with him, whether it’s 6 weeks, or 6 years! Thank you for your prayers, I feel like we have never needed them more. it’s hard; some days I’m just so scared that he will disappear and we will get “that phone call”. God knows what He is doing though, and I pray that He would not let that happen.

[ she replied, expounding on the role of fear in her life]

I know, you wouldn’t think it could be so powerful, but fear is one of the greatest tools of the enemy, in my opinion. At least on me anyway! 


I understand what you mean; I fear having to see this baby leave our home. I fear raising a child with a difficult background, I fear telling him he is adopted one day, if we get that chance, and having him wish he could have stayed with his biological family. I fear what it would do to me to love him with all my heart and then lose him. I’m scared! but I’m taking it one day at a time, with God. I knew this is what He was asking me to do, and doing it doesn’t mean the fear is not there, it just means the fear is not winning. 

If he gets to stay with us forever, I will praise God, because He is on the throne!

If he has a difficult life because of the circumstances he was born into, I will pray to God to equip us to handle that, because He is on the throne. 

If he has to leave our home, it will likely break my heart, and just maybe my spirit, but I will fall into the arms of God, because He is still on the throne. 

Whatever happens; whichever path God has us walk down, we will walk down it hand in hand with our savior, and somehow; I know that it will be ok. There may be parts of it that are terrible, or it could be the most abundant blessing we’ve ever experienced, but either way, at the end of the day He is on the throne and that is the only detail I need to know.  

                                                                                        -Kate

Fear could have made us do nothing; it could have crippled us. It could have tightened its grip on us to the point that we just did nothing, because nothing was safe. Nothing was familiar. Nothing didn’t have the potential to be awful. But nothing didn’t have the potential to be great either. 

God tells us in His word that perfect love casts out all fear. If you rest in the creator, if you run TO Him instead of away from your fears, He will give you the strength you need to face anything, because He will face it with you. 

So dear reader, what is fear holding YOU back from today? Tyler and I decided that very day that fear would not be a factor in our decisions from that moment on. We have not regretted that choice for a second! Fear has no place on a pro/cons list. You can’t stop fear from coming; but you can stop it from winning.