A Long Journey!

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This is one of the hardest posts I’ve shared.  It is scary to put this out there, but I feel as though God is calling me to share our story.  

We are so excited (and a little nervous) to announce the journey we are to embark on!  Foster care!  In order for us to explain how we got here, we wanted to explain the path that has lead us to this very point.  Please bare with me as I did my best to keep this as to the point as possible.  With that being said, we ask that if you have questions please come directly to us and we will be happy to discuss this.  

Matt and I have been married for 4 years and as you know we have two wonderful children, Boston and Tyler.  My life goal has always been being a mother, I quit my job right as Matt and I got married hoping to grow our family right away.  Due to having PCOS I knew it would be a struggle but a specialist assured me they could get me pregnant. After 5 rounds of insemination and hormone therapy I wasn’t pregnant. So we decided to start looking at alternatives after round 3.  We came across snowflake adoption.  Snowflake adoption (aka embryo adoption) instantly settled with Matt, it took me longer.  I wasn’t ready to give up.  Upon looking into this we found out that there were over 600,000 embryos frozen in the US and that there were hundreds of thousands up for adoption.  At this point we decided to forgo doing IVF ourselves, fearing we might end up with more embryos than we could give life to, and decided to adopt.  

We went through home-studies, education, family profiles and finally we went to the matching phase.  Once we got there, we were told that there were some complications (more than I need to bore you with), and that there were no embryos for us to adopt currently.  So we waited.  8 months later I began to question God and if this path was the right one.  After a lot of pep talks from my sweet husband, we decided to stay the course. We later found out we could maneuver around some hurdles and we finally got a match.  Unfortunately it didn’t feel right, I was crushed, I wanted to say yes to this family so bad, but had a strong feeling God wanted something different.  So we said no.  Less than a week later, we got a match and I can’t tell you how amazing it felt, Matt and I both cried tears of joy!  We finally had our 6 snowflakes and they were waiting for us!  We moved forward.  A few weeks later we got news that my fertility clinic would not transfer the embryos due to some FDA requirements.  So I began looking at other options in Colorado.  No one would take them in Colorado.  So we thought this might be the end.  Then God opened a door and we found an amazing clinic in Tennessee. Matt happens to work for a company in Nashville and travels there every 6 weeks or so.  In the end his company paid to get Matt there a paid for our hotel, praise God!  We were so blessed by this clinic.  We were able to work with a wonderful Christian doctor who had devoted his practice to giving these babies the chance at life they deserve!

We are so saddened that I was not able to have a successful pregnancy and we have miscarried all 6 of our babies.  I cannot tell you the pain that comes from losing these little ones.  I am not sure I will ever be whole until I meet them and hold them when I get to heaven.  I will always have questions as to why God lead us down this path and why I wasn’t able to fulfil this passion to be a mother to living babies that I know God has laid on my heart since I was a little girl.  But we know that God’s timing and plan is perfect.  I am grateful for the time I was able to carry them in my body and grateful that these sweet, precious snowflakes that made me a mom, just as I had always hoped.  Jeremiah 29:11 says  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  We have cried over this verse so many times as it really seems to bring comfort!

Immediately following our last miscarriage I told Matt I was done fighting.  That my heart hurt and I couldn’t bear to do anymore with this situation.  Boy, was I wrong!  God started working on my heart in a way I can’t explain.  I felt a real calling to look into foster care.  Matt on the other hand was less than thrilled with this idea.  He said he would go with me to the initial meeting, which was happening the following week.  On our way home he said we could start the process, but there were no promises if we would do it.  Honestly, I think we both thought it would fizzle out.  Well,  here we are 10 weeks later, we have completed our training and are scheduled for our first homestudy and currently remodeling a room for the little ones God is planning to bring into our home.  About week 6 of our training Matt and I were headed home and we both cried because it truly feels like God has us exactly where he wants us.  

We want to honor our babies who are no longer with us.  In doing so we are trying to be more open about what we have been through. This has been a long, hard and emotional road.  There is no one I would rather do this with then the 3 precious gifts God gave me 4 years ago.  We know this is going to be a struggle and feel impossible at times, but we are following God’s voice.  We ask for your prayers as we prepare for this journey.  Specifically we ask that you pray for us to be a blessing to these kids, and we ask that you pray that our hearts are prepared.

In Matt’s words we are doing foster care “In service of He who has called us, and in memory of the ones we lost”.  Our hope is to honor our 6 babies by doing foster care.  

Fostering in love for their today, trusting in God for their tomorrow.

 

 

Anniversaries

Four years!?!  I can’t believe it’s been four years.  My title is anniversaries because today I celebrate two anniversaries.  I celebrate the amazing love my husband and I got to share and confirm four years ago, but I also get to celebrate the day I became a Smom to my two sweet kiddos.  What a blessed day it was!

In four years, a lot has changed and a lot hasn’t.  My life changed dramatically all at once.

The first thing was giving up a career that I had spend 14 years in, I started in the industry when I was 15.  I loved it, but my husband and I decided to make the priority for me to be home with the kids.  I am sure glad we made that move, although it has not always been easy, it feels like a sacrifice that is worth it (maybe I’ll write a post to explain what I mean another time).  This threw me in head first and although there were days I cried, days I didn’t think I could do it and days I loved it, I look back now and see the enormous growth in my spiritual life with God, my relationship with my kids and the growth in myself.

The second thing to change was sharing my life with three others.  Having quiet time seemed to be different.  Things like getting up in the morning(which if you know me at all isn’t a easy task) to make lunches, breakfast and get everyone off to school and work.  I was so used to just getting myself up and out the door.  And one of the biggest…LAUNDRY! 🙂

One of the hardest things was finding my place in a family that existed way before me being introduced. I knew I was loved, but when it came to sitting down to watch t.v. my place wasn’t the same as when my husband and I were dating, it seemed to be on the other side of the couch because the kids were used to having their Dad to themselves. This took adjustment and it took communication with my husband and now we have a new normal.

I hope you read my blog for more of our ever changing story.  Not because I am an expert, not because our story is unique, but because all you Smom’s out there should know…you AREN’T alone!

Today is a day of such JOY, a day my life changed for the better.  A day that the Lord gave me that man I desperately desired and the kids that have made me whole.  I love these three people more than I could ever express, and though I know things are never perfect, I am glad these are the three are the people I will laugh, cry, smile and love for the rest of my life!

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Thank you Lord for the blessings you bestowed upon me four years ago!

 

Smom?! What’s a Smom?

Smom? What’s a Smom?  I get this question often.  My stepkids call me Smom.  My husband and I went on our honeymoon and my stepdaughter wrote us a note when we got home and she wrote it “s.mom” in that sweet note that told me how excited she was to have a new “s.mom”.  From there they started calling me Smom.

Yes ,it seems silly to write a blog about this, but this is something special to me.   I am very aware I am not their Mother and would never want them to call me “mom”, they have a mom.  So when we came up with the special name it gave an identity to my unique role I play in their lives.

When we are out and the kids call me Smom some people just assume they are say mom, but others will ask what it means.  I love being able to tell them my sweet given name 🙂

I encourage all stepmoms to find a special name, we are a special addition to their lives and that deserves a special given name.

All you Smom’s out there you ARE Special!

Stepmom’ing in the Summer Part 2 Daily Schedules

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My step kids love to have a schedule.  I find it hard to believe at moments, but they really do.  They have actually asked me for one!  The biggest reason I started this was because at about 3:00 everyday they were over each other.  They would start trying to irritate each other on purpose,making one of them loose it and ultimately making me loose it, as well. So I decided that they would eat lunch at a certain time and then have “quiet time” away from each other for an hour after lunch.  That’s when they decided they really liked having set times for things and asked if I could make a schedule to follow.  My husband and I are both happily surprised by how well this works.  I don’t really enforce the schedule, but the kids enjoy following it.  I thought I would share in case anyone else out there has kids that enjoy being on a schedule! In case anyone is wondering about Kahn Academy, it is AWESOME! Extremely worth your time especially in the summer, it helps them keep learning over summer!

Game Night Champion Trophy

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Game night is always a fun time at our house.  I wanted to make a trophy that we could use for our family fun!

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I found this action figure at the Dollar Store and a round glass cup and glued him on.

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Then I got my gold metallic paint out.

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After our first game night we decided it would be fun to record the winners with a Sharpie. I look forward to filling this trophy with lots of family memories!

Classroom Snacks

Last year my step daughter was doing testing in her class, so they had asked for parents to bring in snacks.

Of course, she asked if I could do something special.  So I began brain storming and came up with the idea of water labels and calling them TCAP H20.  So I got my Silhouette out.  I measured the original labels and used that as my template.

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The longest process was taking the other labels off and taping the new labels on. They turned out pretty cute and her class really liked them!

Stepmom’ing In the Summer

Summertime is here! YAY!  I love summer, I love the warm weather, I love the fun activities and most of all I love having my step kids home with me all day!

I enjoy getting out of the house and experiencing fun things that we normally don’t have the time to do.  I’ll be sharing more about this as the summer goes.

As much as I love getting out of the house, I always get the dreaded question “what are we doing next?” on our way home!  I always think “we haven’t even made it home yet!”

So I decided to be proactive this summer we made a “Summer of Fun” wall by the kids’ chore charts.  The first thing I did was make an I’m Bored list.  This is for those moments I haven’t planned every minute of their day. I tried to be creative as well as add in those “read a book” ones.  I showed my step kids and they were excited about all the things on the list. SCORE!  Here is the list!  Hope you can use it to keep your sanity this summer 🙂  Please keep in mind my step kids are older, so some won’t work for younger kids!

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I’ll be adding our summer bucket lists, calendar and daily schedules too!