Sunday, January 12, 2014

Somedays I don't know what to make of this

Christmas came and went, I almost missed it if I blinked to long. The whirlwind of getting ready for a new baby that was is in NICU in a moments time, getting settled, adjusting to the kids being in every possible holiday production this side of the Mississippi and then whamo christmas. My heart never settled, I didn't love that. It won't happen again. I hope.

Having her here was sweet she slept and missed it too... but thats allowed at 5lbs.

Shortly after Christmas we reentered the hospital with little ms, and the truth is for several moments I thought she was dying in my arms. She contracted the flu and oh man is it terrifying. We spent several days in PICU with her on CPAP and I never left her side but for 20 minutes of fresh air once. I just couldn't. I couldn't get out of my mind the days on end in NICU without someone. So I was privilged to be her someone. And we bonded there, beautifully, or at least I did.

We survived that somewhat hellish week, we laughed a lot for shear necessity and we slept through the new year too, as it was the first time in days she wasn't desating all over the place. We were happy to snooze through it.

I feel fairly fickle you all must know. Im in love again... I bask with my mouth, when only moments ago I was mumbling over heartache. I still have heartache. Just so your aware. I realize how it sounds...I do. Its embarrasing really. I am so hot and cold these wretched foster days.

I spotted a little boy so similar to baby R the other day, that I confided to my friend I want to rub his hair, and smooch his face. I am now that creepy lady at the park. Local moms, lock up your African boys, or I may just put them in my pocket. I miss him so, and pray for him and hope that his days are filled with joy and nuturing and so much love and lots of fist pumps, because he likes that.

But this little girl. Oh man, I love her too, thats the truth. She is my first little bit that I haven't met her biological family, so I have fully claimed her in my heart without the gentle reminders of what this is. I am trusting him with promises he has given me and so I just surrender her. Surrender me. Surrender my kids, as we are all ... all in right now. This process is never normal. Or right. But its what He has us do.

She is growing steadily despite sickness. She loves to be swaddled, her eyes haven't found us yet. She looks like she was born this morning still. People in public say I look great for having a baby, God bless them. And for not having a baby.... well lets not go there.

I am finding rhythym, nesting, purging, its a new year afterall. Getting caught up on this month of being behind, and sick, horribly sick. Wondering what this year has and holds for me.

In fact the missing of the countdown, didn't set my heart in motion for newness, for change, for hope. I shall countdown tonight.... because, its just good and right, and puts the year in motion on that best foot forward type of way....

Happy Happy New Year to you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

a new season

My intent has been to write you when its not soaked in foster life. But the reality is it keeps coming around. It IS our life right now. We are knee deep in Him and thats just friends the way He continues to direct our lives these days. Im good with that.

2 weeks ago I got a call.
A call I knew I would get.
I told Nick that surely we would hang 5 stockings.
We went and met another very special little girl, who ended up being more medical need than our little home could offer her. I wondered what the Lords purpose was in that, in having us see her lovely eyes, and stroke her face, just to be told no. 
I went to Target and bought a baby girl dress. The longing so deep in me.
And as I sat on the couch wondering how dumb it was of me to make that purchase. My phone rang.
For her. And the yes left my mouth before any details were uttered, before I spoke to Nick. Yes, Yes, Yes.

This story is layered beautiful. More layered than I can share on this side of the story.
But this is going to be a crazy ride.
Isn't it all.

We spent a week in NICU a hard week. Divided between our now kids, and this new baby.
Midnight runs to a child I barely knew but wasn't eating well, whose heart was taking dips. 
Who I loved instantly.
Terrifying. But true.
She needed a mama.
And right now. I am her mama.

The phrases I have said over and over again, is who gets to do this?
Who takes a tiny precious new baby as their own.
It is the highest privilege to be chosen for her right now.

So our home is on round the clock feedings, baby gear everywhere.
Burp clothes soaked in formula.
I kiss her sweet face 400 times a day.
Making up lost time as she is already 7 weeks old.

Im saying things like, oh she always holds her hands like that.
Or mocking or grunting little goat feeding noises. They are so dear.
She is still very much asleep as she is the tiniest preemie you ever did see...
But she is growing fast within our walls.
This is the shift to our new normal
and its going well.
Sleepy but well.

Jesus knows our desires, so tenderly.
As I pat her bum and nuzzle her neck, he knows.
All my fear, all this surrender, crumpled at his feet.

Keep your hands and arms inside the cart at all times...
cause we are falling in love. Again.
Thursday, December 05, 2013

on being quiet

Sometimes Im quiet.
I mean not if you know me in person.
Im hardly quiet.
But here, its hard sometimes to come here and write
and not feel like a broken record over and over again.
Foster care is hard. We miss R. Blah blah blah.

Im struggling with that feeling of everyone wanting us to get over it.
So I stay quiet. But really I miss him a lot.
But me not saying that is more comfortable for a lot of people.
Heck its more comfortable for me.

The other night I finally processed how I feel about this.
So concerned with everyone else.
The truth is.
I wanted to be his mama. Thats the truth.

The house is holiday fied.
Christmas cards are here, I'm addressing and stamping.
Cade lost a tooth. My baby boy.
Ornaments get broken at least once a day.
I don't care. They are just ornaments.
Life has a chunk extra of perspective.
Im glad there crazy wild hands can break an ornament.
If baby boy were here, we would have ornaments from 2 feet high only.

Rylan has a wish list - an alarm clock, a robe.
Cade doesn't. It hasn't occurred to him to ask for anything yet.
I love them so much. I am a proud mama.

Nick and I went away for a whole week, which I want to blog so badly
Im waiting on some pictures we ordered.
Just know that we never left each others side,
we talked a lot
ate a lot
laughed a lot.
It healed so much.
I love this season of life, and I can't wait to be just us either.
He is seriously still the most fun person to be around.
I smiled a lot.
And I miss him so much now that we are home and doing a lot of life.

However, I have tan lines from said trip. And a runny nose.
Its not a cute combo.
And not during my busy photo season.

I wrapped gifts and homeschool prepped yesterday.
Maybe just maybe I watched a parenthood and boo hoo'd.
Im reading I captured the castle and loving it.
Im eating too much sugar.
For reals.

The table is a constant art project.
I love it.

Life is layered.
So layered. with greif, and joy.
So for that Im grateful.

I am not quite at all on instagram.. so if you need more regular hellos.
Say hi there.   leslieautumn
Tuesday, November 05, 2013

and there you have it.

Yesterday I turned 32. Whew.
Yesterday I woke to the sound of my husbands gentle tears in bed. My heart broke.
Yesterday we lost a son.

He left in what certainly felt like an injustice. One we were told because we don't "match" ethnicity. Its devastating. Our hopes of meeting this family and getting to cheer him from afar are gone. That moment you imagine of getting to be part of a woman meeting her child were fairytales. It wasn't warm or cozy. It was sad.  They made it clear that no further contact would be made with us. Crushing. We have given him our whole little life for 5 sweet months. He was the sweetest summer song.

We have no regret but today we do have grief.

Yesterday morning clear as day he called me mama.. over and over again and kissed my face. The best birthday gift ever.

So many sacred moments and space happened yesterday that can't be treated like the gold it was in writing really. The phone call from Rylans school, her in tears missing sweet boy, and the way we all fled like a fire had broke out to run and get her literally Cade included  sprinting through the parking lot. .We are family, and we run to one another when they hurt. I want my kids to always learn that.

The baby voice in Target and Cades gentle voice.. I wish it were R. Oh son. Me too.

My husband wrapping me in a blanket as I wept on the driveway with a friend, a friend who brings stupid amounts of sugar and so it shows she knows me well.

All of us on the couch, comforting one another, taking turns laughing and crying and Cade saying.. "is this what it means to be a family?"

Beauty wrapped in pain. Jesus appearing to comfort with words, scripture, sounds, comfort. He loves us.

Bottles left on the counter, little spots of him sprinkled around our home to remind us. Grief.

6 goodbyes in one year. Six. There is no equation to do this easier.

This is foster care for us right now, And let me tell you, it sucks. So much.

Eloquent huh.

But it is necessary. This baby he was worth it. He was worth loving hard.

Here is the letter we left him with in his suitcase....

Sweet Baby Boy -

Our silly family has loved you well. You are a bright shinning happy light. You are a joy bringer, no doubt.

We have cherished every second with you.

We praise Jesus today for who you are and who He has created you to be and the faithfulness He has done in your little life . We pray you love Him for a lifetime and that you give Him authority over your heart at an early age.

We felt called by Jesus to care for Gods babies, to love them hard, no matter the consequences and you sweet boy, are Gods faithfulness to us in that prayer. It is a privilege to have loved you, and cheer you on.

You will always be a sweet name in our home and a prayer in our hearts.

The P family

Monday, October 14, 2013

there is victory

Yesterday in church I was breaking down the events of the week.
We had hit various highs with hope of maybe maybe the law would be on our side and this little beautiful boy could be apart of our family.
But then we hit other parts that regardless of law... wheels are already in motion for him to be someone elses.

Highs, Lows. That darn rollercoaster of fostercare that I vow not to ride.

The theme of the worship songs kept bringing up the word victory. What victory? I thought. So selfishly.

The day before amidst my sons box car derby which I shall surely share with you I had a conversation with a pastor of our church, getting excited recognizing victories in our lives.  Then right then, I thought oh yes so many victories.

In the seat yesterday.. that word again victory. It was following me, haunting me. Jesus was whispering to me listen to this word Leslie.

But knowing that Thursday he will be offered to another family, I feel defeated not victorious.

I do realize this baby boy might be the answer to years of unanswered prayers, that he is the victory this mama might be singing about this very sunday at church, her heart full past overflowing at the idea, of moving forward this week to a long awaited dream, I get that. But until we meet face to face, its all a guess. Does she know Him, does she love Him. Him being Jesus... not baby R.

Is she? I have no idea.

But yesterday going round and round with the word Victory yesterday my only thought came back to this. His victory is already done for me. He rose from the grave people. What more do I need, how greedy am I? To ask where is this victory now.. when the victory friends is already so vast. so wide. so much bigger than I can swallow or except some days. My ugliness in my heart swallows me whole some seconds.

The message yesterday in church about Jonah, and what God did for him and that vine he whimpered about. Thats me. Right now. Asking God, where is my victory for R... when huge milestones have already happened in our lives. Our stones of remembrance are already so full.  Huge boulders moved in my life. Huge fat victories. One after another.

My son is FIVE today. The one we didn't know would make way into our lives. He is a victory. I will sing for him today, I will sing for the cross. I will celebrate every victory already won. Every battle we thought was already lost. And I will pray for victory, not for us.. but for baby R, for a family for him, whoever they may be.

And I will still day by day, try to swallow the facts, except the victory that is the cross. Try to take more of it on, as a precious gift victory for me and fathom just how much I am loved. Regardless of my mess inside. Or how inadequate I may feel.

This is the song on my heart this morning...  Spotify it, sing it with me.

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
"Worthy is the Lamb"

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
I will ris

Friday, September 27, 2013

who is that in the mirror?

A dear friend of mine moved away. Quickly.
And not in an excited, new job, better life sort of way.

A weak husband, disease taking over, life taking over, devastating, a houseful of children, seeking out hope, and listening to a calling sort of way.

In the matter of a few days, we sold tons of her stuff, and said goodbye.
Which was for lack of more eloquent words, a bummer.
A big fat bummer.

So last night, as we venture into this new type of friendship called "long distance" we face timed. God bless facetime.

And we talked, and the conversation lingered as we chatted about not even recognizing ourselves or knowing who we are, sometimes. She said this even as I looked at her most familiar face, but I nodded I get it.

You see, when I met her several years ago, she was a stay at home creative, crafting, blogging, super mom. Do everything at home sort of mom. She was vibrant, She IS vibrant.
Then life happened, she lost someone close to her to another disease, her father,
her husbands disease became serious.
Finances became serious.
So now she juggles, new city, new town, working supporting the family mom.
And so part of her feels like she can't even recognize who she is.

I relate. Somedays.

Different circumstances, but it was enough to make me nod. Yes. Who is that girl in the mirror.

A couple years ago, we had a stable job, then we took a paycut, then I got sick, then life was calmer, and happy creative, day to day filled with art classes, pinterest parties, (things that make this blog probably more interesting to look at) Sweeter. Then we started fostercare, and who has time for pretty and crafty. So much of who I was, or thought I was cast aside for this new path.

As sweet Briana (my friend) talked about this identity crisis, so to speak. I got it.. and the only words I could hear was .... Good riddance. This looks so much more beautiful on her. She is loving her family. She is doing the right thing. Why do we struggle so bad to fit in a mold we gave ourselves, when God is trying to bust us out. I know I do.

But this morning when I woke up, and my sweet foster baby had boogers like paste stuck all over his sweet face, and there was nebulizers, and medication, and life wasn't crafty or pretty, but instead it was attorneys and CPS... I smiled. Good riddance.

Im declaring this voice in my head (who fights me day in and day out, to retreive the simple life) to just go away, and allow me to walk more and more in hand with the Savior. And its not always pretty. Cause Jesus gets us down to the nitty gritty like no other.

Stripping my own identity, and wrapping myself more in His.
So today Im praying that for every dear friend I know, everyone at a crossroads deciding wether or not to do hard things. That they would feel confidence to do them. Be brave.

Lets challenge each other, to not even recognize ourselves in the mirror and just see Him, it will be amazing.
Sunday, September 15, 2013

one to baby boy

For the past couple weeks we went on a family vacation.
A marvelous one, our first, that wasn't a to go see family trip.
It was much needed.

We laughed together, saw new places together. Spent A LOT of quality time together.

We also took along baby boy R. Whom if I haven't mentioned we love. A lot.

He turned one on Wednesday tucked in a little beach house by the Oregon Coast.
A rainy drizzly morning.
He got a ball, and a vintage Fischer price camera.
He is taking wobbly first steps and is so very proud of himself.
He loves the beach, and he loves to laugh hard.
Aunt Chelle Chelle made him a party hat.
Rylan kissed him and sang to him, every second of the day.
The day was mellow but my heart was twisted.
You see I love this baby and it was after all his birthday.

My heart ached for a woman that wasn't holding her baby on his birthday.
Regardless if she is fit, or even kind.
I daydreamed wondering what his birth was like, what he looked like fresh and new.
Grief set in. Really deep grief.

You see its been made clear that baby boy will be adoptable.
We promptly informed them of our interest.
We were told our ethnicity was an issue.
That had a strong desire for him to remain in an African home.
We were told we would be considered as a last resort.

So we vacationed and loved him, and cheered him on during his first steps, teethed many a middle nights.
Broke fevers. Battled early tantrums.
Learned his preferences and tastes, we know his tickle spots.

I have begged the Lord to give me wisdom, if he is ours, or if he isn't.
Finally the morning of his birthday, he did.
I felt grief, grief for the family that was missing out on this first birthday set in.
The ones that will always wonder what his first birthday was like.
I felt it in my spirit, he isn't ours.
The next morning they called, and informed me they believe they found a family.
Just like that.

Nick is right, its not over until its over.
We pray daily as we all fall more in love with his easy smiles, or the way he has become attached to me.
So sweetly, constantly finding me, resting his head in my lap. A little love, before busy guy runs wild.

Pray for us as we process all of this, prepare, fight.
My heart is tender, and the idea of the process that is before us breaks me hard.
Numb almost. I know these feelings, I've learned them more in the last 365 days than in my whole life.
This process of falling in love, and falling apart.
Jesus has me, in his palm. I believe this.

I miss writing, breathing deeply, creating, I miss a lot of our old normal.
The new normal oddly though, has become normal.


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