"God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Apparently this is a Video Post weekend

Silly Kids

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What happens when you ask God and He answers

I have to change some of the names in my journaling to respect the privacy of the people who are part of my story.  The people I will be talking about are friends of mine.  "Sherry" is the lady who introduced me to the agency that Ben and I have gone thru to become foster parents.  "Buddy" is a three year old  little boy that came into her care that, after seeing him, made me want to pursue foster care.

And, incase you are wondering, not every story has the "happy ending" we hope for - but it does have the ending that was supposed to happen.  One way or another...

December 19th, 2008


On December 17th, 2008 "Sherry" called me and asked me if we would be interested in adopting "Buddy".  "Charles", her husband, has definitely decided he is not going to adopt "Buddy" - that he is not meant to adopt "Buddy".  That has left "Sherry" with the heart wrenching task of trying to do what is best for "Buddy" outside of keeping him.

For months now "Sherry" has been working on becoming a foster parent so she would be allowed to adopt "Buddy".  That has been her plan all along.  "Buddy" has been with the family for months now and has called "Sherry" 'Mom' for almost the entire time.  To him she IS 'Mom'.

"Sherry" went to Mark, my father-in-law, and was talking to him about the situation and he told her that he thought Ben and I would be interested in taking "Buddy" so she called me to ask me about it.

"Sherry" has ran into two problems in adopting "Buddy".  One was when they were doing their home study "Sherry" and "Charles" would not agree to not spank their kids, they have 5 biological kids - 3 of which still live at home, or "Buddy"-which is a requirement if you are getting licensed through our agency.  

Number two, when a social worker came back out to their home and explain how close they were to being able to adopt "Buddy" (his parental rights have been terminated) "Charles" was open about the fact that he is not sure he is the one that should adopt "Buddy".  That floored me.  Ever since "Sherry" told me that "Charles" had told her that I have not been able to understand it.  Why would you go through all these classes, the paper work, let this kid live in your house for 6 months and then decide to fess up to these feelings.  Ever since I have heard that my heart has been breaking into a million pieces for "Sherry".

When "Sherry" called me she said, "Mark said you might be interested in "Buddy"."  I told her that I considered "Buddy" her son.  I did not want to take him from her, but IF something happened and she was not allowed to adopt him for some reason I would gladly take him.

She then went on to tell me that "Charles" had made his final decision and that was that they would not be adopting "Buddy".  You could hear the heart wrenching sadness in "Sherry's" voice.  It was the sadness of a Mom that had to give up HER child and didn't know what to do. 

I could tell she was on a mission to do what was best for "Buddy".  All of us Mom's know that feeling, the feeling that we would die for our kids and we would do anything in our power to protect them.  She gave me the phone number to "Buddy's" social worker and encouraged me to call her soon.  We hung up and there, in the Target parking lot, I started praying - and crying.

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Field trip!

Tuesday Kobe's class went to the planetarium :)

I managed to squeeze 3 six year olds WITH booster seats into my car.  NOT an easy feat!  I am excited to get a car with 5 seats in the back once this lease is up.  And I HOPE it is NOT a mini van.  I am only 25, 25 yr olds don't drive mini vans-if we can help it!

Anyway, the best part of the trip was when I got lost on the way to the planetarium, which is at the most 10 minutes from the school.  I got SO lost that I had to call the school and ask them for the address and then type it into my GPS.  I was less than one mile from the planetarium when I called.  It is really cool to be the parent that got lost on the way and held up the whole group :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This is what we encourage at our house...

Anger & Tattoos...this cancels out the "At least we are doing something right" post.  :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

At least we are doing something right :)

*Kobe in Ludington at One Year Old*
*Kobe at Six Months at one of Alyssa's wedding dress fittings*
*Ben between 4 and 6 years old I imagine perfecting the pout he would later see on his own child's face about 20 years later*

Parenting is a wonderful mix of trial & error.  Somethings work and somethings don't.  Some times you worry you are spoiling your kids too much, some times not enough.  But, every once in a while they prove to you that something that you are doing is working.

Kobe and I pulled in the driveway after school and I parked the car at the end of the driveway.  I hit the garage door opener to open the door and told Kobe, "You can run in the house if you want, I am going to get the mail."  
I hop out and so does Kobe.  He runs in the house and I walk across the road to get the mail out of the mail box.  Before I turn to walk back across the road to the driveway I see Kobe back out side watching me.
I walk across the road and say to Kobe, "What are you doing back out here?"  He replies, "I had to make sure you didn't get hit by any cars crossing the road."  and runs back in the house.

Saturday Kobe had one of his basketball games.  His coach was away at snow camp with the teens, Ben had to go to work and Grandpa Wentzel was up north at Grandma Corey's funeral.  That left me as coach of a 6-8 year old boys basketball team.  
During the game the boys did great, they had fun helping me figure out who would go in and who wanted to sit out.  I think they all managed to score some points too.
One of the little boys on Kobe's team is named Carter.  He is a sweet little thing and seems a little nervous out on the court.  At one point he started to cry about something during the game while he was out on the court near his dad.  I heard his dad encourage him very nicely to stop crying and have fun.  I walked over and ushered him away from his dad and back onto the court.  After I took a step away from Carter Kobe came over and put his arm around Carter and told him it was ok and encouraged him to have a good time too.

I watched David during the day for a couple days while Bobbie was giving birth to Noah.  Kobe and David obviously have a huge age gap (about 5 years) so, of course, David is happy to follow Kobe around and touch everything Kobe does.  
Kobe and David were playing with the bathroom door, I know, we are the picture of safety around here, and David stuck his fingers into the gap between the door and where the hinges are and smashed his little fingers.
Kobe yelled for me even before David made a sound and when I got there Kobe was rubbing his head and comforting him and checking his fingers to make sure they were ok.
After David was finished crying and back to his typical little self Kobe was still walking around with a look on his face and I asked him what was wrong.  Kobe said he just felt so bad for David's little fingers.  
All while David is/was here Kobe played with him, did things to make him laugh and would let David touch most of his stuff :)

While my child is not a saint, he is turning into the type of child I hoped he would.  I am sure that is 100% because of God and not us, but I am thrilled to see God do it!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Here is a shot of Kobe begging me to let him rip into my granola bars before I took a picture of my latest trip to Kroger. 
Click here to hear about my latest great deal :)  

To me Noah & David look SO much a like!

But there are some differences too :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now that we have hurried up...what do I do while we are waiting?

We searched our hearts, chose a path, handed in paper work, completed our interviews and now....we wait.   It is easier when there are things to do.  You feel like you have a bit of control, like you are moving forward and then it is taken out of your hands.  Yet, I am sure that we have not gotten to the hardest part yet.  Once the home study is written up, approved and we are "open" that will be a new kind of hard for me.  You hope that you will get a call right away with a child that will be yours forever.  That is not likely.  
What a journey God had planned for us.  One that I sometimes catch myself dragging my heels to go on.  I am not a fan of not knowing what lies ahead.  I should not be surprised God chose this for us, He knows what I need :)

Well, in the mean time, I have been reading.  Reading blogs written by foster parents.  Reading books about adoption, foster care and abuse.  Reading about things that make you cry out of joy and hope and also crying because of the pain some children live with.  Die with.

Yesterday I read a book called "Love in the driest Season".

Good book.  If you like to read in general you would like this book.  If you are adopting from anywhere in Africa you will LOVE this book.  If you have opted to take the path less traveled and search for a child you know is yours but you don't know where you will find them...you will not be able to put this book down.

Prologue of "Love in the driest Season":

"By noon, the ants found the girl child.
Left to die on the day she was born, she had been placed in the tall brown grass that covers the highlands of Zimbabwe in the dry season, when the sun burns for days on end and rain is a rumor that will not come true for many months.  She had been abandoned in the thin shade of an acacia tree, according to the only theory of events police ever put forth.  There were no clues as to exactly when she was left there, or why, or how, or by whom.  She just appeared one day, like Moses in the bulrushes.

Patches of dried blood and placenta streaked her body.   Her umbilical cord was still attached, a bloody stump dangling from the navel.  A colorful yank of fabric was wrapped around her torso.

The ants came from everywhere.
They set upon the blood and the remnants of the placenta sac.  Dozens, if not hundreds, poured over the fleshy stump of the umbilical cord.  They began to eat her right ear.
The girl-child screamed."

This is a true story of how Neely Tucker, at the time a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, found his daughter after being assigned to a station in  Zimbabwe.

The girl was found by a village woman and taken to the authorities who placed her in one of the poorest orphanages you will find.  One where 17 babies a year die from lack of nutrition and proper care.  Their cause of death is usually listed as "trouble breathing and diarrhea".

In this little orphanage Neely finds a 3 mo. old little girl (the one found by the village woman) that weighs less than 5 lbs.  He picks her up and she wraps her little hand around his finger and his life changes forever.

If this book isn't enough to make you want to book a flight to Africa I don't know what would.  The terrible part is that we have the same thing going on here.  Babies left in garbage cans to die.  All I can say is that some day we will all have to take a look out side of our perfect little lives and see what God sees every day.  Maybe then we will do something about it.


On another note I would like to say "Congratulations Great Grandma Corey on your home going!"  I can only imagine what it must have been like for her to see her hubby and Gordon again.  I am sure it was a wonderful day for her once she got there.  I am thankful her suffering is over and she gets to be with the ones she loves.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Leah & David play with Photo Booth while waiting for Noah to be born.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not me Mon...er...Tuesday

Not Me Monday is hosted by MckMama over at www.mycharmingkids.net.  She is a fun Mommy to 4 who has seen the hand of God as close as most people get in her last pregnancy.

Anyway to see more "Not Me Monday" posts click here

Now, onto mine.

-My son definitely did NOT point his suction cup dart gun at me and say "The bigger they are the harder they fall".

 No, not my child.

-While watching David yesterday, who is 1 1/2 years old, I definitely did NOT let him eat oatmeal by himself in Kobe's room and then drip it all the way down my carpeted hall way.

I would never do that.

-Late one evening I definitely did NOT get cold and ask Ben if I could climb into his shirt.  And he definitely did NOT actually squish me into his shirt with him resulting in Kobe wanting to be squished into his shirt with him resulting in these pictures:

I would never do that.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Noah's first day here...

Yesterday from 4 pm - 8 pm I got to go sit with Bobbie and Noah and got them all to myself!  :)  I got to hold Noah quite a bit and to me he looks ALOT like his big brother did when he was first born.  
Bobbie's delivery ended up being the kind of delivery you hope for.  Fast, smooth and not too painful.  Noah seems perfectly healthy and responsive.  He is doing a good job nursing and seeming like he will like a paci too.  He is all about having his little hands up by his face constantly.
They both are doing great!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Noah came today!!!

7lbs 6 oz. and looks a bit like his big brother to me!

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's DONE!

I am so happy, everything is finally done, all the paper work is turned in and everything is finally in motion!!!

Our home study went great!  It ended up being super easy and not stressful at all.  The person who did our home study was a woman named Shannon.  She is our age (some where in between Ben and I), grew up in Ortonville, now lives in Grand Blanc, and has a house she said was just like ours minus our addition (the family from and 1/2 bath).

The questions she asked were exactly what I anticipated-

"How did your parents disciple you growing up?"

"Describe your relationship with your Mom"

"Have you ever been in Foster Care yourself?"

I think I was kinda nervous though because I got stumped on the first question-

"Describe your Mom."

That shouldn't have stumped me but it did for a minute.  :)  After that it all came very naturally.  Shannon mentioned that, compared to some of the other home studies she does, ours will be easy to write up because we actually answered her question directly.  She said some people answer "I don't know." to some of the questions.  I didn't know that was an option :)

Everything went pretty quickly, she looked around the house and measured the bedrooms and according to her, with Kobe still having his own room, technically we could have 3 (1 baby and 2 1-3 year olds) placed with us.

We did decide for right now to try to keep it to just one child at first because it will be a big change for us.  They may call us with siblings though and see if we want them when they are trying to place them.

We also decided to be completely open to any race which was REALLY exciting to me because Ben and I had been going back and forth but I really wanted to leave that open for God to do what he wants.  Our only concern is that the child be comfortable.  Shannon said usually the agency tries to place children in homes that are the same race as they are.

My biggest question was What happens now?

Well, Shannon has 2 weeks to write up our home study.  Just recently she has conducted 4 home studies and ours was the last.  She will not be doing any more until she writes all of those up.  After that the Home Study that she writes up goes to Lansing and is completely read and signed off on by several people.  This will take 4-8 weeks.  After that, that's it.  We will officially be "Open for Placements"  So, because I know anything that has to go through a government office can be really slow I am hoping that 8 weeks from now we will be "open".  We shall see.

It feels so good to have that done!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Home Study Day!

Oh, I cannot wait for this home study to be over!  What a wild few days Ben and I have had.  Ben is sick with a terrible cold, my back has had me riling in pain and yet "In our weakness God's strength is made perfect".  I love that verse, especially right now, because I can feel it as I hobble around doing what needs to be done!

Kobe's Valentine's Day party is today, right during our Home Study, so Cindy is going in my place and then bring Kobe home.  That makes me feel so much better about missing it!

I am excited to have it over with, the home study, but I know the whole "hurry up and wait" thing will be a new obstacle for me to over come.  But, we know God's timing is PERFECT and I am excited to know God has big plans for us :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Want to see why I have a pyramid of TP in my dining room?

Click here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A note to Leah, age 17-18

A note from my 25 year old self to my 17-18 year old self.

Dear Leah,

Wow, if only you knew what the next 8 years would be like!  Right around now I suppose you are just finding out you are pregnant.  Don't be scared, this is going to end up being one of the best days of your life.  Don't worry about how little money you and Ben have, life has a way of working itself out, even if you have no idea how it will.

You won't always have no money.  Money comes and goes.  Work hard!  Try your best and everything will work out!

I guess I should also mention that this whole pregnancy thing is gonna be kinda hard, but totally worth it.  You are going to get a phone call one day that will make you wonder if your baby is ok.  Don't worry, he is, God will always take care of him.

Right before your baby is born life is gonna throw you and Ben a curve ball, but you will make it though.  You have friends and family that love you a lot.  Life will not always be this hard.  

About a year after your baby is born you will finally have your own place to call home again and God is going to take Ben's new job and run with it.  You will see month after month and year after year God provide for your family through this job that God gave him.

Oh, and speaking of Ben, Ben is going to become a better father and husband every year that you are together.  Ben is always going to be on your side, love you when you are unloveable and take care of you.  He will also work hard to become your son's (yes, you are having a son :) ) best friend.  He actually manages to be more amazing 8 years from now than he is right now.

Since I have let the cat out of the bag that your first baby will be a little boy I might as well tell you a little bit about what he is going to be like.  He is going to be beautiful, he is going to be little when he arrives but that will quickly change.  As he turns One, Two and then Three be PATIENT with him.  When he is going through the terrible twos just love him through it.  After he turns Three, Four, Five and then Six he will turn into one of the most caring wonderful little boys you will ever meet.  He will teach you so much about love and strength that you will thank God every day, day and night for him.

Well, I guess here is the part when I will tell you a little bit about how you will turn out.  Over the next few year you will struggle with depression and have days that you feel like you are "not on speaking terms with God".  God is going to love you through those times.  His love for you will always far out weigh your selfishness and lack of understanding.  

There are things you will be good at and things you won't be good at.  You will learn that the hard worker you have always been needs to be kept busy!  Being a Mom will be your favorite job but you will also start and run a successful business that God puts in front of you.  

I know, some days I can't believe what God has done either.

As you get older you will get a little bit better about how quickly you get angry and you will get a lot better in the whole patience department.  It is still a work in progress but you will get there.

Oh!  I should also mention that you and Ben will decide to try to adopt through foster care!  I know you won't believe me about that now, but in a few years you will understand.  God will show you, like He always does.

In the mist of all these years there will be some pain mixed in there.  Through that pain you will get to see the goodness of God first hand.  You will see Him perform miracles in both your family & Ben's.  Even when things seem hopeless know that He is still there, taking wonderful care of the people you love.

If I could only tell you 1 thing that is true about what the future holds it would be this:

  God will always take care of you.  Good care of you.

Behave yourself  :)


Leah Wentzel

Monday, February 9, 2009

Leah's first edition of: What's in my husband's wallet

Last night I had to make a copy of Ben's Driver's License because both of ours had expired after our Foster Parenting classes.  I love looking thru Ben's wallet because it is like a mini photo album with all these old pictures in it.  He has had the same wallet since before we got together :)

I love this picture of his dad he carries around.  That made its way into his wallet before I ever did I think.
I found this note that I don't remember writing him.  It must be pretty old :)
Of course we have the "thru the years" shots of Kobe.
and a picture from our wedding, my favorite shot from that day...
Oh, and this lovely senior picture of me.  I was so happy in high school  :)
I guess I would have to say this is my favorite thing in his wallet.  This is a picture of us from when we FIRST started dating.  We took it with a camera that takes your picture and turns it into a sticker.  He has it stuck to the left side of his open wallet.  I have a feeling that might be why he has had the same wallet all these years.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Growing up I never had to wonder who my mom was.

Growing up I never wondered where home was are why I couldn't go back there.

Our home study is scheduled for this coming Thursday at 1:30 pm

If you have a minute read these:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Manic Monday

Some days you just have to laugh about.  You know that if you try to plan anything there is no point, something will inevitably go wrong.  Other days you have a feeling they are going to be absolutely crazy but God will make it all work out-some how.

Monday was one of those days.  I knew in order to get everything done in the amount of time I had on Monday I would have to be open to watching how God would work it all out-not how I would work it all out.

Sunday was the super bowl.  We had invited a couple people over.  So you just know that is right when 2 funeral homes would call me and say they had videos for me to pick up, with out any warning I might add, that they needed done for the next day.  

One was easy enough-that funeral home is about 5 minutes from our house.

The other funeral home was in Royal Oak.  

They both called me within minutes of each other, around 3:30 pm, to let me know they would have people dropping pictures off soon.  If they would have had the pictures right then it would have made things easier but of course the families wanted to drop them off right around kick off time.  Nice.

So, I decided to deal with it when I could.  Everything went fine, around half time most of our guests took off and Ben offered to go get the pictures from the funeral home that was closest to us because I decided the funeral home in Royal Oak would just have to wait until the next morning.  They didn't need the video done until 4 pm, so that would just have to work itself out.  Royal Oak is 50 minutes from our house, so driving 2 hours that evening was just not going to work.

I guess I haven't mentioned yet that I had to take my sister to her doctor appt the next day as well down in Rochester.  She isn't allowed to drive yet because of her seizure so I take her once in a while.  I didn't want to cancel on her because that is a pain, plus I like seeing her.  So, I had to work that in too.

Anyway, at half time Ben went and picked up the first set of pictures and that night I did the video.  I was up until 1 am but got it all done.  The next morning I got Kobe up and managed to drop off that completed video before I took Kobe to school and still managed to make it to the school on time while hitting EVERY RED LIGHT BETWEEN THE FUNERAL HOME AND HIS SCHOOL.  As I pulled in on time I said Thank You Lord!  Please order my steps the rest of today!!!  

After dropping off Kobe I drove straight to my sister's house.  About a 40 minute drive.  My sister and david hopped in the car and we sped off in hopes that I could pick up the pictures from the funeral home before her appt.

We got to the funeral home, grabbed the pictures and made it to the doctor appt. 10-15 min. early.  So good so far!

Keep in mind I still have to make this video and get it back by 4 pm.

We leave Bobbie's appt and I take her home.  We get there around 11:15 am.  I say good bye and hop in my car.  About a 1/3 of the way down her drive way it happens.  For reasons I still don't understand, in a matter of seconds, I am off the drive way and stuck!!  What just happened!?!  So I try to back up back on the driveway but of course that isn't working!  I go forwards a little bit and then back, no luck. 

 As I am trying to work my car out of the snow with out getting it more stuck I remembered something Dave had said.  He too got stuck in their drive way and said, "I couldn't go backward so I just went forward."  

So now I was faced with an option, risk getting stuck so far out in their front yard that a tow truck couldn't get me out at all or call a tow truck right now.  Well, quite frankly I didn't have time for a tow truck so I threw my car into 4 wheel drive low and went forward, thru at least a foot of snow, and it didn't get stuck.  I could almost feel God's hands pushing my jeep forward as I made a big loop through the front yard and back up onto the lower part of the drive way. 

I made it!  I was really happy because I did not have time to be stuck today.

So, after that I ran home, made the video, picked Kobe up from school and started to make my way to Royal Oak, finished video in hand.  Then I called Ben.  

This was the day that Ben was supposed to get him TB test read and he had forgotten the paper he needed to get filled out for our agency.  Luckily he called BEFORE I went past our house and I swung in and grabbed it.

I then drove down to Royal Oak, got there around 3:30 pm (I MADE IT!!!) and then took Ben his paper and went with him to his appt so Kobe and I could see him.  

Kobe and I arrived home around 5 pm and I could believe I had gotten everything finished that I needed to, God you are so Good!!!

If you actually are all the way to the end of this story I am shocked.  This is even a little long for me to read :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bobbie & Noah

When I think about what Bobbie & Noah have gone through I can't help but thank God for the miracle HE did the night of the accident.
The fact the Noah is still here, let alone my sister, is a testament to the strong hand of God, He is so good to us!

These pictures should be entitled:  "Crap, your almost due and we haven't taken any pictures of you pregnant!!!"

Second borns get the best of everything don't they :)

David was having none of this photo session, it is amazing we ever got this good of a shot!

And lastly, this picture will crack me up for years to come.  Could I have gotten an angle that made Noah look any huger???  I don't think so :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grandma Ghent & Grant

Monday, February 2, 2009

Saturday-Kobe's 3rd basketball game


It was so fun to watch Kobe in his last game, he was such a rock star!  After he got into it he was knockin' them down like nobody's business!  

Thanks Gpa Wentzel for the pictures (I was busy with video :) )