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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New pictures of our K

Over here

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kobe's Loving Football

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our first trip to the pumpkin patch this season.

It wasn't raining but it was chilly! :)

We had S home for the weekend so I was determined to get out to the pumpkin patch before her weekend visits started back up.
We had a blast! This kids loved doing, well, everything!

Pumpkin Launcher!

It was so awesome to go to the same pumpkin patch that we did last year with S. It is so hard to believe that she has been with us for so long.
Some times I can't believe we have been together so long.

It is just all going by way too fast.

Thankfully, it has been a good ride so far.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I couldn't have said it better myself Part 8

"There are many who are nervous to go into foster care because they feel they will love someone and have to watch them leave. I get that. I think that's big for many who don't go into foster care. I wish they could see that although it may hurt them a bit for a child to leave, they have provided love and stability to a child who has LIVED hurt. And who often goes back to hurt. So to hurt a bit and love a child and hopefully be a seed of positivity in their future, I'll take that."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flag Football

This cutie is playing his first season of flag football.

He had his first game last Sunday and scored his first touch down! I was so happy for him.

He is a fast runner and that has been working pretty well for him.

He likes going to practice and playing so I am glad that we signed him up, he had never shown any interest in football.

He has another game this sunday.

In more Kobe news, after school on Friday Kobe got in the car and told me that he felt bad that everyone in his class got a slushie except one of his friends. He was just short of tearing up about it. I told him that I would send him with extra money on this coming Friday for his friend and then also told him "If you see that happen you could always give him yours."

Bless his little heart, he said "I never thought of that. You don't have to send extra money with me next week, if he doesn't get one I'll just give him mine." and was smiling again because he was excited to be able to do that for his friend.

Oh baby boy, you make your mom so proud.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sinking in the Water

I keep thinking of the story of Peter walking on water, how the minute that the took his eyes off Jesus and looked around at his circumstance he started sinking.

It is almost embarrassing to post so openly about how scary all of this foster care stuff is to me and how I get all worked up when these court dates come because basically all I am doing is shouting to the world


Makes me kinda rethink what I am doing.

But, I have to admit, yet again, as Lizzy's court date came and went I was nervous. At the last hearing the judge was very upset about Lizzy being placed out of county. She looked at me and said, "This is no refection on you or your care of the child" but all of us walked out of there thinking they may want to discuss moving her back to her county at the next hearing.

Leave it to God to not let that subject even come up. Not a word was spoken about it. The court date yesterday was business as usual. Everything that was discussed was business as usual and was all part of the normal process.

I love these kids so much, the idea of them leaving is very hard for me to deal with but I had a very wise woman tell me this:

"You have to love with an open hand"

I think that is a great way to sum up foster care. Loving with an open hand.

While I am loving with an open hand I have to keep my eyes fixed on the one who loves these kids more than I do.

I am such a work in progress, apparently for all the world to see, but thats ok, I never have claimed to be perfect by any means and I blog to prove it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


In court (for Lizzy today) they gave bio mom 2 hr visits (supervised) instead of her 1 hour she has right now.

Bio dad's visits stayed 1 hour.

The goal before was reunification with mom but legal dad now is contesting that so they are almost in a race/contest to see who is the better parents, if either is deemed capable of taking care of her.

She was going to be able to have visitation with her bio dad but legal dad contested that saying that it would confuse Lizzy so for now bio dad still can't have visits until bio mom and legal dad are officially divorced and perhaps a DNA test is done.

Her next court date is December 20. This is a hard thing for us because out of no where last year S's judge ruled that she had to go to bio mom's house for Christmas OVER NIGHT even though she had had no previous over nights with her yet. It was a huge shock to us and made Christmas very difficult. I am hoping to not relive that.

Court Dates

Lizzy's court hearing starts in 20 minutes.

I didn't go.

We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I couldn't have said it better myself Part Seven

When we first started fostering our NUMBER ONE main concern was Kobe and what this would mean for him and how it would effect him.

Of course we were concerned it may have a negative effect but I have been pleasantly excitedly surprised to see that when I have met grown up kids that have parent that foster that they are amazingly compassionate people who truly care for others and have huge heart bursting with love for "the least of these".

I am beyond excited to think that my son will grow up with a true love for people that can never be taken away or forgotten.

I want to share with you a post I read that Kylee, a senior in high school, posted that challenged me today:

the post where I am brutally honest.

I have toiled around with writing this post for a long time, but have refrained from doing so for fear of offending or even coming across as self-righteous. While I have come to the point where I honestly do not care if I offend people with what I am about to say, the last thing I want to do is come across as self-righteous. This needs to be said though, so with that in mind, here we go:

There are over 463,000 children in the U.S. foster care system. Look at that number again and think of it in terms of individual children. Every single one of those children has been removed from their home. Drugs, alcohol, starvation, prostitution, abuse, neglect, these children have seen it all.Over 50% of those children will never be reunited with their families.

There is an estimated 143 million orphans in the world.143 million. Orphans Hope gives a painful analogy: "It is hard to grasp such large numbers, so picture being on a very long road trip. If you had these [143 million] orphans hold hands in a line, you would see over 1,700 orphans per mile. If you were to follow that line of orphans holding hands, driving 60 mph, you could drive 24 hours a day seeing 1,700 orphans every mile, hour after hour, day after day without stopping for over two months, and you would still see orphans holding hands." Think about that.

God's heart if for the orphan. His heart is for the least of these.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -James 1:27

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." -Matthew 25:40

But what are American Christians doing? NOTHING.

While 26,000 children die of easily preventable causes every single day, we're busy renovating our homes and buying new cars.

Did you know that one child dies every three seconds? One precious, precious child that was creator by our Lord and Savior.

We have to stop pretending like those numbers don't exist. We have to stop pretending like we don't care. As Christians, this life is not about us. When will us materialistic Americans wake up and realize that? I include myself in that. Will I ever realize that material possessions mean absolutely nothing?

It has been estimated it would cost 13 billion dollars to provide basic nutrition for every starving person in the world. Did you know that American Christian's spend 11 billion dollars a year on coffee? Did you know that we spend 17 billion a year on golfing and boating? Did you know we spend 4 billion dollars a year on cosmetics? Did you know that we spend 105 billion dollars every single year on eating out? (Watch this video, please)

So how long does this go on for? Because right now, Christians are failing miserably at helping the orphans of our world.

Churches all across the country are overlooking the needs of these orphans. Churches are busy spending thousands upon thousands of dollars renovating their churches to make them comfortable and luxurious for their members. Churches are busy buying the newest technology and upgrading their staffers to the iphone 4, while thousands of children die because they have nothing.

There are no excuses. God doesn't care if you already have six children. He doesn't care if you don't have the finances at your disposal. He doesn't care if you think you're past the age of raising children. He doesn't care if you're too tired or too busy. He doesn't even care if you're "not done yet" having biological children.

Orphans are dying as we stuff our faces with food, buy new wardrobes and play on our latest technology.

I'm sick of what I see in America. I'm sick of watching fellow Christians try to talk my family out of fostering and adopting. I'm sick of watching churches put their wants over the needs of the orphan.

I am sick of Christians thinking that the "American Dream" is for us. It is not! We are called to stand out and to "live a life worthy of the calling we have received" (Ephesians 4:1).

And honestly, I have never been so passionate about anything in my life.

I would usually end a post like this with "now I realize not everyone is called to adopt...", but today, I'm not going to do that.

These orphans need homes, and I am obviously not here to tell you whether or not God wants your family to adopt. I do know that He wants you to do something. I have been blessed with a family that has demonstrated for me what it looks like to care for 'the least of these' and I know that God will continue revealing ways to me to help with the orphans. I am on my knees tonight, praying fervently that the rest of the Christians in American have their eyes opened up to this need.

And as I pray, I am praying that I can be radical for Christ.

Because I am beginning to feel for the first time what it feels like to be so passionate about something that it hurts. Praise Jesus!

Rat Race

Our power went out last night because of a storm.

(Kim, if you are reading this I thought to myself "I bet Kim's electricity is out too" I don't know why because plenty of people in between us have power but you crossed my mind!)

This morning Ben used the generator to iron his shirt. I laughed at him.

Now, I am about to head out the door to take Lizzy to her visit, S to her counselor, I have to pick up Kobe from school in the middle of all that and then figure out dinner :)

Will Lizzy's dad show up for his visit or won't he?

I guess I will find out in about an hour and a half.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Test Run

Well, apparently my first flat tire was just a test run for the second flat tire. I have to say though, God has an interesting way of preparing us...

I have 10 minutes until I have to run out the door so here is the short version.

Thursday, tire blows. You can read about it in the post below this one.

Friday, I drive around on the full size never been used spare tire A LOT.

Saturday, I have a wedding that I have to video tape that is over an hour away from my home. As I was getting ready to leave I kept thinking "I should have Ben check the tire pressure before I go" which I never did ask him to do but while he was loading the car for me he made sure the tire looked good.

I took off and drove at least 1/2 an hour...and then the tire pressure light turns on...then the car starts to make the same sound it did right before my tire went flat on Thursday.

I called Ben and told him about the noise. Two minutes later I can on the side of the freeway with a flat tire. The spare tire was flat.

If I am not at the wedding to video tape there is no replacement and thus the bride and groom will be VERY disappointed!

Anyway, because of having gone through this already on Thursday I had everything I needed. I had the road side assistance phone number and I had already added myself to Ben's road side plan (that AAA MADE me do while I was sitting Thursday with a flat tire BEFORE they would have someone come change my flat for me).

I called Ben and he hopped in his car to come trade cars with me. I put in an emergency call to my sister to ask if she could take care of the girls so Ben could come save me! Having a sister live down the street from you is VERY convenient!!!

So, I had no spare so AAA had to tow the car. I put in the call and Ben got to me right as they loaded my car onto the tow truck.

I threw my stuff in Ben's car and drove away AND MADE IT TO THE WEDDING 20 MINUTES before it started. Perfect timing.

Everything went like one fluid motion.

God truly told satan "You can only go THIS far."

And HE even gave me a practice run to make sure everything would go perfectly.

Praise be to the Lord.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Yesterday was Ben's birthday. He turned 31. I have been joking about him being old and 31 for so long I actually thought it was his 32nd birthday...nice. :)

Ben had to work but I had been thinking about taking all the kids to surprise him at work. The night before I asked him what time wouldn't be too busy for him and his reaction was very surprising to me.

He said, "Don't come all the way down there, I don't want you to get in a car accident just because of my birthday."

Ben works about 45 min. from our house. I drive all over ALL the time. I found it very odd that he was so concerned about me getting in an accident, especially when we sometimes look for excuses for me to come see him at work.

Anyway, being me, I was still planning on going but on the day of his birthday everything just kept "going wrong".

I burnt the brownies that I was making to take to him at work and all the sudden I had business stuff that needed to be done RIGHT at the time I wanted to take the kids to go see him.

So, I went to pick up some work stuff and on my way it started rains very hard, the kind of rain that makes it very hard to see when you are driving, especially on the free way.

As I approached my exit all the sudden there was a car in front of me dead stopped with another car in front of that one sitting sideways in our lane as well!

I was going too fast (and so was everyone behind me) to come to a complete stop so I went around it on the shoulder-thank goodness there was room! Immediately I noticed my car making a noise that it hadn't been making before I drove on the shoulder through all the debris from the accident I had avoided crashing into so I turned off the radio and listened to it trying to figure out what was going on.

I stopped at my destination and looked under the car to see if something was caught but I didn't see anything.

I got back in after picking up my stuff and drove off still hearing the noise. I got on the freeway and after a few exits the noise got worse and this light came on the dash and I could tell one of my tires was going flat so I pulled off onto an exit that was right where I needed it to be and came to a safe stop just seconds after the tire had gone completely flat.

I had all 3 kids in the car. I ended up calling my parents & AAA to come change the tire and it ended up not taking that long or being that big of a deal but Ben's words kept echoing in my head.

It was so odd for Ben to be concerned about me getting into an accident out of no where that day and then to avoid such a close one (trust me, I am not that good of a driver!) on the same day really got my attention.

I have to say, I have a feeling the flat tire was the lesser of two evils. God put that thought in Ben's head for a reason and HE did everything to keep me from driving all the way down there that day.

It makes you wonder what could have happened.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


S is having a 1 hr visit with her mom at our agency tomorrow.

I was letting Lizzy talk to her family on the phone so, of course S wanted to talk on the phone to her mom (neither one of the kids ask to do that unless they see each other doing it or Kobe is on the phone)

So, of course, I let S call her mom.

I always put the kids on speaker phone so I can hear what is being said, sorry, I'm not going to be nice and let them call and then let them say stuff I don't approve of.

Anyway, obviously I heard everything they were talking about and I heard her mom tearing up. She hasn't seen her in 2 weeks and I know that S's mom loves her...even if she isn't capable of keeping her safe.

I don't know why they stopped the visits, what that means for her court date when she is supposed to go home on October 13th...I have no clue what will happen.

It was really sad, S didn't notice and then said she was done talking to her and shut the phone. She was fine, that is why I allow her to talk to her.

She is so excited to go to the carnival that is in town this weekend...that is what I am looking forward to.


S's overnight weekend visit for this weekend has been canceled.

Obviously this is a good thing.

I asked if they knew if she would have her weekend visit next week.

They said they didn't know.

I asked if the social worker could tell me why the visits were canceled or what Mom had to do in order to get them back.

She said she couldn't tell me.

Do any of you know if I literally have the right to know this or if it up to their digression?

There are 2 possibilities:

1. their is a girl (grown woman) living with S's mom & grandma that needs to have a back ground check done (according to S's mom)

2. the CPS investigator shut the visits down because of everything that happened after the last visit and they had to open another CPS investigation

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Just Happened?


I woke up to find out that the hot water in the bathtub wouldn't shut off all the way. There was a steady drizzle and Ben didn't have time to fix it before he left for work.

I went to get Lizzy out of bed and there was throw up...every where.

I threw her in the bathtub to clean her up.

I got Kobe to school in time to walk into his class just as the bell rang.

I came home and got the water in the bath tub to shut off.

I cleaned up the vomit.


No screaming.

No crying.

No social workers trying to push a little girl on a man she is scared of.

Today was a VERY good day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear Lizzy,

Holy cow child - YOU. ARE. LOUD.

Everyone who knows you knows that you are loud, you want your way, and you want it NOW!

Boy does your Daddy Ben have a thing for you though. You are the first baby girl that snuggled right into him and stole his heart. And boy do you like him too.

I love it, absolutely love it, when you say "Mommy!" and come running into my arms.

You are a brute to say the least, no body is going to push you around. I should have known when I had 9 year olds telling me that you were "picking on them" at the play places we frequent that I was gonna be in for it.

You have taught me that it does not matter what other people think, especially in the stores we go to. Sometimes I wish I had a sign to hold up that said:

"I am not responsible for the behavior of this child, please send all dirty looks to the people who raised her for the first 18 months of her life!

Oh! And the state won't let me use any form of discipline on her that might actually work. Blame them too."

But, you are worth it, you are truly my lesson in humility and, quite frankly, maybe I needed it.

I hope that some day all these things that are driving me crazy right now will be finely tuned in order to make you that much more on fire for the things you care about. I hope that your not so little personality builds you a life that you love and that is all about HIM.

I can see what could be. What can be.

And hopefully I will get to see what WILL BE.

I love you, my crazy little woman.


Mommy Leah

PS Today, again, I was told "Boy you can't deny her! She looks just like you!" to which I laugh inside thinking about what God has planned for me and a baby that I didn't make, but that looks "just like me". I have a feeling it is gonna be good.

Senior Pictures

Two summers ago I decided to try out taking senior pictures because it sounded fun. That is pretty much why I try anything :)

Every summer I have a few sessions that get booked one way or another with out me advertising. I would much rather do them for fun and for a change in pace than do them all summer and get bored with it - plus, with all these kids crawling all over me I don't have time to do too much!

Anyway, I had to share some shots I got of my cousin's cousin (I don't think we are related at all-even by marriage!) She is just too pretty anyway so it made for a SUPER easy session!

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Pictures of K

over here

Dear K,

K, I was thinking about you today.

I wonder if you were just BEAMING while you stood next to your new sister with a backpack filled with new school supplies hanging off you back waiting for your Mom to take your picture.

I wonder if you look at your mom and smile so big while saying "Mommy!" like you used to greeted me when you saw me.

Oh, honey, I hope you do. I hope your smile is just a little extra bit brighter just for her.

I wonder if you think about us.

I wonder if you miss us.

I hope you do and hope you don't all at the same time.

I miss you K. I think about you often. When I see your adorable grin in pictures I have of you I am always whisked back to the days of you hugs and you following me around like a shadow. It is amazing how all of the negative seems almost non existent BUT the good shines so brightly in my memories.

I am so happy for you K - so so so happy.


Mommy Leah

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself Part Six

"The real question these {people} are asking though is “Isn’t it so incredibly painful when the children are reunited with their parents that you want to go walk out in front of a bus?” and I get the question, I really do, but not so much. Because doing nothing makes me feel like walking out in front of a bus."

Amen Sister.

Loving the realism at Fosterhood in NYC

Friday, September 10, 2010

Have I ever told you thank you?

Obviously, things come up in my life and I use this blog as my sounding board.

Over time I have ended up meeting so many AMAZING ladies through "blog land" and when I hit bottom I can always count on you all to be sad with me, to encourage me, to pray for me, to CARE about my kids...many of you get it in ways people who don't foster can't.

I am also blessed with plenty of people in real life, family and friends that are there for me even though they don't foster, they care about my kids and support me through it all.

I just wanted to tell you ALL thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

For every kind word.

For every encouraging comment & email.

For every prayer that has truly changed things.

I hope and have faith that we will get to see God work in all of my kids' lives, in one way or another-and I am blessed to have all of you to share in that with me.

Keep praying friends, God is the only one that can take care of what needs to be done.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Lizzy,

I hope that you like your new bed time of 7:30 pm 'cuz I am over it :)

Love, Mom

S's over night weekend visits have been canceled until the CPS investigation is finished.

Thank you Lord!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lizzy's legal dad didn't show up for his visit today.

Thank you, Lord, I needed a small break and you knew that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

it is just too much sometimes.

Click here

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lizzy's Court Date - Sept 3rd

Well, I don't know if I had mentioned it but I feel like Lizzy social worker is not going to be telling me any details about the case or hearing so I decided to go myself so that I would know what really happened.

They had a hearing 30 days ago at which none of the actual people that are in charge of the situation showed up. Lizzy's lawyer sent a sub, the social worker sent a sub, and the DHS worker had been switched 2 weeks prior so he had no idea what was going on either. So they set this date Sept 3rd as the next court date.

Here is what happened:

Everyone was there. I got to meet Lizzy's lawyer in person and the DHS worker in person. They were both really nice and paid a lot of attention to me. BUT I don't think I will ever get a call back from the DHS worker. He remembers me calling him and everything but was a little...flighty. Lizzy's lawyer is a nice guy and seems to be on top of most of the stuff.

Lizzy's bio dad was not physically present in the court room but they called him and put him on speaker phone. His lawyer had no idea what was going on and was very flustered.

Before the judge came out Lizzy's lawyer warned me that "The judge is going to be mad because she didn't get the court report until today and she is going to want to know why she was place out of this county, don't let it rattle you."

So, the judge comes in and she is mad. She never yells but she gives a lecture to Lizzy's social worker that I deal with about not having the report to her or anyone else at least 5 business day before court and basically threatened to hold her in contempt of court. After that she said "We are NOT having a hearing today unless all of you are ready to waive the fact that you did not receive the report until now". None of them did that.

She hashed through some more paper work problems, addressed bio dad's lawyer for not showing up at the last hearing and then said "I want to know why this child is not place in OUR county" - no one had the answer. She looked at me and said "This no way reflects on your care of the child but I do what to know why she is not placed in our county."

No one knew the answer to that either, Lizzy's lawyer asked me if I knew and I didn't. Now that I have had a whole day to think about it I think there were two reasons:

-They were looking for an adoptive placement, which I don't think the judge would want to hear

- They thought the Aunt Lizzy was living with before me lived in the same city as the agency so they thought "She is already here"

So, at the end of the hearing the judge turned to me and said "I am sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you, I am glad to see you here, you have every right to be here."

So, they set the next hearing for Sept. 17th.

I told Ben that they should have video taped this and show it at all training classes for foster parents, social workers, and anyone else associated with foster care to show the exactly why foster care is the way it is.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Denial is a 4 letter word

Tonight, August 31st, I am sitting here making Shutterfly books to send with S when she is placed back with her bio mom.

Talk about denial. It is all over me today. As I make them I can't even bring myself to to have printed on them:

"To S*******

From Ben, Leah & Kobe"

because I still hold onto the hope that I won't be sending these books with her...ever.

It is really sad. I am really sad. There is nothing like looking through all these pictures, 14 months worth of pictures, and seeing how much she and Kobe have grown and changed. Kobe has matured so much and S isn't a baby anymore...

Wow, it isn't until I do stuff like this that it hits me that this may really happen.

There may be a day coming where she will not come back.

Not too long ago I packed up some of S's stuff and sent it with her to her mom's house. I only sent things that she doesn't use. I sent home all the stuff that they had given her that I didn't let her play with because it looked dirty and I sent back a special blanket that her mom's gma knitted for her & a baby she was attached to when she came into foster care because we don't use them here at all anymore and I know they mean more to them than to S or me.

That is what I do. I send the stuff that isn't sentimental to me or S doesn't play with anymore but I still keep all the other stuff that I see as hers...you know, incase she stays.

It honestly scares me that I hold on to ANY hope that she will stay. It makes me sick to my stomach either way. I know I am doing better than I would. God has brought me A LONG WAY in dealing with the fact that the plan is THAT SHE IS GOING HOME.

Every day life hasn't changed. How do you wrap your brain around something that hasn't happened? You can't really prepare for it but I have been wasting my time trying.

I know that God is in control and there is a plan...it just doesn't feel good.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Day of School 2010

Kobe's first day of 3rd grade!!
He was excited and ready to go!
I got there on time, which is really good for me, and decided to let him go in by himself. He has matured so much over this past year. He is far more capable of standing on his own and making his own way than he was last year. He is turning into his own person and I am blessed to watch that happen.

So off he went to conquer 3rd grade.
You can see a cute shot of him and the girls from this day here

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Zoo

The weekend before Kobe started back to school God blessed me by giving me a weekend with S home as well. He knew I needed it so badly and took care of it. I don't plan on forgetting that.

As I mentioned earlier Lizzy was terrible about 80% of the time while we were there, but it didn't even matter-I look at these pictures and it feels like a great time in my heart, even if I got a lot of dirty looks from other parents :)

We went with my parents and my sister and her kids and all the kids did have a lot of fun (minus Lizzy lol)

The kids got to go on a camel ride!!! They thought that was really cool!
After the zoo, you know-because it went so well, I took the kids to the MSU children's garden to take pictures of the kids.
Here is the pond that Lizzy decided to hop into. Nice.

I got some great shots, you can click here to see them