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Monday, December 30, 2013

Still Waiting...

It is difficult to describe the anticipation I feel inside.  When I've tried talking to Mark about what I feel, I can't adequately put the feeling into words.  We've been pursuing our foster license since October 23, 2013.  We aren't waiting for a specific child (like we were with Luke), but planning to start off by providing respite care.  But deep within me, I know that there is a specific reason we are walking this path...only I can't look you in the eye and tell you what that reason is, who it is for, or what God has planned.  I can only tell you...I am walking this path in faith for something in the future.  There is a specific reason why we are being called back...we are just waiting in anticipation for whatever it is.
There is reason we have laid our lives as an open book before the Division of Children and Family Services, a reason we have allowed our lives to go under a microscope, our pasts to be laid out on multiple pieces of paper, our financial documents, our background checks, our fingerprints, our cooperation with rules not designed by us.  There is a reason Mark and I have been through two hour interviews exploring all of our family pasts, relationships and children.  We have allowed our children to be them a chance to describe what foster care means to them.  We have welcomed social workers into our home to deem our home "acceptable", allowed to look and evaluate our space, kids rooms, medical boxes, firearms etc.
It is an act of simple obedience to the call we feel we have on our lives.  Believe isn't glamorous, it isn't an act of sainthood, it isn't even convenient or easy, but it is a road we feel compelled to go down.  I tried ignoring the calling for awhile, but there it was...starring at me.  I am not done with you yet.  That is the phrase that lingers in the place between awake and sleep.  A promise of fulfillment of a purpose.  One foot in front of another starting a new journey.
We are still working toward our license and it is approaching the 3 month mark.  We found out today we need to have another home inspection to recheck a couple of items.  Mainly we found out at our last home study/first inspection that we can actually be licensed for 2 foster children in our home.  This was different than what I thought.  I thought we could only have one more based on the size of our home.  However; we thought that for the purposes of respite care it might be helpful to be licensed for 2 kids.  One 0-5 year old and one child under 2 years.  So, even though we have an additional bed (the bunk that fits over Luke's bed) they have to see it all set up with a mattress and bedding...which I understand, but it is another hoop to jump through.  Now to find a twin mattress....I just want to have the piece of paper in my hands that says we are licensed...that we have completed this process.  It will come but in the meantime I am waiting...
I miss being home with my kids...this winter break has made me realize how quickly I can jump back into the role of mom.  I miss the simplicity of just worrying about them and the house.  My heart truly is at home.  I struggle daily with working a job.  I enjoy the interaction, but not all of the stress that comes with work.  This has been true no matter what job I have worked.  I continually struggle with the guilt of not meeting their needs.  My children needing more of me than I can give.  I wish there was a way.
I've been thinking about all the other commitments in my life an trying to figure which are really the most important.  I know I am going to blink and this time with my children will be gone.  I am so afraid I am doing everything wrong, when I desire to do do it all right (if there is such a thing).
Why does life have to be difficult sometimes?
 I know what I want...I just don't know how to get there.
 These are the moments I wish my dad was here to talk to.  He was always so creative with solutions.  I had a VERY difficult Christmas season without him this year.  Our 10th Christmas without him.  I would walk into the mall and cry...pass by Starbucks and cry...hear a song on the radio and cry.  I had several big ugly cries about him not being here this Christmas.  Just a really difficult season.
I can still see him dancing with my mom on Christmas Eve in our living room on 121st Avenue to Kenny G.  The fireplace lit and the smell of dinner still lingering in the air.  Dad sipping his 8th cup of coffee for the day and mom washing dishes, David playing video games (I guess some things never change :)  I thought a lot about Christmas' past while I was so sick this Christmas.  What good memories...what good times.  I would like to think he would be proud of the woman I have become.
He would have loved his grandkids...he would have cherished them (the way he did with David and I). I think that is the one thing I really struggle with him being kids.
So as 2013 draws to an close, I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life.  So many things to fill gratitude for.  I end this year anticipation for what is to come.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

When Life Doesn't Happen The Way You Planned

It is the day after Christmas, and I am typing from my bed where I have currently been for the last two days.  I can hear the kids playing, video games blaring, happy sounds from sisters... I'm sure who are doing things they shouldn't.  But I haven't the strength to get out of bed right now and check.  The last two days I've been sick, Mark's been sick and Bella's been sick.  Stomach virus! Of course Bella is as good as new right now.  Mark and I are another story.  Nothing quite like both parents being out of commission.  It's the worst of circumstances and has only happened one other time in our parenting history.

Yesterday was Christmas...yesterday was supposed to be wonderful, happy, full of family, good food and yummy sweets. Luke had even picked out a beautiful center piece for our Christmas table. Yesterday didn't go as planned.  My big wonderful Christmas consisted of crackers, Gatorade and sleeping on the girls' floor next to my three year old with a yellow bowl beside her bed.  No family came, no Christmas clothes worn (no one changed out of pj's all day), no big meal cooked.  The one constant...there were presents, but not celebrated in the traditional way.  I cried a lot yesterday...from the disappointment, from the sickness, from the let down.  It was not the way I had envisioned Christmas.  

I felt sad that our families, who were supposed to come over, were left without a Christmas meal or plans of being with family.  The whole day just felt unreal.  I have never have been sick on Christmas...EVER...until yesterday.

I am blessed that we celebrated with my Mom and Roger on Christmas Eve.  I'm so glad we had a wonderful sick free time.  This year has been extremely brutal for sickness in our home.  It began the middle of August and has not let up.  I have tried to figure out why all this sickness, why everyone has been so sick this year...more sick than any other year.  We've had ear infections, croup (X 3 rounds), bronchitis, walking pneumonia, sinus infections, 2 trips to the ER, more ear infections, stomach flu (X 3 rounds), strep throat (2 of us), more sinus infections, trips to urgent care on Sat and Sun, and what we thought was a kidney stone (again) but feeling blessed it was just a pulled muscle and the CT showed all clear.  I'm exhausted!  We even had sickness on our vacation in Maui (a round of croup for Bella and a stomach bug for Grace).  I keep holding onto faith that we are going to get better, but all we can manage is 1 week of sickness free before someone comes down with something again.

I've changed sheets, toothbrushes, used disposable cups, napkins, plates, silverware, washed, bleached etc.  I'm so tired and worn down with all the worry/anxiety regarding all this sickness.  This is not like our family.

I tried to make the best of yesterday...I really did try.  The kids opened more presents, ate and watched movies.  They seemed happy, but every once in awhile made a comment about where everyone was and when we were having Christmas dinner.

Life is complex.  It doesn't always happen how you plan.  It's difficult for me to believe that Christmas is now over and it didn't happen the way I planned.  I have to accept the fact that this year, for whatever reasons, was meant to be this way.

Just praying Mark and I make a full recovery soon...or the kids will end up running the household.

Merry Christmas the Day After....
The Dahl Family

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Foster License Updates!

 We are nearing the end of the foster care licensing process...hopefully.  As always there are unexpected things that pop up even if you think you have covered it all, checked and double checked.  One such unexpected thing was that we needed to show proof that we have had a tdap shot (the whooping cough one).  Fortunately we had both already received it and our children have received the dtap (same thing but just for kiddos).  Another quick trip to the doctor's's been three trips so far (but who is counting)...and bam!  Proof of immunization for both of us.  A quick photocopy for our records and now to submit to our licensor.  
A lesson you learn early on as a "newbie" as foster parents is to be flexible and that things change...that being said we do have one "concrete" fact that we can count on.  Who ever comes through our door into our home will be a BOY.  We can count on that!  It is not that we are playing favorites or trying to "even" out our ratio of boys to girls in the house.  It is strictly a licensing issue.  Due to our square footage and the rule that a child over the age of 6 years has to share a room with the child of the same gender.  Luke is the one with space in his BOY it is!
We are planning to be licensed for a boy ages 0-3 years.  We are open to whatever avenue God would direct our hearts.  Our hearts are OPEN.  Mark and I have done a lot of talking and we are certain we are going to start out this journey doing respite care for other foster parents.  It's been many years since we have fostered and we want to get our feet wet so to speak.  Right now we are just enjoying the journey.  Waiting...waiting...waiting.  Waiting for fingerprints to return, background checks to come back, licensing scheduling to open up.

While we are waiting we are preparing our home for the inspection.  The various items we need for licensing are being brought down from the attic, cleaned and set up.  I need to purchase a crib mattress this week (as you must have proof of a bed for the child(ren) you are being licensed for).  Most all of my many totes of clothes in the attic are all girl, but I did save a few things from Luke.  I handed down most of his clothing to friends.  So there are maybe a couple things I want to get.  

I found out this weekend that I will have to replace the crib before we are licensed.  I bought our white crib in 2008 and it has drop sides and that is a big no-no now.  So we will are living on faith that God will provide the money for a new crib in the month of December. It is one piece of furniture that we must have in order to be licensed.  Honestly though...I'm not worried.  I know we will get the crib we need and I am excited to see how God might move to meet this new need.

UPDATE:  Mark and I have been cleared by FBI fingerprinting and background checks.  The last thing we have to do is our interviews and home inspection.  It has been mentioned that we will have our license by the end of the month!  So much work for one piece of paper!  

*Prayer for Bella if you have the chance.  Fever, cough, runny nose, bright pink cheeks and eye goop.  Sad, sad baby girl :(
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