Dancer and Cuddles (Part 2)

I cried within 30 minutes of the girls arriving on Saturday.  I am a very emotional being by nature, but that was still surprising for me.  Their vibrant, loving personalities, mixed with the knowledge of why they have been taken from their biological parents, was just too much for me. 

My parents were foster parents, so I am fully aware of how the system works and how children are treated and neglected in our country.  I also have a good enough grip on reality to understand that we are human and make a tremendous amount of mistakes on a daily basis.  Couples become parents when they don’t intend to, or don’t realize the huge commitment it is to raise a child. Parents have mental issues or disorders that hinder them from being the best parent they can be.  I get that. 

If these precious girls needed a forever home, we would have taken them in a second.  We could have called them our own, snuggled with them every night and raised them to know that they are beautiful, precious and valuable.  ImageBut the fact of the matter is that we can’t.  They have biological parents that are trying to get their act together and welcome these girls back home.  Our crib and toddler bed have been empty for 2 nights now, and we mourn the loss of the opportunity to give these girls a home that will accept them for who they are.  Everything else in our lives pales in comparison to taking care of Dancer and Cuddles.  However, we must press on and begin to understand the purpose of it all and our role in the larger scheme of parenthood.  

Dancer and Cuddles (Part 1)

We took our first foster placement this weekend. Originally, we were not going to take placements unless we were planning on adopting them, but this was just respite care, while their foster parents were out of town for the weekend.  Unknowingly, it only took that long to get extremely attached to these two precious girls. 

Dancer (obviously not her real name) just turned two years old and is talkative and rambunctious.  She was constantly asking for more food and was happy with everything we offered her.  She used our bottom two stairs as her platform for dancing to just about anything we would turn on, be it the Wiggles or Beyonce.

Cuddles is 9 months old and just starting to crawl.  She preferred time on her belly, chewing on blocks or watching us.  She devoured the Cheerios we kept giving her and loved to be held.

The girls struggled with sleeping, both in their own little ways.  Dancer had recently had some nightmares, so we put her in our bed and laid with her until she fell asleep, with Mr. Keckles wrapping her snug in her blanket.  She woke up a few times screaming, but was quickly soothed back to sleep.  Cuddles did not want to be put down, so we spent our night in the recliner, her in my arms happily sleeping and me nodding off a few times during the night.  I will never, ever let a foster child cry themselves to sleep.  Mr. Keckles and I will both snuggle that precious child until the sun comes up. 

My emotions are running high today, as we sent them back to their foster parents this morning. I will be sharing more about that in the posts to come.

 

More on Fertility

If you have read our story, you know that we haven’t even been trying to get pregnant for 2 years yet.  I know that this is a fairly short time to have been trying  before inquiring into adoption.  However, there are a few reasons behind this.  First, I did speak with my gynecologist about possibly finding some answers to our infertility.  Of course, finding those answers require surgery, needles, and other things that I do not do well with.  If you do not know me personally, here’s a quick story to enlighten you:

Last winter, Mr. Keckles had to take a late night visit to the emergency room because he was having trouble breathing and had a tremendous amount of chest pain.  Our cousin Laura went with us because she is a doll like that.  Turns out he was having a panic attack, but before the doctors could figure that out and calm him down, they put him on a morphine drip.  I had to excuse myself from the room because of my needle-phobia and promptly passed out twice in the hallway thinking about it.  I was then admitted to my own room in the emergency area of our hospital and spent a good 2 hours being watched by nurses.  Thank God that Laura was there to help him through his much more traumatic night.

Needless to say, I do not feel mentally and emotionally stable enough to deliberately put myself in a situation like that again.  Hopefully, I will be in a more solid place in the future to submit myself to testing and fertility exploration.

Another possible outcome that has deterred us from fertility testing is the fact that it could be just one of our “faults” that we cannot get pregnant.  What if Mr. Keckles’ swimmers just aren’t strong enough?  What if my womb is just not stable enough?  Neither of us want the other to live with that for the rest of their life.  In our relationship and in this circumstance, ignorance is bliss.

The Beginning

My husband and I got married on November 21, 2009.  We had talked about children before we got married, deciding that we wanted a fairly large family and were possibly interested in adoption down the road.  We also talked about birth control, deciding that medicinal methods just weren’t for us, since I have a tendency towards mood swings and we didn’t want to exacerbate that with any unnecessary medicine.  We also just wanted to trust God to provide for us as he wishes, in the timing that he alone can choose.

However, my husband was still in school and we weren’t really financially stable, so we tried the Natural Family Planning method for a few months after our wedding (which I am a huge advocate of!).  After a few months, though, we gave in, knowing that we just wanted to start a family.  We reversed our NFP method to the side of trying to get pregnant.  Now, approaching our 2-year anniversary, we are still not pregnant.  There has not even been a blip on the screen.  I know this is a very long time to be trying, but more on that later.

About 5 months ago, however, Mr. Keckles (not our real name, in case you didn’t figure that out) was reaching the end of his rope with continuing to try to get pregnant and not really getting any answers.  He cried out to God, begging for an answer, not necessarily a solution or a missed period, but just an answer for our struggles.  Two days later, his friend approached him and asked him if we would be willing to adopt a sibling set of 3.  His friend knew that we had talked about adoption and just thought he would throw it out there, as his MIL is a social worker and was trying to find a permanent home for these children.  We talked about it and decided that, yes, we would love to pursue this and hopefully start our family through the method of foster-to-adopt.  After deciding to move forward, we found out that the kiddos are currently in foster care, 2 girls (ages 2 and 3) in one home and 1 boy (7-8 months old) in another home.  They are developing well and being loved tremendously by their foster families, but need a “forever” home, as it is so commonly called.

This summer, we began the process to become a resource family, meaning that we can foster children, as well as adopt them through the foster system.  We took our PS-MAPP classes and are now working on becoming licensed (more on that later as well).  Nailing down a time frame at this point is difficult, but we would love for you to follow us on this journey.  Stay tuned here for updates and more of our insight on the foster-to-adopt process and starting a family.