Thursday, July 24, 2014

I win.

My emotions were in an intense game of ping-pong, today. I was told that today's termination trial of parental rights would be a "slam dunk", an "in-and-out" case. I knew better and walked in feeling nervous. I just wanted to get the day over with, so that our family [specifically, Sweet Boy] can move on.

I was first to the courtroom. Soon followed by my new babies' birth mom. She didn't recognize me, but I reached out, right away, extending friendship. When I explained my role, she immediately started crying, asking every question that a mother away from her babies would ask. With tears pouring down her face she begged for reassurance, "Does he ask about me all the time?"

She searched my eyes for the answer she wanted to hear, but I couldn't give it to her. I couldn't lie. I offered gentle kindness, but was truthful in my responses. Well, mostly truthful.

She's so young. With such vulnerability, she asked me if I knew why we were there, today. I know she was told...but she was blinded by either delusion or narcotics, I'm not sure which. I didn't answer her, directly.

A few minutes later I met her family. The family that took care of Sweet Boy for his first 3 years of life. I wanted to dig a hole into the floor and sob. Imagine the most worn down homeless man you've ever seen - his tiredness for life; broken eyes; alcohol stench. And then imagine him raising your son. I had to compartmentalize to get through the morning.

We had to sit through another termination trial before ours. Birth mom sat in front of me, hanging on every word. At the point of give-up, she turned around and mustered a quiet, "Will you please let them know how much I loved them...?" I wanted to grab her tight and cry with her. Instead, I hugged her shoulder and said, "Yes. I promise I will."

Next it was our turn.

Birth dad was brought in from holding. I didn't know his name or anything about him, but the eery escort in with chains clinking and trailed echo, were unnerving. It was the first time I've ever witnessed tangible oppression. His eyes were wild and fierce as he scanned the room. I thought of my sweet girl's kisses and marveled at God's protection on her little life. She is oblivious to her beginnings.

All rise. Routine introductions. Attorneys approach the bench. Attorneys leave to consult in the judge's chambers. Everyone returns.

Trial can't continue. There was quite a bit of debate, but the issue boils down to an affidavit of parentage and the recent Sanders Supreme Court case ruling.

As I tried to understand all that was being argued, I, quickly, gathered that we had to push back the trial another month. If it was, purely, a process issue, I could have moved on through my day, simply battling minor frustration.

The problem is that birth dad has, now, been ordered to sign the affidavit of parentage. If he doesn't sign it he'll be in contempt of court. Not only did he verbalize his right and desire to sign, but also his plan to request services and custody.

Birth mom came alive in the hub-bub and interpreted the delay as a subsequent "last chance," requesting reinstated visitation (thankfully, to be denied).

It all felt like a lasting punch to the gut. I teetered between shouting in my seat and running for the Mexican border. The thought of dragging Sweet Boy through any more visitation or periods of waiting is sickening. He's come so far.

The morning droned on. Each revealed detail making my settled heart plummet. At one point, birth dad laser-focused me and intensely mouthed "Thank You" three times. It didn't quite compute and I was thankful when the officer stepped between us to break the fierceness of his stare. It wasn't until later that someone pointed out my misinterpreted "Thank yous" were, in fact "F### Yous". That made a lot more sense.

I waffled all day between complete retribution and unrequited compassion for birth mom. I was angry and frustrated and infuriated by the setback (that could waste up to a year's worth of time), but I couldn't deny the love in my heart for the young girl across the courtroom that was not given the same chances in life that I was.

I can't help my love for her.

No one in the courtroom was fighting for her. Believing in her. Or even being kind to her for that matter. In conversation with me, that morning, someone overheard her pregnancy reveal and used it to our advantage. While I am grateful for the intense commitment to our kids and their case, I was appalled at this advocate's reassurance to me, "Don't look so nervous. I'm gonna get those babies from her. And then I'm coming for the third one. I told her as much."

I wanted to run and cry from the courthouse, never to return. I don't belong. On either side. I feel too much. And, frankly, I'm not cut out for the political mess and arrogance.

Now, that I've had some time to process the experience and pull inward, I was able to un-earth my confidence in the Lord. It's all going to be okay....because He's in charge. I can't worry about what I can't control.

There are a few big question marks on how this case will twist and turn. If birth dad signs the affidavit (I think he will), and agency services are offered (even if he's in prison), there's no telling how long this could drag out.

In my heart, I know they're God's kids and believe he is entrusting them to our care...for a lifetime. What happened today, doesn't change my day-to-day. Little Miss will be up at 6am (yuck), the boys will eat their body weight in food, and we'll collapse in bed at the end of it, thankful we survived.

I had this thought on the way home. While heaviness, indeed, drapes our case...we've already won.

I win because I am a better mom for parenting Sweet Boy and Little Miss. I win because I get to hug and love on them every day. I win because I see life bubbling through Little Miss, even though the enemy tried to destroy it. I win because Sweet Boy stepped over the rubble of his guarded heart and entrusted me to hold his hand. I win as I watch Sweet Boy comprehend God's goodness and faithfulness to our family. I win because my kids are learning to love with open, thoughtful hearts. I win because my life is way beyond ordinary. I win because I am pursuing my passion.

I win because God is on my side.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And then she was mother to four...


It happened overnight, really. Something clicked. Two someones changed. I've always been the mom, but, I became MOM...or maybe just felt like mom? Either way, my baby was born to me, today.

Of course, it did not happen overnight. He's been in my house, in fact, for 150 nights, but today Sweet Boy called me "Mama". He meant it as deeply as I felt it.

It would sound so nice if I could have ended that sentence with "and we both cried". We didn't. In the circus that others might call "dinner time", he matter-of-factly asked for milk...but neither the "Mama" nor the "please" slipped my notice. Both words are new to his vocabulary...but, today, he wore them, comfortably, and I had time for a small smile on the way to the oven...and fridge - for milk.

I remember when we started preparing for a second adoption, long before we found LJ on MARE.org, we often wondered if and how we'd be able to love another child as much as we loved Ty. I thought about that, today, when looking at each of my kids, realizing my heart overflows for each of them from a well that could never run dry. Its depth is not measurable.

I felt like Sweet Boy's mom for the first, last week. The moment stands still for me. Sweet Boy is enrolled in a summer program (in part for Kindergarten preparedness, in part for the security that being in school brings him). When I picked him up, the teacher pulled me aside and gushed praise for my little man. She is impressed with his heart and attitude, constant willingness to help others, and innate gift to create. My heart swelled with pride at every word and I knew in an instant that I was his mother.

Since that moment, our hearts have collided over and over and over, again. Every meal Sweet Boy is the first to the kitchen and asks to help set the table and then sits to talk to me until we're ready to eat.

He had to get a few shots at his doctor appointment. last week, and although he faced the nurse with a brave face, in the last moment before the poke, he looked in my eyes and said in a squeaky voice, "Will you hold my hand?"

Nearly every morning in the last week, he snuggles close to watch cartoons, while I feed Little Miss. His little hand hugging my arm. One day (pictured above), he risked the inch toward me and grabbed the tips of my fingers. When I squeezed back he looked at me and smiled.

Two nights, this week, he ran to my bedside in fear of his dreams and I hugged him tight until his breathing slowed and his peace returned.

As his guard lessens its grips, our affection increases. My movements are bolder. I kiss without asking and run my fingers through his thick, curly hair. He loves that. Often, he'll sit with me as long as time will allow and let me, gently, massage his head and back.

He bear hugs my leg, frequently, asks to pray at the dinner table, seeks my lap for comfort, and, now, calls me "Mama"...

My heart is too constricted for eloquent words.

The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23

I am proud of all of my babies...but my heart has a special sweetness toward Sweet Boy. He remembers the most and faced the greatest opposition. He has had to fight for love - giving and accepting - and process loss in a way most of us never have.


I'm not sure what lies ahead, but victory is ours. My son is home.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Hold

Our trial was adjourned due to an outstanding (and complicated) child support lawsuit against Little Miss' punitive father. Our case cannot continue until that one closes. One of three things can happen: 1) The "state" won't be able to find him to serve his subpoena, in which case, we'll be able to continue after a set period of time (I think 6-8 weeks), 2) He will show up for his hearing and, voluntarily, sign over his parental rights, or 3) He will request agency services.

If the third option actualizes, we could be in for the long haul. As he would be working on his parenting plan, we would have to bring Little Miss for weekly visits (up to three per week).

Sweet Boy's case will be on pause until Little Miss' has resolution, in the event that both siblings require adoption in the end; the state wants them to stay together.

I let all of this news ruin my day, when I received it last Wednesday...but I've since chosen to put it out of my mind. I can't control the process or the outcome; there's no sense in worrying about what could happen.

We believe the end result will be the same. Sweet Boy and Little Miss will become permanent members of our family. The unknown is how long we'll have to wait and how difficult the disruptions will be for our babies that already have fragile emotions.

Dealing with the flaws of the system is infuriating when you're the one living in the mud, doing your best to love these babies through the slow process of healing. More than anything, Sweet Boy needs assurance that he's not going anywhere. Forever needs definition. I hate that his case could be on hold for up to a year, on the outside chance that someone who has never interacted with his sister, decides he wants to be a father.

I am not against birth father rights, but in this case, Little Miss' dad is with her birth mom. He cannot claim ignorance of her existence and, in fact, has had multiple conversations with the case worker on what he needed to do to gain custody. It's not fair to either of my kids that the birth father is offered a chance to parent, nearly a year after his daughter's birth.

Apart from being forced into a relationship with a stranger, Little Miss will be oblivious to the process. Sweet Boy is the one who will suffer. It's frustrating.

All we can do is wait, patiently...and hopefully...for good news.

To be honest, our days are too busy to do much else!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Progress is Painful

I use Dictionary.com every day. I love words and their definitions. I'm kind of weird about it

Breakthrough has been on my mind a lot, lately, so I looked up its meaning today: "any significant or sudden development that removes a barrier to progress."

According to this definition, I would not say we've seen breakthrough, yet, with Sweet Boy. We are making progress (slowly), but not to the point that we've removed any barriers.

I'll try to sum up our last month the best I can without making this pages long. I have continued to journal Sweet Boy's days. This has been an extremely helpful tool that led to many discoveries. Before I get to that. Some changes occurred in the last month that have made a significant difference.

All five of us are home for the summer, now. Being home has offered me the opportunity to really see Sweet Boy. My radar is always on. Praying, thinking, measuring his reactions.

A few things have become clear. Sweet Boy does not feel like a member of our family; he requires time away from his brothers to recharge; and anxiety is not only affecting him, physically, but it is keeping his heart guarded.

We made a few changes to help Sweet Boy feel more ease and we have a child therapist coming to the house in a couple of weeks to meet with him for the first time, in his environment. 

Before this week, Sweet Boy had not had any diarrhea, gagging or throwing up episodes for weeks. This coupled with his small, but outward, forms of affection toward me, led me to believe that he was finally experiencing some peace.

A few weeks ago we sat on the couch together and I told him how proud I was to watch him scale the rock wall at the park (it took him all day to get up the nerve). He beamed with pride and then started crying. I rubbed his neck and asked him why that made him sad.

"I miss my mom and dad."

That statement socked me in the stomach. Not because he called someone else mom - there is no room for insecurity in my life - but because my darling boy has so much turmoil in his spirit that remains untouchable.

Each day that creeps by I feel more and more like his mom and I love him with a fierceness that is new. He is changing me. And I like the change. I like who he is helping me become.

We had Sweet Boy's foster family over, one day, this weekend. I have never seen Sweet Boy so excited. Interestingly, he referred to his foster mom as "Miss [name]" all day, but called his foster dad, "Dad". This made us wonder if Sweet Boy is starting to feel connected to me, but not Ben.

For the first time in three weeks, he threatened to throw-up, again, yesterday. We were coming home from an area that I was unfamiliar. I had told the boys to sit, quietly, and rest so that I could hear my GPS. I, vaguely, remember one of them saying, "Mom is so lost, she is never going to get us home." Insert Sweet Boy's gagging, crying, and warning of throw-up. I pulled over, quickly, looked him in the eyes and talked him through breathing exercises. For the first time, he didn't throw-up and I felt triumphant at our progress.

Today, I had a lot on my mind. Our termination trial is supposed to be on Thursday. I got word, yesterday, that a recent supreme court case is influencing termination trials, from here on out, and that we may not be able to move forward on Thursday. The judge called an emergency meeting with the attorneys, tomorrow, to discuss whether or not our case can be heard, this week.

I'm not anxious over the hiccup; I know that God will move in the direction of his plan (and I believe we are part of that plan), but it is frustrating to be put on hold. I was really looking forward to opening the adoption/forever family conversation with Sweet Boy.

All of these thoughts were rattling in my head on the way to a birthday party this afternoon. Ty and LJ were asleep when Sweet Boy said, "Mom, I have rocks in my tummy, again. I'm going to throw up."

It was probably more stupidity than bravery, but I was still rolling on last night's victory. I reminded Sweet Boy to take big deep breaths, "Honey, you're not going to throw-up...you're going to talk to me, instead...we'll work through it, together."

It worked. But....this was the conversation.

"Buddy, you're not throwing up because you're sick. You're throwing up because you're nervous. Let's talk about that. Do you know what nervous is?"

He didn't.

"It's like being afraid. You might get nervous about something that you're unsure of. Like if you don't know that we're going home, or maybe who is going to be at a party. I think things that you don't know make you nervous. What do you think?"

"I think I'm nervous."

"Okay, well, let's talk about it. Are you nervous about the trampoline party?"

I tipped my rearview mirror down for a better view of him, in time to see a shoulder shrug.

"You don't want to jump your brains out????"

He giggled.

"You don't have to honey. Mama is not going to jump. If the jumping makes you nervous, you can sit with me."

"Would you hold my hand?" Progress.

"Buddy, I will always hold your hand. You just have to tell Mom when you're feeling nervous...Do you know how very much I love you?

"...like a hundred?"

"Like a hundred buckets! I love you so much, honey. And I'm going to be your mom forever. Do you know that?"

"Forever? Why?"

"Because your Daddy and I want you to be a part of our family forever. We don't ever want you to have to move, again, or live with another family....Would you like that?"

"No."

I thought I might have misheard him so I asked, again, "Would you like to live with us forever."

"No."

I was stunned. "Why not, buddy?"

"You're not my mom. I don't love you. I want to go back and live with [foster familly]."

I faltered. I didn't know what to say. As if I wasn't having a conversation with a beyond-his-years four year old, I naively tried another approach. "Buddy, we'd be so sad if you left us. Wouldn't you miss your brothers?"

"No."

"I don't understand. I thought you liked it, here, honey. Why would you want to leave?"

"I already told you."

End of conversation.

I was told. And it was too much for my heart to hear.

I thought living with a boy that does not belong to me, was not birthed to me, and I only feel slight motherly leanings toward was an overwhelming challenge.

I was not prepared for the truth in this conversation.

Living with a boy that does not belong to me, was not birthed to me, that I only feel slight motherly leanings toward....that confirmed he does not love me nor want to be in my home feels impossible.

My heart is broken for him.

Ahhh! My Sweet Boy that I love more with every passing day is trapped inside his own turmoil without any authority to make his wishes come true. I have tears streaming down my face as I type this.

The only comfort I have is that my feelings are fleeting. I know what seems impossible today IS possible.

As we drove the rest of the way to the party, I felt the love of God surround me. Into my spirit, he quickened a knowing...that one day Sweet Boy and I will share a bond that cannot be compared.

Until then, I have to lay his life in the Knower's hands. It's all I can do.






Monday, June 16, 2014

Tyrus is Five!



FIVE
How is that even possible?

My baby. My heart.

All of my prayers and dreams laid squealing on Rebekah's tummy, five years ago, today.

I love the bond that Tyrus and I share. We are so similar and like hearted.

Ty is curious and perceptive; tender and forgiving.

I had a work trip, last week, and before I left, I asked the boys if anyone wanted to take a walk with me to the mailbox. They all jumped up in response, but while the other two raced down the road, my tender heart said, "Mom...can I just hold your hand? I'm really going to miss you." Minutes later, we all said our goodbyes, and while everyone headed back to the house, my baby boy ran back and asked for one last hug. I held him tight and choked back tears.

He rubs my back and often asks if I'm okay. He's the first to help, first to show compassion, and the first to problem solve a solution.

God gave Tyrus the exact heart that was needed to be a part of this unconventional family. He openly accepts new siblings without question, argument, or insecurity. He shares his life, parents, and bedroom with joy and never complains.

Hardworking and level-headed, my sweet boy fills my heart with pride.

I smile and marvel at his spirit. The man I know he will become.

One day I was watching him, drinking in the moment, thinking about how sad I will be when he allows another girl to hold his heart. He asked me what I was thinking about and I shared my fear that he would grow-up and not need me anymore. Since that day, he offers reassurance, "Mama, I am going to marry Eva (my best friend's daughter), but I will call you every day" or "Mom, you don't ever have to be sad when I buy my own house, I will always come visit."

My Ty is a built in ego-boost. Everything is extraordinary to him. "Mom, this is the best dinner I've ever had"; "Mom, you are the best painter in the whole world"; "Mom, you are the bestest mom"; "Mom, this is the best day of my whole life." He walks out life with a full heart and positive attitude. It's more than a little contagious.

God used this boy to bring life to my barren heart and to birth a dream in my spirit for our family to come. My gratitude is of the greatest depth.

It's such a privilege to raise these little jewels of treasure. The days go fast, but I hold onto the moments the best I can.

Happy birthday to my lovie! It's going to be a great day full of simple surprises and favorite things!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fears

So, I decided, last week, to start keeping a food/potty/upset journal for Sweet Boy to see if I could recognize any patterns. We have an appointment with his doctor, later this summer, and I would like to be able to give her a full picture of what we're seeing/experiencing. After a lengthy conversation with his last foster mom and reading through the activities from our week, I am convinced that his tummy troubles are anxiety. Sweet Boy lived with his last foster mom for six months before coming to us three months ago and she said he never experienced ANY of the symptoms I describe.

But...that was during a time in his life when he had only walked through one disruption and the contrast of environments was so, vastly, different. He experienced peace for the first time, since birth, when he came into that home.

In his eyes, the move to our home is (I presume) unexplainable.

Last night, something happened at the dinner table that required Ben to discipline Sweet Boy. Immediately after, he started coughing and told us that he was going to "choke" his new word for throwing up. I told him that he was fine and that he needed to take two big deep breaths instead and showed him how to do it. He didn't throw up.

That night when I was laying in bed with him, I told him that after reading through his journal, daddy and I felt like his tummy aches were because of things that he is feeling in his heart or thinking about in his head. I used the word "anxiety" and explained what it meant. When I mentioned fear, he said, "I'm afraid of things, mom."

"Well, let's talk about that, honey. What are you afraid of?"

"Dragons. I am really afraid of dragons."

I bit back my laughter and talked him through it as if it were a logical fear.

What else, honey. What else are you afraid of?

"Well...I'm also really afraid of crocodiles."

Clearly our conversation was going nowhere, but I persevered, hoping we'd get to something more meaningful. We talked about the power of God and the job of the Holy Spirit. I told him that he never has to be afraid at night (most nights he lays awake for a long time) because his brothers are with him and we're not far away. I ended the conversation with another stab at his fears. "Honey, is there anything else that you're afraid of that you want to talk about?"

He was thoughtful for a really long time. So long, that I would have thought he had fallen asleep if I wasn't staring at his eye balls. He, finally, looked at me and with complete seriousness, said, "Mom, I am REALLY afraid of walking fast backwards."

I couldn't hold my laugh in that time and responded by saying, "Well, buddy, that is really easy to fix. Stop walking backwards!"

"No. No, mom. I'm not afraid to walk backwards SLOW. I'm really good at walking slow. I'm afraid of walking backwards fast."

Oh, goodness.

We're not really getting any closer to solving his tummy troubles, but little rays of personality are starting to shine through the cracks in Sweet Boy's very tall-walled exterior.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

God is on our side.


I took both of these pictures, today. Ty and Little Miss have a, closely woven, bond. I'm pretty sure they prefer each others company over ours. They play and laugh and snuggle. It, truly, is a live stream of God's faithfulness to his promise. Ty was unrelenting in his prayers for a baby sister and the joy in his heart at her arrival is evident, every time they're together.

I pick the kids up from preschool everyday (today was our last day!) and have a few hours with them before Ben gets home. As soon as he walks in the door, it's a main event. All other activities cease and ALL the kids pile on. They want to snuggle and tickle and tell him all about their day's adventures. It's magical to watch. Even the baby joins in, calling "Da-da". No one even notices when I slip out to work on dinner!


Pictures like these highlight the warmth and fullness of our family. 

And it's genuine. We thank God everyday for the measure he has poured into our life.

What these pictures don't show is the heavy cloak that drapes my heart for Sweet Boy. He continues to be distant with sporadic engagement. He is always on the outside looking in, observing. We are overly inclusive, but we respect his need for space.

Today, Ty and LJ woke-up with gusto. They were jazzed up about the last day of school and couldn't wait to get there. I listened to their banter and smiled as they sang, "School's out for the summer!" As usual, Sweet Boy sat, quietly, smiling occasionally, and ate a few bites of breakfast. After a few minutes he pushed it away and asked if he could be excused. That was not usual. All three boys can eat their body weight in cereal and oatmeal, requiring Ben and I to cut them off at the point of overload. I asked him if everything was alright and he said, "Yeah. I just want to get dressed."

He can be moody and internal, so I didn't think much of it and he was off to finish getting ready. About five minutes into our drive he threw up. This has become a somewhat normal occurance and I pulled over as soon as I heard his gulp.

We headed back home, took a quick bath, changed his clothes, and had a chat before deciding whether or not he should stay home. We've ruled out allergies, as his throwing up seems to be a trend, but not consistent enough to point to anything but anxiety.

He was tight lipped.

"Honey, can you talk to Mom about how you're feeling?"

Shrug.

"Does your tummy hurt?"

He shook his head no.

"Are you nervous?"

Shrug.

"Do you have thoughts in your head that you can tell me?"

"I was just thinking about the stuff coming out of my mouth, Mom."

The only thing out of the ordinary about our morning was the fact that it was the last day of school. I had to run with that strategy because there was no other obvious trigger. I re-assured Sweet Boy that last days of school are full of fun and explained why the boys were so excited about summer. I told him all the things we love to do in the summer and emphasized how glad we are that he will get to do all of those things with us, since he's part of our family, now, too.

I let him choose whether or not he wanted to go to school, but prayed he'd pick the latter. Today, was, also, my last day of work, as I will be off most of the summer to stay home with the kids. He said he wanted to go. By the time we got back to school, he had disposed of his melancholy and was excited to see his teachers and friends.

I prepped the teachers on our eventful morning and asked them to call me if he became distant or sad. 

I never got a call.

It's so hard to know what is eating at him. Was it the talk of change in routine? A previous last day of school experience? Did he misinterpret "last day" for last day in our family? I watch LJ's unwavering security and pray for the same swift redemption of Sweet Boy's. I know it will come, but the wait is excruciating...

I couldn't shake this morning's incident all day and thought through all the ways I fail him as a mother. I'm not looking for reassurance, here. I know that I AM a good mother in a multitude of ways, but things are different, now, with four.

I'm exhausted most of the time and do my best to push us through our day, making sure we have underpants on and full bellies. There's not a lot of room for extras...and Sweet Boy needs a lot of extra, right now.

The one area that has been grossly neglected is my quiet time with God. Instead of daily bread, I'm living off years of stored up faith. It's good, but not enough. Pretty much how I feel toward my ability to mother, right now.

Tonight, after the kids went to bed, I headed for the patio with my Bible. I was desperate for rejuvenation and wisdom. I committed to making his presence a priority and giving him some of my precious sleep minutes before the kids get up. I have to. If I don't, I fear we won't survive the summer!

I need supernatural direction and love for my newest son. Both Ben and I love him with a compassionate, Christian love...but we have yet to feel motherly/fatherly love for this son that does his best to play the part, but withholds the treasures of his heart.

I didn't get the answers I'm so desperate for, tonight, but my spirit was filled with reassurance. I know God is on our side. He brought us to this place. He will not leave us, now.

We are going to explore therapy, but we want to wait until after the results of the termination trial (end of June). What this boy needs, more than anything, right now, is to know that he will never move, again. That I will be his mom forever and Ben will be his dad forever. That his newest siblings will be, here, for all of his firsts - camping, dating, driving - all of it. We. Are. Family. He needs to hear it over and over and over and over, again. We used to tell LJ no less than a dozen times a week. He needed constant reassurance that we were not just another stop on his path.

Sweet Boy needs that, too.

Three homes in one year is too many for a four year old boy.

Thankfully, our trial is nearing the month mark. Given the delicacy of our little man's heart, it still seems like a decade away. I'm, normally, a strict "pray God's best" girl, but I can, barely, handle the torment I feel wrestling in Sweet Boy's heart. I'm praying for finality...that Sweet Boy and Little Miss will know us as home. Forever.