The Weekend Visit and Next Steps

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Bella at the dog park on our overnight visit

After our overnight Tuesday and then some important meetings that had to happen yesterday, I think I’m finally recovered emotionally.  Today we are starting August off right and I thought I’d give a little State of the Adoption and talk about where we are in the process and what’s coming next – very quickly.

This afternoon Scott and the girls will go pick him up for our weekend visit.  The weekend visit is the last step of our visits before we go sign the adoption papers at DSS.  Nothing is ever set in advance because they always wait for the child to respond to each visit to plan next steps. I’m getting really good at saying, “I don’t know, we don’t have plans right now.”  However, I was under the impression it would happen at the first of next week.

But, what I do know is when we sign papers, he will be placed into what they call pre-adoption placement. We will become his adoptive parents, but DSS will still visit monthly for a checkup and if he has to have major surgery or we go out of state, we have to let them know.  After 3-6 months when they determine he is ready, we can file what I believe is called an adoption complaint with the courts.  When we have that court date, that is when he will officially become a Bennett and DSS will no longer be involved. I can’t wait and I really hope it is even before 3 months!

The cool news about this weekend is they’ve given us the go-ahead to introduce him to our immediate families.  Everyone is beside themselves and I’m really excited as well.  We also hope to venture out of the house more and maybe do something cool like bowling and laser tag if he’s up to it–he’s never been so that will be super fun.

Assuming that our meeting with DSS happens next week, we can then share his name and picture and introduce him to YOU! You really just have no idea how excited I am for you to see pictures of all the things I’ve been writing about the last few weeks.

I’m already making plans with work to take a leave of absence for several weeks while we transition and bond so you know I am excited about that!

Of course, still be praying that the weekend goes well. Specifically, that he doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much.

Pray for the meetings to go quickly and smoothly next week.

And finally, please, please keep the foster parents in your prayers. I know they are excited for him, but also am sure it is very hard for them to let go.

Feel free to ask questions if you have them.  Thank you, friends.

On Coming Home and God’s Goodness. Our First Overnight.

I just spent 20 minutes crying and I’m sure I could go on, but I really want to get this post out before I pass out for the night.

I’m totally and completely overwhelmed.

And I mean that in the best possible way a person could mean it.  I don’t know why God has chosen so many times to bless us, why he continues to give us good things. I have been unfaithful so many times and yet, even when I’m trying to sacrifice and do good things, he just keeps blessing and blessing.  This kid, y’all? Is just so awesome.  Like, I really feel totally incapable and unworthy of being his mom.  He’s not perfect, I know, and I barely know him, really. And I’m more convinced than ever that God is placing him in our family.  But guys, I didn’t picture that it could be like this.  I didn’t picture a little boy who wasn’t shy and who loves to cuddle.  I didn’t picture a kid who was so eager to learn and so eager to please.  Who worried about making his bed and put his dishes up and helped around the house without anyone asking.  I didn’t picture a kid already knowing how to laugh at Scott’s jokes or knowing how to belly laugh at the dogs.  I didn’t picture a little boy who would after only a few days be calling me Mommy and referring to our house as home or calling us his parents or making gifts for us that say “I love you”. I don’t know if my words do it justice, but I just didn’t picture it would be–that it could be–this good.

He already has my heart and it’s totally taken me by surprise.

And now? Now that I know him and see already the wonderful little boy he is after only a year of wonderful care in a foster home, my heart aches at the life that he lived.  Did they even see what they were missing?

Our overnight went well, if you can’t tell.

Scott and I were talking and the only way we can describe is that he’s just so normal and he just fits in.

I was lying in bed last night.  We had eaten dinner, gone swimming and watched Planes.  He had scooted up right beside me just so our arms touched to watch the movie.  He wants to be right beside you, but otherwise is in his own world.  We had gathered up as a family and read the story of Jacob and Esau. The activity was to name your favorite things, so we all shared favorite colors and games and movies and food. And were really learning.  We had tucked him in and shut the door with his nightlight on.  I was lying there and the house just felt full.  I can’t explain it any other way, but it was like the final puzzle piece of our family has finally been placed.

We added on our addition 3 years ago and now and for 3 years, we’ve waited for a little boy to be in there.  And having him in there last night finally, even better than I imagined, the house felt full and my heart felt full. The way it’s been longing for.  And not that my girls have ever been not enough.  Ever.  They are everything to me.  But he is part of that everything too. I just didn’t have the name and face.

This morning, after no issues last night, not even one peep after shutting his door, he climbed into Emma’s bed where Scott and I were.  He said, “Scoot over, Daddy!”  And he plopped right in between Emma and Scott like it’s always where he should have been.

We took a trip to a local dog park and let the kids and dogs run around, we ate lunch and swam and played more croquet.  It was like a lovely staycation.

After we took him home, his foster mom sent me a message to tell us how different he is since meeting us.  His anxiety is totally gone and he’s so relaxed.  So it’s not just me.   She sees it in him too.

Our little boy is making his way home.

 

 

 

A Spaghetti Dinner to Remember

For some reason I was really nervous about what to cook for lunch and dinner on our full day visit Saturday. I’d been told he wasn’t a picky eater, but you know, I wanted him to enjoy it.  My girls are picky and I didn’t want them complaining.  Plus, I didn’t want the cooking to take too much time away from the visit.

I decided that maybe grilled cheeses would be good for lunch and spaghetti would be easy to throw together for dinner.  Lexi and Scott aren’t huge spaghetti fans, but they’ll begrudgingly eat it, particularly when I make some garlic toast with it.

Lexi comes up to me Saturday morning before our visit and randomly asks, “What are we doing for lunch and dinner today?”  The simple fact she’s asking this is out of character for her.  Sometimes if she smells something cooking she’ll ask, but never two meals ahead.

I said, “Well, I was wondering too. What do you think?”

She says, “We should do grilled cheese for lunch!”

“No way! That’s what I was thinking,” I said, “What do you think about dinner?”

“What about spaghetti?” she said.

“What?! No way!  That’s what I was thinking!”

She was so surprised! She later told Emma the whole story and couldn’t believe we had been thinking the same thing.  I couldn’t either.

I made the spaghetti and he had 3 helpings.  Even Lexi said, “This spaghetti is really good tonight.  What did you do different?”  (I had cooked the meat ahead and of time and used extra, if anyone wants to know.)

When we got back to his foster parents, I mentioned that he ate 3 helpings and she said, “Oh yeah, spaghetti is one of his favorites.” Of course it is!

Now, if all that is not enough, here is the kicker.  I had forgotten about one day while journaling I was thinking about adding a 5th member to our family and how he could break the tie for our family disputes.  Often, 2 of us would want one thing and the other 2 another.  We would say we needed our little boy so he could help us decide.  This often happens with spaghetti.  Emma and I like it and Scott and Lexi are never thrilled. So, in my journal, almost as a joke, I wrote this on July 8th:

spaghetti

“I really hope he likes spaghetti so he can convince us to have it more :)”

Like, what?!

He calmed my worries about the meals, got Lexi involved so she could see God at work, let him have one of his favorite meals, and mine too, and flat-out fulfilled my desire I wrote in my journal weeks ago.

I mean, it’s so insignificant, almost silly, and yet God was paying attention to work all that together.  God can use anything he wants, any time to bring glory to himself and yet at the same time, satisfy the desires of his children.  He’s so awesome.

And guess who’s having spaghetti more often?? Pass the parmesan, please!

Our First Home Visits

So our weekend ended up quite a bit different than we anticipated at the end of last Thursday.  The plans were to have our half day visit on Friday and then we’d move to an overnight next weekend.  Well, we found out during the visit on Friday they were going to make us do an additional full day visit and we couldn’t do it on Saturday.  We planned to do it on Wednesday of next week. After more discussion, they changed their minds and let us do a full day on Saturday! That means that we can possibly do our overnight on Tuesday night and bump our full weekend to next weekend when Scott is off which will be our last visit before placement!  Which means…it could be as early as next week that he comes home!

And let me tell you, after this weekend, we are full on ready to hit the ground running with him.  The visits really could not have gone any better.

Friday we got on the road and almost immediately out of nowhere he told us he wished he was already with us.  At home, he was ready to hit the pool and thank you, Lord, it wasn’t raining!  But, thanks to the rain the night before, the water was freezing.

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We all suffered through for awhile, buoyed by our enthusiasm.  He’s a great little swimmer, but he was a shivering blue little swimmer by the time we were done.  We all got on the trampoline and later he told Scott no one had ever bounced him like that before.

After we finished swimming, I let the guys play PS3 while I cooked some potato soup for lunch.  Emma set the table and set the game of LIFE up and we played that while we ate. I said grace before dinner and loved being able to thank the Lord for him and his visit so we could hear it.  Around our new table, no less. He gobbled the soup down and asked for seconds.

We had to get him home by then and again, he told us on the way home he wished he was already with us.   As we were leaving his house, he yelled from the front porch, “Bye, Mom and Dad!” He ducked in the house and his foster mom and I shared shocked faces and smiles. Wondering what he would call us was a big question mark for me so to see him already making the transition on his own on our first home visit was just amazing.

We went home Friday not thinking we’d seem him until the next week, but by late Friday evening, we’d gotten approval to get him Saturday as well.

We were all excited!

Saturday went a lot like Friday.  Of course he wanted to go swimming first.  The water was much warmer so we were able to stay in longer.  He laughed when Emma and Lexi did all their silly stuff, we played games and I just about died when he climbed in my float with me without a word and cuddled up since he was cold.  He is very comfortable with affection and I love it.

After swimming, the guys went to Walmart to buy him an extra remote so they could play PS3 together. He scooted up right beside Scott on the couch and the two of them played while the girls played on the computer and I made some salsa.  It was like any other Saturday and yet, better than ever.

After I got the salsa done, we headed outside for a family game of soccer.  Guys against girls and we were clueless. We managed to get the hang of it and had so much fun.  I loved pushing Scott around and running around with the girls too.  I can’t even remember the last time, or any time, we’d actually played a family game like that together. No surprise, but the guys won.

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After soccer, we introduced him to croquet.  He liked that too and was a natural. He didn’t know the game by name, but after I started describing it, he said he’d seen it on Spongebob. Is that not adorable?

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By then, it was time for dinner and I cooked spaghetti while everyone relaxed.  We decided to play Uno while we ate.  We were still playing after dinner and the girls were talking about me and referred to me as Mommy. He followed suit and  in his reply to them, referred to me as Mommy too.  I took it in stride, grinning while we kept playing.

We had to take him back after dinner.  We were able to sit and talk with his foster parents.  I’m telling you, they are AMAZING.  They are a wonderful Christian couple with two grown children.  They’ve been taking him to a great church in the area and she even told me he accepted Christ a few months back. I got chills up and down when she told me.  They’ve been doing devotionals and teaching him how much God loves him.

You can tell even with his manners how well they’ve done. He puts the seat down in the bathroom, helped set the table and put his dirty dishes in the sink without being asked.

I am so, so thankful for all the hard work they have done.  I feel almost too blessed.  Like, it’s supposed to be hard, but you’re making this so easy for us!

Sunday we went shopping for his room.  We got some sports-themed bedding and decorations to go with the blue walls that he already loves.  And oh my goodness, we went into HomeGoods and did you know there was ONE sign with some balls on it and do you know which name was engraved on the bottom of it? His name!  The only one in the whole store like it! Can you believe that?

The girls are both doing amazing with him too.  The three of them even packed in the back row of the van together on the way home on Saturday.

His foster parents told us Saturday they believe God hand-picked our family for him.  I just feel totally blessed and amazed at what God is doing–what he’s done. He’s so good.

 

The Story of the Fifth Seat

After our presentation meeting last Thursday and we knew things were going to move forward, we decided we probably needed to start looking for a new dining room table.  Our current table is  a 42″ round table and holds 6 in a pinch, but forget about having a family style meal.  We keep the 4 chairs around the table and 2 along the wall until we have guests.

 

Round dining room table

 

The girls stayed overnight with Scott’s parents last Friday night so Scott and I decided to take advantage of the kid-free time and drive to a few furniture stores in the area.  We weren’t really planning to buy.  We just wanted to get a feel for what size tables were even out there.  Can you believe we’ve never really bought a proper table in 16 years of marriage?

When we first got married, we bought a glass top table from an outlet store and recovered the chairs.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I was still in college and we were broke.  When we moved to an apartment in Columbia, we didn’t even really use the table.  When we moved back home, my parents let us have the round table as they were upgrading their own.

So, there we went shopping, feeling like grown-ups.  Leafs? Side tables? Legs? Distressing?  It was all new.

And unfortunately, we didn’t find anything.

We picked the girls up and then headed to one last furniture store just to see if they had anything different.  “Two minutes, girls, we’ll just cruise through.”

Well, you know where this is going.  We found The Table.  It’s a dark wood with straight legs.  It seats 6 but then has 2 different leafs so we can either seat 8 or 10.

We host small group and a lot of family functions so it’s very normal for us to need even twice that.

So we’re sitting there with the sales lady who is really nice and I start making small talk as she writes the sales receipt.  “We’re adopting a boy so we need more space!” I told her.

Her eyes get as big as saucers and she says, “I adopted a boy!”

I told her ours is an 8 year old from DSS and she says, ” I adopted a 4.5 year old from DSS!”

She slapped her hand down on the table and pointed at me with her other finger and says, “Listen, it is hard work. Don’t ever think it’s not going to be hard, but it’s worth it.  My son is 23 now and he is awesome.  We have 2 grandkids through him. Just rely on the Lord every day and you’ll be fine.” And then she looked back down at the sales receipt and kept writing.

I was teary-eyed and it hit me that was my moment for the day. I knew that was God’s little nudge to say you’re on the right track.

We couldn’t get the table right away, but had to go late Wednesday to get it.

So, Wednesday about lunch when we were talking with The Boy and the DSS case worker about the photo album, she mentioned that he was worried because he noticed in the picture of the dining room we could only sit 4 people around our table (Bless his heart).  I am so thankful I could turn to him and said, “Don’t worry!  We bought a table on Saturday and it fits 10!  We’re going to get it today!”

Isn’t God just awesome?  One little thing he was worried about was the exact thing God led us to get this weekend AND by a woman who had also adopted a son from DSS.

Needless to say, I can’t wait until our first meal, saying grace not just for the meal, but the table too.  Grace, grace and more grace.

 

Due to some issues on DSS’s side we moved our Saturday day visit up to Friday morning!  We’ll pick him and take him home and if the weather cooperates, he wants to swim. Please pray it goes well!

 

 

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