2016, Anno Dominum: the year of our Lord

We weren’t able to make a Christmas card this year, so I thought I would share a post about our lives in 2016. It can only be described as the Year of Our Lord, as nothing that happened it would have been possible without Him.

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There really isn’t any other way of describing it…

January: We passed our final foster paperwork, and my students were elated. Then, I had to tell them the sad news that I would no longer be their teacher. We were all a little sad, but Thomas and I were looking forward to getting the house ready for a little person. Thomas turned 26, and received a HUGE package of bacon from my parents. That was a bit of a highlight.

February: Thomas continued to teach and I remained home. I started running with friends in the mornings, and enjoyed reading, crocheting, and walking every chance I could get. I spent time writing letters to grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, while playing with our little dog and exploring walks and paths around the house.

March: A new neighbor moved in to the apartment next door, and the cigarette smoke was seeping into our apartment constantly. So, we found a new, apartment, with a great kitchen and two bedrooms. We were still waiting (impatiently) for our first little person, but God was waiting to answer our prayers. We had submitted our homestudy several times, but we always got “no” as our answer. So, we moved over Spring Break, and started to set up our little home.

April: The big news arrived: we had been approved to take in our first foster-child! We were beyond elated! We received the call on a Tuesday afternoon, and we picked up our little bundle on Wednesday, when Baby Bear was only 6 days old. Thomas took the rest of the week off as we adjusted to the sleepless nights and schedule of an infant. We spent so much time just holding our Baby Bear and looking at him. We could hardly believe how good and gracious our God is to give us such a precious child.

May: We decided to send Thomas to grad school… in Dallas… 5 hours away… for the whole summer… starting in June. So, May became the month of travel plans, visitors, and my new business. We started to notice little problems in our apartment (windows that didn’t seal, uneven floors, cockroaches…) but thought we could be ok for another year.

June: The school year ended, Thomas finished his evaluations, and packed up his life for grad school. I dropped him off and drove home alone. I spent a few days at home with Baby Bear, before heading off to northern Indiana to see my family for 10 days. We spent days on the water, and evenings in the cottage living room, with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and everything from my childhood summers. Afterwards, I spent a few days in my hometown and got to see some old family friends. I returned to Texas, looking forward to the coming visit from Thomas for the weekend, and preparing for my MIL’s visit at the end of the month.

July: We celebrated our 5th anniversary with a truly delicious dinner, with just the two of us. My MIL kindly watched Baby bear that evening, and we thoroughly enjoyed our first date since Baby Bear came home. We spent the remainder of the month living from weekend to weekend when Thomas would come back from Dallas with papers, lectures, notes, and so much to talk about.

August: The school year began for Thomas with a slightly new look: instead of teaching five classes, he taught four, and spent the extra prep period coaching teachers or working on grad school. I was prepared to volunteer whenever the school needed me, and had already begun to look forward to all of the walks to and from school with Baby Bear in the stroller. Then, the headmaster approached us about having me return to teaching part-time. With nearly 25 students who needed to take Latin I, but were not in the 6th grade, the school needed someone who could teach after school to get those students caught up. So, on the 31st, I began teaching Latin I to 24 students, from 7th grade through tenth grade.

September: We had figured out a routine of sorts, with naps, workouts, walks, meals, and teaching. Then, on the 12th, my grandfather went to be with Jesus. We were given permission to travel with Baby Bear to Dallas to be with the entire family who gathered to celebrate and mourn together. Soon after we returned, we found out that Baby Bear was going to be reunified. We then entered a period of grief and mourning, while also learning to cherish and celebrate the future given to our Baby Bear.

October: Visits increased, our teaching workloads continued, and we started to plan our Thanksgiving trip to NY to visit Thomas’ family. We were told that Baby Bear would be reunified by Thanksgiving, so we had to make multiple versions of the trip to prepare adequately. Scenario 1: We travel to NY alone. Scenario 2: We travel to NY with Baby Bear in case the reunification did not happen in time. Scenario 3: We travel to NY with another child who could be placed with us by that time. Scenario 4: We travel to NY with two babies. Since we were told Baby Bear would be leaving us, we told our agency to begin looking for another child on the morning of October 24th. Usually, the placement process takes 6-12 weeks. God had a different plan in mind. That very evening, we received the call to pick up the baby who would become our Fuzzy Bear. We brought our newest addition to the family home, and began adjusting to life with two under one. This child showed us very quickly what all parents of 2 know: every child is completely different. Thankfully, Baby Bear had begun sleeping through the night fairly consistently, so we faced sleepless nights with only one child, not both.

November: We continued to grow and adjust, and soon realized our little apartment, with all of its flaws, would not be a safe home for two growing boys, especially as Baby Bear had begun to crawl everywhere. We started discussing our finances to see if there was any way to could buy a house in San Antonio. We received permission to travel to NY with both boys the week before we were to set out, and had a fairly painless trip from San Antonio to Dallas to New York. Thanksgiving was filled with family, and giving the boys their first Thanksgiving with a big family. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and felt ready to tackle a few more weeks of school before Christmas.

December: We received news that Baby Bear was not going to be reunified as soon as we thought. We still don’t know if or when it will happen, so we just take every day as it comes as a blessing. We got back into our schedule at school, and I went back to working out regularly. We also started talking to a realtor, and eventually found the perfect house. We made an offer just before Christmas break, and will close at the beginning of February, 2017. We celebrated Christmas with my extended family in Dallas, and were thrilled to be able to see our boys through their first Christmas. Baby Bear thoroughly enjoyed playing with everyone of every age, and even learned how to eat from a spoon. Fuzzy Bear started to smile and coo around that time, which entertained everyone present, when he wasn’t being snuggled and cuddled. We spent New Year’s Eve back in San Antonio, finishing out a year of huge changes and incredible blessings by going to bed early.

We aren’t sure what 2017 will bring. Our government is going through some major changes, our family is preparing for major changes, and we are moving into our first home next month. We pray that God will give us peace, wisdom, and grace, and that we will be given many opportunities to show the depth of His love throughout the year.

Please pray that God will bless his Children. If this means that either of our boys leave our care, that God will give Thomas and I strength to trust Him, and that He will protect these boys when we will not be there to watch them grow. If we are able to adopt them, then we ask that you pray for peace and patience for us to know how best to love and care for these two little boys.

How can we pray for you?

P.S. I didn’t include any pictures, because the most important part of our lives can’t be shared over digital media. If you would like a picture of our little family, send me a message, and I will be delighted to send you something in the mail. 😀

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