Friday, May 30, 2008

Meeting Kayla

I met Kayla for the first time earlier today. I met the caseworker at her foster parents'/great-aunt and uncle's house at 4:00. Kayla had on a Razorback shirt and had made me a Razorback (she already knows me well) and a photo album of her life. The caseworker said that's the first time they have ever seen a kid make a photo album for the adoptive parent. She was absolutely beautiful and will have the boys sleeping on my porch in a few years' time. I took her to dinner at a Mexican restaurant and started finding out who Kayla really is. She loves lime green and purple, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, American Idol, shopping (we're going to be trouble together!), movies, and her favorite thing at school is boys. She hates chocolate and cake. She also "rocks" at science and wants to be a crime scene investigator. She is the reigning Miss Arkansas Young Miss. Her number one passion in life is dancing and she is incredibly talented at it. I watched her dance rehearsal and she was amazing and I'm not just saying that. I fixed her make-up and made sure she was dressed on time. I talked to her family who are absolutely incredible people--some of the warmest, friendliest people I've met. No one but God could have brought us all together. I am so blessed. I have never in my life felt with such conviction all the way to the bones that I am doing God's will and at times it is overwhelming to comprehend how much my life has changed in just a few weeks' time. I have yet to wrap my head around it all, but I've never felt closer to God than I do right now. How Great is my God indeed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

God is Great

If you have ten minutes, watch this video of Louie Giglio. It will blow you away. How great is our God!

A whole new world

Today I got the call that could change my life forever. Kayla's caseworker called me and said she is so excited to meet me and doesn't want to wait any longer. She sleeps with the photo album I gave her! We are still waiting on her medical records but I'm going to do disclosure tomorrow with the records they do have available. However, I was told she is not your typical DHS child. From all acounts, she is a happy, healthy, normal little girl. Her passion is dance, she plays the flute, and she is a pageant girl. She is an honor roll student and excels at math and science (unlike the English major here). She is social and outgoing and very involved in her life despite what she has been through the past few years. I talked to her foster parents today, who are relatives, and, without going into any details, I will tell you it was an amazing, God-inspired conversation. I have no doubt in my mind now that I am supposed to be the mother of this little girl. Tomorrow afternoon, I am meeting her for the first time with her caseworker. And then I'm going to her dance recital rehearsal. If all goes well, I will attend her dance recital Saturday evening. What a weekend! And to think five hours ago, I had totally different plans for the weekend. But God knows differently.


Is it possible to be excited, scared, grateful, anxious, and overwhelmed all at the same time? Because that's where I'm at right now. The last month has been a whirlwind after a long journey over the last few years.

Over two years ago, at the age of 32, I began seriously contemplating adoption. I had finally gotten my life together after a self-destructive decade and made peace with myself and my God. I was ready for the next chapter in life and Mr. Right Then was on his way out of my life and there was no one waiting in the wings. And out of nowhere came the most incredible urge to be a mother. It wouldn't go away no matter how hard I tried to ignore it. In fact, it got stronger.

I began researching ways to make it happen and knowing I didn't have the patience to handle a baby, I began looking into older child adoption. And knowing I didn't have tens of thousands of dollars laying around, I began to look into foster care adoption. My parents had foster children while I was growing up so I was no stranger to the process. I have also always been a strong child advocate and have spent many hours working with troubled children and teenagers. I have seen kids and families at their worst from my experiences interning at Davidson County Juvenile Court in Nashville, Tennessee and as a CASA volunteer. I have also known first-hand some of the troubles these children face.

A couple of years ago, I told my parents, my AA sponsor and my best friend what I was thinking...and then set it aside. Two Christmases ago, I saw a picture of two beautiful twin girls on the DHS website and felt called to take action. I sent emails asking what I needed to do to adopt these little girls. I went to an orientation meeting held by DHS in January 2007. I had an initial homestudy done two months later and was invited to take PRIDE training classes for foster and adoptive parents. At this time, these little girls were no longer available for adoption (and now I know why). And so then I freaked. I didn't think I was ready. I got scared. I got involved in other things and let it go.

Then in August 2007, my dad had emergency open heart surgery. Around this same time, I was also struggling with my relationship with God and what He wanted me to do. I picked up the phone and reserved a spot in the next PRIDE training classes beginning in September 2007. I finished my classes in November 2007, except for two make-up classes, started my paperwork and had my references done. Last December, a social worker came by my house twice to evaluate me and my home and conclude my home study. In January, I took my CPR and First Aid training and turned in all my paperwork. I decided I wanted a girl age 6-12. Then I stalled. I succumbed to my end-of-winter depression and took no action. I started wondering what I was supposed to be doing all over again. I had another breast cancer scare and two more biopsies. I wasn't thinking about adoption--I was wondering if I was going to die early. After being declared healthy, I snapped out of it and decided to make-up my two classes and put the rest in God's hands. Like I have been taught in AA, if I just do the work, God will make it happen if it's supposed to happen. So I decided I would do all the work and if I am meant to adopt a little girl, it will happen. If I'm not, it won't. And I'll be okay either way.

At my second make-up class, my adoption worker handed me a picture of an 11-year-old girl named Kayla. I looked at it and immediately fell in love with this blond beautiful little girl who looks nothing like me. My homestudy was approved on April 21, 2008. At the beginning of this month, a scrapbook of my life was given to Kayla and I was told she couldn't wait to meet me. This blog will tell the rest of the story...